Sunny 9 for 2008

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[Comments] (3) Along with the new year: This was Lily's first day in Primary. I look at her now and can't believe how old she is looking. When we got home from our trip my brother, sisters, and mom have all commented on how she has grown and looks taller in just the couple weeks we were gone. I think so too. She really picked up a thing or two from her older cousin Kate who taught her some "big girl" things. She is into Barbies, babies, and princesses more than ever.

On the way to church I told Lily that she looks adorable. Her eyes got wide and said "I am? A-dora-ble, huh?" Then she paused to think and she asked, "What's Gunnar?" I said he was adorable too and she replied, "No, he's ah-diego-able." She may be into new things but I think her favorite will always be Dora.

Oprah: touching one life at a time: In the car the other day I had an opera cd playing and it sparked curiosity in Lily. She asked, "who sings this?" And I said it was opera, since I could barely pronounce the songs let alone know the actual singers. Lily goes, "Oh...Oprah. Like on TV." Kinda, sorta, not really. Then she asked me to "turn it loud." I don't really even know how she knows her name since I don't really watch the show often. It surprises me because it doesn't seem like she pays attention when I watch "my shows".

Is it bad that my 3 yr old was singing in her room to herself: "I don't wanna be alone, I don't wanna be alone..." (Good Charlotte-this song is really played out here)? And when she hears Apologize she says "turn it loud" and starts singing "gize". And when it is over she tells me to play it again. Sure Lily, let me just call the radio station and have them play in on repeat. The good thing though is that she loves Jack Johnson's Curious George cd and so do I. And I don't want to scratch my eyes out listening to it unlike some of her other favorite cds/songs.

RIP: Mr. Crabs died yesterday. He survived 2 1/2 long weeks without us. When we got him back the tank was very green. I guess he couldn't handle the shock to his system to be in clean water again because the day after we cleaned the tank he was a goner. I will miss his Zelda crab dances. They always put a smile on my face. His other friends are still well, at least we think.

[Comments] (1) Workin it out: To this song. It is a great one to do sprint intervals with.

[Comments] (2) Crisis control: In nursery they had this built in bathroom in the actual room and it has this tiny toilet and sink. It is the cutest thing you have ever seen and I swear that is one of the reasons that lily wanted to start potty training is because she wanted to start using this potty after we recently moved into this new chapel. The first thing that she said after we told her that she was going to be in big girl primary was, "But mommy, where will I go potty?" haha, I feel sorry for her teachers and wonder what they will come up with to tell her why she has to start using the boring toilet.

[Comments] (1) Girls: Today during preschool all three girls were standing on the couch or chair and were calling for the one boy: "Joshua, come save me, come save me..." Are we that transparent and single minded as a gender? Sheesh.

[Comments] (1) Just when I thought it couldn't get better: Cold Stone came out with a new flavor, chocolate cake batter. How could you not love two things that are so perfect? Aaron and Lily went out and decided to pick some ice cream up for me. While we were eating it at home Lily decided to share each others. I guess she decided that my chocolate cake batter with brownies looked as good as her strawberry shortcake ie "pink" ice cream. She told me as she was feeding me a bite, you get just the pink and I get the yellow- referring to the cake bits mashed up. Nice manners. Then you can't have any of my brownies!

[Comments] (3) Walker, a Texas Ranger: Gunnar is getting around these days. He is pretty good at walking about 20-30 steps. He can walk, stop and pause and keep walking again so his balance is really improving. He is so hilarious to watch. I love how sometimes he will let go of something and have his arms up in the air and a big grin on his face and teeter towards me, swaying back and forth. Before long he will only want to walk.

In AZ we copied cousin Luke and got some fancy new shoes to help him walk better. He loves those things and giggles when we put them on. The ladies at the gym I go to insist I need to buy him some shoes with good soles to help in walk and since I got him his fancy new shoes I thought it would quell their insists. Not so, today one of the ladies was like- I don't think those shoes are helping because he keeps falling after a few steps...You need some heavy duty shoes. I'm sorry, did you not realize he is learning to walk. Of course he is going to face plant all the time. Not to mention every single baby magazine and website says don't put real shoes on your baby until they can walk. They even recommend they learn to walk barefoot first. So please stop telling me I need to buy him new shoes, thankyouverymuch!

[Comments] (5) 6 years and counting: Yesterday was Aaron and my 6 year anniversary. We were lucky enough to escape to the Westin downtown for a relaxing night and day away from the kids thanks to David and Ashley watching the kids for us. This was our first night together without kids since Lily was born. It was a real treat to be able to wake up naturally, and not be woken up to crying or Lily calling through the door that she wants breakfast. Aaron surprised me with a Coach wallet and I gave him a leather jacket, but it wasn't a surprise. He gives really good gifts and just keeps getting better at it.

We left after Aaron finished with school and decided to try out the Westin's in house restaurant. After $100 later we rolled ourselves back up to the room. We really wanted to catch a movie but it took 2 hours for them to bring around 4 courses (appetizers, salad, entree, and dessert). It was good food but probably not worth a whole weeks worth of groceries, yikes. It is fun to go to fancy restaurants once in a while though. Plus our friend Matt got us like a 60% discount on the room so it would be like we just paid full price for a room with a bonus dinner. (You see my fine rationalizations skills here. This is how I rationalized the Old Navy folly last week when their clearance stuff was marked down an extra 50%...we won't get into that except to say cute sweaters for $4.)

I was kinda wiped at the end of the day because it felt like I was getting ready to go out of town by cleaning the whole house and packing and changing sheets and making sure David and Ashley would be comfortable staying there. And it was cold and rainy. However, we did catch a movie Sat along with shopping at Rivercenter Mall and breakfast at Emily Morgan Hotel. The breakfast was very good. We actually ate dinner at their restaurant Oro for our last anniversary. We really like that place.

We decided to see Cloverfield because I have been on a scary movie kick ever since I Am Legend. I admit I don't really like scary movies, but these aren't like bloody gory weird movies. I really liked I Am Legend because I found myself thinking about the movie for the next couple days after. I usually forget a lot about a movie, I just remember if I liked it or not. Cloverfield wasn't as good but I still enjoyed it. It is nice to switch it up a bit sometimes.

It turned out after we got home that the girls were all going to see 27 Dresses so Aaron told me to go with them since Michelle was in town and he would stay home with the kids and play video games. That is the only plus about video games is that Aaron always has something to do when I am gone so he doesn't mind it if I leave. It was weird watching 2 movies in one day, but fun. We went to Pei Wei for dinner and it was really good to hang out with mom, Michelle and Lorna, and SIL Ashley. This is why I love living near family! Fun girl's night outs! 27 Dresses was a very predictable but very cute movie. I think I could live Sat over and over again if I had to. It is nice to have fun things going on all day long. And when we got home the kids were so excited to see us. Lily just kept hugging and kissing us, telling us she missed us so much. Who knew she was such a softy?

[Comments] (2) Helping hand: Ever since Lily was mobile I have not known the luxury of having "my things". Everything was fair game if she could lift it, climb to it, or get into it. I became the master baby proofer shortly after we moved into our house. At 10 months she was already into much mischief. I used to envy my friends or SIL who could just leave a basket of diapers and wipes in the corner or on an end table, not to mention having Desitin in those baskets. Lily was just not the type of girl to let things go unnoticed, ie in good condition.

Yet, lately she has been so helpful. I have been able to leave Gunnar's diapers in a basket on the floor and she doesn't mess with them anymore. She even goes and gets me a diaper or the wipes if I ask her too. She has been very responsive to cleaning up toys now too. She doesn't complain (yet) and if I tell her to get all her kitchen food and dishes, she will gather them all and put them away. Soon she will be doing real dishes.

Here's to having my life a little bit easier. Thanks, Lily for being a good helper!

[Comments] (1) Life's not fair: It is a myth that women get off easier than men regarding tickets. Since Aaron and I have been married he has gotten out of at least 3 tickets, whereas I have never been given so much as a warning let alone being scotfree. Just this week Aaron was pulled over for going 60 in a 40 speed limit. Surprise, surprise...he got out of it by "playing dumb". Coincidentally, I got pulled over too a couple weeks ago for having an expired registration and an expired proof of insurance. I can explain, the registration I just noticed after we got back from vacation. It totally crept up on me. I was waiting for Aaron to fix the printer so I could print off our renewed proof of insurance through USAA because they don't mail it to you anymore. You can't renew your registration unless you have PoI. So I told this to the cop and he wrote me a ticket for both! What a jerk. He even gave it to me after Lily was calling out from the backseat, "I want to say hi to the man". What happened to poor emotional women getting a pass? Ok, so I have never shed a tear, but still. I got 2 other speeding tickets that I swear I am innocent of a couple years ago too. (I think I have a fuming blog entry about it if I look.) Seriously, I was innocent. The jerks that pulled me over both said "tell it to the judge". I am losing faith in the system if me, who was innocent, is given tickets over my husband who is grossly going over the speed limit every time he is pulled over and given a free pass. I mean I am glad I don't have to pay for a ticket and increased insurance rates and all, but still. Such a male chauvinistic society we live in.

[Comments] (1) Free-dom! (think William Wallace): Life has been so much easier since Gunnar has learned to walk. This means he does not want to be sitting on my hip any longer. At least most of the time. He is such a curious boy now, I love it. But I am starting to see his sister come out in him. He is a much lower key person than her but still likes to get into cupboards, which is his favorite if he is in the kitchen, or anything else he can get his mouth on. He is a very friendly guy too going up to strangers at Costco and saying hello to people at church. He will take the free Goldfish you offer him too. He is so chatty that even though he can be in Sunday School happily walking around, he blabbers so loud that we have to take him out.

The poor guy though has had a diaper rash for almost 2 weeks straight. We are going to try soy milk to see what happens. He was on half formula, half regular milk until after Christmas when we ran out of formula and so I am wondering if that is it. I am really getting tired of changing 4-5 poopy diapers a day. Lily had a permanent rash until she was out of diapers due to sensitive skin. My poor kids. Speaking of allergies, Aaron's nose has not stopped dripping since before Christmas. On the news a couple nights ago they were saying Mountain Cedar is way up---normally a 500 count is high, and yesterday it was 21,000!!!! Therefore, sneezing, blowing, snoring, and watery red eyes are what Aaron has been living with for MONTHS! He asked me, would you trade my allergies if I were to have the rest of the children (pregnancies) for you. Let me think about that---YES!

[Comments] (2) Babehs: We woke up this morning to 11 (viable) swordtail babies in the breeding tank. Our little mama delivered last night. They are the size of a grain of rice. I hope most of them make it. We shall see...

Happy Birthday to Lorna!: Sweet 16! I can't believe my youngest sibling is already 16. Seems like yesterday I was changing her diapers and putting her to bed. Love you Lorna!

The trouble with two: I added more pictures to my other blog. I don't know whether to add the text here too, or not. They are things worth mentioning. But I guess I won't. I'll just let you check it out at http://4yourconsideration.blogspot.com/

[Comments] (2) Which reminds me: So Lost is on tonight(!!) and in the previews there is a new character. He looked familiar and I remembered I had seen him in Rescue Dawn. He did such an amazing job on a POW character in the movie. I don't think I mentioned it when I saw the movie, but I thought I should in case anyone wanted a tried and true movie to rent. Go see it, it is a great show. It is a little hard to stomach in some places b/c let's face it, they are in a prison camp. Not everything is peachy, but I loved the movie.

Steve Zahn was in it too, and he was great. And who doesn't love Christian Bale?! He had me from Santa Fe in Newsies and jiving to It Don't Mean A Thing from Swing Kids (I love that movie!). And I know I mentioned it before awhile ago, but I will say it again, if you haven't seen Empire of the Sun, you should.

While Hailey and I were interchanging what movies we had seen, she brought to my attention As You Like It because I said I liked Bryce Dallas Howard. I saw it and really liked it. It is a Shakespeare comedy, and in the previews they featured Shakespeare: Retold. I have it in my queue now and will let you know how I like them. Another interesting tidbit from that preview is the main character on the tv show Life. Who would have thought he was English? It reminds me of when I found out Colin Farrell was Irish and I didn't believe it because his accent was too good. Well, Gunnar just brought me a book and is whining at me so I guess I better stop talking about movies and read to him.

[Comments] (1) How to be embarrassed by your 3 yr old: part 18,951: So the weather has been really nice lately. It is a little chilly in the morning which gets the house cooled down so we don't have to run the a/c and in the afternoon it is sunny and perfect. I like a little of both--having to wear a jacket in the morning and then being in capris in the afternoon. Makes me enjoy the "winter" and the wardrobe of it while still being comfortable most of the time. And Gunnar has been taking shorter naps (which means I will probably move him over to one big nap a day instead of two) so there is time to kill before Aaron gets home from school or whatever so we have been busting out the double jogging stroller and taking walks.

Gunnar loves walks. Loves them. As soon as I plop him down in the seat he doesn't even make a peep until I get him out. I have to ask Lily sometimes if he is asleep or awake because I just can't believe how quietly he is sitting there observing. Lily loves walks too, probably because she grew up on walks, but now she sometimes wants to walk along with me...at least until there is a stray dog running around. I've told stories of some bombs that have come out of her mouth while on walks in the past, and she has gone and done it again today. This robust lady was going out to her car while talking on the cell phone and Lily goes, "Mom, is that a big FAT lady?" "Of course not, Lily!" I say as we are barely 15 feet away from her, hoping that if by chance she heard Lily, she would hear me and then feel better. Then she begs the question, "why is she not fat?" like she so often does--why this, why that, to whatever I just said. Oh my gosh, I don't know where she picks up some of those things. I don't know whether to laugh or duck my head and run. I am so dropping Lily's lunch off at her school in pajamas and hot rollers when she is in 7th grade for this.

On another tangent, this past weekend Lorna was in the car with us, and she asked us a question and Lily goes "Moppie said not to ask questions". She was reminded of my mom saying this to her because Lorna was with us, but after one day of my mom having the kids for a couple hours I picked them up and on the way home Lily informed me that "Moppie says not to ask any more questions." I called my mom to confirm what I suspected that Lily was asking why? to everything my mom was telling her. My mom who likes to be the adult in an adult-child situation just forbade her to ask any more questions. For some reason this really makes me laugh inside. I can so see this playing out in my mind. And Lily has gotten a lot better at not asking so many- 'Why can't I see outside? Because it is foggy. Why is it foggy? Because the clouds came down to visit us. Why did the clouds come down? Because they wanted to say hi. Why did they want to say hi? What do you want quantum physics? Ask your dad.'-anymore. There you have it.

[Comments] (1) PS: My mom is 51! She just had her birthday the 6th. Happy b-day, mom!

Sah-weet: Why is everything better frozen? Frozen cookies (choco chip, Girl Scout cookies), frozen candy bars (especially Snickers), frozen grapes, frozen bananas (especially the ones dipped in chocolate). I swear I love all my treats to be frozen. They taste so much better.

The Lovely Bones:: Finished. Two thumbs up. The first part was very hard to stomach. Very sad and insightful and feel good all at the same time. Read it and tell me what you think.

[Comments] (1) I'm guilty too: Yesterday at church, as my kids were harassing the families with better toys in front, behind, and next to us as is common every Sunday, I reflected on one of my New Years resolutions which is not to judge people or hastily come to conclusions about them in the 10 minutes passing/playgroup/or any other social encounter. Especially about their parenting. It was then that I was hoping these people were not doing to it me.

The longer I am a mother, the more I realize I know squat about raising kids. Like when you are in the store and your child is misbehaving and your mind is spinning through the Rolodex of possible solutions and you are so busy trying to problem solve let alone how to do it in a calm, cool, collective way--like a good mom should, you can barely think about what it is you are there for and all you want to do is hurry up so you can leave. Good times. Or when I see small families or couples with no kids yet I totally want to reinforce them and say good for you...get yourself to a good place in life before you dive into having kids because you sure aren't doing them a favor if you aren't ready yet, and don't let people pressure you into thinking you aren't a good Mormon unless you start a family right away. Or when I see smaller families I think that's right, quality over quantity. If you are the type of person that can handle a lot, good for you, but if you aren't the type of person that can I think being a really great mom to a few kids is way better than being a lukewarm mom to a lot of kids.

So I guess what I am saying is I get it now. Thanks to Heavenly Father for sending me strong-willed child(ren). Lily is so active and independent and bright and I wouldn't have it any other way, but I totally learned my lesson. I don't think any parent wants their kids to be brats. I try to lead my kids in a good direction best I can. If you think I am doing a crappy job, you can have a shot at it. But I know now when I see a kid screaming in a store (that is if it isn't my own) next time I am going to try harder to be understanding and less "shut your kid up, can't you control your kid?" Now I know, you can't control your kids (that is unless you want to beat the spirit out of them) and I have eaten my words many, many times.

[Comments] (1) Tagged by my sis Julie: .A. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.

B. Each player answers the question about themselves.

C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 other people and posts there names. And then leaves a message on their blog letting them know they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog to get the directions.

What I was doing 10 years ago? In 1998 I was a Jr in the beginning and then a Senior to end the year. I was on the tennis team and all that normal HS stuff.

5 Things on my "To-Do" List…clean (there is always something to clean, Lily's bathroom needing the most attention at the moment), finish the laundry (also something that is always a to-do), watch Am Idol I recorded, go to a spin or yoga class tomorrow, or maybe both depending on my mood, and start and finish this Christmas picture craft I have been putting off, and I’ll add one more- organize my desk space.

3 Bad Habits I have…eating sweets, being lazy and procrastinating stuff, and not making my bed regularly.

Places I have Lived… San Antonio, Provo, Spokane, Eagle River, and San Antonio again…we shall see where we go in a year.

Things most people don't know about me…I used to want to have 10 kids when I was little. I’ve had a broken right arm in 3rd grade and it was in a cast when we learned cursive…I blame my bad handwriting on that. During that time I had a cast, I used a pen to scratch an itch I had and the pen cap came off and lodged in my wrist area. I couldn't get it out and each attempt would jam it further in there. It hurt really bad but my mom said that we were going to get my cast off in two weeks anyway that she didn’t want to make an additional appt. So when I got my cast removed, skin was growing around and in the pen cap. My body was about to swallow it whole. I still have a slight scar in the shape of a pen cap if anyone ever wants to see it. My pet peeve is driving behind large cars/semi-trucks/construction trucks. I hate that I can’t see around their fat butts and they block my view.

I tag whoever wants to do this.

Fun day: I love holidays for obvious reasons, and yesterday was no exception. We first started the day off with me: a trip to the gym with the kids, and Aaron: a long filled morning of paintball with the boys. I am glad Aaron got to have fun time away since I feel like it is mostly me that is leaving alone to run errands or whatever on Sat's. So I am glad he got to do that, and he also brought Sonic lunch home for the kids.

After the kids woke up from their naps we headed out to Sams and the kids discovered how much fun it is to jump on the mattresses and run wildly up and down the very large aisles. Yeah, we left pretty fast from there. Then we went to Americus Diamond to get my ring polished and serviced. Love that place--they redip your ring for free. And then we went to Petco, and then to Petsmart. We bought some new fish, them being: sunburst Mickey Mouse platy (get it--the tail that looks like a Mickey mouse head?), 2 black mollies (I just love how they look like shadows swimming around, but Aaron thinks they are creepy), creamsicle lyretail molly, rubber lipped pleco, 2 red clawed crabs to replace Mr. Crabs-I miss him...isn't that face the plainest thing (in the Smith sense of the word) you have ever seen?, and a black angelfish. Of course the fish look way more colorful and vibrant in real life. It is a lot of fun having a fish tank, especially when I never have to clean it out ever. We have some other fish too, but that is just what we got yesterday.

On the way home, I called Pei Wei and placed a take out order because the kids were tired and I didn't want to deal with them at a restaurant. We had our Silverado movie ticket stub so we got a free lettuce wrap, Mongolian beef, and kids honey seared chicken for the kids to split. Our dinner was only 12 bucks...less than fast food and better tasting. So that's that. It was a good day.

Kids say the darndest things: Today in the car Lily exclaimed 'I ate the brats all gone mom.' I'm going deaf so of course I asked a couple times for her to repeat herself since I totally didn't know what she was talking about. Finally she goes 'you know, brats crackers. I ate them all gone'. Ahhh, you mean Ritz crackers. 'Oh yeah, Ritz crackers.'

Speaking of food, I made stir fry for dinner tonight with all the veggies in my fridge that needed to be used up before getting too old. I already had to chuck the eggplant, but I put in squash, asparagus, onion, fresh ginger, carrot cut into strips, and chicken over brown rice. Every time I make this meal I love it, but it really is just veggies mostly and Aaron and I are scouring the kitchen before bed because it doesn't keep you too full. Aaron has so far snacked on a glass of homemade lemonaid, Almond Joy, package of Corn Nuts, and he was begging me to make smoothies. He is in the kitchen now making noise and who knows what he is scrounging up.

Update: He made himself honey toast. hee Oh yeah, and he drank two full glasses of Gunnar's whole milk. And you ask how he stays so thin? Why by do absolutely nothing physical except for maybe a men's church ball game every week or two. How fair is that?

[Comments] (2) G-dub: I always said this age was my favorite stage with Lily, and Gunnar confirms that the 12-18 months stage is one of my favorite times. This is when you think you are totally awesome because your kid starts blooming and becoming smart and realizing the world around them and doing all these new things and you are like 'yep, my genes are so awesome', but it is also before they start throwing tantrums and disobey you just to see you burst out of your skin into hot molten lava. So bare with me, or not, while I run down the latest on the G-man.

Teething--he is currently cutting 2 more teeth. His lower laterals. It is about time. He hasn't gotten a new tooth for a few months. This time around is not that bad. A little moody and runny nose, but him sleeping more has offset anything negative. About a month ago Aaron and I gave him a haircut. His hair was getting long (on top that is). It was the most miserable experience ever. Next time I am so going to a place for $10 instead of putting Gunnar and myself through 20 minutes of sheer torture. He bawled the entire time and was trying to bust loose from my half nelson. Our clippers were old, so that didn't help. I thought he would never settle down after that one.

So on my pic blog I have some of him in his glasses. Sometimes throughout the day they become crooked usually to do with something Lily has done to him. Once in awhile I see him push them back up on his nose. It is so cute, and reminds me that he is no longer a helpless baby. He is getting bigger and does things on his own. I can't wait to start him on dishes.

