Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Addicted to A Sippy Cup

Jessie is addicted to sippy cups. She nurses them. Check out her tongue! Her lower jaw moves just like when she was nursed. The day this picture was taken, she had sipped two quarts (an entire pitcher!) of Crystal Lite all by herself... before noon. All I heard was "More juice, momma!" over and over. That night, I threw the cup away. She doesn't seem to miss it, although at my mom's house she had a sippy cup with her lunch and LOVED it. Although it was kind of cute to watch her get her cup of juice, find her blankie, and then go and hide in a corner like an addict only coming out for a refill, it was time for the sippy cup to go.

Update: After the sippy cup was gone, I bought her a water bottle at the gas station. We were out and about! But then she clung to that thing for like two weeks! To help her addiction to all things with a spout, we went away for the day. On a train trip. I brought Capri Suns and my aluminum canteen to drink out of. The water bottle *somehow* was thrown away (and buried under trash so she wouldn't dig it out!). She's been fine! I did make sure not to let her drink out of anything that she could suck on for about a month. Now, she's cool with whatever. Even a sippy at grandma's house! She'll drink out of it, but she doesn't carry it around asking for 2 quarts of "juice" a day. Hurray!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Writing for Demand Studios

Remember I once upon a time posted something about freelance writing for Demand Studios? Well, I quit after about two weeks. I realized that Ryan would make more money with one hour of overtime than I would for a day's work. It's sad and pathetic. That, coupled with the fact that I didn't like it... well, after doing a cost-benefit analysis, I stopped. I was making about $5.00 an hour doing something that bored me. If I needed a work-from-home job to support my family, I am sure this would not be a good match for me. The forums are full of questions like, "Does it take everyone this long to write an article?" with responses that indeed, you will get faster. I always considered myself a fairly adequate writer. (Don't judge my blog editing... I often blog while fending children off my back in the midst of a WWF wrestling match complete with underwear on heads- so I have typos.) Article writing just wasn't a good fit for me. Not now with the kids, and not now for $5.00 an hour.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ed and His Showers

Every night at bath time, I hear the same complaints from my children. “ I hate baths.” “I hate showers.” “I don't want to.” “Are you going to wash my hair? I hate my hair washed.”

Without exception, Will always (100% of the time) says, “Oh, oh, oh, it's too hot!” or “Oh, oh, oh, it's too cold!” It's never just right for him. Ever.

The other night, he says “Oh, oh, oh, it's too hot!” I roll my eyes and claim that it isn't hot. I proceed to turn the shower on Ed. He screams “Mom! It's too wet! It's too wet, mom!” and he starts crying.

I bust up laughing, which surprises him a little, and he gets mad. “I HATE THE SHOWER! IT'S TOO WET!”

I tried to explain to him why showers were wet. It wasn't easy. Something like, “Uh, dude. Showers are wet, cuz they use, like, tons of water...”

Monday, April 26, 2010

My new Desktop image...I love Spring cleaning. The weather is so nice right now, I'm no longer huddled in my layers of thermals and sweats trying to keep warm. The sad part of that is that our winters could be much, much colder. Ryan is made for the cold, whereas I am made for a beach in Mexico.

To clean:

*clothes- out with the winter stuff, in with the summer clothes! (Mostly finished!)

*Check to see if kids have swim gear that fits.

*Clean out old computer files and change desktop. (Desktop- check!)

*Get a garden ready to test my apocolyptic black thumb of death. I'm going to attempt a square foot garden again, with just three 4 foot squares to start with.

*Plant flowers in the water trough that housed last years garden attempt. The difference is that I have water now!

*Revamp my blog. I'm really picky yet don't know what I like. Weird, no? I don't like my sidebars, so I'll be working on it. Maybe. If I can decide what looks good to me. But hey, I just typed it into my to-do list, so it'll get done!

*Categorize all my old blog posts... ugh. I've been meaning to do that for a few months now. Tee-dee-us. (tedious)

*Catch up on a few blog posts I've had in the back of my mind.

*Take my camera with me more places, and practice not being afraid to take pictures!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Going Camping

You know we live in a trailer. An 8'x38'. About 320 square feet. I've washed clothes in the tub (sidenote- I got a new washer! A new USED one. I love it!), I've had to give the kids sponge bathes by heating up some water in the microwave in a bowl, I haven't baked anything in four and a half years, with the exception of a bad cake and a pan of enchiladas in a toaster oven in the shed. That was stupid, but you gotta try, right? We've had two more kids while living in the trailer. I didn't have the Internet for 14 months. Our trailer "runneth over" with stuff for a family of six to live and still be presentable to the public. You wouldn't know it by looking at us that we live in a trailer. I consider that a great feat. And, I have been able to keep my sanity without meds or a therapist. (Somdedays I'm *this close* though. For reals.) Anyways, the last few days, the "stuff" in our trailer is getting to me. This morning I decided that we will pack up lots and lots of "stuff" and put it in our storage. We'll adopt the attitude that we are indeed camping. It'll only be for a few months until the house is done... things are coming along a day at a time, but they are coming along. The responsible part of me says to just go through it and decide where it goes, but that's fairly hopeless. In our house, I'll have lots of bookshelves for books. I'll have closets for clothes. I'll have a desk for bills. A caddy for magazines. So, instead of throwing everything out (aka: donating it!) I think I'll just pack it all up and when it's time to move in, I'll go through it then.

