December 13, 2009
December 6, 2009
Now, however, reality has smacked me upside the head. Evan's 17 and only has 1 1/2 years more of school, and Braden 2. Evan has his driver's license and his first real job. Braden is eligible for his learner's permit now. And both boys are talking about joining the military, which scares me to death, even though Josh is already in (which also worries me to death). Savannah is in 5th grade, which around here means that she is in her last year of elementary school. She's starting to go through the first of many changes. Some days, she even has the start of that 'tween attitude, which I'm pretty sure I am NOT ready for. :)
Yesterday, the boys splurged and went to Salt Lake for a Utah Jazz basketball game. Savannah and I decided it was only fair to do something too, so we went to dinner at a new Chinese restaurant in Hyrum (which was very good, by the way!) and then to a Christmas play put on by the Pickleville Playhouse, which was hysterical. We haven't had a good "mommy-daughter" date for a while, so we both really enjoyed the evening. I had recently read on another blog about a book for 8-13 year old girls entitled "The Care and Keeping of You." It's a very informative, illustrated book that teaches girls pretty much everything they may need to know about going through puberty. Savannah acted horrified and embarassed that I would get her such a thing, but on the car ride home last night she read it by the light of her cell phone, read it at home until she fell asleep with it, and then resumed reading it first thing this morning until she had completed it. Methinks the lady dost protest too much! :)
I've been feeling badly that I don't ever get to spend any quality time with the boys anymore. Tonight, Evan had his girlfriend over and needed to run her home at the end of the evening. It had been snowing here all day, so I offered to drive them since he hasn't really had the joy of driving in the snow much. My worried-mama mind conjured up all sorts of images of him sliding off into the canal that lines the long winding road, or having deer jump in front of him and smashing into a telephone pole, although Tom made it be known that he thought I was being a helicopter parent - hovering a little too close. I think Evan was a little relieved, so we jumped in the Blazer he's been driving, and off we went, with me playing chauffeur.
He wanted to drive on the way back, and I figured it would be good for him (though bad for me - I'm a nervous passenger on the nicest of days!). We switched places and headed back home. We had just gotten a little ways down the afore-mentioned long winding road with the wicked canal drop-off when the Blazer sputtered and died. His phone was dead, but luckily mine was not (at least not yet!). Turns out that when this particular vehicle says there's 1/4 of a tank, it lies. We called Tom's cell, which of course he didn't answer. Finally Braden answered his, got Tom out of bed, and they came to rescue us. In the meantime, Evan and I sat frozen on the side of the road - and Dang was it cold! We began making bets about which cars would stop to offer us help and which wouldn't... It's nice to know that we live in a place where people do still do that kind of thing. We were particularly tickled by a car that slowed down like it was going to pull up next to the driver's side window, but right as Evan went to open the door to tell them we had help on the way, they sped off. Guess they didn't like the looks of him! We had a pretty good laugh at that one.
Anyway, I guess I got the "quality time" with Evan that I'd been hoping for. And we're lucky we broke down when we did because my cell phone battery went completely dead too, right before the cavalry showed up with the gas can. :)
November 12, 2009
Sunday it was still so high, and she was so sick, I decided to run her to the instacare where she was immediately diagnosed with everyone's favorite flu. The one that I had her signed up to be vaccinated against if the CDC could ever get it together enough to get enough vaccines out there. Anyway, I digress... The doctor prescribed her some tamiflu, so we were off on our merry way. Now most people don't have nausea and vomiting with swine flu, but because she's my daughter, she did. Good times! Luckily that part only lasted the one night.
So I've been home taking care of her all week, which really hasn't been the most horrible way to spend the week, until yesterday, when I came down with the now-familiar symptoms :(
Since I have no energy to do anything but think, I've been thinking how much nicer it is to deal with kids when they are sick than when they are, oh - let's say 17-and 15-year old boys. Sick kids are warm and cuddly, perfect for snuggling up to on snowy days like today. 15 and 17 year old boys are not, even when they ARE sick.
Sick kids are quiet and polite, and argue with you over nothing. Teenagers are the exact opposite (especially that arguing over nothing thing!). Sick kids are grateful for all you do for them, even if it's just covering their feet with a blanket or giving them a drink of water. Sick kids don't want anything other than chicken noodle soup for any given meal. Teenagers want anything BUT chicken noodle soup, and after you cook some gourmet dinner, they will declare it gross because it has either onions or tomatoes in it. Sick kids understand how you're feeling and the fact that any noise higher than a whisper can make your head pound. Teenagers do not know any volume less than 500-decibels.
Savannah is recovering to the point now that she's helping to take care of me, and we can snuggle together on the couch and watch mindless hours of daytime tv (which, by the way, generally sucks) as our little inner furnaces blast away. It's not quite the way I foresaw spending a week of my life, but it could be worse.
October 24, 2009
Last week I was going to do another "poor, pitiful me" post about how I've been sick (just a sinus infection as it turns out, not the dreaded swine flu), about how tired I am, how busy work's been, how much I really HATE shopping at Walmart, and the ordeal of dealing with their pharmacy, waahhh, waahhh, waahhh... I started to write it all up Tuesday night, but fortunately for all of you, I couldn't muster the energy to even sit down at the computer.
Then Wednesday afternoon, my hubby called me at work, which he NEVER does during the day. My guard immediately came up, because I knew whatever it was, it couldn't be good.
Me: "Hi...? What's going on?"
Him (very upset): "I just burned a car up."
