Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Pictures

Before the craziness started:

Brandon got Ashley this horse. He was so excited for her to open it that we have a series of 6 pictures of her unwrapping the box, opening the box, pulling out the bag with the horse it in, and then this one. She wouldn't tell us the problem but finally uttered "I don't like pink". She does, but not like YELLOW and this came after the real colored horse she had already opened.

She got over it. This was taken after she was sent to get dressed. There was much gnarling and gnashing of teeth all along to just panties so she was left to her own devices to get dressed. 10 minutes later I stumbled into this scene. She's in nothing but panties, still. I call it her Lady Godiva stage.

Alex got a Build Your Own Light Saber kit. There's two pictures so you can see him and how cool it lights up.


Part of what the kids got from Gramma and Grampa Miff was giftcards to Red Robin. RED ROBIN!!!???!?! Heck yes. Man, but we're too broke to take them.
Never fear, the best grandma/mom/mom-in-law in the world considered the financial plight of the parents whose children got said gift cards. When was the last time your kids' meals were $20 a pop? They weren't. No, Grandma (or Super Grandma as we're calling her today) made sure there was enough for the parental figures to go, too.

We had a failed attempt to get to Spokane on Monday and decided, on the sly, at the last minute so the weather fairy didn't have time to react (ha ha!!) to try again on Tuesday. We made it. (neener neener!)

Lest you think we are so dumb, first, Christmas break is over after this week and the kids would be back in school and Aiden at work (I have another week!) thus inhibiting our "let's just go NOW" process for tricking the weather fairy, and second, we had to exchange some gifts from the other gramma. There's a K-mart closer to us but NO Red Robin. The Whiskey River BBQ Burger was calling loud and clear "Holly.... Aiden.... It will be JULY before the weather gets nice again.... Come EAT ME!!!!". How do we deny the wishes of the burger? We don't/couldn't.

The exchanging gifts was hindered by an aunt and uncle (of Brandon's origin) lying about WHERE they bought the kids' clothes by wrapping them in JC Penney's boxes but purchasing them at Wal-Mart. We figured out most of this and exchanged it the night before but then I got to stand in the long returns line at Penney's only to be told with utter disdain and only her finger nails touching the lowly fabric lest it infect her or her precious fetus somehow "we don't carry THIS here. I don't recognize it". She went on to suggest I should check Target. Or Shop-ko.

I can't express the way she did how great it would be if these articles happened to come from those shops but I can tell you she would have had a coronary or stroked out had she been told something she was TOUCHING came from Wal-Mart. Shhhhh!!!!

We decided to not brave the Spokane Wally World and it's inherent parking lot and figured the kids will grow into the offensive clothing.

A little bit of backing up here: when we were sure we'd get to Spokane this time we called Gramma Laura and told her we were coming. She's been sick with an awful cold but apparently was feeling better. Enough to venture back to Sam and Dom's, her bar of choice. We reached her right after she got there so of course she wasn't ready to come meet us at her house to get the receipts for K-Mart. She told us it would be an hour until she was ready to leave (uh huh). Hence the Penney's part of the day first.

Being done at Penney's we called to see if she was heading home. She had come up with another plan. "Come down to the bar, get the key to the house, I'll tell you where the receipts are and you can bring the key back here". Sure, the roads are nice and pleasant and I WANT to come to the bar. But K-Mart is nasty about returns even with a receipt. I didn't see a way out of this one.

Luckily, there's a K-Mart on the way and Aiden decided we should just try since it wouldn't cost us anything extra to make the stop. We got the only K-Mart employee with a heart and she said they could do it but it would be the lowest price in the last 12 weeks. This was the deterrent as she saw it but little did she know it was the best news all day. We took it.

There was NO WAY we were going to continue being the proud owners of the hot pink pants with BRATZ written down the side. (I tried to find a picture as I was not smart enough to take one while the pants were in my possession. They are so bad there is no published picture of them on the internet that I could find.) These things screamed "I am to be worn by migrant workers in the berry fields". Or maybe that's just my take since the only place I have ever seen red, green, or any fluorescent colored jeans was on migrant workers in middle school.
Laura called in the middle of the exchange process to inform us that rather than sticking to the plan she was heading home and would meet us there. I told her the new plan on our side. She wanted to make sure SHE wasn't losing money on the deal. Uh, no. See, even if the actual monetary difference was a loss on her side, this way we are getting clothes they will actually wear. Isn't that the biggest trade? I mean, talk about losing money: buy clothes the kids won't wear.

In case you talk to her we traded straight across for different sizes.

Okay, now for the good part: Red Robin for dinner. The gift cards covered all three kids, two adults, dessert, and half the tip! Gramma, you rock! is the quote given by Annie.

The waitress was really nice. We hadn't eaten anything since noon and by 5 were very hungry. She brought out two baskets of fries as our appetizer (bottomless fries don't have to wait until your burger, did you know? So much for paying for mozzarella sticks!). Then when the dessert was decided on we explained they would be splitting the hot fudge sundae. I asked if we could have extra cookie straws (otherwise these smiling faces would have had messed up hair and tear streaks over the cookie straw fight. I know these children). She went one better and made each kid their own sundae with cookie straws and cherries for each. I love her.

Aiden and I shared a mile high mud pie. We'd never had that before. Have you seen this thing? I didn't get a picture up front but you get the idea.

Every person decided the best part of their day was dinner except Alex who said the whole day. We had a lot of fun over the whole deal.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The elephant is also G rated

Alex has informed us that some girl is hot. "Hollywood hot" not "Stove hot".

Later that night we were talking about how names change when people get married. We learned that women can take the man's name, men could take the woman's name, they can hyphenate the two, or you can make up whatever you want. Immediately I think "Princess Consuela Banana Hammock". The kids, however, came up with names for each other:

Annie Noelle Hollywood-Hot

Annie Noelle Annie Loves Wyatt

Annie Noelle PINK

Annie was the subject of most of these but I'm not sure why, exactly.

