Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Marshmallow

Tomorrow is my 12 year anniversary to The Marshmallow, the name I gave to my hubby many years ago when he failed to live up to the rock hard exterior he'd always touted to be.  He's more like an M&M with marshmallow inside of it, truth be told.  He's all the gruff and grouchy until one of his girls gets hurt of she says she wants something. Then the chocolate melts and we can boing liberally on the marshmallow center.

Marshmallow people...not marshmellow.

Anyway, at this point in my life my reasons for valuing and cherishing my husband have changed since I was first married. Back then I wanted a strong provider, someone who was trustworthy, caring and a good listener. Someone who would be home each night and take me to breakfast on Sundays.  I also needed someone to support me through graduate school but that's a little truth we don't say out loud at the dinner table.

These days however, my needs are vastly different as they should be after this many years. I still need to know he'll be home every night but it's mainly so I can thrust the casserole serving spoon at him thereby transferring domestic responsibilities, tell him how horrible his children were all day, and finally feel like I'm not doing all of this alone. I exaggerate a little...I don't really "thrust", I give.

But more than a transfer of power at the end of the working day, I need him to be a good father to my kids. I need him to want to be here, to be engaged with the family and support me as the mom, the Supreme Being of All.  I need him to be "one" with me as we parent our kids. I still need him to be the provider but not in the ways I needed him to before. Now I need him provide the majority so I can do my best with our kids.

I know we all gripe about our spouses from time to time and we have our little "issues" that we deal with ongoing throughout the years.  But for the most part, what I have to gripe about is minimal and pretty inconsequential for the most part when viewed in the grandest scheme.

The Marshmallow has put forth a significant amount of effort this year in creating a safer and more fun haven for our kids.  Long has he wished for a sunken trampoline and a re-vamp of our back-back yard space.  In the spring, he dug a 12' diameter hole (4' deep) to sink the tramp, a feat which he did with a shovel, no less.  Today, he finished the little area by creating a large 12x8' sandbox next to the tramp. He hauled all of the sand by wheelbarrow down from the front to the back and if you know my yard, you know there is no access front to back besides stairs so using a wheelbarrow to transport load after load of sand isn't for the feint of heart.

Tinker loves the sandbox and she was instantly covered in sand the minute the sandbox was finished.  I happened to walk by a window a short time later and caught a glimpse of what I love about the Marshmallow summed up in one moment.  

What I love about this picture is that if you could have heard The Marshmallow talking this morning, you'd have thought the world was on his shoulders. He had "so much to do" today and it was going to take him forever.  A few minutes before this picture was taken, he was out front mowing the lawn and I assume he came 'round back to begin working on it and saw this little critter enjoying her new sandbox and he sat down to soak in her fun.  He does stuff like that...stops to "see" and experience those kids in ways I never do, or at least I don't think I do, not like I see him doing.  He genuinely experiences pleasure just in watching that kid play.  And so I love this picture because Tink is adorable in her little red glove (protecting her finger because she got a 2nd degree burn from touching the truck tailpipe earlier when we got home), as she plays in the new sandbox, Dad is enjoying his baby, and I get to look at all of his labors of love for the kids we made.

I included the below picture so you could also see the tramp better since that was the greater part of the battle.

I am so amazingly proud of this man not because he knows how to work, although for that I should be grateful also. But because he's not afraid to work hard for his family to make them safer and happier even for a short period in their lives. Sandbox lifespan: eh maybe 5 years??? Done.

I rarely tell him how awesome he is because I'm rude and horrible and he mades suggestive remarks about what we're going to do when the kids go to bed and it embarrasses me...wait, where was I?  Point is, I value him. My life would be awful without him. He is exactly who I needed when I didn't know what I needed at all.  How does that happen - we're so young and naive when we make these choices and amazingly they turn out to be the best choices we could have ever made.  It's almost like we're not making them on our own.....deep!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Post From The Past

I was reading my blog today...going back through the years. It's hard to believe I've had this blog now for 5 years. I'm so glad I've kept this blog - it is really like reading a journal and it brings back so many memories.  Over the next couple of days, I'm going to share a few of my older posts that I think are either funny, interesting or just strike me. Like this one, posted in December of 2007. I think it was a meme or something but I think it's hilarious and even a little frightening.

