Friday, January 30, 2009

Crestview Kids

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before how much I enjoyed my whole college experience. My sophomore and junior years, I lived in a small four-plex...two apartments of guys, two of girls, 16 kids total. I think I had a much better time here than I could have at a huge complex. It was perfect for me. The whole group of us were good friends (and sometimes more than friends...this is where Spencer and I met...he lived up stairs from me). If you didn't have something going on during the weekend, you knew you had plans with the Crestview kids. In fact, most of the time you didn't even want other plans because you could bet the spontaneous plans of this group would most likely be more fun than anything else you could do in Logan, Utah that night.

One spring, Spencer's roommate, Mikey (I can't for the life of me remember his last name) bought a kiddie pool on the first warm day of the year and when I walked home from class, there was Mikey sun bathing in his kiddie pool on the upstairs balcony. He had filled it up with pitchers of water since we had no hose. The kiddie pool made it's appearance occasionally throughout the spring and summer and then stored in the shed and forgotten about for quite some time.

One winter weekend the following year, those of us still around were debating what to do with our Friday night when we remembered Mikey's pool. We trekked that thing all the way up Old Main hill on campus...which is quite a flight of icy stairs in the winter. I'm pretty sure we stuffed at least eight people inside that pool and went flying down the long steep hill. After a few trips down, the pool had finally seen it's last day.

I had so many great adventures in college that I don't have pictures of. First of all, it was before I had a digital camera and taking pictures meant paying to get them developed...not much of an option for a poor college student. Plus, I wasn't a blogger and it just didn't occur to me as often. And then there's the fact that I was having too much fun to stop and stand behind the camera instead of be in the middle of it all. But I will add a picture of Old Main when it's green...though you don't get much of an idea of how long and steep the hill really is.

I LOVE this place.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reid is..., I wasn't going to say sticky...though he's that, too.

Reid is three. (And you know what that means...I have another kid to hit three while still in diapers.)

And to celebrate the big day, both Parker and Spencer's school let out for the day. Ok, maybe it wasn't for Reid's birthday, but it was fun to have everyone home for a full packed day of partying.

An ice storm was heading into north Texas. It was predicted to be the worst north Texas had ever seen. I was bracing myself for the worst. (The ice storm that one Christmas in Ohio left us without power for five days.) All the schools shut down...including the University. And all day we waited for ice. NOTHIN'. I didn't spot the first icicle until later that evening. We woke up this morning to less than a quarter inch of ice on our driveway and it's already melted. And Parker's school was canceled again today and the university didn't open until noon. I like to watch the Today show while I get in my morning exercise and the local weather cut into the entire hour I watched. It just went back and forth between the weather girl and the traffic girl. "It's cold and icy"..."the roads are slick so drive slow"..."it's cold and icy"..."the roads are slick so drive slow"...on and on and on. They announced 650 school closings or delays in the area. All for less than a quarter inch of ice that lasted maybe 12 hours. Crazy huh? Even crazier that Friday was 84 and yesterday was 24. A 60 degree drop in 4 days.

On to the party...

Spencer had a meeting to be at on Tuesday and we were planning on celebrating another day, but the decision to cancel the meeting came Monday night and we stayed up getting the birthday all ready without telling the crazies. I was awake when I heard the older two trample down stairs at 6:15am. First Parker, "Ah...Reid! It's your birthday today!" Reid, "Ah! My Birthday. There's balloons, even!" And a chorus of squeals and yells and giggles ensued for about five minutes until they darted back upstairs wondering where the presents were. (I decided not to leave them out knowing full well they'd be opened without us.) It really was fun to surprise him. I totally recommend not telling your kids when their birthday is. It's worth the surprise.

I told the crazies that presents would not be opened until everyone was awake so Reid continued to hop around the room on one foot in an over-excited high pitched shriek, "I'm three and I'm hoping on one foot because I'm three." In the mean time, Parker talked me into letting them each open a present. (We always get a little something to appease the jealous brother.) They played pretty hard with their punching bags for a bit until Parker couldn't stand the anticipation any longer and he took it upon himself to wake Gray. Parker gets so excited about ANYBODY's birthday. It's cute.

