Friday, December 21, 2007

You better watch out...

Lyrics by Allison:

You better watch out,
You better not yell,
You better not lose your purse,
You better always do that thing you do,
Santa Clause is coming to town.

Also,

You better watch out,
You better not scream,
You better not yell like a duck,
Santa Clause is coming to town.

These were sung as we decorated cookies last night. I guess she figures yell, scream, shout is all the same thing, so why not make the lyrics interchangeable?







Monday, December 17, 2007

Fourteen Fabulous Years



It's good to be married to your best friend.

Friday, December 14, 2007

baby steps...



In September, Jeanette and I started walking. A short time later, her friend suggested (challenged?!) us to run a 5k with her in December. I had been thinking running would be fun again, so I was thrilled to have someone to do it with. Jeanette found a great running program titled, "Couch to 5k in 8 weeks" which couldn't have been a better description of my cardiovascular state. http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
And it worked! It was so easy to gradually increase our length and endurance. The payoff was finishing my first ever organized run with a time of 31:12. Increased length, endurance, and speed will come later. I'm just glad I started!

Can't start without stretching!



(That's Jeanette, me, Jamie, and half of Nikki)

Before the race at the start line.



(Me, Nikki, Jamie and Jeanette)

Jamie shows us how she'll watch tv if she gets bored. She took a lot of crap for the old school headphones...



Jeanette and I post race with our "anti-inflamatory" sports drink. I was glad to know I wouldn't burst into flames while drinking it. Then I realized it probably meant my joints wouldn't swell. Hey, I had just run a 5k, my brain was a little out there...



You can't complain running along the boardwalk of Venice & Santa Monica on a beautiful, crisp December morning. I will make this a regular part of my life.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

God hears your prayers...and laughs

When Brent was called to the bishopric in June, we were assured I would be released as Primary President soon. And then August, September, October rolled around and I was still president. And it wasn't horrible, but there were times when I felt a little overwhelmed with Sundays. I suspected I might be released after the Sacrament Program. It was a huge stress, but we got through it and the kids did a fabulous job. The next week I got a call that the Bishop wanted to see me. And Brent. They weren't releasing us both, were they?! So we went in and I was released, and then called to be the 2nd counselor in the Relief Society Presidency. What?! Isn't there a rule somewhere about getting a cushy job after a big calling?! Especially when your husband is supposed to be pulling some strings for you?!

The new primary presidency will do an incredible job. (Jeanette Zollinger is the new president, and her counselors are Christie Marksbury and Amy Rex, with Jessica Asendorf as secretary.) They are all so smart, capable and dedicated. I am already seeing the things I could and should have done better. So I will try to do better in Relief Society. I am the Enrichment Night Counselor, so I am expecting you all the tell me about the fun things you are doing in your wards so we can copy. I have realized this about myself: I am really good at re-doing something someone else has already created. So send ideas, please!

I learned so much in primary and had such incredible experiences there. I hope I can learn and grow as much in RS. One thing I've learned already, God apparently doesn't care so much for whining...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A parenting dilemma

One of the most difficult parts of parenting is knowing when certain behaviors cross the line. At what point does creative, exploratory fun turn into a dangerous or inappropriate situation?

Allison has been pretending to be a kitty lately. It's often annoying, but I let her do it because I figure I'm "letting her use her imagination" and "engaging in creative play" and all that other "good parenting stuff." Most often I want to tell her to sit down and knock off the "mrowwwww" crap. Especially when I'm trying to teach sharing time for the last time as primary president. (That's another post, hallelujah!) I try to keep the kitty time to when we're at home, but even that is getting to be too much.

Sunday night was a good example. She had done the kitty thing the whole time we were at a convert baptism. Imagine trying to feel the spirit with an obnoxious 4 year old kneeling in the back row, "mrooowwww! hissss! mrrrrrroooowwwwww!" By the time we had fought the bedtime battle and read stories, she was still going strong. And begging to sleep in a box like a real kitty. After a few minutes of arguing, I gave up. This is what I came back to, an hour later.





After a good laugh and a "serves you right if you wake up with a neckache" we moved her into her bed. The lesson learned? Never argue with a 4 year old.

So go ahead and turn us in to Child Protective Services for bad parenting. Just beware - they might appoint you temporary guardian!

Veteran's Day

The kids had no school on Veteran's Day. It was a beautiful day that was heading towards being wasted in front of the TV, so I threw the kids into the car with some snacks and we drove to Point Vicente Lighthouse in Rancho Palos Verdes.



There was a small museum with a display of some items from Marine World. We were all sad that it wasn't still open. It would be great to see ocean animals without having to go to San Diego.



They were also impressed with the models of whales and marine life.



After our tour of the museum, we went outside for a short walk. I was struck by how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful area. (Well, Long Beach is nice but to live in PV would be AMAZING!) I've been spoiled to live so close to the ocean for so much of my life, and sometimes forget that many people have never dipped their toes in salt water or strolled along the sand with waves crashing at their feet. I promise to not complain about living in southern California as much.

