Sunday, January 29, 2012

Quite an honor!

Story time. 

Bear with me.

I am a faithful reader of the blog Design Mom.

I find the information on Gabrielle Blair's blog to be well written, beautiful and inspiring.  She finds things on the Internet that are lovely and worth sharing.  She has children who she writes so eloquently and honestly about, and she just seems to be all around cool.

A few months ago when reading her blog through my blog reader she issues a call for DIYers.  She said she was interested in responses from crafty types who have done some interesting projects and are good at photographing their projects.  I stewed on that for a few days.  I occasionally do interesting projects.  I take good photographs of my projects.  I am proud of most of the stuff I end up making so on a whim I decided to send her an e-mail.  I told her a little bit about myself, shared a link to my blog, and provided a short list of 3 projects I'd done since moving to the new house that I thought were sort of cool.

Right before Christmas a form e-mail was received in my inbox, one she probably sent to the thousands of men and women who submitted e-mails to her (I can only imagine how long it takes to go through so many e-mails!) informing me (and all the others) that she was going through all the submissions and would get back to us.

Cool, I thought.  And then thought nothing else of it.

Fast forward to Friday.  Every Friday on the Design Mom website is a short list of links to carry readers into the weekend.  Things that Gabrielle has found to be clever, interesting, get the idea.  On Friday, just like every other Friday I read the post and clicked on a few links and then went about my business of the day.

Then last night, after a busy crazy day of birthday parties for the five year old, Ross told me he'd written a blog post about his work trip to Chile and Argentina.  I opened the blog to read the post and noticed that my "top 5" post feature had a new top two.  My cousin Jodi's wedding had been bumped to third place - it had been in first since May.  But, I didn't think much of it at the time.

I logged in to the blog and saw that I had three comments awaiting moderation.  I turned to Ross and said, "Wow!  You have three comments on your blog post already and you just barely wrote it!"  He was rather proud until I opened the comments and read them.

It was confusing.  The comments were legitimate comments from profiles I did not know for a crafty post I had written at the end of August about the wall art installation that I made and hung in my bedroom.  Huh!  Curious.  Still every the dunce I asked my husband how he thought people found this post and made comments - one even putting a link on HER blog.

I was totally dumbfounded.

Then I went into my stats.


There were 3,800 hits on this one blog post in less than 24 hours.  For my little goofy blog that's intense.  3,800 people looked at and read this particular post.  How did they get to my goofy little post?  Well, the numero uno referring link was the Design Mom website.

Still being ever dumb, I clicked on the link and it took me back to the Friday post that I'd already read.  I stared at that post unable to figure out how that post was leading to my blog.  Finally because like I said, I'm a bit dense sometimes, I just decided to click on every single link.

Thanks @designmom for the recognition on your blog. Super cool and made my weekend!

The fourth link down on the post, I hit the jackpot.  The "clever idea for displaying a quote" on the Design Mom post is a link to me.  TO ME!

I grinned from ear to ear.  I was so excited.  After telling Ross the whole story he of course told me I needed to figure out a way to monetize my fame.  What fame I asked.  Then, I called my mom.

To make a very long story short.  This is a very cool thing for me.  My silly little project recognized on such a big blog by such a neat woman.  I am truly honored and very, very surprised.  This totally made my weekend.

Obviously, right?  I just wrote one of the longest blog posts every about it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Buenos Dias

So this is Ross.  I got back last Saturday from my two week trip to Santiago Chile / Mendoza Argentina.

I spent most of my time working at the office, but it was fun to speak Spanish all day and take a trip down memory lane.  Fortunately everything has not been overrun yet by TGI Fridays, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Starbucks, etc...(despite all of these restaurants being within walking distance from my hotel in Santiago).

I have tried to summarize my experiences via the following lists...I have also attached some pictures.

5 best things:

1 - Asado
2 - Milanesa a la Napolitana
3 - Dulce de Leche
4 - Warmth / sunshine
5 - Hearing Spanish all day

5 weirdest things (about Chile):

1 - EARTHQUAKES - I was in a 5.1
2 - They eat hamburgers w/ knife and forks
3 - Avocados on EVERYTHING
4 - Pizza (so weird)
5 - Plants growing on the side of buildings

and finally, 5 thoughts and observations about Argentina:

1 - It looks EXACTLY the same (so much for progress - just dustier and more graffiti)
2 - I saw the one eyed dragon less than 1 hour after touching down at the airport...I never saw it in Chile
3 - Instead of speed bumps they had speed dips
4 - The inflation is out of control (4.30 ARS to 1.00 USD)
5 - It is depressing to see such a smart / good people struggling because of TERRIBLE governments

The best part of being gone for two weeks is coming back home (and try to rescue Annie).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

so, so, so, so, funny

Chillin on a Wednesday morning.