Things No One Knows

  • I blush when I read smut in a romance novel even though no one knows what I'm reading (I hate romance novels - many people know that though)
  • I love the painful feeling when floss bites into my tender gums, and sometimes over-do it just to feel it again and again (yeah, sick huh)
  • I wish my name wasn't Amy...maybe Pepper. You can call me Pepper if you want.
  • I love the way naked trees look against a dark makes me pensive
  • I still like the smell of paste, although I haven't sniffed it since I was a 2nd grader :)
  • Since about 2 years ago, I hate looking at myself in the mirror and avoid it when I can
  • I'm lonely most of the time, even though I enjoy spending time by myself
  • During my clepto teenaged years, I stole from a charity
  • My worst fear, it's unspeakable and makes me choke and then I can't breathe
  • I have a soft spot for homeless people and I give them the entire contents of my wallet whenever I can (usually $1 lol). I don't care what they spend it on.
  • I'm physically unable to put an ailing plant in the trash. I feel like a murderer
  • I cheated hardcore on a College Algebra final and would not have passed the class had I not done so
  • I've always ached for something big but don't know what it is

Scavenger Hunt Boredom Busters

Today I had a lot of stuff to do in my kitchen to get a bunch of apples I picked put up. True to form, my kids were at each others' throats and driving me crazy. The fact of the matter is they're just bored...bored of me, our house, each's rough right?

So in a moment of desperation I started dictating various lists to my daughters to go "find". Important stuff I need like "something rough".  Thought I'd throw them up here in case anyone else is ever desperate for a Scavenger Hunt list. I made two for the inside, and one for outside. They're not super clever - just filling the immediate need. Feel free to improvise or improve as needed!

I told them everything they found had to fit in the container provided...

Inside Scavenger Hunt #1
Something round and squishy
Something sparkly
Something you use everyday
Something warm
Something special
Something purple
Something small and squiare
Something gross
Something a baby would use
Something boring 

Inside Scavenger Hunt #2
Something the size of an apple
Something furry
Something white
Something sparkly
The tiniest blue thing you can find
Something rough
Something pointy
Something long and skinny
Something orange
Something round
Something square

Outside Scavenger Hunt
one white pebble
one red leaf
two yellow leaves
one lady bug
five sticks the size of a pencil
four round stones
three pieces of trash
two pointy leaves
a dandelion
something yellow
something black
something the size of an apple
something soft

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Organizing Kids' Clothes

If you're anything like me, organizing children's clothing that is sitting on the back burner awaiting its next foray into the closet (the hand-me-downers), is a big green monster that sits on your shoulder always chewing on the back of your brain.  In essence, it's a menace and although we should be grateful that we have this problem, (i.e. grateful that we can afford to have enough clothes to supply our growing children), the problem is still there, all over the floors of our storage rooms, piling up in mean little piles in the backs of our children's closets, under their beds and wherever else we can find room for a stack of clothes that are either grown-out of, or soon to be grown-in to. 

Like many of you folks, I went waaaaaay overboard in buying my sweet first-born girl-child ... clothing.  As in...I bought enough to clothe every girl-child born that day in Utah for a couple of years.  I've toned it down over the years as I've realized that sometimes outfits get worn once and then that was a waste of $20.  When the 2nd girl-child came along I guess I was grateful that I had so much to choose from.  She still got the shaft though because I absolutely refused to buy anything new. Ok, that's a flat lie but I didn't buy much.

Fast forward a few years later and I have successfully managed for the past 7 years to sanely manage all of those clothes that have been ceaselessly turning over.  I still have some piles here and there but I know that every few months I'll pull them all together and set them to order.  Here's what it looks like. Super easy too.

I have a couple bins in my storage room. One for clothing grown out of.  This is where all those random piles end up.  When the bin is full, I organize. There's also a bin for grown-out of shoes.

I picked up Space Bags, bless their little souls.  I pack them full, suck out the air and stack 'em up tight.  I usually need 2-3 bags per size but I label them so I know how many bags I'm looking for when I go in search of the next size up.  

