Wednesday, December 24, 2008

No Christmas Cards This (or any) Year

Sorry, everyone. I have not done Christmas cards (electronic, or old fashioned) for like 5 years now. Two years ago, I actually did them and didn't send them. Soooo, I figured, what's the point -right? Sorry to everyone who REALLY likes to hear from the Chamberlain's (I know that's all of you).

To make up for it I thought I'd do a Christmas card post and you could all just feel like I sent you each your own special card from our family--humor me, guys.

This year has been a hard, but great one. In some ways it feels like we've come so far. From my sister passing away and having lots of time to sit on muy butt and recuperate from foot surgery, to touring a bit of the Puget Sound and Zion's we've had some hard and great times respectively.

Martin

Martin was called to be first counselor in the Bishopric of our ward and was ordained a High Priest in early April. His parents were able to travel to Seattle and be there and so Martin's dad was able to do the ordination. It was a very humbling time for him. He was prepared for the job (and by prepared, I mean the spirit prepared him) and I know he was pre-qualified for this in the preexistence. I have a strong testimony of that. Martin also has been as busy as ever at Microsoft. He enjoys EVERY meeting and every tough decision and loves working with such a diverse set of people (he's the only American on his team besides one other). When I say he loves his job, I don't know if I can explain how much to you. We both feel so grateful that he can be doing something that both makes him feel like he's needed and makes him happy. At work he is known as "The Bulldog" and it makes me laugh because nothing is further from the truth at home! He continues to be the Uber-father. He makes time for us even when there is no time to be made. He is still my best-friend and confidante. I love him more every day. . . is that possible?
Side note: this year we will be celebrating our 15th Anniversary!

Alex

Alex turned 12 this year and was ordained to the office of a Deacon. His Grandparents Chamberlain were able to be there and it was amazing for me to see the serious way Alex approached having the priesthood. I cannot understand where the maturity and wisdom came from except to tell you it came. He continues to play baseball. Morning.Noon.Night. If the world were a baseball field Alex would be eternally happy. I think he dreams of that. He played a great season, followed by a fun summer in Utah visiting cousins and swimming. His favorite thing was to see how many times he could go down the water slide at the pool in North Ogden. I think the final count was around 30. Alex also started playing and taking a real interest in football. He had his first season and he enjoyed getting beat up and bruised. Me and his Dad loved cheering him on. Alex's piano studies continue and he is excelling. He passed me up long ago and he can listen to a song on the radio and duplicate it at the piano. It excites me, because I wish I'd have been a more dedicated student of that instrument. His GPA has been sufficiently high and we are proud of his study habits and accomplishments. He also knows every sport fact and stat there is to know.

Olivia

Olivia turned 10 less than a month ago and the double digits have settled on her becomingly. She is the smartest little thing I've ever seen. She is very brainy, just like her Dad. Math and spelling seem to come to her easily, and she works hard at her other studies that she has a harder time with. She reads--and reads--and reads (and reads). She has accumulated more "Eager Reader" hours at school than anyone else in the 4th grade and is currently reading at a 7th grade level. She loves to play the piano too and is giving her big brother a run for his money. She writes songs and likes to perform them often (to the enjoyment of the WHOLE family). Olivia is kind and helpful and her little brother thinks she can do no wrong. Isaac and she are fairly inseparable and they keep each other company. She dances once a week and likes Jazz best. She is the smallest girl in her class because I think a) she's small and b) she's in an older class, but she keeps up with them fine. At her dance recital this year she was at ease on the stage and came alive when the curtain came up. I was like, "Is that my child?" She's usually so shy but it seems performing suits her!

Isaac (the Cuteness)

Isaac cracks me up all day long. He has started school and is a champ in Kindergarten. He is a little distracted, but is doing fine, other than with his scissor skills (he just can't figure out how to hold them!). He has made fast-friends with some fellow class members and has turned out to be quite social (who knew?). He plays all.day.long. The sun rises and I hear him up and playing in his room and he is LOUD. Everything in Isaac's world has the tendency to explode and/or burn and/or crash and this makes things very exciting around the house (did I mention he's loud?). He has a kind, generous, sweet heart and NO GUILE. He reminds me of his Dad that way. He is looking forward to his birthday, and it is already planned, but doesn't come until the end of May. He assures me it will go by quick, however. He also loves soccer and play-dates and Macaroni-and-cheese wedges from Jack in the Box.

Heather

This year we lost my sister dear. I miss her and love her and think of her every day. It was the hardest thing I personally have ever experienced. The pain is only lessened by the fact that I know this life is but a preparation for the eternities and I will be with Jenny soon (maybe not soon enough), forever. My faith has grown immeasurably from the experience. It seems like a hard way to learn a lesson but a lesson has been learned. I trust in the Lord and his intentions for me. I try not to dictate to him what I think will be best for me. He, obviously, is the gardener (as Jen would say). I have also learned my problems are nothing, and to be grateful for every breath my lungs take and every moment I have with my children and husband. I like exercising because I love that bit of time I have to myself to reflect on how my life is going. I like reading and blogging and doing homey things (NOT COOKING) and talking with Martin. I think my likes change from month to month, but the thing that remains is that I LOVE being a Mom, even if I'm not great at it.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Love, Heather

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My 10 Year Old

Well, my little girl is 10! Where did all that time go? It seems like just yesterday they were pulling Olivia from my belly--uni-brow and all (seriously, she's had those eyebrows since birth). I looked at her and with incision agape said, "Wow, so you're what's been making me sick for so long?" I couldn't believe anything so unbelievably beautiful could have caused such havoc on my body, but all of a sudden that didn't make any difference--I'd have done it all again! I remember that day well, all the nurses commented on what a beautiful little baby she was and immediately dubbed her "Miss Olivia."

She's always been a bit of sunshine in our lives. I remember when she was much smaller, how she would "flit" everywhere she went, kind of like a butterfly. I think she still does that, but with a little bit more maturity. Now she has turned into a younger, female version of her father. She looks like Martin, but she acts like him too. She is the happiest child I know and, like her father, the eternal optimist. She likes to read like her dad and it's a cinch that she has her dad's knack for math. She's very emotional and sensitive and such a great student. She loves to depend on her own abilities in her school work and her dancing, piano, and art studies. She is shy and funny and sweet all at the same time and is also an amazing big sister. She cannot wait to be a mommy.
For her big 10th birthday she had 9 screaming, laughing, giddy tweens over for pizza, a movie and some fun. She planned all the activities herself. I think the hit of the party was the scavenger hunt Alex made for them and "Mafia," which is a game I am unsure of how to play but seems to be a big hit with her friends, as every time they are here they want to play it.
Happy Birthday, to my beautiful little Livi-bug! You have made my life so much sweeter! I love you like crazy!
Doing some craft Livi came up with.












Playing Mafia.














