Friday, March 28, 2008

So Long! Farewell!

Tomorrow we will move.  I'm excited to make some new friends.  To be in a new ward and get a new calling.  To be closer to Mike's work.  To be closer to Adam's (cross your fingers that he gets in) new school.  To be downstairs (for the first time in our married life!).  To have a place for the kids' to run and play.  To be in walking distance from a park. 

But, of course, we are a little sad as well.  For one, I'm still I'm not really feeling Las Vegas.  And I was hoping the next time we moved it would either be by family in Phoenix or to a place that wasn't the 48th in the nation in education and the 'most dangerous state.'  But, we are still here.  And that's okay.  I know we're supposed to be.

I'm also bummed, because I feel like we are finally warming up to this area and our ward, and we're leaving.  I literally just found out last week that a bunch of gals in our ward have a monthly game night, and they invited me.  And of course I can't go, because we'll be gone.  I feel like we've just began making some friends, and we're leaving.  I love living by the mountains, and in a growing area.  I'm going to miss being by the incredible Summerlin parks (especially this summer). 

For the most part, I'm happy, though.  Things we will NOT miss:

- Our Neighbors:  We never seem to get good neighbors.  Okay, scratch that.  At NAU we had some GREAT neighbors.  But in Phoenix we had some crazzies (aka 'The Devil's Spawn') and we have 2 horrible neighbors now.  Our downstairs neighbors feel the need to complain about us constantly and bang on our floor every time Adam runs to the bathroom, Grace falls down, our next door neighbors fight, or someone's car alarm goes off.  Our neighbor across the way has about 7 girlfriends.  About once a week one of these girlfriends finds out she's not the only one, and a HUGE fight ensues, resulting in the police most of the time.  Not gonna miss them at all.

- Our BEYOND Horrible Wal-Mart:  For the most part, I try to avoid Wal-Mart, but sometimes I have to go there.  And the Wal-Mart by us is terrible.  I once walked in, slipped on a big puddle of water and fell down.  An employee literally walked over, stood over me, and proceeded to tell me how she wasn't in the wrong for me falling.  And that's just one incident.  I could do a whole post on my disappointment in Wal-Mart, but I won't. 

- The Bus System: I'm both grateful for and hateful of the bus system.  It's a complicated emotion.  But, I won't miss the 2+ hours it takes to go 25 miles.  Mike won't miss the 'interesting' people he's met.  Or maybe he will...

I'm hoping we live by a better Wal-Mart and that we get better neighbors.  But, for the most part, we have really enjoyed living over here.  And will miss it.

So, for the last time from Southwest Las Vegas, we bid you 'adieu.'  See you on the East Side.

Thank You, Uncle Scott

So about 7 years ago, Mike's brother, Scott, got home from his mission and gave us a souvenir from Brazil: a dead Piranha. I've got to admit, it's always creeped me out... I swear it's eyes glow at night. So, it's pretty much spent it's time with us tucked away.

Last week, it was unearthed, and I'm SO glad it was! With most of the toys packed away and limited space to play and me busy and unable to entertain them constantly, Adam and Grace had been driving me crazy. Until we found this.

Adam and Grace have had an INSANE (really, way too much) amount of fun taking turns putting it on the table/counter/desk and 'hiding' from it. Then sneaking up, shoving it in the others face, and laughing hysterically. Over and over and over again. They don't tire of their game. At all.

So, thank you, Uncle Scott for the creepy weird WONDERFUL dried Piranha.

It has helped me to stay sane this week.

(Camera's not working, sorry... so no pic of the fish right now).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! We had such a fun Easter together, but definitely missed being in Phoenix with everyone! So, a quick recap of our Easter fun:

We put off dyeing eggs until last night. Mike didn't get home until after 9:30, and I was a bit stressed about everyone getting sleep, thinking the egg dyeing would take forever. I didn't have anything to worry about, though. Grace grabbed the eggs with record speed and began throwing them in the cups. Adam, not to be outdone (and, he wanted to dye an egg before Grace grabbed them all) started dropping them in like crazy, too. Our entire 2 dozen eggs took less than 5 minutes to dye. Nice!

