Friday, May 30, 2008

What Kind of Music do You Like?

I was Righteous!
I scored 90% on the
Take the 80s quizby SheGoddess: How to lose weight


I am ashamed to say that I missed two. And I probably would have missed a third if it weren't for Guitar Hero.

Not All Aliens Are Bad

The Host: A Novel The Host: A Novel by Stephenie Meyer


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was actually a little nervous about reading this book. I didn't want Stephenie Meyer to fall down after her success with the Twilight series. No need to worry on that front! I enjoyed this book on many different levels: suspense, romance, science fiction, and many more. I found it very interesting to look at us, as humans, through the eyes of a completely humane and honest other-worldly being. It almost made me ashamed at how barbaric and cruel we can sometimes be. But there is also the flip-side where we can be loving and accepting and truly kind.

To me the message is that we are complex beings who have the capacity to change and improve ourselves and also that it's impossible to feel true happiness unless we know what it is to feel sorrow.

As a side note: I think that Stephenie is a master at the "love triangle." It is pretty amazing how she can present two imperfect men (Jared and Ian or Edward and Jacob) and make them both appealing in their own way.


View all my reviews.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sing, Baby Girl, Sing!




I am very behind on recording important kid events. You know how the end of the school year is typically jam packed with recitals and concerts, etc.? This year is no exception. Haven started it off two weeks ago when she participated in her pre-school program. The theme was "Alphabet Soup." This is actually a theme they have been following throughout the school year and it turned out to be very cute.

Now, I am not inexperienced in the "school program" department (Haven, being my third child and also having taught pre-school myself for two years), so I knew I needed to know if Haven would be wearing any sort of hat during her performance in order to determine how to do her hair. This might seem a little silly to those of you who haven't had your adorable child's adorable hair squashed or otherwise destroyed by some cute performance hat. Haven told me that all the kids would wear chef's hats (Alphabet Soup--get it?). I decided to put her hair in low pig-tails in order to keep her hair out of her face and out of the way of the chef's hat (and also because Haven said, "I want two pig-tails!). Everyone happy? Not so fast! Of course the pre-school isn't going to have REAL chef's hats for all thirty children! (I should know this having taught at this very same pre-school.) They made chef's hats out of paper, including a paper band that goes around their head and which lands in the precise spot you might also find a set of pig-tails on the cutest 3-year old on the planet. Poor Haven! I think she had a good time at the program and heaven knows she was still the cutest thing ever. But how can a kid not become preoccupied with a chef's hat that has stationed itself over her eyes? Several times I motioned for her to just take it off and put it on the floor, but I'm pretty sure she couldn't see me.

Bake a Cake song.


Ryder is just kicking back enjoying the show. If only he had been like this the entire time.

video

Haven (& Bentley) sing The Duck Song.

video

Haven, sans hat, stars in The Teddy Bear Song.

Haven receiving her certificate from Miss Laura and Miss Josephine. Way to go, Haven!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Who Would've Thought?




Your Thinking is Abstract and Sequential



You like to do research and collect lots of information.

The more facts you have, the easier it is for you to learn.



You need to figure things out for yourself and consider all possibilities.

You tend to become an expert in the subjects that you study.



It's difficult for you to work with people who know less than you do.

You aren't a very patient teacher, and you don't like convincing people that you're right.



Problems:
--I typically do too much research and end up overwhelmed and unproductive.
--I prefer being told what is what instead of figuring things out for myself.
--I'm an expert in zero subjects (okay--maybe ice, but sadly we ice experts aren't in demand).
--It's hard to find people who know less than I do.
--I do like to convince people I am right (I may be an expert at this as well--trying to convince people, not necessarily being right).

Accuracies:
--I am not a patient teacher.

Maybe I would have done better on this quiz if I had collected more information first.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May 22, 2008 - Jenn's Birthday!!!!!!!!!

Hey everyone, today is Jennifer's birthday! The big 37. Please leave a comment to wish her a happy one!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ahhhh....Weddings


The happy couple.

We were privileged to attend Eric's nephew Greg's wedding a couple of weekends ago. We had so much fun spending the day with our family. The ceremony itself was beautiful. The luncheon was so creative and fun. And the reception was one big party. Congratulations Greg and Tess!


Grace and Haven at the luncheon. The box lunch idea was fabulous and the food was so yummy.