The list was never ending and continued for a long time. Eventually bedtime put an end to it all.

Yesterday we went to see all the grandparents and pick up Christmas presents. A lot of the presents from Brandon's mom were clothes which were put on layaway prior to the kids' growth spurts this fall. And they came from K-mart which means we have to get back to Spokane to exchange them. Our weather was sunny and clear today so we assumed the Spokane weather would be also (should have checked on our stolen internet!). Gramma and Grampa Miff gave the kids some gift cards to Red Robin so we thought we'd do dinner and exchange the clothes.

We got about 30 miles from our goal and came upon roads with fog, blowing snow, and no visible asphalt. Hmmm.

We kept driving (I LOVE that Aiden learned to drive in Alaska!!!) only to stop about 15 cars back from a three car pile-up which looked to involve at least 1 semi from what we could see through the white screen. In fact, we couldn't actually tell what it was that was causing the stop so some guy in a small pick up drove by twirling his finger at everyone in our lane to turn around and go the other way (it was TOTALLY cue the banjo-esque but we refrained because he was kind enough to let us know!).

Thus ended our big trip to Spokane for the day. The weather is forecast to be decent tomorrow both here and there so are we going? NOPE! Unless we wake up feeling like punishing ourselves again. Three kids in the car for a pointless 3 hour ride is plenty exciting but I don't know if I can handle it for another day.

On the way back into our lovely town the kids' movie ended and they were not pleased at the prospect of watching Scooby-Doo for the 900th time. Ashley kept covering her ears and telling us "I DON'T understaaaaand Crunch!" over and over. I decided to start singing to keep them occupied as it had worked the night before on the way home.

The Wiggles have the great "willaby wallaby w___ (*rhymes with something) an elephant sat on ______ (*the something you rhymed with)". Very complex, right? After a couple of versions of that it got morphed into An elephant lived in Pullman. Then it was
Willaby Wallaby woop, an elephant made a poop!

And on from there. Again Alex proved his 8 year old comedic prowess with a story-line containing the poop, a pee, and then Willaby Wallaby Woilet, why didn't the elephant use the toilet?!?

Boys grow so quickly, just a few months ago we were stuck on farts (which the elephant also made) and now we've progressed to other bodily functions. Woo hoo!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snow Removal?

I do not believe the manager of apartment complex hired someone to perform "snow removal". In fact, I am quite certain his contract clearly states that his job is to "push the snow around all over the parking lot, thus making it seem as though you are doing something when in fact you are instructed to simply leave as much snow as possible behind all parked vehicles". Since I am certain this is what his contract states, he is doing a fabulous job.

If I am wrong, however, and his job actually is to clear snow from the parking lot, this guy must have learned to do his job in Florida or Arizona. In the past couple of days I have spent close to 3 hours digging and shoveling in order to move our van from being stuck (twice) and to leave in order to buy groceries. For those of you who don't know, I am a disabled veteran, so this snow removal crap is really annoying and painful.

The guy who does the plowing came through today. He made one pass around the parking lot leaving (barely) one lane to drive on. He never clears empty parking areas (and there are a lot since everyone is out of town). And he likes to leave giant piles of snow behind parked cars. Last year one of these piles tore off the undercarriage guard on our van.

Snow removal at its best.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


It's over. The kids are in bed, twitching from their sugar highs, the leftovers are put away, the washer and dryer are working hard to get the snow gear ready for the next outting, and Brandon is gone.

That's right, after all the convincing I had to do so the kids could have him for Christmas, he made it and we had a very pleasant 25 hour stint. In fact, there was a lot of great moments. Like when he let me drive his car over to the storage unit across town. It was like sitting in a go cart and with the plows leaving 18 inch mounds of snow on the side of the road, I felt very much like one of the Dukes of Hazzard trying to get into the parking lot there. We had to back up 50 feet to get a running start, crashed into the snow (luckily he's got studded tires), lost contact on all four tires and had our momentum carry us over into the parking lot. All this for a snow shovel.

After we got home he shoveled himself a space so he wouldn't get stuck and then dug out half of the van which got stuck the night before. Our neighbor came out and finished the snow removal part of the job. Brandon also dug out a path in the sidewalk for us which was a great present! You can't get that at Wal-Mart!!

We took the kids sledding with some friends this afternoon/evening, fed them apple pie (which I made and was AWESOME, thanks for the help, Val!) and hot cocoa with marshmallows in case they had worn off some of their stocking sugar whilst sledding.

I have tons of pictures, I will have to post some at a later time. Right now, I'm going to relax and enjoy the last 3 and a half hours of Christmas glow there is.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Just to fill you in, Brandon's here, things are going... fine.

And now for the big announcement: The disposal is making strange noises. A hand down the hole recovered a spring. Probably not good.

I'm scared to call Krista.

WIPE that look off your face

For Christmas this year we were getting a visit from a certain ex-husband of mine. Note the "were". I got a voicemail from him last night saying "I need to talk to you about this Christmas thing". Maybe you don't know what that means, but I do. It means he's not coming.

Riiiiight, your wiper blades won't work.
What? Oh, you and your girlfriend got back together? We call that motive.
And you didn't start looking for the part you think you need until 7:30 at night?!? You're leaving in the morning, right? Or you "were".
You don't even know what part it is that's not working?

He managed to rule out the fuse (because it's so easy a MONKEY could do it) which to him left the only obvious choice: the relay switch.

Okay, it's rare that the motor goes out, from my understanding. But when it happened to me the part was there and we got it fixed. *(Thanks MOM!) The relay switch is so much more rare that Schucks, NAPA, and even the dealerships don't stock the part. In fact, only the dealer had the part in their catalog. Clearly this is the most obvious thing to believe to be wrong.

He's unwilling to borrow Morgan-the-girl-who-had-gotten-smart-and-apparently-got-dumb-again's car for a miriad of reasons. Mostly the list starts with "But I spent $250 to replace two snow tires on MY car" and follows around to "it wouldn't make it because she doesn't take good care of her car". (what kind of boyfriend are you that SHE doesn't take care of her car?!?) (that's sarcasm by the way).