I was thinking last night, that last year we moved exactly one week after Easter, resulting in an Easter egg hunt among boxes. We are doing the same this year. And our Easter egg hunt wasn't much better. But, the kids had fun. We let them eat candy for breakfast, and then I took off for church alone, leaving Mike to deal with the kids on a sugar-high. :)

Our class presentation went well, if only 8 minutes long. But, the kids like singing time so much better, because our chorister is so much fun. So I think it worked out okay. My lesson went really well, the kids were even semi-behaved. And then I had to say 'good-bye' and we all got emotional. One of my kids asked me over to play this week. So sweet! The party things wasn't working out next week (I just have too much going on), so we had a little party in class, complete with treats. We are under no circumstances allowed to have food in class. But it was my last day, and I knew I couldn't get in trouble, so I threw caution to the wind and went for it. :) I'm really, really, really going to miss them.

We had a special Easter dinner tonight... or a.k.a 'use up our refrigerator and cupboard food before we move.' It was an interesting mixture of a pork roast, funeral potatoes, mandarin salad, and veggies. Lots of food, but I planned it that way, so we could eat leftovers this week and I don't have to cook (and can pack my pans).

We went on a long 2-hour walk after dinner (which probably burned off the calories of approximately 1 bite of the funeral potatoes), and we learned that Grace needs to get out of the house more. She became extremely excited when we happened upon any spray-painted rocks or the little construction flags that they put in the ground (does that make sense?) she thought they were flowers and had to stop us all to smell them every time. I'm a bit worried about her eyesight, though... :)

Happy Easter, everyone! Hope everyone had a wonderful day of celebrating with families and remembering the Savior!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Wow! We have been busy around here lately. With a capital "B." So, sorry for not posting much this week. I'm up with Grace (explanation below), so I thought I'd write real quick to let everyone know what we're up to.

We FINALLY got assigned our new address on Monday, so I feel like I've spent the entire week on hold with the electric, gas, and phone companies. How fun is that? And I still haven't finished all of it, because it seems like when I've finally actually gotten a hold of someone, Adam or Grace has a crises, and I have to hang up.

I've been packing like crazy. And I've determined that the ONLY good part of packing, is the free entertainment it provides the kids. They spent all morning the other day playing 'peek-a-boo' in one of the moving boxes. Cute! (Adam IS wearing clothes in the picture... or underwear, at least... I can't keep him dressed. He refuses to wear clothes indoors. It's something I'm choosing not too enforce right now, because I'd rather fight other battles, you know? But, sorry about the half-naked shot).

Everyone (but me) is sick again. Ever since last October, everyone has been sick way too much. Poor Grace has it the worst. I literally had to hold her all day today. She just screamed when I put her down. Her eyes keep watering, too... so I thought it was allergies at first, but then she got a high fever this afternoon. And after putting her to bed tonight at 8:00, she got really sick, and I've spent the past four hours holding her as she barks and tries to breathe. I'm 100% certain she has croup. What is it with us and croup? So, I'm trying to get her through tonight, and then putting in an early visit to the doctor tomorrow. And since I've got to bring Adam and hang out on the 'sick' side of the office, he will probably have some new illness next week to pass along to the family. But, I am SO grateful that I've been healthy and have been able to take care of everyone around here. I'm always scared when everyone gets sick, of me getting pneumonia or bronchitis again, and we've been so blessed that I haven't.

When our Primary President found out we were moving, she assigned our class to do the Class Presentation in Primary on Sunday. So we could 'get it over with.' What??? Okay, I TOTALLY don't get this about wards. Moving is a stressful, busy time. Why, oh, why do they feel the need to pile on the talks and extra presentations when you're super busy already? I totally shouldn't complain. Because we don't have to give talks. But, throwing together a presentation and studying my lesson, which I'm going to have to do all by myself because the kids are sick and won't be up to church, isn't exactly what I need right now. And I kinda, sorta promised our class a class party. We have a reverence chart, and when they fill it up with stickers, their reward is a class party. Well, they were so bummed that we were moving (our fantastic teaching skills, no doubt... not!), that I told them we'd have one next week. SO, I totally brought that on myself, know, but these kids are CUTE. It's hard not to make them happy. :) So, I'm trying to figure out that, too.