The size I have just on these two shelves are 4T to 7 plus all of my baby quilts and some winter things for me and The Marshmallow. It all fits on these two shelves which is so great! I love it!  

Today, I finally was able to go through all of these clothes and I pulled everything that is too small for either of my girls  and put it in the spare room to figure out what to do with it. Most likely give it to D.I. unless someone out there could use birth to 12 months (ya, that's all that's here folks. I told you I over-did it). 
Anyway, I have loved how organized all of these clothes are and how easy it is to find what I need. It literally only takes a minute or two to find all of the clothes for a next size. And you can re-use the bags.  Nice!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer's Dwindling

As I mentioned yesterday, we had a big day planned.  We started off with Nicole's preschool Open House where Natalie had a few moments of reminiscing and Nicole had fun playing with all of the toys.  She really wanted to paint though but we'll save that for another day!

From there, we went and got my hair chopped.  Danielle, the stylist was so cute. I've never had her before but she was amazing and did exactly what I wanted. I usually have pretty vivid ideas about what I want but an obstructed image of that desire is usually what the stylist gets. I think she did a pretty good job.  Too bad my kids acted like farm animals.

Later, after I put 3/4 of Jurassic Park, the novel, behind me we headed over to the our friend's place for ice cream and slippy slide.  It wasn't really that warm at 7:30 in the evening but that didn't stop the kids, and it definitely didn't stop chattering teeth. We wrapped it up with toast, peaches, a movie and Tinker throwing a fit telling us it was time to say good-bye.


 I finally got the kids settled down asleep and I stayed up until 2am to finish Jurassic Park.  Very good ending to another day that I didn't kill my children :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Preschool For The Baby

My baby starts preschool in a week.  I feel a little startled, caught off guard about it, like I just came out of a time capsule 20 years in the future and have lost my orientation.

I have mixed feelings as I think most of us do when our children start school. Happy for their new opportunities and experiences; happy for the tiny slice of liberty it allows us as parents; and yet sadness for the loss of niavity and innocence that will surely come as a result of the exposure to the new "teachers" whether they be true teachers or the kids who will shed new light onto the meager understandings of their young world.

Today there is an Open House for the preschool as, since Bugs went to the same preschool, the teacher has moved the location which is in the basement of her home. Evidently she wanted more space for the preschool. She has expanded in the past few years to include 3 year olds. When Bugs went, it was only for 4 year olds but it was actually her first year doing preschool.

We're very excited to see the new Preschool and Tink is beside herself with anticipation. I received the invitation a few weeks ago and not being very detail-oriented mistakenly thought it was for last week. We got Tink all pumped up to go and when we arrived at the appointed time, we were disappointed and chagrined to realize that we were a week early.  The Marshmallow just rolled his eyes at my error. I guess he's used to these types of incidents living with me for the past 12 years.

I believe we have the right week now and so we'll go up there at 10 to check out the new digs, see Miss Deborah again and get Tink oriented. 

When Tink got up this morning, I told her we were going to go see Miss Deborah today. She was so excited she could hardly speak and when she did, this is what she said:

"We're going to go see Miss Deborah? I have my pretty underpants on!"

Yes she does. They're silky little rumba pants with lace rumba on the back. Tink is very fancy - do you know Fancy Nancy? This is Tink. I didn't even bat an eye to know these were her first thoughts.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wow, I Amaze Myself

I had a random thought today as I contemplated some of the things that I want to do in my life, both small and large. I startled myself with my profundity, and then found myself amusing because my profundity was rather simple and ordinary. Here goes. I am in control of my life. Hehe. Isn't that funny? What all of my personal decisions boil down to is...I am in control. If I want these things, then I am the only person in the way of achieving them. In this world, so many things are out of our control - how much our jobs pay us, how our kids behave (ok, so it's kind of in our control), weather, other people and how their decisions affect us, the prices of necessities and the list goes on. But the things that are totally within our power are our own behaviors, thoughts and decisions about our behaviors. Having said that, why then is it so difficult to achieve goals? These are the things we TRULY want! And I have control of those things! It came to me this morning...and I had a He-Man moment - I HAVE THE POWER!! I do. And now I just need to use it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Don't Want To Be Frail

What a not great day, and come to think of it, what a not great month for my health that is. I'm just so frustrated with myself. I've got several issues that keep holding me back, causing me pain and wrecking my rhythmn. Today, I had a fun day planned for the girls since they're on Spring Break. We went to The Lorax and then as a reward for Bugs bringing home another stellar report card, I took them to the Discovery Kids' Museum.  I let them play there for about an hour and a half and I would have stayed longer except that my back was killing me! All I could think of was laying down on a heating pad - like an old lady!

