Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Tree Snob

Along with the majority of Christmas celebrating Americans, I put up my Christmas decorations this week. I'm usually a day-after-Thanksgiving kind of decorator, but due to given circumstances, it just wasn't an option this year. So I spent Monday night with the fam picking out a Christmas tree in the rain. That's right. We're a real tree family. I just can't justify saving the money if it means sacrificing that pine smell and the fun of picking out a slightly imperfect tree, trying to get it home without loosing it to oncoming traffic, and spending hours trying to get it to stand up, then hoping it doesn't die before Christmas. Why would I give that up?

Speaking of trying to get it to stand up...we already had an episode with the tree tipping over. We usually tie the tree to the wall to prevent such a disaster. I couldn't find the hook we use so I figured we'd be fine for a few days until some one got to Home Depot. No such luck. Thanks to my animal like reflexes, I caught the tree before it landed on any small children. Trying to keep the tree in an upright position while crouching underneath to re-tighten the screws on the tree stand all with my bare hands and bare forearms was a joke. But, the tree is still standing and I made it out with only a few minor scratches.

I love our Christmas tree. Last year, Spencer and I decided to forgo all Christmas decorations that made us look like a middle-aged couple. The majority of our Christmas decorations were from my mom...ones she was getting ride of like 8 years ago or something. Now if she didn't want them 8 years ago, why would I want them now? The answer is...I don't. It was all we had. So I put up these out dated Christmas decorations year after year. Last year we had had enough. Spencer and I decided we'd rather have sparse youthful decorations than a winter wonderland we were ashamed of. So we are down to three measly boxes of decorations. Two with tree decor, and one with a nativity, a few random Christmas things that I don't put out but can't bare to part with due to the memories attached, and this fantastic red velvet and white fur blanket my mom made for us last year.

I do, of course, have dishes as well. I have snowman dishes that I don't decorate with. But I fill my open kitchen shelves with red, green, and red and green striped dishes. I have darling little Santa Claus mugs where his hat turns into the handle. And some super cute mitten shaped plates from RubyAnn. I'd take a picture, but still no luck with the camera.

Back to the tree...I am a horrible mother when it comes to tree decorating. I just like my tree to look a certain way. I want the whole thing to coordinate. My poor children were so excited to open the boxes of decorations and start hanging things on the tree. They were of course immediately drawn to the few tacky ornaments I own and unevenly spaced them them right on the tree. I had to warn them that not only would the ornaments not be where they placed them, but they wouldn't even be on the tree when they woke up. Yes, I decorate the tree when my kids are asleep to avoid poorly placed ornaments. As if to make up for not letting them touch the tree, I did wrap their bunk bed in a strand of colored lights. One of these years, they're really going to insist on hanging all their homemade ornaments on a Christmas tree and I'm just going to have to break down and buy a second tree, because there's no way they're hanging those on my tree. Yes, I'm a Christmas tree snob.

I wish I could describe in words the spectacle that is my Christmas tree. But all I can come up with is that it's red and green and teal all over. Well, not ALL over. I found some great plastic ornaments that look a lot like my glass ones to decorate the bottom of the tree with. But I don't have red or teal plastic ornaments. So the portion of the tree in arms reach of a small child is just green and silver (oh yeah, red and green and teal AND silver). Not that it matters if it's in arms reach or not...my boys are pretty creative in their mischief. I don't put it past them to break even the ornaments at the tip top of the tree. We tried to pick the tree with the sharpest needles possible with hope to defer the crazies from messing with it. But yesterday, I found Parker pulling pine needles off one by one. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me he was taking all the 'poke-y' things off so nobody will get hurt. So much for that idea.

I also made a fabulous tree skirt last year with big, shiny red and green and teal wedges all the way around. It looks a lot like a parachute. I did ask Santa for a new camera this year. Hopefully I will be able to get some pictures up before decorations come down. My concern is, by the time Christmas comes, the tree will be dead and all ornaments removed (or unevenly spaced) from the bottom of the tree. Nothing looks quite as magical by the time Christmas comes.

I decided to turn on some Christmas music as I was decorating all alone. I needed something to get me in the Christmas spirit (as if the whining of my children wasn't enough). I found my self turning on a Barry Manilow Christmas. It turns out I don't need out dated decorations to turn me into a middle-aged woman. I must be a middle aged woman at heart. If it's any consolation, I did first search for Bare Naked Ladies Christmas Album, but chose Barry instead when I realized I left BNL in the car. I don't know if that's really a consolation. They probably haven't been cool since I was in high school. I have a weakness for cheesy Christmas music. I look forward to it all year. I infact have quite a large collection of embarrassing Christmas Cd's. Evident by the fact that when Barry Manilow was over, I turned on Christmas with Kenny and Dolly (that's Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton). I luckily married someone with the same weakness. It's the one time of the year we somewhat agree on music. I have no idea why I just admitted to this. I'm sure it gives Traci something to make fun of me for for the rest of my life.