Of course, each of the kids wanted an individual shot of themselves.







Life is beautiful.

Pack Meeting

Nate's troop had a pack meeting in early November. The previous pack meeting had been in June, and Nate had accomplished a lot over the summer. (That's what happens when mom sends you to full day cub camp for TWO weeks. Mom's gotta keep her sanity.) So I took my camera so I could capture him getting all his pins, belt loops and Webelos badge. I took pictures of all the kids getting their awards, because that's what a good primary president does, right? So when Nate gets called up, whirrrr, camera battery is dead. Doh!

Fortunately, I did get one picture with him in it. He and his buddy Connor did the flag ceremony. Connor is Nate's friend in the neighborhood who has been coming to Scouts with Nate for the past few months.



Nate only has one or two more achievements to earn until he gets his Arrow of Light. I haven't even had to pull out any threats or bribery yet! Hopefully he'll continue on in scouting happily!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sammy's new friend...maybe

The Zollingers got a chocolate lab puppy and it is SO darn cute! Jeanette brought him over to meet Sammy. Sammy's reaction was...unexpected. He didn't bark, didn't growl, didn't do much of anything but run away from him and get all slobbery. Seriously. Frothing at the mouth. After running around for a while, Sammy relented and let Oliver lay down and rest next to him. But don't get too comfortable around here, Sammy still claims alpha dog status.







Oliver just wanted to play, but Sammy wasn't so sure about the new intruder.



Ok, but you have to lay in the dirt box...



I'm surprised I didn't get more whining for a new puppy. Maybe they remember the year of finding chewed up toys all over the house.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Trick or Treating

Lest you think I only take pictures of Allison, here's proof that the other two exist.



Sarah was a witch and loved the green makeup. Check out how blue her eyes look!



Nate wasn't going to dress up at all, but a friend came through with a costume from last year. Look familiar? Yeah, Nate was an army guy last year, too.



Getting ready to score some loot.

Jeanette and I discovered that the mall was having trick or treating from 4-7 on Halloween. Given that both our husbands get home at 6:30 or so, we HOPED we'd be able to take the kids trick or treating at the mall and then stay home the rest of the night. Not so. We got the kids to the mall around 5 pm to discover that about 90% of the stores were "out of candy" or...never had any to begin with. They still had fun and we even indulged them with a carousel ride.

If you know my kids, you know how they get from point A to point B. Running and screaming. Allison's friends, Elijah and Spencer are certainly more cautious travelers. And they weren't getting to the free candy fast enough for Allison, so she grabbed their hands to speed things up a bit.



After they played on the climbing stuff in the food court, it was time to head home. The kids weren't at all satisfied with the amount of candy, so they convinced Brent to take them out again around the neighborhood. I would have resisted, but knew they'd come home with enough chocolate to keep me happy. That's what the holidays are all about, right?!

Pumpkin Carving

I should be more enthusiastic about the whole pumpkin thing. My kids LOVE it. When Nate was a baby, halloween wasn't complete without a half day trip to a pumpkin farm with pumpkins and a petting zoo and overpriced train ride and TONS of pictures. This year, despite Allison and Sarah's frequent requests to go get pumpkins, I grabbed 3 oddly misshapen pumpkins from the grocery store the day before halloween. I'm such a party pooper!

Sarah enjoyed getting the guts out...



Given my kids tendency towards accidents, injuries and spills, I insist that they draw the face on with a Sharpie pen and I do the carving. Hence no pictures of the kids happily wielding sharp knives. Here are the finished products.



Looking spooky that night.

Different party, different princess...

On Halloween, Allison's school had a parade. That morning she decided she wanted to be Cinderella. (A few days earlier, at the Halloween Party at church, she had been a unicorn, minus the horn, since all we had was an old horse costume from when Sarah was 4. Allison didn't seem to care that she was a hornless unicorn.) Luckily, we have a BUNCH of dress-up costumes from birthday parties, previous halloweens, and mom being a sucker and just buying princess dresses...



That afternoon, she wanted to be Sleeping Beauty.



These pictures crack me up. I didn't ask for "princess poses." This is how she smiled for the camera.





She was really exicted about the spider hats at the party...



And showing me her favorite toy in the classroom. Again, check out the pose...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Getting ready for Halloween

Sometimes I wonder which is more exciting for my kids - Halloween or Christmas. With the frenzied excitement of candy, candy, candy and costumes and pumpkin carving and decorating the house with spooky spider things, it's a close call. This year, we even bought a big fake spider, even though we have plenty of real spiders all year long...



And the real thing, right around the corner...



Last night was cub scouts and activity girls. Since both were short a leader, Brent and I got to fill in, which meant Allison got to participate in pumpkin decorating. She was VERY happy about that turn of events...



Sarah made a witch pumpkin. I'm not sure who has the scarier face...



When it was all over, they were happy with their pumpkins and had lots of fun.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Favorite Kenneth moment

This is for Heidi, Tyler and Drew after a late night explanation of why Kenneth is one of my favorite people on TV. Check out the facial expressions and sounds!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This is a "happy" meal toy?!

