Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day

Party like it only happens once every four years.

We're off to enjoy Leap Day sales...sales that are so good, they only come around once every four years. Seriously...all kinds of places have great deals today. Lots of restaurants are giving away free food or food for just 29cents. I even read about some zoos letting people in for 29cents today. Unfortunately, it's not any of the zoos around here.

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Walkin' On Sunshine

Since the weather was up to 87 degrees on Monday...I took the crazies to the park. I can't even stress to you how incredibly amazing this park is. I couldn't even get the whole thing in the scope of my camera. I put together a slide show of just a sampling of the pictures I took. If you can possible look past how incredibly adorable my kids are for a minute, check out the awesome-ness of this playground.

No, Reid is not my favorite child, he was just the one who wanted to explore the playground so he got the most camera time.

This is the result when told it was time to leave. Who could blame him?

Monday, February 25, 2008

In No Particular Order...

I thought I'd share some of my favorite kid products as of late. Kid stuff has come a long way since I was little. I'm amazed at some of the stuff on the shelves these days. I'm sure my list could be incredibly long, but here's my current top three in no particular order...

Children's Mucinex Mini-Melts. The commercials alone were enough to make me never want to purchase this stuff. But I sent Spencer to the store to get cough medicine for the kids. I'm usually not a big fan of cough medicine. I doesn't help them get better any faster. And it usually seriously alters their spirit...meaning it makes them really drowsy and cranky or knocks them out completely. While I admit that that can be nice on occasion, I don't like that a drug is changing them. I only occasionally like it when medicine does that to I imagine my kids don't like to be controlled by a substance. But my kids were just up all night with a nasty cough so it was time to try something. This was fantastic. It got rid of the cough better than anything else, but didn't alter their state of being. They could even take it during the day. And it comes in this powdery Pixie Stix. Parker loved it. Reid, not so much. But Reid doesn't like any medicine. And even still, it dissolved on his tongue pretty quick. Besides can be taken simultaneously with Tylenol or Motrin...unlike other cough medicines. So when Reid's fever was so bad, I didn't have to choose between suppressing his cough or reducing his fever. I could do both. It's worth a try.

Crayola Bathtub Crayons. Abbey got these for Reid for his birthday. Thanks Abbey. They give kids a creative outlet to color on walls. Reid will spend hours in the tub doing this if I'd let him. Then by the time he's finished, he's all colored out and doesn't have as much of a desire to color afterwards...which occasionally turns into artwork where it shouldn't be. Besides coloring on bathtub can color on kids bellies. I turn them into Care Bears and superheros in the tub on a regular basis. I have been known to color on my kids bellies in the past. I used to use Crayola Markers. They're washable right? Well that's true, but it takes a couple of scrubbings to get them off their bellies. So I was a little embarrassed during one well child check up to the doctor when she had to put her stethoscope on the bellies of Fun Shine Bear and Good Luck Bear. With these crayons, they get washed off before the crazies even step foot out of the tub. Plus, Spencer and I can use them to write inappropriate messages to each other in the shower.

Leap Frog Letter Factory. It's very poorly animated and the kind of movie that's not really fun to watch as an adult. It's way behind the times. Seriously, they could have done the exact same thing and updated it a little. Although the kids don't really care. After one viewing, Parker knew all the sounds the letters make. He knew all his letters already, but not their sounds. It is very cleverly done. The sounds and letters are all linked to something that can really help kids remember. Really, it's brilliant. Even Reid who's just barely two has learned quite a few letters and sounds from this. I know I shouldn't be using a video to teach my kids something that I could be teaching them, but I couldn't have taught it that well. This is something they can really remember. Besides, we have discussion about it regularly. I had taught Parker all his letters beforehand, but I'm really not good at formal education with my children. It's not a strength of mine as a parent. I have three very small crazies at home and very little time to devote to one on one attention in the form of preschool. So for now...I'll leave that up to Leap Frog. I allow my kids a certain amount of TV time per day anyway. Might as well watch something educational.