The scavenger hunt.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Cuteness' Sisters

The Cuteness and I had a funny discussion the other day. I asked him if he knew the story of Christmas and Jesus, etc., etc., and he acted dumb--which is not unheard of for Isaac (he sometimes acts like he doesn't know what's going on). I kind of prodded him, asking who Jesus' mother was and father and explained to him that Jesus is our brother. We also talked about how Jesus died and where he is now and we also talked a little bit about heaven and how there are lots of people there that are our brothers and sisters. After we had talked for a while he got ready for school and I drove him there. On the way, he asked me how many brothers he had, since now he knew everyone on the earth was his brother. I answered that he probably had millions and millions of brothers. Later, I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw that he was smiling while he looked out the window. I asked him what he was thinking about and he said he was smiling because he had lots of sisters too. I thought that was so cute. He loves Olivia so much. He love Alex too. But Olivia and he have always had a bond like none other. She is always so happy to take his hand when they get off the bus and walk him home or snuggle with him while they watch TV, or teach him how to add and subtract, or walk him to Primary every Sunday. I love to see them love each other and have fun together. I often tell my kids that my favorite thing to see is them being nice to each other. That rarely happens, I mean this is the real world, but I hope by telling them that it will eventually sink in. Especially with Alex and Olivia. Right now there's not a lot they agree on, but I know they love each other. I would love for them to show it more often. I don't mean they have to hug or anything "WEIRD" like that, but some civility would be nice once in a while! I'm holding out hope that they will grow into a better relationship. That would be such a great gift for me!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back to the Living

Friday was a great day with the family, following a great Thanksgiving. We spent a really fun day getting the tree up and decorating the house, followed by sitting down to watch a great flick. Not even mid-way through the film my stomach started to act up (that's putting it lightly). Shortly thereafter, I retreated to my bedroom to begin the most uncomfortably painful 5 hours of my life. My stomach began a roller coaster ride that both made me hurl several times and wish my sweet life was over. Long story short, I was sick . . . sick as any person should ever be allowed.

No worries, however, after two and a half days of sleeping non-stop, I have breached the surface of consciousness. Yes, I am alive and glad to say it. But, that, my friends was the SICKEST stomach flu I have ever had. Poor Martin had it too. But there's some unwritten law somewhere that says if Martin and I get the same illness, he gets it for a day (or less) and I get it for at least 3. Go figure.

Happy, Healthy Holidays!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Twilight" Seconds

Okay, people. At long last, here is my op on the movie. I know, I know. You're welcome!

First, my opinion on the book is much different than the movie. The book, for me, was a page-turner, yes, but I was disappointed. However, I was somewhat tainted because I went to my book club prior to reading the book. I was expecting different things--perhaps bigger things when I went to read the book. I enjoyed it, but probably would have liked it more had I read the book before going to book club. I found out way too much.

I went to see the movie last Saturday night with some book-club sistas (holla back) and friends. I enjoyed the movie, loved the characters, and enjoyed seeing my beloved Pacific Northwest on the big screen. However, I was again tainted by all the teenagers and teenager wannabes cooing and swooning over Edward and their laughing during what I thought were unfunny scenes. Very annoying...remember folks, ANTI-cheese here.

Anwyhoo, Martin and I went to the movies Wednesday night to see "Australia." Well, we got there too late and so Martin suggested seeing "Twilight." I agreed. I wanted to see what he thought (he's never read the book). He was surprised at how much he enjoyed it. He said it was fun to guess what was going to happen and what was actually going on. To him it was a mystery.

I also liked it, maybe more the second time. I was paying attention to details this time and was under the impression that it moved better the second time (plus, there were far less teenagers in the theatre). I also noticed how beautiful the scenery was and it reminded me of here. Don't you all wish you could live here too? Okay--MINUS the rain.

Oh, and the music is great also. I think I heard some Iron and Wine, Collective Soul, and Paramour. LOVED the soundtrack! Definitely my kind of music.

So that ties up my impressions of the movie. It's a good one, but I suggest seeing it in a theatre sans teenagers! You'll like it better...unless, of course, you are a teenager.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Relaxing Thanksgiving

I am so looking forward to tomorrow--It's Turkey day!!! Woot!! This year I am not entertaining any guests (usually my mom and dad come up), so we are going OUT, baby!! Oh, yeah! We did this once before when I was pregnant with Isaac, or maybe shortly after he was born, can't remember which. It was the most relaxing holiday. It was just me and Martin and the kids and we had a great time. I was thinking if I had to make that huge meal again for these troops who don't eat I would scream. Making big meals + kids who don't eat them = a grouchy, unhappy Heather. Plus, the year we went out I remember the food tasting sooo good. I'm looking forward to that again. Sleep in, get up, get dressed, go eat...nothing better. BTW we go to Black Angus - and yes, they do the whole turkey dinner thing for me, Martin and Alex and Livi and Isaac can order mac and cheese and pizza respectively. Yum (not).

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday tomorrow. I hope you also have a great Christmas season this year. I'm looking forward to it, although it will be the first in 32 years that we won't have my sister with us. I have a hunch she will be there in spirit. I know she will be missed!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The New Cutest Baby in the World (I'm not biased)

My youngest sister, Mindy had a baby girl yesterday! She was a bit early and so we were slightly worried, but she turned out to be perfect. She is 6 lbs. 3 oz. and is beautiful, as you can see. Her name is Oakley Dot Miller, the "Dot" is after my Grandma Higley whose nick-name was Dot, also it is Mindy's middle name. I can't wait to see Oakley in the flesh, and snuggle and hug her. Everyone in Utah better get it out of their systems before I get there, because I will want full-time contact with this little girl--It's only fair, guys! It is so great to welcome new spirits into our family!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sorry, Suckas!

Okay, okay. I know this might be mean, but....






Oh, yeah!!




















Once again, righteousness has prevailed!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Not a Good Thing (Flashback Friday)

Tonight I went out with the fam to dinner. After dinner, on our way out to the car, the wind had picked up and was blowing really hard and the rain had started pretty heavily. So we ran to get in the car. When we got home, Livi looked down at my leg as I was getting out of the car and said, "What's that." I looked down and was HORRIFIED to see a big wad of gum on my pants at calf-level. I was like, "Oh, no. This is not happening to me." How in the heck did that happen? I do not know...I do not even want to think how it happened. I'm guessing it either was under the table at the retaurant or someone chose to spit it out in that wind storm. Either way I am near vomiting point right now. I took my pants off right when I got home, before I even went up to my room and handed them directly to Martin who is currently trying to pull the mess off.

Some of you know I have a HATE/HATE relationship with gum. There is a story to this aversion. This is the story for flashback Friday. Actually there are two stories:

1. As I was growing up we always used to go to West Yellowstone the day after Christmas and stayed until New Years. We did this every year and stayed in a condo there with all my family and a lot of family friends. We were big snowmobilers. We always had to pull this big trailer with all our snowmobiles on it and my mom and dad would take turns driving on the slick roads (my mom is an awesome driver and is better than any man I've ever seen) up to Yellowstone. It usually snowed the whole way there and that made for some treacherous roads. When my dad would drive he would chew gum to stay awake. He is notorious for falling asleep at the drop of a hat, so keeping awake was a bit of a chore. That is all well and good. BUT, he tortured me with this incessant popping and chomping on his gum. He did this even when I begged him to keep it quiet and I would usually end up sobbing in the back when he resisted--all 7 hours of the drive. He was relentless. Ask any of my family. He is very, very annoying. He has actually had people who are complete strangers approach him in movies and shows asking him (begging him) to stop. This wouldn't be so bad, except that he didn't just keep it up on the way to Yellowstone, but every single last vacation we took as a family...and we did a lot of vacationing and traveling. Thus started my hatred of gum.

2. The summer between my Junior and Senior years I was dating a guy I met that summer. I was so into him and we had a lot of fun. It was a summer of love! ...but one evening we went to a dance. As we were dancing (the typical bear-hug) he was chewing gum. I didn't think much of it, eveyone chews gum at that age. At the end of one of the dances he started to apologize profusely--he had gotten gum in my hair. Not just a little, a whole mouth full. He didn't dare tell me (can't blame him) until it was really stuck and a tangled mess. Luckily, my friend Jen was there and we left immediately. She spent the next three hours pulling bits of gum and hair out of my head. I had long curly hair and the gum was everywhere. She had to use peanut butter, then some lemon cleaner stuff my mom had, ice, and finally, lots and lots of snips from the scissors. Jen was heroic. She was able to save a lot of hair, but I was disgusted. The damage had been done.

