Pay Off

Guess what?  My cleaning idea worked miracles.

My husband came home, we made chocolate and butterscotch chip cookies, balanced our checkbooks and per HIS idea trekked over to Wal-Mart to buy the original classic Rudolph and Frosty Christmas movies.  He is the sweetest father, really.  REALLY. He also insisted on buying the kids snow boots (thank goodness because it is STILL snowing) and buying me my very own copy of the classic animated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” I’ll tell you honestly right now: I’ve never seen the rudolph OR frosty movie. But the grinch? I have it memorized. My dad used to come home from work when I was young and read Dr. Seuss to us. Maybe Dad’s the reason I spend pieces of my free time writing rhythmic, humorous poetry that makes me giggle. And for that, I say: THANK YOU, DAD!!!!!
Every girl should be so lucky.

I was busy wrangling kids when my husband stepped next to me in the Wal-Mart entertainment section and handed me my grinch movie.
“Merry Christmas,” he winked. And I smiled so big my eyes teared up a little. Is it ridiculous how THRILLED I am to own this movie? Why haven’t I bought it sooner? Heaven only knows.

The last thing my husband insisted on last night was a popcorn tin.

So the list of things I wanted… the movie and the cookies and the snuggling? I got it all. Yea, even more so: for I fell victim to a cold. While I was stretched out on the loveseat, hugging a blanket close to me, my husband disappeared for a minute and then reappeared with a second, heavier blanket.
“Want this?” He asked.
“Oh, no. I’m fine, I have a blanket.”
He just shook his head, threw the blanket over me and tucked me in. Three minutes into The Grinch, I was completely out.

This brought to mind a night when we were first dating. He had cooked dinner for me -I was totally impressed by his baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn until I realized it was about the ONLY thing he ever cooked and ate -and we were watching a golfing movie (The Legend of Bagger Vance). Halfway through the movie, he caught me shivering. Without a word, he got up and brought me a small blanket. I thanked him and was thoroughly embarrassed when the shivering DID NOT STOP. I was still cold.
I tried hard to hide it.
It did not work.
“You still cold?” He asked.
“No, I’m fine,” I replied, much like last night.
Without a word, he got up and brought me a heavier blanket.

He’s a mind reader of sorts.

He also found a hair in his popcorn last night. How gross is THAT?!


My husband and I sometimes get lost in hypotheticals.
Last night, it was “If my face got blown off, would you still love me?”

What? Isn’t that normal pillow talk?

He posed the question first, and I told him that I would… of course I would. I told him that though I loved his face (especially his clean-shaved face), it wasn’t what I solely loved. I waxed rhapsodic about his many lovable characteristics, but he insisted that I wouldn’t be able to stand him.
“I’d be all blind, and what if my mouth was fused together?”
I thought about it for a minute and realized something amazing… I could get inexplicably fat! Make-up? Optional! I could wear WHATEVER I FELT LIKE… which I do anyway, but I do feel a twinge of guilt when I don my supah hot brown polyester pants I love so much fully knowing that my husband not only HATES them, but can only regard me as a girly scout master when I sport them. I could wear them every Wednesday.
“Darling, I’m so glad you’ve finally come around to these polyester pants. Do I look fabulous today? Thank you. You’re a dear for believing so. I love you too, ever so.  Remember what we talked about… how shaking your fist only tells me how much you really love me.”

I’m sure the novelty would wear off in a few or ten years.

I then posed the question to him.
“Would you love me if my face got blown off?”
His reply, “Yeah.”
“Would you love me from a distance? or right next to me in bed?” I HAD to know.
“Right next to you, of course. Just so long as…” He hesitated.
“What?” I pressed.
“Just so long as you didn’t scare me.”
“SCARE you?!”
“What? Have you ever SEEN someone who has had their face blown off? It’s SCARY!”

Then again: what would be the point of having your face blown off if you couldn’t give your spouse a healthy scare now and then.

I can’t be sure, but I think we’re hypothetically in real love.

Grown-up Halloween Costumes

We went to a costume party last night (more pics to come), and we brought along a big frame I snagged at a yard sale for $2. It used to have art in it.
I took the art out.
Don’t tell the artist.

Props to my husband who took me to the party even though he was going on over 30-something hours of NO sleep.

Doesn’t sleeplessness look good on him?  He’s delish.

The kids sported their costumes yesterday, but I wasn’t able to get a very good picture of them. I’ll take some more when they go trick-or-treating and share them.
The boy is actually still wearing his… he loves being The Master of the Universe.

Good Thing

As I was driving two days ago, I was hit suddenly with a wave of “Don’t you realize what you have?”  It happens from time to time, and thank goodness.  I think we all need waves like that just as often as we can get them.