Yesterday morning I was sick.  All day yesterday I felt like crapola.  Halfway through our school morning routine I got hit by one of the metformin induced stomach aches that renders me totally helpless for a good two hours or more.

I called our dad.  I was in a panic but luckily he had the time and was able to rush home and get the five year old off to school.  That just left me and the Chick to fend for ourselves.

He had a snack, not including the plastic cannon he was thinking about eating, and he had the Mickey Mouse Club House on the boob tube.  He kept checking on me to make sure I was okay.

One of the best thing this kid does these days is tell stories.  They always start with, "Mom, it was so, so, so, so, so funny....." and end with something about the baby elephant "blasting a turd" at the zoo, Perry the Platypus thwarting the evil doctor, or something that he made his pirates do.

After I had recovered a bit and sat down on the couch with him and a cherry coke, I sent the above picture to his dad.  I am so grateful that this kid is so chill.  He always has been, always will be and I so, so, so, so love him for it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

60 months, Happy Birthday

Who knew all he needed to be happy was a balloon and some static electricity.
At 7:21 am you turn FIVE YEARS OLD.

Five freakin' years old.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined having a five year old.  Seriously, it's blowing my mind.  Long gone are the days where you need help with things.  You get dressed by yourself, play computer games by yourself, get your own snacks, read some of your own books, and philosophize the day away like a 12 year old.

You my boy are something special.

I love that when you are tired - first thing in the morning and last thing in the day, you will sit on my lap and let me rub your head.  You give me great hugs.  You are an excellent dancer.  For the most part, you are genuinely nice to your brother.  You know how unfair it is to have to share all your stuff but you do it anyway.

You have a genuine loving heart.  You want to be friends with everyone and you try to take care of people.  You are crazy and emotional and loud and bold - traits that will at some point in your life serve you well.  You have a photographic memory and regularly start sentences with, "Mom, remember that time when I was three...." and tell me exactly about something that happened and be dead on.

Dad brought them soccer uni's from argentina. I guess they are ready to play futbol

In the last year you have had so many wonderful things happen and become so much more grown up. You've played soccer, you've got years of preschool under your belt, you've given talks in primary in church, you have created art and learned the lyrics to countless songs.  You still however say "heliclopter" instead of helicopter and insist that it is correct.

Lucky for me, your crazy grumpy fat mama, you still let me lay down with you at bedtime every night. Before you quickly fall asleep, you tell me the three best things of your day and one of the not so best things of your day and then I sing you songs and you drift to sleep.  The funny thing is, the best things of your day always involve other people.  You are a pretty selfless little boy - as much as a 5 year old can be, and I am regularly impressed by your kindness and generosity.


You love animals, the more obscure the better.  You love dinosaurs.  I don't know many little boys who will choose a nature show or a documentary about pterosaurs over a cartoon but you will.  It is funny to see what will make you laugh, what will make you cry, what will make you angry or silly or what will make you jump into my arms and give me a giant squeeze.

You eat like a horse all day long.  You are healthy and energetic and unlike your brother who chooses the cookies and goldfish crackers, you'd rather eat a banana or a whole bowl of watermelon for a snack.

I am an alien. Be bop.

Oh yes my boy, I could go on and on forever and ever.  I love you more today than the day you were born and am so excited that you are so excited to be five years old.

Oh, the places you'll go and the adventures that await.

Happy Birthday Elliott Smelliot!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

a notch on the belt of life experience


After my husband and I had been dating many months, he called me on day, right before summer vacation, to tell me that he had been offered a job working the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England for the entire summer.  I could hear the excitement in his voice as he told me and when he asked what I thought, I told him to do it.

The next weeks were frantic as he got ready to go - paperwork and work visas and passports, oh my.  One night right before he left, we sat together on a swing in my mom's backyard.  He told me that he was excited to go and that he would miss me.  I told him that I was excited for him and that I would miss him, too.