I am grateful for the joy involved in the Christmas season.

Adding to the List

Today Reid discovered that his stump fits perfectly into the cups in a muffin tin. Just another 'One Foot Advantage.' (see link)

SMACK!

So this morning I was out for a jog with my dog, Chief. (A full 45 minute...or more like 47 minute... jog for anyone interested in how many points I got for that.) I was on the side walk and he was trotting along right beside me. And then he did something I've never seen a dog do. He had his head turned sideways looking at something then he ran SMACK into a stop sign. Can't he read? It was like straight out of a cartoon. HILARIOUS! It was not even 6:00am yet so it was still dark and no one was around to share the laughter with. So I'm sharing it now with you all.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Chef's Thanksgiving Day Special

There's nothing like a family road trip to make you wonder...How did my life get here? Seriously. I have THREE kids. Three kids! Three kids? When did I cross that line? That line from being the pest in the back seat to the parent in the front? It doesn't feel like that long ago that I was sitting in the back arguing about who's touching who and tattling on someone for looking at me funny and repeatedly asking if we're there yet. I now have children doing the same thing. Is that possible?

My kids traveled incredibly well...thanks to an in car DVD player, a pack of construction paper, and a little tape. I discovered a talent I didn't know I had. I am a master with construction paper. By the end of the trip, Parker and Reid accumulated 5 hats each. We of course had Pilgrim and Indian hats to remember it was Thanksgiving. We also had Rudolf hats, Santa hats, elf hats...by default, and crowns (or king hats as Parker refers to them). Parker was never without a hat on the trip. Which was fine with me, except when he left the car in his completely politically incorrect Indian hat. I hope we didn't offend any Native Americans (or is it American Indians?).

We took a quick trip out to Texas. What was supposed to be a 16 hour drive quickly (or slowly) turned into a 20 hour drive with three kids. Spencer didn't get any extra time off work so we drove down for 2 days, stayed there for 1, and drove back for 2. Let me tell you...it was tight quarters for 5 days. That's a lot of time to spend with a car full of boys and no break...even after the kids were in bed, because I was in the next bed over. You can only imagine the gas involved in a car full of boys for five days. Followed immediately by laughter from at least three of them (you can guess which three because Grayden's too young to understand that boys are supposed to think that's funny) and then an announcement of who did it. My oldest is three. I thought this wasn't going to start until they were older. I occasionally found myself laughing, too. Little boys are just funny. That's what makes me a good mother of all boys. That and the fact that I could carry on a 10 minute conversation with Parker about bird poop. Yes, Parker came to the realization this week that birds poop while they're flying and poop can fall right through the sky and land on your car. Anyone who found this last paragraph completely disgusting and offensive is not a good candidate to be a parent of all boys. Anyway...besides the major meltdown at Denny's on the drive home, we all survived and I still love all four of them.

For anyone who didn't put two and two together, yes, we traveled on Thanksgiving. The closest I came to a Thanksgiving dinner was a turkey sub I got at a truck stop in the middle of No-where-ville Oklahoma. NOTHING was open on Thanksgiving. Between St. Louis and Oklahoma City was a whole lot of nothing. And nothing is open in small towns on Thanksgiving. We stopped at several gas stations that were not open. We're lucky we didn't run out of gas (besides that from my boys). Spencer could hardly bare Thanksgiving without turkey. (He got a slice of pizza at the truck stop instead of a turkey sub.) Although, he did remind me of an almost turkey-less Thanksgiving in years past that we spent with his family. We had turkey, it just wasn't ready until a few hours after dinner was over. By the time we got to the hotel, the restaurant had served it's Thanksgiving dinner hours before. But Spencer talked them into fixing him up a plate to-go that he brought up to the hotel room for us to share. I have no idea what kind of "Chef's Thanksgiving Day Special" that was. It was the worst turkey I've ever laid taste buds on. It didn't include mashed potatoes or stuffing or rolls. It was turkey, ham, rice and zuccini. YUM! (sarcastic).