So, long story short, he was out test-driving a car he was working on, when all of a sudden he heard a small "whooshing" sound and saw a little smoke from under the hood. He pulled over to investigate and went to open the hood. As soon as he pulled the latch under the hood, he heard a gigantic "WHOOSH" and jumped back as flames shot out.
He has a nasty habit of not taking his cell phone with him, because when he's working on cars it just gets in the way, so he had no way to call anyone for help. It was on a fairly busy road, but nobody would stop to help for the longest time. Finally a policeman stopped, but he didn't have an extinguisher with him but at least put in a call for the fire department. In the meantime, a passing motorist who had a small extinguisher stopped, but by that time it was too out-0f-control, and so didn't do anything other than empty his tank.
Poor Tom had to call the person whose car he was working on (who's also a friend) to let him know what had happened. Because they're friends, they tend to give each other a lot of "crap," as guys often do. So Tom's telling him what happened, and the friend thinks he's joking. As he gives more and more details, his friend finally says "This isn't funny..."
Anyway, the car is a total loss, and my poor husband had the mother of bad days. On the other hand, at least it won't be making that funny noise any more.
For more pictures of the actual fire, see the following fire department blog: http://bcfdhotspot.blogspot.com/2009/10/car-fire-hwy-89.html
October 10, 2009
Braden has been on a kick here lately wherein he tries to push my buttons by "acting" like a sexist pig. If I didn't know what a good-hearted kid he really is, it would probably be enough to make me run him over with my car.
A typical conversation with him goes a little something like this:
ME: Braden, I need you to...
BRADEN: Don't talk to me, WOMAN.
ME: Braden! Hush up and...
BRADEN: Are you still talking?!
Or he'll ask me if I want to hear a funny joke.
BRADEN: Why'd the woman cross the road?
ME: Why? (Even though I should know better than to encourage him)
BRADEN: What's she doing out of the kitchen?!
He has at least a dozen of those.
Anyway, earlier today, we were going through the typical routine, and I told him that I was going to thump on him if he didn't knock it off.
He responded that I couldn't do it, even with his broken leg.
So I pulled out the big guns, invoking my mother's name:
ME: Would you say that to Grandma Kathy?
BRADEN (in a totally serious manner): Mom, I'm a smart-aleck; not stupid!!
At least he's learned where to draw the line :)
September 18, 2009
One thing I have been able to do, however, is get myself up earlier so that I am not in such a mad dash to get to work on time. This year I have also been getting Savannah up earlier so that she can get herself ready in time to catch the school bus, something she rarely did last year as Tom usually gave her a ride on his way to work. While this was something she loved, it was not always convenient for him, so we made the decision that this year she'd be back on the bus. Because she's getting up so much earlier, she has time to kill before she heads out of the house, so she usually spends her time playing WebKinz or Facebook on the computer.
A couple of weeks ago, Tom relayed a conversation the two of them shared.
He had done his usual stagger out of bed to get ready for work. As he was heading off to the shower, he noticed Savannah playing some little game on the computer. As soon as she saw him she got a very serious look on her face and said:
"It would be a GREAT help to me if you could find my other shoe..."
Well, hello Princess, but don't you think you should shut down the games and find your own *#$& shoe?!!!
I see the teenage years looming, and it's not a pretty sight!
Needless to say, he declined to help and she ended up wearing her too-tight pair from last year. And me? I found them not 5-feet away when I got home from work.
September 12, 2009
August 23, 2009
I have vowed that this year is going to be different than all the previous years - namely, that THIS year will be the one where things run smoothly. You know: kids' chores will be done by the time I get home from work so that I can get dinner going sometime before midnight, homework will be done sooner rather than the now-familiar panic attack that usually hits around 11:15 P.M., kids will be IN bed by 9:30 (okay, 10:00 at the latest), and evening school events will not send the entire schedule into Titanic mode for two weeks after the event.
"Organization is key!" I said in my self-induced, euphorically organized dream-state. In preparation for this totally-awesome year that I'm so sure that we're going to have, I bought one of those large dry-erase boards that stick to your refrigerator. I bought the four-pack of colored markers with dreams of color-coding for each child, a neatly gridded day-by-day calendar smartly charted out for each one with chores, homework, and events right at hand. I'll never double-book or **cough cough ** forget a child for hours on end (see here) again.
Anyway, I bought the beautiful white board and colored markers, attached it to the fridge, drew my first week's worth of boxes for each child and went to bed, happy in the knowledge that I was WELL on my way to the goal. School was a few weeks away at that point, so I'd have plenty of time to iron out the wrinkles and get my "system" all worked out.
The next day, after coming home from work, I glanced lovingly at the board on my way in from work. Only now there were no longer clearly-defined boxes, but boxes with smudged lines. "Someone" had taken their finger and systematically erased small portions of each and every box, so now it looked more like a line of ants marching around each day.
"Oh well," I thought to myself. "I can deal with that."
The next day I came home to find new changes. This time the lines were back in totality, except now there were little men drawn on, some climbing staircases into the box above, poking their heads into their siblings box to see what was going on, some shooting bullets at their chore listing. I really wish I'd gotten a picture before it was erased, because it really was quite the work of art, in an ultra-modern, ADHDish sort-of way.
Day 3 brought a total erasing of all my carefully drawn quadrants and was replaced with a full-color rendition of the Utah Jazz basketball logo. While beautifully done, it really wasn't quite what I had in mind when I purchased the board.
