Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review

Our little family tops the list of boring lives.  We work, we eat, we sleep, we spend time with family and that's about it.  The last year? It was good.  Nothing major or super exciting.  A few short road trips, a painted house, and a resignation.  Lots of shaved ice, stories read, and time together.

I'm proud of my husband.  I'm proud of my kids.  I can hardly believe that last year at this time I had a baby who had just learned to crawl and a little boy who was just starting preschool.  Now, I have a toddler who RUNS everywhere, and a 25 year old trapped in the body of a little boy whose so close to four he can smell it.

My boys have changed so much in the last year.  Here is some photographic proof.

December 103

December 104

December 106

I am excited for the new year and all the adventures it holds for us.

Have a happy new year Internet. I hope to be asleep by 8:30 pm.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

16 Candles......


Holy Freakin' Cow.

My baby brother,  the one whose impending arrival into the world 16 years ago left me in a state of shock and awe, the one whose made my life, and the life of my family and my boys so much more exciting, the one who just the other day, still sat on my lap for a few minutes even though he's a giant and thank heavens he didn't fart, is 16 years old today.

It's hard to believe.  Really, it is.


Who'd a thunk that this kid who, 8 years ago (half his life ago) when I got married wasn't even shoulder high, would now be taller than me, stretching himself out at night for a few more inches.  Or, that he'd be wearing a size 15 shoe.



He's tall and handsome.  He's smart and funny.  He's kind and sincere.  He takes honors classes and gets good grades.  He's a good writer and a good ice shaver.  He willingly plays with his crazy nephews and lets them use him as a bean bag chair.  He sings, he goes to dances, he isn't too cool to go bowling with his parents and sisters on his Christmas break.

If you get the chance to meet him, he'll let you know that one day, he's going to be famous.  He looks good in purple.  He's a really good basketball player.

I don't know what we'd all do without him.


He's my baby bwudur, and I luf him a lot.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Every year it's the same thing.  The Grinch in me arrives around the first of November.  Something happens to make my heart grow three sizes around the beginning of December.  Then around the middle of December, the spirit of giving, and of Christ, and of generosity of heart and spirit - mind and body arrives and I feel the need to be nice.  To do nice things.  To be generous with time and money - and food and labor - and by the time Christmas rolls around, I really feel spent.

I'm tired.  I've spent a lot of time figuring out how to give and help others.  This year we didn't do anything really awesome.  I donated coats and hats and gloves to some "inner city" families. I knitted some hats for my brothers eagle scout project.  I donated to a "sub for santa" for a family in my neighborhood hit by some tragedy right after Thanksgiving.  I made a billion cupcakes with a friend to give to neighbors.  I gave gift cards to people, taped to their doors on Christmas Eve.

Yesterday my little family and I were bombarded by love.  Isn't that what Christmas is all about?  Being with the people you love, who love you back.  We were gifted wonderfully generous and thoughtful items - things to make our lives more fun, entertaining, relaxing, and purposeful.  We were gifted a trip to Disneyland by my parents, all we need to do is set the date (oh, I'm so excited).  We were treated to food and family and laughs and hugs.

We served each other.

Isn't that what life is all about?  Serving our fellow man?  It isn't about the presents one day a year, but about how we can help people all year long.

Yesterday was a great day.  One of those days where "our cup runeth over".  There are so many stories and pictures - they'll come later.

But right now, can I tell you I loved Christmas.  I loved going to church today, the day after Christmas.  It was such a blessed reminder of why, at least for me, we do all that we do all year long.  As a kid and a young adult, the holiday was such a let down.  So much build up for one short day.  As an adult however, and as a mom, I really think (at least I hope) that I've figured it out.  I hope I've figured out what this season is about.  And I pray that I can always do my part to help those around me and that I can be guided to those that may need my help.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all - all 10 of you who read this thing, including my mom.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Merry Christmas.

Love the Reindeer

And the boy who sits on the counter

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two weeks ago I resigned from the job I have done for nearly 6 years. Today is my last day of work. At the end of the day I'll turn in my computer, ipod, name tags, hair nets, keys, and the kitchen sink.

Six years ago, when I left the classroom, I was desperate to get out and find a change of scene - a change of pace. I LOVED teaching history. I LOVED the kids that were my students. I just couldn't do it anymore. The job felt too hard and stifling and like it was choking me. I did it for almost 6 years and was ready to move on.

I left the high school in a flurry and found what I thought at the time was a great job.  To commemorate the event, because the timing just worked out that way, Ross and I went to Italy. Oh, Florence. You served my brain well.

Fast forward another 6 years. I really LIKED my job. I really LIKED the teachers that I got to work with in the world of online learning. LIKE does not however, a great job make. When I was walking away from  staff meetings with stomach aches...or in tears (how pathetic does that make me, right?), or dwelt on a snarky e-mail for too many days I realized it was time to suck it up and vacate the premises.

That's what I've done and I've done it without a net. Right now, there is no job to fall back on, no career to advance no Italy to visit. 

There is just me.

The best me that I can be.  Holding my head up high.  Knowing that I did a great job.  Knowing that right now, where I'm supposed to be is at home, with my kids, being their mom, and fixing myself - becoming a better me with new goals and experiences on the horizon.  Taking deep breaths and leaps of faith.  It's scary - but a very exciting time.  A new frontier in the life of Annie.

I had a teacher send me an e-mail and tell me that she hoped that I resigned for something bigger and better.

I told her that right now, I'm running away!  But, in the next few months the something bigger and better will come.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In the spirit of giving....


My grandma is 80 years old. She is the mother of 8 children, all living. Those children all have children, and some even have grandchildren. She has a big family. She loves her big family. She buys Christmas presents for her big family - totalling 53 people and counting.

My grandma's lungs don't work very well.  She's on oxygen all the time.  She's lost close to 80 pounds this year and has become so much smaller than the grandma of my childhood.  Her legs don't work so hot and neither do her ears.  She still though has an amazing spirit and light about her.  She's tired and in pain nearly every single day.  She passes out a lot and just a week ago fell so hard that she bruised her entire leg.  She could win an award for that bruise.  She's a fighter.  She's got amazing faith.  She watches "All my Children" every single day.