Of course the answer is the same kind of boyfriend as kind of father you are. The kind who is not moving heaven and earth to find a way to get to his kids on Christmas.

And who is making me explain it to them.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It happened

Remember the flame broiling oven? How about the frozen fridge? Remember how I said the only thing left to go out was the water heater? It did.

It died on Saturday but I was too scared to call Krista, our landlord, until this morning. I didn't want to be kicked out for bad appliance ju-ju 2 days before Christmas. But I got tired of 2 minute showers. She laughed and said she'd tell the plumber.

He showed up this afternoon, changed the bottom element (changed the top last fall) and 40 minutes later we had hot water! We celebrated by using it for showers that were long enough to get clean AND shave my legs in.

I'm not going to jinx us by saying nothing else can break now but... what's left?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pumpkin Pancakes

I told Mom I got punkin pancakes for breakfast the other day. Since I talked them all up and made them sound so delicious (which they totally are!) I promised to post the recipe Aiden stole. It's from and you should totally try it!

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar

In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt, stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Young Scientists

Aiden took the kids to play in the snow (I was taking a nap) and they were playing research scientist (see how smart my kids are?!?!) by taking large chunks of compact snow on the sled back to their labratory to break open and study. For real.

That's all, just bragging about the nerdy games my kids play all on their own with no coaching or anything.

Hopefully women use deodorant, too

Last night we decided to play a game. Aiden got me a new game called The Last Word for my birthday and the kids, who have been gamers in the old sense of the word (not the plugged in console reliant sense) lately have been badgering us to let them play. I have been trying to figure out how to make it kid friendly and how to let them play it and enjoy it while avoiding the Thanksgiving Break SORRY! debacle.

Normal game play is that everyone has a subject card and then you turn over a letter. Players race to think of a word that matches both and then play their subject card. Everyone shouts out answers and whoever finishes before the randomly timed buzzer goes off gets to move on the board. It is a fun time, just not for kids. We remedied this by taking turns starting the subject and timer and then going around in a circle in an orderly fashion so as to prevent fights of who was talking first, etc. And we eliminated the letter cards altogether.

Since Ashley is 4 she was at somewhat of a disadvantage (although she was up against several of us with ADD and the inability to plan ahead and ended up playing on the same level as the rest of us with our handicap figured in) I was whispering words to her so she could keep the game going. This was just fine until she realized she could play on her own. Then she would not use any of the answers I offered up even if she was about to say it anyway.

Some of the answers, by category, for your enjoyment:

All About Being a Teenager:

Mom: High School
Ashley (who was next): Musical!

Water Animals:

Annie: all the answers she wanted to use were said already so she had to think... Aiden tried to help by offering a suggestion but she offered him the "go ahead and die now" look then announced: WATER BUFFALO


Ashley: after the buzzer already went off: I should have said "banana!"

Things in a factory:

Annie: chocolate!
Mom: Oompa Loompas

Things in Washington D.C.

Ashley: after I whispered "the Pentagon": The pinnacle
Alex: I was going to say that!

Things at the grocery store:

Annie: Connie! (their favorite checker)

Things found at Grandma's house:

Ashley: Wocking Howses
Annie: Dogs

5 letter words:

Ashley: it was hers to start and this would have taken all night. Normally we would have skipped it but the timer is pretty quick... I tried to help her come up with one but she said: birds all on her own.


Annie: Ketchup

Things under the ground:

Ashley: turtles

Things found in a purse:

Ashley: Sparkewly wip stuff

Types of spices:

Aiden to Annie: What do we make garlic bread out of?
Annie: ...... (crickets)
Mom: saaaaalt (to Ashley)
Ashley: CORN! (can you tell what she likes on her corn?)
Aiden: What do we normally use with salt?
Ashley: slaps her head and rolls her eyes at herself: peppewuh

Things used mainly by men:


Every time the timer would go off Ashley would say ME! and move her piece. The end of the game came down to me, Alex and Ashley all waiting for one more space. Aiden and Annie were gracious losers (for the first time ever for Annie!). Mostly this was not their fault as the timing of the game is impossible but crucial. Ashley would get a lot of the last answers because she was holding out on saying what I had whispered to her. Barring that, Alex would get the next word and then the timer would go off. I got a lot because Ashley wouldn't go fast.

Annie and Aiden got hosed simply by where they were in the circle. Only people bookending the slow answerer got a lot of play.

Not a calling I missed

Saturday night we made Gingerbread Cookies.

We found out how horrible we are at frosting but we did have fun with it. The members of our family (including Gramma, G Laura, Brandon, Jack, and Crook) all got cookies made with their names.

For the record, they looked better before they got stored overnight in a bag stacked on each other.

Since it continues to snow I think we'll be stuck sledding down our lovely playground hill all day. We thought we'd make it up to Gramma Miff's house but upon inspection of the weather report and road conditions, I don't think that's going to happen.

Wish me luck, I don't have snowpants.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What are we teaching her?!

Ashley was holding her neck all weird the other day. Aiden told her she's silly and said something about turning her head the right way (they were walking through Shopko). She said "I caaaaan't". He told her she needed to do it so she would not crash into something or someone. She said "I caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan't". He stopped and looked at her and asked "why can't you fix your neck?"

"I need a MAN to fix it!" was her answer.

Good Lord.

It'll never be the same.

You know how sometimes you hear a song and you can easily get the words mixed up? Like "Bad moon on the rise" becomes "bathroom on the right" or "I'll settle for a slow down" becomes "I'll settle for a Coke now" (Kieth Urban) or "Tie the cans to the back of that limousine" is somehow "Tie the kids to the back of that limousine" (Phil Vassar). The list goes on and on. Today we were having a lazy day just hanging around playing games and listening to oldies. Suddenly I hear "It's a beautiful mornin'... I'll think I'll poo outside for a while"...