This is not a tag or anything, but I just wanted to share since I know so many of my readers are mothers of young children. If you have something great, you might as well share.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

I just have to share some of the things that came out of the mouths of my primary children today. No, this does not mean I like my calling. In fact, it's worse than I expected. I won't go into that now. But I had to find something good about it and this is it...

L: Heavenly Father helps us when we're lost.
A: We just use GPS.

E: Heavenly Father helps me find my make-up.

He helps me when I'm alone in my room and scared.
E: I'm alone in my room when I'm on time-out.

He helps me when I'm sick.
E: I be'd sick for 6 minutes at my house.

Sometime my dad doesn't get hungry on church days.

E: I can lick some people. It's a game licker. I can lick my sister on her stinky feet.

L: Can I tell you somethin'? (Repeated about 3 million times throughout the two hours...and whatever he wants to tell me usually has to do with Spiderman, video games, sports, anything but the topic at hand.)

All three:
Hey look at me! (always followed by a cart-wheel, summer-sault, silly face, hand stand, climbing up the wall, jumping off the chair, picking a chair up over their head, etc.)

There are six four year olds in my class, but only three where there today. They are crazy. They weren't nearly as crazy last week. Different kids bring out a whole different dynamic. I doubt they learned a thing. All I learn is how much I don't like this calling...that and how Heavenly Father can help us find our make-up.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Now Some Flour, I Think, Just A Dab

My good friend Traci started up a recipe exchange blog. Just regular gals sharing favorite recipes. Who couldn't use that? If anyone wants in, let me know and make sure I get your email address so you can be invited to post recipes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Fine Four Fendered Friend

This is unreal. I know the clip is kind of long. But it's still a shorter version of a longer clip. The Swiss came up with a car that seriously drives on land AND underwater. Talk about Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. Or more like James Bond. The longer clip shows that it can also be remote controlled. It seems ridiculous and completely useless...but people thought that about the microwave too. Who wants to bet our great grandchildren will all have one parked in their driveways...if they still have driveways in the future.

****OK...I've thought of a couple uses...mainly natural disasters. Think of a flood, or even just driving into high water during a rainstorm. Or what about that major bridge collapse a year or so ago. Provided you don't get smashed, you could drive out. I'm not trying to make light of a serious situation...I was deeply saddened by that. But could help. Maybe I should get one.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Lost My Number...Can I Borrow Yours?

105.3. Sounds like a radio station right? Wrong. That was my son's temperature when I took him to the doctor yesterday. Reid's been running a high fever for 5 days now.

1-866-43657-11. That was the number to call for my favorite American Idol contestant last night. Jason Castro was by far and above my favorite last night. Coming in second... 1-866-43657-03. David Cook. Did I call and vote? Absolutely not.

3. Yes, it takes 3 weeks to get my drivers license in this backwards town. Seriously. In Columbus, they took your picture, you waited 2 minutes, and they handed you a license. Here, I waited in line for 56 minutes, they took my picture, handed me a piece of paper that is supposed to take place of my license for the next 3 weeks and then it should come in the mail. Can anyone say identity fraud? Not only that, but they don't even have credit/debit card machines there. I had to bring $24 dollars in cash to pay for my drivers license.

1. I am now the proud owner of 1 copy of Thoroughly Modern Millie...quite possibly my favorite movie. Spencer ordered it for me on Thursday and it got here in just 4 business days. Thanks babe!

200. There is a 200 acre park just 1 mile from our house. Including a jogging trail, a pond that is periodically stocked with trout for our fishing pleasure, and the most fantastic playground I have ever seen. This picture does not do it justice. It is HUGE. In fact, I get a little nervous that if I send my kids in, they won't come out. They could seriously get lost in this monstrosity of a playground. It is incredible!

Monday, February 18, 2008

We Are The Champions My Friends

Twelve grueling weeks, ten healthy rules and fourteen competitors head to head in a battle of health and will power.