I love my grandma dearly.  She has taken care of me my entire life.  My sister and I, when we were younger could count on my grandma for everything.  One phone call and she'd be wherever we needed her, whenever we needed her.  She was my official chauffeur all through school, even picking me up as a senior in high school.  In fact, the first time I ever ditched a class was the last week of my senior year and grandma was the one who came to pick me up, take me to the 7-11 for a coke, and let me hang out at her house all afternoon.

Anyway, back to the presents.  Like I said, she buys presents for about 53 people.  She has a book, her gift bible, that lists everything she has purchased.  She has another book, even bigger, with receipts, catalog order numbers and everything else she needs.  She's organized and thoughtful and does her best to give everyone gifts that they will love.

We all know that every Christmas we'll get socks.  It's important for my Grandma make sure we have socks.  As a kid, she had to darn her own socks or go with out and shove cardboard in her shoes to help keep her feet dry. - the great depression can do that to a kid.

I've talked about it on this blog before, but it is my designated task, for the last many years (I really cannot remember how many) to help wrap presents.  Last year I wrapped most of them by myself and it took me several days and over 15 hours to get it all done.  This year, my sister, cousin and I got it knocked out in two nights - in about 10 hours.  My back is still sore a couple days later.

Think about it.  53 people.  Each person has at least 3 packages to wrap.  For the little kids, every present is wrapped individually so the kiddies have more to open.  That's over 200 presents to wrap and we did it in 10 hours - and I wrapped a few that I picked up yesterday to even things out at my house this morning.

My grandma is amazing.  How she does this every year I don't know.  I love her so much.  I love wrapping presents for her.  I love spending time at her house.  I haven't been the best visitor lately - I let life get in the way - but I hope that my grandma knows how much I love and appreciate her and all she does for our family.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Squirt:: 19 months

Boy oh boy Chickie.  You have had quite a month.  It's amazing how, like, three days after you were officially one and a half, a toddler, you changed into a little boy.  There isn't one single smidgen of baby left in you and it's freakin' awesome.

It's also proven to be a bit destructive.  Your super powers for chaos are strong.  Dad and I haven't quite figured out your kryptonite yet but we're working on it.  Once we discover the thing that brings you down, you and your terrorizing ways will be squashed.  But, we'll still love you and play with you and take you places and buy you french fries.  We're just nice like that.

In the last four weeks you've had bronchitis and mild croup and a pretty serious bout of asthma that got you at the Primary Children's Instacare for a few hours.  You set off Grandma Connie's house alarm and called 911 on Grandma Judy's cell phone.  The first incident was easy to fix - the second resulted in a visit to the house by the police - and I don't mean Sting and Stuart Copeland.

You only puked, I think, twice in the last month which is a record.  You are still a terrible sleeper and the last week has sucked dead goat as far as you sleeping is concerned but hopefully, some day, you will turn a corner and decided it's cool to sleep at night instead of waking up four times a night, screaming as if you were being attacked by a moose, and wandering around the house.

Fun times, kiddo.  Fun times.


I am most proud of you this month for eating and talking.  You have decided that food is your friend and are almost down to no bottles at night to supplement the lack of nutrients you receive during the day.  You have started to eat chicken!!!!  It's awesome.  In our house we love good eaters and you are starting to fit right in.  Sitting at the dinner table every night and watching you eat, and play, and be part of the family is just so much fun.  You make us laugh little boy.  You are infectious and contagious and one of the funniest things around.

And you're starting to talk - not just babble, but real communication.  We've almost mastered "Thank you" even though you'll only do it for me, and we're working on "please" and just for fun, "Fart" because that seems to be your favorite past time in the last week.  A couple of weeks ago I told you that you were "coo-coo".  Now you wander around the house like a parrot calling everyone the same.  When you want something, or like something you say, "uh-huh" and for the opposite, "Nuh-huh".  It comes with a big head nod and smile that's just too funny.


Just the other night we were waiting for your dad and brother and you found a football.  You my little Chickadee set that ball on the floor, said your version of one, a very clear two, and then charged at the football and kicked it from the kitchen table to the back door.  A mighty distance for one who doesn't have the best coordination.

You always want to sit on the counter when we're in the kitchen.  I never lift you up.  I think if you could talk, you'd yell at me for always saying, "Say UP Wyatt and I'll pick you up."  The other night though you were begging me to get you up.  I just looked into your cute beady little eyes, said, "Say UP, Wyatt" and guess what, you yelled UP!!!!! at the top of your lungs.  It was so great.  Now, up is the word for up, down, out, in and pretty much everything else that requires movement or the desire to be carried around.  It's cool though - I don't mind.

I love you so much little fart.  You are so much my boy that I don't know what I would do, or the world would do without a little spitfire spirit like yours.  Nothing stands in your way. You are smart as a whip, quick to catch on, and can figure out how to take apart nearly everything that is placed in front of you. You are determined to have the world and with that kind of attitude, one day the world will be destined to be yours for the taking.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

2 weeks and counting....


Our tree has been up since the last Saturday in November. It is really pretty. All it needs is photos of a dead cat or a lost dog and it could have been in the festival of trees.

As of last night, the shopping is officially done. I did really well this year. Last year I blew the budget out of the water. This year I'm just a tad bit over my estimation. My budget last year was kind of high and I really blew it up in a grand way. I lost a bit of control and a lot of little purchases added up fast. This year, my budget was half of last year's and I'm just barely over. That's a good feeling Internet. To know that you've been able to do some really nice things for the people you love and not blow your whole savings to do it.

Nearly every present is wrapped and under the tree.

Today, this very afternoon, my sister and I start my most favorite project of the year. Wrapping my grandma's Christmas presents. I am overjoyed. Presents for 50 people, hours of time, miles of tape and ribbon.

Yes! The holidays are here.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas Songs

it seems that the last few years i've posted some of my favorite christmas songs. this year is apparently no different.

the first song, i never thought of as a holiday song, but in searching out some new tunes last weekend it was on a bunch of albums....performed poorly. the rufus wainright version is my favorite - and after listening to almost a dozen last saturday/sunday night i think i'm an authority on that now.

rufus wainright

now this song? it has become an obsession. admittedly, i'm not a huge neon trees fan. that bieber cover is completely awesome and the trees have jumped up a wrung on my music ladder with this christmas tun.

how much do i like it? enough that i've memorized the whole thing and driving home from a hair cut on monday, in the car by myself i listened to it for 30 minutes straight. my husband is definitely rubbing off on me after nearly 8 years of marriage - i have officially driven a song into the ground.

but it's so awesome. i love the word selection - that it's "darling" instead of "baby". that he says "animal" and "adorable"

christmas spirit - just knock me out now.

wish list
neon trees

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Home Alone


Ross and I have a deal - that excluding extenuating circumstances and emergencies, neither of us travels for work until the boys are older. At least for me, parenting all day and then all night by myself is really, really hard. I enjoy having another grown-up in the house to talk to and help with the boys, the dishes, the laundry and all that other stuff.

