Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Mr friend Heidi just wrote about her personal challenge to give up chocolate for Lent this year. No, we are not Catholic- but I have always thought that this is a good idea. Making a personal and spiritual committment to give up something that will inevitably make you better for a long enough space of time that it could actually become an ingrained habit seems like a genius idea- especially if everyone does it together and can offer support. I remember my band director doing this in high school, and even tried it one year. I gave up candy. I made sure to specify to myself that it was candy that I was giving up so that I could still have all the cookies and cakes I wanted. . .

My aunt is also doing some challenge with a friend to give up refined sugar. Theirs seems more like a competition where as soon as one cracks, the other can binge again. I also like that idea, but Ross won't challenge me- he knows I would win! :)

Well, I have decided to join Heidi, and give up something that Ross and I have decided to try and cut out of our diet anyway- carbonation. Really, carbonation is terrible for you! It is yummy and refreshing, but completely destructive to your body. We have cut down a lot- especially considering Ross likes soda with EVERY meal and EVERY snack. We have only had it with occasional meals, celebrations, and really bad head aches.

I wanted to cut down on carbonation partly because of the health benefits, partly for the fact that carbonation wreaks havoc on any weight-loss diet, but mostly because my mother has a condition that does not allow her to have any carbonation of any sort without terrible cramps and horrible nausea. We are fairly certain it is a gall bladder problem, but she has altered her diet in a way that makes it possile for her to avoid a surgery to remove the gall bladder. Major self-control! She is amazing! With all of the problems I have had with bladder and kidney infections, I have wondered if maybe I could have some of the same problems in a less extensive form. If that is true- I would like it to stay where it is at so that I don't have to give up my french fries and potato chips (my mom has also had to give up all fried foods)- at least not until next year's Lent. . .

I hereby vow to not drink any carbonated beverage of any sort (including slurpees) for the next 40 days. Does anybody else want to join me and give up one of their vices?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Melissa's Blog Game

I saw an opportunity to get something free- how could I pass it up? :)

Here's a fun blog game courtesy of my sister-in-law Melissa.
The first 3 people to respond to this post will get something made by me.My choice. Made especially for you.

Restrictions and Limitations:
1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
2. What I create will be just for you.
3. It will be done this year.
4. You have no clue what it's going to be, because I don't even know what it's going to be!
5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The Catch:
You must re-post this on your blog and offer the same to the first 3 people who comment on your post and agree to do the same!

So get ready for your mystery treat but be prepared to share the love!
Oh, and be sure to post a picture of what you get when you get it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Books for January

Ross asked me a few weeks ago how many books I had read in 2008. I tried to remember all the books I had read. After I hit 150 on my count, Ross said he didn't believe me. That was frustrating because I know I was missing a lot. This year, I have decided to keep better track of all the books that take up my spare time. I know that the count will be much lower this year than last year as I will be spending a large portion of my regular reading time working on my lesson plans. I know it is almost the end of February, but here is my list for January.

Books I Read For My Job:

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
I expected to hate this- but I did not. It was graphic and the writing was, well, a little awkward throughout. I found the plot to be a little contrived- especially Langdon's presence there. I did enjoy it, however, and found more than enough underlying themes to pop out some great lesson plans for it.

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by Shakespeare
I love this play. It is historical and poetic and violent and symbolic. I always have a crush on Marc Antony, and I find it interesting how Shakespeare can paint him so bold and cunning in Caesar, and so weak and foolish in Cleopatra. I cry when Brutus falls on his sword every time- poor guy. What a tormented life he must have had. I am a Roman history buff- it is all so fascinating.

Pride and Predjudice by Jane Austen
This was a fast read, and I pumped out this lesson plan faster than any other I have written. I think it had a little something to do with the fact that I have now read that dear book about 25 times, and no, I am not overexagerating. Oh Mr. Darcy- why are you so kind to Wickham and that slutty Lydia. I always wish that he will banish them or something, but his mercy always wins out.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
One of the best books of all time. One of the best authors of all time. Remember how I named one of my daughters after the main character in A Little Princess? I find myself relating to Mary and getting a little crush on Dickon and his Yorkshire accent. I cry myself silly in many different places including, but not limited to, the part where Ben Weatherstaff explains his promise to Lily, the part when Colin stands, the part where Mary notices that the picture of Colin's mother has been uncovered, and of course, the last page where the master and his son are seen walking side by side together.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

This is my favorite of this series. I find that Rowling and her power of description really take flight here, especially in the graveyard scene. I love the intricasies of the plot, and the little side stories like Rita Skeeter and SPEW.

Books Read in My Special Me-Time Place (AKA- the books read in the bathroom)

Building the Leader in Yourself by some guy

Building the Leaders Around You by the same guy as the last book

Obviously, I was not too terribly impressed with those. Way too many sports analogies for me. Ross liked them though, so they must be targetd more to males.