I love how interested all three crazies are in this box of sidewalk chalk.
And thanks for all the present suggestions...almost all of the suggestions were things we already have...and use frequently so you did good. But we didn't have Legos. How is it that I've been raising boys for nearly five years now and we have no Legos? We are seriously lacking in the building toys department. Duplos were a HIT. For all four boys.

And since we were all home...we made a trip (on the non-icy roads) to the library for a while. I really love the library here. It has the BEST kids area. I wish I brought my camera. I always feel a little disruptive with a camera in the library so I opted not to. But Reid was singin' his heart out in the car on the way there and I am really sorry I can't share that with you all. I love how loud and off tune he sings when he gets really into it.

All Reid wanted to do for his birthday was go to McDonalds...though we offered many exciting options.

And for two years running, he insisted on a train cake. Last year I made the cake into a train. This year I took the easier route and it turned out much cuter.

We rented Wall-E and finished off the night with a Smith Family Pajama Party...but the pictures weren't really worth sharing.

Reid thinks he's a whole different kid now that he's three. He thought turning three would magically make him potty trained and stop sucking his thumb and grow him a new foot and give him so many of the privileges that Parker has that come with being older. Honestly...we were building up turning three I guess. We said he was getting so old, so big. I guess he thought it meant he was going to be just like Parker. A little cute. A little sad.

I love celebrating my kids birthday's. It's always a fun reminder of how much I love them and how grateful I am that they are a part of my life.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Recyle, Reduce, Re-use

Wasn't there a commercial that came on between Saturday morning cartoons with these words back when we were kids? For some reason I can't say "Recycle, Reduce, Re-use" without singing it.

I've seen in several places on the Internet these days a little something called Urban Renewal...or Thrift Store Revival. Call it what you will, but you salvage a little something amidst all the junk at a thrift store, give it a little snip, snip, alter how you will, and it becomes something much more fashion forward than it began.

Autumn's sister-in-law (whom I don't know at all but occasionally blog stalk because she has the most impeccable taste) made a couple of incredible dresses from bag lady dresses that expired 20 years ago. (see here or here.) I headed into Goodwill with the same mission, but the selection of large dresses was minimal. I didn't want anything with massive stains and I just don't do purple. But I didn't want to leave empty handed. I really wanted a revival project.

So for $4, I came out with a size 1 jacket...and shortly thereafter, I have a wearable vest.

BEFOREObviously way, way, way too small. I can't even move my arms...not that my hooded sweater underneath helped.

I had to include a full body shot because I think it looks great with my snake skin loafers.

And probably something you will NEVER SEE AGAIN on the world wide web due to my massive insecurities about my back fat...a backside shot. I had to include it just to give a complete understanding of how the vest works.

I need a few honest this something worth making a few of to put on my Etsy site? Even if it's something you wouldn't wear, is there enough demand? It was such an inexpensive and EASY project. And the real question...can you see a future for me as a clothing model?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Party Like it's 1999

As we were watching the infamous ball drop in Times Square on New Years, the music in the background was playing Prince's Party Like It's 1999. And I realized, it's now been ten years since 1999. (I'm a math genious, right?) Strange when a song meant to be about the future is now ten years in the past. This year is significant to me since it's the year I graduated high school.

I can still remember Kyle Lane's graduation speech centered around the Party Like it's 1999 I'm sure every graduation speech around the world that year was. I have such clear memories of high school. It's hard for me to believe ten whole years have gone by. Ten years, really? But then I think of where my life is now and how much I've changed and accomplished in the past ten years. I'm truly a different person than I was while partying when it actually was 1999. It hardly seems possible that my life could change that much in only ten years. I have come a long way since then.