For now we are downsizing. I figure it's easier to do that than swear like a sailor (okay not like a sailor, but maybe his granddaughter?) every time I trip over something. The girls get three church outfits, the boys get one, and for play clothes they will get three bottoms and four tops. For myself, that's about all I have, so that will be easy. Winter clothes need to disappear though. The kids' toys were confiscated about three weeks ago and they haven't really missed them. So that's easy. Papers and magazines... ugh. Put them all in a bag and forget about them?

Spring cleaning, here I come. Everyone else, WATCH OUT!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Culture Shock!

Tonight we got some culture, and I'm shocked with the kids' behavior.

The school had an art festival that ran tonight for an hour and a half, and then tomorrow for a few hours. Local artists and most of the students entered. It was really good! They had a guest sign-in area where the kids signed in, a table with cheese, crackers, grapes, and juice, fancy napkins, and two hostesses. There was a jazz band playing. I recognized most of the songs (from where? I'm not sure... my days watching I Love Lucy episodes?) and the kids wandered around looking at the displays. A few local photographers were there showcasing their photos. Lots of local landscapes. So beautiful. After we toured the gym, we headed on out with plates of food for the grass outside. I thought I'd spare the clean-up crew the aftermath of my children and snacks. While outside, we saw THE PIRATE LADIES coming in. The pirate ladies are our Sweet Adelines group. We saw them practicing while at 4-H awhile ago, and the kids were enthralled. When we saw them coming in, we decided to go back into the gym and listen for awhile. We ended up staying the whole time. Kacy sat with her teacher and the principal (her friends). Ed mostly watched/listened, and Will and Jessie were so attentive. It almost made me cry tears of joy. Jessie probably loved it the most- the pirate costumes, the "arhgs," and the singing. The singing was really good. She clapped enthusiastically after every song.

Just thought I'd document for myself that my kids CAN be really good. Even Ed. Tonight helps to push the recent memory of taking Ed into the bank with me, and having him and Jessie sit in the chairs they always sit in. This time though, I look up from my half filled out deposit slip, and I see Ed without boots or socks climbing and jumping from chair to chair to chair. The worst was that a bank teller came over to talk to him... oh boy. I was already on my way, but I was mortified. And then I was angry that I couldn't do a simple task such as depositing a check into the bank without having a catastrophe. And a nervous break-down. But tonight? Tonight makes that memory a little blurry... and gives me hope of raising civilized children yet. Well, mostly civilized.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


  • put the winter clothes into clothes storage, even though it might snow tomorrow. I refuse to beleive it!
  • get 4-H stuff ready before lunch time.
  • clean up the trailer. It somehow exploded with laundry and debris in the last two days. We were home long enough to make a mess, but not to clean it.
  • think about taking pictures and posting them to a photography challenge on Flickr.
  • organize my bills for the next month. YUCK, YUCK, YUCK! (I hate my accounting responsibilities and mail. Loathe mail.)
  • reserve some novels from the library. I have a list from here.
  • only eat three cookies. Two down...
  • let the kids stay in their jammies as long as they want.
  • think about Ryan's grandma Ellen, age 97, who is scheduled for surgery today to fix a broken femur.
  • wash the dishes three different times today, scrub a toilet, take the dog for a walk (maybe), and take a nap (maybe).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Minter Field Fly-In, 2010

Saturday we headed out to Shafter, California for the Minter Field Fly-in. Not an air show, the fly-in is open to small aircraft. There were lots of WWII craft there, as Minter Field was a WWII military air training station. The kids loved it, again. Ryan wasn't able to go with us, but we saw the Delgado cousins, and Amy met us there. Ryan and I are interested in getting a plane someday- a Carbon Cub (lots o' moola), or more likely a Super Cub. But since that's in at least 10 years... for now it's just fun to look.

Next to the shiniest plane I've ever seen...

There was A LOT of this going on the whole time. At least, until they got sno-cones. Then they were concentrating on walking and slurping at the same time.

After the fly-in we went to Amy's and had lunch at her house. I should have taken pictures of her backyard... it's beautiful! On the way home, I finally decided to pull over and take a picture of one of the most beautiful hills I get to see every time I drive to the big city.

Zoomed in... So pretty! I love where I live. Soon it will be dry and brown for our summers, but that's what you get when you have seasons. Right now the fillaree is coming out and I drive through about a mile of purple. And cows. It's cow season, which means that when you live in open range country, the cows are out. They'll head up higher the warmer it gets, but for now they're out and about. So cute! We love cattle! (Both to look at, and to eat.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Today I:

-transplanted more trees. I think I'm around the 75 done mark... I don't want to know how many are left. Now that the trees are in four gallon nursery containers, it looks like we have a real nursery. Crazy, that's what that is.

-moved the laundry basket of folded clothes from the couch up to my bed, and put half the clothes away. Then I moved the half full basket down to the couch again, so I could have room to sit on me bed.