Meet the competition:

Instigator of the Competition

My mother and keeper of the cash

My older brother
My younger brother
The three Hale sisters, my very lovely cousins:



Also a very dear cousin

A high school friend

Also a high school friend

Husband to Jeanine...a high school friend
A college room mate and world famous opera singer

My Ohio friends and the only Husband and Wife pair to enter the competition:



Just a refresher...These were the rules to live by:

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
Ten points per day...60 points per week. (Sundays are free days.) Everyone received 2 free points a week...meaning you could make two mistakes and still get a perfect score. In the event of a tie, any unused free points would be counted and the player with the most left over free points would win.

The prize? Cold, hard cash. All players had to pay an entrance fee of $20.

The 12 weeks was up a week ago...points have been tallied, and the first place position goes to yours truly! I made it twelve weeks...through the holidays and a move across the country...with (Are you ready for this?) a perfect score and ALL 24 FREE POINTS UN-USED. Can I get a whoop! whoop! Although the cash was great, my real motivator was the weight loss. I lost 16 pounds during those twelve weeks. The prize money ought to come in handy for some new clothes for this new bod.

A very close second was Tammy...who also had a perfect score, but only 8 leftover free points. And trailing close behind and landing himself in the third place position was Rich. He had a perfect score, but used all free points...up until the very last week when he was extremely sick. He lost a couple extra points that week, but managed to hold his third place position. More than that, he lost over 20 pounds. Way to go Rich!

Honorable mention goes to Melanie...who could have taken Rich's third place position, but lost points for not turning her scores in on time. So sorry Mel. It was one of the rules.

I also have to give a shout out to Mom and Autumn who stuck it out to the end, even though they weren't winning. It seemed to be that the competitors slowly started dropping out once all hope of winning was lost. For some that happened at week 2, other made it most of the way through.

And one more recognition goes to the two pregnant girls. Although they didn't win, way to go for even attempting such a thing. I'm leaving these two nameless because one hasn't made the announcement yet. Don't worry Cindy, it's not any of your daughters. Thanks for trying you two. Congrats and good luck!

My feelings are bittersweet as this competition comes to a close. It was really hard to live those rules 100%. But nothing could have been better to get me into shape and get me on track living healthy. I've still got some baby weight to lose and I don't know how to keep it up without the motivation of the other 13 competitors.

So thank you to all who played...not just thanks for your money... but I know there is no way I could have done this without you. Thanks for playing along. (And sorry about the pictures. I pulled them mainly from your blogs or the blogs of your family members...those of you without blogs didn't have many options.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ooey gooey, Lovey-Dovey

Autumn tagged me for a LOVE STORY tag a while back. Very fun. It's always nice when I don't have to think of something to blog about. And I LOVE stories about couples so this was a fun one for me.

So my little Love D-Spencer, this one's for you:

Valentine's Day 2001

How did you meet your spouse?
Spencer lived upstairs from me. We lived in a little four-plex during our college years. There were two apartments of girls and two apartments
of guys. I never knew 16 people could get along so well. All of us spent our weekends activities, football games, sledding in bathtubs down Old Main Hill, impromptu dance parties, you name it. Spencer and I just shared the same group of friends.

I don't often share this whole story...but here it goes. Permanently posted on the World Wide Web. When Spencer and I met, I was engaged to someone else. Spencer came along and swept me off my feet. That's not quite how it happened. Spencer's intentions certainly weren't to break up our engagement. But there was this one Friday night when Travis, Spencer and I were hanging out. I knew that night that I would marry Spencer. It took me another week or so to be sure about that a
nd get up the courage to break it off with Travis. Travis was a great guy and I have no doubt he would have been a great husband. It just wasn't meant to be. I feel that engagement was a necessary step in my life. I learned things about myself I wouldn't have learned otherwise. And I truly believe if it weren't for that engagement, Spencer and I would never have even dated. Although it was months before Spencer and I went on our first date, Spencer later told me that he knew that same Friday night that he would marry me.