The Caterbury Tales by Geoffery Chaucer

This was not nearly as entertaining as I remember it being in college. I love the narration, and the introduction for the wife of Bath. Chuacer was as witty as ever, but I wasn't as drawn to it as I was when reading it for my British Lit. class. This definitely took me the longest to read of all the books I read this month.

The Voyage of the Frog by Gary Paulsen

This was a typical Paulsen read. A survival story- only this one was set at sea on a small schooner. It was informational, and one that pre-teen boys would love. I found it well worth the dollar I paid for it in my little sister's book order.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm Back

It has been awhile. I am sorry. Please take this obscene amount of pictures and posts that trail into the 'Older' section as a token of my remorse.

Our Weekend Getaway

This weekend Ross and I kept our New Year's resolution by having our first 'Over Night'. My dear friend Brittany offered to watch the girls for us while we ran away to Salt Lake. It was a lot of fun. We played in the pool at the hotel, and then played in the room at the hotel. We then got all dolled up to use our gift certificates to The Star of India. That is right, Ross and I lost our Indian food virginity.

It was good.
There were elephants.
It was spicy! :)
He was dashing!
When we got back to the hotel, I got some frantic IM's from Brittany (whose phone was dead, and heart was broken- it had been a bad day for her!) telling me that Sara had been screaming since we had left. I told her to put Sara in crib and let her cry herself to sleep, which happened in about 10 minutes. At that point, Emma had already been fed and put to bed- which was amazing in and of itself, especially since Sara was crying the whole time. Brittany did an amazing job!
After enjoying some sorely missed MSNBC (Oh cable TV, sometimes we do miss certain parts of you) and sleeping for a few hours, I woke up to a little voice telling me to come home and get Sara. Ross was entirely patient with my mommy-stress, and happily drove us back home where we found the house dark and quiet- just as it should be. At that point it was about an hour before Sara usually wakes up for an early morning feeding/occasional screaming fest. Ross and I decided to snuggle on our couch and wait to hear some signs of wakage from Sara's room, and then steal away with her before Brittany woke up. We planned to leave a note and Ross's phone for her to find after a nice long sleep without our demon child wreaking any more havoc on her fragile psyche.
Our plan didn't work. Brittany awaoke from an odd dream and came downstairs to get online for a while. (Yet another reason we are friends- I do a LOT of my online work and mindless surfing in the middle of the night!) We were discovered. We spent a good 10 minutes aplogizing back and forth- me for my screaming child, and putting on her the burden of watching my children overnight for free after she had found out she had a terribly high price to pay for an unexpected car repair, and her for being what she thought was a bad babysitter.
Let me set the record straight right here. Brittany is a wonderful babysitter! Emma LOVES her and has been asking to go play with Brittany ever since she left. Sara was sick and grumpy, and completely unwilling to let anything soothe her besides exhaustion and breast-milk. Those are two things that Brittany would not have been able to provide no matter how good of a day she had experienced before showing up at my doorstep.
Also- Ross and I had a MARVELOUS time on our over-night, and were not one bit upset about coming back to get Sara. We understood- we live with the girl! We know how tiresome she can be, and she is ours! We had a good 12 hours of child-free enjoyment, and we milked every last second of it- and yes, I VERY MUCH include the hours we slept in the hotel room, and the hour we snuggled on the couch together while recounting silly memories of our dating years. Don't tell my mom, but that was not the first time we had ever snuggled on a couch while not wanting to wake up the tenants in the master bedroom. . . :)
Anyway- when I heard Sara start to rustle about, I went in and got her dressed, and we headed back to the hotel. Sara enoyed her much needed breastmilk, and Ross and I enjoyed the amazingly comfortable bed and all the extra pillows as well as the temperature control. Our room at home is always too hot, but if we set the gague any cooler than 62, then Sara's room ends up too cold. All three of us had a great complimentary breakfast, and we headed home completey satisfied that, even though we had made a special trip home, we had still kept our resolution.
When we got home, Emma was not really all that excited to see us, and was sad to see Brittany leave. "No, Brinny can't go home! Brinny needs to stay here with me!" Brittany- thank you so very much for giving us the best day of this entire month thus far (not likely to be beat in the next 8 days!) It was lovely even if it was not perfect, and I am sooooo grateful for friends like you who are willing to do things like that for me. We are more than willing to return the favor in whatever form you deem worthy. I love you- thank you for still being my friend after my baby put you through Hell.

The only thing I like about my girls being simultaneously ill. . .

. . . Are the simultaneous deep-sleep naps they take during the day. Yes, those are leopard print sheets on my King Sized bed. I think every couple should have a good set of leopard print sheets for the Valentine season! ;)
Also- before you judge me too much, you should know that my mother bought me those sheets while I was in high school. That is a true story!