-went to parent-teacher conferences where Kacy's teachers said she was great, a great student and all that. So smart, and so humble, too. For reals. Oh, and she's confident. May she use her powers for good, that's all I'm sayin'. As for Will, I knew this was coming: He's a smart boy who knows what he's doing, but she wishes he'd follow directions the first time she says them. Like, when she tells the class to put their homework in their backpacks when they are finished, everyone does it. Except will, who she has to tell personally. I raised my eyebrows in great surprise and replied, "But surely you are mistaken! My Will would never so such a thing! He's such a great listener at home! It must be your fault as a crappy teacher." Just kidding. I told her that for a few years I suspected he had hearing loss and even had his ears checked. His ears are almost mostly normal. It's a personality disorder called laziness. We're working on it. We've been working on it for about five years now.

-drove to "town" to the Wal-Mart so I could get a few supplies (like laundry soap so I can continue to wash and fold clothes and then not put them away) and my car started acting funny. I would decelerate and the warning lights came on and the CD player quit playing at every stop sign. Then, while trying to make it to Wal Mart (because they have a car section...) I lost the power steering for a second. I called Ryan and he went through a list of questions, and while talking to him, an older guy and his grandson (?) walked by and said, "Did you throw a belt?" I shook my head and said that I didn't think so, and they kept going. Ten seconds later Ryan told me to go pop the hood and check the belt. Well, I first went and got the most important thing on my list (the laundry soap) and while back there saw the same guys from earlier. I asked them if they knew where a car-fixing place might be, as Ryan suggested that I may need to get it fixed right then if I were to make it home tonight. The older guy said that he didn't live there, I responded the same, and the younger guy looked at his watch and said everyone is closed up. True. They asked me about he symptoms of my car's weirdness, said all the things Ryan had said on the phone, and then I thanked them for their time and paid for my Tide. An aside here: the three older kids semi-freaked out when I bought the Tide. "You've never gotten the orange one before!" I told them that we were going to live on the edge and try something new, whoo-hoo! I journey to the car, pop the hood (while the kids are hanging out the window asking when we were going to McDonald's) and check the belt. It's fine. I start the car and check on the belt while talking to Ryan. It's fine. None of my warning lights are on. The two guys from Wal Mart see the circus that is my life and that I have the hood up and come check on me. They look at my dash for information, have me turn on my lights, and advise me to go straight home without turning on the CD or radio, no AC, and no charging my cell phone because most likely my altinator is bad. (How do you spell "al-tin-ate-or?) So I go and do the thing that three men told me to do, thinking bad thoughts about Mazda and how I wish I had any of my Fords back. Or my VW bug. Sure it caught on fire once, but I didn't need those wires anyway.

-My mom sent me a link to a blog post about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. It was supposed to be funny, and a lot of comments said she was funny, but I must have left my humor in the Wal Mart parking lot. Maybe it struck a nerve of mine because I hate (HATE) when people have the attitude of "Since I'm not perfect, I won't even try!" and "I'm going to justify my struggles with using the phrases 'Don't judge me" and "I'm going to hell!' in a public forum for all to see. You know what? No one is perfect. Isn't it all about improvement? Striving to be better today than you were yesterday? Helping others along the way? I suppose the post was good for me in that it made me evaluate my feelings about Sundays. They can be the hardest day of the week, no doubt. But I wouldn't trade them for all the shopping or sporty activities in the world. Even on the days I want to lock my children in the car (with the windows cracked...of course) and enjoy a Sunday church service all by my lonesome, I still end the day with a restful feeling. Anyone who has seen me in a pew all by myself with my four kids- one of whom is Ed- may not believe that, but it's true. And someday I will be the older lady in the ward that gets to "chuckle" at the young mother struggling to keep her kids reasonably well behaved. This post also brought up a weird (possibly very negative) personality trait of mine. No, not that one. Or that one. You can stop now! The one I'm talking about is my inability to be friends with someone who can't take responsibility for themselves. I once broke up with a boyfriend after he slid his truck into the back of another car in the snow while reversing out of a parking space. I didn't break up with him for his poor driving skills, but because he said, "I have the worst luck! Why was that car even parked there? If it hadn't been snowing, I wouldn't have hit it!" WHHAAAAA! This was on top of "mean professors" and any other reason things weren't easy for him. I don't like you if you can't take responsibility for yourself. Could it possibly be he was a bad driver? Or that HE caused an accident? Or that HE wasn't paying attention in class? Or when he later got a ticket for a "Minor In Possession" (underage drinking) that it was all the cop's fault. Yah... moving on.

-this week I caught a rat that weighed like two pounds! He was a big one, and I made Ryan take him out, because that's a man's job. I'm in charge of all the poop in this household (ewww! dipers, booties, the dog...) I figure he can be in charge of taking out the two pound woodrats. The funny thing about those rats is that they are cute. Much cuter than any caged pet rat I've ever seen.

-the wild flowers are coming out in full force! Just today there were mountain sides of poppies. It looked like someone dumped a huge bucket of orange paint on the hills.

-helped Kacy with her math homework in the car; they were subtraction problems with borrowing. She was having a hard time with the first one, asking me how to do "27-8" because she didn't have enough fingers. I told her she was going to have to "borrow", and she replied, "But Ed's asleep!" It took me a second to realize what she meant... she thought I meant for her to borrow Ed's fingers.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Italian Wedge Salad from Carino's: Delicious!