Once you've heard it you will never hear it the other way again. It also changes the entire meaning of the rest of the song. I end up picturing Adam Sandler-esqe movie scenes with a lot of silliness. For your enjoyment, the original lyrics below. You can substitute "poo" in the second line if you feel the need.

It's a beautiful mornin' ahhh
I think I'll go outside a while
An jus' smile
Just take in some clean fresh air boy
Ain't no sense in stayin' inside
If the weather's fine an' you got the time
It's your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day
Either wayIt's a beautiful mornin' ahhh
Each bird keeps singin' his own song
So long
I've got to be on my way now
Ain't no fun just hangin' around
I've got to cover ground you couldn't keep me down
It just ain't no good if the sun shines
When you're still inside
Shouldn't hide still inside shouldn't hide
Ahhhh oh shouldn't hide ah ah oh
Do do waaa do do waaa
There will be children with robins and flowers
Sunshine caresses each new waking hour
Seems to me that the people keep seeing
More and more each day gotta say lead the way
It's okay wednesday thursday it's okay
Ahhh monday wednesday friday weekday ah ah ohhh
Do do waaa
Ah ah oh oh do do aaaa
Wooooo oo oo oh oh oh ah wo do waa
Ohhhhhhh oh oh oh

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Christmas Break!!!!!!!!

As of 5:35 this evening our whole clan is on break. I am so excited!! We have to get so much done including a lot of much needed relaxing.

Now if only it would quit snowing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Make it Stop, Make it Stop, Make it STOP!

Whoever made up that insipid song about letting it snow didn't live anywhere like here. They probably lived in a place that had snow plows and USED them. This lovely place has them, and even uses them, but I swear they purposely set the plow part 2 inches above the road. Why? I don't know. But come look at our roads. Even before today's dumping it was awful driving out there. Don't even get me started on the HILLS part of this place.

Schools all around the area got canceled today. Not us. And by "us" I mean the kids' schools. They decided a two hour delay would suffice. But then I heard from Amy that it was supposed to dump snow on us for the next four hours. I thought for sure they would cancel school. Nope! But no one could give me a straight answer about which buses were running which routes. The same woman gave me a different answer than she gave Amy five minutes apart. So I decided I was keeping them all home with me. (Clearly this is helpful in my studying for the last of my finals).

If I had gone with the information I was getting, I would have had to drive Alex to school at 10:30 on Sunnyside Hill, take Aiden to work at 11:30 on what I think is called Military Hill, take Annie, Wyatt, and Andy to school on Sunnyside Hill at 12:15, get Ashley to school on Military Hill at 12:15 also (so easy in this much snow!), go home and pick up Amy and James to get back to Sunnyside for craft day in Kindergarten by 1, take Alex, Annie, Andy, Wyatt, Amy, and James back home at 3, go pick up Ashley at 4 and head back to get Aiden at 5:45.

Instead, I sent Aiden to work and called the kids in sick everywhere else. I don't know what Amy did but craft day got cancelled. At least the kindergarten teachers have it right even if the "stupor"intendants have no clue. I feel like I'm still in Lynden waiting on Howie.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Roll over and show me your belly

I am changing my major. I feel like a big loser but I also feel incredibly calm, peaceful, and sure.

I am currently a Zoology major hoping to get into dental school before I die. Before I do that I have to pass certain classes. Like Organic Chemistry. This would not be hard if I went to class but I just don't. I did but then I got done with the first test and skipped basically ALL of the second half of the class lectures.

It used to be that thinking of how great being a dentist would be was enough to make me go to classes I hated (like calculus). This semester it has lost its power. All I can see anymore is how much I am missing.

I have always wanted to be a mom. Ideally I would be a stay at home mom and love cleaning house and having only my kids to talk to. Turns out, I'm not built to enjoy that. But I also don't want to miss them growing up. I don't want to be gone more and more until they are finally grown and then realize I missed all of it.

Growing up I wanted to be a teacher. I have great memories of school. So I have decided that rather than miss all that I would miss I am going to change majors in my senior year and become a teacher. It will add time, obviously, but I don't think it will be that much more and I know I will be done sooner and have more time with my family.

I'm going to change my major to Human Developement P-3 which will allow me to teach anything from preschool to third grade. Those are the only ages I'd like to deal with anyway. I'm waiting to hear back from an advisor in that department to know for sure what I'm going to do but that is the plan as of right now.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You Don't Need No Stinkin' Seatbelt

It's Aiden, which is probably important to note. It is featured neatly on this blog-thing without me making a point of it, but the font for the "posted by" part is so tiny and I post so rarely I decided to mention it. Now, on with the blog.

Kids don't actually need a seatbelt, right? Damn, they actually do. It is truly an important safety feature of any vehicle, incuding the preschool bus. Especially with the bus driver whose bus I happen to be riding as an aide on. Any man who can carry on a 45 minute conversation with himself should not be given the keys to a vehicle that ferries around 20 little lives.

My only complaint (besides those of the bus driver, and yes there are more) is that buckling 3-5 year-olds is like trying to wrap a blanket around a kitten. Most of the kids aren't big enough for a regular shoulder belt, so they must be securely locked down in a 5-point harness while sitting on the booster seat. Some of these kids adamently believe that they are "big kids" and shouldn't be forced into such a torture device. It doesn't matter if I tell them every day or not that they aren't actually big enough yet. I follow this with a reassuring, "but you're growing everyday" in my most pathetic Mr. Roger's voice.

5-point harnesses are a bear to begin with. Now that it's frigid outside the kids are wearing giant StayPuff marshmallow jackets over their sweatshirts and regular shirts it's even worse. Add in the snowpants needed since the white stuff finally came and these sweet kids suddenly look like Violet Beauregarde. Now they probably all do actually weigh enough for just a shoulder belt. I strap them into their 5-point harnesses just to be sure, breaking a sweat and burning the 150 calories from my morning can of Coke on each one of them. Then it's "Mr. Aiden, I want my backpack" and "Mr. Aiden I dropped my glove" and "Mr. Aiden I don't want my mom to go back inside yet" and "Mr. Aiden is it sharing day because I forgot my toy". Normally I wouldn't mind any of this, but at 7 in the morning it's pure torture.