Wow! Do I know how to whine or what? Sheesh! And most of my stress is totally my fault!

But, on a totally sweet note, Adam has been trying to write on his own (like spelling words himself) because he's way too stubborn to listen to me. He brought me a piece of paper this afternoon, with a drawing of an Xbox controller, and the words: "dis iz xbox." I can't find it now to take a picture of it to put on here. But, it was just too sweet and it really made my day. What a cutie he is.

AND, Mike rented 'Enchanted' for me last night, because he knew I wanted to see it. This movie was totally cute. It was definitely what I needed. A feel good, fun, cute movie. I highly recommend it.

Have a great day, weekend, Easter, and week, everyone!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

So, most of the time, I try to be a good mom and limit the artifical colors and dyes in foods that my kids eat. Well, on St. Patrick's Day, all bets are off, and I dust off my bottle of green dye and have at it!

On Sunday night, Adam and Grace gathered up some green offerings for the leprechauns (some broken green crayons, green paper shreds, a green pencil, and a green piece of fabric), and left them by the door. They woke up on Monday to find that the leprechauns had taken the green items, and left gold candy and a gold-wrapped game! (After Christmas, I was smart and bought several 'clearanced' games for the little holidays or extra incentives throughout the year... it's worked well). They were SO excited! And then, they went to have breakfast (zucchini bread) and discovered that the milk had been changed green by the leprechauns, too! They got us good this year!

We had fun dressing in green (Grace, being a typical girl, doesn't have too many green clothes, but, luckily, wasn't pinched), playing a green Shrek video game together and playing in the green grass at the park. (We also went to the library and to our new apartments for some final paperwork before the move).

For dinner, I made hamburger casserole with green beans and green mashed potatoes; green salad; green grapes; and green Jell-O. And then, I totally failed on dessert again, and we just had boxed brownies for our after-FHE treat. I wanted to make either Sprite-lime sherbet floats or green cheesecake, but ran out of time. Oh, well. Hope everyone had a fun (and very green) St. Patrick's Day, too!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Because I Have Been Given Much...

Yesterday, Mike was telling me about a man who came to Deseret Industries (D.I.) and donated a plasma, flat-screen HUGE television, that was worth over a thousand dollars. He didn't even want a receipt for tax purposes.

I was blown away. I mean, he could have easily sold it on craigslist or through the paper or whatever, and instead he chose to donate it to such an incredible organization. This kind of stuff happens all of the time, and it amazes me. Mike's constantly taking donations of Gucci/Prada/Versace shoes and purses, digital SLR cameras, jewelery, etc. Expensive items, that could have easily been sold, and instead were donated.

And it made me think about all of the stuff that I hold onto that could help someone. Like, I have this beautiful quilt that was given to us for a wedding gift. It's not big enough to use, though for our queen-sized bed, and I had hung it up for awhile when we lived in the condo in Phoenix, but haven't had enough room to do that since. So, it's sat in a nice box under my bed for about 4 years. Mike suggested we donate it. And I protested... I mean, it was a wedding gift, you know? I'm not a packrat, but I tend to hold onto stuff for sentimental reasons (i.e. that was the first toy Adam swatted at). But, when Mike told me that they send the blankets they receive to Utah for Humanitarian Aid, and I pictured a family who was in crisis or didn't have a blanket, using it, it totally changed my mind. How could I be selfish and keep a blanket under my bed for "maybe someday" if someone could be using it?

I'm totally not trying to plug D.I. (honest!). But, having Mike work there has made me really re-evaluate our things. How can I hold onto prom dresses and bridesmaid gowns, when some girl who doesn't have a lot of money, but wants to go to prom, needs one? Or all of the various baby toys that I've kept, which I really don't have room for, that a family who is struggling could use? And I have loved having the opportunity to talk to Adam, and seeing him think about others and donate toys he no longer needs.