While in Bend, Oregon, we went to dinner at Carino's Italian Restaurant. While the consensus is that it was "okay" (we like the Olive Garden better overall), I did have the best salad I've ever eaten! Heaven on a plate. It's not really a salad to eat to be healthy. I want to try and replicate at home so I can eat it every night for dinner this summer.

The menu describes it thus:

Italian Wedge Salad

The combination of strong flavors was fantastic. The apples were very tart- I'm guessing granny Smiths. Apparently, I love cheeses. I grew up eating Kraft singles. I don't drink wine, so wine tasting is out, but isn't there cheese tasting somewhere? That night was the first time I had Gorgonzola cheese, and it was awesome! The bacon nearly killed me with it's perfect texture. Whoever was on shift at Carino's that night knew what they were doing. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No Washer, No Problem!

I'm goin' old school! Remember this episode of "I Love Lucy?" She wanted to soak up some local color while in Italy, and smashed grapes with her feet. I did NOT smash grapes with my feet, but I did a load of laundry in my bathtub, and I kept thinking of this scene. Maybe because I was tempted to agitate the clothes with my feet. Maybe next time. The reason I washed my clothes by hand in the tub is because my washer broke last week. Or was it the week before? Anyway, I was just at the laundromat on Tuesday, and didn't want to go back already. We don't have a lot of room in the trailer to let clothes pile up... it's the bane of my existence, I tell you. The whole clothes-storage-laundry-thing-in-the-trailer. By far the hardest part. We'll see how the clothes work out. They are on the line right now, ready to dry overnight. They certainly come out more wet- I can only ring out so much water by hand. Jessie was helping me. She actually did help do her own clothes. She loves playing in water, so this was right up her alley. While I was washing the clothes, I was kind of kneading them with my hands. Jessie decided that was momma's job, and instead she got behind me and kept slapping my bootie saying, "Go, Momma, go!"

I didn't mind the washing so much, as it's a pretty good workout. (Wow. I really do hate the laundromat!) However, I am curious how it's going to turn out, because I'm no machine. Am I going to put on my shirt and have it start to smell an hour later, even though it been "washed" AND I use deodorant? Not something you want to find out in public... or what if I didn't rinse the clothes well enough and they get all stiff? I guess I'll find out when they dry!

In other news, today at my grandma's, Ed found a snail. She told him to smash it with a rock, and he protested saying, "No! It's a cute wittle snail, and I want to take him home!" He was thrilled when the snail poked his head out... it took me five minutes to convince him to put the snail in the flower bed to he could "play with it next time we visit." While making our way to the car he stopped and said, "Wait, Mom! There's a cute wittle worm! I can take him home instead!" Earlier today while at Walmart he asked me if he could eat a fruit snack that he had found in the parking lot. At least he asked, so I could tell him no.

While Ed, Jessie, George, and I were walking to the kids bus stop this afternoon, we got buzzed by a bee. Apparently we got too close and she felt she had to attack. She got stuck in my pony tail. I was only kind of (really) freaking out, as I've never been stung, and Cherie got stung last week on her nose and her whole face was swollen. Having a bee that close to my head and face made me really nervous. I'd rather be stung on a finger or something. Anyway, I dropped the dog's leash, did a spastic dance, and started running. The bee then buzzed Ed, circling his head. THEN it went for George, who not happy about having a bee like that so close. All through the darting and screaming, Jessie just stood there and laughed. She thought is was SO FUNNY that the dog, Ed, and I all looked like we had ants in our pants. We took an alternate route through the bushes to get home.

Ryan and I have a few fundamental differences in our likes/dislikes. Ryan likes: TV, old country music, snow. I like: reading, pop music, the beach. In the car on the way to Oregon, we were listening to his iPod. We went through two albums (Corb Lund- that I like, and Dave Stamey- he's okay), and when he put the third on- Don Edwards... he lost me. I was about to fall asleep. We changed to my iPod, and the first song that came on was "Let's Get It Started" by The Black Eyed Peas. It's on a running mix I have. The contrast was astounding... and highly amusing.

The house is a comin' along! A little something everyday! Can't wait to see insulation and drywall... maybe next month! I'm doing all the tiling work in the house, so Michael, Dad, and Dany, watch out! I might be asking for advice, especially when it comes to tiling ceilings. I helped my dad tile our house when I was in fifth grade, and I remember watching a how-to video with him, and I remember most of the "how-to." To say I'm out of practice would be the understatement of the year. But, I'm looking forward to it.