This back pain has been getting worse and worse ever since I got pregnant with Tink. I thought that having her would also deliver me of the pain and it did for awhile but progressively it has been getting worse and worse again to the point that I'm practically back to where I was when I was pregnant - only having a limited stance tolerance.  I'm an active person! What am I supposed to do with this?

I had an x-ray and an MRI a couple of years ago with unsignificant results (a little arthritis was all they reported) which left me basically at square one.

I wouldn't be complaining lol, probably if it was just one stupid thing I was dealing with but I also have this very painful and very annoying knee pain on both sides! I have no idea what I did but it is killing me! I feel like I walk like an old lady - I have had to modify all of my routines and even getting on my elliptical exacerbates my pain.

These are not the only things I'm dealing with but I'd only bore you with the details of arthritis, and other infirmities.  I just don't feel healthy right now mainly because exercising is difficult and being so busy doesn't help my motivation to find extra time to do things that will only make me hurt worse.  I need to figure this out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Carrot Cake Expert

The Marshmallow is addicted to the carrot cake at, of all places, Chuck-a-Rama. And before you ask...yes, it's our favorite restaurant (for the family) for a variety of reasons and anyone with children will understand why. We all eat for less than $30, anything we want in any quantity. The kids can eat noodles, fries, baby corn, hard boiled eggs, and pieces of ham and mom and dad can have grown up food or at least comfort food. And it's remarkably good for a buffet.  So we go there frequently.

I've decided to become a carrot cake expert and surely I can do better than Chuck-a-Rama, right?  Surely.  So I started tonight.

My sister gave me a cookbook for Christmas...

So far I haven't used it but I found their carrot cake recipe and decided it was a good place to start.  It calls for butter flavored crisco! Who uses that?  I guess I do...but the dough was very smooth and fluffy. Sort of like zucchini bread. In fact it tasted like zucchini bread. Is this all there is to it? I have a great zucchini bread recipe. Do I just cover it with cream cheese frosting?  Hmmm, put this away in my file cabinet in my head (wait, I might never find it again...).

I just took the cake out of the oven and lo...the middle fell a tiny bit. 's Ok.  I'm sure it'll taste the same but who wants a cake to fall?  Now I just have to wait for it to cool and then put on the frosting.  I'll report on the results - how will The Marshmallow grade my cake against Chuck-a-Rama?  I'll probably want to try other recipes. If anyone out there has a good one, shoot it my way!  Maybe I can get Chuck-a-Rama's recipe.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Shouldn't Be Allowed To Be A Grown-up

Can I tell you a secret?  If you want free electronics, like brand new iPhones and new iPads within 2 days of them being released, then go hang out at Smith's Marketplace in Bountiful in the entrance where people leave their carts.  Surely, it won't be long before you find one or both in an empty cart just waiting for you!

How, do you ask, would I know this?  Because not two weeks ago, I left my iPhone in a cart there one night when I was grocery shopping.  I realized it several hours later.  I panicked because it didn't even have a password on it and every shred of personal information about me and my entire family is on there.  I returned at 11pm. Someone had turned it in, God bless their sweet little soul. 

You'd have thought I had learned my lesson.

No. I. Did. Not.

Yesterday, I was there again with my iPad doing a little shopping for the candy decor we made yesterday and I grabbed all the bags and my Priorities...MY CHILDREN...and we got in the car and headed home looking forward to excitement and crafting all the day long.  Until I got home and instantaneously realized I had left my iPad IN THE FREAKING CART. O My Gosh.  My heart exploded in my chest as I hurtled back to the grocery store.  I did not even STOP to buckle up my Priorities in the backseat but drove at breakneck speed the 2 1/2 miles to that store where I found that no one had turned it in.  I nearly started to scream at the service attendant or CRY or both when I realized that there was a infinitesimal chance that it hadn't even left the cart yet. I walked in slow motion back over to the carts and someone had actually shoved the cart back into its cart row and never even noticed the black leather case in the cart. It was right easy for anyone to steal. But no one had even noticed it.  Except me...and I snatched it up again feeling like I was going to cry.  What the...I'm really speechless.  I mean how lucky can one person be?  I'm not kidding. I think a train is going to hit me next just for karma's sake!!