His new PASSION in life is books. At first I thought this one wouldn't happen because Lily was into books before I can even remember. They were always her favorite thing, so I thought it just skipped Gunnar. No way. This kid could sit on my lap with Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb all day long. It's pretty cutie the way he goes about it. He will go pick out a book and then come over to me (usually with a ugh, ugh whine) toss the book in my lap and bounce up and down until I pull him up or try to climb into my lap. And let me tell ya, those chunky board books hurt if they land on your wrist or your HEAD the wrong way. Those suckers are hard. He loves to be read to, and I think it is precious. He is only interested in those starter books though. The ones that just say "red apple" or "4 balloons" or any of the "I Spy" books. Things with just simple objects or animals. And when I actually read a story he just starts flipping pages. He just likes to point to stuff and for me to say what it is. It's weird that he loves Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb though because he doesn't like stories. I think it is just because it is almost like a song and he likes that I bang my thumb on the pages like I drum. And the best part is he gets his own books which makes my life so much easier.

Some other new things are his new swing, the one for babies that looks like a car seat almost. He was a little leery at first but has grown to like it. He just chills in it. He loves going down our slide on the other hand. We get huge guffaws from that. It is too bad that he is still little though because he loves Lily's trike. He has this little thing I can push him on but that is not as cool. He goes for it every time. And cries when he can't ride it right. He loves to go for walks in the stroller too. I plop him right in and he doesn't make a peep until it's over. I do this at the end of the day before it is dinner time because that seems to be the worst time of the day for all three of us- Lily, Gunnar, and me.

With all our trips to the pet store, I have to mention that he loves looking at all the animals. He will walk right up to them and say "dah". His favorite are the birds because he loves to hear them outside and it is the one sign he can do. Although he did sign 'shoe' the other day and 'out' but those are not consistent. It is kind of a pain though to go to the pet store though because he gets so frustrated that he can't touch the animals. He starts banging on the glass and getting all huffy but when I take him away, he does limp body so he can go back, and he does this giddy laugh/cry thing like oh, I love this, but why won't they let me touch them. He's learned some things from his sister like dancing in the car to music. He'll sway side to side with a big grin or clap away.

I have to laugh because I think I am not like most moms. During Gunnar's first few months, I admit there were times when I really thought he was a funny looking baby (like most babies are) but mother's aren't supposed to be able to distinguish that. Maybe it's a good thing, maybe it's a bad thing, but I seriously would look for pictures trying to find a "good" one to post or whatever and just not loving that picture. He was definitely better looking in person, let's just say that. And I was talking about that with my family, and my brother was like "Yeah, I know. And when he was a newborn and you were saying 'I think he looks just like you, David' and I was thinking, I hope I don't look like that" I laughed my head off. It's ok that he said that because now his kids with be fair game. ;) Gunnar got way chubby in the first 6 weeks and then his hairline was weird when he lost all his hair. But he really has come around I think to be such a cute sweet boy. And he is so photogenic now. I have to keep myself from posting too many pics instead of digging for some good shots. What a fun time we are having now with our little family. Now all we need is for him to get a little bigger so Lily won't be able to give him choke holds tight hugs as much.

[Comments] (18) Re-evaluation : I totally stole this post from off my sister's friend's blog. I am just really fascinated by this. Just recently I looked at a website that talked about before and after pics of celebrity plastic surgery. You wouldn't believe how many have had something done. Tons had nose jobs, and almost all had Botox. It vindicated my suspicion of Nicole Kidman's whole face overhaul. She looked so different when Moulin Rouge came out and now I know why (eye lift, nose job). Fergie doesn't even look like the same person. Anyway, enough of that...here's AnneMarie's post:

The Pursuit of Beauty "I've been reading a book called "Deadly Persuasion" which is a book on the influence of advertising on women. Wow! Some very eye-opening information! Here are some of the facts I've gathered lately on body image and how it's possibly affected by the media.

*The average model today is 5' 10" and weighs around 110 pounds (that is not even enough body fat to have a normal menstrual cycle!).

*The average model today is 23% lighter than what is considered normal weight; 25 years ago, the average model was 9% lighter than normal weight. (The models are only getting skinnier!)

*78% of normal-weight women are dissatisfied with their bodies.

*The original Barbie would have had proportions of 39"-18"-33". In 1997, after serious concern about her unrealistic body, the toy company did expand her waist and shrink her bust somewhat (an 18" waist wouldn't have even allowed for all her normal organs!). I know she's only a toy, and I played with Barbies as a little girl, but it's part of the whole package of portraying unrealistically proportioned women.

*The #1 wish of teenage girls is to be thin.

*At age seventeen, 78% of girls are unhappy with their bodies.

*In a study on fifth graders, 10 year old girls told researchers they were more dissatisfied with their own bodies after watching a music video by Britney Spears or a clip from "Friends".

*When three weeks of Saturday morning toy commercials were analyzed, it was found that 50% of the ads aimed at girls spoke about physical attractiveness.

*The more media consumed (magazines, movies, music videos), the higher the body dissatisfaction among teenage and college-age girls.

*In a popular picture used to advertise the movie "Pretty Woman", the face was Julia Roberts' but not the body. Someone else's body was used because apparently even Julia Roberts doesn't have the ideal body!

*More than half the adult women in the U.S. are currently dieting (and this often means short-term, quick-working methods which are unhealthy and result in yo-yo weight gain and loss, instead of looking at changing habits for life).

*About 60% of Caucasian middle school girls read at least one fashion magazine regularly.

*Women's magazines have 10.5 times more ads and articles promoting weight loss than men's magazines do.

*Most models are thinner than 98% of American women.

*46% of 9-11 year old girls are sometimes or very often on diets.

*40-60% of high school girls are on a diet at any time.

*42% of 1st-3rd grade girls wish they were thinner.

A quote that does a great job summarizing much of the author's work: "Girls of all ages get the message that they must be flawlessly beautiful and, above all these days, they must be thin. Even more destructively, they get the message that this is possible, that, with enough effort and self-sacrifice, they can achieve this ideal. THus many girls spend enormous amounts of time and energy attempting to achieve something that is not only trivial but also completely unattainable. The glossy images of flawlessly beautiful and extremely thin women that surround us would not have the impact they do if we did not live in a culture that encourages us to believe we can and should remake our bodies into perfect commodities." Jean Kilbourne

The week of February 24th is National Eating Disorders Awareness week. Five to ten million Americans are directly affected by eating disorders. Check out http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ for some great info. Here are some tips I gleaned from the website about what parents can do to promote a positive body image and help prevent eating disorders:

*Practice taking people seriously for what they say, feel, and do, not for how slender or "well put together" they appear.

*Help children appreciate and resist the ways in which television, magazines, and other media distort the true diversity of human body types and imply that a slender body means power, excitement, popularity, or perfection.

*Encourage your children to be active and to enjoy what their bodies can do and feel like.

*Do not talk about or behave as if you are constantly dieting.

*Convey to children that weight and appearance are not the most critical aspects of their identity and self-worth.

*Discourage the idea that a particular diet or body size will automatically lead to happiness and fulfillment.

*Don't constantly criticize your own shape ("my butt looks so big in these pants", etc.).

*Don't support pornography or other "institutions" that cast women as objects for the pleasure of men.

*(specifically for men) Demonstrate a respect for women as they age, in order to work against the cultural glorification of youth and a tightly controlled ideal body type. (Why is that only men should become distinguished as they age, while women become wrinkled and need face lifts?).

It is such a struggle to maintain a healthy attitude about our bodies. The pictures of women on magazine covers are airbrushed and enhanced. Many models and celebrities we admire have resorted to different "enhancements" and "jobs" to fit the "ideal" body which has been created, not to mention they probably have enough time and money to work out 2 hours a day with a personal trainer. What I would love to see is more "everyday" people in the media, people of different shapes and sizes, people who have disabilities, more people of different races, and more women who are older than 40 and actually look like they've aged (ever feel like once an actress reaches 40, she is almost never seen again?).

Yes, I do believe in establishing healthy eating and exercise habits, so that we are taking care of our bodies. But the messages of the media would often have us feeling that we are never good enough, creating in us a discontent and a void, causing us to feel that we are never thin enough, stylish enough, or pretty enough (and yes, outward appearance is of the utmost importance in our image-obsessed culture). I can speak from personal experience that being thin is not inevitably associated with greater life happiness. During my adult years, I have been underweight, overweight, and normal-weight for different periods of time. When I weighed less, I was no happier than when I weighed more. Happiness for me has been much more closely linked to the quality of my relationships, my spirituality, good health habits, and my level of gratitude.

After reading and thinking about women's bodies and the messages we receive each day, I feel there is a greater need than ever to examine how we view ourselves and each other. We definitely have to filter and criticize the unrealistic images we are continually viewing. By so doing, hopefully we can feel more self-acceptance and more peace with the imperfect, beautiful bodies given to us by God."

Tribute to leap year: I have a question for you Mr. Universe. How come the soft part of a sock is on the outside and not the inside where it will actually touch your skin? It doesn't really make sense now, does it?

[Comments] (1) A princess with pierced ears: Yesterday, on the way to Costco Lily was talking about how she wanted earrings in the car. I bought her a little sticker earring and ring set at the dollar spot at Target, and she has been dying to get her ears pierced for a long time. She loves looking at my jewelry and keeps asking me when she can get her ears pierced like mommy. Aaron wanted to wait till she was older and she could make the decision herself, and I did too, so whenever she would ask we would tell her it hurts really bad and does she really want a sharp thing poked in her ear?

That never deterred her. She was very determined to get them so on the way to Costco we made a stop at Shops of La Cantera at Claire's to get it done. We kept telling her that it was going to hurt but she would insist, "No, it's not going to hurt mama." When we got there I asked her which earrings she wanted and of course it was the PINK! ones. They were actually a flower with pink crystal petals and a yellow crystal center. She flinched a little when the guy brought the gun to her ear, but no crying and no objections. When it was done she said, "See mama, I told you it wouldn't hurt." She kept looking in the mirror admiring her earrings.

I have to admit, she looks pretty darn cute in them. When I go to clean her lobes with a Q-tip she jars away and warns me not to take them out. She really likes them...They gave us 20% a purchase in the store since we bought a piercing package so Lily picked out a Dora purse. When we got home, Lily hung her purse up on the hook where I hang my purse. She also asked me the kinds of things I put in my purse and then she showed me what she had in hers...a toy Big Bird and Boo the character on Monsters Inc. She also put her sippy cup in there. So random.

Aaron bought Lily a piggy bank for Valentine's Day and lately we have been paying her money to do chores. 5 cents to get me a diaper for Gunnar. 25 cents to help clean up the living room, stuff like that. We tell her to save up and when she earns enough we will go to Chuck E Cheese. Well, her piggy bank has since broken but she keeps her coins in this Matrioshka Nesting Doll that we bought for her while we were on our Anniversary overnight trip for when we got home. Luckily she had that in her purse because later that evening we were out and about and we promised ice cream for her thinking we were all going to go to Cold Stone after the store, but Aaron and I didn't feel like it after Gunnar's fit in the car so we pulled into the Mc Donald's right there for Lily because she was looking forward to it. We had no cash and I didn't want to charge $1.08 on our debit card and I remembered Lily was carrying around her "piggy bank". I asked Lily if she had her money and her face lit up and was so excited to hand it over to us. Aaron and I looked at each other and laughed because we felt like such losers that we couldn't scrounge up a buck eight to pay for our daughter's treat. Lily didn't mind one bit and she felt like such a big girl for earning her ice cream. It was pretty funny and cute.

I guess it is only fair that this is a long post about Lily since I just did an update on Gunnar too. I'll have to add this too, at church today Lily's primary teacher was wanting to fill out a little thing on everyone in the class and she was asking what Lily wanted to be when she grew up. So I asked her and of course she said "a princess" without hesitation. Her favorite primary song was Twinkle, Twinkle. Try explaining to her that it wasn't one of the choices of primary songs. Also, last Sunday was her first talk in primary. Of course I had to forget because I was so worried about the Valentine's Dance that we (the activities committee) had to set up for and throw (David being the DJ and me having to help make a play list and stuff). So I was so stressed about that all Sat I totally forgot to write her a talk. Luckily, Aaron winged it and it didn't matter anyway because she wasn't talking into the mic and you couldn't hear what she said anyway. She did like getting up though, which is good. I hope she doesn't hate speaking in public when she grows up like I do. Pictures of her pierced ears coming soon.

Another day another drama: Lily woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Starting at 4:30AM she was wandering around aimlessly, crying, in the family room mumbling something that sounded like my pink sippy. I might not have gotten up except her crying would have kept me from falling back asleep anyway so I went to remedy the situation so I could get back to sleep.

Apparently, her pink sippy cup was under her pillow and she was mad she couldn't find it and thought maybe I had taken it after she went to sleep and switched it out for a blue one. I know these delusions stem from last night when we were putting her to bed I couldn't find the pink sippy and so Aaron got her a blue one. She refused it and whined and cried until I agreed to go look for her pink one. I found it and came around the corner to give it to her and I see the blue one tossed on the floor in the hall with Lily telling me to give that one to Gunnar. It's a frickin cup, you get what you get, but fine, whatever, I will pick my battles and this one you can win. Your utensils, plates, cups, and bowls will either be pink or Dora so I can have some PEACE. Lily's dad still hasn't figured it out yet. It is not worth putting a yellow cup of milk in front of her at dinner because she will escalate from emphatic remarks to screaming in 0 to 3 seconds. You may think I shouldn't indulge but like I said, I'm picking my battles here.

So after I found her cup and tucked her in bed and left hearing Lily open the door all the way instead of the alloted crack we give her, and she telling me she wants it open that much. Fine, whatever, just go to sleep. So this morning was a nightmare getting Lily ready for preschool. First off, I forced her to wear a green shirt. I know, how dare I. Secondly, it was long sleeved, I've got some nerve, right? And I made her wear jeans. Heaven forbid I make her dress warm when it is in the 30's. She always wants to wear short sleeves and skirts, and tells me 'I'm hot'. I let her win the battle over shoes. She got to wear sandals instead of socks and shoes, so what she is just going to take them off anyway the minute she gets to preschool. Keep in mind trying to get her dressed was 20 minutes involving a time out and lots of snot and maybe a convulsion or two. She finally got dressed when I told her she wouldn't go to preschool if she didn't and that if she wore her outfit she could change right when she got home into whatever she wanted.

It makes me mad because she has had this green long sleeved shirt this whole winter and has only worn it 3 times. Had I known she would act like this I probably wouldn't have gotten it but I was trying to mix things up a bit. Then after preschool, she went into complete hysterics when I cut her sandwich in half. That took another time out and lots of snot lasting about 20 minutes to get over before she came and ate her sandwich. If this is any sign of whats to come when she is 13, I don't know what I am going to do. She already wants to listen to music loud--"turn it loud mom" and is the king pin at the preschool. Seriously, such a boss. I guess Aaron could stay in the military and we could live in some remote country where there won't be much to fight over because we barely will have electricity let alone a mall/boys/options.

[Comments] (2) Incredibly easy: Not to mention delicious. The other night I made a dinner that is like last resort before I go to the grocery store and every time I make it, Aaron loves it. It's pretty common sense, just throwing things into a pot but here you go:

Taco Soup

1 can corn w/ juice, or frozen, whatever you have

1 large can beans, or 2 small cans (same or mix and match)--I use whatever I have in the pantry but it is usually black, pinto, red, or garbanzo beans, they all taste great.

1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup broth or water, you can use water with bouillon cubes

a few shakes of dried onion, or you can chop some if you want.

a shake or garlic powder

1 packet of taco seasoning or if you buy it in the spice aisle at Costco, a couple shakes of that

*if you have left over grilled chicken or fajita meat, chop/shred and add, or you can leave it vegetarian too. Any of these ingredients can be left out or you can add more like a bell pepper or whatever.

Bring to a boil, and then simmer with the lid on for an hour or two or three. Whatever you have time for, and stir occasionally. You could probably crock pot it, but I don't because mine is so big. I use my 2 quart pot that is really easy to clean.

I serve it over tortilla chips, Doritos, or Fritos. Whatever you have left and you want to get rid of. It doesn't matter if they are the dregs of the bag either because you just crunch them up anyway. I like to add sour cream and lemon juice on top as well. Cheese if have/want it but it is really good without it.

Another recipe: When Aaron and I first got married he always complained that I never prepared pork chops with an egg wash and flour, then fried. My mom had literally never fried pork chops before so it was very foreign to me. We always grilled them. I finally found a good "fried pork chop" recipe rather than the boring egg wash and flour method. I got it off foodnetwork.com and it is an Emril Lagassee recipe. When I "fry" pork chops, I will sometimes go all out and get our deep fryer out and fry sweet potato french fries in peanut oil as well. Here are those recipes as follows:

Easy (if you don't count the clean up) Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes (buy the small ones, they are less stringy) I usually get about two per person. (They go fast.)

Cut them into strips, not too thick but I like mine to be meaty. About the thickness of your pinky or ring finger.

Fry them in the deep fryer until they start browning on the edges. Cook longer if you like them crispy.

Set them on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.

Sprinkle salt and brown sugar.

I like them with ketchup too. My kids can't even tell the difference, and Aaron didn't know either the first time I made them. We got the deep fryer at Costco for $40. You can save the peanut oil for a few fryings too.

Fried Pork Chops

22 saltine crackers, finely crushed

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more for seasoning (I personally don't add any extra salt because the salt in the crackers is enough for me)

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more for seasoning

3/4 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence, recipe follows

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 large eggs

1/3 cup whole milk

8 boneless breakfast pork chops (small, thin cuts, about 1/4-inch thick each) Me--I use a little bit thicker cut but it takes longer to cook. I just like them thick.

2 to 2 1/2 cups peanut oil (enough to have the pork chop halfway submerged while frying.)

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

In a shallow bowl combine the crushed crackers, 3/4 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, Essence, and baking powder.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1/3 cup of milk. Season pork chops lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides. Dust pork chops, one at a time, with the cracker-flour mixture and then dip in the egg mixture. Dredge pork chops with the cracker-flour mixture a second time, pressing to coat, and shaking off any excess flour.

Heat the oil to 375 degrees F in a large skillet with 2-inch deep sides. (The oil should be about 1/4-inch deep.) Add the pork chops to the preheated oil, being careful not to over-crowd the pan. Pan-fry the chops for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn the pork chops and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Place the pork chops on a paper towel-lined plate.

[Comments] (3) Batboy: I took Gunnar to the eye Dr. for his check up a couple weeks ago to see if his vision has worsened with age. Unfortunately, it has gone from a -3.0 and -3.25 to both eyes being a -4.5. So we got new lenses for his same frames and Gunnar got to go a whole day without glasses while they worked on them. I liked being reminded of what he looks like without them once in awhile.

The Dr. kept asking who was the person in the family that has bad vision. That would be my mom's dad Earl Whitney. My mom has a pair of his glasses that are the token "coke bottle" glasses. Poor Gunnar, thank goodness glasses have come a long way. His eyes do look a little smaller in his new lenses but probably nothing more than a mom could tell. Back again in another 6 months...hopefully his vision stabilizes by then.

[Comments] (2) I hate goodbyes, shh...just go: Conversation overheard this morning when Aaron was leaving for school.

Lily- Bye, daddy. Don't hit or kick or push at school.

Aaron- Okay, Lily, I won't. Bye.

L- And listen to your teacher at school.

A- I will.

L- Bye.

A- Bye.

L- See ya soon.

A- See ya soon.

L- See ya later.

(door closes)

L- See ya later, daddy, see ya later. Mama, daddy didn't tell me see ya later.

This is Lily's way of saying goodbye and if you don't parrot it back to her, she will keep saying it over and over and over. At least I know that Lily knows the rules for school. Hopefully, she keeps them at preschool.

[Comments] (1) Divorce Inheritance: I guess one good thing that came out of my parents getting divorced was the free stuff we got as a result. Having a family of 7 kids, and being good Mormons that my parents were, you can imagine the food storage stash. But when my mom moved with the rest of the kids at home, from the house of my youth back to the house of my childhood they were renting out and reclaimed, she did not have room for boxes and boxes of #10 cans. That's when I got about 10 boxes of 6 cans each. "Hey kids, were getting divorced but here's some free furniture and food storage."

The flour and sugar cans went first, but not fast. It took me a few months to even realize they were in there. Then it was the cornmeal. (I have a killer cornbread recipe, just ask Aaron.) Nowadays, I am looking around my house trying to do some spring cleaning and organizing and decluttering, and combining and consolidating...you get the picture. If you know me, you know how I love to use up and throw away stuff. At first I wanted to save my food storage if you will, in case I needed it for whatever natural disaster or faminine, but I recently realized that this stuff was canned in 1999. We are coming up on a 10 yr self life so far. My thinking now is I better use this stuff before it has to get chucked.

So I looked through our food storage boxes to see what might be useful. A few things surprisingly...oatmeal, lots and lots of oatmeal. So I have been eating it a lot for breakfast. Also, dried apples. I put them in my oatmeal and they are quite tasty. I opened up some dried carrots. They kinda make your pantry smell, but they go well in pastas and such. Soup mix is on the list to test out. It looks alright, but I am not a soup person so this will have to wait when I have no food in the house and I need to go to the grocery store since I put it off as long as I can. Powdered milk. I hate powdered milk. But it is wonderful because Gunnar doesn't know the difference. He likes it, so he gets it when I need more milk or every so often just for fun. I have enough beans to sink a ship. I am no good at cooking old beans, they always turn out crunchy it seems no matter how long I soak them or cook them. I just made some last week into bbq baked beans and they tasted great, but the texture was, well, crunchy a little. Brand new beans from the store I am better at, but it isn't the same as canned beans.

So it's kinda nice having this extra food around. I am glad it is being put to good use and that I won't have to move it in a year.

[Comments] (3) Pros and cons: Of living in SA, Texas. Pro- great food. Con- Trying to stay away from the great food. Pro- Great winter weather. Con- Terrible summer weather. Pro- In the "mission field". Con- Some people are away from their family (however not me). Pro- Lots of culture, always something to do on the weekend to that effect however I am more of a homebody. Con- Sometimes being the minority sucks (ex middle school). Pro- Fiesta Texas, Sea World, malls, Zoo, close by convinces. Con- Traffic (I think SA has the worse city planning when it comes to roads). Pro- Inexpensive homes low cost of living. Con- High property tax. Pro- No income tax, offsets property tax. Pro- 45 minute drive to outlet mall. Con- 2 day drive to Utah or a long drive to anywhere else. Pro- Small town feel with big town amenities. Pro- You can drive down the road without offensive billboards for strip clubs/movies (CALIFORNIA, Vegas, NYC-is there even a street that doesn't have a porn shop?, even Houston) and for the most part you don't even see those adult related places of business. I think I can count on one hand where the ones I have seen and this city has a pop of more than one million.