I have a sewing project this week- and I'm a little nervous. I'm way rusty in the sewing department. It's an easy project (so it says...). I'm making Kacy a bolero, Simplicity Pattern 2432. It'll be really cute with her new blue dress she got while I was in Oregon. We'll see though. I have to make it before Sunday, or she will be majorly upset. It's only two pieces and lined... but the instructions are a little funky.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our Trip to Bend, Oregon

This last weekend Ryan and I (without chidren!) went to Oregon! Highlights:

  • being able to have an interruption free conversation whenever we wanted. We love our children, but the trailer makes for some real "closeness." A lot of time we didn't even talk, which was nice, too. I personally spent some quality time with the silence and beautiful scenery.
  • seeing the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. We took HWY 395 forever... saw Mt. Whitney and lots of very cool cowboy country.
  • Klamath Lake: the highway between Klamath Falls, OR and Bend had two sides- the lake and the mountain. And the highway was mostly level with the lake. It was kind of a creepy feeling for me.
  • Bend, Oregon: so clean. No graffiti, and everyone seemed nicely dressed. Not expensively dressed, just clean and happy.
  • The Fairgrounds in Redmond: again with the cleaness. It was an awesome set-up. At our fairgrounds, especially at fair time, it smells like urine, body odor, and you need to pack heat.
  • There were about 3,000 people at the clinic.
  • No doing dishes, even if I got tired of fast food.
  • Our hotel: we stayed at a place right next to the freeway: a Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriot. The room was a little small compared to others I've been in, but it was clean and they had a great free breakfast every morning.
  • Watching the clinic, and people watching. So many ladies throwing around some serious cash for horse stuff.
  • Clinton Anderson and Diez, the most well trained horse, EVER.
  • Greg's Grill in the Old Mill District in Bend. The food was awesome! Ryan had Prime Rib and a baked sweet potato he swore could have been dessert. I had salmon, lemon basmatti rice, and green beans. The prices were great, the atmosphere was awesome... we would go there again in a heartbeat.
  • Watched a movie at the movie theater! We watched "Date Night." It was hysterical.
  • We took I-5 and 99 home and again drove through some great places. Turns out that most of California looks similar... and I loved it all. It rained and snowed off and on, continually. So glad we were in Ryan's truck. The drive was around 12-13 hours... my Mazda would have killed us both.
  • This sign, found in Dorris, California:
  • "We Now Serve Good Food." Was the food bad before?
  • I got to shower EVERY DAY with endless HOT WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • This weird sloth-like creature somewhere in Oregon (so many trees! All you can see is trees. A little claustrophobic for my taste, as the trees are thick and the land is fairly flat. It would be so easy to get lost!)

Some of the weird stuff:

  • Ended up sitting behind a girl on the second day that was reading "Real Girl, Real World." It was a book about growing up, and from some of the pages I saw, I can honestly say that I cannot recommend it. Without embarrassing my father-in-law or a potential nephew that might read this, let's just say I laughed so hard I cried when I noticed the page she was one, and then watched as Ryan's eyes noticed it too... the look on his face went from that "I'm a really reading that title?" (with diagrams!) to quickly glancing away looking so embarrassed.
  • The hotel seemed to be full of quasi-intellectuals: people that thought they were really smart. They had a comment for everything, and were fairly condescending in the way they spoke to each other. It was almost as if they were competing to see who could be the wittiest or use the biggest word. Just concentrate on your granola, already!
  • The first night in the hotel smelled very strongly of pot. Ryan told the front desk, and the smell went away in a few hours... and never came back. It made me a little nervous to stay there initially, even if the place was nice. It all worked out in the end,and ended up being a great place to stay.

All in all, it was a great (GREAT) trip, and I would do it again. I would recommend Bend, Oregon as a pretty, clean, and cool place to live. Go to Greg's Grill, if you are ever there. Take a scenic route, even if it takes a little longer than normal. Talk to your spouse without interruption. Don't wipe anyone's hiney for four days... it feels great! And, it makes you realize that a little break from the regular routine makes that regular routine more bearable. Especially when you live in a trailer.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Our Tenth Anniversary

Today is our ten year anniversary. Is this the cotton year? Or, is it the paper year? I've never understood that tradition of giving a certain thing for an anniversary. I'd understand it better if it was "new bath towels" year, or even better: "new flooring through out the house" year.

Ryan and I dated for-ev-ur. We met at the Institute building near Bakersfield College. (Think Bible-study classes for church.) One Wednesday night during a lecture/lesson, there was a question asked, and I remember him answering it. Although, I didn't know it was him, and I couldn't see who it was. I just thought that he was cool, and that I'd like to meet the guy. Not long later, I found a note with a paper rose stuck under the wiper of my 1995 purple Ford Escort. It was from a secret admirer. I was kind of freaked out, based on two boys who were interested in me at the time... I had gone to the movies with one guy, who later left me a note on my car saying that he loved me. Really? After a trip to the movies? NO THANK YOU! The other one was similar... I think he just thought I was cute. Any one who claims they love me after only a day obviously doesn't know me, and I run far, far away. So, this cute note freaked me out. Amanda C. (Ryan's cousin...Hi Amanda!) read the note and helped me calm down. She didn't tell me who it was, even though she knew, but looking back, she was reassuring. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also had suspicions that the note was from a girl. The writing wasn't a typical small-cramped boy writing, so I though someone was playing a joke. No, I wasn't paranoid! Much. A week went by, all the while Ryan starting to appear more and more, but saying NOTHING. Another note, and I still didn't know who it was. Went on a date with someone who said the note wasn't from him... it was kind of a big deal around the Institute that someone was leaving me notes. This boy said it wasn't him, but could we go out as friends, anyway? Friends? You bet. Turns out, he thought friends kissed... so ended that date with an unhappy boy and an uncomfortable me. Hello?!? Liar. Enough of those boys! I think that's why I hated dating: the boys I wanted to date never asked me out, and I was too chicken, and the most of the boys who did ask me out liked me too much, too fast.