As I grew up, I formed ideas about the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  Though they might seem silly to some -I even had someone POINT OUT to me that they were nonsense -they were important to me.   So important, in fact, that I ended relationships because of them.  Having someone tell me that my ideals were bollocks did a number on me.  I spent a long while reflecting on them, and the more I thought about it, the more my intuition told me to HOLD FAST to them, so I did.

I’m grateful every single day of my life that I did.

Silly?  Maybe to some… but most definitely not to me.  After having them shot down before my very eyes and scrambling to pick them back up, I never talked about my ideals again.  Want to know what they were?  It doesn’t matter now -I’m married, you know.

I wanted a man who didn’t work exclusively in an office. This isn’t to say anything against office-working men. The thing is: I’ve never lived with one, and I knew how to get along with people who spent their day active. I know it sounds shallow, I know that. But the point is: something inside of me spoke to me and told me that I should look for someone who didn’t work in a cubicle. I listened, and guess what? He has a desk at work and he uses it, but only when he has paperwork. Other than that? He’s on the go.

I wanted a man who loved to put his hands in the dirt… someone who would make sure no matter where we lived, we had enough land to plant a garden, however small. From the first year of our marriage, we’ve had a garden. Even when we lived in a TEENSY studio apartment and our landlords let us use a small piece of their garden… it was ours. I once dated a guy who offered me a balcony. You know, for pots and stuff. I gratefully declined. I can grow stuff in the dirt, but in pots? Ha. Still working on that one. My husband has become Supreme Master Gardener, and I love to watch him work. Before the hail storm literally tore our garden apart, my husband spent hours outside, making it look pristine. And yes, “pristine” is the right word. It was beautiful.

I wanted to marry a conservative Republican. The way someone feels about politics speaks volumes about the kind of person they are. Granted, I’ve shifted in the past few years from wanting a “conservative Republican” to just wanting a “conservative,” but let’s not quibble. I’m not huge on politics. I’d rather talk about almost anything else. Almost. I tend to tune-out when politics are brought up, but this I know for sure: I believe what I believe and I really couldn’t live with anyone who didn’t share those beliefs. It would be a huge deal-breaker. And guess what? My conservative husband goes to the polls with me, and we always vote the same and come away with those awesome stickers.

Once I was married, I realized I wasn’t alone in this. There are plenty of other women who have strange by strong ideas about the person they are going to spend their lives with! My mother once told me she could never be with a man whose arm hair was long and black and straight. Have you seen my dad’s arms? Full of curly, burly hair.
“Just like it should be,” my mom told me with a giggle.

A friend I worked with told me once that she ended a relationship before it had begun with a guy whose thighs were smaller than her own.
“After that, I promised myself I would never marry a man whose thighs were smaller than mine.” She held true to it, and has had a great marriage with a man who has bigger thighs than she does.

Why do we feel this way? Why? I think it’s our safety-voice speaking out from inside, letting us know what we would or would not be okay with 5, 10, 45 years in the future.

A few weeks ago, I asked my husband if he ever missed being single. He didn’t even have to THINK about it.
“No, why would I?” He asked, “Wife, kids… I don’t want anything else.”
I also once asked him what dreams he had, something I hadn’t asked him since BEFORE we were married.
“Beyond what I have now? I don’t think I have any, really. I’ve got everything I want.”

Did you HEAR that?! Did you hear the contented man I live with?! Did you know he’s canning jalapenoes with me today? Did you know he completely removed the screen door last night, re-screened it and fixed a few issues and then replaced it? Did you know that he took us out to eat last night because I didn’t WANT to cook? Did you know that he came home from work early yesterday before I had the chance to do anything but get ready for the day and he didn’t say a word except, “You look hot.”
And let me tell you: the house looked BAD.
He cleans our bathroom almost every day.
He puts the kids to bed when I’m too tired.
He eats whatever I cook AND he pays for it too.
He works harder than anyone ever has (equal only to my Dad, who we all know works harder than anyone in the entire world and then some) to make sure I have not just everything I need, but everything I WANT… because he loves me. He doesn’t need any other motivation.

My husband, folks, is genuinely GOOD. He’s a genuinely GOOD MAN.
Despite his many, many, MANY selling points… he isn’t perfect (thank goodness). But you know what? He is PERFECT for me. He was perfect for me when we speed-dated 7 years ago and he’s perfect for me now.
Life has brought us closer together in so many ways, whether it’s in the garden or at the polls.
I never could have known 7 years ago that we’d be able to work so well together as a team today, so I’ll be forever grateful that SOMEONE else did.
I can’t say for sure who it was. Of course, I’d like to say that it was Heavenly Father, but something deep down keeps whispering that it was our great-grandmothers… the ones we found out were best of friends who -even after they each had children of their own -would jump at the chance to stay over at the other’s house so they could stay up all night talking and laughing.
We’ll thank them when we get there. Or maybe name a few kids after them. Dorothy and Georganna are “in” names right now, right?
Babe, I love you. Love, love, love, love, love, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you forever and ever, forever and ever, forever and ever.