Ross had to go on an overnight for work. He left yesterday morning and gets home this evening. And as per our usual - though things have been fine, there have been hiccups that only seem to happen in these situations.

On Monday night, when telling the boys at dinner that dad was going out of town, Ross told Elliott that he had to be the "man of the house" and be a really good helper. Yesterday he was a really good helper and a good boy. Only one time out and one hissy fit all day long. Awesome. When the boys and I sat down for dinner last night, Elliott said to me, "Mom, since dad's out of town I think that I should sleep in your bed with you tonight." I asked him why he thought that was a good idea and he replied, "Because I'm the boy in charge and I'm sick and tired of sleeping on a bed that is so low to the ground!"

Monday night the garbage disposal broke. It overheated and we panicked. Yesterday the boys and I walked into the garage to get in the car and run some errands and the garage door wouldn't open. It would open about three inches and then stall. After trying a few times to will it to open I gave up. A double garage door is very heavy. I exhibited massive amounts of strength to manually open that door. My arms are still tired. Thank heavens I didn't drop it on myself or one of my boys. We got it open, found a house key and have been parking out front.

And if that wasn't enough, to top off the night, the Chick put on a sleepless show. I have to tell you Internet that I have a great husband when it comes to taking care of the boys. Ross gets up with the Chick every night, all night long. He's been doing it all on his own, with the occasional help from me for the last year. I never hear my baby boy at night and I've been with him all day so Ross thinks it's the least he can do.

Oh, I love him for that.

Anyway - dad wasn't home and I was nervous we were going to have a bad night. Boy did we! I got that crazy little fart to sleep at 9:00 pm. He was awake and screaming at 11:00 pm. Fifteen minutes later he was out and I was in bed only to be woken again at Midnight by blood curdling screams. I gave him a bottle and that lasted him until 3:45. We then sat up for a while flipping channels until he was out again around 4:15. At 5:00 am he was up again. Another bottle, another dumb movie and I was back in bed by 5:30. I'd set my alarm for 6 am.


A quick adjustment to the clock and everyone slept until 7 am.

I'm so tired this morning. I tell ya - that boy sure knows how to mess with me.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

New Music

While shopping for some new holiday tunes today through amazon and itunes I came across Ben Rector.

I seem to have fallen in love with the music of Ben Rector.

Take a listen to this Tom Petty cover.

His renditions of some classic Christmas tunes are spot on. Find him and download some music now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day Thirty: what a month


Today, November is over.  I'm pretty sure this is my last attempt at NaBloPoMo.  After reading what Eden, the inventor wrote a week or so ago, it could be the last one for everyone.  It's a fun, but very draining experience to write something on your blog every day for a whole month.

This morning, I've been thinking about the last month and about some of the things that have happened in the last thirty days.  Here's the short list.

  • hosted two dinner parties
  • baked and iced nearly 200 cupcakes
  • made 7 dozen croissants from scratch
  • all four of us had bronchitis.  They boys had walking pneumonia, too
  • celebrated dad's birthday
  • moved out of my house for four days
  • had my entire house painted while I was moved out for four days
  • did my job, attended a staff meeting, planned for and prepared a live webinar for folks all over the country
  • picked my mom up form the airport
  • went to church
  • taught a big combined lesson at church that made a couple young women cry
  • survived the preschool carpool another month
  • survived having my preschooler home with out school for five days straight
  • bought an artificial Christmas tree and decorated it
  • mourned the loss of my great uncle 
  • prayed for my brother-in-law who was in a terrible motorcycle accident while he was in the hospital two weeks and had to have his shoulder joint replaced
  • continuing to pray for my brother-in-law as he makes a slow recovery
  • finished 90% of my Christmas shopping
  • wrapped a few Christmas gifts to send to Arizona
  • sent Ross and the Chick to the emergency room because he wasn't breathing so good.  Spent a week doing the inhaler every three hours and a lot of sleepless nights driving around the neighborhood
  • watched football on tv
  • addresses and stuffed all my Christmas cards
  • sat for a family photo
  • made Christmas count down chains and hung them throughout the house
  • bought my own Christmas present
  • cheered my brother on as he made the VARSITY basketball team
  • attended an early morning two hour church training
  • went to book club even though I didn't read the book
  • finished two books this month
  • prepped a ton of food for Thanksgiving
  • had a happy Thanksgiving at my mom's house with extended family
  • enjoyed the company of my husband for 5 days straight - happy he was home - didn't argue or fight with him once .
  • loved my boys - loved that they loved having their dad home
Phew!  That was quite a month, wasn't it?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day Twenty-Nine: Digging Out


I've lived my entire life in Utah.  Snow doesn't really bother me.  I'm not a huge fan of driving in the snow, but I actually enjoy shoveling snow, watching snow fall (especially with a hot chocolate in hand), and I don't even mind being outside and freezing a bit...for a few minutes at least.

There have been major snow storms during my life, but only a few snow days.  I could probably count them on one hand.

The first winter I was married, Ross and I traveled to Arizona for Christmas.  Talk about opposites in weather, right?  I've been covered in snow every winter of my life and spent my first married Christmas in 60 degree weather, watching Arizonians cover themselves in sweaters and jackets and coats because they were cold.

That winter there was a huge storm right around the big holiday.  Trees broke, power was out for days in some spots, and mother nature really dumped on the valley.  Our big car was parked at my parents house and they took care of it.  By the time we got to my parents from the airport we could see some of the damage from the snow, but really didn't have a full grasp on the storm until we got home.

We lived at the University of Utah in student housing.  We had a great ground floor, three bedroom, two bathroom student apartment that had been part of the athlete village during the winter Olympics.  We were right up on the hill.  Literally, on the hill.