Ryan was a perfect match. We hit it off really well. I think our first date was a trip to the movies... we saw some kid movie I can't remember the name of. We also played mud volleyball with the singles ward that same week. He was impressed that I was not afraid of jumping into the canal to rinse off. I was impressed he didn't think I was heinously ugly all covered in mud with my oh-so-lovely frizzy hair. After the mud volleyball we met at the bowling alley to eat with other people (I can't remember who all was there, I was focused on Ryan- hubba-hubba!) and the rest is history. We went on our first "date" in August of 1997. We married April 08, 2000.

Okay, a secret (or not) about our wedding: we both really didn't care about it. I mean, we cared about getting married, but the whole planning a big to-do was awful. In fact, both his mom and my mom said "You don't have a reception for you, you have it for the family." If it were up to me, I would have eloped to the temple and called it good. Once we were convinced we needed a reception, we had a party. We put up one of those big white tents, had lots and lots and lots of food, and socialized with our friends. We didn't do a couple's dance, or cut the cake... that is my nightmare is to have people look at me with focused attention.

Our wedding party- Cousin April, Cousin Jason, Ryan's sister Jocelyn, Cousin David, my brother Steven (kneeling), Amy, me, Ryan, Clay, cousin Caley (kneeling), my sister Karen, bro-in-law Michael, my sister Kendra, cousin Jeremy.

The boys all wore Dickies, suspenders, and black Vans. The girls all had white Vans. These photos were taken at Hart Park the day before our wedding, as part of our "compromise" with my mother. She insisted a photographer, so this is what we did. I'm glad we did it the day before because it made the next day less hectic, but it is a little weird to not be at the actual wedding. We have hundreds of informal shots somewhere in storage of the actual day... it turned out to be a nice mix of photos because we have these formal "See what we looked like when we got married?" pictures, and the "Hey, there's _______!" from the reception.

The last ten years have included:

  • Living in Coalinga, Ca (15 months), Bakersfield (4 years), a campground which shall remain nameless as I try to block the memories (14 months), and where we are now (3.5 years... does that add up to 10 years?)
  • Of those ten years, four and half have been in a trailer...
  • Four kids!
  • I got a teaching credential and taught school for three years before answering to "mom." Ryan has been in three different areas with the CHP.
  • I've changed approx. 10,000 diapers. Maybe. Ryan has changed 4. Maybe.
  • We were talking the other day and we both agree we look forward to seeing what the next ten years brings... seeing the kids get a little older and wondering how they'll turn out, the house should be done (insert laugh here- it'll be done this summer/fall for sure!), and seeing if all our plans and schemes pan out. I'm afraid the next ten years will be really busy, but it'll be great!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ham Radio Alert! I'm Turning into a Hammie!

I'm not sure if "Hammie" is a real word. Please note I used the more feminine spelling, ending with "ie" rather than "y." I'm not sure why I did that. But it works for me! I've gotten over my fear of talking on the radio. The first week I had my radio, I would get heart palpitations and chicken out when I thought I might use it. I used it the first time in Bako, where I knew someone to try and talk to. It's weird, the Ham radio thing. Because when you are used to voicemail/answering machines, or busy signals, or just plain old ringing... it's odd that you just call out into space, and people are listening. Sometimes. Most of the time. But if the person you are calling isn't listening, you don't get a response. Well, sometimes you do, but not from the person you were thinking. Hams can be very good at small talk. With a Ham radio, you can't leave a message. It's a new world of communication for me. I remember the pre-internet days really well, pre-cell phone, etc. I'm 32, and my parents weren't really into gadgets that much. (Atari and Nintendo excepting.) This Ham radio business has been around a long time.

Today I heard our Bishop calling Ryan. (Calling someone sounds like this: "Your call sign first, my call sign second"... wait, wait, wait. So if you call me, you would say KJ6FIU, then your sign.) I happen to know that Ryan is working and probably didn't have his radio... so I answered for him. B was traveling, I think... he's a truck driver. I was at our somewhat local pizza place, eating outside. (Our somewhat local pizza place is also next to our somewhat local laundomat... my washer kicked the bucket mid wash-cycle today. FUN!!!!!) After I got done talking to him, a somewhat local ham radio celebrity called me! Because Ham's are almost always listening. I talked to him for a minute. Then, later I checked in with the local "net." Think Facebook for Hams. Like, one moderator is in control, does roll call, QST's (I have NO IDEA what those are, except I've heard local weather updates and weekend happenings...) and then up here there is time for discussions of random thoughts. Like everything else in my technological life, we don't get "it" at my house. No high-speed internet, no free TV, no cell phone service, and very little-very staticky radio. We have little hand-held radios that work really well in town and in the big Bako, but not where we live. So, we are looking into a stronger mobile unit and/or base station. The whole reason I got my license is because Ryan made me. Not really. But he told me how great it would be to be able to be in the mountains around our house and call home to check in. That had me sold. Our kids will be able to live like in the good old days and go out exploring all by themselves, but only so long as they have passed the Ham radio test so they can be contacted. Plus, Ham radios are good in emergencies, and since Ryan is in a civil service type occupation, if there is ever a true community or state emergency, I'm on my own. I'd like to know what's going on in the world.