What the heck is it about me that attracts this kind of thing? I can see it once or twice, but it keeps happening. I get it on my shoes, in my house, in my car. No place is exempt. This is why I hate gum. This, and the fact that I don't like the taste of the stuff. I don't mind people who are quiet about it, but most of the time I find people do not know how to chew it inconspicuously. And for heaven's sake, put it in the garbage when you're done with it. I hate how some people spit it wherever they may be at the time. It is not biodegradable, people. Kids are especially bad at this and that is why I have put a house-wide ban on the stuff. My kids know what will happen if I find them with gum!

Yes, I'm the gum Nazi.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Amazing Feat of My Feet

It's coming up on a year since I had my first surgery on my left foot. This surgery was to relieve some of the horrible pain I've been having in both my feet for 5 years. I have Plantar Fasciitis, which if you don't know, is an inflammation of the fascia, or tendon that extends from the toes to the heel. Plantar Fasciitis is very common. It is cause for foot pain in many adults. It usually results in that first-step-of-the-day pain that people get upon getting up in the morning. Sometimes it can result in pain throughout the day. It can last for a few months to (in my case) several years or forever. Mine started getting bad when I had Isaac. I gained some weight after having kids (go figure!) and did a lot of exercising to lose the weight, but in the end just ended up hurting my feet worse. Many joggers get this condition and people who use their calf muscles frequently, also pregnant women. I used to walk hours on the tread mill, set at a steep incline (I wouldn't do that again). That, combined with my weight gain contributed greatly to my problem.
I went through all kinds of treatments for my problem. First, I got orthotics and bought expensive plantar fascia-friendly shoes, did all kinds of physical therapy including stretching my soleus muscle frequently, and wore night splints to bed. When that didn't work, I did cortisone shots, which helped a lot at first. They got rid of my pain for about 8 months, but then I would be right back where I started. I probably had 8 shots in each foot over a 3 year period before they quit working. I was really bummed when they didn't work anymore. Then I was prescribed a night splint that used electrical pulses. I wore that with no relief and then went on to ultrasound treatments. Next my podiatrist suggested trying Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy, which is the same idea they use to treat kidney stones when they are shattered internally. I was up for anything by this point and went through this somewhat painful procedure under local anesthetic (I remember it was very loud and made my bones vibrate against each other). The idea is to break up the fascia a bit and increase the amount of blood and healing cells to the area. I was one of a few patients my doctor did this with (actually, he just numbed me up and let the people with the expensive machine do their thing). I waited the prescribed 3 months to see if this helped to no avail.

By September of last year I was ready to throw in the towel but my doctor talked me into one last stitch effort. This one was called Autologous blood injection and I was the second of his patients to try it. He withdrew 3 milliliters of my own blood and put it in a centrifuge to separate the growth plates. Then, under general anesthetic, I was injected with the growth plate in the fascia. Well, you guessed it, this didn't work either. I waited the 6 weeks he suggested I should wait and was in just as much pain. I was so disappointed and so upset. Every time I wanted to do anything that required me to be on my feet I suffered the consequences for days following. This included just cleaning the house and taking care of my family--all necessary activities. Plus, I was unable to work out, which I missed terribly. Also, every time I went through a treatment, from corticosteroid injections to the blood injection, I was laid up for weeks at a time to allow the procedure to "heal" my foot--which meant no exercise.

At this point I had done a lot of research on the Internet (years of it) and decided I needed to talk to somebody about having surgery. I was at the end of the line. I switched doctors because the podiatrist I had didn't do surgeries for my type of problem. I (with the help of one of Martin's friends who is a podiatrist in Spokane) found a doctor in Seattle who does a lot of these surgeries. I was very impressed with him and he was amazed at all the procedures I had undergone without relief. He ordered a bone scan and found I was more than a good candidate for Plantar Fascia release surgery. He also suggested that I undergo Gastrocnemius muscle release as well, to relieve some of the tension and tightness in my calf, which would also help the problem. I was game and underwent surgery in November of 2007 on my left foot and leg and surgery on my right foot and leg in February of 2008. In the surgeries the surgeon cut the fascia completely. Then it would hopefully heal with more length in the fascia and the gastroc. With each surgery I was laid up for 4 weeks in which I could put no weight on my foot, followed by 2 weeks of partial weight bearing activity. It was very hard to be off my feet for that long and I was so glad I had Martin and friends to help me through it.

Sorry about the lousy pictures. Martin + my bad camera = bad photos!


As I said before, it's been a year since my first surgery and I'm finally able to work out on my feet. I have a hard time with walking too much so I use the elliptical machine which is less jarring and more low-impact, but I've worked up to doing an hour at a time and could do more if I wanted! I am in pain afterward if I sit down for too long and then get up to walk around, but the pain is tolerable. Most pain comes from just standing around. I try to avoid that too much. The good thing is that each morning the pain is improved from the activity I did the previous day. It is a huge step up! I'm not 100% better, but I would say 40% better and that is enough for me--for now. My doctor says I will continue to improve as many as 18 months post-op, so I have hopes that I will continue to improve.


Was it worth it? I'd have to say yes. I am able to go barefoot (although I shouldn't) if needed and my pain is improved, however little. My quality of life is better, that's for sure. I know losing weight will be a big help too, so that is my current goal.


So if you have pain-free feet, thank the Lord above for your many blessings! I'm glad I am better. BTW: Most sufferers of Plantar Fasciitis don't have the problems I did. Usually, with non-invasive treatment, it will get better. I guess I'm just lucky!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Funny fun-time fun

I wanted to post these pictures that Olivia took of us. We were waiting to eat at the Cheesecake Factory and the kids were bored, so I got the camera out. Olivia took about 3 million pictures of Isaac. Isaac with his hands up, Isaac with his tongue out, Isaac smiling silly, Isaac dancing. She was putting him in various funny poses. Here are some of the best:
I'm not sure what Livi was trying to accomplish here, but it's awfully close to flipping the bird. Careful, buddy!

Isaac laughed at this one because he can "see up his own nose."
My personal favorite.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Murphy and Me (Not Marley and Me)

Murphy is our hilarious neighbor, and yes, he is a dog. He is a beautiful brown and white husky who can't be older than a year. Now, I had never officially met Murphy--until today. I usually just see him in our back yard sniffing around and barking at me between the fence when I'm out doing yard work.

When I came home this morning from running errands I opened my car door and got a scare when I saw this animal looking at me. I didn't expect anything to be in the garage and I was caught off guard. My first thought was that it was a wolf. He immediately ran away and I realized it was the neighbor's dog. He started playing this game with me of hide and seek. I was in a hurry because I had someone coming over to appraise the house so I headed into the house with Isaac. I tried to close the garage door, but Murphy would not get out until I jumped and ran at him. Then he'd take off and run up and down the sidewalk and come right back into the garage. Every time I'd chase him off again and push the button to close the garage, he'd come back and trip the sensor and stop the garage door from closing. It took me about 10 minutes of this little dance to come up with a plan. I had to go out and distract Murphy while Isaac pushed the garage door button. It finally closed and I went inside the front door.