Plus, the idiotic bus driver just turned the wrong way because he "wasn't paying attention". This is by far the best part of my job.

Looking to laugh really hard?

Go HERE. I can't stop laughing.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I don't know what to get anyone for Christmas. I also don't know what I want for Christmas so I think it's okay that I am lost as to what to buy someone else. I have a couple of good ideas. I am really excited about Mom and Dad's present but I will have to reflect on it in a couple of days to see if it's the right thing after all. I think it will be.

Growing up we always drew names and bought for that person so we could give to each other without going broke. Mom and Dad were involved but also got us stuff beyond that. The kids have continued the tradition as adults. None of us have any money to speak of and even if we did, you'd be stuck wondering "family gift? Individual gifts? Uhhh..." and then drool would start to appear. If you do this while standing in Target then you get looks varying from "oh, how sweet they want to get their family gifts even though they are handicapped" to "Who let this crazy person out?". I don't know this from experience, I'm projecting.


The biggest problem with the siblings continuing said tradition is that some want to put limits on it besides how much you can spend. Like "it has to be homemade". If you get something homemade from me, it might be my physics exam or a piece of crap. Not literal crap but you couldn't tell the difference so it might as well be. Does anyone really want some craft I made they they have to throw in the trash right after signing the thank you note? I'm betting not. I have one sister who harbors delusions that she is crafty. Interestingly enough this is the sister that wants to make the rule of homemadeness. Refer three sentences back; I don't want a piece of crap I have to throw in the garbage right after signing the thank you note. (for the record, my other sister is incredibly crafty and people should bow down to her and buy things from her Etsy store, whatever that is).

The other problem is that some people have issues with follow through. Or some people think they followed through and forgot or misplaced it or whatever. That leads to hurt feelings and an explosion that will last until the SECOND COMING. Or at least March. whatever.

So what's my issue with it? I don't know. I think it's great. I just don't know what to get as a family gift. the kids' ages range far and wide, I don't know what they have, Maybe I just want to give the adults a present, the kids get enough anyway, maybe I want to focus on the kids but the adults feel left out (let's face it, once you get married/have kids your own pile at Christmas is substantially smaller). the problems go on and on. Yet I love it and I look forward to it. Especially when said crafty sister has my name that year.

I have made my kids start doing this, they love it so "made" isn't necessarily the right word but you get the point. We all draw names, go to the store/mall/shopping place of choice and shop for whomever we drew. The logistics of paying and splitting up are maddening and the kids get whiny and need snacks and somewhere to stow their coats and and and ... but they love it. They love the surprise, they love knowing they get to open one on Christmas Eve and they love giving to each other.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Now that I'm back I can't stop.

Dear linksys 7,
I don't know who you are. I don't really care. What I do know is that, thanks to you being unsecured, I have free internet in my living room. As long as I sit on the right part of the couch and hold the laptop just so. I would like to thank you for this opportunity to filch things that previously cost me a lot of money on a monthly basis. I want to say I'm sorry if I'm slowing down your speed at all. I also would like to request that you not turn off your computer anymore as it causes my own (stolen) internet connection to be gone. Unless Shaila takes pity on us and lets us log into their internet, which I doubt since I'll never ask, you are my sole provider. It's like a drug dealer trying to sell carrots instead; it might be better for me (so I'll be productive) but it's not what I want from you, whoever you are.
Yours Truly

"What'd you git?"

So much fun to get gifts. Who cares if I had to get a new license with an AWFUL picture? I got to unwrap things!
The kids and the Aiden went to Shopko Tuesday night and came home bouncing with excitement (the kids not the cripple). They snuck into Alex's room and got everything wrapped and signed and then traipsed the goods out to sit on the tv stand and tease me until Wednesday afternoon. My children are sadistic and I don't know where they get it from.
I tried to bribe Ashley to tell me what it was. She just kept saying "um, NOPE!". I offered her the extra brownie, the first piece of Cool Mint Dessert the next day, an extra hour before bedtime, nothing worked. Oh, she's good. I tried her first because she's littlest and because the first Mother's Day Aiden was living with us he took the kids to get a flower pot stand and some flowers and pretty pots and stuff to do them up in. As the older two were outside helping set it all up, Ashley came in and told me "we got you flowers". I thought that even though she's a year and a half older that I could still get her to blab. Nope.

Annie, on the other hand, is the captain of ruining surprises. She has been threatened with her own presents going in the garbage if she tells anyone what they are getting for Christmas (and we limited how many she knows anyway). She went with me and Alex to get Ashley's present, walked out to the car after 10 minutes of talking about how we don't tell Ashley because it's a surprise, saw Ashley and told her all within 30 seconds. For SURE this is the kid that will tell me what's in the wrapping paper! But she wouldn't. Not totally. I started guessing things and she gave in a little bit. I knew she'd be mad at herself (and so would everyone else) if she kept saying more so I stopped guessing. She tried to egg me on but then realized what was happening and stopped all talk on it.

What did I get? I got some new slippers with snowflakes on them and a new board game from the kids. Aiden gave me a bottle of Mormon booze (martinelli's), two symphony bars, and a new word puzzle book. Those I got Tuesday night to try to appease the monster (me). It's a bath kit and if the chocolate holds out until later today, it will be used as such.

I also got money from Mom and Dad. Who doesn't love money? Ashley's preschool class sang Happy Birthday to me, Amy and James brought me a cute little jar with chocolate, and Aiden had one side of his face swell up at work. Luckily I was hanging out in the class across the building so I called the doctor's office where a nurse told me there were no appointments but suggested we go to the ER (oh man, again!) since it sounded like an allergic reaction.