For me I really like most things about San Antonio except summer and traffic. Even in the summer though, there are fun water parks and stuff. I remember living in Utah and feeling like it was miserable heat. I think anytime it is hot it feels unbearable. Everything else is great for the most part. I feel bad for people who don't have family nearby because that would suck, and anytime you want to live nearby family that is reason enough to not want to live here. I guess some people like it that way though. I can't even count how many wonderful friends I have met here. There are so many people that are in the same situation as us and there are tons of great people to be friends with.

Anyway, this post is mostly for you John ;). I know Joe always touts Texas. I guess it really depends on what you are looking for. For me it fits. I just wish it wasn't so dang hot in the summer but at least we don't have endless winters which can be depressing (it's been proven). For the record, there are some proud Texan hillbillies however you don't really get much of that in SA because much of it is military or not that "country". People here don't even have accents. Anyways, I am not trying to patronize anyone, it is just why I like.

Donor: I donated blood for the first time yesterday. A lady in our church was organizing it, and I had been wanting to donate blood because I'm like that. I dragged Aaron with me because he has rare blood. When we were discussing blood types when we first got married Aaron said his was rare, and I thought mine was too, but it turns out his is more rare than mine. So I made him come even though he is all squeamish about needles and stuff.

It was no big deal for me because I used to donate plasma for a living in college. Hey- gas and grocery money! I didn't get all woozy at all, and I feel good today. Aaron did really well too. He was nervous on the way there, but then after the fact he said it wasn't bad at all. I would say chances of repeat donation are 100%.

This ain't no April Fool's joke: This morning started normal. Clothe and feed the kids. Throw myself together. Today was preschool day so I was planning on taking Lily and then heading off to the gym with Gunnar. Everything was ready so I went into my bathroom just to brush my teeth and then we were off. Except when I came out of my room, something was missing. The kids.

I called for them, but heard nothing so naturally I went in the front to see if they went outside. I looked up and down the street, but they were no where to be seen. So then I thought maybe they were up to no good in the bathroom or Lily's closet or something and that was why it was quiet. So I ran back in to check. No and no. No one in the backyard, nothing. So I ran outside again and I see Lily loitering by the neighbors car and Gunnar not only across the street but going running up the perpendicular street that was adjacent to ours.

Argh! I can't even brush my teeth for 2 minutes without my kids putting their life in danger. I'm serious, Lily is out to get me. I go to the bathroom and come back to find all the wipes pulled out of the container and strewn across the floor, or a tube of chapstick plucked out and smeared across fingers, lips, legs, carpet. And I already keep those things put up. She pulls chairs up to my purse hanging on the wall or to the kitchen counters or jumps the baby gate altogether. I am telling you constant vigilance or I pay the price of major cleanup. Sheesh, give me a break kid for once leave one dern thing alone.

Needless to say, Lily did not get to go to preschool at her favorite friend's house that she loves playing at so much. What gets me is that she opened the door ushered Gunnar outside and closed it all in 90 seconds flat. I didn't believe it at first, but when I saw the door unlocked, I knew. I guess that is one more thing to baby proof, a bolt for the top of the door.

[Comments] (1) Speechless: Today Lily called me a jerk. Hmm, I don't even know what to say about that yet.

One eyed Jack: Raising kids is like playing the game 52 pickup. You get all your cards organized, high card to low card, then by suit, hearts first and so on. You spend all this time getting everything perfect, every card facing the same way and then someone goes and plays a nasty joke on you, spraying your cards in every which direction. I am so freaking sick of that game right now.

Death becomes her: I feel like a UPS truck ran over my head, I just checked my kleenex and there was my lung, and my voice has a nice manly pitch to it. Lily had a dermatologist appt for her eye thing and while we were there, it turns out the rash I have on my arm more than likely needs antibiotics...can my body be falling apart any more than this? Ok, I know it can but I want to be dramatic, after all I am sick.

The worst thing about being sick is no energy. If all it is was sneezing, coughing, runny nose, more coughing, sore throat, and pounding headache then it might be a little doable with kids, but I've been leaving Gunnar in his crib longer after his naps (for his own safety plus he is kinda sick too so he has been resting longer), and leaving Lily in front of Dora on repeat (she no longer naps) so I can get a nap myself. I was winded walking up the street to borrow rice from my brother. You don't want to see my house right now.

And to top it off, the bishop called tonight to see if we could speak. I have an excuse now but I will probably be fully recovered by then. Dang.

[Comments] (1) Note to self: Never let your little boy walk away without a diaper, if even for just 10 seconds, because he will FOR SURE pee on the carpet EVERY TIME. Gotta love boys!

[Comments] (1) Strawberries and creme: I love kisses from my kids after they just ate strawberries. They have such sweet breath and although I said I would never do this, I am a mouth kisser with my kids. Gunnar has not had bad breath yet, and I will be so sad when he starts to because baby's breath is divine. If you can't tell, I have a thing with smells.

[Comments] (1) Roughin it: We went camping again this weekend. Second time with Lily and Gunnar both. It went surprisingly VERY well. I am very proud of myself that I ignored my lazy self and did something extra for the benefit of my kids and family. I am sure everyone knows how much work camping involves, let alone taking kids along. Good thing I live near my mom and I can borrow all her stuff (cast iron skillets, cooking supplies already organized and ready to go, and firewood) that totally helped a ton.

We went with a couple other families in the ward and some more friends met up with us for just the campfire and smores at night but couldn't stay over. I never liked smores growing up, but now I can't get enough of them. For everyone that we invited and couldn't make it, but said "eat a smores for me"...mission accomplished.

We headed out just after Aaron got home from school. I spend most the afternoon getting us packed. We grabbed dinner before heading out since we weren't going to get there till 6:30 and not having a fire started let alone hot coals to cook dinner on would have put us eating dinner around 8 at the earliest otherwise. Not good for the kids...or me. We set up as Lily and Gunnar played with our friends' kids. It was fun to watch them enjoy the outdoors. I want my kids to grow up knowing camping and hopefully when they are teenagers and can't stand to be around us, we will still have that past time in common.

After setting up as friends were trickling in, we gathered around the campfire. Lily couldn't wait to roast marshmallows. I actually put Gunnar to bed before we did that in his port-a-crib in the tent and he went down so well. Especially considering he has 3, just about 4 molars coming in. He has been pretty good teething this time around, just a little clingy more than usual. After we hung out for awhile Lily came up to me and ASKED to go to bed! I will never turn that offer down. I think she was just excited to be there and to get to sleep on the mat on the ground in the same tent as Gunnar and us. Nonetheless, this is way outside the realm of her personality. She went to bed great and never came out of the tent or made a peep after.

We stayed up past 1:00am hanging out and warming up by the fire. It was actually pretty chilly that night. We played the 10 fingers game, a campfire tradition we started with our friends the Barton's when we lived in Utah and went up into the mountains to do evening campfires a lot. We camped on private property this guy owns and rents out to campers, so it was just our group. The only thing bad about this place as opposed to Gardener State Park where we went back in Nov was there were no restrooms. At least it had a port-a-potty, but I am not sure which is worse. Squatting in the woods, or that smelly sick thing. It was pretty cold and my face and nose especially froze since I hate sleeping with my head under covers. Aaron can totally sleep with blankets on his head, but I will hyperventilate if I try. I freak out and I hate breathing warm air.

The next morning we had eggs and bacon breakfast tacos cooked over the fire. This breakfast is a tradition and every time Aaron and I have camped, we have made this. Clean-up is kinda annoying, but you just have to get it done. We headed down to this really pretty river bank and Lily pretended to fish with her friend's fake princess fishing rod. There were pretty big fish in the river. She kept saying as she would reel in the line, "look mama, it's a mamisha!" And when I asked her what that meant she said, "it means I speak Spanish." The only problem is that Aaron says that that means not a thing in Spanish. That reminds me when we were at Sea World a couple weeks ago in the penguin area she kept pointing saying "mira!" (Look) All that Dora does do some good I guess.

After a little play by the river (Gunnar hates any water expect his bath tub, he doesn't even like my bathtub, just his otherwise he screams the whole time like he did when we went near the water at the beach) we headed home. This place was only 30 minutes away so that makes it so worth it. The other place was like 2 hours away. There was tons of laundry to do when we got home and I could not wait to take a shower, but I am really glad we went. I waffled between going or not because this past month has been really stressful for me especially since Aaron is so stressed out with his last month of school and trying to get everything done and turned in. Plus we had to speak in church today, and I really get stressed out about preparing for that. I think it did our family good to get out into nature though. I am just so glad our kids did so well sleeping. Lily did wake up upset a little before the morning but she just got in our air mattress and snuggled with me till it was light outside.

Hopefully we can do this once or twice more this summer when Aaron is on break.

[Comments] (1) Booboos: Poor Lily. If you have seen any pictures on my picture blog recently, especially her portraits taken recently you will notice that she has a red mole looking thing just under her left eye. She got that thing about 2 or 3 months ago. At first I thought it was a scratch, but then it just kept getting bigger and more raised. It is pretty sensitive and can bleed non-stop if it ever gets broken.

Naturally, I took her to the Dr and they referred me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist diagnosed it as a pyogenic granuloma. However, he was not comfortable removing it because he would have to anesthetize the area and since it was so close to the eye he didn't want to take the chances with a 3 yr old jerking and poking the eyeball. So he then referred me to a pediatric surgeon. So I have an appt with him in May. We shall see. Hopefully once it is removed Lily will not have too bad of a scar there. I feel bad that she will have one on her face, but I think when she is older she will prefer tiny scar if there is one over the red mole.

It is funny because I guess Lily doesn't examine herself in the mirror that much so the other day when she looked at herself and noticed this red mole looking thing she exclaimed, "uhh, red eye!" with disgust. I guess you just had to be there but it was funny. I also had to take her into the Dr because she picked up ringworm somewhere. Probably the beach, and she had this big lesion on her knee that I thought was a scrap but it started spreading. Um, scabs don't travel so I took her in.

I have been to the Dr so much this month with my kids and me. I was sick the other week with a cold so bad it lasted like 10 days and I found out I had molluscum on my arm. Mine wasn't as bad as the nasty picture on wikipedia and I only had a few and NO, it wasn't an std since it was on my arm. That's just weird saying. I paid $254 to an urgent care center to get checked out since I don't have insurance and he gave me over the counter meds for my super cold and froze my bumps with liquid nitrogen. So yeah, Lily and my bodies have been falling apart pretty much lately. Let's hope our number doesn't come up again for awhile.

On death and dying: Lily has been exposed to this whole topic the past few months with the passing of Pres Hinckley. Every evening we used to pray for Pres Hinckley in her prayers, and then when he died I can imagine it was so abrupt for her to not really be prompted to bless Pres Hinckley but rather Pres Monson now. She keeps saying Pres Hinckley anyway in addition to Pres Monson, and I don't know if I should encourage it or not. And then when I preempt her saying "bless Pres Monson and Pres Hinckley" she will then exclaim "Pres Hinckley died." Hmmm...

So tonight as I was putting her to bed we were having the discussion about why Pres Hinckley died again, that he was sick and he is in heaven now with Sister Hinckley. Then she said "Is Moppie's mommy in heaven? I want to give Moppie's mommy a kiss." I told her that I wanted to give Moppie's mommy a kiss too, and that she could give her a kiss when she gets to heaven. She then said that when she dies she is going to die with her (stuffed) kitty and turn pink and go to heaven. "But I'm not died yet, mama." Yes, and thank goodness for that.

When I was little I used to ask my mom what she would do if I died before her and she would always reply, "I would go to heaven and spake your little bottom if you died before me." So now Lily is asking questions like where is heaven? Exactly where in the sky is heaven and why can't she go visit heaven?

Lily also doesn't quite get the baby thing. L-"When I turn big and you turn little, you will be just little, little in my tummy. I want to be big and have a little baby." My sweet little baby, when you are big and you have a baby, I will come and take care of you. I just love my sweet little girl.

[Comments] (2) Talking hands: Gunnar has made such leaps and bounds in the past 6 weeks in regards to communication. He has "out" down pat- sign and I am pretty sure that is his first word. That and no. He says no a lot. Of course "bird" was his first sign, but he has been doing that one for a long time. He attempts to say "tweet, tweet" but it just comes out as "hee, hee". And he can hear them when I open his door to get him out of his carseat so I am usually greeting with him flapping his fingers and "hee, hee"-ing. While reading books he will point to animals and either sign "bird" or "elephant". When he does "elephant" he will just go "ahhhhh" for the sound. I have occasionally gotten a "grr" out of him for the lion or bear roar. He gets "outside" when I do it but can't sign it yet. He just goes running for the door.

Then there is "shoe" sign which he has been doing for a long time too. He loves his shoes and when I tell him to go get them, he giggles and runs and finds them for me to put them on. And ball he has been doing for awhile too. He loves balls. This week he has been practicing "more" and "please". It is amazing to me how children pick up on things like that. If I sign more then I get more of what she's eating, I imagine what was going through Gunnar's mind today when he came up to me again and again to get bites of my sandwich. It is so cute. And then when I tell him to say (sign) please and he does it, I feel like I have a little monkey on a string.

This is such a neat phase and I think one of my favorite. When what you are saying makes sense to them. They can't really talk, but you know by their look that what you are saying makes sense. And they want to communicate with you. It is crazy that I can teach him something, and that his little brain figures out what I am trying to make him do, and he does it. The brain is amazing.

The only trick with two is all this positive attention and yay-ing and horraying for Gunnar, I need to be doing it with Lily as well because I don't want her to feel left out. It is easy to use the happy baby voice a lot with Gunnar when he is accomplishing his little feats, but with Lily she is past the whole "baby talk", but not really because she starts mumbling like a baby to get a little attention too, wanting me to congratulate her. She has been doing so awesome though learning all the signs I am teaching Gunnar and practicing with him. She will ask him "do you want to get out?" and then sign it, so that's pretty cute watching them communicate.

Yeah, I would have to say this is one of my favorite stages.

TMI: Gunnar pooped in the tub yesterday. When Aaron saw it he quickly got Gunnar out and I got Lily out and we transfered them to our tub to finish the bath, or restart the bath rather. I cleaned up the mess and Aaron bathed the kids despite Gunnar wailing the entire time. For some reason literally ever since he was born he has had this fear of water. I am not kidding. From his first sponge bath in my kitchen sink in one of those pink hospital bins they give you, to present he cries and cries at the sight of water. The beach--mad as heck when I took him near the water. The pool, torture. He cried in the bath tub until he was probably 7 or 8 months old every time. He now likes the bath, but only his bath tub. If we ever change the venue, we better wear ear plugs. It is funny because I have this baby calendar, and it has stickers of all his "firsts" and where you write all the things going on in development and such. For each month there is a spot that says "moments we don't want to forget". I was rereading them the other day and in a few months it says "You HATE baths. You scream just hearing the water running. You cry long and hard, and don't stop until you are in your jammies and are feed."..."still hate baths..."

Anyway, Gunnar's crazy fear of water is not what I came to write about. Today after the baths, Lily realized that she was getting wrapped up in the green towel and not the pink. She always insists on pink, and she demanded it. I reminded her that it was dirty because we had to get her out of the bath yesterday when there was poopy water, and I had to wash it first. She goes "Did Gunnar have brown poopies in the water?"

"Yeah."

"And was there strawberries in it?"

"uh, maybe."

"Uh-huh, and cereal in it too."

Eww, too much information!

[Comments] (5) I'm still smiling...: So one of my new year's resolutions was to get into running. Little did I know after making that goal that I would run a 10k 4 months later. My friend Nancy actually talked me into it. I finally came around and was like, sure, why not, I will probably have to walk most of it but what the heck. I kinda started training for it but not like I should. I guess it is just the procrastinator in me, but I did not want to take it seriously. I didn't even run outside until race day, just on a treadmill.

I guess I planned on getting in gear a couple weeks before the race, but what actually happened was Aaron's spring break which we were in Houston for part of the time, and that tail end part of the trip and the whole next week following I was super sick. I didn't even make it to the gym. I had some serious respiratory issues. The week after I went but was a little rusty, and then this whole week I have been working out, but in my mind I had serious doubts about my performance. So I set some realistic goals- try not to walk, and keep a 10 minute mile pace.

During all this race pressure and stress, I also was trying to get the house ready Thurs and Friday for Ashley my SIL who was kindly watching the kids for us so that Aaron and I could stay the night in Frederickburg, where the race was, and have a little alone time. Ha, what was I thinking? I was NOT fun to be around because of my anxiety. But I was able to get the house cleaned up enough, pack, and not forget anything for the big day. We checked into our hotel-Econolodge. It was not that nice but $115/night. The cheapest there was. It probably wasn't worth more than $50/night, but when there are slim pickin's you get what you get. Aaron and I went out for dinner there to a place called Freidhelm's Bavarian Inn. Fredericksburg is a serious German settlement town, so we had to sample the local cuisine. We had (raindrops on roses and) Schnitzel with noodles. Ok, just the Schnitzel with noodles, and Bratwurst with Sauerkraut--the best. The Schnitzel was actually nothing to write home about, but their 7 layer homemade chocolate cake was. I am a sucker for chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. If there is no chocolate in it--spit it out. We also were able to stroll main street and "window shop" if you call it that. We headed back to the hotel early.

I was in bed asleep by 10:30, however it was not very good sleep at all, and not because the mattress was crappy, which it was, but because I was so scared that I would sleep in and miss the race we had driven up for, that I kept waking up every hour looking at the time. Finally at go-time we made it down to market square where I got my shirt and number and met up with Nancy. I actually like the shirts they gave us. They are green and hippie looking.

We started the race and at mile 3 there was a hill. It wasn't too bad though, and by mile 4 I got my second wind. I felt great and like I could keep going and going. It was perfect. I wasn't in pain, and the run was gorgeous. The streets were so fragrant with flowers and bushes. And I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day- cool and a breeze. Aaron said he was disappointed that he didn't get any "good" shots of me all red faced and sweaty. That's because the wind was so nice, it dried most my sweat. I could salt your fries with the amount of salt dried on my face, but hey...

I finally saw the sign for mile 5 and I felt really good and like I had the juice to turn up the pace. I finished strong. My time was 54 minutes 38 seconds gun time, crossing the start like 54 minutes 28 seconds (8 minute 46 second miles). There was this cutie old 87 yr old man there that ran it in like 1 hour 30 minutes. He was so cutie shuffling along. Anyway, I got 3rd place in my age group- female 22yrs-29yrs old. I actually won a metal! I can't believe it. My goals were to not walk, which didn't even enter in my mind, and to finish under an hour. I know it is not amazing time, but for me, I couldn't have asked for a better first race. It just felt really good accomplishing that.

After the race and waiting around and the ceremony for my metal, Aaron and I went to The Peach Tree for lunch. It is the quintessential Fredericksburg "Tea Room"/gift shop. When my mom goes to Fredericksburg with her girlfriends, you better believe they go to lunch at The Peach Tree. And sure enough, there were a lot of ladies there for lunch. It was really good too, better than I remembered it. We even bought at the gift shop a pink piggy bank for Lily and for Gunnar a seal for the bath tub that flips his tail so it can swim. We got home to the kids doing just fine without us. I never worried though because Ashley is awesome. She has watched her sister's 5 kids before. She will be great with her little one when he/she arrives at the end of this year. Thanks a ton Ashley for watching the kids, even though David was on a scout campout and you were all alone. The weekend was good fun!

Happy Birthday : To my cute sister Michelle! I love you tons!!!

Gone, baby, gone: The bottles are gone. I took the kids to the dentist this past week, and he totally shamed me into taking Gunnar off the bottle. He is 17 months and I can live with the weening at this point, so I obliged. He hasn't done too bad if you count refusing to drink any milk whatsoever now. This boy used to go through practically a half gallon a day. Trips to the store every 3-4 days was not uncommon for me to take between my husband and kids' milk consumption. Aaron still drinks whole milk as does Lily.

Gunnar will occasionally sign milk and I am always there with a sippy cup for him, but he gets really angry. The bottle was a soothing mechanism for him. He still has his thumb, but no more bottles in bed. I think while I am at it I should take milk away from the night time routine altogether since the dentist tsk, tsked me on that too. Ah, whatever. Aaron's not all that concerned about it, so neither am I.

In that same vein, Gunnar has also been pretty mad at life because of teething as well. His molars are mostly all out, but now I see little canines pushing forth. He often stomps around the family room grunting "no!", his favorite word. He has been unmanageably clingy as well. The kid is about 30 pounds and hard on my back. The child is happy as long as I read stories to him all day long. He could read stories with me for a couple solid hours if I had the endurance for it. It is his most favorite thing in the world, besides me.

On Friday, I was feeling brave and bored so I loaded the kids and stroller into the car and went to Sea World for a couple hours. The kids were awesome and we all had fun together. I took them to the dolphins, and then we saw the tropical tank where the most beautiful fish are and sting rays. It was feeding time for them. We looked at the sharks, and the Clydesdale horses. I took Lily on her favorite ride, well the only ride she can ride really. She got to go twice in a row because there was no line, score! And then we went to the Shamu show where the kids sat captivated the whole time. Even Gunnar sat still. Maybe next time I can muster up the courage to take them to the water park. On the other hand, given Gunnar's abnormal fear of water, maybe I should save that until Aaron can go with me. I have to take advantage though while the weather is still nice.

Fierce times 12: I've got a little Christian Siriano at my house in the making. I laughed ashamedly when Aaron told me what Lily told him this morning while he was helping her pick out an outfit. Aaron was trying to get her to settle on some shoes and Lily said, "No, I can't wear those. They are out of style. No, those are out of style too. These are out of style and these are out of style too. I don't want to wear any of those shoes because they are all out of style."

It is probably the fault of the mother who has purchased all those shoes for her to choose from in the first place. *blush* What can I say except that I have a sickness. You know what is really embarrassing is that I was folding Gunnar's laundry and to make my life easier I was piecing together outfits and folding the shirt in the shorts so I can just grab a little envelope of clothes instead of having to dig and dig around to find something that matches. The boy literally has 3 weeks worth of outfits ready to go before I have to do laundry. Granted, someone in my ward gave me some hand-me-downs which was so awesome. It is embarrassing to air my dirty laundry like that (pun intended). Darn those Target sales and Children's Place 50% off sale.