A few minutes later, the appraiser was ringing the door bell. I opened the door, forgetting all about my dog-encounter. I found Murphy wagging his tail, standing next to the appraiser who said something like, "I think your dog wants to come in." Before I could say, "That ain't my dog," Murphy was pushing his nose against my hands and arms trying to get by. I tried to grab his collar as he sped past me, running so fast around the corner that his paws slid across the wood floor. As I tried to chase and grab him, the appraiser laughingly said he'd start his work outside the house. Isaac was screaming and laughing (I think because it was funny how I looked) as I chased him around the downstairs. Soon, Murphy took off up the stairs three steps at a time. No sooner was he upstairs than I heard him run through every room, knocking things over and scaring Tinker half to death. As she hissed and spat I chased the dog from room to room. He was always just inches from my grasp. Finally, I cornered him in the bonus room (thank heaven for double doors) and shut the door. You'd be surprised how much that dog did not want to be caught. I grabbed his collar, cursing "bad dog" profusely and dragged him downstairs where Isaac brought me my shoes, still laughing.

I marched Murphy (by now I knew his name from his tags) and rang the doorbell. My poor neighbor opened the door in her night gown bewildered and was surprised and horrified to see Murphy. She immediately apologized, asking where I'd found him. She said, "He's a pistol, huh?" I replied in the affirmative. It was actually good, because before today, I hadn't met my neighbor, only Martin and the kids had. She was so embarrassed as I told her where he'd been. I assured her I liked dogs and laughed off her apologies. It was an insane 15-20 minutes, but it made me laugh.

When Martin got home tonight Isaac started to tell him the whole Murphy incident. Martin was laughing and said he'd had the same problem leaving work this morning. Murphy apparently wanted to take a ride in his car and Martin had a hard time getting him to back off enough to close his car door. What a funny dog. Usually Murphy never gets out, and I hope he doesn't any time soon.

I love dogs. I'm really a dog person, but can't get past the picking up poop part enough to actually get one. I have a trippy gag reflex. I grew up with dogs and think they are the funniest creatures on the earth. I also think they can be real pains in the butt. I choose to have cats because they are much easier to take care of (and not quite so hyper). But if I ever have a house in the country somewhere or a nice big backyard I might reconsider.

I dedicate this post to Ruffy, Max, Rumpy, Quigley, Sam, Dusty and Duffy and all the other dogs I've ever loved (even if they have peed on my sweater). And here's to you, Murphy!

No, this is not Murphy, but it resembles him and Tinker looks like that cat!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Flashback Friday (part III) Isaac's wish

It's Friday!! I'm a big fan of Fridays. I like them better even than Saturdays because on Fridays you have the weekend to look forward to. On Saturdays I'm usually bored because all the stuff I usually do on the weekdays, I reserve for weekdays. I refuse to do cleaning and a lot of laundry on weekends. The goal here is to enjoy my family a little bit more.

I have this thing in my brain that if there's work to be done I can't sit and watch TV or relax and read a book or do crafty things. I include exercise as work here. I think I inherited this from my mom, because that woman can rarely just sit and enjoy herself (she's got too much to get done). Sometimes I try to relax but I drive myself crazy until I get up and clean something or do some laundry or go to the gym. But Saturdays (Sundays too) I've trained myself to not do "work." I find I'm happier on days when I have work to do and I get that work done. I guess this is why I like Fridays.

Today I'm going to do a flashback of funny things the Cuteness has said this week. I don't want to forget them. This is quite possibly not a "true" flashback but I can't think of anything else, so let's just go with it.
Isaac has been learning a lot of things at school. I'm amazed at how much he is understanding. He is also becoming a lot more social and having a fun time with friends, when before I don't really think he knew there were other people in the room. It's all good fun.

The other night, I was putting him to bed and after he said his prayers he looked at me and said, "Wanna know what I wished for?" I didn't catch what he was saying because he says "wished" like "wooshed;" he always has. After figuring out what he was saying I realized he meant that when you say prayers you wish for things. I didn't know what to say, so I just went along and asked him what he "wooshed" for. He answered that he wanted everyone in Issaquah to go to Utah with him for Christmas! Wow, that's a lot of people--but he meant all of his friends. He is conflicted because he loves to got to Utah every year but he is going to miss his friends from school when he's gone. Too cute.

Isaac has NEVER really talked about going to Utah for Christmas. Honestly, I don't think he really ever realized what was happening until we actually got there. I have also never heard him say anything about living in Issaquah. This more engaged sense of where he is and what he is doing has developed a lot later than with my other two and it's cracking me up.

The rest of this week he has been driving Martin and I up the wall with asking us constantly when Christmas will be. I keep saying, "Oh, about 2 months," or "around 50 days," but he doesn't really understand weeks or days yet (or numbers for that matter). So we say, "In about 6 more churches," which is to say there will be 6 more times we go to church until Christmas. This seems to work and his face lightens up and he says, "Only six?"

I hope he isn't hoping Heavenly Father will come through and grant his wish. I tried to explain to him that it's good to wish for things but that sometimes those wishes don't come true. Especially if they're really big wishes that would be difficult to come true. I tried to tell him that didn't mean that Heavenly Father wasn't looking out for us. He said he understood but smiled. I think he secretly still thinks he might get his wish:). Such faith and innocence.
Oh, a friend of mine took this photo of him while he was at school and I love it. Thanks to Katie M..



Monday, November 3, 2008

Somehow Muddling Through Halloween

Monday's are hard. I find them especially hard after a holiday. I don't think I have ever picked up so many candy wrappers in my life. I almost want to set my house on fire and just forget about it.

Alex collected 9 pounds of candy.

Read it again...YES--9 pounds (that's the size Olivia was when she was born--she was a rather chubby baby). I see that pillow case full of candy and it makes me want to dry heave--and I usually love me some candy. But this has GREED written all over it. When does it switch to a contest. I mean, at what point in a child's life does he/she switch from a sweet, costume-wearing cherub graciously and deliberately getting a couple of little candies (so cute), to a candy-mongering juvenile racing, pillaging and plundering every house within a five mile radius?
I'm glad, though, that Alex is now old enough to go trick or treating with his friends around the neighborhood, and we don't have to take him. I don't know how long he and his buddies were gone, but I think it was a couple of hours at least. I'm hoping they minded their P's and Q's and didn't like, I don't know, try tying fireworks to poor unsuspecting feline victims in the neighborhood (just hypothetical, of course). Alex is usually not one to get into trouble, but who knows what 5 12-year-olds will do when bored or provoked.

Alex also had a rather nice head-start on his candy collection because we went to Microsoft to trick or treat and the kids insisted on doing two floors of Martin's building. If you don't know Microsoft's buildings layout, it is like this: Everyone has their own office...there are no cubicles. So each person has candy to hand out to all the kids....row after row after row of offices (after row). I think there must be around 100 or more offices per floor. So you get the idea. The kids obviously were not lacking in the candy department.

After going to M's work, we were "scheduled" to go to the ward trunk or treat. After looking at all the candy in the kids' buckets I vetoed that. They didn't argue too much with me. I thought they might, but I think they were tired; at least the littlest ones were tired. Alex, again, couldn't have cared less. He had other fish to fry.


I'm hoping that his costume wasn't too appropriate for the night.










Friday, October 31, 2008

Flashback Friday (Part two)

Today is Halloween. Well, I guess I like Halloween. Although, I find fear not an emotion I particularly like to experience, I try to find the fun in Halloween. It's easier to do that when you have kids, I guess. I remember liking it as a kid and I just like to watch my kids enjoying themselves.