It wasn't. It is an infected parotid gland. For those of you who don't know, that's one of your salivary glands in your cheek. The weird thing is it's apparently very rare to see. The nurse said she had one case the day before and before that it had been 30 years. I had my parotid get clogged when I was preggo with Alex and then an infected sublingual (under your tongue) this spring. So weird to have it three times between the two of us when it's so rare to begin with.

Yes, we went to the GD ER again BUT the upside is Aiden got off work at 2 instead of 6. I scored an extra 4 hours with him for my birthday. He kept apologizing but I loved it (besides that he didn't feel well).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I got older

I wrote this blog yesterday and then Aiden stayed up decorating the house and cleaning and wrote a blog which stole some of this (which is probably plagerism) but too bad. I had a time writing this so you'll have to suffer through it, some of it twice.

I am turning 29. So for your enjoyment:

  1. I married Aiden on April Fool's Day. This is how serious we take ourselves. I actually skipped a lab to make it happen but it fits us so well, how could we not?
  2. I like teeth.
  3. Not just real teeth but anything whimsical with teeth counts. Example: my dentist's office has little tooth pins for their shirts and the tooths (not teeth but multiple singular) are wearing Santa hats. I want to steal one right off that lady's boob!
  4. I own more lotion than I'll ever use in a lifetime but I keep buying more. although it's slowed some.
  5. I get really excited when I have to write things like "the line trends to the left indicative of a lowering in temperature with an increase in pressure".
  6. Even though I love school I really really want to drop out right now. Stress and I do not mix.
  7. I strive to be funny so people will like me. I think it's all I have going for me. They're not my friend because I'm so darn *cute*!.
  8. I like to sing and (this may be the only time you ever hear(?) me say this) I'm actually not bad at it.
  9. My husband is my best friend.
  10. My mom is my other best friend.
  11. I hate cleaning house but love a clean house. I probably would have married Aiden just for his enjoyment of cleaning even if he wasn't my best friend.
  12. I am addicted to Hallmark cards but only the funny ones. I guarantee you if I ever give you a serious one it's because you or someone extremely close to you died or I was incredibly PMS-y that day and felt like bringing you down.
  13. My kids are the funniest and cutest and bestest in the whole darn world.
  14. When I was learning to play piano, I would feel badly for the numbered notes who didn't get enough turns in that song and find ways to add them in as a flourish to even things up.
  15. 7 and 13 are my favorite numbers. Maybe it's because they have such a stigma and I feel bad for them.
  16. I LOVE board games. Someone should get us a RECENT Trivial Pursuit. Although playing the ancient one at Mom's house is also good. Always the Standing Cow.
  17. I have had my Christmas tree up since a week before Thanksgiving. And Christmas music playing since a week before that.
  18. Aiden and I should have a reality show or something. We are that funny. People would watch.
  19. My sister and I share a birthday but we are two years apart (I'm younger). She got named Valerie and I got Holly. Why she isn't Noelle or Christy or something is strictly that my parents didn't think of it in time. I was their biological version of a do-over, in that regard. In every other regard Valerie is better than me.
  20. I have a book about astrology and birthdays and stuff, I think it's fascinating how accurate it can be. For example: Val, my mom, and I are all Sagittarians. The only other female in our family was a Taurus. She is the odd one out in personality, I think.
  21. I love making up new words to old songs. Like Barry Manilow's "Mandy" becomes "Oh Ashley (or Annie)" and the words get twisted from there.
  22. Every night at dinner we ask each other what the best part of their day was. Or a good part anyway. This way they practice being thankful and/or grateful for things every day AND practice public(ish) speaking. We also ask follow-up questions like "what did you do at recess that made it the best?". it's fun and I highly suggest it.
  23. Whenever my parents would go to dinner parties in December my mom would take “Cool Mint Dessert”. This was by far my favorite dessert and became what we’d all make for “how-to” speeches in school. But there’s not a lot of call for it. So that is what I have asked for in place of a cake this year. Aiden says “It’s not a cake or even a pie! That’s interesting.”
  24. My favorite board game is Monopoly. But we will NEVER play the loser short version. It’s ALWAYS the long, drawn out, painful version and I don’t want it to end. I think half the fun is keeping it going via life support. I will buy the hotels for other player’s properties just so they can stay in the game. Not sure if it’s legal but neither are the other “house rules” we use to make it more fun so Parker Brothers (or whomever) can kiss it.
  25. I hate snow but I get very excited when it starts to snow.
  26. I’m still sure there’s a rockin’ surprise party waiting for me this birthday like the one I used Aiden’s money to throw for his 29th birthday. (seriously, it included a secret trip to Vegas with 3 friends I kept hidden from him until we were on the plane). This is made more impressive by…
  27. I cannot keep secrets. Nor do I like them being kept from me. Aiden had to wait until tonight to take the kids to get my birthday presents because he knows I will go bat-shit crazy trying to figure it out. Even the kids are on to me and my Wiley ways of getting them to tell me. It’s more fun to them to keep the secret than to tell me because they KNOW it’s driving me nuts!
  28. One of my favorite things to do is dig through iTunes with Aiden and sing like idiots (see the beginnings of this whole blog for more details).
  29. the final thing about me is: there’s nothing interesting about me. Just my kids and my husband and my family. But that’s the thing that makes anyone interesting. You cannot be interesting in a sterile room all alone. You have to interact and LIVE to get there.

And I do.

A Birthday Post For My Beautiful Wife

19 Things I Love About Her and 10 Memories I Want to Share (which equals 29 if you haven’t figured that out yet):
Things I Love:
1. She loves her children more than me. That may sound strange, but it wouldn’t be right if it were any other way.

2. Her laughter. If we played it for the whole world, we might finally see world peace.

3. Her wit. She always has the snappiest comments and come-backs. If you spend much time with her, you better be on your toes.

4. She reminds me that I am a good man, a good father, and a good friend without even saying the words.

5. Her brains. She’s much smarter than she will ever give herself credit for. Even better, our kids got the brain genes from her and not their father!