I will say I am proud of myself for not buying the kids new Easter outfits. I am too stubborn to buy something that is not on sale. Nothing feels greater than getting Gunnar church shirts for $4.99 (reg 14.50) and sweater vest for $6.49 (reg $16.50) in addition to a 15% off coupon. Hey, at least I am good at it. So naturally I have to buy one in every color. Just kidding...kinda

Keeping busy having fun: This past week Michelle was in town visiting from College Station. I had great company having her around especially in the evenings. We played Rock Band a lot, and that girl is good! Playing the viola in HS helps. It was also her birthday and we went on a night out on the town. Lorna and I took her to the Melting Pot. I think that is my most favorite place ever. The chocolate fondue is the best, and the cheese, and the meat with gorgonzola sauce...and pretty much everything you order there.

I cannot say enough about how awesome Michelle is. She was such a huge help around the house too. She wanted to do a little shopping with me and so we went to Old Navy and Kohl's. The kids totally wore her out. She was such a trooper though and loved holding them and entertaining them even though we barely made it through two stores. i also took my mom out to lunch with Michelle for Mother's Day. We went to this new place in Helotes called Old Town Grill. It is so delicious. Afterwards, we walked down the street and walked through all their antique shops. I didn't find any diamonds in the rough, but this one place did have these old keys that were really cool except they were like 6-8 bucks a key. Forget that.

This weekend was Father-Son campout. I nudged Aaron to go on it, and he and Gunnar had a good time. He said Gunnar went down great and woke up happy. I think my little guy likes the outdoors. Lily and I had mother-daughter plans of our own. I registered her in her first race. It was a 50 yard dash, and of course I was there to run the 5k. It was called Jon's Run and it's a charity for infant and child loss. It was cool, they had balloons for people to write their babies' name on and at the end of the race, they let them all go in the sky.

The race itself was pretty miserable. I had a better mile pace time, but it was so humid I was dripping sweat just after warming up and stretching. By the end of the race I looked like I just got out of the pool. Again Michelle was selfless as ever, waking up at 6:30 with me and going downtown so that she could watch Lily while I ran. Lily's race was fun to watch. A bunch of 2,3, and 4 year olds standing around after the whistle was blown. Lily was super excited because she saw the shirt I got at my other race and when she got a shirt at this race she was very proud of herself. She also went wild with all the juice and Powerade they were giving away after the run. Cheesy Jane's was there giving away milkshakes. I passed, but Lily loved it. Every time we moved spots, she was like "I don't want to go to the car." And Michelle was an awesome photographer too. She got lots of shots of me albeit embarrassing ones.

And finally, last but not least--Mother's Day. True to form Aaron came up with the best gift yet again. When I saw on Erin's blog that they got a Nikon and I commented "our next big purchase is going to be..." little did I know Aaron had already researched and picked out that very thing. I have been wanting one forever. And now that I have it, I love it. It takes such great pics, you can't even compare them with regular digital cameras. I have been lusting after the Nikon ever since I used my brother David's when he moved here. Mother's Day was also extra special at church. After a couple years of waiting I finally got to see Lily go up on the stand and "sing" to me. She pretty much just stood there starring blankly, but it was still neat. We also went over to my mom's and had brownie sundae's/banana splits. Lots of laughs, lots of fun. Check the pic blog to see pics for this week's events.

School's out! for the summer...: Today was Aaron's last day of his 3rd year! Yeah, we made it. He did it. We only have one more left! Also, today is his birthday. He is gettin old...28! We went to Fuddruckers to celebrate with Jake and Erin, and Luke. Somewhere kid friendly. It's funny because we went there 4 yrs ago in Utah for their birthday. I think Aaron is going to play Warcraft tomorrow for the better half of the day. He deserves it.

playing catch up: So much to do, so little time. I am currently packing for our trip to Utah. (Sorry John and Susie that I haven't emailed you yet...maybe we can meet for lunch.) We are leaving tomorrow night and getting into town at midnight. I know. Don't ask me why we would do that to ourselves...because we're cheap. We are going to spend some QT with my dad and Jan for a couple days, and then head off to Eden, UT for a Smith family reunion. Wahoo! These are always so fun. I love it because Aaron's extended family is practically all girls, and awesome, fun girls at that. The whole extended family is actually all really great. I am so lucky to have married into such a sweet group.

So I have been packing, but I checked weather.com yesterday to see what to bring. I think one day the high is 60 degrees and the rest of the time the high is in the fifties. And it says it is going to be raining. This is good and bad news. The good news is we get to escape the debilitating heat this summer has already brought on. The bad news is that all the warm clothes for the kids have already been boxed up. So I went through the boxes in the closets tonight getting stuff together. Still so much to do...

Since Aaron is out of school we are playing a lot. We went swimming yesterday and today. We also went to Houston this weekend for Aaron's cousin Tyler's wedding to Andrea. It was a blast. Aaron's other cousin Kelly invited us to stay with them and it was really fun to have a mini reunion before the big one. The wedding activities were truly enjoyable and the kids were good sports. The drive up was not bad at all and the drive down was ok, but better than last time we went to Houston for Spring Break. Gunnar is slowly getting used to the idea of being in the car for a long time, and hopefully that will spill over into getting used to going swimming. So far he hates it and cries the whole time...it's that fear of water thing. He will even pacify himself by sucking his thumb which he never does while awake, but has oddly enough started to do it during the day lately.

Anywho, I need to post pics of Houston and Aaron and Jake's surprise birthday party we threw for them. See Erin's blog. It was great fun. I love being busy...the 'fun' busy kind. The only bad thing is I am so far behind on housework and blog reading.

update: So I've caught up a little bit on blogging pictures. I didn't want to be so far behind before the trip. I can't even begin the wedding pix yet. Maybe tomorrow...

blah: We are back from Utah. Very fun trip. Details to come. I am feeling gross and queasy from only getting 3 hours of sleep last night. Not to mention averaging 5 hours of sleep a night for the whole week. It was lots of fun though. More when I recover.

[Comments] (5) She's here!: My precious niece was born today. Molly LeJeune Matkin. She was 8 lbs 2 oz and 21 1/2 in. She has a beautiful head of thick chestnut hair, and I can't wait to meet her. Aly said that when the boys were at the hospital, Samuel asked, "Do we get to take her home with us?" She will have such awesome brothers to take care of her. Congrats you guys! Love you!!

[Comments] (1) I can't take it any longer: I cannot believe how much laundry my family generates. I do 2 or more loads a day and still I feel I am making no headway. Seriously, I am so sick of having piles of laundry in my room. I want a clean room! I am tired of piles to be folded and piles to be washed and piles to be put away, but I can't put away yet with a sleeping baby in that room, and when the sleeping baby is not in that room, that baby wants to be held 24/7. I don't even have twins and I still can't keep up. What is wrong with this picture?

[Comments] (2) No more putting it off: We had a great time in Utah. So much fun that I am still recovering from it. If it has taken this long to recover with just a week long trip, I am frightened for the aftermath of my 10 day trip coming up in a week. I am going to NYC with my sister Julie (SWEET!). I thought about going with Aaron, but who else is better company shopping Canal St and seeing Wicked on Broadway than my sis, Julie?! and then to be with my sister and new niece in Tallahassee for a week for much baby love and hopefully a lot of bathroom cleaning, oven scrapping, and anything else I can get my hands on to clean for Alyson. (It better be dirty when I get there!)

It may seem selfish to be going off sans kids and husband to party on my own, but I figure what better time than now when I am not pregnant or nursing? I guess this year is my turn to do a "sisters trip" since Aaron's "annual brothers backpacking trip" was not held this year. And I've paid my dues being home alone there. Plus, Aaron is taking the kids to visit his parents in AZ, so I am sure they will have their fair share of fun.

Here is a summation of what we did in UT:

-The kids got spoiled by Dad and Jan

-We got to do lots of fun things with my Dad and Jan (Cafe Rio and Indiana Jones)

-Good Wood, Cafe Rio, Wingers, and The Greenery in Odgen

-Down East Outfitters and Shade shopping

-Trip down memory lane driving around the valley

-Breakfast with John, Susie, and Maggie and some great catching up

-Cousins, cousins, cousins...the kids got to play with their cousins that they've missed, and Aaron and I got to catch up with our cousins too.

-Werewolf till 2AM!

-Reprieve from the TX heat (We were wearing sweaters and jackets!)

-Smith Reunion in general. It was a big success and lots of fun.

-Utah scenery...I didn't know how much I missed the mountains until I saw them again.

-Seven bedroom house for all the Rick Smiths to stay in. I really liked how there was living space as opposed to a hotel room. When the kids nap you have to be around but you can't really do anything because you will wake them up. Problem solved in a house.

-When we got to UT and were renting our car, they bumped us up from a full size sedan to an SUV for free. I about died when we filled up the tank for $90 but at least it was a comfy, spacious ride with all our crap.

-The kids were really good on the flights there and back despite us getting in to UT at midnight and our flight leaving at 6:30AM.

That's about all I can think of. It is going to be at Wolf Creek Ski Resort again next year so we are looking forward to another trip to Utah soon.

Birthday Month: There are so many June birthdays in my family, I am just going to give a shout out to everyone at once.

5th-Molly!

7th-Erin

10th-Booner

11th-Atticus

12th-Julie (today)

13th-Chuck-or it might be the 11th, I know it is the day before Julie's or the day after.

14th-Austin

16th-Luke (and Julie and Chuck's wedding anniversary)

28th-Dave

Happy Birthday everyone!!

ABC'S GETTING TO KNOW YOU: A. Attached or Single – Attached to Aaron and usually throughout the day I also have a little monkey attached to my hip.

B. Best Friend – Aaron, duh! And also my mom and sisters. We are all such great friends.

C. Cake or Pie –Definitely chocolate cake and then pie, but only if it is chocolate too or lemon cream cheese. Cake is easier to make so I usually go with that.

D. Day – Saturdays because Aaron is home and usually no strict time schedule we have to go by.

E. Essential Item – My bed and pillow. I hate having to sleep in anything smaller than a king. When you have a husband that is 6’3 and likes to sleep diagonally you will know why.

F. Favorite Color – Brown with gold. I can’t get enough of brown clothes with gold jewelry lately.

G. Gummy bear or Worms – Either, but only if they are Haribo.

H. Hometown - San Antonio, Texas, giddy-up

I. Indulgences - Clothes... Dining out, same as Julie

J. January or July – January in TX, July in Pacific NW

K. Kids- two

L. Life is incomplete without - Family, they just understand you, no explaining and tip toeing around. It is so amazing to have such a big family! (I’ll stick with your answer, Julie.)

M. Marriage Date – Jan 19, 2002

N. Number of siblings - 6, 2 brothers and 4 beautiful sisters

O. Oranges or Apples – Apples. I’m too lazy to peel anything.

P. Phobias or Fears – Premature death of a loved one. I’m not really scared of a lot of things. My list of pet peeves is longer.

Q. Quote – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

R. Reason to Smile – Last Comic Standing. Seriously, free comedy. Can it get any better than that?

S. Season – Winter, as long as there were some brisk fall days, I could live without it being cold for 3 months.

T. Tag – Everyone

U. Unknown fact about me – I have a shampoo and conditioner fetish. I only use salon quality, and any given day I will have at least 4 different brands in my shower to alternate between days. Also, I used to put on scented lotion (Bath and Body Works) EVERY SINGLE DAY since I was a freshman till I had Lily. I had no time to pamper myself after kids were born.

V. Favorite vegetable- All of them. I love vegetables.

W. Worst Habit – Not hanging up my clothes. I am always too tired to want to do that. Maybe the worst habit should be pushing myself to the last minute before I go to bed. I just love having time to myself I guess.

X. X-rays or Ultrasounds – I’ve had both, but Ultrasounds are more rewarding. I love getting to see the babies.

Y. Your favorite food – I can always enjoy a good salad. My mom makes the best salads of all kinds.

Z. Zodiac Sign –Virgo

[Comments] (6) So exciting: So today we got our little packet in the mail from the Air Force. It is the packet where you request where it is you want to be stationed. It has you list your top 11 places for General Dentistry, and if Aaron is accepted and he in turn accepts an AEGD, it has us number 1-14 the cities where an AEGD is offered. We pretty much have our list figured out...

This means we will know in a few months where we will be heading off too. It really is pretty crazy that we just got here, but we're already going to leave again. I am looking forward to the change even though I will be leaving much family. Here we are, 4th years, and it feels like just yesterday we were attending our first year students and family BBQ in the sweltering heat. I am glad we went through those years but I am really glad they are over. Last year, 3rd year, was pretty stressful. Gunnar is the same age Lily was when I got pregnant with him. I can't even imagine having another one yet...I am still recovering. Lily seemed so much older back then than Gunnar is now.

Anyways, this sappy post is even making me roll my eyes, so I will update when we get more info on the project: relocation. I'll warn you...we are going for fun and crazy!!!

[Comments] (2) Father's Day: We celebrated father's day by making one of Aaron's favorite meals. I dug out my deep fryer that I got from Dad for Christmas a couple years ago and we made fried chicken (with bones and all). It is so much work to clean up, but it is a must when you are frying anything. It makes the food perfect. We used a Paula Dean recipe so you know it was good (and not good for you). We also made cream corn, pure fat and sugar, red skin mashed potatoes, homemade biscuits, and country gravy. Aaron's kind of meal. Happy Father's Day!

Today, Aaron and I got to go to Sea World alone. We are in a play group thing for the month of June so we switched turns watching everyone's kids. We took the opportunity to go without the kids while we rode roller coasters. It was sweet! I still got it...roller coasters were my favorite in HS, but after my last experience with a roller coaster I thought the mom thing ended all my chances of liking them. I rode Superman at Fiesta Texas and then we walked to Poltergeist. I didn't even ride that one, just waited for everyone, and when we were walking away my vision faded to black, I literally couldn't see anything and I had to hold on to Aaron because I was going to pass out. Luckily, I took a seat and I laid my head down, but it was a close call. I was about 10 weeks along. Such a small little baby but it makes a big deal.

It seems I am back to normal though, and we got to ride Steel Eel, Great White, and Rico Loco. We then went to lunch at a sandwich shop. It was fun to go on a date during the day. I'm off to NY first thing in the morning, and then to FL to see my niece and take care of my sis!

[Comments] (1) Teehee: Me: "lily, those pink shoes don't match your blue dress."

Lily: "Yeah, but they match my skin."

She got me there.

[Comments] (4) I don't make this up people: "Lily, you really need to start practicing wiping on your own so you can get good at it before school."

"No, I just want to get really good at pooping."

Me reading a book "Boa Constrictor, Boa Constrictor, what do you hear?"

Lily "Hey, snakes don't have ears."

She's been so good at cleaning up her messes lately. Thanks Sherry, for training her so well. She came back from AZ cleaning up great. I love it!

nyc recap: Well, I've blogged all my pics of my trip to nyc. As if that didn't take long enough, I have procrastinated way to long writing it in words. Warning- this post will be long, so don't feel obligated to peruse every paragraph (*peruse-not to be mistaken as 'to skim' as it says in my Verbal Advantage, rather to examine in great detail...I thought it was really interesting that most people misuse this word, or so it says). If I had a private button on this blog, I would use it on this post to spare you guys all the mundane details of my awesome trip so everyone wouldn't have to get so jealous.

WED NEW YORK! I see you...from the plane and the Statue of Liberty looks so small compared to the movies. Julie and I landed in La Guardia within 10 mins of each other. We met in the bag claim and hugged and peed our pants with excitement. We got our bags and went outside. We were immediately greeted by this man asking us if we needed a taxi. Why yes we do, so he asks where we were going and I had the address printed out and as I read it aloud he grabbed the paper out of my hand and started carrying my luggage. Julie and I looked at each other as he walked past the line of taxi's and took us to the parking lot. By now I was freaking out because he didn't have a taxi cab, he had a Crown Vic and there was no way I was getting in a car with a stranger. I started seeing headlines in the newspaper "two girls get abducted and sold as mail order brides outside nyc airport" or "two girls found chopped up in the trunk of a car in nyc". Yes, I watch too much Law and Order: SVU. I started wondering why I had ever thought to go to a big scary city without Aaron to stave off strange men. Luckily, Julie took control and asked to see his license and id. He was legit with a chauffeuring company, however he was charging twice the amount as the regular cabs were. No, thank you. Of course he was rude as we said no, and as we were waiting in line for a taxi, we saw a few other people fall victim to his scheme and also walk away. At least we weren't the only ones duped.

So we took a taxi to our 'hotel'. It was on a nice, quiet residential street on the upper west side. I really loved the location. That's why we booked it. Technically it was a hostel. We didn't share a room with strangers, but we shared the bathrooms. At least we had a sink in our room. The bathrooms were old and scary. The shower wasn't any scarier than the one in the first basement apt Aaron and I lived in, except I knew I cleaned the shower. I hoped this one was cleaned regularly, but just in case, wore flip flops anyway. Hey, I camp, so I'm not that squeamish about bathrooms as long as it isn't long term. We got our own soap and toilet paper to take in and out with us, so that was good. We never had to wait for the bathrooms either so it was no problem really. I would totally stay there again. The price was right, and it was two blocks from the subway. Very ideal compared to the alternative of staying in New Jersey and coming into Manhattan everyday, and we would have been screwed when we needed to come back to the hotel when we needed to.

So after we checked in and freshened up, we got down to business. We headed to Canal Street for some serious shopping. But first we bought a hot dog to split for lunch at Gray's Papaya, a famous place I guess. It was good, I guess. I got a few things...couple purses, jewelry, a hat, a shirt and belt, some more jewelry, and I kick myself for not getting those white Ray Bans. So cute. As I was looking for a Coach for Erin we asked this guy if they had anything and he told us to follow him. He led us across the street and down the way to an alley with these other guys using walkie talkies. The other guy then unlocked this sliding retractable door and was showing us all these cuuute Coaches. I got on the phone to call Erin to see which color she wanted and the man about had a heart attack. He was so scared he closed it down until I was off the phone. I guess he thought I could be calling the cops or something. Anyway, all in a genuine New York experience, eh? We also hit Urban Outfitters. Such a cool store. I wish we had one in TX

We walked around a lot more and it actually started raining. The forecast called for rain the whole time we were there, so I bought an umbrella and lugged it around in my purse the whole time in case, but luckily it just rained that night. I had to buy a zip up sweater too, there was like no selection since it was June, hello!, because it was so chilly at night. It saved my rear every night and waiting in line at the Regis and Kelly show since 5AM. I can't believe it was still cold that I just didn't think I would need to pack a sweater. The weather was so nice though, the whole time, so refreshing from the TX heat.

We ate dinner at a place called Josie's and I sat like elbow to elbow to the other tables in the restaurant. It's crazy that people get used to that. You can totally heard everyone's conversation. That's how it is every where and I guess you just extend the courtesy of pretending they're not there so people can have a little privacy. Dinner was good. My salad had the best tasting mangoes in it and I am not even a mango person. After dinner we walked a few blocks to the studio that Regis and Kelly taped at so we would know where to go in the morning to wait for standby tickets. Incidentally, the temple is just a block away from it in Lincoln Square. We also got to see Juliard. While walking around as I mentioned on my other blog, there were cleaners on every street. The price you pay to live in ny and have no room for washer and dryers...these places charges by the pound to wash and fold your laundry. As tempting as that sounds to me, I still prefer to wash my own clothes. I would give up washing the kids clothes and Aaron's in a heartbeat though.

We saw a city bus totally crunch a Lexus that was to the right of him, as the bus was taking a wide right turn. I guess he didn't hear because he didn't even stop. I wondered how that worked there. I mean the driving is so crazy that when those things get in accidents, what do they do. There is barely any room to park and trade info. Or if your taxi, say, runs over a pedestrian, what do they do? Everyone drives so crazy there, I was so glad we walked or used public transpo because I could not bring myself to get behind the wheel there.

Also, we saw a clearly mentally unstable person drop her drawers in the middle of the sidewalk and pee in a planter right in front of everyone. Julie and I were stunned...our first day turned out to be quite eye opening. We went to bed early (11) in anticipation of getting up at 3:30am to get ready for the Regis and Kelly show.

[Comments] (2) ny day 2: Thurs- At this rate I'll finish my summary by next week. Thurs morning we got up at 3:30 to shower and leave by 4:50 to walk to the studio to wait in line for standby tickets for the Regis and Kelly show. We were the first ones there when we arrived at 5:10ish. It is so nice to get up early and be in a big city with hardly anyone on the street. Don't get me wrong, there were people, but not a lot. I love having the streets to myself. So after about 10 minutes of waiting a man and his mother showed up and then ten minutes later another woman and her daughter came in line. It was all over from there, people just started trickling in. We froze our tails off and waited until 7:30 to get our ticket for the show. We walked down the block and ate breakfast at this European Cafe and Bakery called Euro Pan right next door to the temple. We had omelette's and toast and went straight back to see if they were going to let us in. Even though we had standby tickets, we weren't guaranteed to get in until they knew all the ticketed people where there. By 8:45 they knew we were a shoo-in and while walking into the studio, guess who was walking behind us??? None other than Gelman and his daughter. He was talking to her and he was the same ol deadpan Gelman he is in the show except in miniature form. Seriously, there, people are tiny in real life. I would look like a blimp on tv apparently since I don't weigh 95lbs like Kelly does (but, you know, I'm pretty close to 95 lbs ;) I sat in the back by the same couple who stood behind me in the line because the first seats Julie and I got together had a bad view behind the camera men. So we split up and got in the middle. I got to be on tv because the couple next to me were the only two who gave Regis and Kelly a standing ovation and Regis got a kick out of it, so the camera panned up the audience and showed us. Yay me! On tv! Mike Myers was the guest and then Nael Naim was the musical guest. Since they don't tape on Fridays they taped their second show and let us stay. That show had Chris O'Donnell, JC Chasze, and some gospel singer as musical guest. They were both good shows. All I will say is Mike Myers is killer funny.

After the show we took the subway downtown. Thank goodness Julie was there to show me the ropes of the subway. So confusing. We did a "walking tour" that was in this nyc guidebook that started on Wall St. All of Wall St was so cool. We saw Federal Hall where Washington was sworn in as first pres of US, NY Stock Exchange, Am Stock Exchange, Trump Tower, and there were lots of little kiosk on the street. I bought Aaron a few ties on Wall St. How cool is that? Where'd you get that sweet tie? Oh this? On Wall St. In New York City. And they were $5 each. I wonder how many millionaires on their way to work at the NYSE spill coffee on their tie in their limo and stop on the side to pick up a tie to wear. A tie just like the one Aaron has. Ha.