Haven wants a cake exactly like this one at her wedding. (At the reception she said over and over, "This is so beautiful! This is so so beautiful")

Haven and Gracie dancing. Haven literally danced the night away. After a couple of hours we had to drag her from the dance floor. She wore out several cousins and her dad and eventually ended up dancing alone. Sad.


Haven and her daddy.



video

Here we have a live sampling of Haven dancing like a maniac (and trying to recruit Ryder). But the stars here are really our nephews Gavin and especially Colin.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Validation?


The other day we had a little friend visiting at our house. Haven appointed herself the tour guide and she walked around the house pointing out the various highlights ("this is our kitchen, this is the playroom, these are my shoes, these are my other shoes, these are my play shoes..."). When she got to the mop, which was conveniently propped up against a wall in the kitchen awaiting the next spill, she said, "This is for cleaning. It's my mom's. She does the chores around the house." My first instinct was to be offended. What does she see me as? The maid? And then I thought how amazing it is that my 3 year-old recognizes that I do stuff around the house. Thanks, Haven!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake--I Mean Pie


As mentioned in the previous post, Eric's cake request for his birthday was Washington Pie. I'm not sure why it's called Pie, it is clearly made of cake, but why question yummyness? I know that I got this recipe from my mom and I think she got it from hers. Is that right, mom? Where is it from originally? Either way, this is how to make it:

Washington Pie

Bake a yellow cake according to the package directions in a greased and floured 9 X 13" pan.
Cool for 10-15 minutes.
Remove cake to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Cut the cake in half lengthwise.
Place the bottom portion of the cake back into the pan.

Prepare 2 small packages of COOKED vanilla pudding.
Place pan in a sink filled with several inches of cold water in order to cool.
Pour cooled pudding over the bottom layer of the cake.
Replace top layer (I usually cut it in half in order to do this).
Top with sweetened whipped cream.

Store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

40 Isn't Old...If You're a Tree



I'm married to an old man. I am kidding, but it is sort of freaky watching Eric reach one of those milestones, knowing that I am not far behind (but for eight days he is four years older than I am--ha!). In reality Eric doesn't seem old to me at all. If you know him, then you know that he is a pretty active guy and very healthy despite a few aches and pains. I also think he is pretty hip--as far as hipness goes in the nerdy engineering world (don't worry Eric, I don't even make it on the scale as far as hip moms go--I'm pretty sure that "hip" isn't even a hip word anymore).

Moments after he went out the front door to leave for work he was back inside telling me that he was going to drive the van. That is only because MRK had shoe-polished his car! It was pretty funny. Eric, who embarrasses easily at times, had to at least remove the part that said, "I'm 40. Honk at me."





We all had a fun time celebrating Eric's birthday. That night we had had dinner at our house with the Kennedys and Ryan. For Eric's dinner he chose to have Chicken Pasta Salad (see here for the recipe), which is one of his favorites. And for his cake he wanted Washington Pie. Good choice, Eric! Yum!



We all had a fun time.



I think Eric enjoyed his gifts. Including the ones that Bentley and Haven kept bringing him from the playroom.


After the kids had settled down, we went with MRK and Natalie to see Iron Man. I give it a solid "thumbs up." It was good fun. I've never been a huge Robert Downey Jr. fan, but he gave a good performance and I liked his character's sense of humor. I think that Eric was glad we went even though it required him to stay up until after midnight on a work night.

I also want to wish my sister-in-law Lori a happy birthday. Isn't that fun that Eric and his sister share the same birthday? We hope you had a good one, Lori!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Are We Done Yet?

In the past two years we have replaced every major appliance in our almost 12 year old home (we moved in the day Sage turned one in August 1996). It started with our refrigerator approximately two years ago. Then, right after Ryder was born, our washer began to die a slow death that was ruining our clothes. And really, why replace the washer and not the dryer? Our plan was to replace the dishwasher next. It had been slacking off for a while and I suspected it was really only effective as a high heat sanitizer. But alas, when summer began last year and cold air ceased to cool us, the air conditioner needed replacing. Don't worry dishwasher! You are next! Enter my first disaster with my stylish mini-van. (See here if you don't already know what a big idiot I am.) This little "mishap" required a new rear window in the van AND a new garage door. Forward to a week or so before last Christmas when my oven stopped working. I knew it hadn't been up to par for a while, but I had learned how to adjust my cooking and I thought we had some sort of truce going on. No such luck. While searching for a new oven it seemed prudent to put our dishwasher out of its misery (finally!). And while our new stove and dishwasher would now match our fairly new refrigerator, the microwave did not. So, "Merry Christmas to us!" We completed the set.