We actually really lucked out with hotels. I made all my reservations on line before hand. I Price-Lined them. You know...where you put in your credit card, name your own price, and hope you get something decent. We ended up with a four star hotel in both St. Louis and Nashville. And a three star in Texas which may have been the best of all three because it was brand-spankin'-new. Every hotel had big down comforters and throw pillows on the beds, granite counter tops in the bathrooms and solid wood headboards on the beds. Sweet! And I always type in a really low price to see if any hotel would accept it. I was so surprised to get such great deals during the biggest travel holiday of the year.

This was our hotel in St. Louis. An old Union Station building. The boys thought we were staying in a castle.
Hyatt Regency St. Louis

It was just as awesome on the inside...This is the lobby.
The Grand Hall

The Grand Hall

This is what our cheap room looked like.
Two Queen Beds - Garden Guestroom Bathroom

Not bad huh? Nashville was pretty awesome, too. We stayed right in the center of Opryland. Spencer was a little star struck and hoping to run into some famous country singer at the hotel. No such luck.

The trip really wasn't as bad as I anticipated, but not fun nonetheless. I'm grateful for such great boys. As crazy as they can be, they are really well behaved kids. And even though we were in too tight of quarters, it was nice to have five whole days to have the family together.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Publish Post

video

I had big plans to stage an awesome video clip of my boys back when I was borrowing Autumns camera. I never got around to it before I returned her camera. But I did practice using the video feature once while we were waiting for Spencer to come home from work. This may not be a huge production, but it's my crazies playing outside.

I was asked recently how I manage to find time to blog with my three (obviously crazy) children. My answer...multitasking. If multitasking were an Olympic sport, I'd win Gold every time. Actually, I may not even be allowed to compete because I'm too good for amateur status. I'd be competing professionally. The other day, I found myself with a baby in one arm, a bottle held in place by my chin, a telephone between my shoulder and ear, and my free hand was making mac and cheese...not just stirring, but adding milk and butter. Back to the job at hand...I blog while I feed Gray (unless of course I'm making mac and cheese). I have 30 minutes every 4 hours where I just have to sit. I might as well sit at the computer. I'm afraid feeding a baby has never been this great bonding time for me. I always look forward to when my boys can feed themselves. Just more of the many reasons I choose to bottle feed. Which is not what I'm writing about today.

Once again, back on track...I find time to blog because I love it. All bloggers know the reasons for blogging. Journaling...blah, blah blah. Keeping in touch with family and friends...blah, blah, blah. That is definitely what got me started. And I love that about blogs. I've discovered an added bonus for me.

For as log as I can remember, I have had detailed conversations in my head. When I'm mowing the lawn, driving in the car, walking my dog, when I can't sleep, all day. These conversations are exactly how they appear in my blog. Descriptive wording and all. It's like I would write it down in my head and file it away. Most of my life I was juggling around all these memories. Blogging gets them out of my head and onto my computer. It is such a HUGE release for me. It was getting to be a pretty heavy load to carry around all these conversations.

I know I could have written them down before, but by the time I got to writing in my journal, I had so much to write I left out all the details and it just wasn't a release. Knowing that someone else reads and may even care about these things is a motivation for me. There is something very satisfying about clicking "Publish Post" and sending my thoughts out into the world.

As I am reading over this post, I think it makes me sound a little psycho, but again, it's good to get it out of my head. So...

PUBLISH POST

Sunday, November 18, 2007

On your mark, get set...

As of now, we have 13 people signed up for the Healthy Competition.

If anyone is still interested or has friends or family that still might be interested...today's the last day to sign up. The more the merrier...and the bigger the prize money. (I suppose if you want to sign up later than today, that's fine. But you won't get any points for the days prior to signing up.)

FAQ:
  • What to do in case of a tie? I've been contemplating this...I've decide that in the even of a tie...we'll look toward unused free points as a tie breaker. I did say the top 3 participants take home a prize. If there are more than three people still tied after calculating in the unused free points, I'll have to think of something...I don't have a plan as of yet.
  • How will the prize money be divided up? My plan was 50% for first place, 30% for second, and 20% for third, but if there is a tie I will redistribute those percentages.
  • Can we chew gum? I have no problem with gum. Fresh breath always takes priority. Just don't swallow it.
For all those signed up...it's looking like it will be a pretty intense competition. Start counting points tomorrow. I'd tell you good luck, but I'd luck to save all the luck for myself.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Aunt Cindy is Right

Aunt Cindy is right. Mess week? only a week? What was I thinking? I think with the birth of my third child, I'm officially entering the mess years. Not that there weren't messes enough with two, but three just pushes things over the edge.