So here are some memorable Halloween stories to scare you!

1. My first memory of Halloween is when I was probably 3 years old. We went to a good friend of the family's home. They had turned their garage into a haunted house and thus began my long dislike of haunted houses. I remember very little about the tour through the "house" but I do remember a giant gorilla, an alien and someone being electrocuted (always nice for a 3-year+old to experience). I still remember being terrified out of my mind!

2. I remember when I was young, in elementary, coming home from school after a great day of parties and tons of sugar. My sisters and I would walk home from the bus stop and we could barely contain our excitement for trick or treating. We would get home and try and perfect our costumes and wait impatiently for my mom and dad to get home and take us trick or treating.

3. One time my dad dressed up like a fat woman. It was embarrassing.

4. My mom had the best scary stories I have ever heard. She would tell them to us sometimes when we begged and they still frighten me when I think about them. They were so great because she claimed they were all true and they were things that happened to her or people she knew and they seemed all too feasible. My mom is the best story-teller.

5. The year I met Martin, my best friend Jen and friend Steph took me (or rather, dragged me) to a haunted house. In Utah in the 80's and 90's haunted houses were the rage. I remember the March of Dimes haunted house and many more. There was one at Rocky Point near my house. Anyway, Jen talked me into going. I was scared so bad I nearly had a heart attack. From the minute I walked in, to the long awaited minute I walked out, I HATED it. There was one part that a guy with a chain saw came after me and I wanted drop to the floor, huddle in the corner and cry in the fetal position--no really, literally. Jen was so brave...not scared at all. I think maybe we went with a guy but I don't think he was hot so I literally had nobody to hang onto except Jen and she left me at some point. Some friend!

6. Also, the year I met Martin we went to a Howard Jones concert on Halloween or the day before, I can't remember which. It was great because we had just met a couple of weeks earlier, but had already kissed and there was lots of snuggling and such. That was a good Halloween. Nothing like HoJo.

Happy Halloween! Make some great memories this year!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday

A friend of my came up with doing "Thoughtful Thursdays," and I liked the idea and decided to be a copy-cat (thanks, Shellee). In these posts I will be telling about a thoughtful act someone did for me and then I will do something thoughtful for someone else (the last thing I won't post about, because I might try to do something anonymously and I also don't want to seem like I'm bragging that I helped someone!). It think this will help me be more grateful for my blessings and it will help me be more proactive about doing thoughtful things for other people. I'm excited to do this!

A year ago I was going through a difficult time. I had just had foot and calf surgery on one leg and was preparing to do the same to the next leg. I had to use crutches and a little knee scooter (that I loved) to get around in my own house for 6 weeks on each leg. All the time this was going on my sister was very sick in the hospital and drawing her final breaths. It was overwhelming and I was tired and sick of sitting around the house all day doing literally nothing and worrying about my sister. I wondered if anyone knew or cared.

One evening some friends (who will remain anonymous) showed up on my doorstep with several (I think 5) casseroles for me to freeze and use at my discretion. They had gotten together and decided on their own accord to help my family out by providing us with some meals. It touched me that they did this without provocation. I think they knew about my surgeries, yes, but they didn't know about the inner struggle I was having and their kindness made my day--actually my week! I will always remain thankful for their caring about me and knowing I was in need of a jump start.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Beautiful Day

Yesterday was such a nice, autumn day. We were able to be out in the sun at Alex's final football game of the season and it was great. They played at East Lake High; they have a really nice football field--wow. I even got to take my coat off most of the game. There were dragon flies flying around everywhere and it was just fun to talk with Martin. Dragon flies equal magical in my book. Did they win their game? Ummm....not exactly, but it was fun anyway.

Does this look like a face that is happy to be done with football? I would have to say, emphatically, yes. I know he will miss getting hit in the head and ribs on a daily basis, but I personally, will not miss driving him to practice every day! Happy days are here again!!! Does it matter their record was 1 and 9? Nah.

Funny side note: he still plays football daily with his friends outside. Weird. A month ago he told me he hated football (I think that was because he didn't feel like going to practice that day). I guess he doesn't really hate it so much.

Olivia enjoyed her day also. She did her favorite thing: reading. She is so much like her dad. These days she nearly always has book in hand. I would get upset, but what can you really find wrong with that? And, bonus: the book she was reading, "Ten Ways to Make My Sister Disappear," gave her several good ideas to vanish her own big brother.

She is such a good sport to go to all these games. If I counted up the hours she's spent at baseball and football games it would probably be astronomical. She just goes along and usually plays with other friends, socializes and never complains. She also looks after her little brother too.

Second funny side note: Alex complains about going to an hour and a half dance recital Olivia has once a year. Okay, that's just sad.
And here's The Cuteness again hitting another childhood milestone. Do you see it? Look closely...yep, he lost his first tooth. Major BFD (big freaking deal). He came in Friday night while I was almost asleep with this huge grin on his face, toothbrush in one hand, tooth in the other and blood dripping down his lips!!! Oh, what an adorable scene. Adorable and then-(gag, cough, dry heave)- a little tiny bit disgusting. He was so excited to welcome the Tooth Fairy for the first time. He woke up to a $3 reward (wow, I usually only got 50 cents). He was very pleased.

Here's what he did at the football game. We forgot to bring a block (Isaac's favorite toy) and he was not sure how he could survive. Martin saved the day with one of his business cards from his wallet. I kid you not, the child played with this card for two hours. How do you play with a block or business card? Well, if you're Isaac, you turn the said card into anything you can imagine. It can be a spaceship, a guy, a car, or, my personal favorite, Indiana Jones. Explosions usually accompany the play and can be very annoying to his sibilings. But, at the football game, nobody cared or bothered him! Score one for The Cuteness.


Monday, October 20, 2008

It's Party Time!!

I went to the costume/party store to look for some costume ideas for the kids. It was a mistake as the store I went to had mostly adult costumes and 2/3 of them had to be covered in areas with "post it" notes because of the partial nudity. Wait a second...did I say nudity?

Truly, I was thinking Halloween was more for kids, like it was when I was younger. Ah, those were the days. Now, I know there have always been the "french maid" costumes and such that were skimpy, but apparently, the rules have changed to include everything from busty pirates to half-naked angels. I mean do people dress up for their jobs and wear these costumes? Is there a market for this? I don't know.

Martin tells me there are these costume parties for adults that basically the idea is to go in the raunchiest, skimpiest costume you can find. I don't know what takes place at these parties but I can only imagine in my wildest dreams.

Also, what happens when you are not the model type portrayed on the front of these costume packages? I guarantee I would not look as good as the model in that lei and flower pasties "hula" outfit that I saw. I KNOW I'm not the only one.

So what does a person do who is invited to a party like this, and is not a size 2, 4 or even 10? I guess that's what the Spongebob adult costumes are for. Fun. All these beautiful people walking around and you're the only one not showing considerable skin making your date drool.

Yep, I had my eyes opened at the party store today. I shall never be the same.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Meme's the word

I was tagged by my friend Deb W., whom I miss terribly, with a meme. I'm supposed to post the 4th photo from my 4th folder. I've never heard of a meme before. But according to my friend, Stacey, a meme can be a catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from one person to another. Thanks, Stac. Cool!!! So here's mine:


This is my crazy dad, nephew, Dallon, niece, Marie and niece Savannah holding my other niece Phoenix. They are, of course, making funny faces. It's New Year's Eve of '06 and we were at my sister Mindy's home. It's funny, but with all the people in this picture my eye directly goes to my sister, Jenny who is behind my dad (you can't see her face). Boy, I wish I had taken more pictures of her while she was here. It's good to know she was there. She loved a good party. We always play this funny game called "Loaded Question" with my mom and sisters and older nieces on New Year's. It's become a tradition. That game is so hilarious! Every year I laugh harder and harder. Last year I nearly passed out from laughterand I am ashamed to admit I nearly wet my pants. Unfortunatley, Jenny was in the hospital last year and we played without her and I guess will from now on.