From the Files

I have a slew of pictures that I’ve been wanting to blog about, but things kept coming up.  Today is finally THEIR day.  Read on, completely aware that they are unrelated.
I love signs like this, found in my small town post office:
I love the penned-in reply, but I especially love how it says (at my house). You just don’t get homey stuff like that in the suburbs.

My daughter clipped and painted her own nails, and then she made this face:
Her faces just get me. Where does she come up with them? Heaven only knows. Heaven and Lacy.

My Grandpa Max gave me some squash seeds. I planted all of 2 of them, fully expecting my black thumb to slaughter them both. But they both grew to astronomical sizes until one finally BEAT the other one to death.
And guess what I have to show for it?
One squash. But, BOY was it worth having over 1/3 of our garden overrun. Over ran? I don’t know. I cooked that squash up (it is orange on the inside) and made it into one of the tastiest butternut squash pies I’ve ever had.
I saved the seeds. If you’d like one, let me know. It only takes one. Truuuust me.

The girl got her hair tangled up in a comb in a very bad way.
It was wrapped around the base! Of course the thought occurred to me to cut her hair, but it would have jutted out from a bald spot (she’d already ripped some hair out) in a weird spot on her hair (I can’t help but think of Rachael Green… “we had to cut it… and it was uneven for weeks!!!”). So we weaseled it outta there.

A few weeks ago, someone put a frog in the front pocket of my son’s church shirt:
My son, it must be known, hates creepy crawlies of any kind. His sister loves them and catches them with her bare hands (I can’t count the Mason Jars in my house filled with bugs), but the boy? He’d rather eat lima beans than hold a frog. But he didn’t mind it in his pocket. In fact, he loved it. He paraded around Grandma’s house, showing everyone his pocket-frog.
But then.
Oh, the screams! The horrors! A jumping FROG!

He couldn’t stand it. It wasn’t until the frog was safely outside that order was restored to my son. It turns out some little boys actually aren’t made of frogs and snails and puppy dog tails. SOME boys are made of Marvel.

All he wants is action figures. Iron man, The Hulk… he loves them. I picked up a bunch of tiny action figurines (army man sized) and ended up caught in a series of battles that lasted 30 minutes (of which I didn’t get to win once).
Iron Man trumps all.

And this made me laugh:
Does anyone else look at this and think “Nimbus 2000″?



Marriage is what brought us togevah… this weekend. The room we stayed in was actually a super-secret library. Our bed was one of the awesome sort that actually are pulled down from the wall.

It was beyond cozy. I snagged “Julia & Julia” from the shelves and leafed through it, laughing at the Julia parts and rolling my eyes over the incessant use of the “F” word. Julie is a great writer, this is true. I enjoyed her style, but her personality? Not so much.

We ate dinner at The Cottage Place, and as we waited for our food, Danny remarked “This is our spot.”
“Spot?” I said, plastering french bread with sweet cream butter with added chives and lemon zest.
“Yeah, you know… we have a place that’s ours.”
I didn’t take many pictures on account of my already having a bazillion pictures of The Cottage Place. But we did stop to snap one picture just outside of the little nook they sat us in. Danny reserved a quiet corner where we could sit undisturbed.
That is, if you don’t count the 30 minute conversation in the nook across the way held between to older couples about a game.
The more they drank the louder and more important the game conversation got.
“I wasn’t laughing because I was winning… I was laughing because it was FUN!” That comment made everyone at their table roar. Good thing too, Danny and I were having a snickering roar of our own.

We’d spent part of the day at an antique store, something I love beyond most anything. My heart goes all a’flutter as I dig through old pictures and rusted kitchen tools.
Just as I was checking out, my eye caught sight of a necklace. It was marked down on account of the damage it had, and the owner told me if I bought it, she’d knock off $2.
It was a necklace from the 30’s.
And now it’s MY necklace from the 30’s.
I’ve worn it every day since Friday. And I may or may not have slept in it last night.
Sadly, that was the only antique store we visited. My husband revealed to me that he didn’t really like antique stores, and I revealed to him that I didn’t really like the mall. Once we were open and honest with each other, we really didn’t know what to do.
No shopping?
No sifting though dead people’s stuff?
So we hit up tourist attractions instead.