I woke up yesterday morning throwing up. Awesome. Not just throwing up, but I had a fever with chills and all. I've taken care of my kids plenty of times while sick. Even throwing up. It's part of being a mom. You just push on through. But I've never done it with a fever. I just couldn't keep myself from falling asleep here and there throughout the day.

Each time I woke up, it was to a whole new mess. Among the messes...the boys had filled up water bottles and were squirting them around the family room, stickers were stuck on every surface in the house, and an entire pack of diaper wipes emptied. Parker also took it upon himself to make them some lunch. Truthfully, I was grateful for that. They ate pretzels, fruit snacks, and bologna (a new found love introduced to them by Grandpa Smith...I certainly wouldn't have introduced that nasty stuff). It was better than anything I could have fed them. I was sick enough that I didn't even mind them eating it in the family room...until I found Reid stomping on the pretzels they had dumped out. Oh well...what are dogs for if not to clean up food spills from your kids?

Spencer came home from work to: 1 dog eating the garbage he had dumped out all over the kitchen, 1 crying infant smelling of sour milk, 1 one year old soaking wet from a diaper that hadn't been changed in I don't know how long, 1 three year old still in his pajamas blasting some random music he found in our CD case and having his own dance party, and 1 wife asleep on the couch. My wonderful husband came right in and turned down the music, changed the necessary diapers, fed, bathed and tucked in the kids, started a load of laundry and got straight into cleaning up the house...and spraying every surface with Lysol in hopes that he doesn't catch this awful bug that the rest of the family has been sick with. I was amazed...he didn't even have to ask what needed to be done. I woke up from a bed I had slept on with freshly changed sheets, to a house so clean I almost didn't recognize it. I am a lucky woman. Spencer is great.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk

Welcome to Dumpsville baby. Population...ME.

No, I haven't been dumped, but everything else in my house has been dumped, spilled, tossed, thrown up, you name it.

Mess week kicked off last Thursday morning. It was grocery day and I had all 3 kids ready to be out the door by 9:00am. Dressed, hair fixed, diaper bag packed, everything was ready but shoes. A feat only appreciated by those with multiple children. My children are all especially young and helpless. Not one of them can get dressed by himself yet. Parker may be old enough but he can't seem to get past the getting undressed step before he's running around the house in the buff yelling "OOO LA LA" and doing poses in front of the mirror. So 3 kids and 1 mom by 9:00am is amazing. I was coming down the hall with shoes and decided to take a little detour to the bathroom before we left. And in my moments of being helpless and indisposed, Parker managed to dump TWO GALLONS of milk on the kitchen floor.

Two gallons looks like a lot more on the floor than it does in the cartons. It filled my kitchen and overflowed into the living room. Reid thought it was great and was playing slip 'n' slide on the kitchen floor. He was practically swimming in it and drenched from head to toe. Parker slipped in it a few times and was soaking from waist down. And my dog was lying in it; trying to drink as much as possible before I cleaned it up. I stripped the boys down and shoved them in the tub...tracking milk through the entire house. By the time the floor was cleaned and the boys bathed, it was time for Grayden to eat and the boys needed lunch, then naps. It was afternoon before I made it to the store. I have a small window of time to get out of the house before this sequence of events prevents me from leaving.

If only that were the worst of mess week. Among the many things dumped this week...the usual toys, several bowls of cold cereal, dog food, a bag of cheese puffs (leaving a nice powdering of orange grease to clean up), half a bathtub full of water, a container of ball shaped sprinkles that I'm still finding in every crack and corner of my kitchen (the kind with a separator with four colors of sprinkles in one...that's a lot of sprinkles), and marsh mellows just to name a few. I even found Reid with a open container of sour cream and a spatula. Which doesn't have to be a mess if he could have kept it in his mouth, but not Reid. And yesterday, I made the mistake of leaving my bedroom (where I had been folding a mess-week mountain worth of laundry) without locking the door behind me. In just seconds, the boys managed to have more than half the laundry unfolded and on the floor. Awesome. 2 hours wasted.

Here's the kicker...Saturday night, Parker woke up throwing up followed 24 hours later by Reid and Grayden. The throwing up lasted 2-3 days per kid with the diarrhea right behind. (Gross, I know. But it is socially acceptable for mothers of young children to discuss poop.) It's amazing to me how different three boys can be. Parker needs to be coddled when he's sick. He lays on the couch demanding me to wait on him hand and foot. Reid wanders the house whining. And Grayden...the sweet little thing is as pleasant as can be. I would hold his little heaving body over a sink or bowl or toilet (whatever was momentarily free) while he was throwing up. He would finish and then just look at me and smile. We rarely heard a peep from the smiley guy all week.