I have:
  • moved away from home (to live with all girls I didn't previously know...a huge culture shock to a girl with no sisters)
  • lost my dad
  • got married
  • was president of the Iotu Mu Chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, a national communications honor society
  • graduated with a bachelors in Speech Communication (after changing majors 4 times)
  • bought two houses, lived in 4 states, had 8 different addresses
  • held my first real post bachelor's degree job...and held 5 jobs all together (do you remember when I dropped my whole box of pictures...yeah, that situation still hasn't been remedied...I KNOW I have some great pictures of my first well as some of these other things)
  • gave birth once, twice, three times and have three crazy boys to show for it
  • gained weight...who hasn't...and if you haven't, don't tell me
  • sat through TWO of Spencer's college graduations and working up to a third...good thing PhD's take so long. I'm not ready to sit through another one yet...this time with THREE kids in tote (Though nothing could be worse than 3 hours in bleacher seats while 8 months pregnant)
  • served as Young Women President (when I was barely older than the Young Women myself)...also served as a RS counselor, YW counselor, teacher in RS, the producer of the Stake musical, activities chairman (twice), Stake Primary Board, on the Enrichment committee, and a brief stint as a primary teacher
  • Bought a dog and an SUV and hosted holiday parties...and all the rest of the things grown-ups do
  • lost a major organ...ok, just my's not necessary any way, right?
  • learned and accomplished and grown in a million different ways that certainly can't all be listed
However slim the chance I actually show up at my class reunion (though I'd LOVE to), I'd show up a completely different Katie. My views on life and the world and people and choices have all changed (for the better I hope) thanks to life experience. It hardly seems like I'm old enough to have accomplished all this. Especially since I'm not even finished partying like it's 1999.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Roller Derby Queen

In this ever changing world, there remains one constant...

Skating Rinks!

I think about how much I have changed in the past fifteen years. And how much the world has changed in the past fifteen years. It hardly seems possible that anything could remain the same. It's as if time stands still on the inside of a skating rink. Like it's some kind of black hole.

I know this why? Because I spent Friday night roller skating. I got to enjoy a little girls night out on Friday. (That's right...this was not for the kids.) I think it rekindled my desire to be a roller derby girl. I always loved the skating rink back in the day...but I didn't know if I liked it because I truly love roller skating, or if it was all social. Suspicion confirmed. I really love roller skating. It was such a fun workout. I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. I thought we'd skate for half an hour, have a good laugh and get going. But two hours later and they're closing the doors, I finally got off the rink. I've got to get myself some skates.

I'm pretty sure Ashlee, Emily and I were the only grown-ups there just to skate besides the one elderly man that you know is there every night because of his smooth moves on the skate floor despite his old age. Most people in our age bracket were parents of kids at birthday parties. And there were probably a handful of hoodlums past high school age who just can't grow-up...who were there to hit on the younger crowd. Though I suppose that might include us, too...or at least Emily. You can ask her about that if you get the chance. As much fun as I had, I could not be more grateful I never have to repeat junior high.

Not only was the night way past fun, but I crossed one more thing off my 101 list.

And you didn't think I'd go to the skating rink and come back without pictures...

I'm the only one who braved the old-school quad if you couldn't tell by my HUGE feet. Not only that, but I'm the only one who thought it was a good idea to wear cropped pants skating. It was pushing 80 degrees on Friday. But I didn't consider the fashion repercussions when adding socks and skates. Whoops.

I don't ever really realize that I'm so much bigger than my friends until I see a picture. I'm like amazon woman.

Ashlee got blisters early on and had to sit out a while. But she was a trooper and put her skates on for the last 15 minutes to finish up with us. Thanks for being our photographer.

Ashlee got a bit of a shot of the guy Emily (accidentally?) frisked.

I can't even tell you what's going on here. Emily is posing for the camera and I'm about to shake some one's hand? You just go through life thinking your relatively normal then you see a batch of pictures of yourself...I was horrified when I realized what I looked like skating. But it's proof that I did it.
There were more pictures but they either turned out too dark or too blurry or wildly inappropriate. So I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

How to dump some one you're not dating...

***Warning...I wrote this yesterday and as I am proof reading before I publish post, I realize it's really not very entertaining. Just a memory I thought was worth writing down.***

I listened some music the other day. Music from a mixed Cd a boy had made me my freshman year of college. I held on to this Cd, not because of the memories attached to this boy, but because it's a pretty decent Cd. Anyway, the music brought back a flood of memories that I thought were perfect for a Flashback Friday.

Travis asked me out my freshman year. Right off, I really had no interest in even a date, but I generally would go on one date when asked. I have always hated turning some one down. It takes a lot of effort to ask someone out. So despite his poor choice in wardrobe, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun we had. He had an unusual and refreshing taste in music and he took me on the best dates. We rode the alpine slides, went to a melodrama at the Pickleville Playhouse, out for ethnic food, to hockey games, the planetarium, out to lunch in the middle of the school week, and to this annual competition on the ski slopes that the engineering department puts on where students built remote control robots to ski down the hill. It was fantastic. The list could go on.