As we pulled into the parking lot it was quite obvious that there weren't any real spots to park in.  A plow had sort of been through the lot and any car that was in a stall just got buried.  My little VW Golf was included in that mess.  Ross and I drove through the parking lot three or four times, not looking for a parking space, but looking for my itty bitty car.  It was literally buried in the snow.

I think after a few minutes of circling we gave up.  We knew it was there, and we'd find it later.

The next morning I found my car.  It was going to take a crew of shovels and a whole lot of sweat to get it out.  I called in the cavalry  - Mom, Haley, and Willie - to help me out.  They showed up with shovels and we set to digging.  It took the four of us quite a while to get that little car uncovered let alone dug out enough that we could actually open the door, start her up, and get her moving.

For a lot of people, that probably sounds like a grueling situation - digging out a buried car.  I'm pretty sure that was one of the most fun things I've ever done.

We probably went to the training table after for some fries and cokes.  That's always fun, too.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day Twenty Eight: NaBloSuckO


It's almost over. Two more days.

Two more days.

Two more days.

Really, I've got nothing left to write about. No stories. No genius.


It happens every year. I get excited and the excitement lasts for about 10 days and then it's just a struggle to finish.

Blogging every day is hard.

Planning out time to sit down and write something is painful.

It's like the big snow storm we were supposed to have last Tuesday. Everyone was in a panic. Schools shut down. Business shut down. My staff meeting ended early. We all needed to get home before the blizzard to end all blizzards.

We got like and eighth of an inch of snow. Maybe.

Today? There's a blizzard out there people. I just got home from driving in it. My parents have a foot or more, the roads are slippery and we couldn't stop at one intersection and coasted through a red light.

Thank you people for not being in a hurry and killing us.

Where were the bells and whistles for this snow storm? Where were the masses of people hitting the grocery store for bottled water?

Where is my hot chocolate?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day Twenty Seven: Festivus for the Rest of Us


Today we were all sitting in the living room and the boys were exhibiting feats of great strength. Ross said all we needed was a pole, and an airing of grievances and we would have just celebrated our first familial festivus.

Instead, tonight, on the 27th of November we put up our ARTIFICIAL Christmas Tree.

Damn the masses. We caved and went fake this year. Standing in the store last night debating which tree to purchase was a strange feeling. There was no sense of excitement and no smell of pine.  We weren't bundled up and running through a make-shift forest of trees.  It wasn't special.  It was economical.

I grew up with fresh cut pine tree for every Christmas. A real, live Charlie Brown tree. One with bare spots that just needed a blanket to wrap around it's spindly limbs and love.  One that needed regular attention and care.  One that never really stood up straight and always leaned a bit to the left.

I now have a fake, pre-lit tree in my basement that cost us $99 on sale. It pays for its self in one holiday season! I of course wanted to the more expensive, cooky, non-traditional tree but with two screaming boys, two pushy salesmen and one frustrated husband it was quickly decided that cheaper was better.

It didn't fit in the back of the car. We looked a bit like hillbillies driving home with a tree hanging out the back window, screaming kids strapped to seats, and a hankering for some orange chicken from the local Chinese take-out.

The tree, though it's only been up for an hour as I write, has got me thinking about holidays past and how my kids will really never experience some of the traditions I celebrated (and survived?) around holidays. It's also helped me realize - this week of Thanksgiving, that I don't despise holidays nearly as much now that I have children. I would still like to run and hide every single time a significant celebratory date rolls around but rather than actually book a flight and head out of town (as we have done on many occasions) I find that I'm starting to get into the spirit of things.

I want my kids to have joy and happiness in their lives. I want them to fill the spirit of giving and service and to be generous.  I want them to have memories to pass on to their own families. Our traditions may be a bit lack luster and somehow always be consumed by an insignificant sporting event, but my kids will remember, I hope, that their parents love them. That their parents set up the Christmas tree before it was even December.

That their parents can celebrate holidays, too. Even if they'd rather get out of town and go out to dinner.

Now, can anyone help me find a powerful pine tree sent that I can fill up my house (and my vacuum) with?

Friday, November 26, 2010

People say we look alike

Annie is growing tired of the daily posts, so I get to pinch hit.

Here is a story.

Once in 2002, Annie and I went to a session of LDS General Conference with my parents at the Conference Center. We were 'dating' and at some point during the session began to hold hands.

A very nice lady that was sitting next to us said, "before you started to hold hands, I thought you were brother & sister".

I replied, "no, we are cousins".

She did not speak to us for the rest of the session.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day Twenty-Five: Thankful

I am so thankful for so many things.


and lots of other things that start with "F".

Even though they were stinkers for most of the day, I am very thankful for my crazy boys.

I am thankful for a smart as a whip almost four year old who answers phones, bosses everyone around, starts conversations with people and can use a computer all by himself.

I am thankful for an 18 month old who despite everything that's wrong with him, and the fact that he's always sick is still happy and funny and smart and can sing a melody from a Lady GaGa song on demand.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day Twenty-Four: Identity

tunnel outside Baltimore

On Veteran's Day, 2001 I was at a church event. I left my wallet in the car. Driving home from the event I noticed that my car was REALLY cold. I looked back and saw that the window on the back door, passenger side, had been broken. Shattered and all over the seat and floor of my car.

Crap! Why would someone "bust the window out my car" on Veteran's day?!

Then I thought to check under the seat. That was where I always left my wallet.

It was gone.


I started to cry.

Once home, my mom calmed me down and we called the cops.

The police officer came out, looked my car over and told us the obvious. Someone had broken into my car and stolen my wallet.


I didn't know that. We filed the police report and as soon as the officer left my mom and I went inside to start canceling stuff. At the time I had a credit card and a checking account. We canceled both.

It was a few days later that the gravity of the situation really hit hard. There was a lot of drama and anger but the summary of the story is this: my identity had been stolen. From the time it was stolen until my mom and I canceled it, my credit card had been used at a local mall for a couple thousand dollars. Merry Christmas thief!

My drivers licence had been used at the local bank, where I regularly banked and had gone to high school with the teller (teller #11) that did all the transactions, to cash some stolen checks in my name for a couple thousand dollars.

The story is much longer, but I'll spare the gory details. Lots of talks with debt collectors, police, banks and a nasty situation that took almost a year to figure out.