It looked like the stomach bug was on its way out as of yesterday...besides the lingering diarrhea. The kids were running around and contributing as much as they could to mess week before it was over. We have come full circle and today was grocery day again. I hadn't left this sick house past the garbage can since Saturday and was actually looking forward to it (silly me). All was well when we left the house. And grocery shopping was going well except the normal groceries that Reid likes to throw out of the cart. And then it happened...Parker began throwing up again...on my groceries.

I reach into my diaper bag...which is typically well stocked and can possibly even rival that of Mary Poppins. I know I have plastic bags in there, but I also know they are inside a small zippered compartment inside the bag and there just wasn't time. The first thing I can find is a diaper. They're absorbent right? So there I was in the Walmart meat department, up to my elbows in throw-up, holding an open diaper in front of my 3 year old's mouth. AHHH...motherhood at it's finest. I wish I could say that was the first time one of my kids threw up in Walmart, but it wasn't the first time and probably won't be the last.

I got the diaper there in enough time to stop him from ruining a cart full of groceries. I think he just got me, a box of Cheerios, a carton of eggs and some BBQ sauce. I cleaned every last grocery off with Lysol when I got home just to be safe. No, I didn't just leave my cart of groceries and rush out the door...although I was tempted. It's far too big of an ordeal to leave the house. I wasn't going home empty handed. The guy behind the counter at the meat department was not at all helpful. He kept interrupting me to ask about the turkey I had just ordered. Did he not see the diaper? I certainly didn't care at that moment how he sliced my turkey. He gave me the wrong amount of meat but I wasn't about to complain. I had him call maintenance (because it certainly didn't occur to him to do that) and I high-tailed it out of there. Thank goodness for diaper wipes and Germ-X hand sanitizer.

Parker has now resumed his place on the couch for another Muppet marathon afternoon. And just when I thought I would make it a day without the constant running of the washing machine...it's back on.

As mess week comes to a close, I can only imagine what surprises the boys have in store for me tonight. With a week like this, I'm sure they have a slam-bang finish cooked up.

You know it's time to shave your legs when...

...you're out for a morning jog in your cropped pants and you can feel the wind blowing through your leg hair.

Why do I have such a problem with this?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Healthy Competition

It's time to take drastic measures...I've been desperately trying to lose this baby weight since I gave birth to baby number three. I made it three weeks without sweets. Then Halloween came, and so did my in-laws, leaving me with more sweets than I could resist. I've been sneaking out early for a morning jog about 4 times a week. But my time is limited and I don't get in all the exercising that I need. With 3 kids ages three and under, I have very minimal down time. You'd think the pounds would be flying off. But no such luck.

I've been trying to figure out what to do about this. I considered posting a weekly picture of me on the Internet in spandex shorts and a sports bra like on those reality weight loss shows. If that's not motivation, I don't know what is. But for you all to avoid those gruesome images, I've decided to go another direction. I have a proposal...a little healthy competition for anyone who's interested. It's not a weight loss competition, just a healthy living competition.

This is the game:

Everyone participating puts in $20.

Points are awarded for each healthy decision throughout the day (I'll explain further down). Everyone keeps track of their own points and emails me their weekly totals and the end of each week. I'll email everyone's weekly totals to all participants so you know where you stand each week. At the end of 12 weeks, the person with the most points wins the big money. There will be monetary prizes for the top three players.

Points are awarded daily for the following (one point for each healthy choice):
  1. 30 minutes of exercise
  2. 15 additional minutes of exercise (a point for this 15 min is only awarded if you've already exercised for 30 min)
  3. healthy breakfast
  4. healthy lunch
  5. healthy dinner
  6. no sweets / soda all day
  7. 3 servings of vegetables
  8. 2 servings of fruit
  9. no unhealthy snacks
  10. 64 oz of water
Some of these points are a little vague, I know. But I leave it up to the individual to make decisions. You may choose any form of exercise you like. Weather you eat out or dine in...just make healthy choices. Try to eat balances meals. You can visit http://www.mypyramid.gov/ for help with that. As for the unhealthy snacks...we all know what's healthy and not. Potato chips=unhealthy. Apple=healthy. We're using the "Honor Code" here.