So, today Allison and I went to the library for story time and then had to go to the laundramat to dry some sheets. (Our dryer has been broken off and on for a few months. It's getting very tiring to find alternate ways to get our laundry done. But that's a story for another day.) Anyway, I stopped at McDonald's to get her some food so we'd have time to run all our errands before having to get Sarah from school. I already have enough guilt that I'm letting her eat fast food crap way too often. (I did take her to story time, so I can't be THAT bad a mother, right?!) Then she asks me to open her toy, and this is it.



Have fun playing with your hooker on wheels doll, honey!

Allison's Ark

Allison had been playing happily in the bath for awhile last night. When I went it, this is what I found...







Monday, October 1, 2007

yuck yuck YUCK!!!

The past two weeks have been busy, but unremarkable. Homework, soccer practice, scouts, piano practice, etc. It's not super exciting, but it's our life. We have, however, had some DISGUSTING activity in the garage...

*** If the mention of rodents grosses you out, you might not want to read this post. ***

A few weeks ago, when Brent was out of town (of course!) Sammy started barking like crazy at something behind the bookcase by the garage. He's not a big barker, so I investigated. After some poking around and moving things to get a better look, I saw out of the corner of my eye a grey flash along the wall. It was really quick, and I couldn't see what it was or where it wound up, but I was sufficiently FREAKED OUT! We had a mouse about a year ago and I was a basket case. Rodents make me sick. Well, I called Brent and whined and complained. But we really had no idea what it was or where it was living.

About a week later, Sammy started barking at the garage door at night. So we suspected that's where the problem was. We poked around and hey, once we started looking, we saw quite a bit of little poops. Ugh! So so gross! From there, it went down hill. It gnawed through the container holding Sammy's food. Sammy started barking more at the door at night. We set out traps. Then, one time I opened the door and saw it, scurrying across the framing of the garage. I think once it knew it was seen, it got brave. I started seeing it EVERYTIME I opened the garage door at night. It was taunting me! "See me run around and poop in your garage? I laugh in your general direction!" At this point, I was loosing sleep at night, being disgusted at the knowledge that a rat was living the good life in MY garage.

On Saturday, my wonderful husband took EVERYTHING out of the garage to try and hunt it down. We were totally freaked out that we'd pull out a box or sleeping bag and have a rabid rat jump on our heads. Don't rats carry Hanta Virus? We had to put everything in plastic containers. I tripped on the clutter and cut my leg up pretty bad. But we still had no visible evidence of a nest or home. What is going on? Make it go away! Feeling frustrated, we left everything down on the floor, hoping we'd figure out a way to catch the nasty little...@#$*!!

Last night, Sammy was barking again like crazy at the door. I opened it up so he could bark at the rat. If nothing else, it makes me feel good that a big, angry sounding dog is barking at it. Maybe it will have a heart attack and die? Just please don't die inside the wall, die on the floor so you will be easy to dispose of. As I looked around, I saw not one, but TWO rats scamper along the rafters and duck behind the drywall behind the washing machine. Two rats in my garage?! I can't even describe how I felt at that moment. Just know a lot of four letter words were uttered. A LOT of four letter words.

Today, while doing the laundry, I decided to peek in the traps. I don't know why because for the past 5 days, they've been empty. Each time I look at the traps and they are empty, it's a huge let down. Why won't you die?! (By the way, we have 4 sticky traps, 2 regular snap traps and one $40 electronic shocker house trap. We are committed to killing these buggers. I did draw the line at the poison pellets. The only thing worse than a live rat running around the garage is a dead, decomposing, stinky rotting rat in the walls.) Sticky and snap traps were empty. But there was a dead rat in the shocker house! I've never been so happy and exciting to see something so gross in my life! Of course, I'm not going to touch the trap. Brent will dispose of it when he gets home. (Thank goodness for husbands who will do the dirty work.) But I have hope. One is dead. We will hunt down and kill the other(s?). I will be able to live in my house and not be freaked or grossed out. We will prevail!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First soccer games

Saturday, September 15. The day we discover that Allison is REALLY competitive.



They played a team called the Purple Ponies. Usually, Under 6 soccer is a comedy of errors. Bunchball supreme. Not these Ponies. They were ruthless! When they scored within the first 30 seconds (I think that's how long it took them to steal the ball from us and dribble down and shoot on our goal...maybe 45 seconds?!) I knew we were in trouble. I stopped counting after the score was 6-0, which by the way, was before half time. But Allison kept in there, kinda. She got discouraged and cried a few times that her team hadn't scored (hey, she's 4). Hopefully next week goes a little better. Here are some more pictures of her in action.







Sarah's game went better. It was a good, close game and I realized/was reminded that I am one of those annoying parents who really gets into the game. I had to tell myself to shut up and let the coach tell the girls where to go. How lame am I?! Anyway, it was a pre-season game, but the girls got to feel good that they won 2-0. Sarah played all the positions, although hopefully her coach realizes that her strength is defense.