Where did you go on your first date? And who asked who out?
Spencer had a room mate who was a pilot and took me on a ride in a little two seater airplane from Logan to Salt Lake for some hot chocolate. I just
thought Nate wanted to hang out...we were friends, afterall. Come to find out, Spencer was reinacting junior high days and he sent his friend out first to see if I "liked' him. And even still, it took Spencer some time to ask me out after that.

And when he finally did ask me out...I didn't even know he was asking me out. We were going down to Bryce's (his other roommate) parents house for dutch oven cooking and then to see the Christmas lights at Temple Square. His room mates were going and so was one of mine. I just thought we were hanging out like we usually do. I about invited another room mate along. It was the day before when I finally realized it was a group date.

Spencer asked permission to hold my
hand. I was in high heaven. Spencer was so cute...23, but very new to the "girlfriend" thing. He never had much interest in dating just for fun. I was loving that. The awful picture is the only thing I have to document that first date.

How long have you been together?

We met in the summer of 2000. The above mentioned first date was in December. We have been eternally together since May 10, 2002. Sealed in the San Diego, California temple.

Who eats more?

Eats more what? More french fries? Always me. More ice cream? Always him. In general he eats more. During pregnancy, I give him a run for his money. The picture is of us as newlyweds roasting mallows...something we both enjoy eating.

Who said I love you first?
Spencer. For how long it took him to ask me out and even longer to kiss me, I was surprised how quickly he said this. We were on a walk and he seemed very distant...very nervous. I seriously could not imagine what was on his mind. I knew he wasn't about to propose. I was afraid he might be breaking up with me except that we were holding hands and acting like a couple very much in love. When he finally got it out I was thrilled. I felt the same but had NO IDEA he loved me. I very awkwardly said it back. I really wasn't prepared for it, but I meant it. The picture was taken on a trip to CA around the time he said the BIG words.

Who is taller?

It depends on what shoes I'm wearing.

Who sings better?

I would say Spencer. But we both enjoy singing. We're one of those annoying couples who sing parts when we sing in the car or in the bathroom or while doing dishes. We have plans to take our act on the road one day...the picture was taken shortly after performing "Honey Bun" at a ward talent show.

Who is smarter?
I would say it was me, but Spencer would say it was him. Actually I hate that question. Education and lifelong learning are important to both of us. I think we're both smart. We have different areas of interest and different subjects we excel in. If our kids get both of our smarts, they will be unstoppable.

Who does the laundry?
Me, begrudgingly. Spencer's mom is the queen of laundry. She can get any kind of stain out of anything. Her whites are always white and her colors are always bright. I think we both wish she did our laundry.

Who does the dishes?
Nobody. We both hate doing dishes. They just pile up until we need to buy you know why I have so many dishes.

The picture is while engaged at one of the many apartment parties we held.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?

If you're laying on your back,...I sleep on the right. I like to sleep on my right side and I like to face outward. I hate waking up to the smell of morning breath so I just have to face out.

Who pays the bills?
Spencer. He enjoys it. I have threatened several times to take over because he's not very organized about it and I spend more time at home than he does. But truthfully, I'm glad he does it.

Who mows the lawn?
Me. Almost always...up 'til 8 months pregnant even. It's one of the only outside chores I enjoy so I always call it first when we're working in the yard. I'd much rather mow than weed or clean up after the dog.

Who cooks dinner?
Me. Although Spencer is a really good cook. He learned to cook some pretty fancy French food on his mission. But it's always a huge production for him. He dirties every dish we own...and we own a lot of dishes. And if there is baking to be done, it's Spencer's job, too. He bakes cakes and rolls and the best homemade pizza crust I've ever laid taste buds on.

Abbey took this picture when I found out I was pregnant with Parker...
the last time we really took a picture without kids in it (sort of).

Who drives when you are together?
Always Spencer. Even on a road trip. I don't even spend five minutes behind the wheel.

Who is more stubborn?
Me. Hands down. Unfortunately Parker has inherited that.

Who is the first to admit when they're wrong?
Well considering I'm never wrong....