I recommend that game to anyone, especially a group of women who are friends and very comfortable with each other. It's kind of a "get to know you" game and be prepared to laugh--hard.


I tag Brenda, Jen V. and Dayna

Friday, October 17, 2008

New 2008 Survey

Here's another survey.

1. What is your best physical feature? I’m told it’s my winning smile
2. Where were you born? Ogden, Utah
3. How many siblings do you have? 4 sisters 1 brother
4. What is your favorite pastime? Reading or working out. Actually, reading AND working out at the same time.
5. If you had to have a tattoo what would it be and where? “Martin,” you don’t need to know where.
6. How old were you when you had your first kiss? Pushing 16
7. What is your favorite time of day? Bedtime
8. Dogs or cats? I love dogs because they are so loving but cats are easier to take care of and they have funny “I don’t care about you” attitudes.
9. What song best describes you? "She's a maniac"
10. How many books, on average, do your read per year? 10-20, maybe more, maybe less.
11. Are you most often a rescuer or rescuee? Usually rescuer, but have been rescued many times.
12. What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you? When Martin and I were first married we lived in a little duplex in Farmington and there was this gang of dogs. They traveled the neighborhood causing all kinds of havoc. It was funny because they were like people with a leader and everything. There was probably like 20 of them or more and they were all owned by people. It was so funny to see their atttitudes . That’s all I can think of right now.
13. What is your favorite kind of soup? Tomato, with fishy crackers
14. How many broken bones have you had? Zip
15. What was the best part of High School? Graduating and never going back to that hell on Earth
16. What is your favorite school subject? Literature and writing
17. If you got to choose a celebrity to date, who would it be? Chris Martin, for sure. But, seriously, how can I compete with Gwyneth Paltrow? Speaking of, my sister, Mindy looks just like her!
18. If you were deserted on a desert island who would you want with you? Martin
19. Have you ever been abroad? Yah, I’m a broad. Ha-ha. J/k. Not unless you count Canada
20. Can you drive a stick? Absolutely
21. What is your favorite meat? Chicken most of the time—free range
22. Ever been in a fist fight? Yes, my younger sisters both punched me, and one time my big brother bloodied my nose at Knott’s Berry Farm because my sister, Jenny was lost and I made the comment that I hoped we never found her.
23. Do you like ketchup? Yuck. Fry sauce, on the other hand, is mmmmm.
24. Dancer or singer? singer
25. Do you like horror movies? Hate them. I cried silently to myself when my brother dragged me to “The Sixth Sense.” I was so scared. ("I see dead people")

I'd love it if you wanted to post your answers!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Question and Answer

My friend, Jen Vesper emailed me this and since I haven't posted anything lately, I thought I'd post this.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 10 am. Really. My husband is a sweet heart.

2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds AND pearls

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? City of Ember with Olivia’s school class. It was good, but over my head. I think I need to read the book.

4. What is your favorite TV show? The Office. I love to hate Michael Scott.

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Cereal. Various kinds.

6. What is your middle name? Marie

7. Least favorite foods? Sushi. I can’t even get it past my nose, the smell triggers my gag reflex something awful. Most other foods I like too much.

8. What is your favorite CD at moment? Coldplay, Viva La Vida, baby! I also am listening a lot to Pilot Speed.

9. What kind of car do you drive? 04 Chrysler Pacifica. I love my car…Martin’s car just makes me cry. It’s a ’94 Toyota Camry. It’s so small Martin looks like Mr. Incredible in it.

10. Favorite sandwich? Subway club.

11. What characteristic do you despise? Know-it-alls, especially when it comes to politics. Also, flakiness and cheesiness.

12. Favorite item of clothing? My velveteen sweats. I love being draped in velvet like George on Seinfeld.

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Italy with my hubby so I can understand the people through him. I’m afraid to go anywhere too far or too foreign. No desire to go anywhere third-world.

14. Favorite brand of clothing? Speedo (but not on me--just kidding)


15. Where would you like to retire? Where my children are. I’m hoping that will be here in Issaquah or Utah.

16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? I guess I’d have to say this past birthday. My sister had just passed and my sisters and mom and I went to the Greenery at Rainbow Gardens for lunch. It was a mistake as it was difficult to be somewhere she loved so much. However, my best friend made me an awesome Hello Kitty cake and then we went to Toad's to play Laser tag and ride go carts (neither of which I could do because I was only a week or two post-op on my foot).

17. Favorite sport to watch? Alex playing baseball. Also, I like to watch him playing football now (I know, that’s just crazy). I like to watch the M’s too, but not this year...they were terrible!

18. Farthermost place you are sending this? Not sure of the exact miles.

19. Person you expect to send it back first? Don’t care.

20. When is your birthday? March 19, 1974

21. Are you a morning person or a night person? Neither. I’m usually in bed by 10 and I don’t get up until late after 8. I am always tired!

22. What is your shoe size? That depends on the shoe. I wear a 7 in shoes if they lace up. If they’re any other kind I could go clear up to 8 or 9. I have really, really, wide, thick feet. I hate my feet!

23. Pets? One beautifully annoying kitty-cat named “Tinker.”

24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? Yes, I want to try out for American Idol. That or have another baby; whichever comes first.

25. What did you want to be when you were little? A Marine Biologist

26. How are you today? Tired, and mad because I got all dressed to go work out at the gym and it turns out there’s some meeting going on there so I couldn’t.

27. What is your favorite candy? Chocolate with hazelnuts. I love the Ritter Sport bars.

28. What is your favorite flower? Daisies

29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Halloween. I’ll also be glad when it’s over.

30. What is your full name? Heather Marie Higley Chamberlain

31. What are you listening to right now? Isaac making one of his “movies.” I am hearing all kinds of explosions and screaming from his characters.

32. What was the last thing you ate? A bagel with cream cheese.

33. Do you wish on stars? Sure, it can’t hurt-right?

34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Yellow

35. How is the weather right now? It’s raining, big surprise. Very autumnish.

36. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? Haven’t been on the phone yet. I hate the freaking phone, I try to avoid it at all costs.

37. Favorite soft drink? Hello, Diet Coke!

38. Favorite restaurant? Firenze, Olive Garden or Cheesecake Factory.

39. Real hair color? Dark blonde.

40. What was your favorite toy as a child? My Friend Mandy doll. My mom threw her away so I got another one. My sister Jenny had a My Friend Jenny doll.

41. Summer or winter? Summer, although, I hate being sweaty and hot.

42. Hugs or kisses? Depends on who’s giving them.

43. Chocolate or Vanilla? Well, if it’s ice cream I’d have to say Vanilla. But for all other intents and purposes chocolate.