We bought a pretzel on Wall St too to tide us over. You have to eat at the NY food stands while you're there, right? We apparently spent a lot of time on Wall St because we also grabbed lunch at this cafe that was to the left of Trump Tower. I sat there eating my salad wondering how many rich people were sitting in the same cafeteria as me. Has Donald Trump ever eaten there? Am I lame? Yes. Excuse me, I was just so star struck by the entire city.

We went to Trinity church and saw all these old gravestone pounded smooth by the elements. I love that these stones went all the way back until 1700's. So much history. And of course I got the picture of the bronze tree root system that was uprooted by the collapsing of the World Trade Centers. We walked right by the World Trade Center site and the memorial structure in the park near it. We went into Century 21--a huge department store with discount designer clothes. It was so crazy and unorganized, it stressed me out just being in there. It was like TJMax on steroids. We didn't bother looking too hard. We were too exhausted to look around. All that walking around and getting up at 3:30 setting in. We went to St Paul's Chapel and saw the booth that Washington liked to sit in while at services. It is also the chapel that the rescue workers for 9/11 went to rest and meditate while volunteering.

We wandered around some more and ran into the ticket salesperson for the organized bus tours that take you around town on these double deckers. For $40 and a whole 24 hours worth of using the buses we were sold. It was nice getting to see so much without having to walk. Don't get me wrong, I loved walking everywhere. It was one of my favorite things about new york. These things took us everywhere. We didn't do it all at once...we would get on and off the bus when we saw H&M for example, or what not. On the tour we saw the Seaport and Brooklyn Bridge, Chrysler Building, Waldorf Astoria, Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, and Times Square area. We ate dinner on Broadway at O'Charley's right before the show. We had tickets to Curtains with David Hyde Pierce. He is hilarious and boy can he sing. I loved it, the music was awesome. It was sooooOOOooo (a la Melis Wood) good. O'Charley's sucked there and it's expensive as every restaurant in ny is priced at $15 and rising. Long story short, go see Curtains, don't eat at O'Charley's even though it is right by the playhouse your going to. After the show, we took the subway home and crashed. Home...ha, our home-y hotel.

More later when my fingers have feeling.

[Comments] (3) The Happening: Last night I made a really good pasta that Aaron and I loved. I threw together for the sauce 2 mangoes, 1 avocado, handful of cilantro, 3 cloves garlic, 2 green onions, about 1/2 cup olive oil, salt and pepper, couple dashes of paprika and ground cumin, and a pound of shrimp. We tossed it with fettuccine. Very good. It was also a good night because we got to watch Last Comic Standing. Love that show.

Gunnar has been cracking us up lately. He says a lot of words now including poo poo when we are changing his diaper. The cutest would have to be when he says "vroom vroom" as he carries either a tractor or car around with him at all times. That or a ball. Then he will says "ball" or "ba ball" when he wants to throw his ball into his basketball hoop. I really don't understand why it is that boys love cars and balls. How are they born with this? I mean he will find every single ball/car in the toy area and carry them all around with him. Too funny.

Lastly, Aaron and I have finally plunged into the previous seasons of Battlestar Galactica after 2 reliable critics (Hailey and Sumana) have suggested it. We love it. We are addicted to it. You must check them out if you get the chance. It is nice to have something to watch during the summer because literally, the only thing I am watching this summer is Last Comic Standing. It frustrates me though, that there is such a good show and "Hollywood" has to go and sprinkle sex into everything. That and/or some half naked woman traipsing around every other scene. So bittersweet to live in 2008.

[Comments] (1) sweets and treats: I spent the whole morning making three batches of freezer jam, each with a different brand. Two of the batches were just of strawberry, and the third was strawberry blueberry mixed. I am excited to see how they turn out as they are still setting. It's been years since I have made freezer jam and I was feeling particularly homemake-y.

Last night Aaron and I went on a sweet date. I love getting a babysitter. Not the actual acquiring a babysitter, but having one so we can go out. I really hate getting sitters actually because I don't want to make someone feel like they have to tend since I asked them. I don't want to be the one the YW talk about "she keeps asking me, and I hate babysitting." We went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner and then The Dark Knight movie afterward. Incidentally, Cheesecake Factory is having a sale on their cheesecake slices on July 30th, their 30 year anniversary. They are only $1.50, the price they were when they opened. But it is for dine-in only. Who knows if we will make it down there for that. Maybe my mom and I will go to lunch or something.

The Dark Knight was very well acted, as predicted. It was very fast moving and a chaotic movie. I think I will have to watch it again to really understand it. I must be going deaf because I didn't catch many of the lines. Pretty good all and all, but I am looking forward to the next one. It seems like this is a little like the 2nd Lord of the Rings. As awesome as it was, it's a series of movies, and it leaves you wanting. That's all I'll say.

nyc day 3: Woke up got ready and walked a couple blocks for breakfast at this amazing bakery called Leavin Bakery. I got a chocolate chip banana bread slice and a chocolate chip cookie for later that must have weighed no less than a pound. It was huge, but for $3.75 it had better be. We hopped on the subway to Times Square. Good thing Julie was with me, a seasoned NY tripper who knew the subway system, or I would have been completely lost.

We took the bus tour to Greenwich Village where we got off so Julie could take pictures of the apt of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. We also stopped at this Indian (from India) boutique where Julie haggled for about a half hour with the guy and finally bought a comforter and pashmina and table cloth. She got a good price, but who really knows. I mean for all we know the things could have been made in China for dollars. We got back on the bus and went to Soho and Noho and got off the bus for the H&M store. I scored tons of jewelry for cheap. Think Forever 21 but even less. I was disappointed that that one did not have a kids section. But it was probably a good thing because I had a hard enough time stuffing everything into my luggage as it was.

We then toured the Native American Museum and took pictures of the Raging Bull (near Wall St). We got to see St Patrick's Cathedral. It was being renovated though and it had ugly scaffolding in front of some of it. Gorgeous building none-the-less. We saw the Empire State building again, walked through Times Square again. We walked around Rockefeller Center, home of the Prometheus statue, and saw the NBC corporate building address "30 Roc". We saw the studio where the Today Show tapes. We had a long leisurely dinner at this nice restaurant called Brasserie Ruhlmann where I dropped $55 for just me. Food is so expensive there, it was kinda a good thing that Aaron wasn't with me. I can't imagine spending twice the price as I did on food. It was pretty expensive because I ordered the tuna tartar for an appetizer and then "rabbit" for the entree. The tuna was very tasty but I did not like the texture, but it tasted so good I still ate it. The rabbit was good. It was game-y-er than chicken and turkey, but tender. It came with noodles that were good too. It was just nice mostly to sit and people watch and relax. We sat outside and the weather was perfect. And our view was awesome looking over Rockefeller Center.

We then made our way back to the Times Square/Broadway area and walked around before we headed to the "Wicked" theater. We were literally the LAST row. Dang scalpers...our tickets said $61 but we paid a little over $100 for them at least a month in advance. It was nice though because the theater was better built and I didn't have to crane my head like I did during "Curtains" because I couldn't see over the next person's head in front of me. The show was awesome, need I say more? While walking out of the theater, there was a crowd of people waiting at the back stage door where none other than the actors of Elphie and Galinda were exiting. Julie got their autographs on her play bill and I snapped pics of them. I felt very touristy. Oh well.

We took the subway home and fell into bed. We had walked so much in that city but I loved it. I couldn't help but notice that everyone there wears nice shoes...I mean girls mostly. They are all cute and stylish, but if everyone was walking as much as Julie and I were, their feet must have killed. I saw some wicked corns on some girls feet in places I didn't know you could get corns. We saw one girl who had stuffed toilet paper in the heels of her shoes and under the front straps because I guess she had killer blisters. I had packed some cute shoes for just in case but I didn't have the guts to wear them ever. I just wore my trusty flip flops the whole time. Now, they are not just any flip flops, they had arch support! They were so comfortable and not once, not once! did my feet hurt or were sore for any other reason than we were walking 10 miles a day. Seriously, they hardly hurt. Get it? My flip flops are awesome. Enough said.

nyc day 4: Sat was "Museum Day" for us. We first stopped at breakfast at this place called Cosi that Erin loves, so we tried it. Bagels were good and their flat bread for sandwiches was even better. They had samples. We first went into the Am Museum of Natural History, made famous among other things by Night At the Museum. It looks nothing like it did in the movie, but it was pretty amazing. I love history, Julie not so much. She was pretty miserable because she was having killer cramps and could barely walk. The thing about most museums is that they guilt you into paying "their price" for admission, which is a suggested $11-17 depending. It is really free, but they make you feel like a cheap skate if you contribute less. I did want to support them though so I paid $5.

It took about 2 hours to sprint through all 5 floors, hitting most of the popular exhibits. My favs were the geological area with all the stones, rocks, crystals, etc, and the "caveman" exhibits. It is crazy though how many animals and creatures I had never seen before. I now believe there are hundreds of species of spiders undiscovered in the rainforests because of all the bizarre "things" I saw. It made me realize I know nothing about what's out there. After the museum we made our way over to the "MET" (Metropolitan Museum of Art) which would have been so cool to see, except Julie cried Uncle and we were off to find a drug store with lots of pain killers.

We thought lunch would help too so we got this genius idea to go eat at Bobby Flay's restaurant on 5th ave. I mean we were on 5th ave, how far could it have been? A $13 cab ride later we got to Mesa Grill just minutes after they had closed for lunch, not to open again until 5. Blast! Our day was not turning out as planned. We took a cab ride back to the hotel where Julie could take a nap (another $15) and I went off exploring by myself. I didn't want to go far and I didn't want to take the subway by myself because I would for sure get lost so I walked down to the Lincoln Center again and walked around all the table displays that were there for a fair that weekend. I was gone for about an hour before Julie called, and just in time because we had dinner plans with Leonard and Sumana, my cousin and his wife. We had a little time to kill though and hadn't really eaten much so we stopped by Pink Berry!! Gotta try Pink Berry. It is the best frozen yogurt with fresh fruit. SooooOOOooo good.

We took the subway to Queens and met them at Sac's. They treated us to this wonderful Italian place where we had gourmet pizza. The biggest thing I remembered was that their bread basket had this focaccia bread with a little bit of marinara. It was like pizza without cheese. I could have stopped there, it was so good, but the pizza was even better. Good choice Leonard and Sumana! We then walked to a crepe shop and split crepes. I really enjoyed the food that day, to say the least.

After that big meal and good conversation, we said our goodbyes, and Julie and I went to go walk off our big meal at the Brooklyn Bridge. We took the subway back to the station right before and took the 20 minute walk to the middle of the bridge and "look out" station where we took pics. The view was so unique to NY and the whole city experience. Very fun. We ran into some British ladies vacationing there. Most people it seemed were not from there, or even the US really. Most people had accents. For the most part though, the people we talked to were very friendly. We didn't really encounter the "new yorker" snobbery you hear about. It was crazy how many non-US citizens were vacationing there though since the dollar is so weak and it's cheap to come here. I was a little disappointed to not hear so much of the ny accent. That would have been fun.

Our last night here, we packed some and got ready to leave the next day.

nyc, last day: We got up and packed all our stuff. We had one last hurrah for brunch at a close by place near our hotel called Alice's Tea Cup. That just goes to show how awesome our hotel location was that all these places we went to were only a couple blocks away. Anytime you have brunch somewhere, you know it is going to be a treat, and this place was no exception. It was very quaint and unique. Their motif was Alice In Wonderland, of course. Everything was Alice. It was so cute, but not in a kid sort of way. It was just neat to see all the collectibles they had displayed. Our table itself housed a small display of things. We ordered one of each on the menu, haha. Not really but we did try a couple sweet scones, one pumpkin, and one chocolate strawberry. For the main meal we had eggs and hollandaise sauce atop their ham and cheese savory scones served with a side of hash browns that was cubed potatoes with chicken bits. It sounds weird but it was really good. It was all so good and we just sort of lost track of time in that little wonderland because by the time we rolled ourselves out of there we were running a little late. We hurried back to the hotel and got our stuff and Julie ran up the street to hail our taxi since it was a dead end and no cars really went down to where we were staying. We loaded up and our cab driver hauled buns to the airport. We got there just fine, and would you believe it, that my checked bag was exactly 50 lbs. Now can I pack, or can I pack?

Our flights were leaving about 30 minutes apart, so Julie and I said our goodbyes and I boarded. I immediately missed nyc already. It was my first time there, but not my last. I heart NY.

[Comments] (5) Tallahassee or bust: My trip to FL to see my new niece was a treat. I got to see Aly and Dave's new house for the first time, and I got to meet miss Molly for the first time as well. Molly is named after an amazing character in literature, as all of Alyson's children are. I got to watch the miniseries of the book Wives and Daughters, all 5 hours of it, and I approve. Such a good story, and I recommend it for anyone who is a lover of English lit.

When I first arrived, Molly was a tiny little thing, but when I left she had grown to a little chub. That girl eats like every hour and a half. Seriously! She's a doll with a good natured disposition. Except in her carseat. Even then, they were squawks of protest and not all out bull horn. I loved watching Aly with her. It was like she was a first time mom again. Samuel is 5 and 1/2 so it has been awhile since she's held a baby and it made me jealous. She said, "It's like Christmas morning everyday." I remember that feeling, and it is the best.

I spent time cleaning up for Aly, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping and mopping floors-her whole house is wood flooring except the den, dishes, washing and folding clothes, and this and that. I didn't do much, but if anything I was good company. Some of the fun outings were picking blueberries, going to Riverside Cafe on the banks of the St Mark's River, Steak and Shake, and Panera. Mostly eating out, haha. I like Tallahassee, it reminded me a lot of Houston. Very green and lush vegetation. We just hung out and it was so nice to have a relaxing week, where I could help out, and yet recharge myself. The best part was Alyson's cooking. I tried to help on a few meals, but she knows her way around a kitchen so I mostly stayed out of her way and held Molly. She is such a good cook, it's a wonder how she stays so thin.

Thanks to Aaron for taking the kids to AZ so that I could have this vacation and so I could see my sister without bringing chaos to her house. I owe you one.

[Comments] (2) Deliciousness: Aaron and I are properly matched because we both love rhubarb cobbler. I normally shop at HEB and they don't carry rhubarb...So when I noticed it at Sun Harvest when I occasionally drive that far for some deals, I was super excited. It is a whopping $3.99 a pound. You can buy steaks for that price, this is a vegetable (or is it a fruit?) that grows in the ground. How hard can it be to grow to cost that much?! But I buy it anyway because it's so dang good. Here is the recipe we use: "Rhubarb Crunch"

1 cup flour

3/4 cup rolled oats (I get to use my food storage)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 cup melted butter

Combine the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, and butter and mix until crumbly. ---Press half of the mixture into an ungreased 9" square pan.

Cover mixture with 4 cups chopped rhubarb

Sauce Mix:

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

red food coloring (I omit this)

Prepare sauce by mixing in small saucepan the sugar, cornstarch and water. Cook until thick and bubbly and then two additional minutes. Remove from heat and pour over rhubarb, then top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes, or until bubbly. Serves 9, but everyone will want seconds do you might want to double this. (It serves us just fine--the kids like it too.)

I actually have never made it, Aaron has made it each time. I knew I wanted him around for some reason. ;)

[Comments] (1) Too cute!: When I put Gunnar to bed he always wants to lay his head on my shoulder while clutching his water, monkey, blanket, and occasionally a ball when I don't feel like fighting over taking it away. Then he usually starts sucking his thumb. So tonight was the same and I gave him a tight squeeze and said "give me a hug" and he did. Then I said "I love you" and then thought since he has been saying lots of words now, I wonder if he can say love. So I said "say I love you" wondering if he would respond with "dah!"--his filler word. He then raised his head and looked at me and then held up his fist. It was the cUtest thing in the world. He was trying to sign I love you, which surprised me because I haven't shown him that sign for awhile. Lily usually tries to do it, but then gets mad when her fingers won't cooperate. She says "it's not working" because she can't figure out how to keep just the middle two fingers down, instead it looks like a hang ten sign. Gunnar just did a fist, which is perfectly ok with me. I knew what he meant, and it melted my heart.

[Comments] (1) Treat: A couple days ago my mom's friend came in town. My friend Janine, is the daughter-in-law of my mom's friend and they decided to treat the "daughters" to lunch. So my mom, Cheryl, Janine, and I went to Paesanos for a leisurely lunch and fun girl talk and then Sam's Club to check out the kids clothes. Mom bought Lily a cute little summer dress. They even found and paid for a babysitter. What a treat it was!

Paesanos is a really nice Italian restaurant in town. My mom and I split a specialty salad and pasta entree. I've never met a salad I didn't like, but I would have to say that this one's dressing was too mayo-y for me. But the rest of it was good. The pasta was AMAZING. It was the special for the day. Basically, it was a southwestern pesto. It has spiral pasta with a creamy jalapeño pesto sauce with beef tenderloin chunks that were so tender, and black beans, corn, and tomatoes. It may sound weird but it really was one of the most amazing pasta dishes I have ever had.

And to top off our fabulous day, it rained when we got home. I love rain, and we needed it so bad. Thank you mom! I had a blast and we should do it again. HA! :)

Murphey's Universal Law: If Kristen washes her car, then the next day it will rain. What is strange about this is not how rarely it rains here this summer, or how rarely I wash my car. It is that I rarely wash my car and it always happens to be the day before it rarely rains.

[Comments] (1) Reflection: Last night Aaron and I stayed up to watch Shawn Johnson and Nastia Lukin win gold and silver in the balance beam. Watching the summer Olympics reminds me so much of when Lily was born. We watched the Olympics on TV while I was in labor. They were even on after Lily was born. Somehow in the hospital, an Olympic basketball game ended up on TV, against my wishes, causing me to want to throw out the TV and everyone in the room. Who wants to watch basketball period, let alone when they have a fresh new life in their arms to look at? Not me. I didn't even want the tv on at home for fear that the world would spoil the ears of my pure newborn.

I like watching the gymnastics, swimming, and running. I like watching the gymnastics but the fact that it is judged bothers me because it seems like there are some crooked judges. It's not fair that everything is decided based on people's opinions whereas running and swimming, you have a finish line and a time. I don't like it being on so late with the time change and all, so I haven't watched them a lot because nights are my catch up time. It is usually background noise for whatever else I am doing.

So my little Lily is turning four, and every Aug every four years we will get to watch the Summer Olympics and remember her sweet long awaited birth. My life changed that day in so many ways recognized and yet to be realized. I feel very lucky to be Lily's mom. I don't know why Heavenly Father thought me to be worthy of such a smart genuine girl. In fact, I can't believe the hospital staff let us walk out with such a precious treasure. I just kept thinking, "they're just going to let us take her? Like that? They are not going to stop us and check up on us to make sure we are doing everything right?" There is nothing like your first experience becoming a parent.

So tomorrow I will be going to Lily's teacher meet and greet, and on Monday she will have her first day of Pre-K through the school district, including bus rides, cafeteria lunches and all. She's so ready, and so am I. I am sad that she will never be the same again. She will be even more grown up to me, which is another reason why I baby Gunnar so much. I don't want my baby to get big. To think that Lily was in a regular bed a couple months older than what Gunnar already is. That blows my mind.

A funny thing that happened yesterday- My friend from the gym came over for a play date with her girls. She had on a tank top that showed cleavage and Lily was all, "what's that hole?" We weren't sure what she was talking about so she came closer to Lily so she could point to what she was referring to. She points right into the crack of her cleavage. Nice...we all had a laugh. At least she didn't say "why is she not modest?" like she does in public places. That would be hard to explain to my friend.

I love you Lily billy.

[Comments] (1) The facts:

Harrowing facts and links to stats. Knowledge is power.

9 out of 10 children aged between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet, in most cases unintentionally

Average age of first Internet exposure to pornography: 11 years old

Approximately 20% of all Internet pornography involves children

51% of pastors say cyber-porn is a possible temptation. 37% say it is a current struggle

Ninety percent of children between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography online, said Knutson, a computer science professor at Brigham Young University. Most of these stumbled upon pornography while doing homework.

The Lighted Candle

Lucky: It's school time again, and you know what that means? School clothes shopping. Well, not so much me anymore, but my sister Lorna wanted to make a trip to the outlet mall. I was all about that, and my mom so kindly offered to watch the kids for me so I could do it. She said "what is the point of my daughter living in the same town as me and my other daughter wanting her to go with her to the outlet mall, and she not being able to because of no one being able to watch her kids. She might as well live in Chicago.' So she so sweetly took my kids for me until Aaron got home from school so Lorna and I could shop till we dropped. They closed and had to kick us out at 9. We didn't get there until 4 though, so we aren't as lame as you think.

It was tons of fun getting to hang out with my sis though. She is such a beautiful person inside and out. I am a very fast shopper, I'm in and outta there in no time, and she was a good partner because she didn't hold me back too long. haha I'm kidding mostly because I was just along for the ride. It was her school clothes shopping and I just picked up a few things that were too cheap to pass up. ($5.99 shorts for me and such...I bragged about my abilities on my other blog.)

I discovered a new fav too. I don't know about non-outlet stores but A'Gaci is sa-weeet. I describe it as an organized Forever 21. I like that place but I get so stressed out and overwhelmed going in there. A'Gaci has the cute trendy clothes and low prices but it is on the racks with others just like it in more than one size.

A big thanks to my mom for tending the chid's and thank you to my sweet husband (or should I thank Warcraft?) for letting me go. I am sooo lucky to live here by family, and I am definitely going to miss them when we have to move. I've been spoiled.

News: It's official. I'm now in nursery, with Gunnar. I was a little surprised because I had two callings already (Activities Committee and Cub Scouts asst Den leader) but they released me from A.C. It's all good, I really don't mind. I like the age group of nursery kids and I'm actually kinda excited. I'll miss RS though.

In other news, I ran a 10k race yesterday. I improved upon my time from my last 10k (and 5k according to my stopwatch) so no complaints here. I guess it would be too selfish of me to pout about getting fourth place in my age group instead of 3rd so I could have won a medal. I missed it by 16 seconds, but that's nothing to complain about since people in the Olympics won and lost gold medals by the difference of .01 seconds. Crazy! Oh well. I'm just happy I did it.