But after a few such dates, I realized that though I could overlook (and possibly even change) his poor sense of style, there was no real connection there (to borrow a term from reality TV). We had all kinds of fun. Conversation was always good. Music was always superb. But I could see that this was not meant to be. So I made a decision that if he ever tried to put the moves on...even hold my hand, put his arm around me, I'm talkin' bare minimum...I would let him know that I wasn't interested. So we went on going out at least twice a month for about seven months. I was starting to think he felt the same. Maybe he had just as much fun and needed a friend. After months and no physical relationship?

Travis was quite a bit older than me. I was just a freshman and he had a real job and was working on his masters. So I finally decided that this was unfair to him. He should not be spending so much time and money on some one who really wasn't interested. But how do you break up with someone you're not really with? It was incredibly awkward. I didn't want to go through the whole thing and have him tell me he wasn't interested to begin with...he was just having fun. Then I would feel like an idiot...assuming that he liked me. And I knew if I went through with it, all the fun would end. We probably wouldn't even be friends.

I finally got the nerve to have the chat. He looked surprised and hurt. He thanked me and left my apartment. But was back the next day to profess his love. He begged for another chance. We went out one more time. But that was the end of it. Spencer and I ran into him and his wife at Disneyland on their honeymoon a couple years later. Disneyland WOULD NOT have been a satisfactory honeymoon for me. So all turned out well.

Not really that great of a story. I was a poor journal keeper at that point in my life and I always feel the need to write things down. I have a horrible fear of loosing my memories. But for a bit of entertainment, the most embarrassing date I went on was with him.

We went out for lunch at a Chinese place one day. I was trying to use my spoon to cut a piece of won ton in my won ton soup. The whole won ton was too big for one bite and who politely uses a knife and fork in their soup bowl? A spoon was my only option. As I trapped the won ton between my spoon and the bowl and applied pressure, I tipped the entire bowl of won ton soup on my lap. I had a skirt on and when I stood, it looked like I wet myself. We ate a really long lunch in hopes my skirt would dry a little before I had to stand and walk out. Then I awkwardly carried my purse in front of me on the way to the car.

Boy Toy

So does anyone have any great ideas for a birthday gift for a three year old boy? Reid is turning three in a couple weeks and we've yet to get him anything. It's not like our house is overflowing with toys and he has everything. Quite the opposite. I hate toy clutter. We've narrowed it down to one shelving unit, one toy box, and a train set. Plus costumes.

Reid doesn't have anything he really wants. His answer is always Thomas. He's a Thomas freak. But we already have a train set. And he has a couple little Thomas character trains. I just don't really see a need for more. And the reality is, Reid plays whatever Parker wants to play and Parker rarely wants to play trains.

I'm sure I could wander the isles of a toy store and find something to make him happy. I just wondered if anyone knows something great...maybe something that is well used at your house. A gift (toy or otherwise) that your kid loved. I don't want another toy that gets played with for a day and left on a shelf.

Parker has always been easy to shop for. I can think of a million things he'd love. Maybe it's because he's the oldest of three boys. Poor Gray is the worst. He hardly got a thing for many baby toys does one household really need? Even the little he got has hardly been used. He'd rather have mixing bowls and toilet paper any day.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tumbleweeds and Rodeos

It's now been an entire year since we loaded all our material possessions into one massive truck and trekked my tear stained cheeks into our new life in Texas. I was hoping after a year in this hole of a town I would have learned to love it...that I would have found my place in this foreign city. I was wrong. I have a worse opinion of Texas than I did when I moved in. And I didn't move here with happy thoughts.

I know that's quite cynical. I truly have made great efforts to find my place here in Texas;, more like leaped...out of my comfort zone numerous times. But on the upside, I don't struggle with it for the reasons I originally thought I would. It's not all tumbleweeds and rodeos. And though I really thought I'd hate small town life, it's not THAT small. We do have normal suburbian strip malls and grocery stores and good schools and we've even found some doctors that we've been really happy with. And the truth is, the things I love about city life are not even much of a possibility for a mother of three small kids. Even if I lived in a big city, I would not be taking full advantage. And for those times I just need a reminder of city life, Dallas is not that far. In fact, the temple is in Dallas and I make the drive in a few times a month.