My identity had been stolen. My 21 year old credit had been ruined.

The bank, I think, eventually fired teller #11. I think that they figured she was in on it. No one could ever figure out why I was a target, but the cops thought that whomever broke into my car new me well enough to know that I was a super dummy and left my wallet in the car. My aunt, an attorney, wrote some nasty letters to credit agencies threatening them if they wouldn't leave me alone.

I don't remember exactly, but in the end, I think it was close to $10,000 dollars of theft in my name.

Hopefully, knock on wood, since it happened to me once, it will never happen again.

Good thing I no longer have a credit card.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day Twenty-Three: A proposal

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

barbed wire

My husband was not the first person to propose to me.

Are you shocked?

You should be.

You see, once I "dated" this boy.  I use the term "dated" very loosely because you see, over the period of a little more than two years i went out on 6 dates with the boy.  Three before his LDS mission and three after his mission.  He was a kid I'd gone to high school with.  We were not friends.  I pretty much thought he was sloppy and gross.

The first set of dates came happened in a round about way.  He was in attendance at the same church meeting as me.  We somehow ended up walking out together and talking for a while outside, after the meeting.  At that time, he didn't seem to be nearly as big of a goober I had thought him to be.  As our conversation was wrapping up, he asked if he could call me sometime.

I said sure.

Um...bad idea.  The first date was okay.  I thought he was nice.  The second date was a bit blah, but I was trying to be nice.  The third date I found him as annoying as I had in high school and wanted out fast.

He sent me letters while on his mission.  He wanted pictures of me for his "friend" wall in his apartment.  I never wrote.  I never sent photos.

Fast forward two years.  He got home and I got dumb.  Being perpetually dateless has it's benefits.  Being a bit lonely however does not.  Somehow he found me.  He asked me out.  I was lonely and bored and I said yes.

Three more dates that followed the same pattern as they had two years previous.

I was done.

At the time, ignoring someone was the easiest way for me to get rid of them so I ignored.

He stalked.  He drove past my house all the time.  It felt like he was lurking everywhere.  I played basketball with his cousin on the weekends and she said that he really liked me.  He tried to come and watch me play basketball.

He totally creeped me out.


Then one night there was a knock at my door.  It was him.  It was cold outside.  He asked me to come out and talk.  I obliged but not without giving my mom and sister a look of fear that begged that they watch out the window.

This boy yelled at me for messing with his life, desperate to know why I didn't return his calls and was ignoring him.  He was frantic and creepy and I remember that when I got in the house, my mom said she thought he was going to hit me or something.  I had to be honest, and tried to be nice.  I didn't really like him.  I didn't want to date him anymore.  I thanked him for the dinners and the activities and wished him luck.

I thought that was the end of it.

Every once in a while I still saw him drive past my house.  

Then, on a spring day, when my dad and sister were outside doing the yard work, Haley came in and told me I had a visitor.  She didn't tell me who.  I walked out into the garage and it was him.  He came to visit me.  There was a girl in the car.  He told me that she was his fiance and that they were getting married in a few weeks.

I told him congratulations.

He said thank you and handed me the invitation.

As he passed the card over to me he said that he really liked me.  That he wished we hadn't stopped seeing each other.  That he didn't really want to marry the girl in the car and that he was hoping I could give him a good reason to call the whole thing off.

You know - like in the movies - I think he wanted me to jump into his arms, say I'd always loved him, and that the girl wouldn't be sad or dejected...she'd just walk away and find some other boy.

I looked him in the eyes and said, "I hope you two will be really happy together."  Or something like that.  He stood there stunned, then walked away.

Phew!  That was close.  My dad stayed in the garage and witnessed the whole thing.

I did not go to the wedding.  I thought I was finally done with that boy.

Flash forward a few months to the beginning of the new school year.  It was going to be my first full year of teaching, I'd just graduated from the "U" in May and I was so excited and so nervous.  Our beginning of the school year meetings were at a hotel in a big ballroom.  I was sitting taking notes when the new teachers were introduced.

That's when I heard HER name.  That boy?  Well, his wife got a job teaching science at MY school.

How could this have happened?  He's still stalking me?  At the first break in the meeting SHE came up to me and said that her husband had told her to seek me out.  That we could be the best of friends.

The first semester of school was pretty awful.  I avoided that teacher like the plague.  Her husband, that boy?  He was at school all the time.  He walked past my classroom door slowly and stared in at least once a week.  Sometimes more.

No, I'm not making this up.  He was still stalking me a bit.  Following me around.

How did it end?  She couldn't hack it as a teacher.  She also got pregnant.  Then, she quit.

I never heard from him again.  A few years back when I tried out the cursed facebook for a few months he tried to be my friend several times.

Thank goodness for "IGNORE".

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day Twenty-Two: Coping Mechanisms

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


When I was little I got migraines. Not really sure what triggered them, but I got them all the time. They made me puke. I was a super puker. Could have won an Olympic gold medal for throwing up if there was such a thing. In the car, in the gutter, at sporting events. You name it, I did it. I think that I usually puked twice - back-to-back - once because I was sick and once because I was so grossed out by what I had just done, it happened again. I had a 9 year stretch of no puke. That ended the second night I was home from my honeymoon in Mexico. We ate at ztejas. That restaurant is dead to me.

My sister got nose bleeds all the time as a kid. Once, when we were little and home alone she got a bad one. I didn't know what to do with a nose bleed so much so I had my sister lay down. Bad idea. After a minute or two of that she jumped up, ran into the bathroom and puked up gallons of blood. It was awesome.

I am prone to gagging. Talk about something I think is gross and I'll run out of the room, dry heaving and hyperventilating.

Why these stories? I don't know. Prior to having kids, I didn't really cope with things well. I gagged, I puked, I cried. I would keep my emotions pent up inside until I just exploded at the closest person (sorry, mom!), wall, counter top. I haven't banged my head into something hard, or my wrist for nearly two years though. That's real progress.

I've had a stint on Prozac and have some xanex in case of extreme emergency panic attack and meltdown. I left a sick newborn in a hospital for 10 days. I spoke at a funeral. I've done hard things.

My kids have asthma. The Chick spent some time at the hospital last night doing breathing treatments and getting checked out. He's wheezy. He rattles. He coughs. He pukes and screams and freaks out. He got two drives in the night in two different cars with two different parents - sitting on our laps and helping to drive. Trying to sleep.