We’d never experienced the ski lift in Flagstaff, so we bought some tickets and hopped on.
As I looked across the vast green country, I remarked how small it made me feel… how it changed my perspective… how I couldn’t believe how amazing nature is… I looked over at my husband and found him spitting off the side of our chair, just to see how far his spit would fall.
We loved watching other people pass us on the lift. We even made light conversation with the bag o’trash that passed by:
Once at the top of the mountain, we walked around and enjoyed the view. From where we stood, we could see Colorado on the horizon, a controlled wild fire near the Grand Canyon, a canyon to the South, and the highest toilet in Arizona.
QUITE an accomplishment.

Rain started pouring gently on us, and then hail started pelting us. We hunkered under a tree and waited it out, laughing as the rest of the crowd we’d come up with all flocked back to the ski lift. I still have no idea what they were planning on doing. Riding SLOWLY back down, completely unprotected from the pelting hail? I don’t know. We were happy to sit under our sturdy tree and wait. We all know it only takes Arizona weather about 2 minutes to switch from rain to hail to sunshine.

I snapped a picture of Danny on the second highest mountain in Arizona (we were standing next to the first. If we tried to hike over to it, about 20 wooden signs threatened us with a $500 fine if we didn’t STAY ON THE TRAIL).
Then he took the camera and snapped one of me. Ever since I bought my sunglasses, he’s been calling me “Hollywood.”
And just before snapping this picture, he called out “Hey, Hollywood!”
Oh, that man.
That night, we ate WAY too much at Olive Garden and then we walked around downtown in hopes of speeding up the digestion process.
We sat on a bench to make out, publicly.
Then we called the kids to listen to them tell us all about their day.
Then we went and saw a late-night showing of “The Help.”


After the movie, we poured into bed. I slept like a log, and thank goodness! The night before, I couldn’t sleep hardly at all.
Did I mention that we slept in a cellar-turned-library/room?
Did I mention that I drank a Dr. Pepper Friday afternoon?
Did I mention that I watched part of an episode of “Celebrity Ghost Stories” the night before?

All I can say is that lying in a dark cellar of an old, historic home WIDE AWAKE on account of caffeine after having watching ghost stories is the WORST! For the first time in my lift, I thanked Heavenly Father for my severe near-sightedness.
If there were any ghosts, I couldn’t see them!
We came home Sunday after a wonderful breakfast of fruits and croissant sandwiches. The kids were happy and well-behaved. The house was clean and cool. We ate snacks and called it lunch, and then I took a four hour nap (!!!!). I was starving when I woke up and when I opened the fridge, I found a bowl full of fried zucchini.
My sister.
My sister is the best sister, babysitter, house keeper, and zucchini frier.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my husband is home today and we’re going to try and get a few somethings done while the sun shines.

Birthday Drive-In

My husband is really big on birthdays.  The first birthday we ever spent together was my 19th birthday (!!!  19!?  I was just a kid!).  His gifts to me were so perfectly planned -so sentimental.  He gave me “Hidalgo,” the movie we saw on our first date.  He gave me “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” because I had RAVED about it and to make matters better… he gave me the soundtrack!  He gave me a pink fleece blanket, a carton of cotton candy (pink, which he ate), picture frames to fill our soon-to-be-ours apartment, and he also gave me a brand new pair of RED shoes because he knew how much I loved the red shoes I wore nearly every day.  When he saw a new shiny pair, he thought of me and he bought them.

It was so darn sweet, I could hardly stand it.  Every year -RIGHT when I wake up, he has a birthday gift wrapped and waiting for me.

WELL, this year I got one of the best gifts EVER!  He sent me to a three-day retreat with my Mom in Utah.  Kid free!  Amazing classes!  New haircut and color!  And I couldn’t be more grateful… but the retreat was August 1-3rd… and my birthday is the 16th.  That meant I woke up on the 16th with no present.  Which was fine.  I knew I had already gotten my rather expensive gift (we saved for a year), and I was fine.

The night of the 15th, my husband asked “What are your plans tomorrow?”
I told him the truth, “I have to go through all of our clothes and get rid of what we don’t need. I’m donating them to the clothing exchange going on this week.”
“Oh,” he said, “Cool.”
And then we went to bed.

The next morning, after a birthday kiss, he went to work. I set to washing all of the kids’ clothes. All day long I was under a pile of laundry. I received facebook birthday messages and answered them all right back because -let’s face it -I was sitting on the couch under a literal mountain of laundry.