44. Coffee or tea? Nah…

45. Do you want your friends/family to email you back? No

46. When was the last time you cried? Yesterday. I finished a book that was amazing that made me sob uncontrollably.

47. What is under your bed? Tinker

48. What did you do last night? Watched a Presidential debate; a lame one!

49. What are you afraid of? My children being in peril.

50. Salty or sweet? 90% of the time sweet.

51. How many keys on your key ring? 5 or 6

52. How many years at your current job? 12 years

53. Favorite day of the week? "It's Friday, I'm in love!"

54. How many towns have you lived in? 7

55. Do you make friends easily? Not at all. I’m very unfriendly by nature. People generally bug me and that makes me ornery and mean.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Me llike antibiotics

I have been sick for the past week or so. It didn't get really bad until Monday, when I decided I was going to tackle cleaning the shower. I wasn't thinking, obviously. I have had a really bad cough. So I got in the shower, sprayed it down with the first cleaner I use for mold, then rinsed that off. Then I sprayed with the other cleaner I use for hard water stuff (seriously, can't they come up with one cleaner to do both things?). It was so smelly in there, and I was scrubbing so hard that it went directly to my lungs and I started to cough profusely. I could not stop. I was sweating and coughing. I looked in the mirror and my face was bright red with white splotches, probably from the lack of oxygen:). I seriously have NEVER coughed that hard. I called Martin and asked if he could come home because I was supposed to pick up the boys from school and needed him to do it...driving would have been a very bad thing at this point. So, I was on the phone with Martin and trying to talk and I couldn't. Everytime I inhaled to say something I coughed. Finally, I told Martin what I needed and hung up. Then went to the couch and passed out.

Since then I have been struggling with this infernal cough. I went to the doctor on Friday night and he did prescribe some antibiotics but told me to hold off on taking them. He assumed I probably had a virus. So I waited....until yesterday. I took the first dose last night before bed and I woke up 85% better--85%, people! Now that is good luck.

Lesson learned: cold + cleaning chemicals = dumb. I better check what's in those freaking cleaning supplies. That can't be good for my health. Or better yet, hire someone to clean!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Yeah, that's what I thought




Your Issue Profile: 4% Obama, 96% McCain



The results are in, and John McCain is definitely your choice.

You're probably not surprised. It's possible you've had your eye on McCain for years.



Popular or not, you will likely stick by McCain. For you, it's a matter of principle.

And besides, there's something exciting about rooting for the underdog!

I guess this does not surprise me at all. I am republican through and through. I listen to talk radio (Rush, Medved, and Beck), and like it. I read Ann Colter and Sean Hannity and agree with them. So, like it or not, I'm not just a little bit red but I BLEED red. I used to think I was just choosing the lesser of two evils (didn't love McCain that much) but obvioulsy it means more to me than that. The issues have made me what I am--and the issues are really important to me. So, according to the issues, I am for McCain.
As to "rooting for the underdog," I don't know that I agree with that. McCain may be an underdog, but only in the left-wing media's eyes, and in their biased view of the issues. Lucky for me, I form my own opinions based on my ideals and that's what everyone is welcome to do. So don't mail me and question me for what I believe...I don't think any less of someone for the way they feel.
My late sister Jenny was sooo liberal. I used to think she was out-of-control in her political views, but now I see her differently. I respect her now more than ever. She was someone who really weighed the issues according to her beliefs and learned and studied as much as she could. If anyone does that, I have to respect that. If there's anything I learned from her, it was that I shouldn't be embarrassed to state my opinion. And that's all I'm doing here! So, form your opinions and run with them! Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Flashback Friday

Martin and I met almost 15 years ago. Actually, it was in October of 1993. I'm lacking a month, but it still works...(go with it). I was just talking to him and remembered the first time he met my parents. I think it was the second or third date, and I had invited him in. I knew we were going to get serious, even though we had just met, thus the need for the intro to mom and dad. My parents are very small people. My mom is 4'9" and my dad is 5'2". Martin, of course, is taller...6'3" to be exact. So I brought him in to meet my dad first, to which dad yelled to mom, "Joan, get in here. You gotta see the size of this kid!" My mom, being the mom she is (easily embarrassed by my dad), yelled back, "I don't want to see him, Harvey." From then on, Martin was intimidated by her.

Martin was a city boy. He didn't know anything about a farm (even an ex-farm) or country folks. A few weeks later, after we were pretty serious, Martin had to spend a couple of hours alone with my mom and sister, Mindy. I don't remember where I was, but mom and Mindy offered to take Martin to Smith and Edwards (the country boys store) for which Farr West is famous. Martin was completely thrilled at the thought. After years of hearing the commercials, he jumped at the idea of seeing it for himself. If you aren't from Utah, I'm sure you have no idea what Smith and Edwards is -- I will explain: They carry all sorts of tools, hunting gear, cowboy wear, lawn and garden materials, outdoorsy stuff, candy, and much, much more. Their slogan is "If we can't find it, you don't need it." It's true, there is so much stuff there the owners literally don't have any idea what is in the inventory.

So while at Smith and Edwards (surplus plus), Mindy offered to take Martin to the fishing aisle while my mom made a b-line for the ammo. section. Standing amidst the army surplus, and red necks with handle-bar mustaches, I wonder if Martin questioned what he had gotten himself into. Luckily, he stayed around and got to know me better. I'm soooo glad he did! Love you, babe! Here's to 15 years.

P.S. My mom really loves Martin. She just really needed bullets. Martin isn't intimidated by her anymore (most of the time).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Football and Soccer

Here's the "all-star." I am liking having Alex in football. I finally understand the game (for the most part) and that makes Alex and Martin very happy. It's fun to see your kids enjoy sports and get more confidence. I have to say, though, football is TOO complicated. How can you see what's going on, and keep your eye on the ball AND make sure your kid is blocking well? I don't know...please tell me.

By the way he is playing Tight End, I don't know what that means. However, he has been changed to Defense and I don't know what he does now (nothing's changed)...I just know he's completely covered in bruises!

I just have to say Alex stinks 3/4 of the time now. Martin has said he'll need to have his car detailed after football season is over because he can't get the stench out. We make Alex take a shower when he gets home and luckily, I just drop him off before practice so he's relatively clean then. I have never seen a kid so sweaty in my life (except all the other boys playing football). What are you supposed to do with the pads and helmet? Ugghhhh! So gross.

Okay, I apologize for my crummy camera again...but here's The Cuteness playing soccer at the recreation center. He was so excited to start something that his brother and sister aren't a part of. I am glad he was smart enough to figure that out by himself .
The Cuteness does the same thing his dad and brother do which is stick his tongue into his cheek when making an important play:)!! Martin does this when playing basketball and Alex does it all the time. The boys both do it when they're thinking hard too. Like with homework...just an observation that makes me laugh! He made some great plays!

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm tagged

My friend, Brenda tagged me:

20 Years Ago:

1. I was in 8th grade.
2. I was into cheerleading and tumbling.
3. I was seriously boy crazy.
4. I was hating Jr. High.

10 Years Ago:

1. I was pregnant with Olivia and sick as a DOG!
2. We lived in Factoria in a little 2 bedroom apartment.
3. I was trying not to throw up (seriously…the whole 9 months) and stay out of the hospital.
4. Had a 2 year old little boy named Alex.

5 Years Ago:

1. I had a newborn baby boy (Isaac).
2. I was just released from being primary president.
3. I was living in a cute house on Squak Mtn. in Issaquah (I still love that house but the doors don’t fit in the jams).
4. I was trying to lose weight.

3 Years Ago:

1. I was trying to lose weight (see a pattern?)
2. Was trying to keep up with a teenager living with us.
3. I was devastated to hear my sister had late term brain cancer.
4. I was taking Isaac to the therapist to make sure his development progressed. He wasn’t interested in walking.