We have been blessed with so much, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity that we have to give back just a little.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Grocery Store Adventures

We got so busy today with packing and cleaning and baking cookies, that we forgot to go grocery shopping. So, I made some PB&Js for dinner (with the very last of the bread... whew!) and we went out at 6:30.

As we were walking down the stairs, Grace skipped a step and started to fall, so I grabbed her hand so she wouldn't fall down the steps. I didn't even grab it that hard, but it dislocated it. Again. This is now the 3rd time it's happened. And it's starting to really worry me. I mean, if she dislocates so easily when I'm not even grabbing her that hard, what's going to happen when she's playing soccer or something, you know? I had to pop it back in (ultra gross). After I calmed her down and massaged her arm a bit, she was fine, so we left.

At the first store, we walked past the peaches. Adam literally stopped and yelled, "What's that DELICIOUS smell?" He's never shown much interest in fruits other than apples and grapes (he's not what you'd call an adventurous eater), but I let him get one to try out. He held it carefully in his hands the entire store, smelling it. When I leaned over to smell it, he pushed me away and cried "What do you think you're doing? You're sniffing ALL of my peach smell away!"

We went on to the next store, and I went to the meat section. I wanted to try a new recipe, especially for Mike for Sunday (BBQ Beef Sandwiches) and I had to buy a roast. So, in 7 years, I've never bought beef. Ever. I don't even know why... we only use ground turkey, chicken, and occasionally, pork. I guess we're boring. I don't know. So, I kind of thought that there would be a package that said, "Roast" on it, and that I'd buy it. There wasn't. There was roast everything, and it was seriously confusing (maybe it wouldn't have been confusing to a normal person, but I had one hand holding Grace down in the cart, one hand on Adam, to stop him from 'squishing the blood' in the meat packages, and I was trying to figure this out on top of it). I knew that it was on sale, but that was about it. So, I had to go and ask the butcher. And do you know what she said, "You've never bought beef? Wow... you ARE dumb." WHAT??? She told me she was kidding, but sheesh! I felt stupid enough to be asking anyways...

At 9:00, I called it quits. At this point, Grace had (accidentally) stolen a box of Band-aids, Adam had stuck his head in a bulk brownie mix barrel and taken a bite (he thought it was a 'free sample'), and Adam had removed the bottom apple off of a pile of apples (he WAS trying to help), knocking 5 onto the floor (guess who's having homemade applesauce this week?). I couldn't take anymore.

We didn't make it to Wal-Mart, but it was already an hour past their bedtime, and we'd already gotten the essentials. So, we get to do that tomorrow morning bright and early. Yay... Nothing starts a day off like a trip to Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Easter Dilemma

So, I really, really want the focus of Easter to be about the Savior and the real reasons we celebrate Easter. I like Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets, too, but it's kind of hard to draw a parallel between the two. At Christmas, it seems easier to have Santa be a part of Christmas (Jesus' birth was a gift to us, we give gifts because of the Wise Men, Santa is kind like Jesus, etc.), than it does at Easter. Seriously... I'm having a hard time trying to come up with a tie-in with the Easter bunny.

And then, I wonder if I even should. Adam is EXTREMELY realistic. He questions everything. He has always known that cartoon characters aren't real (today he told me, "Does anyone really think that Barney's a real dinosaur? That's ridiculous."). It makes me sad in a lot of ways. When he was three, he asked me how many people were in the world. I gave him a good guess, and then he said that there was no way that Santa could visit all of those people in one night. He never really gets excited about Santa, and I think the things he does say, are more for me (how pathetic is that?). I can imagine he's not going to believe in the tooth fairy, either. He just doesn't go for that kind of stuff.

Yesterday, we were talking, and he said, "So you're saying, that a bunny as tall as Daddy hops to everyone's house and hides eggs in the middle of the night?" And then he gave me this, "Come on, Mom!" look. And it made me squirm, because it does sound a bit far-fetched. I changed the subject, because it occurred to me, that maybe I shouldn't even push it. Maybe it's better to just focus on the Savior and tell him that we are going to have an Easter egg hunt after church, put on by Mike and I, just as a fun family activity. I mean, if he doesn't really believe anyways, why try to convince him of something that takes away from Easter, anyways? But, I don't want him ruining it for anyone else in his Primary class or anything, you know?