I just can't seem to feel like I fit in here. I've never been good at not fitting in. I like to be in the middle of everything and that just can't happen in Texas. I don't want to compromise who I am just to be a part of it all. And as much as I'd like to elaborate, I know I have local friends who read this and at risk of wrongly offending, I will opt not to elaborate.

I am grateful for the good people I've met and the friends I have made that make this foreign city a little more like home. I just hope it doesn't have to be home for too long.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ahoy There Me Hearties

I heard recently on the Today show that piracy has gone up 70% this year. And by piracy, I'm not talking about selling illegal dvd's on the black market. I'm talking honest to goodness (or dishonest to badness) sailing the high seas and taking over ships by force...stealing loot and holding passengers for ransom. Seventy percent is significant.

Give it another 15 years or so and you can be upping that percent. Reid has recently informed me that he wants to be a pirate when he grows up. Yep, he'll be another statistic on the open waters.

Parker on the other hand plans on sailing the open atmosphere. He wants to be an astronaut. I used to want to be an astronaut. I can live vicariously through him.

Parker likes to get to the bottom of everything. Dinner table discussions and time to talk in the car usually starts out with "Let's talk about..." and some kind of scientific topic. Like the digestive system or skin, bones and muscles, or the solar system, etc. But once Parker learned of the lack of gravity in outer space, he was hooked. Like you can just eat a sandwich and instead of setting it on a table, you set it right in the air in front of you and it floats around. Nothing could be cooler to my four and a half year old.

Thanks Uncle Jeff for the new Cd. See You On The Moon is our current favorite.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Designers Holiday

I've been meaning to advertise this for a while. My fantastic friend Autumn and her equally talented sister Heidi have launched a new business. Designer's Holiday. I have never been a fan of vinyl transfers until now. They can do some spectacular things and make them very personal.

For example, you can send them a picture of your child such as this:

and combine it with a stock image such as this:

and turn it into something right out of a catalog such as this:

Is that fantastic or what? (Sorry girls, I pulled these right off your blog without your permission. If you want me to take them down I will.)

Most of the pictures are in slide shows so I can't show you all my favorites. They have tons of ideas for silhouettes of your kids and big trees that cover the whole wall and really some fantastic options. You can attach it to canvas as shown or straight to your wall. Their blog is really worth checking out. It's tons of fun.

You guys rock. I always want to start a business, but always chicken out. Nice work.

A Few Good Friends

My Christmas stuff has been down for an entire week...I decided it was time to take my Christmas blog header down, too.

Our tree came down last Saturday by default. The crazies finally tipped it over. In Ohio, we used to tie it to the wall but didn't do that here in Texas. I can't believe we made it two whole days past Christmas before it fell. And the really crazy thing is it was still alive. I don't think we've ever had a tree that alive by Christmas. I was expecting the opposite here in this heat. (Yes, it's 80 degrees today.)

The truth is, I was ready to take it down...just too lazy. Is that not the worst part of Christmas? I hate putting my house back to normal. It seems so empty after the holidays.

We had some friends over for New Years Eve. I don't think I've had that much fun ringing in the New Year since the year I camped out at the Rose Parade. (Didn't Kip get his his marshmallows confiscated by the cops?) Spencer and I have never done anything great for New Years in all our married or dating years.

This year we had a few friends over for games and fondue. For the first time in a long time we actually have some friends. I think it's hard to make friends...especially with people that Spencer and I both enjoy. Most often one or the other of us will enjoy them, but not both of us. But I think we've found some real friends here. I've really struggled to feel like I fit in in Texas. And while I still don't think Texas suits me, these friends do.

Thanks for the laughs...and not just on New Years. I know Emily is not a blogger, but Ashlee is. So thank you. You've made Texas much, much, much more bearable. I think I can be relatively happy anywhere with a few good friends.

Unfortunately, I didn't take a single picture. So the faces of my new friends will remain a mystery to all of you who don't live around here.