Getting puked on by a 1 year old isn't as traumatic as my childhood pukey self thought it would be. I've discovered in the last almost four years that a sick kid - my kids in particular, is the most frightening thing. Yesterday was hard. Last night was awful. I don't cope well. I panic. My voice is shaky. My stomach aches, my shoulders are tense, my jaw is clenched. Seeing a sweet little thing struggle to breath is so hard.

Knowing that there really isn't anything I can do about it but pin him down and hold an inhaler with a spacer over his mouth while he screams to the point he might pass out is all I can do. And oh, boy! That's awesome. Really. Really. Awesome.

My most favorite thing to do ever.

I need to come up with some new coping mechanisms that don't involve panic.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day Twenty-One: Snow Day

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


First big snow of the season.

That's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day Twenty: Self-Sufficient

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

Most of the day today was spent in the yellow room in my mom's basement.  I showed up to paint and ended up volunteering to organize and clean up the yellow room, aka haley's old room, aka the office, aka molly's room if she ever wants to move in.

My mom, bless her heart, collects paper.  She doesn't seem to throw it away under any circumstances.  I enjoy throwing paper away - especially other people's paper when they aren't watching me.  I threw away some stuff today from 1996.  That was the year I graduated from high school.

As part of my clean up efforts (It's all in the spirit of Thanksgiving.  My mom is hosting.  I'm so excited!) I was sent to fetch lunch for everyone.  My brother and I loaded in the car and headed to Chick-fil-a.  Leaving the drive thru there was a man standing on the corner in the blustery wind.  He had on a baseball hat and a decent coat and was holding a sign that read, "homeless.  hungry.  God bless."

It made me mad.  It always makes me mad.  I don't understand homeless-ness.  I don't understand how in a country like this, a person cannot find a job and a meal and a place to stay.  It made me more mad than usual because last night I watched a documentary called, "God grew tired of us".

The documentary blew my mind. It made me cry. The film won several honors in 2007 at national and world wide film festivals. It follows several "Lost Boys" of Sudan from a refugee camp in Ethiopia to the United States. They were selected to relocate after 10 plus years living in camps to Pittsburg, PA, and Syracuse, NY. These boys, turned men, were amazing. The documentary followed them for three years.

In three years time all the boys earned their high school equivalency, associate degrees and were enrolled in college to earn their bachelors degrees. All of them were working two or three jobs, saving every penny to send back to the refugee camps or to their surviving family whom they found with help from the Red Cross. They joined the Job Corps to pay for school. They learned how to flush toilets and sleep on beds and put food in a refrigerator and turn a light switch - all things they'd never seen. They learned to drive and bought cars - had cell phones, and maintained their cultural identity. One boy, John, found his family in Uganda and paid for all the paperwork and travel for his mother and sister to come to the US - he hadn't seen them in 17 years. He became an ambassador for Lost Boys and other African immigrants to the US and was working towards getting legislation heard in Congress to provide help for African refugees.

Another boy, Panther, sent money back to the camp in Ethiopia and saved enough to travel back himself to find and marry his girlfriend and bring her back to America. He was studying Economics at Pitt.

I was truly amazed by these men. They were so proud and so thankful. They praised God for the opportunity to get out of the camp and make something of themselves to honor their family, their country and culture, and to prove that it was worth the investment to get them out.

Not only was I inspired, but amazed. These refugees fought for their lives to even get a chance. And when given the opportunity, dove in head first thirsty for success. And today I see a guy who is standing on a corner with a sign, begging for small change. My brother said he stands there every single day. I wonder how much money he makes. I wonder where he goes at night. I wonder if he is really homeless and hungry.

If the Lost Boys of Sudan can come to America with nothing more than a United Nations refugee camp rudimentary education and some basic English and thrive, then why can't homeless harry on the street corner do the same?

I want to help people. I want to be good and kind. I donate money to my church. I've given money to the red cross, heifer international and other such aide organizations. I want to see people be successful in life.

What is it about American culture that makes it acceptable to beg and not work? To ride on other peoples coat tails and not be self-sufficient.

Please watch this documentary if you get the chance. Add it to your Netflix que. You'll be inspired too.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day nineteen: blah

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy


It's now over halfway through the month of november and this is my first dud post of the month. Ever have one of those days where you're about 90 minutes behind schedule all day long and it messes with your brain totally and completely to the point that you write the longest run on sentence in history just because you feel frantic enough that your entire thought process is just one long run on sentence like in a Jack Kerouac novel but you aren't on benzadryine (i have no idea how to spell that word and no spell check help available at the moment. Sorry.) or any other gnarly drug you just are hip and cool without the drugs and you could go like those for days because you are so out of sorts you don't even know what punctuation to use because there are too many choices!?:()

Yeah. A day like that.

Today I made this cake:

Red and black icing are most totally disgusting. Seriously. Have you ever mAde black icing? Blew my mind and my hands are still black. And invade you were wondering that beast of a cake was four layers of chocolate decadence and with all that buttercream easily weighed I. At 11 pounds. Serious!

Do you ever count your steps? Or recite the same words over and over again in your head? Or have very animated conversations with yourself in the car while driving home from dinner in the dark so that people stare at you and think you might be having a hand gesture seizure?

Yeah. Me neither. I just know this person so I thought I'd ask!

Note: I wrote this post on my moms iPad which is really just a giant overpriced iPod. And it can't do half the things I think I want it to do that my phone can do without having to download a new app. Just saying.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day Eighteen: baking

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy


Today - as a pinch hitting emergency life saver - I've been commissioned to bake a cake.  A real live cake.  For a party tomorrow night.

How cool is that?  I'll let you know how it goes.

I have been baking since I was a little girl.  I'm not sure how old I was when the reins of cookie baking were handed my direction, but I feel comfortable saying that I have perfected the chocolate chip cookie.

When I get stressed out I often find that I recite this to myself:
shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla.
shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla.
shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla.

It's like my own little mantra.

I love to bake.  I'm starting to love to cook.  But I LOVE to bake.

On Monday I made 100 cupcakes.  On Tuesday I iced them all.  Piping icing is seriously one of the most fun things in the world.  I'm still not very good at it but its so much fun.