So, what do you guys do to try and celebrate Easter for the real reasons? I know my mom does her Easter egg hunt on Saturday. Do you do the Easter bunny thing? Do nothing? Do it all? How do you tie it all together?

Monday, March 10, 2008

So Excited to Finally Get This, and Adam's Speech Eval

I fight Adam daily to eat his vegetables. He's okay with fruits, but vegetables are a struggle. So, when I heard about Jessica Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious months ago, I couldn't wait to try it. Her book is all about steaming and pureeing vegetables and fruits and adding them in everything. I've been on the wait list at the library forever, and finally got it today! I think one of the things I like about it most is that it uses normal, inexpensive veggies (like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, etc.). When we talked to his doctor about his vegetable problem, she suggested artichokes and eggplant. That's great, but a bit out of the budget for all of the servings people need. So, I'm going to try a few recipes this week and report on how it goes (I've had a few friends try it, and the especially recommend the brownies made with spinach and carrots... yum?).

Adam's had a lisp for forever. And after months and months of trying to get him an evaluation, he finally got one today at the elementary school. And... it's not a big deal. The speech therapist was great. She did the evaluation and said it was just a frontal lisp, which is more of a cosmetic problem, and not something that he would even go to speech for (unless it continues past the 3rd grade). She gave me a bunch of games and papers, though, with ideas on how to fix the problem so he's not teased. We're supposed to work together on them daily, and then go back if it's not helping. I'm so glad that it's not a big deal, though, and something that will correct itself if I work with him. He loved going to the school and seeing the kids. He's SO excited to start kindergarten.

Other than that, we have just been packing and organizing and cleaning. No fun, but I think that in a few weeks when we are all settled in at the new apartment, it will be worth it.

Rant about Daylight Saving Time

Okay, so what's the deal with it? I've lived in Arizona all of my life, so I've never had to pay attention to when people switched their clocks and why. Now that we live in Las Vegas, I've had to do it twice now, and I totally hate it.

Back in October when it switched the first time, I thought it was great. I got an extra hour to get ready on a Sunday morning. Fine by me. Then, I realized how much I organize my time according to the sun. I'm constantly looking out our balcony window, and thinking, "Hmmm... sun's starting to set, must be time to make dinner," or "It looks like the sun's not competely up, so we have time to go out and play before it's too bright and need sunscreen." Does anyone else do that? So, anyways, in October, after the time changed, I suddenly realized that the sun was starting to set at 4:00 in the afternoon, and it messed me up for weeks. Very confusing.

Then yesterday, Mike reminded me about the time changing again, so I tried to get the kids to go to sleep earlier (and they ended staying up until 11:00 because they were so happy 'Daddy was home'). I set the clock ahead an hour, like I was supposed to, but our clock automatically changes on its own, so it was then ahead 2 hours, and when Mike saw that, he turned off the alarm, and we all slept in. Our ward starts at 9:00, and we ended up waking up at 8:20, and we had to be on time to church today, because Mike's co-worker's daughter was blessing her baby today and Mike wanted to be there for it. So, everyone was grumpy (and my hair looked SO great, let me tell you) when we got to church. And now my "inner-clock" is all off again... I don't know why I do things according to the sun, but I do, so we ended up not having dinner until 7:30, and the kids didn't go to bed until past 9:00. Sigh...

So, as far as I understand, the only reason that Daylight Saving Time started was for the farmer's, right? And there aren't too many farmers out there anymore, nowadays. So, WHY do we still have it? It's pointless and ridiculous and totally throws me off. So, pretty much, it should be done away with. For me. Because I do things according to "the way the sun looks out of my balcony" and not the 20 clocks I have around our apartment. Makes sense, right?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

He's Going to Take My Debit Card Away!