Last Thursday school finally started, so I was excited to put it to actual use. I drew a big star around the date and gleefuly proclaimed"1st day of school!" That evening, I came home to see something now written on Friday in small letters: "Braden drops out of school."
Tonight, as I waited for dinner to cook, I readied myself to redo the calendar for the coming week. Only someone had beaten me to it, and there was already something scheduled for Monday. I knew this calendar would catch on! However, upon closer look, I found the following message:
"Braden unwillingly gets forced back into school. Ha-Ha."
It may not be entirely fulfilling the purpose to which I had hoped, but it has been quite the entertainment, and at least he's getting some creative writing practice in!
P.S. Savannah didn't finish the kitchen until after 7:00 p.m. tonight, and dinner wasn't served until 9:45 p.m. Insert deep sigh... The year's still young, right?
Aug. 23, 2009
August 14, 2009
25 random things about me...Share Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.
Drum roll, please:
1. All of my favorite restaurants end up going out of business. Not quite sure why.
2. I have worked at Utah State for almost 10 years, the longest I have ever worked anywhere.
3. My favorite job was working as an administrative assistant at a mental health clinic. Interesting doesn’t even begin to describe it! Some days I feel like I still work there ;-)
4. I’m a frustrated wanna-be English teacher: I earn extra money by editing theses and dissertations in my “spare” time. I love my red pen! And yes, I know I’m a nerd.
5. My first “real” job was recovering piano keys, a skill I was taught by my grandpa, a piano tuner. Each job took countless hours and covered my hands with blisters, but boy did they look pretty when they were done! Sadly, I probably only earned the equivalent of $1.50 an hour for my labors.
6. I got married one year after high school and later divorced after 4 years and 2 boys.
7. My husband and I got engaged on our first “real” date and both of us later admitted that we asked ourselves “what did I just say?” immediately after. We have been married 14 years this July and still going strong, although we do have our ups and downs like any couple.
8. We have 5 kids between us: His 2 boys, my 2 boys, and FINALLY a girl together. She’s now 10 and totally has him wrapped around her finger.
9. I love road trips, either alone or with my husband. No kids allowed at this point! I lovingly refer to them as the “fun-suckers,” at least when we’re in the car. They call me "Momster." We're a loving family, but a bigger bunch of smart-alecks you've never seen!
10. I’m a sucker for historical sites and drive my hubby nuts because I want to stop at every one. Over the years he’s finally gotten to like them too, but he still won’t stop for all of them.
11. Another favorite thing to do is attend estate auctions. A few years ago I got a collectable music box for $25 that I later found for sale on the internet for $750. AND I haven't sold it because I really love it.
12. In the last 3 years I have been close to death twice.
13. I am the world’s most patient mother. I must be, because my mom would NEVER have put up with the “stuff” my 16-year old dishes out!
14. I collect rocks, Christmas villages, and salt and pepper shakers.
15. I am a sophomore in college (almost a junior!) but I only take 1-2 classes a year, so I will probably be 50 by the time I finally graduate.
16. I figure time is passing by whether I take the classes or not, so I might as well get ahead while I can.
17. I took hunter’s education last year for the first time in my life, AND I did better on the target shooting than either of my boys’ when they took it! But I won’t go hunting because I know I’d cry if I ever shot and killed anything.
18. My aunt and I went on a vacation to Mexico City when I was 16 where I got my tennis shoes polished, drank Pepsi out of a sandwich baggie, and was almost bitten by a donkey near the Aztec pyramids. My mom cried as she watched us board the plane.
19. After 5 years of having very short hair, I am trying to grow it out long again. Each day I have to give myself a pep talk to not make an appointment, THAT DAY, to get it cut short again so that I won’t continue to look like I’m homeless.
20. I must have a boring life, because I’m finding it extremely hard to come up with 25 facts.
21. I went snow-skiing for the very first time this last year, even though I’ve lived in Utah for the last 22 years. And I'd sworn I would never try it.
22. I love to read, anything from non-fiction, adventure, romance, history, etc. Pretty much anything but horror.
23. I believe that the power of forgiveness is both one of my best and worst traits.
24. The Oregon Coast is my favorite place on earth, followed closely by Glacier National Park.
25. After only ever having white walls in any of my houses, this last year I’ve gone crazy and painted *gasp* color in almost every room. And I have plans for the others…
Pretty darned exciting, aren't I? And it's a Friday night and this is what I am doing for fun. Watch out world - you've got a wild one on hand!
August 14, 2009
August 13, 2009
August 4, 2009
Two weeks ago at work my cell phone rang. I could see it was Savannah's phone, and I said "hello...hello...hello..." but there was never any answer. Then, finally, a click. Then she called on my work line.
Me: "hello... hello...hello?"
I tried calling her, she tried calling me, and then FINALLY, when I'd about given up all hope, she emailed me on my work email.
"Mom, I can hear you but nobody can hear me." Luckily we had just gotten Tom a new phone, so we had his old one as a spare. I walked her through the SIM-card transfer over email and pretty soon she called me. Voila!
So what was wrong with her phone, you may be asking yourself?!
She had dropped it in the toilet. Let me just tell you, in case you were wondering, that never does any electronic gadget any good...
Fast forward two weeks to today. See me, sitting behind my desk at work. Hear the cell phone ring. Hear Savannah gaily telling me about her day.
Savannah: "Hi mom! Guess where I am?!!"
Me: "Uh... home?"
Savannah: "I'm calling from in the swimming pool!" as if that were the coolest thing in the world.