But it was okay. I mean, really. Is laundry what I wanted to do on my birthday? Not really, but it wasn’t bad. I streamed chick flicks and I enjoyed reading all of my sweet facebook messages.
As the day went on, my daughter’s behavior got progressively worse.
She broke one of my Willow Tree figurines -the one given to me by an Aunt as a graduation gift.
Worse: she lied about it -tried to blame her brother.
She’s also in a correcting phase. As in: every time I do something wrong, she lets me know.
“You’re not wearing your seat belt.”
“We don’t do that Mom.”
I listened to her correction all day long and tried to SMILE about it. Because it was my BIRTHDAY and we’re SUPPOSED to be HAPPY ABOUT IT. After her brother went down for a nap, she asked me for some ice cream.
I dished her out some, putting a spoonful of ice cream in my mouth as I did.
“Mom, where did we get the ice cream?” She asked as I was forking it into my mouth.
“Hannah,” I replied, my mouth full.
“Mom, we don’t talk with our mouths full,” she chimed.
I gritted down on that ice cream and replied, “That’s right. We don’t.”

After a thorough lecture from her father last night about sneaking food into her room, she snuck a pile of chocolate animal crackers into her room, spilled them, stepped on them and then LAUGHED in my face when I spanked her. And when I got after her for laughing, she laughed at me again. Three times.

But I shook it off. My husband would be coming home soon. My sister had offered to take the kids for a while that night… it would all be okay.
Then I got a text from my husband telling me he might not be able to make it home in time to go out.

At that point, I threw caution to the wind and busted out the bag of cookie dough I had frozen a few weeks earlier. I sat on top of my clean laundry and ATE cookie dough. And I liked it.

I had tentatively planned a creative date. I always plan creatively when we don’t have much cash, you know. We’re at the end of our pay period, and I thought it might be fun to hit up Red Box, buy a few snacks, and take my lap top out somewhere and watch a movie… create our own little drive in, so to speak. Just the thought made me sing, “Stranded at the Drive-in” without stopping for, oh… four hours. give or take.

Word came at 7:30 that my husband was on his way home. He would make it home a little late but JUST in time for us to go out. I was emotionally drained. I was tired of laundry. BUT IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY and I WAS HAPPY. I got ready. I teased my hair and sprayed perfume on and applied lip stick. I fed my kids (I wasn’t hungry on account of the cookie dough) and when my husband got home, I had the car fully loaded and I WAS READY TO GET THE FRACK OUTTA THERE!

After dropping the kids off, I remarked, “I’m so tired. Let’s just go rent a movie, grab some take out and go home to watch the movie.”
“Um,” he started with some trepidation, “I have to be to work early, so if we’re going to watch a movie we need to do it now.”
And that’s what did it.
I didn’t want to try and be happy anymore. I didn’t care if it was my birthday anymore. I didn’t want to watch a movie if we were going to be rushed. I didn’t want to grab take out or sit down because I wasn’t hungry.
You know what I wanted at that point?
My bed.

We drove into town to rent a movie. By then, my husband had figured out that I wasn’t exactly hyped up for a party. He asked me to please smile.
But I thought it would be cool to cry instead.
“Please can we just go home?” I pleaded, “It’s late. I don’t want to leave the kids forever. I don’t want food. Let’s just go home.”
“Okay,” he said, wrapping his arm around me.
We drove home, tears filled my eyes… it wouldn’t have been a huge problem except I was driving. We neared an exit, and my husband said, “Get off here. Turn around.”
“Please,” my heart sunk, “Please let’s just go home.”
“Pull off,” he said, gently, “I’ll drive now. Let’s go back into town for a few snacks and then I promise we’ll just go home.”
“Okay,” I nodded, the promise of HOME ringing in my heart.

