Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hanker for a Hunk of Cheese

And this would be my food mantra.

Don't Drown Your Food, or Insights into Bracken

Those of you who know Bracken know that he is one of the world's pickiest eaters, highlighted by his refusal to eat all condiments. You also may know that he is also incredibly gifted at garbling song lyrics. I happened to stumble upon this video while looking up Slim Goodbody (anybody else remember this creepiest show?), and Bracken sang along with it, getting all the words right. I, meanwhile, laughed until I cried and he told me he wasn't speaking to me anymore.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sea Monkeys in Love

It's not been a super exciting week around here, but we have had our fill of Sea Monkey romance. Chloe was given a Sea Monkey kit for Christmas, and we finally set it up a month or so ago. At first I thought I had killed them all, but there were a couple survivors, which have now grown to about 1/2 inch long. Apparently, at that length, they become grown up Sea Monkeys, and they are pretty much attached at the Sea Monkey hip all the time now (see above picture). The first time they separated, the female just kind of hovered in the water, looking as exhausted as a brine shrimp can, and the male just swam in frantic circles. I guess he was pretty pleased with himself. And those white flecks in the water? Those are babies. We now have second generation Sea Monkeys in our tank. I'm curious to see how long the branches of our family tree get.
How cute is this little Addelicious? And this picture totally reminds me of Chloe, who spent a lot of time at this age sitting or standing in a pot. Addie is climbing into and over everything she can at this point. I've caught her standing a little bit more, for just seconds at a time. I was looking at the little boys close to her age at church, who are both walking, and realized how much more grown up they look. I'll miss my little baby as she becomes a toddler. She got her first dunk in a bucket this week. We went out to swim, and much to my chagrin, when I took the solar cover off (which is amazing), I discovered that the water was green. Super. More pool maintainance. If Chloe starts spouting a specific swear word in the next couple days, I'll know exactly when and where she heard it. But anyway, the girls were ready for a swim, so they took a little bucket swim. Addie just danced up and down, dunking herself up to the eyes, then diving right back in. She just loves water.
As does her pirate sister. This is Chloe at Parkeroni's birthday party. Aahhrrr. My favorite Chloeisms this week have been her prayers.
"Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for day. I play toys. Row, row row your boat. Gently down the Stream. Merrily, merrily, Jesus Christ, Amen."
"Dear Heavenly Father. I play Joshie. Help me sleep well. 'Lead me, guide me, walk beside me.' Jesus Christ, Amen." (For the non-LDS, she started quoting a song called 'I am a Child of God' from church.)
Typically, we've had to fight with her to get her to pray at meals, but just this week, when we ask she says, "All right." and immediately prays. I wish I could understandthe thought processes that overnight change her whole attitude.
And a note to all of you girls in your child bearing years. For the last month I've been really lethargic, and kind of depressed. I thought it was largely to do with a situation a friend is going through that I've really taken to heart. However, I was also noticing that I was really achy all the time. Whenever I would get up or move after being stationary for a while, my legs would just hurt. I finally took a look at the random bruising on my legs, realized I hadn't taken any vitamins in a while, and added it up that I had become quite anemic. I immediately started downing the iron supplements, and feel so much better. As long as I keep taking lots of fiber also. Dang constipating iron. But anyway. Since I give blood regularly, I know I'm often borderline on my hemoglobin levels. When I was pregnant with Addie, I got really tired at one point, and as soon as I upped my iron, I felt much more energetic. I just had no idea how quickly I could feel so badly. So ladies--keep your iron intake up. And if you're feeling exhausted and don't know why, try some iron. It can make a huge difference.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Moments of Madness

It's been a really crazy few weeks. Month? I don't even know anymore. There's more than I can possibly sum up, so I'll try to get the highlights. Also, make sure to scroll on down for the rest of the posts I finally got up today. If I get lucky, I'll even get some details about Chloe's birthday slideshow written down.

I did flowers for 4 weddings in 3 weeks. It was fun, for the most part, but more than anything has made me grateful that I don't have to work outside the home. I love that I have a skill I can use to help support my family that doesn't take me away from them. It gives me a taste of how hard it must be for moms who can't stay home. I'm still trying to get caught up on everything else that needs doing around my house. Check out my floral blog for more pictures of what I've been up to. I also have all my contact info on that page.

In the midst of that craziness, I got two important post cards in the mail. One told me that I had not been selected as a contestant for Who Wants to be a Millionaire movie week. The other told me that I was in the contestant pool for the regular episodes of the show! It doesn't guarantee that I will be on the show, but it means I'm one step closer. Keep your fingers crossed for me, not only that I will be selected, but that if so, I will actually know the answers to the questions. Remember, the more I win, the more likely I will share with you:).