When I was pregnant with Grace, everyone told me to beware of the girls' clothing section, because it would be hard to pass up on so many cute clothes. I've been okay about that, and just indulged a few times. However, NO one told me that the real culprit was actually the girls' SHOES section! Aagh! How can anyone resist all of those beyond adorable shoes??? She was so little last year (and not yet walking) that I wasn't able to buy any... but I think I've completely made up for it. I have bought Grace several pairs within the past few months (all for perfectly justifiable reasons, of course). Grace just loves shoes, though, and they are just SO darling on her... that it's hard to resist:

Shoe: The Pink Platform Flip-Flops
Excuse: I spotted them during the day-after Christmas sale at Target. And they were only $2.50! I bought them in a size 2 sizes larger than her current so they'd fit for the summer months. Really, I was saving us money at a bargain like that!

Shoe: Pink-and-White Waterclogs (aka Fakey Crocs)
Excuse: Her purple-and-white sneakers from Amanda no longer fit, so we went out about a month ago in search of a new pair. I looked at other sneakers for her, but everything that fit her was a bit expensive. And then we saw these ones. They were only $5, and were just so cute on her (though, admittedly, not as practical as sneakers).

Shoe: White Sandals with Flowers
Excuse: She needed church shoes because she was outgrowing hers AND since she's going to be wearing last year's Easter dress, she needs something new to go with it AND I had a Payless gift card, anyway, so really, they were free. Right? :)

Mike asked today if we were going to need to get a bigger apartment to house all of her shoes. VERY funny. But, seriously, I just couldn't resist them. And I'm stopping now. Really. Well, unless I happen upon a pair of jellies in her size (I heard that they were in style again?), because I think she absolutely needs a pair of those... and she never DID get the sneakers... and I think I'd better just give Mike my debit card before he takes it away for blowing our budget...

Friday, March 7, 2008

She's My Kinda Girl!

Yesterday, the Trader Joe guy came to donate some bread to the D.I. workers, and Mike brought home a bagful. He set it on the ground when he walked in last night, and Grace immediately walked over, pulled out an entire loaf (Potato Cheese... good choice!) and started chowing down! She wouldn't relinquish it at all... that's a girl who loves her carbs!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I've Got 93 Days...

Adam has requested a Transformers brithday cake for his 5th birthday. And I made the gigantic mistake of looking on the Internet with him at birthday cake possibilites, and he now has his heart set on this 2-foot+ guy:

Now I'm pretty much doomed. Before, he would have been perfectly happy with me slapping some canned frosting on a 9x13 cake and pushing a Transformer toy on top. I don't think that's quite going to cut it now.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Reasoning with a 4-year-old

Conversation with Adam today:

Me: Adam, you know our rule is one toy out at a time. Can you please put away your race track before getting out your Transformers?
Adam: I hate that rule! Why do we have that rule?
Me: First off, don't say 'hate.' Second, we have that rule so that your toys don't get broken and our house doesn't get too messy.
Adam: Well, that's not the point.

No, I think it really IS the point. He said, "That's not the point" about 12 times today (not sure who where he even got that... do I say that???), each time making less sense than the time before.

Later on...

Me: Adam, you can't have fruit snacks before dinner.
Adam: Why?
Me: Because then you won't be hungry for more healthy things.
Adam: Well, that's not the point.

What?!? What a goof! Why do I even bother trying to reason with him. And where did he learn that phrase from???? :)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Wonderful, Wonderul, WONDERFUL Day!


Because Grace is now in nursery (and she did great... never even looked back!).

Enough said. :)


About two weeks ago, Grace mastered the word "no!" Now, it's "no" to everything. "Grace, say 'thank you.'" "No!" "Grace, do you want lunch?" "No!" "Grace, do you want to pet the doggy?" "No!" I mean, really, she seriously uses it at all times, just because she can. Even when she doesn't mean it, and regrets saying it a few seconds later.

Today, I heard her yelling, "No! No! No!" in her room. I walked in, thinking Adam was trying to wrestle her or something. Nope. She had lined up all of her dolls in her play crib and was giving them a lecture. I wonder what they did to get that!

I love how her mind works. But, it also made me feel really guilty... do I tell her "no" so much that she feels the need to act out on her dolls in response?

I'm telling you... she's going to need therapy by the time she's 18. :)