There is a possible 10 points to be earned per day. 60 possible per week. Sundays are free days. Everyone gets 2 free points per week. Meaning...if you really just need sweets or potato chips or something one day...eat them without missing that point. Or if you just can't seem to get in that extra 15 minutes of exercise one day...you can still get points for it. Or if you just can't resist a Big Mac...eat it. But only twice a week. You give in more than 2 times, you don't get points. This plan INCLUDES "roll over." If you didn't use your 2 extra points, you can save them for the next week. It's up to you to keep track of your own points.

The competition will begin on Monday, November 19 and last 12 weeks; ending on February 10. Thanksgiving and Christmas (or Christmas Eve...your choice) are free days. There will only be 50 possible points those weeks. There is a total possible 700 points.

I know the holiday season is a really lousy time to start living healthy. But I just can't put this off any longer. I don't want to gain weight before I start losing. I know if I don't have something motivating me through it, I won't make it. Thanks to last year's gallbladder removal, I know it's possible to live through the holidays without overindulgence. So please consider this...invite your spouse, parents, children, friends, or whoever to enter this, too. The more participants, the bigger the prize money. If I don't get enough people to sign up, I may cancel. And I don't want to cancel.

This is not some elaborate scheme to get your money. If that were that case, I'd ask for a lot more than $20. As a side note...once you've entered and committed your money, there's no going back. If you decide you can't make it half way through, you just lose...no money back.


Please let me know ASAP who's interested. The competition starts Monday. I've opened an email address just for this competition. If you're interested or have questions, either leave a comment or email me at: healthycompetition@gmail.com.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Buckeye Fever

There's something about living in Ohio that you can't help but catching a little Buckeye Fever. OSU fans are fanatics. It's the only time your family can leave the house in matching clothes and no one thinks twice. (We all went to Sam's club on Saturday in OSU paraphernalia.) In fact, the entire city is wearing matching clothes. People seriously go shopping with faces painted. Stores shut down during game time. And the ones that remain open have the game on. We were at the zoo last week during the beginning of the game, and we could hear it playing all over the zoo. It's amazing how easy it is to catch on. I've never attended OSU and I still take ownership...referring to the Buckeyes as "Our Team" and I say things like "We Won." I am now and will forever be a Buckeye.


Thanks to my dear friend Abbey, I got to attend my first game on Saturday. I went to a school with a lousy football team. Students got to go for free and full priced tickets were only $12. Tickets to a Buckeye game are not so easy to come by. The tickets Abbey gave us were $120. She could have easily sold them for more. A generous gift, I know. If it weren't for Abbey, I would have left Ohio never having attended a game. It was the experience of a lifetime.

It started the minute I stepped out of the car...which we had to park on a lawn somewhere because tailgaters overcrowded parking lots for miles and miles. The air immediately smelled of stale beer from the massive crowds who had begun drinking the night before in preparation for this major event. There were brats being fired up every where and corn hole tournaments from the parking lot to the stadium. There was scarlet and gray as far as the eye could see. Excitement was everywhere.



It was fun to watch the "Horse Shoe" (stadium) slowly fill up to a scarlet sea. The 'shoe' fits 100,000 people. I'd say only about 1% were rooting for Illinois. The population of a whole city was in the stands yelling O-H-I-O in sync. There is no sound like it. I can't imagine what the opposing team must feel like. Every time they stepped foot on the field there was a booming BOOOOO from the crowd that I'm sure could be heard from space.


I feel I have to mention the fans again. OSU attracts fans from all walks of life. I was amazed to see all the types of people attending the game. There were of course the fanatics who are willing to go shirtless in 40 degree weather and who wear scarlet and gray wigs and whatever else. And there are of course the jocks, too. But you also find (I'm using labels because of a lack of another way better describe them) pretty boys, punks, soccer moms, slackers, bubble gum snappers, preppies, the kind of girls that come in high heels and creased jeans, rich old women with their diamond encrusted Buckeye jewelry, and yes, even the uber cool like you Jeff...I don't think even you could avoid catching Buckeye fever. Old and young alike. Although, not too many young. With tickets priced so high, few can afford to take their kids? I sat next to a cute elderly man who you could hardly understand because he mumbled in the way old men do, but he wanted to commentate the whole game. All these groups came together...united in purpose for one night. It was awesome. You could yell anything you wanted and no one cared. Mostly because they were yelling, too and couldn't hear you anyway. Spencer leaned over to me in the third quarter and said he's never had such a great desire to yell out swear words. I was grateful he restrained. Everyone hi-fives perfect strangers when something good happens and booo's as loud as they can when something bad happens.