So we then had to revisit toilet-gate and the fact that maybe, just maybe, taking the phone IN the pool probably wasn't the greatest idea...
If anyone has any old T-mobile phones, please save them for me. I have the feeling I'll be needing them...
August 4, 2009
July 27, 2009
July 24, 2009
July 7, 2009
Several months ago, one of the soccer moms on Savannah's team asked if I would be interested in having Savannah join 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands, & Health) over the summer.
"Sure!" said I, not realizing what lay ahead.
I figured that it would be a fun thing for her to do and would give her something to look forward to over the long, boooorrrrrrrring summer ahead (at least that's what she always tells me it is). J explained that it would be a fairly low-key thing with only about 6 girls total in the group. All the moms would take a week to teach some sort of "crafty" or "homey" skill, spending 1-2 hours. Sounds fantastic and easy, doesn't it? Do not be deceived!
Shortly after, I attended her home for the planning meeting and signed up for a date far, Far, FAR in the future: July 7th. I very carefully wrote the date in a very reliable spot: the back of the envelope on a bill that I had shoved in my purse sometime in the last 5 years. Heaven knows I would NEVER throw that away! As is my wont, I came home and immediately forgot to write it down anywhere I would actually see it again this side of the grave.
Savannah, not having lost all her marbles yet as I have lost mine (oh, but fear not, little girl! You are my daughter and your day will come, much as I didn't think I'd follow after my mom!), asked me on Saturday (yes, just this past Saturday, with that really busy holiday-thingy thrown in): "Mommy, what are you going to teach my 4-H group on Tuesday?"
Me (with just a touch of hysteria): "THIS Tuesday? Are you sure it's THIS TUESDAY?"
Savannah cheerily affirmed the date and time for me, silently making a note to herself to check into the old folks' home availability as mom forgot, again, something so easily remembered.
I called J to make sure, and sadly found that this was true. I spent hours of my life over the holiday weekend perusing the craft stores in town to figure out what to "teach," because, guess what?! I really have no craft or home-making skills! At least none that wouldn't instantly put the girls to sleep...
I finally decided that something in plastic canvas would be simple and so purchased oodles of yarn, needles, canvas, several pattern books: one for "simple to make" bookmarks (yeah! At least I could get one of my loves in there for them - who doesn't need a new bookmarker?) and another for different "butterfly" patterns: grocery bag holders, tissue box covers, toasters, etc.
After coming home, I perused both books from cover to cover and decided on a nice, simple "daisy" bookmarker. Of course, I needed to do a test run, so I proceeded to spend an hour cutting the stupid canvas to match the pattern, only screwing up 2 times before I got it right. I then grabbed Savannah for her first "lesson." Three minutes in, her eyes glazed over and she slipped out of sight as soon as my head was turned. Ah well... I'll just go this one alone and see how long it takes me. I'll add another 30 minutes on top of my time, and we'll be good to go!
5 hours later, I added the finishing touches to my beautiful new bookmark, which, by the way, is much too fat to actually keep in a book without doing permanent damage to the spine. But I made it! So, scratch the book marks... Back to the pattern books: too tough for them, too tough for them, too tough for me... Then I found it: Butterfly magnets for the fridge! They were 10-year-old girl cute, could be done in any combination of colors, and better yet, were extremely small in comparison to the bookmarks - only two 1.5 x 1 inch wings wrapped together with a little pipe cleaner antennae to top it off. Quick, easy, and adorable!
Anyway, today I took off work several hours to do my "relaxing" afternoon with the girls. One of the girls couldn't make it, so there were only four others plus Savannah. Easy-Peazy...
I won't go into all the gory details, but 4 HOURS later, I finished up with the last of the butterflies, gathered up the giggling, gabbing gaggle of girls and delivered them back to their homes.
Can I just say, I have never been so exhausted in my life?!!!! I can't wait to get back to work tomorrow to recuperate :) The saddest part is that next year, when Savannah wants to rejoin, I will probably have forgotten what a tiring experience it was and will subject myself to it all over again.
July 3, 2009
July 3, 2009
Several months ago, I wrote a post about how my dear hubby had not sent me flowers in 13 long years. Wednesday, we celebrated our 14th Anniversary, and for the occasion -- Ta-Da! -- he sent me flowers! Real LIVE ones, in a vase, delivered to me at work by a real florist and everything!! Who wouldn't keep this man? :-)
I didn't notice until after I had taken this photo that I also captured our "wedding" picture that I created a while back: it looks like we sacrificed a tree by carving our initials in it, but in reality, I just photo-shopped it to make it look that way. (Okay, end of shameless self-promotion there).
It is so hard to believe that it has been 14 years already, and in other ways it seems like it has to have been more, as is true, I'm sure, for almost every married couple out there. In honor of the occasion, I thought I'd tell our "story."
I was a recently divorced mom of a toddler and an infant when I decided that I'd better get my life back on track because I wasn't doing so hot controlling it on my own. Every day on my way to work I drove past the cutest little storefront church which always felt like it was calling to me. After about a month, I finally broke down and gave it a try. A few weeks after that I had bopped in to the Pastor's office to ask him about something, when he introduced me to this cute guy and my heart immediately did that funny little pitter-pat, which I did not want it to do. For weeks after that, I would eyeball him as he sat across the room during the church service but didn't ever try to talk to him. I had started dating someone else (yet another disastrous relationship) and was not looking for love any more, thank you very much. However, Braden, who was not even crawling yet, had other things in mind. It did not matter where I sat, or where Tom sat, but when I'd lay Bray down on his blanket to play with his toys, he would roll to wherever Tom was. Once again I tried to tell God that I had things under control, but thank heavens He had other plans!