1 Year Ago:

1. I was contemplating 2 foot and calf surgeries.
2. I was worried about my sister’s brain surgery to implant a reservoir for chemo. She seemed so sick afterward.
3. I read the BOM twice.
4. I was trying to lose weight.

So Far This Year:

1. I said good-bye to my sister and went to her funeral.
2. I had surgery on my feet and calves.
3. Had a wonderful summer.
4. Started my baby in kindergarten.

Yesterday:

1. I slept terrible.
2. I went shopping at Target with Alex.
3. Took a nap (what?---I really had a bad night!)
4. I ate Chinese take out.

Today:

1. I took my baby to the bus to kindergarten.
2. I mopped the floor, vacuumed, dusted, etc.
3. I worked out at the Commumity Center and tried not to look at that hot guy who’s always there.
4. Took a shower.

In the Next Year I’ll:

1. Try to lose weight.
2. Go to the temple at least once a month.
3. Finish the New Testament and start studying D&C.
4. Think about a new home addition.

I tag Tonii, Stacey and Mindy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Five of the Weirdest Things Ever

There are some things that have happened while I lived in Washington that you could say are weird, for lack of a better word. Here they are:

1. When we lived in Factoria in an apartment I was reading in the afternoon one day. Pretty soon I noticed a crackling sound like there was a fire in our fireplace, which there wasn't (we never used the fireplace the 3 years we were there). So I ignored it for a few minutes and then went outside on our deck and saw the apartment building next to ours by maybe 20 feet was completely engulfed in flames! I grabbed Alex and ran outside. The fire department had to cut holes in the roof to let out the flames and extinguish the fire. It was pretty bad! Luckily, no sparks caught out building. Surreal!

2. Again, while living in those apartments, the woman directly below us (on the ground level) was raped one night in her OWN APARTMENT! A man entered from her window, which was open because it was a hot summer! They never caught the guy (to my knowledge).

3. When we first moved to Issaquah there was so much rain one year that the salmon were actually crossing the street in the flood. It looked like they were taking a walk. AWESOME!

4. The black out of Dec. 2006 was super cool. The wind blew so hard one night that the power was knocked out throughout most of the east side of Seattle. I remember looking out the window during the night and the huge cedar trees all around were bent nearly in half. We were without power for almost 4 days--some people longer. It was in December so it was cold. We were glad we had our gas fireplace and stove to cook.

5. One day I was driving down the street just past Target and noticed that the ground was really bumpy and almost wavy. I thought my tire was flat so I pulled into the Library building on Newport Way and got out of the car. That's when I noticed the trees all around were almost bouncing and swaying. The woman in the car in front of me got out too and said she thought it was an earthquake. Which it turned out to be (I think a 6.3 or something). Sidenote: The doors in our house never fit right in the jams after that! How inconvenient!

Okay, so there's six, not five.

6. When my family was visiting in November one year we all went down town Seattle to do some site seeing. We were bombarded by a throng of protestors (who were protesting fur clothing). They were holding signs of skinned animals and bloody clothing. These people meant business...my family was a little bewildered by that. Ahhh, only in Seattle!

Okay, so now your turn!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Go Jess!

My adorable niece, Jessica was nominated for Homecoming Queen at Weber High in Ogden, Utah. I went to Weber High and I remember Homecoming Queen was a major deal there. Jessica is the absolute sweetest girl out there. I'm not kidding. I don't think she's ever been in trouble--for anything. She is also a 4.0 student and in the FFA (she's an amazing botonist), and an amazing pianist. She feels funny having been nominated as she feel she is not your basic cookie cutter beauty (not a Warriorette, cheerleader or SBO). But I feel Weber High has actually made a wise decision (for once). No one else I know has more character. I love you Jessie! Thanks for being such a great example to all of the little girls in the family.

Photo: My nieces Savannah, Maddi and Jess on Christmas Eve. I love this picture! I love my nieces.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Woman, a Vacuum and a Mission

Yes, I am attached to my vacuum. Some people spend a lot of money on plasma screens, iPhones, designer jeans...nope, not me. I spend hundreds of dollars on vacuum cleaners. My Dyson, or as I like to call it, "Old Reliable," died not long ago. I would go into details about his slow, painful demise but it's still too difficult to talk about.


Enter: The "Riccar," the newest member of the family. What a name, right? It flows. Not unlike his smooth pivoting casters. This bad boy can clean anything and I do mean ANYTHING. He is quickly becoming my favorite child. Why spend so much money on a vacuum cleaner? My husband and kids tell me I'm a real neat freak...and I admit that might be the tiniest bit true. Hey, at least I can admit it.

First Day of School

If you have a blog I think it's some kind of unwritten rule that you have to do "the first day of school blog." So, wanting to abide by unwritten rules, here are the kids all decked out in their new school threads, posing for pictures...poor things. Alex wouldn't allow that. He's in 7th grade..., duh. Olivia was excited for school, as usual.
Here's the cuteness on his first day of kindergarten, or any kind of school, for that matter. He didn't do pre-school and neither did his siblings, so we'll see how it turns out with him. He was, I think, overly excited for school. It reminded me of those days Martin would go back to the U after summer break. You wouldn't think a grown man would be so uncontrollably excited to go to class, but Martin was. I get nauseous just thinking about that. He had pretty much this same expression on his face.


Isaac kept telling me to take more pictures so I've got about a million of these. Usually he hates pictures. But that's what school will do for you.




He was pretty cute getting on that bus. Such a giagantic bus, and three 5 year olds on it. Notice he brought his bff, "Tippy." Tippy is his little white beanie baby he got a while ago. We don't know why he's called Tippy. We don't ask. Mrs. Duke's kindergarten is always allowed to bring a stuffed friend on the first day.

And yes, I cried okay?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wonder Woman Fun

So Martin reminded me of something super funny that I hadn't thought about for a long time. Do you remember that Wonder Woman had a lasso that when she puts you in it, you have to tell the truth? How cool would that be? I want a truth lasso so I can use it with my kids, my sisters, my neighbors, the mailman...okay, maybe that's weird.

But still....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Getting back to our vacation...We also drove to Cascade Falls in Moran State Park and here's some pictures. It was so amazing and if it had been warmer ouside, I would have stood in it, and then shook the water off like a dog. But, ooowee, that's some cold water!

Another photo of the Cuteness. He was not happy that we had to hike .2 miles to get there.
The fam using the timer on my terrible little camera.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Orcas Island

We just got back from Orcas Island and I didn't get a chance to post other pictures. This photo was taken where we were staying at Smugglers Villa which is just outside of the town of Eastsound. We had beautiful sunsets as the beach faces the Northwest. It was so beautiful.
Of course, although we had all kinds of fun stuff to do there like hiking, kayaking, shopping, etc, all the kids wanted to do was swim at the pool. And, might I add, the mercury rarely hit 70 degrees. I was freezing just watching the kids in the pool and when they finally managed to convince me to get in I nearly had a cornonary episode. Seriously, when does it get warm enough there to need a pool? I spent a lot of time in the hot tub. Luckily, we had beautiful views behind the pool and we could see the beach from there. We couldn't drag Alex from the pool.
One day we dragged the kids to Moran State Park, which is, by the way, is green and amazing. At the top of Mt. Constitution there's this beautiful view of the San Juan's. And there's a huge tower where on clear days you can see Mt. Baker. It wasn't that clear this day, but we could see across the water to Victoria and Anacortes. This was Isaac's favorite part by far. He kept climbing up and down the stairs. The tower was built as a fire look out in the early 1900's.