Everyone booo'ed except Coach Jim Tressel. He was as cool as a cucumber. Even when we lost his only comment to the other team was "Hats off to Illinois." In the post game press conference, he only talked about the positive things his team did rather than dwelling on poor plays and missed opportunities. I say hats off to Coach Tressel.



And the band is worth getting there early and staying in your sit during half time for. They are known as the "Best Damn Band in the Land." Excuse the language...I didn't coin the phrase. I'd have to agree. The formations were impeccable. They have a famous "Script Ohio" formation that was fun to watch. And the half time show was dedicated to Veterans Day so the music was really fun.

As I mentioned before, the Bucks lost the game. Our first game all year which knocks us out of our first place ranking. It was an exciting game. Our first drive was all the way down the field right at the beginning. Second drive followed shortly behind. And the game never got better than that. It was a close game, but highly disappointing. We lost 28 to 21.

It was a long somber walk back to the car. The tailgaters that once filled the air with so much excitement, were now packing up there gear in dead silence. It was a sad sight.
Regardless of the loss, watching a game in the Shoe was the experience of a lifetime...no wonder people are willing to pay so much for tickets. Obviously, it was worth it. I have more to say about the atmosphere than the game itself. So THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! to Abbey who not only gave us tickets, but watched our kids as well.

GO BUCKS!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tribute to Traci

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my good friend Traci. For those of you who don't have the privilege of knowing Traci, I am deeply sorry. She's a great person to know. I can't remember the first time we met. Sorry Traci, you must not have left a good first impression. But my first memories of you are at girls camp. I knew anyone willing to be as dorky as me must be worth knowing and we've been friends ever since. I look at some of these awful pictures from our awkward junior high years and think if anyone had told me then that we'd be lifelong friends, it would have been hard to fathom. Thanks for sticking with me through all my awkwardness and for all the fun times and fond memories.

So here is my birthday tribute to you (a couple days early, I know...weekends just get busy). From camp to kids...this was your life. I bet when we took you out to breakfast in your pajamas all those years ago, you never thought the pictures would one day end up published on the Internet.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

About Me

Thanks Jenn for tagging me. I've seen these tagging games going around and I've never been tagged. I was starting to think I must be pretty unpopular in the blogosphere. Thanks for making me feel cool.



6 random things about me:
  1. As a kid I had a secret desire to find out I was allergic to all cleaning products and I would never have to clean the bathroom or do the dishes again. Truthfully, I still think that would be nice.
  2. I love to set the table. It has always been my favorite chore. I love dishes. I have dishes in just about every color: white, red, teal, brown, green, blue, clear (glass). I have Hawaiian dishes, nautical dishes, striped dishes, snowman dishes, china, my great grandma's pink floral dishes, and various other picnic dishes, children's dishes, holiday dishes, and serving dishes. I set the table special for every holiday. Watch out Martha Stewart.
  3. My dream job is a little out of the ordinary. I'm not sure it's a real job, but I bet someone has to do it. I'd love to be some kind of international events coordinator. Like when ambassadors and important people come to America from other countries...I want to plan them a party. I think I'd like to work in the White House. I do have a little bit of an interest in politics. I love table setting (obviously) and party planning. And I have a communications degree. My favorite classes in college were my intercultural communications classes (in fact, that's what I plan to get a masters in one day). I love to interact with people from other cultures: find similarities and appreciate differences. I think there is a need for that in party planning. Especially in politics. You don't want to offend other cultures because of a poorly planned party.
  4. I am a published author. Not because I click "Publish Post" at the end of every blog, but some of my undergraduate research on nonverbal communication was published in a communications journal.
    John S. Seiter (Utah State Univ), Harold J. Kinzer (Utah State Univ), Katie Smith (Utah State University), Heidi Thueson (Utah State University)
    Title: Nonverbal Behavior in Live Academic Debates: The Effects of the Implicit Ad Hominem Fallacy
  5. I like to pretend I don't revolve my life around television, but I do have a few favorite shows I just hate to miss. A new show called Pushing Daisies. Cute and quirky...so far so good. And 30 Rock. Hilarious. And when it's on...I LOVE So You Think You Can Dance. I also enjoy Lost...we'll see if it comes back with this writers strike and all.
  6. While on the subject of TV, I have a secret desire to be the next American Idol. I'm not even hooked on the show. I'm not a good singer. I can carry a tune, but I certainly don't have what it takes. But every time it's on, I practice my audition song when I sing along to the radio...trying to decide what the best song would be for me to sing for my audition.
I'm sure you all know more about me than you care to. I'm tagging my local friends...Kelly, Autumn, and Bonnie and my friend Lisha from my college years. I know the least about you four. You don't have to do it if you don't want to. And I'm also tagging Jeff. One, because these kinds of things probably annoy him, and what are big sisters for? And two, because he's an entertaining writer and he'll probably have something good to say.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Thing About Grandmas

I never notice how badly I need to replace my dish towels (or all my linens really) until company comes to visit. Thanks RubyAnn for pretending not to notice. Spencer's parents have been here visiting this past week. I consider his parents and my parents to be quite different. But there are things I have noticed that must be inherent in grandparents.