I did what any reasonable girl would do: I quit going to church again. I'll show them! In the meantime, Tom had the same types of feelings when he saw me. After I quit attending church, he asked the Pastor where I worked. At the time, I was working for the "Big Nickel," a want-ads paper. One afternoon when I was working the front desk, guess who showed up to place an ad for his (what I now know was his beloved) snowmobile? I didn't learn until much later that he put it in for a ridiculously high price so that nobody would call him on it.
Long story short, I started attending church again, and we went on several lunch dates, most with the kids in tow. On our first "real" date, he asked me to marry him and I accepted. After he left that night, he immediately asked himself "where in the hell did that question pop out from?!" and I was in my apartment asking my ownself "what in the hell did I just do?!" :-)
Anyway, it's been a wild ride these past 14 years, but I can honestly say that I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else. We've recently had some "new beginnings" in our life, and I can't wait to see what the next 14, or better yet, 40, bring! Happy Anniversary my love...
Wow! Don't we look amazingly young? I didn't have ANY gray hair at that point, and Tom still had all of his. Makes you wonder how long after we got married before we started falling apart!
June 25, 2009
June 25, 2009
Well, we're back off the road from our first family vacation in two years visiting Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Last year Tom and I blew the vacation budget through the roof when we went back to N.C. to see Josh's S.F. graduation. Anyway, this trip with the kids was LONG overdue, and Josh and Jess were even able to join us, driving a few thousand miles from Tennessee for a little R&R before Josh heads off to Iraq next month.
True to form, it rained for the first 3 days that we were there and the mosquitoes were horrendous. Honestly, with our track record here lately, I was really surprised it didn't rain the entire time, but we did luck out and got two really beautiful days at the end.
This was Jess' first time to ever visit Yellowstone or Grand Teton, so that was fun for me to watch her reaction. I could happily spend every summer in Yellowstone and never get tired of seeing all the geysers, hot pots, etc., but the boys/men in my life hate it. "You've seen one hot pot, you've seen them all" is their motto, and it drives me crazy! Braden, as we were looking through the photos I downloaded earlier today, summed it up: "Oh, look. Hot water. And look there, there's more hot water, and more, blah blah blah..." We did the typical touristy thing and stopped to watch Old Faithful. The weather was extremely cold, so as soon as it did its thing we hopped back in the vehicles and were off to the next stops: the geyser basins and mud pots. We turned in to my favorite, but every last parking spot was taken, so we had to move on to the next. By this time the boys were already grumbling to head back to camp, so I knew I had to make valuable use of our time. We hit the next spot, but as soon as we (by which I mean Josh, Jess and myself as everyone else opted to wait in the Tahoe) got out, the skies opened up and started pelting us with hail. We speed-walked to the first mud pot, looked at it bubbling, and then ran back to the warmth of the cars. That was Day 1 in Yellowstone.
The next day we spent in Grand Teton N.P., where we spent the majority of our time at Jenny Lake, my favorite spot in the park. Again, there were no parking spots available at my favorite overlook, but we were able to park further down and still got some good photos. While wandering down at the boat dock, we spotted a mama moose and her calf, although we didn't get close enough to get a picture of the baby, and for that I was relieved! On past trips, Tom has had a nasty habit of thinking he was Marlin Perkins on the old Wild Kingdom show and has gone for extreme close-ups. Last time we were in the Tetons, we spotted a moose quite a ways off the road, and the kids and I got to listen to the other people who stopped to look talk about "that crazy idiot" with the camera trying to sneak up on it. None of us fessed up that he was our crazy idiot!
But I digress :) After the lake, Josh and Jess went to Jackson Hole to look around while the rest of us headed back to camp. We decided to drive to the top of Signal Mountain which gives a great view of Jackson Lake, the Tetons, and the valleys all around. It turned out to be one of my favorite stops of the whole trip, and we think we spotted a wolf through the binoculars, although it was a little too far away to be completely certain.
That night, we had a visitor at our campsite: a huge, hairy buffalo. I was in the camper cooking dinner (and taking a break from the teenagers in our midst, although that's another story! Shall we just say that it's not a pretty sight when a 16-year-old has no bars on his cell phone? Withdrawals are never a pretty sight!) when I heard a lot of shouts and screams, and then Jess came running in the trailer to grab the camcorder. I looked out the side window just in time to see the buffalo trotting past. If the window had been open, I could have reached through and petted the dang thing. I ran outside because I heard Tom yelling "Grab the dogs!" Our little 5-pounds when soaking wet Annie had suddenly turned into Guard Dog mode and was chasing the buffalo, which started bucking at the little furry thing at its heels. It was very scary, and she's probably more than a little lucky to be alive. The funny thing was that Josh and Jess had brought their dog, a muscly, hard-headed 6 month old black lab/pit bull mix, which Annie was terrified of. Every time Bull was around, she'd cower behind us, but bring in a 1000-pound buffalo and she's going to save the day. She's got guts, that's for sure! The next morning the word around the showers was that a bear had been spotted elsewhere in the camp that morning.