Especially since the first thing I wanted to buy with my winnings was a minivan. I no longer need to set aside money for that (beyond a standard monthly payment). When we first moved into our house, we planned to buy a new car within the first month or so. Then reality set in, and we decided to postpone those plans until the Explorer needed some sort of repair. I'm grateful for the additional year we got out of our 16 year old car, but in the last couple weeks, the brakes have abandoned their duties. We spent some time Friday and Saturday checking out our options, and on Saturday came home with a 2006 Toyota Sienna! I'm so excited. Forget coolness--I'm just thrilled with all the convenience. I am totally enamored of our new car, and it's 15+ cup holders. That is not an exaggeration. In our 8 seat car (we opted for the model with a removable 8th seat that can also be adjusted farther forward for easy access when we next need an infant seat) there are cupholders in each of the 4 doors, one on the front console, 4 in the flip down console, with another optional one in the storage area, 3 on the backseat, 2 more in the back of the folddown center seat, and 2 round indentions in the backs of the other 2 second row seats. When you add in the 2 cupholders on Chloe's booster seat, the one on Addie's seat, and the 6 in our double stroller, it's a bit ridiculous. Things have sure changed since they made our Explorer with its one shallow cupholder that didn't actually hold a cup upright. As soon as we got home with the new car, I immedately began cleaning our Mazda, and washing the carseat covers. I couldn't believe how dirty and gross everything else we have is when compared with the new car.

We drove down on Saturday to show Bracken's parents the car, and for an excuse to drive it some more. His dad had to go to church (he's Catholic and goes on Saturday nights to "beat the rush"), so we asked Janeth if she would like to go to Costco with us. She and Jack spend most of their time taking care of Syrus, Bracken's sister's son, and she doesn't get out often. When we got to the store, I found one of those electric carts for her since she doesn't get around very well. She was a bit apprehensive at first, but as soon as she got the hang of it, she was off. She zipped around Costco, enjoying her freedom. It honestly gave me a little thrill to see her having such a good time. I hope it's the first of many trips out for her now that she can handle the scooter.

Chloe has been in wedding heaven. She loves seeing all the "Princesses" and eating fondant. At one wedding, the cake layers were all edged in fondant balls, and she excitedly ate all of those. In the picture above she had speared the fondant layer off her piece of cake. A moment later, she had shoved the entire thing in her mouth. That's okay, though, since I only stopped shoveling delicious cheese into my mouth long enough to take the picture. Here's a cute picture from another wedding.

A couple weeks ago, I took her in for her 3 year old well child check. I made sure she was clean and well dressed so I could look like a good parent for at least a few minutes. Oh, but my hopes were dashed. The nurse asked me to take off all her clothes but her panties, and put a paper robe on her. Chloe took off her shirt, then started to pull down her shorts. She stopped, paused, looked inside, pulled them back up, looked inside again, then said, "Mom, no panties!" Great. I made sure all her outside was clean, but never considered that during one of her bathroom visits she might not put her underwear back on.

Lately she's been going to the bathroom entirely by herself, usually with a slam of the door and a "I do it myself!" I didn't think the need for privacy began quite this early, but she sure feels it. Most of the time, she does like to wear her underwear, though. She identifies them by the picture on them, telling me she wants to wear Tinkerbell, or Little Mermaid, or whatever. The other day, she reached in the drawer and said, "Tinkerbell, no, Joshie!" Her friend Josh wears training pants with contrasting trim, and lately she has been wanting to match him, at least in the underwear department. So now all her training pants are called "Joshie."

I had my largest mess ever courtesy of Chloe this week. At Bracken's second birthday party, we had a few friends over, and left them unsupervised in the backyard for a while while the adults played a game inside. They were later discovered scooping sand into the pool. Buckets of sand. Into my pool. Need I mention I was seeing red? First thing the next morning, I was in the pool, trying to vacuum all the sand out. When I stopped for a moment to throw a shock treatment in, I discovered that these little gremlins had also emptied all the bags of grass clippings over my RV area. I later found a freshly picked pumpkin as well. And do I need to mention all the sand that missed the pool and was dusting my plants and the ground all around? Four pool filters and 2 days later, and the water was mostly clear again. And my vision was back to around pink. I honestly don't know when I've been so angry and frustrated and tired.

But I have to give props to my sweet friend Ashley who showed up the next morning with hot chocolate and pastries and her little gremlin in tow to help clean up. (He insisted that they hadn't done anything with grass clippings, but they had fun playing with "hay.") I can't tell you how much that meant, or how much I treasure her friendship.