Grandma and Reid at the Zoo


Grandmas:
  • don't like to hear a baby cry. They are willing to stand all night if necessary to keep a baby happy.
  • love to sit surrounded by grandkids and sing songs or read stories.
  • bring gifts that come out of their suitcases almost immediately upon arrival.
  • help with chores...mainly dishes...without being asked. They even pretend to like it.
  • remind you that your kids quirky, everyday habits are cute and funny.
  • never tire of cuddling with a grandkid.
  • like to make delicious Sunday dinners.
  • keep their purses stocked with candy, gum, and/or fruit snacks to hand over to children at the first sign of restlessness.
  • are always willing to bounce a grandkid on their legs when asked...or climbed upon...even if their legs are tired.
  • sometimes laugh at the naughty things your kids do.
  • have solutions to every parenting problem.
  • stock your fridge and cupboards with groceries.
Thank Heaven for Grandmas.



Grandpa and Reid at the Zoo


Spencer's dad is my children's only living Grandpa, so I don't have so much comparing to do. Ben stayed very busy with little projects around the house that we've "been meaning to get to" for four years now. He wasn't asked...he saw a need and filled it. He loved to tease the boys and they loved every minute of it. And he couldn't resist sneaking them each a little cash...with which they bought PEZ. I am willing to bet that my father would have done the same.

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Smith for the fun-filled week and for all the generous things you did for our family.

As a side note...Reid is not necessarily their favorite grandkid...as I mentioned before, my camera is broken and this is all I got.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Shades of Gray


Yesterday was Grayden's blessing. It was of course a nice blessing. Spencer's parents are in town and his dad was there to stand in the circle. Bishop Wynn and Grant Myers stood in, too. Blessings make both Spencer and I nervous. Spencer gets nervous to give blessings. He says it's something so personal to have to do in front of the whole ward. I agree. I get nervous because it's another reminder that I have a huge responsibility to raise this child and teach him all the things he'll need to know to fulfill his mission in this life. Grayden is such a sweet baby. He is just pleasant all the time (except when he's constipated...I had to add that in for Spencer who doesn't think Gray is pleasant all the time). He's really starting to smile a lot and when he's not smiling, he still just looks happy. I love that kid!












My friend lent me her camera so I got to take some pictures. A huge thank-you to Autumn. You'll be sorry...I'm in love with your camera and may not give it back.


I have no idea what kind of face Parker is making, but a family picture is nearly impossible these days. That's as good as it gets with 3 kids ages 3 and under.

































My favorite Smith boys.





























I'm noticing a theme...when ever we go out, I take lots of pictures of the older two, but few of Grayden because he's in the stroller sleeping. But I feel bad for only taking pictures of Parker and Reid so I always take a token picture of Grayden, too.

Gray at the: Pumpkin Festival, Doctor's office, Farm, Zoo



He's been a lot of places in his short 5 weeks of earthly existence.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Do the Monster Mash


Kids make every holiday better. I love how excited they get running the streets and begging for candy from all of our neighbors. Parker talked Spencer and I into dressing up, too. We'd do just about anything for those kids. It was the first time I've dressed up to take my kids trick-or-treating. I loved it. Not only did our kids think they had the coolest parents on the block, but all the neighborhood kids thought we were the coolest parents on the block, too. Parker and Reid got way too much candy, which is half the fun of it. The kids had a blast. Halloween Rocks!

We carved pumpkins Monday night. Parker and Reid dictated to us exactly what they wanted their pumpkins to look like and Spencer and I took charge of the knives. Reid loved sticking his hand in and belting EEEEEEEUWWW! The lovely picture to the right is of Reid falling in love with his Pumpkin. Yes, he's kissing it.

The downer of the week is that juice was spilled on my camera and there are little juice droplets inside that won't dry out. The family picture is the only picture that turned out last night and Reid's picture is the only pumpkin carving picture we got. I hope it drys out before Sunday. We're blessing Grayden and I'd kinda like some pictures.