Whose parents do you see the most?
We visited Spencer's family several times a month our first year of marriage when we still lived in Utah. But now, we see my mom the most. She visits regularly. We trade off going out to see our families.

Who kissed who first?
Spencer kissed me. On Valentine's Day. On one of our many and ever famous doorstep scenes at Crestview Apartments. The picture is an example of such a doorstep scene.

Who Proposed?
Spencer did. January 25, 2002. The guy I worked for asked me every night I left if I had a "red hot" date that night (meaning was I going to get engaged). That night I told him no. We had plans to meet up with some of Spencer's high school friends down in Salt Lake that night. I didn't assume Spencer would propose on a night we had other plans. Much to my surprise...I came home form work and Spencer was waiting in my living room all dressed up and already on his knee. I really don't remember what he said...he prefers it that way. It was really romantic and rather cheesey. I got so excited that I forgot to say yes. Which, even through my excitement, made him a little nervous. The picture was taken a few hours after Spencer proposed.

Who is more sensitive?
Probably me. But Spencer is too sometimes.

Who has more friends?
Definately me. Family is enough to satisfy Spencer. We've been in Texas for five weeks now and I am doing all I can to make friends. Spencer wouldn't care if he went his entire time here without a friend. The picture is the only recent picture we have of just the two of us taken ourselves at a Buckeye game.

Who has more siblings?
Spencer. Thank goodness. As previously mentioned, Spencer doesn't have many friends. If it weren't for his 5 siblings, he'd have even less.

Who wears the pants in the family?
Our song is "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On." Does that tell you anything?

May 10, 2002

Thanks Babe for eight hot Valentine's Days. I look forward to an eternity more.

I'm tagging a whole list of people. I don't know the stories of most of my blogging friends and their spouses. I LOVE the stories of how people met. So here's my list and you better play: Brittnee, Cindy, Erin, Jeanine, Jenni, Jessica, Lisha, Pennie, Ryanne, Shalece, Traci, and Violet. The rest of you I believe have already played. Jenn, Heidi and Betheny have answered a similar set of questions, but if you want to answer these, too...I'd love to read them.

Two Steps Forward...One Step Back

Remember the positive energy radiating from my last post? This is the polar opposite.

When I said Ward Camp Director would be the worst calling ever, I lied. At least I would get to work with the Young Women...where I truly feel my talents lie. Plus, there are a lot of great women serving in young women. And camp is only one week out of the year. It's not looking so bad any more.

The three of you who guessed primary teacher win the prize. I could barely hold back the tears during my interview. I didn't even make it to my car before I was sobbing. Not just any primary teacher...but the four year olds. Seriously. As if I didn't deal enough with preschoolers during my week that I need to spend my only two hours away from my own preschoolers with somebody else's. In all honesty, I look forward all week to those two hours away from my kids. I feel like I need those two hours to stimulate my mind on a different level. I need conversation with someone taller than 42 inches. I barely struggle through sacrament meeting with my crazies before I rush them off to their respective classes and can breath a little easier for the next two hours. But now, I rush them off to their classes only to babysit a room full of someone else's crazies. No thank you. I'd rather have my own kids. At least I love them unconditionally.

I just really don't deal well with small children...and by small I mean anyone younger than 12. I look forward to my kids becoming teens. I think that's when my strengths as a parent will kick in. So far I've dealt with three infants and we all know infants are not my strength as a parent. I've gone through 2 toddlers...again, no strengths showing up yet. And one preschooler...nope, not good at preschoolers either. So I guess I'm really hoping my strengths show up with they're teens. Other wise I'll never be a good parent. I'm just impatient. I lose my cool real quick. I 'm not creative with small kids. I'm not good at teaching small kids at their level. I don't enjoy small children. Not that my kids and I don't have fun and I love them incredibly. I just convince them that the things I like to do are fun. I'm too selfish I guess. My kids love to shop. They like my music. And they of course love to wear costumes and run around the house...but they're my own kids.