The final day the boys all went fishing while we girls headed back to Yellowstone. Savannah, Jess, and I spent a good 4 hours at the Old Faithful geyser basin. We tried making it up to "Observation Point" about a mile hike up a STEEP hill from O.F. to see it from a different vantage point, but we weren't quite quick enough to get there before it went off. We continued on anyway, and also got to see a little geyser named "Solitary," which was very cool. It only shoots up about 4-feet, but you can get pretty close to it, and it doesn't really give a warning before it goes off which pretty much gave all three of us heart failure for a moment! We lucked out on several other geysers that day also, arriving just in time to see the River Geyser, which only explodes ever 5-7 hours, go off, and the Grotto Geyser, which the sign said was "unpredictable" went off as we walked past it also. All in all it was a great, beautiful day, and we girls had a lot of fun! I think in the future I will just leave the boys all home and see Yellowstone without them. :)
That night, the boys brough home their catch: 6 fish. The most exciting part was that Evan had caught 3 of them, which was a first for him - he NEVER catches any when we go fishing. Tom and Josh were trying to figure out how to filet them (I'm not sure what kind they were, but they weren't trout - they were like a mountain white fish) when a couple walking past stopped to see what they'd caught. It turned out that he was a French chef from Colorado, so he ran back to his camp spot and grabbed his knives and came back to filet them for us. It was definitely like watching an artist at work, and he had the most fabulous French accent too, which made him fun to listen to.
Well, there you have it: Vacation, Jones' style! It was hard to come home, but good to be back at the same time. At least here I don't have to worry about bears wandering through when I'm sleeping (let me just say that I can hear any noise, however slight, and imagine that it's a bear in the campsite. Sleep for me was a rare commodity!)
By the way, I'm sorry about the crazy layout here, but blogger is not cooperating and doing what I want!
June 17, 2009
The last few weeks have been, as is usual any more, extremely hectic. They have also been really amazing to watch unfold as they have literally turned my life upside down, in mostly good and still waiting to be seen ways. I won't go into a lot of details, but suffice it to say that things both in my home life and my work life that I have been praying about (okay, I'll admit it: nagging God tirelessly about) are turning around in sudden and miraculous ways, only after I'd given up all hope of ever seeing change. It has been a really humbling experience to realize that He really has been working, even in the little details.
Alas, all things in my life have not been going quite as well: namely that the last month has brought rain almost EVERY. SINGLE. FLIPPING. DAY and I am sick of it! I want to get out in my garden and not track 5 gallons of mud in on my special shoes I had to buy just so I didn't ruin every other pair of shoes I own. I want to sit in the sun in the backyard and look at my flowers the kids planted me for mother's day. I want to ride my bike, and take walks where I wouldn't come back looking like something the cat dragged in. Mainly, I want to feel like I live in Utah again rather than the Pacific Northwest in the rainy season.
Anyway, tonight I had to run to Ogden to meet my Aunt at my parents' house. Savannah is spending the next few nights with Lois and her girls' so that they can go to Space Camp. Once we were all together, the talk naturally turned to weather, and both Lo and my mom were sickenly upbeat about all the rain. "It's great for my water bill..." said one, while the other gushed about the crop of mushrooms coming in. I at least know where I get my usually sunny, "Pollyanna" outlook on life, but I draw the line at welcoming week 32 of rain.
As Evan and I left for the hour-long drive back home, the clouds opened up and began pouring down rain again. At one point I debated actually pulling off the road to wait for it to lighten up a little because it was so bad. Right about then I turned to Evan and exclaimed "I don't care what Grandma and Lois think, I wish God would make it quit raining!"
At EXACTLY that same moment, the rain stopped. Completely.
I guess I have this "ask and it shall be given to you" thing down pat! I wonder if that will translate into a winning lottery ticket anytime soon...???
May 28, 2009
There have been many things that have happened, but honestly, I'm so tired at this point I can't remember most, but I'll at least give some of the highlights.
May is the month for birthdays of three of my most favorite and treasured people: my Aunt Lois (who turned the big 5-0), my daughter Savannah, and one of my best-girl's, Dawn, whom I've been friends with since 5th grade (let's just say that was quite a few years ago!).
A few weekends ago I scored MAJOR cool-mommy points by taking Savannah to see the new Hannah Montana movie. I have to say that I dreaded going more than the last root-canal I suffered through, but I was pleasantly surprised. The movie was really mostly decently done, without all the horrible canned laughter and lame jokes that the TV show has, and really had a good message to little idol-driven kids about remaining true to family and friends. And I have to say that I really like the "Hoedown Throwdown" song. Who knew?!!
Our family celebrated the whole Memorial Day weekend by re-shingling one-half of our poor, rotting roof. In the pouring rain. With lightning, although I was finally able to talk the boys into a retreat from the roof when I reminded them that I personally know two people who have been struck by lightning. With our luck, those are just not good odds in our favor! The weather turned sunny on Monday, and we were able to finish up around 3:00 p.m., just in time to barbecue a few steaks with friends who had helped us before we all collapsed from exhaustion. In between helping with the roofing (I was the shingle cutting girl - at least I have a fall-back skill now if I ever lose my job!), I spent hours weeding my little garden spot, trying to prepare it for the many tomato plants that are waiting to be planted, washing and folding laundry, doing the dishes, and feeding all of us so that we had steam enough to keep going. Needless to say, I started off this week feeling completely exhausted, and I still haven't caught up!
Josh and his lovely bride Jess tied the knot on Friday, May 22nd in a small ceremony with their Pastor in Tennessee (Woo-Hoo!!! We love you guys!) and then spent their honeymoon weekend moving into their new home (which I haven't seen yet, because **cough**cough**, Josh won't ever send pictures!). They will be coming home for a visit mid-June before Josh leaves for Iraq in July.