As we pulled into the parking lot, he turned the car off.
“I’ll be right back,” he said.
“I’m coming with you,” I replied.
There was a reason for it, you know. There was a reason I braved the late night crowd at Safeway with tear-stained eyes. I knew that if I left my husband alone he would buy me flowers.
I didn’t want flowers.
Feel free to judge me for what I’m about to say. I judge me.
Growing up, my Dad always ordered flowers for my mother. I used to sit and stare at them on the kitchen table. They were the most wonderful arrangements I’d ever seen, and they were a symbol… I just knew -every time I looked at those arrangements -that my Dad really, truly loved my mother. My husband has always been a stickler for flowers. He makes sure I have them for every possible occasion that you SHOULD have flowers. Valentines, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays…
He’s sentimental and sweet, really. An amazing man!
That’s why I never had the heart to tell him that what I really wanted… was those expensive arrangements in custom vases with cards sticking out of them.
Can you blame me for not wanting to tell him?! I HATED myself for it! I blame my father! He SPOILED the whole idea for me! (I jest, Papa. I jest.)
Danny has always been so sweet about getting me flowers. Always roses.
I finally had the courage to tell him that I don’t care for roses, and it pained me to the core. How many women out there would kill to have a husband like mine that brought them roses whenever occasion permitted? I know this! That’s why I felt like I jerk telling him the truth. Ever since then, he’s brought me beautiful bouquets of daisies, sunflowers (my favorite), lilies… he’s wonderful.
But last night, I didn’t want a Safeway bouquet. I wanted to cry and I wanted my bed and I knew that if I went with him into the store, he wouldn’t buy me any flowers.
Don’t I sound like the worst person on earth right now? Yes, I do. I know I do. I despise myself.
“Pick out some ice cream,” he said to me in the freezer section, “And I’ll be right back.”
“No,” I said softly, grabbing his arm, “Just stay.”
“No,” he said, less softly and pulled away, “I’ll be right back.”
“Danny, don’t get me flowers.”
“I wanted to get them earlier! I’m promise -I just didn’t have the time and I -”
“I don’t want them,” I admitted, quietly.
“But I always get them,” his shoulders dropped.
“I know,” I nodded, wanting to slap myself for what I was about to say, “I just don’t want them unless they’re… ordered.”
“Did I spoil you with your Valentine’s bouquet?” He smiled (for the first time in our married life, he ordered me a bouquet for Valentine’s Day -a dozen beautiful red roses, and despite the fact that roses aren’t my favorite, I was over the moon. Swoonin’. Smitten. Done for. Absolutely done for.
“I’ve actually always been this way,” I said, carefully.
“Always?” The poor beautiful man looked like I had just taken a mallet to his heart.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He asked, honestly wanting to know.
“Because you’ve always been the sweetest man in the world,” I wrapped my arms around him in the middle of the freezer section, “And I didn’t want to admit to myself let alone to you that I’m a high maintenance jerk.”
Much to my relief, he laughed.
And we went home without flowers.

We picked out Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for each other, and then we snagged some IBC cream soda and brownies.
Seven years ago, we took some IBC cream soda and Little Debbie Brownies out by a baseball field at night, we parked the car, watched a wildfire burn on a nearby mountain, drank our cream soda and ate our brownies… and in all actuality we FELL ASLEEP. But we didn’t stay there all night.
The cops woke us up.

In memorandum, we bought our cream soda and brownies (I thought we had bought IBC root beer that night, but Danny reminded me it was really IBC cream soda. See what I mean? The man is GOLD). And then my husband took the wheel.

He drove us out to my family’s land west of town. He unloaded our car which hasn’t exactly been completely cleaned up from our camping trip, he put the seats down:
Within a matter of minutes, we had our own mini drive in. (Check out that “Rango” preview!)
The movie didn’t work all that well on account of it’s being scratched all to heck, but it didn’t matter.
I shifted in my seat and suddenly music started playing.
From under my seat.
One of Lacy’s toys had fallen behind the seat -a Disney Princess “CD” player. It sang and sang and sang… and we laughed harder with every song.
I tried my hardest not to move, but it was impossible. If I didn’t move, I couldn’t have any brownies! I also couldn’t resist singing “Grease.”
I secretly wanted to say, “Meant something to you! You think I’m going to stay here with you in this? this sin wagon? You can take this piece of tin!” and throw my ring at him while I bailed out of the car and ran through Grandpa’s field.
I hoped he would yell, “You can’t just walk out of a drive in!” after me, but I was child locked in my own car.
So I just sat there instead. like a normal person.

In the end, after I had a brownie and a cream soda and a few bites of rich ice cream and a few laughs over “Dinner with Shmucks” I was right as rain.
My husband is a miracle worker -a magical man. A wizard.

As packed up and drove off, my husband hummed “Little Mermaid” songs, thanks to my daughter’s toy.
We picked the kids up two hours after we dropped them off, and I tried to get a good picture of them.
I failed.

And please tell me I’m not the only one who gets excited to see their birth date on stuff. And yes, I still get a rush when I see my birth date on the milk jug. right under “exp.”

Dedicating our Home

I just had to start today’s post with that picture. It’s a beauty. “Shampoo” in the background, John Deere shirt, tie, glasses, McQueen hat… Ahhh.
This blog has been boy heavy lately, hasn’t it? Well, it’s about time! Trenton is really coming into his own, and standing by to watch has been the best.

In other news: Danny and I have been living in this house for almost a year and a half. We still haven’t dedicated our home.
For more information on why/how we dedicate our home read HERE and HERE.

We sat down together and decided on a date to dedicate the house. We set it far enough off that we could have some time to get our house in order.
Two years ago, we decided on a family scripture. It is D&C 88:119:
Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

We’re constantly working on ALL of those things, and before we had our home dedicated we wanted to make sure it was in order. Because we have two little kiddos, there won’t be perfect order, and I’m okay with that. In the meantime, we’re finishing projects -which I love! -and we’re making the house more of a home and less of a … rental. It’s slowly getting there, and I’m so happy!
Last night, my husband exchanged our old hanging lampshade over the dining table:
With this:
Made from a broken hanging flower basket that my Aunt had given me awhile back. The switch cost us all of $4 for the spray paint. Next time I go shopping, I’m going to get a cuter light bulb, but what we have will do for now.