On Thurs we went to Lily's teacher meet and greet. She is attending Scarborough Elementary that is just a few minutes from my house. It is brand new and super nice. I am so excited for Lily and I like her teacher from what I saw of her. Mrs. Meyers. Lily was a little apprehensive at first but then when she saw Gunnar running straight for the toys and books she got over it. Luckily, she got the afternoon class so I don't have to wake up at 6AM this year, I really dodged a bullet there. Not looking forward to it next time around.

This evening Aaron gave Lily her first father's blessing before school starts. It was very special and she sat still and kept her eyes closed the whole time. I guess I didn't but I couldn't help but peek at her and wonder how I got so lucky. Aaron giving her a blessing and having a cute daughter to receive it. It was very special and I think Lily could sense that. Except she kept asking me to put my hands on her head too, and offering my turn when Aaron was done. It's awesome that she is at the age where she can "get" stuff now. Just this passed couple months she sits still long enough for me to explain things during sacrament meeting and stuff. I'm blessed tp be able to teach my daughter the gospel, and I am grateful to my parents for having taught me and being born into a family that has the church.

What a positive weekend. I feel so blessed.

[Comments] (1) Intresting: My brother called my attention to this article put forth by the church recently and I thought I would link it too.

Old Fart: I'm now 27 as of yesterday. And Lily's 4th birthday was on Wed. Happy Birthday to my sweet pea. More later.

[Comments] (1) Labor Day: I did indeed labor today. I first took the kids to the gym and did a spin class and yoga. I then came home and mowed the front and back yard and some trimming. The grass was long and it was kinda sucky. Aaron has been sick all weekend so I've been taking care of him.

After I showered and ate lunch, and vegged a little bit, I did the dishes and then made dinner. Kids were in bed by 7:00 and Aaron and I watched Bank Job on Clearplay. It was pretty good, btw. I then updated my picture blog.

Last week was so crazy with it being the first week of school for Lily. I have been shuttling to and from school and stuff. I have been thoroughly enjoying my free time while Lily is gone--guilt free. I have been catching up on house work and not feeling bad about putting Lily in front of a show. That is the only way I can clean, otherwise her "helping" takes so much time and I just want to get work done asap. It's pretty bad, and I need to work on it and teach Lily how to help out more so she can be a good cleaner.

My brain is fried so I am going to go to bed now.

[Comments] (1) Stark reality: Amazingly enough, Aaron has decided to join the gym. Wahoo! I have been dying to share this past time with him, and with the looming Commissioned Officer Training "COT" approaching in July, I think he realized he better start working up to the requirements that the Air Force has set forth on the personal fitness test. From my understanding, which is loose at best, is that Aaron has to get a 75% out of 100 in order to pass his fitness req's. He has to run 1.5 miles in under 9:36 minutes. Anything less than a 6 1/2 minute mile pace, and he starts losing points for every tens of seconds. He needs to do 53 crunches in one minute and loses pts after that. He is also required to do 57 push ups in one minute and any less than that...you lose points. His waist circum also needs to be 32 inches and anything more, he gets points taken off. So "COT" is no laughing matter and I think Aaron has realized this.

So last week was his first week hitting the gym. He signed up through the school which was AWESOME because we not only got him on at the Prue location, but our whole family price has dropped from $101 a month to only $71. Considering that the kids alone are $50 (for the excellent day care), this is awesome. So he went twice. Once with Mark from school and once with me. It was his suggestion to go to the gym after dinner, and I jumped on that. I suggested that we do arms together, and I showed him how to lift certain arm exercises. He stopped me early and said he could not go on any longer and that his arms were going to be way too sore as it was. He did decide to run a mile to get some cardio in though before we left. Not good...I don't think he felt himself since then. His stomach is queasy and stuff going on with the other end too, and just a general lack of energy this whole weekend. And not being able to unbend his arms didn't help. He walked around protecting and cradling his arms like they were burned. It was kinda funny to watch. We both kinda think the workout session with me on Thurs night was the culprit because he went on Wed and ran 2 miles ok. I just kicked his butt too hard I guess. I find it hilarious though, how muscular and defined his arms are and he could only curl 10 pounds on each side more than me. (It's ok Aaron I'll get you into shape.) Except that Aaron has already sworn off my "kind of working out". I think another reason Aaron got so sick is also because he hasn't worked out really, besides church ball and intramural sports, since before his mission.

I told Aaron this though, at least he is doing this now and not at COT. I mean if he were this sick at COT, he would fail everything for sure. Who knows what they would do. I know they would have him in special Sat fitness classes for sure. Maybe even make him go through COT again? I don't think I could handle him being gone 2 full months instead of one. So at least getting sick is getting out of his system as his body gets stronger and more fit. And no, Aaron, I don't want you looking like those Olympic swimmers and gymnasts that I was ooogling at a little bit. It's just interesting to look at, not anything I really view as sexy. Just don't lose those arms. Here's to health.

[Comments] (7) creepy: So my friend called me and said she was walking through a model home a few mins away and she saw a picture of my family in one of the frames on the dresser. What? How did a random decorating company get a picture of Aaron, Lily, and me? So my mom and I went to see if it really was me and we walked through the home. Yep, it's us. As a matter of fact it's the picture that I have on this blog under "pictures". So it's four years old and on this blog. How random? And how did they get it? Obviously off of the world wide web, but how did they search for it and where do they get off printing off random pictures of people and displaying them in a model home. That was a digital picture taken fours years ago in Utah and it ends up in a home that is minutes away from my house four years later. How random is that?

On being gorgeous: After finishing Lily's bow in her hair: "There, you look gorgeous."

L: "I don't like being gorgeous."

K: "Why not?"

L: "Because, I just like being beautiful, and pretty, not gorgeous."

[Comments] (1) : Vote for Tina Fey.

[Comments] (5) Happy Birthday!: To Jenni! AND my new niece- a la Jake and Erin, 7lbs 9oz, 20 1/2 in long, and dark hair. Name- tba Cutie :)

[Comments] (4) Busy(body): This week has been crazy. So much going on...I love that Lily is in pre-k. It is really nice to know she is somewhere where they are teaching her how to properly use glue, one dot at a time (a dot is a lot!). Cutie thing to learn, and I am glad it is not me, because I would mos def freak out that she was getting glue everywhere and making a mess that would just be one more thing to clean up. She is also coming home with handouts of lines, and they practice using scissors and cutting straight lines. This is the mark of a horrible mother: when we were buying school supplies, the most exciting thing for Lily was that she was getting her very own pair of scissors. "Mama, do I get to use scissors in pre-school?"-in wide eyed wonderment. Yes, I am a horrible mother because I NEVER let her touch scissors. All the scissors are put away for fear of her getting creative on the couch or whatever she can ruin, and so far there hasn't been any curious cutting of the hair incidents that many kids that age experiment with. How bad of me to stunt her learning because I don't want to deal with it.

The depressing thing about pre-school is that it feels like all my free time goes to doing the dishes and housework. I love that I have time to get it done with no interruptions since Gunnar naps pretty much the whole time Lily is gone, but how depressing to do dishes and other jobs everyday on your free time. Not to mention I am never caught up. There is always work to be done and it can be exhausting. It is something I have had to reconcile over and over again to myself. As soon as I have washed and folded every piece of laundry, there is another pile to be done at the end of the day, and a few more pieces to add to it the next morning. All day, every day I work hard and then it immediately gets undone...dishes are done, guess what, time to make dinner and get another sink full of dishes. You mop the floor, and undoubtedly that day, something spills on it. Nothing ever wants to spill on a dirty floor. No, the clean ones are more magnetic.

One of these days I will have a house big enough for me to organize all this junk. Secretly, I wish someone would just haul all 'my stuff' away. I doubt I would notice half of it missing. Part of me is wanting to just go pack up and move to a farm, but that is just because of this book I am reading for my sister's book club: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It's life changing.

Onto a completely different topic, have I ever mentioned how much I hate going to the doctors? Probably a billion times, but I will say it again. I HATE Dr offices! Not because I have some weird phobia, but simply because I hate that you go in and are seen for 10 minutes max and yet you are undoubtedly there for no less than an hour. Well, I postponed Gunnar's shots so I could take Lily in for hers at the same time to avoid a second trip. We finally went this past week and I was there for...wait for it...almost 2 1/2 hours!! My appt was at 4:15 and I didn't leave until 6:30. I was there later than the Dr herself. I saw her leave as I was still waiting for the nurse to administer the shots. How on earth can they justify making me stay there that long is beyond me. I don't see how they sleep at night. I mean as I walked out the door the nurses walked out right behind be and locked up. There has to be a better way. I hear the military is just as bad. Joy. 'Free' health care.

It didn't help that my kids were screaming bloody murder from the shots. Lily was literally trying to climb up the wall to escape the nurse. She was scratching her nails on the wall trying to scale it. And then Gunnar was so sad and so cute screaming "ooowie". The worst part is they make you hold down your child and they don't understand why you would hurt them.

Today I was able to do my long run since the hurricane didn't hit us with all that rain they were forecasting. I did a 9-miler. I am not used to going later in the morning so I wasn't prepared for the sun. I should have worn sunglasses and sunscreen but I didn't think about it as I usually run around 6am, but I didn't wake up early because I thought it would be raining outside. When it wasn't I decided to run outside instead of the gym. At least there was a good breeze thanks to H-Ike. To do list before my next long run: buy new socks, and buy a hydration belt. Both are much needed. 4 more weeks until my half marathon.

[Comments] (1) Fortune's Forecast: Today is such a beautiful day. It's breezy, in the 70's, and cloudy. My windows are open and I am in a GREAT mood. I can't wait for fall and sweaters. I can already smell Halloween in the air.

[Comments] (1) Eye-deal: Gunnar had his 6 month eye check up. They moved his prescription up again. He is now -5.25. For this kid's sake I hope the vision loss tapers soon. I don't think he can take a -1.0 hit every 6 months. The Dr said it was nothing to worry about.

On a positive note, my appt was at 1:10 and I was out of there by 1:50. 30 mins of it was waiting for the dilation drops to work (which Gunnar hated, btw). This Dr knows how to do it.

[Comments] (5) "It's worth the trip!": Says the slogan at the Commissary. That's right, I am officially a card carrying military dependent as I have gotten my ID card on base just yesterday. Did someone say discounts? That's my favorite word! Discounts including, but not limited to movie tickets, cruise tickets, meal deals...and the oh SO wonderful commissary-my new best friend.

It was love at first sight. I dropped Aaron and the kids off at the "Lion playground" so I could shop in peace. I had tagged along with Sherry at the commissary in Alaska a few times to sorta know my way around and how it works. I started with the produce. "Food, glorious, food!" I love buying all sorts of different produce and trying them at home. One of my favorite games to play with myself is how I can incorporate as many fruits and veggies into dinner dishes. (Today I scored 7.)

The commissary has it all, and for cheap. For example, they sell red, orange, and yellow peppers for $2.29 a pound. I got one of each and it was $2.68. At Walmart, if you buy a bag of assorted peppers (one being boring green) it costs you about $3.99, same at HEB. Oh, and did I mention how I have various food prices memorized at HEB? I know about how much everything costs that I buy regularly. I even notice when the Dryers Slow Churned ice cream goes from $3.69 to $4.29 for no apparent reason and a couple weeks later goes back to $3.69. At the commissary it is $2.99, btw. Chicken breasts on sale at HEB are $1.99/pound. At the commissary I got them for $1.75/pound- not on sale. 93% lean beef close to $4.00/pound at HEB compared to $1.99/lb at the C. I paid $90 and change total for that trip stocking up when I usually pay $120-$130 for the bulk shopping for the month. I LOvE it!

It's interesting that I am 'cheap' because I don't really consider myself 'cheap' or even frugal. I just love getting a good deal. I also hate paying more than what I think something is worth. I feel ripped off and like I didn't win or outsmart the system. Anyway, I just wanted to share my 'win'. This sort of thing makes me happy.

Doin my part: There is finally a company out here in the county that provides recycling, for a fee. I signed up and paid the little extra so I can start recycling. It is weird to go back to recycling after, oh since I moved out of the house when I was 17. I am not used to saving certain parts. It took me a week to even remember that I had it, but now I have a system down and I am into it full swing. Feels good to reduce, reuse, and recycle. I am not very good at the reusing thing because I like to trash everything. I am really lazy when it comes to washing out plastic bags and using them again. Oh well, I can maybe think about that when I am older. I can barely keep up with the washing of dishes and clothing to worry about having to wash out bags as well. I am not going to sweat it.

[Comments] (1) From the book I am reading: I really liked this quote: "Eaters must understand: how we eat determines how the world is used."-Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I think everyone should treat themselves to this read.

Things I find amusing: When Gunnar gets really sad he will cry with his hand over his mouth. As if he is gasping in horror, which I guess is just what he might be doing. He also says 'mommydaddy' all in one word when he is really upset. It is very endearing. Also, at the gym they always have balloons on the table right outside the kids club. Every time we walk by he exclaims "moons, moons!" and heaves his body for them. (Maybe that's why my back muscle spasmed the other day.) For pete's sake, stop displaying balloons outside a children's area. The children may just want to play with them.

I was reading Richard Scarry's Opposites book to Lily the other day. Obviously, it has opposites. "Up, down, in front, behind..." sort of thing. Wait, first let me tell the story about in church when a man stood up to give his testimony and Lily matter-of-factly stated "He's Fat!" so loud and Aaron and I were so mortified that we immediately reproached Lily and told her we never call people fat, it hurts their feelings. I could tell she was really embarrassed herself for making that fau pas by her expression. I felt bad that we shamed her that much. We didn't mean to except it was sudden and we reacted.

Anywho, this book of course says "thin, fat" showing this pig and a snake. Lily quickly reminded me that "we don't say fat, it is a bad word". Where do you go with that? I then told her that we can say fat but that we shouldn't call people fat. Lily then deduced that "we can call animals fat though, because they don't have any feelings". ba-dah-tis

Don't bother me tonight: I will be busy watching 3 hours of Heroes. I had the season premiere written on my calendar for months. It is weird that it is already here. That it is Sept, let alone the end of Sept. Biggest Loser has already started, and I am excited for The Office, of course. I am bummed that Lost won't be returning until "early 2009" whatever that means. The new show Fringe produced by JJ Abrams, the same as Lost, is ok. I will probably be watching more of 30 Rock as well and Amazing Race. Those are my shows in a nutshell. I will have to wait for BSG to come to DVD or on their website because we don't get the Scifi channel.

Off the topic, I am really glad yesterday is over. I don't think I could have handled much more of that.

[Comments] (1) Girls can be so cruel: One girl in particular this week. My own daughter. I can not believe she gossiped behind my back the other day. I went in to grab her dance clothes while she, her friend, and Gunnar waited in the car. When I came back Eva told on Lily. "Lily said your hair was ugly." Gasp! My own flesh and blood said what? I mean, geez, she's not even 15 yet. I thought I had a few years before the humiliation and shame for her mother set in. Isn't she supposed to be still clinging to my leg, crying for me not to leave?

And to rub salt on the wound, she was right. I hadn't done my hair that day. Why should I waste precious minutes when I have a quiet house and no kids awake or home on doing my hair? For what? For the teachers at her school to think "my, I wonder what products she uses?" Expensive ones, thankyouverymuch. No, I would rather spend my time alone doing something besides looking in the mirror just to not go out at night or see anyone that I would die to look upon me in my undone hair state, just to go to sleep and mess it up and have to do it all over again. I am tired of having to fix things just to have them messed up and have to do it all over again. That is my life as a mother. As I look upon my cluttered family room and see nothing that is mine that I have to clean up, I will say no, I don't feel like doing my hair FOR NO REASON AT ALL. So on the days I am weeding out the 'one more thing to do', yes I will have ugly hair according to the hair police. The police that won't let me pull a comb threw her hair every odd day. The police that wants "three ponytails in my hair with this clip (that doesn't match) and I want to wear a headband". Maybe one day I can have hair as cool as Lily.

[Comments] (4) work, work, work: Today Aaron got home from school early. Mondays are his half days, with patients in the morning, and afternoons set aside for lab work. About every other Monday he stays for lab work, but on the other Mondays he comes home. I love this. It is so nice to have his help during the day. Today I went to the grocery store by myself. I was able to actually use the coupons I had clipped because I had to time look through them all and take mental note to get those things. With Gunnar and/or Lily I have to sprint from the produce side to the dairy side up through the aisles without stopping. I just grab stuff off the shelves as I roll by.

Maybe it is just me, but my kids are terrible out in public. I mean anywhere, the library, store, even the gym parking lot is a huge ordeal to get from the car to the kids club where I drop them off. Gunnar insists on getting down but refuses to hold my hand. Lily is usually whining about something I made her wear in her hair or that I even brushed it, or not getting to take a doll into the gym. I need help!

I was talking to my mom about this while we went to Cold Stone after RS Conf on Sat and she said it wasn't me and that Lily is so independent. She also got a taste of Gunnar by himself last week while I took Lily to our WIC appt. He did the same thing to her that he does to me while I try to make dinner. He gets in between your legs and the counter and he pushes on your legs and tries to push you away from what you are doing, then he reaches up for me to pick him up. Nonstop. And Aaron wonders why I am so unraveled when he gets home from school late. I can handle all day but from 4:30-6:00 when my blood sugar level is low and my kids won't let me fix dinner, I get pretty scary.

TV works for Lily, but Gunnar not so much. It's sad really that Lily's first words when she gets home from school or wakes up is can I watch a show? And when I get in the house after going somewhere Gunnar's first word is "show, show?" I hate when they watch TV and I hate the guilt when I give in.

I don't know, all I can say is motherhood is hard and whoever thinks it's easy, can I send my kids to you for a little bit? Maybe you can train them for me. Like an pet obedient school but for children. Any takers?

[Comments] (7) This just in...: We are going to Andrews AFB in Maryland (DC) for Aaron's AEGD next Summer. It will be for a year and we are so sTokEd. *jumping up and down*

[Comments] (2) Hollywood, shmallywood: All I have to say is that from the looks of some of the shows on tv that are still around, A- the industry is desperate for actors, and any actors will do, or B- the actors themselves are not talentless but desperate for a paycheck and play the most lame quintessential soap opera parts on prime time tv. Who's watching this crap and why is it not canceled yet? Just sayin.

[Comments] (6) Height of procrastination: in essay form as Aaron likes to call it: While living in Utah it was a big hassle to register my car in TX because I wasn't living there, and also the title was still in my dad's name. I had to get a signed letter stating that he was allowing me to register the car even though it was my name on the insurance policy it was under, blah blah blah. Such a hassle.

So when I moved to TX, did I go into the office and turn in a title transfer form and get it all cleared up? No, I waited another 3 years to go through that hassle some more just because I am a masochist. It wasn't until this year that I made myself do it because I knew we were moving the next time around and it would be even worse.

Well, just like that case I have proved once again that I will put off inconvenience so long that I only change when it is either do or die. This time around it is the remote on the key less entry on my car. When Lily was a baby, letting her play with my keys was something I would give into when I was desperate to distract her. It always worked. She loved them (kids always love the real thing) and with everything else she put them in her mouth. To this day Lily still puts things in her mouth, just not as much. She is very oral like her dad. Aaron remembers going through the junk drawer growing up to look for something to suck on. Coins, rusty nails, you know, whatever. So Lily finally managed to ruin the remote and the spare remote. Yeah, I'm not very bright giving her another chance with the other one. What can I say, it was desperation.

These things broke like before I was even pregnant with Gunnar and he is turning 2 next month. SO, I finally call up the Mazda dealership and order another one and make an appt to go in and have it programed to my car. The part was $40 and the "labor"-yeah right, was over $40 and altogether cost me less than $90 and a relatively painless hour and a half of time. Half an hour of driving each way and about 20 minutes of waiting. All this is NOTHING compared to the extreme inconvenience of not having a remote. Picture this, anytime I had to lock the car in order to unlock it I would have to use the key (annoying when you have a kid on your hip and a purse on the other shoulder) and then I would immediately have to start the car in order to deactivate the car alarm. It only gave me about 20 seconds before the alarm would start blaring, while still holding said child and child then wanting to play with steering wheel and angrily screaming when pried away and taken to the car seat. This happened EVERY time I had to get in my car to start it. And getting the kids out of the car and locking it is almost as bad. I would first get Lily out and then get Gunnar and then go back to the driver's side of the car open my door again because by this time Lily has closed it, and lock the car from the switch inside. Such a hassle I know.

Why I waited this long I have no good answer for. This is just the sort of thing I do to inflict pain and torture on myself. I don't even want you to feel sorry for me because I deserve what I got. Almost 3 years of this vicious cycle. Alas, it's over now. It's nice to finally have a deadline on when we are going to move because it has lit a fire under me to get all these nuisances taken care of.

On another note, we found out that Aaron's Commissioned Officer Training is going to be June 30-July 31. I guess that means we are going to have to move in June. At least we can spend 4th of July in DC which I hear the fireworks outside the White House are awesome. Too bad Aaron won't be there with us. :( I am going to miss him for that whole month.

[Comments] (3) Citius. Altius. Fortius.: ***I completed my first half marathon today. I accomplished my goals which were to finish in under 2 hours and to not injure myself (minus a few blisters...I can live with that). It was awesome. I felt great and it was a good run. Aaron's cousin, Kelly, is my inspiration. The girl didn't feel well and she completed it in like an hour and 43mins. She's so awesome, and I am glad she drove down here from Houston to run with me, even though it was just the first half mile that we ran together. Also, my brother Joe ran in it. When I passed him in between mile 5 and 6 I think it was, he was like oh no, are you going to beat me? I was like, I sure hope so! I've been training for this since April! I am so glad my mom came out to support me too. It was great to see her and Louise with Gunnar cheering me on. Aaron caught me at two places other than the finish line, and I loved that. David and Ashley came out with Lily for the finish and I can't find any pics of them. What was I thinking not snaping shots after running 13.1 miles? Aaron did great taking pics though and he got some of lots of friends. Matt Smith in our ward ran the 5k, his wife Nancy ran the half as did Nicole. Yvonne K, Ashley Z, and Margaret S ran the 5k too. It was great to see so many familiar faces. With my time being 1hr 58mins 32secs (chip time), 118 place overall, 36 female, 6th in my age group, I'd say I am pretty pleased.