To top it off, Savannah's birthday was this past Saturday, and she turned the ancient age of 10. My baby is 10! The big 1-0. Double Digits. And yes, we celebrated by doing the roof. To be fair and to prove I'm not quite the world's worst mother, I did let her have a sleepover with a friend on Friday night. They stayed up until 3:30 a.m. fueled by pizza and Mountain Dew before finally crashing, only to wake up again at 7:00 a.m. Let's just say that she was a teensy-weensy bit ornery by about 1:00 p.m., so much so that I finally made my newly-minted 10-year-old baby go take a nap, just like in the old days!
Anyway, it has been my intent to do a special "birthday" post for all of the kids on their birthday, but with the month I've had, I just can't do it justice, at least not yet. So, I promise to write my "all about Savannah" blog this weekend, but in the meantime, I'm going to bed! In looking back at it all, it's no wonder my head is spinning (gotta love that Meniere's too...)
May 7, 2009
I mentally racked my brain to think of all our bills - had I forgotten to pay one for months on end? Don't think so... The last few years have been banner ones for racking up family medical bills, but I'd been paying on all of those, so I knew it couldn't be that. Hmmm.... Well, I guess I'd better just see what it is.
So, long story long (as is always the case with me!), we've spent the last several MONTHS of our life trying to get this seemingly obvious mistake cleared off of our names. Who'da thunk it would be so hard? After numerous phone calls back and forth between us and the mayor, the mayor and the company, the mayor and the recorder's office, and Tom and the company AGAIN because they still hadn't removed it like they said they would, and Tom and our lawyer, it has finally been taken care of.
A good friend of mine at work gave me a sign for my bulletin board a while back that simply reads "Because nice matters." I've tried to use it as a reminder to myself of who and what I really am (really, just ask me!), even if I occasionally have to deal with "not-so-nice" people. However, after this experience, I think I've learned a new lesson: the next time anyone so much as places a piece of paper on my property, I'm going to call the police and have them arrested for trespassing. But I'll at least do it with a smile...
Now we just wait to see if it's hit our credit rating, otherwise we're off to battle again. Ackkk!
May 13, 2009
April 27, 2009
The last time that Tom sent me flowers was roughly 13 years ago, back in that first magical year of marriage. We were living in the first of many small towns we would inhabit; a town filled with many inbred colorful characters. The local high school in said town held fundraiser after fundraiser throughout the school year; I swear every-other-week. Unfortunately, this small-town school was not known for being imaginative, so they used the same fundraising idea over and over and over and… Yeah, you get the idea.
Anyway, being a newly-married man in love, every time one of these students' came into his shop peddling their "One Dozen Long-Stemmed Roses – Only $5.99!" fliers, Tom would pony up his six Washington's and place his order. I know, I probably sound heartless: What woman wouldn't love to receive a dozen long-stemmed red roses every couple of weeks? Well, as it turns out, this woman… but I had a valid reason! Even though it was so many years ago, $5.99 for a dozen roses was extremely cheap, even then. Add to that fact that this was a fund-RAISER, presumably meaning that the company supplying the roses actually MADE enough profit to give money back to the school, and you can probably get a pretty good picture in your head as to what these babies looked like. So long as they were prostrate in their pretty pink box they looked fairly decent, but when you attempted to revive them by placing them in a vase full of water, you've never seen such a sight. The term "limp noodle" doesn't begin to do it justice!
Anyway, after receiving about seven or eight of these depressing packages, I begged Tom to go easy on the flowers, to maybe give it a rest for "a while." And so he has honored my wishes for 13 long, flower-barren years! I have explained to him many times in the last 5-10 years that I hadn't meant that I didn't EVER want flowers again – I just didn't want DEAD ones. But to no avail. I know that he loves me, and I don't need flowers to prove it, but there are those days (and ladies, you know what I mean) when a bouquet of beautiful flowers would just go SO far to make you feel loved and cherished.
This weekend, however, Tom proved his love to me in a more meaningful way than flowers ever could. If ever I doubted the depths of his feelings, those worries have now been laid to rest. The proof? He voluntarily cleaned up doggie puke for me. And not just any dog puke, but a virtual mountain of stinky, steaming-fresh Stitch reflux.
Now normally when one of the dogs has an accident of any shape or size, I hear cries of "Mom!" or "Honey!" I don't know when or how it became my job, but I learned years ago that if I want it cleaned up right, I'd better plug my nose, roll up my sleeves, and get to it. Yesterday, I heard Tom's horrified shouts as he herded Stitch out the front door, but I could tell by the sound of his voice that he had reached him too late. I dragged myself out of the bedroom, psyching myself up to handle whatever awaited me. On a brief side note – why, why, why do dogs always choose the carpet when there is nice, easy, cleanable hard floor a mere 3 inches away?! But I digress…
This LOVING, SWEET, STUD of a husband had beaten me to it! I watched in awe as he tackled the pile with a dust pan and paper towels. My heart went pitter-pat as he rushed, gagging, out of the house to the garbage dumpster, face turning bright red. And again as he and Evan cleaned and scrubbed the rug he had puked on. Sigh….
HE LOVES ME!! HE REALLY, REALLY LOVES ME!!! What more can I say?