We've enjoyed the refrigerator--it keeps our food cold. The washer is not front loading, but it is high efficiency. I love both the washer and the dryer. And we didn't think anything was wrong with our previous microwave but this one cooks even faster!



The stove is great. I especially like the bigger burner that boils water and other things more quickly and the extra small burner for sauces and the like. I also like the double oven--great for not heating up the entire kitchen. And the convection option is convenient. My favorite part of the dishwasher is that the buttons are hidden inside where little people can't start it whenever they pass by.

All seemed well. But there was one more essential appliance lurking out there--waiting for us to let down our guard. However, we were ahead of the game! Eric had been researching a tankless water heater that would be much more energy efficient than the standard. They are quite a bit more pricey than a regular water heater and I wasn't convinced that the extra expense would be worth it. But I started to think about it more seriously and decided that we really could save money over the years. And why not launch that preemptive strike by getting rid of the old water heater before it had the chance to make us sorry we hadn't?

You know what is not a fun sight? Coming home from Costco with a van full of supersized groceries only to spot a small river running out of your garage and down the driveway. I didn't know that a water heater (and one which I think we have treated fairly well over the years) could be so vindictive. Of course I was panicking because I hadn't a clue how to turn off the water and Eric wasn't answering my phone call. And this was really not the ideal time for a garage flood (if there is one) because we had recently emptied boxes out of our storage unit and also had stacks of wood flooring for Sage's room in boxes on the garage floor. I did my best to move things that weren't yet ruined to dry spots in the garage while waiting for Eric to return my call. I eventually got in touch with Eric and I now know how to turn off the water--something I should have known before. So we now have a new water heater, which my ever-handy husband installed last night with MRK's help (thanks again, MRK). We could not get the tankless one we wanted because you have to order it ahead of time. But we did get one that is more energy efficient than the last one. Hopefully we are set for a while as far as replacing large ticket items. I'll end now so that I can go knock on some wood.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Moms Rock!


Happy Mother's Day to all you mommys out there. I am constantly amazed at the incredible moms that I know. And it's not all about perfection, folks. I know that is what we can all shoot for, but it's sometimes a lot more comforting to find that most moms have bad days and make mistakes--just like I do. If you're a mom out there who doesn't "lose it" on occasion, my hat is off to you but you probably live in cartoon land or on a 60's sitcom. Being a mom is hard! I love my kids more than anything but that doesn't prevent me from messing up on occasion (please don't ask my children exactly how frequently!).

I would like to pay tribute to my very own mom. She is, in a word, the best! I can't imagine having any other mom. She is funny and kind and a blast to be around. But I think the thing I love most about my mom is that I know she loves me and would do anything for me. I have no doubt about that at all. And it is a fact that has helped me through some tough times. Thank for everything, mom! I love you a ton!

And if you know my mother, you also know what a super grandma she it. Seriously. Don't try to compete with my mom in that department. Her grandkids can't get enough of her. And it's not because she lavishes them with gifts (although they do get their fair share), it's because she spends time with them and shows an interest in their lives. She just has a way with those grandkids that is really awe-inspiring.

This is also the perfect time to express my appreciation for my mother-in-law. I can't relate with all the jokes and negativity regarding mothers-in-law. Eric's mom, Barbara, is a truly amazing woman. She has been kind and loving towards me since day one. She has never "meddled" as I hear some mothers-in-law do, but she has always been there to offer help and advice when we need her. She is one of those people who everyone knows because she has affected their lives in some positive way. I love her and appreciate the positive influence she is in my life.


There are so many other moms who inspire me: my grandma (see here for my latest tribute to grandma); my step-mom Diona, my sister Natalie (the funnest mom I know), Tina (who, whether I deserve it or not, often reassures me that I'm not the worst mother in the world), Melissa (if she has a flaw I don't know about it), ALL of my sisters-in-law, Monica (you think you are sneaky but nobody knows how to make a person's day like you do), and so many more! I am surrounded by women from whom I want to steal pieces of and remake myself. Thank you all for your encouragement and good examples.

I've already had breakfast in bed--thank you to my husband and girls (the breakfasts get more delicious the older my kids get)! I've received several thoughtful gifts. And I guess I will finish out the day doing whatever I want. Maybe. I'm pretty sure mothers never get an entire day off. Hope you all have a good one!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Spotlight: Haven


This post is dedicated to the littlest girl in my life: Haven Juliette. She is my dress-wearing, princess-loving, girly-girl who loves school, reading, coloring, playing outside, and her family. She may be 3 1/2 but she thinks she is as big as and can do whatever her teen aged sisters do. She says and does funny stuff that cracks us up on a daily basis. I know I am going to kick myself for not keeping track of her cuteness better so I'm just going to jot down a few things.