6. Her kindness. One of the biggest reasons she wants to be a dentist is so she will be able to philanthropic work for people in need.

7. She can cook! That sounds pigheaded of me, but I appreciate the yummy food I get to come home to after eating preschool food all day in preschool proportions.

8. Her voice. Her singing can turn my mood around at the drop of a hat. And I love that she can appreciate her ability to sing because she deserves to be proud of herself.

9. Her courage. She left a relationship that was detrimental to the welfare of her children and herself even though she knew it would be a rocky road.

10. She does not judge me when I eat half the carton of ice cream while watching a show.
11. She is an amazing mother. She’s tender when needed and stern when needed. Her number one concern and priority is always our three little buggers.

12. Her friendship. She will do whatever it takes to help a friend in need and expect nothing in return. Many people have benefited from her desire to make other people’s lives better.

13. Her eyes.

14. She knows more show tunes and Disney songs than anyone I know. And, she’s always willing to sing to them!

15. Her passion for reading. Her love of reading has inspired the same passion in our children. Alex read ¾ of the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in one weekend. He’s 8. And he picked reading over video games.

16. She loves Christmas! We put our tree up “too early” for some, but we decided that Christmas was never long enough and therefore should be extended well into early November!

17. She’s amazing with other kids. Although she claims to not like other people’s children, she spends quite a bit of time in my preschool class and receives more than enough hugs to show just how great she is with the kiddos.

18. Her love of teeth. She made me look in one of her teeth that had just been drilled out for a filling because she was so excited to tell me everything about the tooth!

19. She mocks me for being short and crippled. While this may seem wrong or masochistic. However, her lightheartedness not only tells that my (lack of) height and crippledness doesn’t bother her bother, but also reminds me to not take stupid crap like that so damn seriously!

20. Holly and I got married on April Fool’s Day in a courtroom with a few of our friends who decided to come. The judge was a complete kick in the pants. He used a Hallmark musical greeting card that played The Wedding March and Going to the Chapel. We wore jeans. We laughed A LOT! If you missed it, you surely missed an entertaining afternoon.

21. While going to SCC I was knocked down in the bathroom by some bigoted jerk. I was in a bit of a haze afterwards and she was the only person at work that noticed something was “off” and checked in on me to see what was wrong. This was before we even started dating. It felt so nice to know that someone was concerned for me and my wellbeing.

22. We went to Disneyland a couple years ago. Seeing her face light up at the sight of the entrance was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. I will never get that smile out of my face.

23. We have spent a lot of time surfing through our massive collection on iTunes and singing together and to each other. The singing is intermittently interrupted by fits of giggling at the corniness of it all.

24. She made me an amazing dinner of meatloaf, fresh bread, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes after my first day at work. No one has ever taken the time to show that kind of appreciation before.

25. We went to see Mamma Mia! the movie while visiting my sister in Seattle. It was so tragically, awfully, pathetically done that we decided to walk out (laughing all the way). She even managed to get the ticket price refunded!

26. She took me out for dinner for Veteran’s Day last year. Again, no one has ever taken the time to show me that kind of appreciation before. She also helps me teach the kids about Veterans and the men and women who sacrifice so much for our country.

27. She went ALL OUT the first year we were together for St. Patty’s Day. She knew how much I love and value my Irish heritage and that St. Patty’s Day is almost equal to Christmas in my eyes. She bought decorations galore and we planned a celebration. I’m smiling just sitting here writing about it.

28. She planned a huge birthday dinner for me when I turned 29. There were so many of my friends at the table. I felt so incredibly loved. And then she surprised me with a trip to Vegas with 2 of our friends from Spokane. Then she surprised me again when we walked into our hotel room and my best friend Greg from California was sitting on the couch. It was the most amazing birthday EVER.

29. For Ashley’s birthday we decided to get a cat. One. Holly responded to an ad on Craigslist for kittens. When she came home there were two little black kitty heads poking out of her coat. She had fallen in love with 2 of them and knew it would be sweet for the two brothers to have a playmate and a friend. It was the best choice she could have made because now we are the proud owners of two cats who are loving, albeit completely sometimes, and who can tolerate our crazy kids.

And one more thing I love about Holly for good measure:
30. Her heart. She loves me completely. She loves her children even more. She smiles when she sees me walking out to the car after work. She smiles when she sees me in the morning. She snuggles up on my shoulder while we fall asleep at night and I can see the love she has for her family on her face. For the first time in my life I feel fully loved by someone who is holding back nothing of her heart.

Happy birthday, baby. Thank you for being in my life. I can’t imagine things any other way. You have filled my life with so much joy, laughter, and passion. I could not ask for more.

ps-Happy Birthday to you, too, Val!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


So I have yet to figure out how to change the background on here without losing all my sidebar stuffs. if you know, let me know.

In the meantime, please give it up for perseverance: I have been screwing around with this thing for the last hour (ADD may be selective) and have finally got a Christmas background I can live with. I am tired. Please say something nice, it was hard.

Melanie, if you are reading this, allow me to your freaking blog, you stalker!

Monday, December 08, 2008

There was something...

I have these little moments all the time where I think "That's totally going in the blog". Granted, it's a bit neglected lately but I still have these thoughts. The problem is that I forget them by the time I get around to logging in and remembering I even had something to blog about instead of just stalking people. Mom warned me this would happen when I was little. It wasn't about blogging, per se, but she did tell me all about how her mom would do things and she would say (to herself, not to grandma) "I'm never going to do that to my kids!" and then forget those things. Probably by the next day (if my memory is genetic from her!) but definitely by the time she had the same situations arise. I'd even wager a bet that she did some of the very things she had previously sworn away from.

I know I have.