I’ve been busy with little projects like these decorative balls:
They serve a few purposes.
1) They look cute and show off my love for the written word and buttons.
2) They are made using balls of yarn that have sat in my overcrowded storage bins under my bed. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out and now I don’t have to!
3) They entertain the children.

Throughout the remainder of the month, we’ll be building and creating and beautifying. I hope you won’t mind my cataloging the journey here. It’s exciting to see it unfold and spending quality time with my husband doing it all has been the highlight of my life these days.
Today’s To Do list is pretty hefty and I need to get started on it. The first thing on that list?
Throw out the lamp shade!!

To read about how our new lighting fixture came to be, click HERE.
The get my Dad’s recipe for grilling up the Hawaiian Hamburgers we had for our Memorial Day BBQ, click HERE.

Eating Out

We went for two months without eating out.  We had one paycheck that was short, and we issued the challenge to ourselves: no eating out this paycheck.

I say “challenge” because it sounds more adventurous than “rule.”
We stuck by it, man. I cooked this and whipped up that. I was amazed at how much food we really did have in our cupboards. It isn’t like we eat out all the time. We tend to order pizza about once every two weeks. During a particularly hairy time, we might average one take-out meal every 10 days. But because we did so well NOT eating out, we extended the challenge to the next paycheck and the next and the next.
Before I knew it, we had gone TWO MONTHS without eating out (except for the one time the kids and I ate hot dogs at the food court in Sam’s Club, but I don’t really count that since there was no way around it. Also it cost me all of $5.)

Last week on Thursday, I had HAD it. I was tired and the kids were tired. I was hungry and the kids were hungry. I’d had a hankering for cheese sticks and I didn’t have any appropriate cheese on hand to make any, so I asked my husband if we could eat out. He was fine with the idea, so we decided to eat at Denny’s. I felt terrible about it, really. All this time, I’d saved and saved and saved and cooked and cooked and cooked, only to be overthrown by a hasty decision essentially made by my stomach.
I tried to shake it off, but I couldn’t.
Even when my plate of cheese sticks was placed in front of me and a voice inside was crying out, “YOU DESERVE THIS!” I still couldn’t shake it.
The next day, we went shopping. It’s been a while since my husband went shopping with us, and he really hates watching prices go up. By the time we were done checking out, he, ahem, wasn’t the happiest camper in the world. So I took a slight detour on the way home. That is to say: instead of depositing our car on the highway and heading home, I deposited our car at Sonic and ordered up some greasy grub. Food always makes my husband happy.
After we’d eaten (for only $8! Can you beat that?! If you’re not Sam’s Club, I mean…) we drove home. The next morning, we woke up, packed up, and headed to Thatcher.
My sister was graduating, and after her ceremony we… ate out. As a family.
I didn’t even come CLOSE to finishing my three creamy chicken enchiladas. Something just tasted… off.

And something WAS off. I tossed and turned all that night, falling in and out of sleep as my stomach would allow. The next day, I woke up and the family and I made our way to Denny’s again -this time with the rest of the family. We had one more family meal (breakfast) before we all split up and headed our different directions. I ordered one Grand Slam for me and the kids.
The kids ate more than I did. I mean… the kids ate more than I COULD.
I tried all day to shake the ache in my stomach. We stayed with my good friend, Stephanie, and I felt like the biggest jerk ever -plastered to her couch sipping on Sprite and cursing Casa Manana and their chicken enchiladas.

We finally made it back to our own house around 10:30 at night. My poor husband took the wheel for the long ride home, and I sat passenger, clutching my trusty Sprite and a pillow.
I collapsed on the couch when we got home and woke up a few times in the night with a roaring stomach ache. I’m not exactly proficient at.. purging (shall I say?) so the stomach ache simply stayed with me with no way to really work it’s way out.
I did make it to church, but only barely.

But I will tell you this much: the challenge is BACK ON.
No eating out! NO EATING OUT!!

In other news: here’s the only picture I took this weekend. I only took one picture for three reasons: my camera is dead and I can’t find the charger, my phone camera’s zooming function quit working, and I was plastered to poor Stephanie’s couch.
It’s a nice, relaxing picture though. Isn’t it? The kids were enjoying an afternoon splashing away in a kiddie pool. I enjoyed the sunshine and the green grass and the mountains in the distance.