What girl wears a white dress and sandals on a hike with her dad? (The better question is probably: What parents let their 3-year old daughter wear a white dress and sandals on a hike?)


One night when Sage was putting curlers in her hair Haven wanted to get in on the glamor. Notice there really isn't any hair around the curlers although one of them had to be cut out!


She really was excited about pajama day at preschool. She just wasn't at all thrilled with the fact that I had just brushed her hair. Her recovery time after a hair-brushing is quite long and I could not get a smile out of her!

Say, "Cheese!"


We have an endless supply of Haven drawings.

One of her "not so sweet" moments.

Rushing around like a mad-woman the other night as I tried to get ready for our trip to Utah I heard Haven say something to me like, "I'm all packed up, mom!" But it wasn't until later that night that I noticed how she had "packed up."


I found these two bags chock full of stuff.

Contents: sandals (her very versatile "hiking" sandals), a plastic tomato, a white tiger, a polly pocket, some change, a brown ribbon, two shirts, one pair of pjs, and a dress.

And in this one: her camera, two pairs of dress-up shoes, a dress-up choker, a pillow, a fan, and (of course) another dress--one that doesn't fit, I might add.

There was a shocking lack of clean undies that had to be remedied. And I confess that, for all its cuteness, I did much revamping. I believe only six items made it into the final suitcase. But I appreciated her efforts.


Upon arriving in Utah at 1:00am, job one for Haven was putting her dolly in bed.

She loves hanging out in her guest bedroom at grandma's house.

A few recent funny quotes from the Havester:

me (on the way home from church): "Okay, everybody. I know that this isn't what you want to do right after church, but the house is a mess and I have some cooking to do so I need you guys to tidy-up as soon as we get home."

(general groans from the back seat)

Haven, defiantly: "No."

me: "What do you mean, 'no?'"

Haven: "Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest."

So it is.
*****

Haven: "Mom. I want to go grocering with you."

me: "Grocering?"

Haven: "Yes. Grocering."

me: "You mean you want to go the store with me next time I go grocery shopping?"

Haven: "Yes."

Makes sense to me. Let's get that baby added to the dictionary!
*****

While sitting down to breakfast as a family while on vacation in California:

Haven: "I want to be on vacation with my family forever and forever and forever."

Me too, Haven. Me too.



Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thank You for Feeding My Twilight Addiction



I've seen similar posts already and heard from others via e-mail regarding this subject, but is there such thing as too much Twilight? I risk being redundant by posting, but I don't want anyone to miss out on this goodness. I am more excited than ever for this movie. I wish I could say that it is completely (or even mostly) on behalf of my two teen aged daughters. It is not. I've been on the Twilight bandwagon for quite a while now and I'm not ashamed to admit it. So watch the trailer here and, though short, it packs a punch that has left me sufficiently distracted. And were it not for the fact that my copy of The Host should arrive today, I might be tempted to re-read Twilight--again.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Rogue Hair on the Loose


Of course this isn't a picture of me. My hair is much worse and I didn't want to frighten those of you out there who have delicate constitutions. I don't know what to do anymore. Bad hair days have turned into weeks and then months. My hair is going through a serious rebellious stage and if I can't regain what little control I had of it then I'm afraid I'm going to check out the bald look.

It's naturally curly and normally doesn't require much maintenance. But normal is a thing of the past. I barely remember normal. And it's not the cut or the color (I am covering up a considerable amount of gray). It just won't behave. I've tried product after product without luck. Including many things I've used in the past with success. I do straighten it occasionally and it looks okay, but we are entering the season of summer and straightened hair is out of the question for me. I admittedly sweat in 100 degree + weather and then it looks horrible. Am I doomed to live out the rest of my existence in a pony-tail or a hat? Is there some magical cure I don't know about. Is this some sort of curse that goes along with getting older?

I don't demand or expect perfection when it comes to my hair. We've battled over the years but I thought we had come to a kind of truce: It would throw me a bad hair day on occasion or change it's course and start curling in some freaky manner. But we would then settle into a fairly peaceful existence afterwards--until the next bad day. What have I done to make it behave this way and what can I do to beg forgiveness? Anyone?