It's probably all about the creating.  Very rarely do I ever eat a cupcake.  Yes, I taste the batter and get a couple good hits of butter cream icing down the gullet but it's all about the process for me.

The ingredients, the baking, the creation.

If I could make a career out of food I would do it in a second. 

Food (mostly sweets and croissants) is becoming my passion.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day Seventeen: Smarty Pants

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


This boy of mine. 

Let me tell you.

He is too smart for his own good.

He has brought so much joy and laughter (and tears and frustration) to my life since the day he was born almost 4 years ago.

I cannot believe that I will have a 4 year old.  Whose going on 16.  At least.

This kid of mine is a smarty pants.  He has a photographic memory, is obsessed with math and numbers, and is teaching himself how to read.

Preschool is awesome.

Every day Elliott comes up to me with a different combination of fingers up on each hand, asking me if I know the number.  If I can do the math.  When I'm right I get a pat on the shoulder, a "good job mom" and a wink with a thumbs up.

His new obsession however is spelling.  He spells everything.  We read books with him spelling out every single word on the page.  He spells letters with pretzels.  He spells imaginary words.

"Mom, what spells e-m-m-a-s-z-l-y-t-a?" he'll ask me in the car.

"Nothing," I reply.  "That my boy, is not a word," I say kindly.

"Sure it is mom.  You just aren't trying hard enough.  It says cat!"

We play this game back and forth.  Back and forth.  All day long.  Every single day.

On Monday we were in the car and I got this question, at random in our series of spelling words.

"Mom, what spells p-o-o?"

I started to laugh.  He had no idea what he'd asked me.

"That spells poo, Elliott"

"What?"  he said surprised.

"You heard me.   You know what it spells.  Don't ask me again" I said back, stifling my laugh because his was already contagious.

I'm sure you can figure out where the rest of that conversation with a three year old went.  Lots of spelling and singing of those three letters.

He started to get a bit hysterical in the car, laughing at his bodily function genius.

He then said to me, "Mom, I just can't control my laughter.  Spelling poo is just too funny."

Yes my boy.  I guess it is.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day Sixteen: Curse the Retainer!

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

surveying the land

I've mentioned before that as a kid, making the pilgrimage to Mecca, aka Disneyland, was a ritual. A rite of passage. Something we could count on doing at least every two years or so.

Oh, I love Disneyland.

On such trip was at the end of 9th grade. I had just gotten my braces off. I had a retainer.

Ick. The retainer and I had only been in a relationship for about a month. We weren't getting along. I secretly wished that he would get up and walk out of my life but, since he was trapped in my mouth except when I was eating, there wasn't much hope of him going AWOL. A retainer-napping perhaps, but no running away.

I spent the better part of every day flipping it out of my mouth with my tongue; flipping it around in my mouth with my tongue; and doing everything I could to get rid of it.

Flash forward to D-land. The Indiana Jones ride had just opened. I had no idea what to expect - had been standing in a 27 hour line to get on the ride, and loaded up in one of the adventure jeeps with my sister, cousins, and other family members.

The ride was great. It was exciting and fun and air conditioned. It was 3 minutes of bliss until the very end. (side note: why are we willing to stand in a 2 hour line for a 3 minute ride? I don't get it.)

You know that part at the end where the boulder is coming towards you and then you duck down under it and the ride is over? Yeah, that part. As our jeep whooshed down, my tongue flicked up and my retainer flew. Out. Of. My. Mouth.

You have no idea how much my 15 year old brain panicked.


I knew it was expensive. I knew that my parents had been telling me for weeks to stop flipping it out of my mouth.

I new I was dead meat and that by the time I got out of the ride all my teeth would return to crooked and I'd not only be in trouble but have to start the 3 year braces adventure all over again.

Sweat. Panic. Stomachache.

That was, until I finally opened my eyes and decided to breathe.

My cousin was sitting in front of me. She had long, wavy, curly hair. In her mess of hair was my retainer, perched every so gently. Tangled really. Staring at me. Daring me to every try and get rid of it, intentionally or accidentally, ever again.

I was saved by the hair.

The hair rescued me from pain and torture.

And saved my teeth from being eternally crooked.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day Fifteen: History

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


I love history. I love history like birds love to fly. Like bears like to eat fish. Like football players love to tackle.

History is in my bones. My dad is a historian. The guys knows everything about American history. The Civil War? He's your guy. The American Revoultion?  He's read more books than anyone I know.  My dad's "thing" growing up was George Armstrong Custer. When I was about 12 years old we went on a marathon trip to Bismark, North Dakota. We drove. My mom had a conference. I think the drive to Bismark lasted about 4 years. I remember listening to enough Elton John "Crocodile Rock" to drown a river of crocodiles.

As part of the trip we ventured to the other Dakota - South. We spent the night in Custer, South Dakota. Custer is the only town really close to Mt. Rushmore (or, Rount Mushmore as we called it then) and the only thing in Custer was a strange little miniature land of "the flint stones", like the cartoon.

Custer is important however. That was the theme of the trip. Or, the only thing I really remember from the grand adventure in the Northern US. Sure, we visited Devil's Tower in Wyoming, and hit a corner of Montana (I think). We went bowling in Bismark and even visited the zoo - which I think only had some deer and a Yak (don't talk back).

The thing I remember about the trip is our visit to a battle field. We were deep in my dad's "Custer phase" and the Battle of Little Big Horn, in the Black Hills, was my dads history obsession. At the time anyway.

The battle, also known as "Custer's last stand" was epic, to say the least. The Native Americans won, Custer was killed (and scalped) and it was tragic.

Epic and tragic.

Epic and tragic.

What was really epic however, just as big of a deal as the battle itself, was our visit to pay memorium. Now, it's my memory and I'm sticking to my story, but we were there for HOURS!

Maybe even days.

It was hot.

My dad got out of the car and walked out into the middle of a field. My mom and sister got out of the car and listened to the ranger. I never got out of the car.

There were 1.67 billion grasshoppers. They were everywhere. Grasshoppers and I are not friends. They were so thick that you could see them jumping like fountains.

Fountains of creepy jumpy grasshoppers.

My skin is crawling just thinking about it.

I melted in the car.  It was so hot.

My mom and sister listened to the ranger over and over and over again tell the story of Custer's Last Stand.

My dad? He was standing in the middle of a field of grasshoppers.