Addie just wants to be everywhere and do everything her sister does, even if I can't make head or tails of what Chloe is doing (see above for reference). This includes wanting to feed herself. She wants to hold the spoon herself, so you have to scoop up the food, hand the spoon to her, then stand back. She's actually more adept at getting it in there than I expect, but it's still a slow, messy endeavor. And she really prefers a spoon to her fingers, I think.

Addie has started standing occasionally, though I would be shocked if she actually took steps before her birthday. My friend Katie was over this week, and tried to encourage Addie in her walking. She picked Addie up and tried to put her feet on the ground to take some steps with her. Addie just held her feet off the ground, and couldn't be persuaded to try. She'll do it in her own time.

Lately I swear I'm hearing words out of her mouth, but I just can't quite believe it. She is just such a little charmer, though. Chloe has always kept more to herself, and been a little shy, but Addie will work a room. She just cruises along the furniture, grinning at everyone and babbling. We attended Katie's baby's blessing this weekend, and Addie kept everyone around us entertained (that's a nicer word than distracted, right?)

Happy Birthday Bracken

Bracken celebrated his 35th birthday on the 27th. And the 28th. And the 1st.
Here he is opening the tennis ball dishes the girls made for him. We used empty containers as molds, filled them with plaster, and imprinted a tennis ball into them. When the dried, we painted them. I should clarify. Chloe painted. Addie ate paint. When she was done eating paint, she painted my face.

Then Bracken opened my most special gift to him. Bracken is a 3 gallon plus blood donor, and with the various tiers of blood donation, they give different recognition rewards. One of his coworkers has had a very cool green BloodSource shirt that Bracken has envied for months. Every time he has given blood, he has been disappointed when he hasn't received one. I made sure I set up a donation appointment for the week before his birthday, by myself (we usually go in together), and asked how I could possibly get one of those shirts for my husband. Turns out, all I had to do was ask, or get poked more than once. I was so excited to give it to him, and he was so happy to have it. They even threw in a special mug for him also.

At his parent's house that evening, Bracken got th'e first of his many special birthday desserts. He has been dieting, and working really hard. He hadn't had any desserts in over a month, and wanted to make his birthday count. The first dessert was a caramel cookies'n'cream cheesecake. This picture makes me laugh because Addie looks so mad.

His second dessert, which we ate at a small birthday gathering the next day, was a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and red and blue lettering reading "Happy 35th Bracken." He was very specific about every detail that he wanted.
Addie was much more specific about this second dessert, because as part of it, she got her first beater.

Chloe also got a beater. I have to say, one of my only concerns about the Kitchenaid is that it only produces one beater at a time to lick.

On the 1st, Bracken and I went out for his birthday date. We went to Tahoe Joe's, his favorite steakhouse, for dinner, then went car shopping. We then rushed over to his favorite ice-cream parlor, Leatherby's, and picked up Black and Tan's to go. We snuck them into the movie theater in my purse to enjoy while we watched The Dark Knight. It was a fun date.

I hope Bracken enjoyed his birthday. We sure are grateful for him and all he does for us. I love you!

Reno, baby, Reno

On July 21st, we went to CircusCircus Reno for the night with our dear friends the Mills. I'm afraid this might be the extent of our summer vacation this year. Though it was short, we had a wonderful time. We had adjoining rooms, and Chloe couldn't have been happier to be able to spend so much time with Joshie. I'm so grateful for this friendship. The pictures to follow are in no particular order, and some are stolen directly from the Mill's blog. Thanks Ashley!

This is Bracken and I on the tram. I actually spent some time just riding back and forth on the tram with Chloe and Josh--free ride. And free show, at times. On our first ride on the tram, Chloe demonstrated her ability to pole dance. I'm a little scared.
Ashley and David on the tram.Ashley's friend James is a firefighter in Reno, and he let the kids dress up in his gear. Here is Chloe Firegirl.

And Parkeroni Fireman.
Chloe actually shot down a can with her cork gun. She also shot the attendant, some of the prizes, and a lot of air.
Joshy-o driving Mickey.

Chloe keeping her eyes on the road while Addie waves.
Playing the camel game, our favorite from our anniversary trip the previous year (we celebrated an early anniversary in July so we could see Michael Buble when he played Reno, and had a blast).

It was a very relaxing trip. I even had my own personal hairdresser.

Bracken's favorite game growing up was the clown game, where you shoot water into the clown's mouth and see who's stuffed animal rises the fastest.

Parker and Addie took a drive. I just love that smile.

We watched a circus dog show. Bracken and Chloe are in the center. Despite the fact that Chloe had been begging and begging for days before the trip to go to the circus, this was the only circus show we saw. We had a great time, though, and would do it again in a heartbeat.