His plan was to drive to Phoenix to see his family before he left and then fly to England from Arizona.  The day he left Utah he came to my house in the morning.  He'd asked for a picture of me and it was a scramble to take one and I didn't have it ready for him until the last minute.  I gave him a picture of me, a card proclaiming some things of a personal nature and a really cheesy mix CD that I made to "remind him of me".  He took my offerings, gave me a hug, told me he'd see me at the end of the summer and was off.

I cried.  

When I came back in the house my mom saw me and I remember her saying, "Well, it must be twoo wuv if he's got you crying like that!"

That was a long summer.  Technology wasn't quite what it is now in 2002.  No video chat.  No skype.  No phone calls.  I would wake up and read the e-mail he sent to me at the end of his day, in the office.   I would then reply and know that I wouldn't hear from him again until the next day.  Not until his last week in England, when he was finally a tourist and no longer an employee, did he rent a cell phone and make one or two expensive calls my direction.

I kept myself busy that summer, as I am prone to do.  I attended for a while and then got myself kicked out of a summer long teaching seminar.  I redesigned my entire teaching curriculum.  I got an amazing suntan and practically lived in my grandma's backyard.  It was hard to have the person that I had decided was "IT" to be gone from me and have almost no contact with him.

I easily survived.

He came home.  I flew to Arizona to spend the week with him before he came home to start school.

We both came home.  We got engaged.  We got married.  We lived in student housing while he earned his MBA.  We started a good life.  The rest is history I suppose.

Fast forward nine plus years.

My husband is a terribly hard worker.  He is industrious, dedicated, and a perfectionist in his job.  He seems to have made himself indispensable amongst those he works with and is proud of the hard work he does.

I am proud of him, too.

He comes home from South America on Saturday morning.  The boys and I are so excited to have him home.  He will have been away from us for two weeks and we can hardly wait until that trip to the airport to pick him up comes.

It's been hard having him away.  He misses out on so much.  We miss out on our dad.  But, everyone survives.  Everyone stays busy.  Everyone keeps going.  We have plenty to do, plenty of people to keep us entertained and plenty of basketball to watch.

We get to talk to our dad every day, several times on most days.  We see him via video.  We hear his voice.  We hear him laugh while we pull faces at him through the camera.  It isn't as good as him sitting at the table with us, but it helps to fill the void.

I suppose I could be one of those people who wallows when their husband is away.  I however, know too many women and too many kids who spend too little time with their husbands and fathers because of work, the military, divided families and the struggles of life getting in the way.  Our little family is lucky that our dad works hard for us.  I am lucky that I get to stay home with my boys and make messes, play with cars, and learn all the words to the theme songs of every single cartoon we watch.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.

The times he is gone make us stronger.  Make us tougher.  Make us love each other more.  Having someone be gone is a good reminder of how fleeting life and time are and how sweet it is to be surrounded by the people that you love.

But, life happens and you have to go with the flow.

If I had the choice to make a trade - to have taken months out of our lives before we had kids and have Ross gone then, just the two of us, or have him gone now, leaving three of us behind, I'd have easily made the prior choice.

I've been thinking a lot lately of my favorite poem from Henry David Thoreau.  I recite parts of it to myself often, "And not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived."  It is important to me to be a person who sucks out the marrow of life and live mine to the fullest because when I come to die, I want to know that I lived an abundant and full and joyful life.  That I made a difference in the lives of my children and others.  That I have no regrets.

That's what is really important.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

If you've got it....

"mom. You be our dj.". Okay, what do you want?  In unison, "we want to bust a move!"

 After our lunch of slurpees and donuts for the boys, a DC and croissant for me it was time for a dance party. 

 I was issued a challenge, "Mom, be our DJ," and the songs started to play. 

After the last request had been played I said, "Okay, what do you want to listen to now?" 

In unison, without any coordination of their efforts, my boys both looked at me and shouted, "Mom, we want to bust a move!" 

 Yes my boys. If you want it, you got it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In a nutshell....

Once again, our days in instagram.

Flashing his gang sign. It means, "I'm driving my momma bonkers. Hey, check out my new haircut!"
Haircuts and gang signs

Our weekly visit to a local toy aisle.
A couple of trips to the toy aisle at Target

60 new Instagram pictures on the photo wall today. They make me happy.
New photos on the photo wall

9 hours of work yielded me 14 croissants. Make that 13. I ate one. It was delicious.
Croissants for dinner with grandpa

Today I opted for a 30 min nap and an art project instead of exercise. I think I made a wise decision.
Starting but not yet finishing a crafty project. Maybe tomorrow?