My Priorities are expressly forbidden to divulge this tale to The Marshmallow. And I will tell him at a later date...after I have buttered him up with whatever I can think of.  He will probably not ever let me buy another toy again...and I do not blame him at all.

Am I lucky? Yes. Am I stupid? Yes.

Should I be allowed to purchase expensive gadgets? The answer is clearly no.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

We Don't Just Pin To Pinterest - We Create Pinterest Stuff!

Don't you love all the little Pinterest pins alluding to the loser lives we have and all we do is pin and wish on Pinterest instead of DO stuff?

I actually am quite inspired by Pinterest. I love logging on there and immediately feeling inspired to create something cute that I pinned there. I've made so many fun things lately but today was the best. A little reminder popped up on my phone today telling me that it was time to decorate for Easter (ya, I give myself these reminders, lol) and I thought - hey! I've got some cute Pinterest stuff for Easter!  So my girls and I gathered the supplies (i.e. we talked about the Repentance process as we drove to the craft store on Sunday) and began working on several projects that I've pinned to Pinterest.  My results are never quite like the pics on Pinterest - who is ever that awesome (not me), but we got some super fantastic results, loads of candy left over, a huge mess on the kitchen table, and great kid/mom time.

Here are my girls and I being creative instead of just gawking at Pinterest stuff, which by the way is one of Bugs and my favorite things to do as we're putting off bedtime together.  Her fav thing to look at is desserts in bright colors. We tried a few and mostly gagged (chocolate dipped peeps, cream cheese frosting stuffed strawberry-cake cookies - oh my gosh, that was the sickest thing ever) but they're pretty anyway.

This is another thing we tried from Pinterest. It's curls for a little girl. I dampened her hair a bit then corkscrewed it for the day. Then let it out and look - it's beautiful!  I wish my hair would do this but it's a bit short for this look. I am CONSTANTLY jealous of this little girls' hair. It's the perfect color, texture and length. I guess mine would look like hers if I wasn't consistently damaging it. 
 Look how happy she is!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Guest Post: Throwing Your Daughter a Great Birthday Party

I've never had a guest post on my blog before but thought it might be fun to try one.  Lisa from The Party Works has some fun ideas for little girls' parties that I thought you might enjoy......

For the first couple of years birthday parties are more like a gathering with cake and lots of photos.  That is to say that 1, 2 and 3 year olds don’t really have themed parties so much as an occasion for families and a few friends to gather and celebrate their turning another year older.  Once they turn 4 or 5 it’s time to think about what kind of birthday party you want to throw for your kiddo, where they can invite their little friends and enjoy games or crafts and party favors.  Here are a few ideas for throwing your little girl a wonderful party that she will never forget!

Princess Theme
Really girly girls love to get dressed up with a tiara and wand and prance around holding court.  Decorations for the princess theme are easy to find and the tiaras and wands make great party favors to send home with your guests.  Bowls filled with sparkly costume jewelry for the girls to accessorize with can be set out among the snacks.  A craft station with lots of glue, glitter and little jewels for the girls to decorate an item of your choice, such as their own tiaras or felt princess bags. 

Tea Party Theme
Go to a thrift store and pick up a few sun hats, the bigger the better.  Note the theme in the invitation and have the girls wear their Sunday best.  Make little crust-less cucumber sandwiches and break out a tea set (plastic is best), with saucers, teapot and sugar caddy.  The girls will love the cute little finger foods and giant hats they get to pick out.  If the birthday is in the spring months this is ideal for setting up small tables outside with little vases full of flowers and place cards for the guests.

Lisa is a guest post blogger who loves throwing her kids birthday parties and has tried both Princess and Tea Party for her daughter and used Super Mario party supplies for her son.