UPDATE:

It's now the day after and our company has left. Aaron's super fun, awesome cousin Kelly came down from Houston to run the race with me. She is the most amazing athlete, she puts all efforts to shame. It was so fun to hang out with her though, we need to do it more often. After the race and relaxation, we got a babysitter and went out to dinner with Kelly and Jake, and Jake and Erin. When I married Aaron I didn't really know that I had also married into such great family. Seriously, the SIL's and cousins that come from it are a dream. We went to Saltgrass Steak House. There is nothing like a big hunk of meat after a long run, that's what I say anyway. Then we walked to Borders and hung out while some looked around at books. Jake and Erin left and took the kids home and we went out for Cold Stone. I think I am going to have to get my favorite flavor (cake batter and brownie) every other time because sadly, I am getting a little tired of it. Kelly, Jake, and the girls left early this morning, and Aaron and I decided it was too short. We will have to get together more often.

Citius. Altius. Fortius. I read this article a couple months ago in the BYU magazine while the Summer Olympics were going on. It really inspired me while training for my half: "The three-part Olympic motto calls athletes to swifter, higher, and stronger feats. But what may be most significant about these Latin terms is what they don't say. The terms use the suffix ius, which means "more", not issimus, which mean "most"..."Better" leaves room for growth. It inspires improvement. It opens the door to the possibility that an athlete can be a little faster, a little higher, a little stronger."

I loved this article. It was so inspiring. I tend to be a perfectionist and I don't really want to try things unless I know I can do them perfect. Setting out at the beginning of this year with small goals, I had no idea that this one goal of completing a half marathon would be so achievable. Who knew I would be able to combine the words "marathon" and "fun" in the same sentence, let alone "love". It's true though, I ran a half marathon and I loved it. It was fun training for it. I had fun doing it. It is the best high. I am just really grateful that I was able to accomplish this goal and for my health in general. I feel really blessed, and it is easy to beat myself up about this like "I wish I could run like cousin Kelly who runs 10k's in a 6:55min/mile pace or a half in a 7:45min/mile pace." Or whoever in the race that smokes me and gets unbelievable times. It is easy to have the attitude that it is never enough, and I have to be the best to really feel good about myself, but it's simply not true. As long as it is my personal best, and that I get "more" swifter, higher, stronger, and that it is a personal growth, then it doesn't matter how I compare to others. I can be thrilled with just competing against myself and beating my own times.

I loved what Susie had to say a few days ago:

"We each do the best we can. My best may not be as good as your best, but it's my best. The fact is that we know when we are doing our best and when we are not. If we are not doing our best, it leaves us with a gnawing hunger and frustration. But when we do our level best, we experience a peace." - Marjorie Hinckley

And I liked this because in life in general I can't be the best and I can't want to do it all. I will never be happy if I set myself up like that. I can only work with what I am blessed with, and not other's strengths and talents. I don't have to have the cutest, most well-behaved kids, and know how to do all the handy work and crafts and have an awesome garden and clean house every time someone comes over and make the best meals for my family and perform service all the time. I can't do that, and it's okay. It's OK to be just me.

Sooo, hopefully, if all goes well, in Feb I will be able to say that I had "fun" running in the "marathon" and mean it. I am just happy that I now feel that goal is totally achievable. Ft Worth Cowtown Marathon Feb 09 or bust!

[Comments] (1) 4 fun:

8 TV Show I Like to Watch:

1. Heroes

2. Lost

3. Battlestar Galatica

4. Biggest Loser

5. Amazing Race

6. The Office

7. Law and Order:SVU

8.Regis and Kelly

8 Things That Happened Yesterday:

1.Packed

2. Unpacked

3. Did a couple loads of laundry

4. Had dinner at mom’s house

5. Blogged

6. Watched part of Sleeping Beauty on the plane

7. Took a nap on the plane

8. Read books to my kids

8 Favorite Places to Eat:

1. Melting Pot

2. Carrabbas

3. Goro’s Sushi

4. Rudy’s BBQ

5. Pappasitos

6. Cold Stone

7. Outback- or any nicer steak house when we can afford it

8. Carino’s

8 Things I am Looking Forward To:

1. Going to bed

2. Spin class in the morning

3. Time Out For Women, and my girly sleepover in the hotel the night of with friends

4. Ashley’s Birthday Murder Mystery Party

5. Jenni coming to visit in Nov

6. Seeing Julie & Chuck when they come home for Christmas, and all my family

7. Thanksgiving with Aaron’s cousins and Aunt and Uncle at their ranch house.

8. My marathon in Feb

8 Things I am Passionate About:

1. Bed time for my kids

2. Family

3. fun stuff

4. Vacations

5. Improving

6. Cooking tasty and healthy dinners for my family

7. trying to be a good mama

8. getting as much stuff done during the day as I can handle.

[Comments] (4) So cute I could just eat: Ahh, my little mama's boy. I cannot gush enough about how aDoRAble gunnar is turning out to be. He is such a sweet boy, and yet independent and strong. Next month he will be 2! and I am in denial that I could have a 4 yr old and 2 yr old. It is awesome, especially since I know I can enjoy this stage and give all my attention to Lily and Gunnar for awhile.

Gunnar is talking tons now. My favorites right now is he will always say "ah bus-ssss" whenever he sees a bus, and he will say it as I leave to walk Lily up to the bus stop. He is usually eating lunch in his highchair watching "ah show...E-I-O". Everyday it is the same routine. We walk into the house after coming home from the gym- ("gym!!" is another he loves to exclaim when we drive into the parking lot) and he says "ah, show" and I ask which one and he says "E-I-O" every time. He is very into the Baby Einstein's like Lily was. It is ok for me to put on any one of them, because I think EIO just mean Baby Einstein.

He is getting assertive though, he insists "down" whenever I get him out of the car so he can walk. He is getting better with the rule of holding my hand. He no longer wants to sit in his highchair so I put him in his booster seat when i can't get him into the highchair. He refuses both when he is just wanting a "snack". Oh well. He swings on his belly by himself, and goes up and down the slide on his own as well. That was his favorite thing at Disney World, was this park that had huge slides. We had to drag him out of there. That and pushing the stroller. He was obsessed. It was so annoying because he was running into everything and everyone. And going s l o w.

It is funny whenever we go to my mom's house, right when we pull into the driveway he already launches into his orders for Rocky the boxer- "sit doggy, sit" as he waves his hand up and down. The boy is nuts about taking pills. If he sees me taking my vitamins, he always wants one. I have these soft gel ones that I give him but today I didn't feel like getting those out so when he saw me with the hard ones I just handed him one of those. I knew he wouldn't finish it so what could it hurt? He started chewing on it and then said "spicy" haha. I think a better term is bitter, but good job bud! I have never heard him use it before even though we have told him what things were spicy at the dinner table. He loves sauces and whenever we have ranch or lemon juice or Tabasco on the table for dinner, no matter what he will whine and point until we pour some on his plate including the Tabasco. He likes it kinda, he usually says "hot", but will eat it anyway. He is my good little eater.

The sweetest things he says is "I ruv u" at bedtime and he gives me huge hugs so tight he usually grunts and then a kiss and then he dives for his bed. He won't sleep without his blankey and there is a giraffe stitched on the corner and he will find it and hold it and look at it while he sucks him thumb to go to sleep. I like when he says "please" and "i sorry" as he rubs his hands around his belly. Too cute. When he gets mad at Lily he says "no ah dun nuh" whatever that means. He calls her "sissy" but if you ask him to say Lily he will say "Yeeye". We were looking for Aaron at Disney and I told him to say where are you. He goes "Er r eu". I kept making him say it because it was too cute. And he was saying "Mic Mouse" and "Dumbo" the whole time we were there. And when we were eating a late dinner at Ihop and he was starving I was walking around with him to calm him and he kept leaning towards people's tables saying "uh bite, uh bite, num num, uh bite" and doing the food sign. Poor guy was famished. I felt so bad.

I could go on and on about all the cute things he says like "my house" and points to his chest or "hands" and he will show me his hands, or outside, or eyes and mouth and he points to my eyes and mouth and pinches my cheeks "eecks", but I better start putting away my laundry before I know it Gunnar's awake and Lily is off the bus.

Update: There were so many things, I forgot to mention some of my other favorites. Gunnar often will gesture me to the door or point and say "uh mon" meaning "come on" when he wants to leave or do something. He also says "tank too" (thank you). He has very good manners. And in the car he tries to sing along to Wheels on the Bus, his favorite song..."all uhh uhh TOWN". Ok, I'll shut up about my kid already...for now.

[Comments] (1) Early bird: I got to early vote today since Aaron got home early. It was really nice to get that done without having to worry about taking Lily and/or Gunnar. So I can check that off my list. I also got to get a pedicure and eyebrow wax while out from the bling I earned last week from the Galloway research study. It was about 1 hour and 45 minutes of a discussion group on swim diapers and sunscreen and I got $75 from it. They even watched Gunnar for me while I was in there. If only they had those things weekly or even monthly. I love the extra cash.

[Comments] (2) : the problem with vain people is that no one wants to compliment them because they already know it! Not to mention vanity is so unattractive.

[Comments] (1) : Here's another newsflash, in case anyone cares what evil thoughts my brain cooks up: skinny jeans don't look good on ANYONE! Especially 16 yr old boys. Who encourages this?

[Comments] (2) 21st century digital (girl): I am really glad I was born when I was. Although I think I would have made I fine pioneer woman I don't think I could have lasted in a day where you only bathed once a month...or even week. Aaron says I have overactive olfactories. Smells really bug me. I don't think I would have enjoyed sleeping in a bed with my husband who probably had to sweat all day for a living, and got the sheets all stinky. I don't think I could stand the smell of myself for that matter, or the sticky feeling and greasy hair look.

What is awesome about living in the 21st century is that I can put a bag of dried beans in the crock pot and go to bed and wallah! I have beans that are already cooked in the crock pot for the chili I am making that day. I don't even have to dirty another pot, it's cheaper than canned beans, and I didn't have to do a dang thing except think about it the night before and add water. Plus a double bonus-I got to do my favorite thing: multi task. Sleep and prep dinner for the next day--you see how I think? It's sick sometimes really.

You know what else is awesome, is loading the dishwasher, turning it on at night and when you wake, you have a dishwasher full of clean dishes. I've gone years without a dishwasher and they are worth every penny. I really want to get this thing my friend Nicole has. She was telling me about the iRobot Roomba. She goes to bed or work and comes home to a house that is all vacuumed. This would be so great except I would have to have the family room clear of toys and clutter that just may not happen every night.

The one thing you cannot enjoy getting done in your sleep is laundry which is a shame. I hate that you can't throw in a load in the washer right before bed because it doesn't put itself in the dryer and we all know what happens to clothes left in the washer overnight. They come out smelling like mildew and if you dry them on top of that, you smell mildew all day long because the mildew smell was baked into those fibers, and you can't mask or hide the smell until you wash it again. Or is that my weird sense of smell thing again? Oh well, at least I don't have to wash clothes down by the river.

Natural blonde: Lily-"Mommy, why is my hair turning brown?"

Me-"That's what happens when you get bigger. Mommy and Daddy's hair turned brown when we got bigger. Don't you want to have brown hair like mommy and daddy?"

Lily-"Yeah, but I am going to miss my blonde."

[Comments] (5) Time Out For Women: Per Betina's request I am writing a review of Time Out For Women that I attended about 2 weeks ago. With Halloween and stuff I am just now getting around to this. Verdict- If there is one in your area, you should go. You will especially have a good time if you spend the night in a hotel with 3 other girlfriends staying up late eating junk food and talking.

I really loved TOFW. I was a little skeptical of it, so that is why I passed when it came to SA 2 years ago. I thought it was commercialized religion, and I didn't want to have to pay money to see Sheri Dew speak when I can watch her for free in General Conf. Well, not anymore, but I used to. My heart was softened when all I heard was positive things about it from my friends that attended. So I decided that if it were coming to town again, I would go.

Even though this month was such a busy month I am glad I went. They had a Friday night program, so we thought it would be easier for us to get a hotel room and stay downtown so we could make it to the 8:30am part on time without too much hassle.

So Nancy, Cari, Ashley, and I stayed at a La Quinta and had some fun girl time. We also got to go to Chili's for lunch during the break. I just love my friends here. I am very afraid of moving and not having the support system that I am so spoiled with here. Did I mention I have the best friends ever? Because I do.

I would have to say that I loved Micheal McLean's portion on Friday night. I've heard his songs a million times, but I still loved it. Hilary Weeks was not really my style of music, but her personality was great. I liked a few of her more candid songs. All the talks were exquisite, and I even ached to hold my kids and give them 'tight hugs'. I know, me miss my kids on my day off? Crazy, but not as crazy as the feeling of wanting more, which I haven't felt since Gunnar was born. I mean I know I want more children, but I just haven't felt the desire to start thinking about it anytime soon. But the seed was planted and it's nice to know those feelings exist, they are just buried beneath loads of laundry, sinks full of dishes, soap scum on showers to scrub, and a daddy that would love more than anything to not have to take one more school credit the rest of his life. I married a freshman and we are so ready for school to be over.

It really was a great spiritual recharge, which being in nursery (physical and mental depletion--I've decided our ward has too many 2 yr old boys) and having Gunnar in sacrament meeting, who likes to wander around playing with other people's stuff and protests very loud if you have a problem with that, I'd say I haven't really gotten much "church" in a few months. I loved feeling the spirit so strong and I loved prioritizing my life again.

It must sound like I am always ragging on my kids, though they never know because I say it all behind their backs. Someone once told me as I was admitting that I probably write too many negative things about motherhood/my kids in my blog- "that's ok, there are other motherhood blogs I can go to for the positive stuff." Uh, er, ouch...or thanks, hmm, I don't know how to take that. I think she was trying to say, there is a place for both, I guess, it just came out bad. I love my kids to death, and have a great time with them and basically my life is centered on clothing, feeding, bathing, loving, and spending time with them. I wouldn't want to do anything else, but there is a daily grind and I am not the best at putting a smile on when everything I do gets undone and I have to complete a task over and over and over again. "Brush Lily's teeth? It doesn't have to be done everyday. Plus between Aaron and my dental genetics, she will never have a cavity in her life."

I like to be a homebody with them and hang out, and I enjoy life based on the fact that they accompany me through it. (Aaron too of course.) But Disney World would not have been fun for me alone. The fun was watching them enjoy themselves. That gave me immense pleasure and joy. I don't plan, pack, and prepare a camping trip just for myself. It's a lot of work, but I do it because I love giving my children opportunities to explore and discover. Sure I like a sunset, or a nice walk, but I love it when I experience it with my family. It's like watching a comedy by yourself. It's funny, you grin, but you don't laugh out loud unless you are with someone. There is a connection that takes your life to a higher level.

My point is, I love my babies, I wouldn't want to be married to anyone else but Aaron, and still life can be hard. But there is a way to find lasting joy amongst frustrations and pain, and The Way is the Savior Jesus Christ.

Squeezing the ju-uice: I am pretty tired. Aaron has a hospital rotation this week and has not been getting done until 6ish, so he doesn't really get home until just before the kids go to bed. I can't complain really since a lot of dental school wives deal with this on a daily basis but I really like having Aaron home for the dinner and bed time routine.

So tonight was Enrichment and I wasn't surprised at all to get a call from him that he just left, and I needed to be leaving the house myself to get there on time. So I had to take them with me. I went into my room to get my shoes on and put my earrings in when I heard a thud. To my horror Lily had opened the fridge and Gunnar had climbed into it and got out a full pitcher of orange juice and spilled it all over the floor I had just mopped hours before, and inside the fridge.

Needless to say, I didn't laugh or have a sense of humor about it like Alyson. I spent almost an hour cleaning it up and moving the fridge out so I could get the mess behind there too. At least cleaning inside the fridge was easier.

I remember reading that entry by Aly when I was pregnant with Lily and thinking that would suck to clean. I don't remember thinking that it would probably happen to me someday. Hmmm, and it probably won't be the last.

[Comments] (1) Good Place: My sister in law, Jenni just left this morning. She came to visit us for about 5 days, and I have to say she has a heart of gold. Jenni is wonder woman inc. She is the reason why lds mom's go on prozac. She does it ALL and makes it look easy. She's so darn gorgeous and you can't hate her for it because she is so nice too.

Lily was thrilled to share her room with Jenni. We put her in a sleeping bag on our floor at night but to fall asleep she insisted on going to sleep in the other bed next to Jenni's for a "sleepover". Then we would transfer her to our room. And when she woke up, she was obsessed with seeing what pj's Jenni had on in the morning. But next time Jenni comes, she has to bring Caden, so says Lily.

We got to have loads of fun while Jenni was here. Friday we picked her up at the airport and got cheesecake factory cheesecake and then went to Jake and Erin to catch up. Sat we got to go to La Cantera and Pei Wei, then girls night with some of our friends here. Monday we went to Pappasitos for half price fajitas for two-it was their 25th anniversary in case you were wondering. On Tues since it was Veteran's Day and the boys had school off, we let them watch the chillens while we got massages, lunch, and shopping at The Rim.

I had such a good time, I hope Jenni did too. I am so glad she was able to come out and visit us. It is great to have visitors, and she is the best guest. I hope lots of people come to see us while we are in DC next year because we have an open door policy for our family and friends.

This afternoon I took the kids over to my mom's house to pick up my southern living order. It was such a beautiful afternoon and we just sat on her deck while the kids played. We started cleaning the pool and the kids wanted to get in, so I let them. Of course they just meandered around the yard mostly, but Gunnar did get all the way in for 2 seconds. I was amazed that he got in the pool without any coaxing whatsoever. He stepped down the two steps and the third was too deep and his head bobbed up and down. I "saved" him of course, but he was in no danger, since I was watching him the whole time to see what he would do. He wouldn't go near the hot tub a couple weeks ago when we joined Ashley and David at the Hyatt Resort for hot tubing. Strange kid. Lily wanted to put on her suit on and put her feet in.

All in all, I am going to miss this place. It's Nov and I am wearing shorts and a t-shirt. It is sunny outside but not hot, and my kids can dip their feet in their grandma's pool a short drive away. What's not to love here for 8 months out of the year? Life is good.

[Comments] (2) 30 Roc: Kenneth kills me. And...

"Giggle, giggle, giggle. Lipstick!"

[Comments] (3) Disaster Strikes: Note to self: Don't go camping when a cold front blows in. We've done it in the cold before, and that we can handle, but WIND...that is a different story. Our tent almost blew away more times that we can count and it really did blow away once. A tent pole broke because the wind was so bad, and a camping chair blew in the fire, subsequently catching on FIRE, and then while trying to put out that fire, the grass caught on fire. Just a little. Louise's jacket was briefly on fire after Aaron did a Dennis the Menace on his marshmallow and tried to put them out by flinging them back and forth and one flew off and landed on Louise's fleece while on fire. It was hilarious, only because no one was hurt, except Aaron's finger because he grabbed the flaming marshmallow off her jacket.

The worst collateral damage was Gunnar's blanky blew in the fire. Argh! Which is part of the reason why he slept so horribly, causing me to sleep even worse. When he has his blanky in hand, in goes the thumb and he knows it is time to sleep. Without the blanket he wanted to play or cry at his discretion. "Wah! The tent in blowing in on us. Hehehe! I am going to smack mommy's face with a flip flop." Plus our air mattress deflated after about an hour of laying on it. Come to find out the valve wasn't closed. I was sleeping between a rock and a heavy boy. Gunnar woke up a couple hours later, mad at the world, so instead of making everyone hear his crying I took him to the car and he slept in my arms. I couldn't recline the chair because the backseat was folded down, so I sat there trying to sleep, but mainly watching the sun rise biding my time. I think I got maybe 2 hours of sleep-not consecutive, or deep. At least in the car it wasn't windy and we didn't have to listen to the tent flapping back and forth. That is what freaked Gunnar out the most was the noise. He kept saying "Gooooo. Uh Go Back. Back. Uh Home. Back Home." Sorry bud.

It's funny because right when we arrived it was warm and I had shorts on and it was nice. Then when the sun set, the north wind came in and the cold front moved in. The campfire was fun though, and I invented a new version of smores that are so good. You do the normal thing except instead of a Hersery's bar, you put a Dove caramel filled square on. They were very tasty.

Everyone got up pretty early, a little after the sun rose, and the guys hurried and made breakfast and we cleaned up after eating. It's sad the party ended early, but it was just too dang windy-cold wind. I think everyone was about gone by 10:00ish. The best thing about camping is the clean-up. Not. Between the mother daughter where Lily threw up in her sleeping bag and I had to sleep with a beach towel the rest of the night hearing people talking and babies crying and this trip where in the total amount of sleep was about 5 hours, I think we are done camping until next spring. I love being out in nature, but it is a lot of work.

It was funny, when we put the fire out Friday night, Lily was like "Ohhh, now we aren't camping anymore." Too funny. Lily LOVES camping, and this is why I go through all the trouble of it. It's nice family time to be outdoors and make good memories. Or sometimes bad ones. It's like pregnancy. You always forget how bad it is and so you do it again. But we have had some pretty successful trips too so we can't write it off. It will get easier the older the kids get.

[Comments] (1) No Comment: Since John's comments are acting up on me now and won't let me comment, I went investigating the problem on my own blog trying to figure out what all the sudden made that happen. You wouldn't believe how many I found tucked away in the Utilities of my blog. I guess on some comments I have to approve them so now that I know where to look I can get those ones that fall through the cracks.

I still don't know what to do when it says that it won't accept it at all. Who knows. What to do, what to do.

But what I was going to say John is that I am sorry to hear about your surgery and hopefully you will be back at 100% in no time.

Bleeding heart: I had Lily watch the Living Scriptures-King Noah video the other day and then when I asked if she wanted to watch it again she said, "yes, but I don't want them to kill King Noah". I don't think she was paying attention to the first part, and Gideon did seem pretty mean and scary in the video.

Tis the season: Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving at Mo Ranch again. A Taylor tradition. It was pretty fun this time, not having to worry too much about the kids. They are getting to a good age. Gunnar actually turns 2 on Sunday, and he is a pretty busy little boy who loves to make me laugh, even though I am not really laughing when he runs away from me, he just thinks I am laughing because he finds it so funny. I am seriously so glad for him being in our family. He is the little goof ball. I can't stay mad at him long because he is so snuggly and squishy.

So we got there by 11 and had "Thanksgiving dinner". It was so nice not having to cook anything or clean it up. So much easier. And my kids were such great eaters and tried everything on their plate. Tonight my mom is making the traditional Thanksgiving meal for the family so we don't miss out on her amazing cooking. I really am in awe of how my mom can whip up a dinner, anytime, for large crowds and not even look like she is trying. I mean, she does it all and makes it look easy. Maybe because she has done it so much and is used to feeding swarms of people.