As for yesterday, I snapped a couple of pictures with my zoom-less camera phone. My grandmother has a merry-go-round in her backyard. She’s had it for as long as I can remember.
When it comes to company, the merry-go-round has never been found wanting.
(no, I didn’t let them ride around like that. But I did have to get a picture before telling them to dismount.)

I left the kids to their playing and made my way into the house where I was greeted by THIS:

A necklace my aunt had made that I admired. I’m not big on jewelry, but my aunt’s taste is FANTASTIC!

Am I planning today’s hairstyle, make-up and outfit around this necklace?
Of course I am.

Just before heading to bed, I snapped this picture of two of my favorite people sharing a late night snack while they watched the game highlights on

That, readers, is my weekend report.
Today will consist of wearing my necklace (priority!), cleaning the house to get it ready for a day of fun with my nieces, taking the kids to the cemetery to clean-up, taking the kids swimming for an hour, and then heading to a friend’s birthday BBQ.

Days like today should always begin with a necklace like mine.
Please excuse me, the boy is drinking from the toilet.

Getting in the Mood for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is Sunday.  I hope I’m not the only one out there who has to give my husband warnings.

“Mother’s Day is in two weeks.”
“Mother’s Day is happening during this pay period.”
“This is your one week Mother’s Day warning.”

He never gets upset about the reminding. He only thanks me profusely. I’m excited for Mother’s Day this year. Every year, I cook a Mother’s Day dinner for my grandma and mom. This year we’ll be having BBQ ribs (made with Dr. Pepper), homemade potato salad, leaf salad, and cinnamon rolls for dessert. I can’t wait for the meal to come together! I can’t wait for our families to come together! Did I mention that I was excited to give my mom her Mother’s Day gift? I AM! It was put into my hands on Sunday, and I’m absolutely hopping excited to hand it over to my mom. I even took pictures of it! But I can’t share them yet. Because I signed my mom up for email feeds from my blog, so she HAS to read my crap.

My husband got asked to speak in church on Mother’s Day. AND so did my Dad. Excitement! Yes I’ll attend an extra hour of church just to hear my dad speak. Don’t you think I won’t!

Last night, I started feeling the Mother’s Day love. After the kids got out of their bath, they came to me on the couch for lotion and PJs. My son has the cutest hooded towel, and I was surprised when he crawled up on the couch and nestled himself down for the biggest, most snuggly hug in the whole world.
Can you see his little towel-clad arms wrapped around me?
It was the sweetest thing.
And there he stayed until he’d gotten his fill. Then he moved and let his sister get her lotion and PJs. After I got her dressed, I sat on the floor.
“You might brush my hair,” my daughter said.
“Yeah,” I nodded, “sit right here…” I motioned to a spot on the floor in the front of me between my legs.
“No,” she shook her head, “You might put your legs like…” She pushed my legs together and then laid herself on top of them. It took my by completely surprise! Have you ever balanced a four-year old on your legs before? It might have been hard had she not been a perfect fit.
(see the wreath off to the right side? Remind me to tell you about THAT later.)
I looked down at our feet and it made me so happy.
We said our prayers and then told the kids to hop in bed, but they didn’t. Lacy wanted her hair brushed some more, and Trenton wanted to play with his Dad some more.
So I went on brushing completely unaware that my husband took this picture.
He bought a Droid (Thunderbolt) last month and he’s been using the heck out of it. He went a little picture happy. And he went a little effects happy too. Why is the above picture blue? I asked him.
Because it can be! He answered.
Ahhhhhh… freshly bathed babies. Nothing in the world smells as sweet.
I only wonder where my son went when all of this picture taking was going down…

And now. I’m going to tell you about the wreath. I started it on Friday night. I saw a tutorial on a website for it. The woman talked about how easy it was to make. How she saw one at a boutique for $40 and then went home and made one for $2. I was really excited about the idea of making one. I sat curled up on the floor Friday night and watched television with my husband as I cut swirls out of pages torn from a book and made little roses and glued them to a wreath.
I giggled with every new rose made and paraded the wreath in front of my husband’s face.Photobucket
“Isn’t it looking good?” I squealed.
And then came Saturday. And Sunday. And Monday. And that blasted thing STILL isn’t done! I’ve been working on it for days and hours and hours! I’ve streamed just about every classic Netflix movie that looks even remotely interesting! My husband came home from work last night and found me curled up in front of my poor page-ripped book.
“Still at it?” He asked. I aimed the glue gun at my wreath and pretended to shoot it.
He laughed at me.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“You were so excited about it and now you hate it,” he laughed, “It’s cute.”

Want to know what to get me for Mother’s Day darling?
Some good sense to not start silly projects like this!
Also… dear, can you make paper roses? I need about 40 more.