April 27, 2009
April 21, 2009
So Saturday morning, we rolled out of bed at the crack of 10:00 (honestly – I got up at 8:00 a.m., but the better half was still snoring away which explains why I got up so early on a weekend!) and managed to get the trailer packed and out of the driveway a little after noon. About 2 miles from home I realized that we had forgotten to bring food for Annie (the dog, not to be confused with Annie, Evan's girlfriend). I had also assumed (incorrectly) that the trailer was pre-stocked with kitchenware, which it had been at one point, to feed and water her from. Tom, as anxious as I to get out of town, insisted that we would stop somewhere on the way to buy her food. We drove an hour and stopped at a Burger King in Preston, Idaho to have lunch. As we rolled into town, I suggested we stop at the grocery there to make our purchase, but Tom wanted to press on. So on we went!
As soon as we hit the road again, the wind, which had been fairly annoying before, kicked into high gear. You don't know fun until you've towed a trailer through gusting cross-winds – it was very exciting! We finally rolled into Lava Hot Springs, population 486, around 4:00 p.m. After an accidental drive-by of the town's off-ramp, we eventually found a place to get turned around and headed for the motel/RV camp that I had reserved. Tom set up the trailer while I stood by as camp supervisor. When the time came to hook up the water, we discovered two things. First, in addition to the missing dog food and dishes to feed her from, we had also neglected to bring the hose to pipe water into the trailer. Off to the over-priced store we went, where we were able to purchase everything we needed, albeit at horrendously high prices. Second, once we had the hose, we discovered the RV park did not yet have the outside water hook-ups turned on from winter. The nice people running the place ran a hose out one of the motel room windows so that we were able to fill the water tank.
Then, one of the highlights! When the trailer was winterized last fall, apparently we did not get one of the fittings screwed on right, so once we had the water turned on, we REALLY had running water – gushing out all over the kitchen floor from UNDER the sink.
Long story short, this is the view I had of my husband for most of our weekend alone. He spent two hours on Saturday in this position, mumbling, grunting, and more often than not cursing. After fixing THIS leak, I talked him into heading across the street to soak and relax in the mineral pools. Tom and I have always had different tolerance levels for heat. I am the type that loves a hot bath, the hotter the better. If I don't look like a cooked lobster when done, it wasn't hot enough. Tom, on the other hand, can put his foot in tepid water, and leap back from the pain of it all. He stepped into the pool and immediately moved into extreme slow-motion, oo-oo-oohing his way further in. Being the sensitive, loving wife that I am, I called him a big baby and told him to put a move on. Until I got in. Holy Hannah was it hot! Too hot for me, and that's really saying something. "Never fear!" I said, "the other pool is much cooler. Let's move over there." So off we went, climbing into what I had remembered as being a much cooler pool. But guess what? It was just as hot as the other. We managed to spend an hour at the pools so that we could feel like we at least got our money's worth, then we took our slip-skinned selves and went to dinner at a cute little place in town. A place that was sold out of the shrimp I was craving, as well as the scones that were supposed to come with the meal and which I was lusting after since seeing them on the menu. In the meantime, Tom got more and more quiet – turns out that the extreme heat of the pools made him sicker than a dog.
After fixing THIS leak, I talked him into heading across the street to soak and relax in the mineral pools. Tom and I have always had different tolerance levels for heat. I am the type that loves a hot bath, the hotter the better. If I don't look like a cooked lobster when done, it wasn't hot enough. Tom, on the other hand, can put his foot in tepid water, and leap back from the pain of it all. He stepped into the pool and immediately moved into extreme slow-motion, oo-oo-oohing his way further in. Being the sensitive, loving wife that I am, I called him a big baby and told him to put a move on. Until I got in. Holy Hannah was it hot! Too hot for me, and that's really saying something. "Never fear!" I said, "the other pool is much cooler. Let's move over there." So off we went, climbing into what I had remembered as being a much cooler pool. But guess what? It was just as hot as the other. We managed to spend an hour at the pools so that we could feel like we at least got our money's worth, then we took our slip-skinned selves and went to dinner at a cute little place in town. A place that was sold out of the shrimp I was craving, as well as the scones that were supposed to come with the meal and which I was lusting after since seeing them on the menu. In the meantime, Tom got more and more quiet – turns out that the extreme heat of the pools made him sicker than a dog.
Back to the trailer we went. It didn't take long for exhaustion to overtake us both, so we went to turn in for the night. But guess what ELSE we had forgotten? Tom's sleeping pills, which he needs because of his screwed up neck and back. After much more cursing and thrashing around, he finally fell asleep at 3:00 a.m. Unfortunately, the bed in the trailer is like sleeping on a rock (not even a smooth one, but a knobby one that rolls you in unwelcome directions), so I finally got up and moved to the bunk one of the kids' usually sleeps in. Just as I finally got to sleep, an apparent convoy of trains came chugging through the valley, laying on their horns for a minimum of 10 miles both before and after. Needless to say, it was a LOOONNNGGG night, possibly the longest I've ever had.
The next morning, we woke up later than planned, but still had time to go off to breakfast. EXCEPT that the water pump was now making weird sounds. Back under the sink he went for another hour. Water pump fixed, just in time for me to hurriedly wash my hair and then it was time to check out and move on! We ended up eating Easter breakfast (at 1:00 p.m.) at a truck stop on the freeway.
On the bright side, the way back was blissfully less windy, and we did stop to take pictures at Red Rock Pass, the site where ancient Lake Bonneville broke through and drained out onto the Snake River Plain. It wasn't the dream weekend I was hoping for by any stretch of the imagination, but at least we'll be able to look back and laugh about it years from now. At least that's what I'm telling myself. And I managed to withhold my "I TOLD you so" until we were safely home!
April 21, 2009