KJ6FIU clear.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Today I Shopped. And I Smiled!

After last Thursday's "Day of Fun" with the kids, I called my mom and cried, "Mom! I need some alone time!!!!" Today I got my brows waxed, so I no longer look like a hairy man-ape. I opted not to get a pedicure, and do that myself at home. It's NOT the same, but I decided the money would be better spent elsewhere. LIKE ON SOME CLOTHES! Woo-hoo! I found some men's shorts for wearing around the house (they'll be my everyday shorts... EVERY-DAY!) and also some dressier shorts. I think of clothes in terms of work clothes, workout clothes, clothes that will be stained with snot, and "baby shower clothes." There are some occaisions when I don't want to wear "church clothes," but need to look kind of nice. Now, I realize there are loads of gals who wear nice clothes anytime they are in public. I'm just not one. I wish I were, because I tend to run into people I don't see often when I look, well, not-so-dressed. Anyway, I know own a pair of cute shorts good enough for almost any occaision. I had fun shopping (this is like a miracle. A Kodak moment, if you will). I looked at shoes, too. I found an okay pair for spring and summer dressing up, and found my favorite brand of running shoe, but didn't have the extra cash for a pair of running shoes I can wait on for another month. I'm still waiting for the weather and mornings to line up better so I can wake up early and run every now and then. Right now it's still pitch black at 5:45am, and this morning it was 25*. Too dark and too cold. But, I'm gearing up. I need some fitness in my life so I can control this upward spiral of flabiness. Besides looking good, I want to be able to keep up with my kids. They run fast!

Monday, April 5, 2010

That I Even Have Thoughts About "High School Musical..."

Kacy saw a commercial for "High School Musical", version 1, 2, AND 3. She really wanted to watch them. I had seen the first two (I suppose that's what you get when you work with the pre-teen and teen girls in church) and they aren't too bad, all things considering. The third one? Ugh. Will, who is now bugging Kacy by singing "High School Musical" over and over, and striking Troy Bolton poses, had the following to say:

Me: "Oh no. They aren't going to sing AGAIN, are they?" Muttered to myself. Seriously, the teen angst and constant ballads were a bit much for me.

Will: "Uh, Mom? That's why they call it a 'musical.'"

He's right. But this musical was more like a music video with some talking. And the whole "adults playing high school kids" kept running through my head. Kacy loved it, but I guess I'm just too old. An old fuddy-duddy, if you will. But, since Kacy likes a little love story with music, I'm going to introduce her to the "Sound of Music," my favorite. "Annie" is a good one, too. That'll have to wait until the house is done, so that our TV will be in a separate room. That way we can kick the boys out. As funny as they are making fun of "High School Musical," it's a bit much for my nerves to have a movie going, Kacy yelling at the boys to be quiet and sit down, and the boys being... well, being boys making fun of their sister and her choice of movies.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Trip To CaLM (and the mall, and the store...)

Now that it's not Thursday, I can comfortably say the day was fun for the kids. We went to the California Living Museum, the Mall, Rite-Aid for Easter Egg supplies, and then to the grocery store. I never cried! It was a success! Mostly.

My sister Kendra and I met at opening time. The museum was running their Spring Fling special- kids admitted free with a paying adult. So, for $14.00, all 11 of us were in. We were the only ones there for the first hour. It was great. In the above picture, you can see Ed wearing a blue on blue striped sweater, running out of the picture on the right. He kept going, and I had to use my "emergency" voice. My emergency voice is the one that sounds like "if what you are doing doesn't kill you, I might." If you to only hear it, that's what you would think. If you were to look and see what was going on at the time, you would see my little Edsel running in front of a moving car, or as was the case in this instance, running to the edge of the cliff so he could "see the ribber." Thus started the "Stay on the path" reminders.

These boys will be the death of me. I don't know how Jocelyn, Melissa, or Cori do it- those three all have four boys, and bucket loads more patience than I do. This shot was right before they started to crouch down with their arms out, looking like they were going to jump the fence. No joke. Ed went first, and when I yelled across the way for him not to jump, I got the "But I just want to see them closer!" reply. I tell him to get down, which he does (Yay, Ed!), when Will scoots to the edge and tries the SAME THING. Really? Besides hearing me just tell the other one not to do it, do you really have the desire to jump over the fence sail down into the pelican and duck pond?

Okay, this is just gross. In the reptile house they have the "Al Robbins" wall, with a timeline of great reptilian feats by said Mr. Robbins. This jar just grosses me out. I've never been one much for biology, so preserving this basilisk lizard in a jar? Eeew. The kids loved it though, and I was fascinated, too.

The ramp and tunnel that went around the tortoise enclosure was way more fun than the actual tortoise and road runners. Kendra stayed at one end of the tunnel, while I was stationed at the other. We both have similar attitudes in parenting, although she is more calm than I am. We let the kids run through the tunnel a couple of times, thinking the novelty of the thing would wear off. It didn't.

If you look real closely at the glove, just under this turkey vulture, you can see where it threw-up when the kids exited the ramp/tunnel for the last time. You could say it scared the crap out of the bird... but that a little vulgar and technically incorrect. They scared the bird and it vomited. Of course that was fascinating in and of itself. Will had problems with the smell of it. He learned that day that decaying meat spewed from the innards of a "decomposer" (go Benjamin for remembering that one!) actually stinks.