Reliving the entire battle, I'm sure.

When he finally made his way back to the car he was sweaty and drained. He'd fought the war.

Like Custer, he probably lost. But he got to keep his head.

I'm sure that the whining from his three girls ruined the moment.

The heat and the grasshoppers were just too intense.

Back in the car. Back to crocodile rock.

The moral of the story?






I had no idea what my dad was doing in that field. I didn't get it. It was strange and crazy.


My sister and I went on our wonderous roadtrip across America. We paid a stop to the city, cemetery, and battle field of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

We drove in to town on a dark and probalby stormy night. I think we stayed in the only available room in town in a pink motel run by a family from India. We really had no idea where we were in location to the historical sites and just dumped our stuff, found some dinner and went to bed.

The next morning, while Haley was in the shower I stepped outside of the pepto motel.

There was a thick fog on the ground and as I looked up from the fog and across the street I realized we were yards away from the Gettysburg Cemetary. Where Lincoln stood. Where brave men fought and died.

It was awesome.

I stood there, on the stoop of our room for what felt like a long time. The serenity and the gravity of the scene hit me hard.

At that moment I thought back to when I was a little girl trapped in a car in South Dakota. At that moment I figured out what my dad had been doing. He wasn't torturing us. Well, maybe he was a little. We were there for HOURS.

He was living history.

He was loving history.

He was having a moment.

And at Gettysburg, I had one too.

There have been many opportunities since to soak in the history and live the moment.

It's one of the coolest things there is.

History is awesome!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day Fourteen: Tired

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

fun at snowbird

It's Sunday night. I'm tired.

This week:
The boys and I are recovering from bronchitis.

The babysitter couldn't come because she was injured.

I packed up my entire house, was homeless for three days, and am still unpacking my entire house.

I sliced my finger open with one of those dumb circle apple slicers.

I missed my husband because he was working ALL WEEK LONG - even the weekend.

I got yelled at by someone I don't even know and lectured by someone I don't really like.

My kid set off a house alarm.

I ate out every meal except for breakfast and two dinners all week (no kitchen).

I paid a large sum of money to Fernando.

I dyed all white dish towels red.

I put the wrong soap in my in-laws dishwasher and gave the dishes a bubble bath.

I clipped off half a dead toenail and am just waiting for the rest to fall off.

I cleaned up two houses - my own and the one I was staying in. My house, I've cleaned twice.

I couldn't figure out how to use a vacuum. It was harder than it looked.

The Chick thinks everything is lotion. He rubbed foaming glass cleaner on his face, in his mouth, and narrowly missed his eyes.

My brother-in-law got in a severe motor cycle accident and is awaiting surgery and possible shoulder joint replacement. We're praying for him.

My great uncle died.

My baby didn't nap all week long.

My grandma can't breath.

It was one of those weeks.

Tomorrow is Monday. I guess we're ready to start it again.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day Thirteen: Hero Worship

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


This week he made the VARSITY basketball team. As a sophomore.

He's pretty cool, that brother of mine. He'll be 16 soon. In like, 6 weeks. He's had his drivers permit for a while. I let him drive my car once. I watched him try and back my sisters car out of the driveway. Stick shifts always bring me to tears.

He's such a good boy, that brother of mine. He's fun to talk to, has great taste in music, and is an awesome super duper cool uncle.

The boys adore him. The chick worships him. He carries his uncle Willie t-shirt around the house, pointing and grunting at the picture.

Yes, this brother of mine is a great kid.

I love him a lot.

Even if he is taller than me. I can still box him out.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day Twelve: 18 months

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


Today, little Chick, you are 18 months old. You are such a big boy and getting smarter every single day.

Lately, it's amazing to see how much you know and understand. Last night we were eating dinner and your dad said the word, "tiger". That was your Pavlovian prompt to growl like a tiger. This happens pretty regularly and there are about 20 words that when you hear them (like head, fact, feet, dog, train) you have an immediate reaction and start acting out the word - or hitting yourself in the face.

You still prefer grunting over talking, but your vocabulary is growing every day. Some of your best and most understandable words are:
Elliott! (you only yell your brothers name)
thank you (in sign language, but it's still a word)
Haley (only a couple of times)
car (a couple of times)

You also know the sounds a lot of animals make, thanks to some apps on the iPhone:

The skill you are working on the best however, is still destruction. Yesterday we were at Grandma Connie's house for about 30 minutes and in that time you found the phone, opened all the cupboards, grabbed a butter knife, dumped out a drawer with notebooks, found and unplugged the carbon monoxide detector and armed the house alarm so that when we left the house, the alarm went off. it scared your brother to death! You thought it was hilarious.

You march to the beat of your own drummer for sure. You insisted on going trick or treating with Elliott and agreed to wear your costume. Every person who saw you that said, "What a cute little monkey" was greeted by a glorious monkey roar from you.


And, perhaps the biggest opinion move on your part in the last little while involves the high chair. It's now in the basement. You, my boy now eat at the kitchen table with us because you are apparently, not a baby.


I still get to rock you to sleep a couple times a day, and you still have to drink a bottle at night but I'll try to remember. You are now officially a toddler. Not a baby.

You got it kiddo.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day Eleven: Honoring a Veteran

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


I seem to have offended my Uncle Blaine's family by this post.  I'm sorry.  I've change what was found to be offensive and I wish them all the peace they can find in their time of grieving.  I just wanted to pay tribute.

Today is Veterans Day. I had a great story about identity theft to share today (my identity was stolen on Veterans Day night, 2001). Instead however, I'd like to honor a veteran.

My grandma's brother, Blaine Eccles, passed away last night after a very brief but brave battle with cancer. He was 82 years old and a veteran of the Korean War, as so many men his age were and are.

I really don't know much about my Uncle Blaine except that he's always been around.  He has always supported everyone on my side of the family. No matter what we've invited him to over the years, he's been there. Weddings, parties, sporting events. The only time he hasn't arrived on time was when we had a surprise 80th birthday part for him. For that event, he didn't even show. He stayed home, and we partied without him, in his honor.

He appeared to be in good health in August at a family wedding but quickly went down hill in the last two months. My Aunt Cindy wrote a nice post about last weekend with Uncle Blaine. You should read it here.

We'll miss you Uncle Blaine. Rest peacefully.


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