He started varsity tonight. Way to go @williepetersen
Friday night basketball - he started varsity and played an excellent defensive game.

At cabellas for a field trip
Field trip to look at stuffed animals with Grandma Connie

Celebrating his bday a little early.
Practicing blowing out candles for his birthday next week.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Notes to self:

Aaahhhh!  They are attacking my drink!

Note to Self 1:  Nutella, when kept in the garage during the winter gets cold.  It gets so cold that when you bring it in the house to prepare breakfast for little munchkins it is frozen solid.  From now on, keep Nutella in the house at 74 degrees.

Note to Self 2:  When deciding to microwave nutella because it is frozen, make sure to take all the foil seal off of the top of the plastic container.  ALL THE FOIL SEAL.  Otherwise, you'll miss a little smidgy widgy edge and your microwave will send off sparks!  And those sparks are not because it's happy to see you.

Note to Self 3:  A chicken mcnugget kids meal including apple slices is only 29 grams of carbs.  That is perfectly acceptable in your renewed carb conscious counting diabetic "diet".  When you are allowed 60 carbs per meal, 29 fits in quite nicely and gets you a decent french fry fix.

Also, nugget (or is it nuggett?  or nugett?) is hard to spell.

Note to Self 4:  When you have a hard time sleeping at night, a quick nap during the day seems like a really good idea.  But, that 45 minute indulgence will delay  your ability to sleep at night by over two hours.  2 hours of tossing and turning when you are already getting to bed an hour or so later than normal is not worth the nap.

Note to self 5:  Candy thermometers lie!

Monday, January 09, 2012

In a nutshell

It's so nice to be able to use Instagram to sum up my life in such a pretty package.

Family night at kohls.

My valentine art project for the day. Too lazy to finish my vision though.

Back to being a wall flower at singing and dancing class.

Warm enough to play outside today. Like its march, not January. So strange but I'll take it.


Chalk board H for my front door.

Yesterday we grew crystals. They are cool.  Yes.  I have too much time on my hands.

Picking up Chilean and argentine money. Ole!

1.  Family night at Kohl's
2.  Valentine themed art projects that promptly got thrown away.
3.  Back to singing and dancing class.
4.  Digging for dinosaur bones in the January sun.
5.  Trip to the zoo where we heard an elephant trumpet (first time ever in person), watched the tigers pace and the giraffes eat Christmas trees.
6.  New craft crap for the front door.
7.  Grew borax crystals!  Awesome and we'll be doing it again and again.
8.  Saw some slushy snow downtown

Thursday, January 05, 2012

17 years ago....

Editors Note:
My sister left a snarky comment telling me that all my facts in this blog post are wrong.  So what!  My brother is 17 and regardless of what grade I was in, or thought I was in, the story was just something that my mom and I were reminiscing about at the ball game.  I will leave it as is.


I was a senior in high school, halfway through my senior year.

Basketball season was in full swing.

We had just celebrated Christmas and the arrival of my new baby brother.

The shock of a little, cuddly, crying person had probably worn off a bit and we were in full swing stare mode.  You know the sort - when you lay the new baby on mom and dad's water bed (oh, that water bed!) and kneel around the edge of the bed and just stare at him and his soft peach fuzzy body in awe and wonderment.

And so it was, that there was a new baby boy and a daughter who was a senior in high school (and a really nice sister who was a sophomore and on the basketball team, too).  and it was probably the first basketball game after the Christmas break.

That baby brother was barely a few weeks old, if that.

Because my mother is devoted to her children and because she loves basketball and because at that time in her life (like all others) she was a bit of a work-a-holic and unstoppable she of course came to the basketball games....with that tiny baby.

That evening of basketball was the very first basketball my brother ever watched.  Well, ever screamed through because I don't really remember him being at my games as a wee one, except that I have a vision in my memory of my mom standing in the nooks and crannies of bleachers bouncing a screaming baby.

Back then he didn't like basketball.

Oh what a difference 17 years will make.

Last night I watched him play basketball (rough JV game but perfect Varsity game) in the first gym he ever went into in his life.

And I was there with my kiddos to watch him.

17 years ago I played in this gym as a senior and my brother was a newborn. Now I'm watching him play.

Watching their uncle where he watched their moms.


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