We took the kids on the little train ride they had, which made their day. We also went into the indoor education center, which I had never been in before. They had a craft, and both hands-on and hands-off displays. I learned that there is a fault line right by my house. I had no idea.

After the museum, the kids and I went to the mall. The boys needed shoes, and I needed their feet to try on the shoes. I usually buy the shoes too big, thinking they'll get a lot of use out of them, but they end up wearing out before they grow out of them. They aren't cheap shoes; the boys are just really hard on their shoes. I tried to make it as sane as possible. We got the shoes first, in case we had to abort the mission. At least we'd have the footwear. We then ventured to Bath and Body Works for some more hand soap. I find my kids wash their hands more with a foamy, smelly soap than regular soap. Next it was the food court, where I spent way too much money on food that wasn't really eaten. Except for Kacy, who was a cheap date AND ate all of her food. As we made our way back through the mall, we stopped at See's candy for a free sample of chocolate and some Easter eggs. This was where both Ed and Jessie left the store while I was paying near the exit. She went one way, and Ed went the other. I sent my minions to go after them: Kacy went to get Ed, and Will ran towards Jessie (who started running away...). I saw what needed to be done, but since I couldn't tie up my children (lack of rope), I went to help Will. I got Jessie, and was relieved to see Kacy holding Ed's hand and just standing there. We manage to make it out of the mall with the kids thinking it was the coolest thing EVER, and me surprised I didn't need to call security.

Next up? Rite Aid. A small store with Easter supplies in the front. In, out, and with no anxiety attacks, lost children, or broken objects that I hadn't planned on buying.

Last stop of the "I can't believe I'm doing this" day... Winco. That was a mistake. We went in the afternoon. Mistake one. I had the whole crew. Mistake two. You know, the kids themselves were not bad. Ed had some problems with walking backwards the whole time, and Will and Jessie kept picking at each other, but nothing bad. The bad thing is this: as a group of five (one of us walking backwards), we take up a lot of room. I absolutely hate when my children make other people move out of the way because my kids are walking backwards or looking up at the ceiling instead of where they are going. I don't want to be an inconvenience to anyone, and I really don't want to have to keep apologizing to everyone in the isle. I won't do it again. I noticed that NO ONE in the ENTIRE store had four kids with them. I saw one family with three kids, but the oldest was pushing the cart, with the youngest in it. The trip may not have been THAT BAD, but after the zoo and the mall, it was all I could do not to just quit. At one point I was pondering whom I should ask for a recommendation to a psychiatrist because I'm pretty sure I was losing it. (Like on Sunday when I couldn't find my shoe... same thing.)

Ah, well. All's well that ends well, no? And we all made it home (with groceries!) and the kids had a good time, and that's what counts, right? RIGHT?

And, Ryan and I are leaving the state for our tenth anniversary. Keeping that in mind helped me whenever I had the thought "I need a vacation!" I get one! We are going on a trip to Oregon. I can't wait to drive up the east side of California. I'm bringing my camera!

We dyed some eggs today... all we need to do is add the stickers, and the kids will call this the best day ever! After the trip to the museum and the mall, of course. This is Jessie "not touching" the eggs while they dry in the bathroom area. I probably don't need to say that the whole process would have been easier with a kitchen and/or table on which to work...

Some highlights of my week:

I found Jessie's shirt and was putting it back on her after the three youngest kids had a shirtless steel cage death match while I hung laundry on the line. I was feeling pretty unappreciated, but when I started putting it on her, she looked up at me and said, "Thanks, momma. Help me. Thanks." I almost cried. It made my morning. She also still loves to give me snot kisses, which I find both adorable and gross at the same time.

We have a lot of cattle around these parts, and it's calf season. We drove past a herd and I mentioned that "I love cows! Especially the calves! They are so cute!" Ed retorts, "Ya, they are. I just want to hug them, and squeeze them, and give them big cow kisses!" I immediately had a flashback to a cartoon I used to watch ("Animaniacs?") with Elmira (I think) who scared all living animals with a phrase very similar phrase.

Kacy and Will had a true childhood moment in the car today playing the "Name Game." They rhymed "heart." And then giggled hysterically when it got to a certain word. I pretended I couldn't hear them, which is really easy to do, as they think I can't hear them in the car to begin with. I decided not to interfere for fear of making the word even more scandalous to say if it is banned.

Still Blogging

I am still blogging! Replace my old blog with my new on your sidebar (if you want to, of course) by adding in

for updates, just like the old blog.

I mentioned something about a giveaway a while back, and I want to do one. My problem is deciding what to "giveaway." And then there is that whole "I'm doing a giveaway, leave a comment to enter" and no one enters... leaving my blogging self esteem in the trashcan.
After I pay my bills and property taxes today (oh, for joy! yipee!!!) I will be updating the ol' blog. But for now, my accountant/financial planner hat is on, and my wallet overfloweth for at least ten more minutes until I dole out our cash to pay for things like Cherrios and electricity. Truly grateful for the opportunity, no doubt. Grateful for steady employment and *mostly* wise financial decisions. But still.