I really struggle to love other people's children. Some people are so natural with kids...Abbey, Amanda, Kelly and Tiffany all come to mind. It's just not in my nature and I wish it were. I'm so grateful for people who are good with children...that's why wards function well. It takes all kinds of talents to fill all the positions. My kids have been blessed with phenomenal primary teachers. I'm grateful that they can love my kids. I think this class deserves someone better than me. Someone who can love them and who would be happy to spend those two hours with them. I just can't be happy to spend two hours with a room full of four year olds. I have found that I can love my friends kids, but mainly because they belong to my friends and I love my friends. I don't even have a problem watching my friends kids, but probably because it gives me a break from playing with my own kids.

I'm very obviously not dealing well with this. It's only been like 14 hours since I got the call and I can't even tell you how many times I've very seriously contemplated calling this counselor in the bishopric to tell him to find someone else. I'm afraid I'm going o be stuck here for three years or something. I felt like I made huge strides to be happier in D-Town yesterday with this playgroup and now I feel I've been shot in the foot. My lengthy strides have now changed to a gimpy hobble. Like I can make friends when I don't associate with anyone over 42 inches tall.

I've been looking into getting my master's degree lately. I've been itching to go back to school. Maybe this is what it will take to get me there. I just need adult interaction and something to stimulate my mind above the level of a preschooler. Not to mention a break from the own and now the four year olds in my ward.

I was going to post something ooey-gooey, lovey-dovey for Valentine's day, but I'm too depressed to think about anything else.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Playgroup Success

Aside from the fact that I thought I could throw in a load of laundry before playgroup and have something good to wear, but could not, playgroup was a huge success. I seriously put all my good clothes in one load in hopes to have a selection. Big mistake. Luckily, these women over looked the poorly dressed newcomer and we had a great time.

Five women showed up. Given my limited seating space, six (including me) seemed to be just the right number. There are some fun women in the ward with lots of smaller children. I felt like I fit right in. Although I haven't known these women as long as they've known each other, we all had a lot to gab about. That's one of the things women do best. Everyone was appreciative and next months playgroup is already scheduled.

I think Parker benefit from this at least as much as I did. He's been dying for some friends and had a great time. He's still talking about all the big kids that came to play and has been asking to have playgroup again tomorrow.

This was a HUGE deal for me. It took a lot for me to call women I didn't know and give handouts to perfect strangers in the hallways at church. I have never been happier to step so far out of my comfort zone. It was well worth it. I think it will help acclimate me much faster...even faster than if I had just shown up at someone else's playgroup.

This was much needed and again, another step closer to feeling at home here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pictures Say A Thousand Words

Traci asked the wrong girl to share wedding pictures. I LOVE wedding pictures...mine or anybody else's. I am more than happy to share, but I have to share a lot. I really wasn't planning on unpacking pictures while we were renting...they're not a necessity right? So I made it 4 weeks without unpacking pictures.

I loved my wedding was very garden party-esque.
I had the whole thing in my back yard.

This was my food table...we served petifours,
dipped strawberries and miniature rasberry tarts.

I don't have a good picture of my wedding line.
This was the best I bridesmaids or groomsmen.

This is what the table centerpieces looked like...
each teacup belonged to a family member...
mother, grandmothers, and great grandmother.
And the sweet peas inside were in honor of my dad.

Mom and I

My front porch.

My love D-Spencer.

We were totally cake-smashers.
I will never regret it. So fun.

This in one of my favorite pictures of a group of
my college girlfriends that drove down.


Traci said we were supposed to tag three people. I'm having a hard time limiting it to three. But I'm tagging Jessica (I know you don't usually do tags, but I am dying to see your wedding pictures), Brittnee (I'm always sad I missed your wedding, but I was far too pregnant to fly), and Cindy (I believe I attended your wedding, but I must have been 3 or 4).

Anyone else who wants to post wedding pictures and tag three people who's weddings you did not attend, please do. Like I said, I love wedding pictures and I'm sure I'll be checking your blogs.