I just can't tell you what they were because I forget EVERYTHING. This is funny all by itself because there's a running joke in my family that, besides me having no common sense, I remember everything. My sister who doesn't blog (that I know of) so I can't link to her, swears I remember them (the doctors) declaring "IT'S A GIRL!!" at birth. There was no end to things I couldn't remember. When I was dating Brandon I'd get phone calls from him two days after being at his apartment asking if I knew where his wallet was. And I did. The memory served. Apparently it has caught up with me. It has served all it is going to serve. There's small remnants left which help out every so often but really, my photographic, sound recording, personal video camera, if you will, memory is waning fast. Just in time for me to be in the busiest time of school of my life. Thus far. Wheeee!!!

So here's the update on other things (besides that which I determined to blog about three days ago. I know it was something one of the kids said that was frickin' hilarious, does that help?): Brandon (the ill fated ex) is coming to our house for Christmas.

I'll let you soak that in.

The kids were supposed to be at his house for a week. His girlfriend was going to babysit while he worked a day and a half (not straight but you know what I mean). Then the girlfriend got smart.

She broke up with him.

Clearly she is not going to be babysitting while he works. Soooo he couldn't make up his mind what to do about Christmas. Like any mom who didn't drown her kids in the bathtub I want to spend Christmas with my kids. Trust me, I like my time away from them, too. But not nearly as much as I like my time with them. And NO WHERE NEAR as much as I hate dealing with Ashley's potty issues for the week following two days at his house let alone a week! But I digress (as usual). I asked Brandon to please nail down a set plan by December 10th (happy birthday to me)(and Val). This was an acceptable plan to make a plan for him. I asked him about it on Sunday to ensure the first plan was still in place and working so the second plan could be formulated and budgeted for and, after a lot of discussion (I use that word to replace other nastier happenings) he consented to come to Pullman so the kids could have ALL of their family together for Christmas.


"Holiday Inn is running a special on rooms until school starts again. What? You want to stay here?! That didn't turn out well last time... Can we discuss you staying at your mom's and driving down? TWO NIGHTS!?! Yeah, I want the kids here. Yes, I know you don't have to let me have this. (*even though the kids asked him to do it, it's all about what I am asking for, right?) Okay, I'll break it to Aiden (*oh man, that was fun!). See you on Christmas Eve".


Happy times are sure to surround this Christmas, right?

***UPDATE on the fridge: It was NOT broken, just frozen in the line between the fridge and freezer. CRAP. But if it gives up again... watch out, Krista!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Kids and Kitchens

Since I still don't have internet at home (I hate money... mostly because I don't have enough!) I have been behind in posting. I know some of you know that because I have been hearing about it. So I'm taking a break from all my preparations for finals to update you.

You're welcome.

Okay, first up, kids. Anyone want some? Alex and Annie were home all week last week. Luckily I had the week off, too, so there were no babysitting issues. However, Aiden and Ashley still had Head Start through Wednesday. So much for my resolve to study last week. Alex and Annie play pretty well together. Until they don't. There is a lot of screaming that can come from Annie's mouth and I heard many variations of it last week. Not all because she was in pain. In fact, mostly because she was playing or having fun or just "vocalizing".

We played a lot of games including a new one called There's a Moose In Your House. If you see it, buy it. It's so much fun. When you read the directions it seems complicated but once you play a hand, it's really easy. It is labeled for kids 8+ but even Ashley got the hang of it sooner than later. We've also played more SORRY! than I care to admit. The great thing is that they kids TOTALLY get the sarcasm of the title. The bad thing is that some of them (mostly Alex) can strategize now. So as Alex realizes one sorry card may be best used to get closer to his own safety zone but another person is closer to their own safety zone and uses the card to bump that person instead, the game never ends.

Friday night I ended up changing the rules a bit. The secret rule that "When the game crosses over to the fourth realm of hell all cards go by twos (8=16, etc)" was introduced. That and some creative counting of the spaces by yours truly made the neverending game finally end.

Anyway, the Thursday before Thanksgiving I went to the oven to pre-heat it for dinner. I put the fish sticks in and looked down at the FLAMING ELEMENT. Hmmmm... I closed the door to see if it would go out. Nope. I opened it again. BIGGER FLAMES. Uh, Aiden?

We turned off the oven and it still didn't go out. By this time I have the fire extinguisher ready to put out the fire. (It was still small so it's not like we were really in HUGE danger). It's one that is made to handle electrical fires. Okay, never shot one before in my life but here we go...

SULFER DUST flies out of the nozzle igniting the flames further. That's not what I was after so I decide to call 911. Aiden, meanwhile gets the kids outside and turned off the breaker. That put the fire out, by the way. So now the fire is out and the fire department shows up to a dead fire.

The kids enjoyed the show of the truck and lights and the fireman so it was worth it. The parting remark from the fireman was "tell your landlord to buy you a new oven". yeah, ya think?

Too bad we couldn't get one until Monday but at least everyone was safe, nothing major went on, and the whole thing happened before Thanksgiving.

The new one is all pretty and we are better than everyone else in our complex because we have TWO big burners. HA HA!

Okay, so karma for being braggarts about the new oven: on Thanksgiving, our fridge died. Of course we can't take care of it until our landlord is back to work on MONDAY so we had a lot of condiments go bad. And the leftovers. BUT the upside is Mom says she's mailing a condiments check and we'll be back to enjoying our soy sauce and pickles in no time.

Krista, the landlord who is now CONVINCED we hate her and really want to move, sent the repairman to see if it's just iced over or really broken. I hope it's really broken so we don't have it go out again in 2 months. Our oven had a multitude of things need a lot of help in the last year so if the fridge does it again I'm going to vote they replace everything.

What we have learned and will pass on for you, just in case, is: Do not try to sweep up the sulfer mess from your fire extinguisher. It just flies around. Use wet rags and rinse often.
Also, when you think you've cleaned it all up, you're wrong. You will continue to find things that did not catch fire but the sulfer tried to put out. Luckily it's yellow and easy to tell what you've missed (the tops of the cabinets? Really? Out to my living room? For real? ) Sulfer FLIES and goes far and onto EVERYTHING you own. I'm sure it's in my storage unit across town by now, too.