After the meal we took a walk along the grounds. Mo Ranch is in the hill country and it is beautiful up there. We took the kids in a canoe ride and Gunnar loved being in the "boat" and "wah-wee". After some chillin with the fam we headed home for naps. I went out with my mom and sisters/inlaw/step and we watched a chick flick that turned out to be more like a comedy. Can you guess which one? Twilight. I had low expectations for the flim so I wasn't disappointed. It got great belly laughs from it, especially from the part where Edward throws himself off of Bella and said "I don't know if I can have any self control around you." Lame-o, but it was fine. I wanted to see it and I did.

We went to IHOP for dinner because that was the only thing open. Love, love, love girl time. Thanks to Aaron for watching the kids and Joe for supplying video game entertainment until the wee hours of the morning because I left the house in the wee hours of the morning to go shopping at the outlet mall. We got there right before they opened at midnight. I got some Christmas shopping done, and let's face it, my own shopping done as well. Don't get me anything Aaron! I am a huge grouch when I am tired, but I was able to snuff it out for the most part when the crowds were awful. Gap's line was wrapped around the whole store, and I didn't get it because they didn't even have that much cute stuff in there. Whatever. The biggest line I waited in was A'Gaci, but it was worth it because I love that store, and I got a pea coat for $18 and peep toe heels for $3.00. That is nothing compared to the madness at Children's Place. They had nothing for Lily but all the shorts for Gunnar were $1.60. And they are sturdy cargo shorts with pockets in the butt, not like the ones that have no pockets anywhere. Hello? I'll take one in every color please. I don't know how they make money off that. (Sorry Jenni, the sweaters you bought for your boys when you were here were only $8, and I got the red argyle one for Gunnar. Don't you hate when things go on sale right after you buy them?!)

So I rolled into bed at 6AM, and got woken up at 8:30. Gotta love my kids. I am trying to get the house picked up before dinner tonight. Aaron is paint balling with the guys. I think I will go to bed early tonight and put off putting up the Christmas decorations till tomorrow.

Shave and a haircut...two bits!: We are almost done putting up Christmas decorations. Then maybe my house will look presentable for Gunnar's birthday party!

Today: Is my baby's birthday. I have a two year old, ahhh. And to put an exclamation point on his exodus of the one's, he was taken home early from church for unsatisfactory behavior. That boy is getting naughty and his only redeeming quality is his sly smile. He knows he is naughty but he also knows he is adorable and melts my heart, and seriously has the best laugh ever. Seriously. The. Best. I love you Gunnar bun. You are my sunshine.

[Comments] (2) Boycott the Mormons: The best part about this story is the call for a boycott on Sundance Film Festival. Yes, could we all boycott that since most of the movies are obscene and pornographic? How absurd to "boycott" a religion. It's non-profit. We have beliefs, it's called a Faith. If you don't chose to believe, then don't. Boycott Utah? I'm afraid the majority pop of the state is non-LDS. How ridiculous and small minded. I'm not calling for resignations or flag burning in front of Obama's house since he was elected, and I hope no one does. Why do people need a scapegoat? The majority voted, respect that. Why do people feel the need to pin it on the African Americans or any group for that matter? The state of California put it to a vote, Prop 8 passed.

I am trying to live my life the way I feel is right, by my own conscience and my belief in God. Others are free to do the same. Let's all live within the bounds of the law and be good citizens of our great country that we are lucky to live in.

"Since the people of California voted to reaffirm the sanctity of traditional marriage between a man and a woman on November 4, 2008, places of worship have been targeted by opponents of Proposition 8 with demonstrations and, in some cases, vandalism," the church's First Presidency wrote.

"Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues. People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal. Efforts to force citizens out of public discussion should be deplored by people of goodwill everywhere."

I turn my back for one second: And I find Gunnar in my bathroom. He climbed onto the toilet and onto the sink and he was applying Aaron's deodorant like lipstick. When I walked in he jumped and shuddered. I would have been mad if he wasn't so cute. Plus he didn't make much of a mess for me to clean up. Love the terrible two's.

[Comments] (5) I have a thing for accents: So, if I were to have a top ten hot list, which I don't, but if I did, I would have to say that in no particular order I would have Hugh Jackman, David Beckham, Jim Caviezel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ioan Gruffudd, Eric Bana, Karl Urban, Clive Owen, Ewan McGregor, and Johnny Depp. I will give an honorary mention to Brad Pitt. He is getting a little ragged around the edges though, but he once was the epitome of hotness and anyone that disagrees is either crazy or lying. oh, and I almost forgot, Sendhil Ramamurthy from Heroes. So the overwhelming majority are foreign. What can I say? I love accents. I programed my GPS to have a sexy British voice. Incidentally, tall, dark, and handsome is my very favorite . All in good fun, whose on your list?

[Comments] (1) My new daily mantra: I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

-Helen Keller

[Comments] (4) A little tribute to my blog, a la Susie: Happy 5th Birthday Blog. My blog has seen me through 2 moves (soon to be one more), one horrible/awesome job. It saw my brother Dave and Ashley get married, Julie and Chuck, and brother in law Jake and Erin get married. Plus cousins, of course. It began pretty much on the commencement of my first pregnancy, and plus a second one. (If you really want to hear some sob stories /pity parties read the ones about Lily’s pregnancy), two babies and one hard working husband that got through BYU’s ridiculously hard science program (especially hard for someone that HATES school) and is almost done with 4 yrs of Dental school. I’ve had short hair and long hair through this time, straight and permed. Both my parents remarried since I’ve been blogging. I’ve been on several trips including AZ, UT, KS, TX, FL, & NY. It’s seen the birth of 8 nieces and nephews, and the death’s of my Grandpa , Aunt Frances, Aaron’s two grandpa’s and grandma, and Melea. It has been around for 2 BIL missionary homecomings. We have “owned” 4 cars during it’s life. The past 5 years have been packed full of memories.

The thing about journals is that I always threw them away after I went back years later and read them. I would read what I wrote and roll my eyes and think how lame or naïve or just plain stupid I was or what was I thinking writing this? I get really embarrassed and ashamed of my shortcomings and being reminded of them again is very humbling and uncomfortable so I would just trash it. Having a blog is a little like that. Sure there are things I would love to delete, especially having gone through it recently, re-reading entries. I am so grateful to this blog though. Not only has it kept me in touch with distant family, but I have so many precious memories recorded here. I loved going through and reading about Lily when she was a baby. I remember telling my mom in the hospital that I never want her to grow up. I wanted her to just stay so small and sweet and my little baby forever. My mom said , “oh, then you would never see her crawl or take her first step, or say her first words” and she was totally right, I love being a witness in my kids lives and seeing all their milestones, but a part of me wants to go back and hold them again at each phase. I miss my baby Lily. She was the best baby anyone could ever ask for, and even though she has been getting so fun and exciting to be around everyday, I won’t lie, sometimes it is tough to be her parent, and I am so blessed to get to go back and remember how I feel in love with her from minute one and all the incredibly cute things she did like have growling games with anyone that would growl back (memory of my grandpa, a 90-something yr old man growling for minutes back and forth with Lily when she was like 7 months old, you had to be there).

Anyway, what I am trying to say is I am so blessed with my life. Sure I have had some pretty tough trials, past and present. We all have. I love my babies so much, and I don’t deserve them. They teach me so much. They are such sweet, pure spirits, and I mess up all the time. Aaron may not be perfect, but I think we are perfect for each other. He has taught me invaluable life lessons that a perfect marriage would not afford. I love my little family. I love my big family. I love that my big family is so big. I couldn’t ask for better friends. I hope I can always recognize the ways the Lord has blessed my life and be a little bit better each day.

I feel like I should end this like a testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ :) but I guess it is kinda what it is…the church is true, seize the day, all you need is love.

Now I will try and refrain from deleting this as I have just bared my soul and feel a little naked right now.

Being bad rad is my job and business is good!: This morning we opened the door to a naked baby. Gunnar has been taking off his jammies lately. It started with the two piece ones. He would just take off the bottoms, and of course the diaper. Now he has mastered the zipper and takes off his sleepers. Nothing is safe anymore! The past couple days I have had to tape his diaper on at night. The boy is crazy. Why he would want to take off clothes when it is cold at night is beyond me.

I've cleaned up poop sheets and pee sheets. Thankfully the tape has worked so far and he has not been able to take the diaper off with that. I hate putting it on, but you do what you got to do. He cries and says owie tape, owie tape, No!, but it is for his own good. Especially when I come in and he is freezing cold and wet. From his own pee.

It just so happened that Aaron forgot it last night. No biggie, I have done early morning loads before to be finished in time for nap time, except that this time, it was not on the sheets. There was a big ring of wetness on his rug. Nice. Rugs don't go in the washer. How do you disinfect a huge rug? The mental picture here is of those Calvin and Hobbs cartoon bumper stickers where there is a stream of pee going up and over. Gunnar got some distance! The wet spot is a good three feet from the crib.

So Gunnar comes up to me after Aaron put a new diaper on and swats his leg and goes uh, naughty! no, no, naughty. uh Dumbo diaper, naughty". (There is an elephant on the front of his diaper, so he calls them Dumbo diapers.) The poor thing was giving himself spankings. I don't know where he got that, we never spank him except for play-you know what I mean, like tickles. It cracks me up, because he knows he is being naughty, but he does it anyway. Because he can. Of course I reinforced that it was naughty to take off his diaper. I just thought it was funny that he was like reporting to me that he was being naughty, and punished himself for it. He will now be known as the Whiz Kid until this phase is over with.

[Comments] (4) To do list, and the done list: So far so good this month. I feel like I am keeping my head above water for the most part this Christmas season. Friday we took our family pictures...in the dark. Aaron didn't get home till 5:30 so we just took them in our front yard. Oh well, at least they are done and now I can order them, and hopefully send them out next week.

I pretty much have everything bought for people on the list. I told Aaron that he had to buy for his dad, because I never know what to get him. I think he forgot because yesterday he went with his friend Mark to go scope out a laptop for himself instead of buy gifts for Rick...or me. Really, I am kidding though, I don't want Aaron to buy me anything for Christmas. We got a GPS and that is about all I want. Plus that trip to the outlet mall for midnight madness. Yep, I'm pretty good at buying for myself too it turns out. Don't need any help there. So don't get me anything Aaron, capisce?

Friday night my mom invited the kids to spend the night. It was fabulous. Lily has spent the night at David and Ashley's several times, but never Gunnar. I was a little nervous that he would cry the whole night, because when I put him down for naps over there, he never really stays asleep long, and cries very sad tears when I put him down. It was great though, because he just waved us goodbye when we left him there. He likes Moppie's house now because he knows where her jellybean stash is, and he gets fistfuls at a time.

Mom had them make a gingerbread house, and she said they both went down fine. When I picked them up the next morning, they were both cheerful and bright. Success! Now mom just needs to invite them over more. Gunnar is so cute. When we get onto Circle A Trail he knows where we are going "Mop-mee's house". I think it is cute when he recognizes where we are. He does the same for church. When we get in the neighborhood he goes "yay! church!" or "yay! gym!".

Since we had an all night babysitter for Friday, Aaron and I went to the ward Christmas party, and actually enjoyed ourselves. We didn't have to stress that dinner wasn't served until 7pm because our kids weren't there starving, or tearing up the place in the meantime. We had a good time hanging out with everyone, and then we jetted to the movies. We saw The Day the Earth Stood Still. I still remember the original VHS movie in my dad's collection, and seeing the first 15 minutes of it and laughing my head off at how lame it was. The new version is not much better. Very boring. I fell asleep for at least 30 minutes of it. Keanu Reeves is good at playing robots or stoners because of his lack of depth as a character and voice fluctuations. It was just too boring though.

Sat morning we had scout pack meeting and tithing settlement. I also went on a 16 mile run. Blisters much. Ouch. Aaron fried some hot thighs, drumsticks, breasts, sweet potato fries, and regular fries for dinner. I have the best recipe for hot wings sauce. I love my deep fryer. It gets it to the perfect crispness. Oh boy, what a mess though.

[Comments] (1) Baby, it's cold outside!: Aaron had a bad day today, so he wanted to go out to dinner. Not sure that is the cure for a bad day. The equation is probably more along the lines of Gunnar+restaurant=miserable time, but we pulled through alright with the bottomless fries at Red Robin to keep him busy-"uh, dip it, uh dip it" (in the ketchup). And stealing my "moes" (tomatoes). What is up with them jacking their prices up by the way? Not a fan. Plus my pineapple was cold on my chicken sandwich. At least we got a free one that Aaron is going to take to lunch tomorrow.

Seriously, about Gunnar though. Terrible two's much. He is yelling at me all the time. "Mom-mee! Mom-mee!" If I don't pay attention right away.

After dinner we went to pick up our Christmas card photos, and then drove around a nice neighborhood to look at lights and listen to Christmas music. The children loved it. Gunnar loved it so much, he wanted to make sure I was seeing all the cool lights. "Look! Look! uh lights. Mon (more) lights. Mom-mee! Look." And when we left the neighborhood he cried "mon lights, uh back, uh back". I asked Lily if she could see the Santa Claus and she was like yeah, but I just like Mrs. Claus because she is beautiful.

So what is up with it being freezing today. Yesterday was like 80 degrees. I refuse to run the a/c in the winter (technically still fall people) so Aaron and I had the fan on in our room it was so warm. And when we woke up I didn't even realize it was freezing until I opened the door. Yikes. Never fear. We are back up to the 70's at the end of the week.

[Comments] (4) I AM:

I am: determined

I have: A beautiful family

I Am: a busybody.

I Think: about things a lot. And then I think about them some more.

I Know: how to have a good time.

I Want: To go back to school one day, I love taking classes.

I Dislike: putting myself into categories. I like having room to choose how I feel at the moment. However I like to categorize outside things.

I Miss: having a Café Rio salad.

I Fear: Aaron failing the last year of dental school.

I Feel: sore from my Yoga class.

I Smell: my babies skin a lot.

I Crave: to clean my house from top to bottom for a week straight, but I either get interrupted or I have to start over because it is messed up again or I get discouraged and don’t want to look at it for a couple days.

I Cry: whenever I see other people cry.

I Usually: eat oatmeal for breakfast.

I Search: for movies I might like on Netflix.

I Wonder: where we will move to in a year and a half.

I Regret: when I am not more compassionate.

I Love: going out to dinner.

I Care: about keeping in touch with people.

I Always: love a good laugh.

I Worry: about not being a good enough mom.

I Am Not: always on time.

I Remember: talking to my sister Aly late into the night growing up. My kids will always share a room unless there is only one in that gender.

I Believe: in the church.

I Dance: rarely. I don’t like doing stuff with my arms. I think it is called uncoordinated. I’ll just watch thanks.

I speak up: when I have had it.

I Argue: for the sake of debating.

I Write: because I like it.

I Win: the worst garden of the year.

I Lose: track of time when I am alone.

I Wish: I spent the energy I use for feeling guilty, on something productive.

I Listen: to good music.

I Don't Understand: men. I honestly don’t.

I Can Usually Be Found: at home.

I Am Scared: to move and not know my way around.

I Need: 8-9 hours of sleep every night.

I Forget: how bad feeling sick feels until I am sick again.

I Am: hopeful.

I tag: Rachel, Susie, Jenni, Hailey

[Comments] (1) What?! : When did we hit the home stretch till Christmas? I can't believe it is in the 20's already. Christmas is just in a few days. It is crazy time has flown so quick. This Dec has been so nice and relaxing. We are staying in town, so there hasn't been that last mad dash to get everything done in the short amount of time before we have to go out of town. I mean two Christmases ago we stayed in town for the first time since I graduated high school, but I just had Gunnar so that doesn't count for non stress holidays.

I have been so nonchalant that I realized on Thurs that if I didn't get the gifts in the mail, that they may not get there by Christmas. I couldn't send a couple though because I was still waiting for them. But I am mailing my last package today, and all my Christmas cards have been sent, and I just have Gunnar's trike to get at Walmart, a gift card, and another gift card and I am done with my shopping. I put it off till next week so I can do it sans kids since Aaron will be home for the holidays. He is taking the second part to the national boards test today, and after today he is home free until Jan 5th. PARTY!

It is kinda funny that right now we are loving the Christmas time, but then once it is over, it is all I can do to wait until New Years day to take everything and put it away again. There really is a time and season for everything. I remember one summer before we had kids, Aaron and I went to Alaska to visit, and during the trip we traveled up to North Pole, AK. There really is a city named that, and they have this big Christmas shopppe with everything Christmas you can imagine. They also have a barn type thing with reindeer in the flesh. If my memory serves me right, they have a "Dear Santa" collection where they receive letters from kids, and I want to say that they actually have a letter they send out back to the kids that write in. I may have just made that up, but I know they do receive letters from kids for Santa.

Anyway, we went there right smack dab in the middle of summer, and even though it was Alaska and it wasn't full on summer weather, it was actually kinda depressing. I didn't really want to look at Christmas stuff because we had just gotten out of the cold months and we were totally into summer. The thought of Christmas being around the corner was just depressing. We still had half a year for that anticipation, and any sooner would just be spoiling the fun.

So it is interesting that we (or I) are so driven by schedules and calendars and this internal timer of when timing is right. I always love the first warm day of Spring and I love seeing everything turn green just as I love the first signs of fall, and the leaves changing colors and the air getting brisk. Having gone through one season for a period of time makes you appreciate the next so much more. It wouldn't be good if it was just spring all the time or summer all the time or Sat all the time. You enjoy Sat because you work so hard throughout the week that once it comes you can enjoy your relaxation. But if everyday is like a Sat to you, you just start feeling depressed and like you aren't doing anything productive just as if you work all the time you only want to take a break. I am so grateful for seasons and having a time and purpose for everything.

And this holiday season, I will be living it in the moment and enjoying it with my family and hopefully will making memories to cherish forever.

Words: Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.- Robert Brault

Go to bed: I hate when you are so tired that you procrastinate washing your face and brushing your teeth so you can just go to sleep already, but then you end up spending triple the amount of time it would have taken just wasting it doing nothing. Why can't I just do it right to begin with? Oh wait, then life would be easy.

[Comments] (2) My peach: We all know Lily's selective taste in clothes, but it turns out she is just as particular with others as she is with herself. Since Julie and Chuck have been in town, they have been the brunt of her bizarreness. She told Julie a couple days ago that she wants her to go home and change her shirt and come back. I guess she doesn't like black and gray button up shirts. And then she told Chuck (who she has a crush on) that she likes it better when he wears his hat.

Probably the most embarrassing of all this month was what she told the care taker at the kids club. I guess she started to wear a hair piece to lengthen her hair and she had it on for like 3 days. I noticed it was longer but I just figured that she had it down. Well on the 4th day she didn't have it on and I asked her if she cut her hair. She said that she didn't and that it was just a hair extension that she put in but someone at the gym said it didn't look good so she stopped wearing it. I couldn't believe it and asked who told you that? Hmm, take a stab in the dark. She pointed to Lily. The lady of course knows Lily and how she is and didn't have her feelings hurt, but she just said Lily kept telling her she didn't like her hair long and wanted her to take the extension out. Geez! Such antics from that one.

The latest thing with Gunnar is her Jedi mind tricks she puts on him. Whenever he has a toy she wants and Gunnar is crying out no, no she will stop and say "Gunnar, say yes, say yes." Of course Gunnar says yes, and then Lily takes that and runs with it. I swear, when I watch Lily and Gunnar interact I feel like I am watching a Max and Ruby episode. There's Max, the little brother (Gunnar) with his two or three word sentences and then there is Ruby the manipulative and bossy older sister (Lily) telling everyone what they should be doing. You can't make this stuff up.

Merry Christmas: I still need to report all our Dec going ons, but that post is for another day. We've just been busy enjoying Chuck and Julie being here and spending time with the rest of the family. It's been a great Christmas. :)

2008 Christmas card: This is the Christmas card I sent out this year. For some reason, it bugs me when people write their cards in a way that you can't tell which person is writing it. Kinda silly, but people usually don't write in 3rd person except for when they write Christmas cards. No Elmo talk for me...

Happy Holidays- 2008

Our biggest news to report is that Aaron got accepted into the Air Force Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program in…WASHINGTON DC (Andrews Air Force base)! We look forward to Aaron’s graduation this coming May and we will be official east coasters in July. Please feel free to visit us anytime, and we mean that. When Aaron’s program is up after a year, we will owe 4 yrs active duty. Location-to be determined.

In the meantime, Aaron is rethinking the sports thing since there were a few hand injury scares on his flag football team. I’m thinking that’s a good idea because he’ll need those hands. Instead, he keeps them strong by playing World of Warcraft.

This fall, we were lucky to get Lily into the school district’s preschool curriculum which is everyday for about 3 hours. Lily, being the social butterfly that she is, loves it to no end. She also looks forward to her dance class once a week, asking me a few times a week if it is dance class day. We were able to take a fall trip to Disney World this year, and all this little princess’ dreams did come true. Our whole family loved it actually. Lily is so precocious and delightful that we just love having such a fun firecracker a part of our family.

Gunnar has totally come out of his shell, (and off my hip) to be quite a boy with said vocabulary, vroom vroom, ball!, choo choo train, outside. Even at this age you can see his great sense of humor shine through with his huge grin and slight dimple. He is a crowd pleaser, and not one day goes by where a stranger will comment on how adorable he is. I agree! The most precious thing to see is his love for his ‘sissy’. They truly are best buds, for better or worse.

My proudest accomplishments for 2008, besides being able to recite Finding Nemo verbatim, would be racing the year away running. I’ve enjoyed 5ks, 10ks, and completed my first half marathon. I am looking forward to finishing a full marathon in Feb. I was also able to take a trip this summer with my sister Julie to NYC, while Aaron took the kids to AZ to visit grandma and grandpa. After NYC, I flew to FL to see my sister Alyson’s family and meet their new baby girl, Molly. There is talk, on my part, of having a girl’s trip become an annual tradition.  I have also loved having one-on-one time with Gunnar boy while Lily is at school and seeing Lily’s new accomplishments after her return. My little family has grown so much this year and I feel blessed to be apart of it. We hope this letter finds you all happy and healthy. Thank you for being apart of our lives and sharing in our joy.

Love,

Aaron, Kristen, Lily, & Gunnar

Sunny 9 for 2008

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