Sara Bear Turns One

February 5th was Sara's birthday. I cried. On the 8th, after I had finished weeping over the rapid pace of my baby's life, we invited some family and friends to come and join in the festivities of her birthday. Usually when we invite people to come out to our house, most of the people invited do not show up for various reasons (excuses). It is too far, they are busy, they have to study, they are too tired, they have no gas, they don't really love me, etc. For this reason, Ross and I felt fairly safe in inviting pretty much everyone we have ever met to come out to our humble abode to eat cake and potatoes. They all came! It was awesome!! Not one single invited person opted out of this particular celebration! We felt very happy to have so many visitors, and I felt bad that we did not have quite enough food to go around. It was a fun day, and we are grateful for all those who came to share with us in this monumental step for me. . .err. . . Sara.

This picture is out of order- but I thought it was a cute one of Emma enjoying Sara's booty. As mentioned, we served baked potatoes (not enough of them. . . sorry) along with a very nice green salad provided by my lovely mother.
This is Jake. He is my nephew and I always have to remind myself that I am an aunt when I see him. I pretty much consider him one of my cousins since he is the same age as a large handful of my Wallace cousins. We play Guitar Hero together, and he ROCKS!
Sara was a little overwhelmed by all the people and noise- but she loved her potato roll with jam on it. (Also, the potato rolls were heavenly thanks to the recipe I stole from Brittany (Hatch) Bowen's recipe blog.)
Yes, this is my dad is flipping me off for taking his picture. Nothin' but love in our family! :)
"Mom, Dad, pretend you like each other." Emma, Sam, Max (one of the cutest kids in creation!), Jake.
Dana. I am not sure how she managed to snag that entire couch when it was pretty much standing room only!
Caulene and Heather.
Nate and Carrie.
Sara was afraid of her cake and was confused as to what to do about the candle.
Emma helped.
She SCREAMED when I took it away to cut a slice for her. It was a pretty mean trick. . .
Ever the fastidious lady, Sara preferred a fork to the bare handed approach.
Max ate apporximately 12 pieces of cake because he would eat the left overs on all of the abandoned plates.
Remember when I called her a lady. . .
A rousing game of "Hit the Balloon Around" was enjoyed while we waited for all of the eating to wind down. It was awesome.
Only very few valuables and one small child were harmed in this particular match- not bad statistics I would say! :)
When the potatoes were gone and the cake was cleaned up, we had presents. Emma was a great helper and was probably more excited about the whole process than Sara was. Sara caught on though, when she realized what was hidden in all the pretty bags.
The Wish List was obviously read and taken into consideration, because Sara got no toys, and lots of fun books! It was great, and I was very thankful for the consideration put into her presents. Sara is loved!
The amazing part was that not one book was doubled at all. She got some books with cool features to0- ie: shiny glitter, squeaker buttons, flaps that move, and one with moving animation as the page is turned. Very cool!
Ross and I got her cups. We are awesome parents like that. . .
By the end, all the kids in the house were lending a hand. It was really fun!
I also got a large addition to my collection of cute gift bags. Don't be too surprised or offended if your next gift from me comes in one of the bags you see. I have only ever in my life bought 2 gift bags. The rest have all been recycled. I am cheap like that- blame my mom! :)
Ross and I also got her some of her favorite Sweet Potato Poofs. They are fun little snacks that contain real fruits and vegetables and are laced with Baby Crack. Look at her ripping into the package just barely out of the gift bag!
Happy Birthday Bear! We love you, even if you are an old lady toddler now!
This is Emma reading the Dog Book. Each page is full with fun stuff like samples of fur, lifted flaps, and moving parts like the dog in the bath who shakes his head, and the pug by the tree who lifts his leg. "All dogs poop. All dogs pee." No, I am not kidding! It is a very educational piece of children's literature, and we love it!
When all the guests had left, and the birthday girls (Emma thanked me for all of her birthday books a number of times. "Mom, I love my birthday books, and Sara does too.") were busy watching Space Buddies (thanks Dad- it is super cute and just the right amount of hypnotical), Ross congratulated me for a party well done with a few of these? Are you jealous? You should be!

Real Men. . .

. . . do the dishes one handed while holding a baby when their wives are sick. Some women, like me, are extra lucky to have a real man with the aforementioned capability as well as a nice tush!

Waiting at the VA

Once every other month or so, Ross has to go to the VA in Salt Lake to get his blood levels checked to ensure that his prescription is at the right dosage. Every now and then, he lets his girls all tag along so that we can play in Salt Lake. This usually entails me sitting in the car for an hour with two sleeping children while I read a book. Afterwards, we use the gas stipend that the VA gives Ross to drive to Salt Lake for a fun outing somewhere.

Unfortunately, this appointment took longer than usual, so much so that it extended past the napping time for the girls. This meant that I had to put my book down, turn on Dr. Laura/ Sean Hannity (I switch back and forth because a- they are on at the same time and b- I HATE commercials with every fiber of my being) and let the girls roam around the car and entertain themselves with whatever they can find.

Sara found my discarded shoes and my last 3 tic-tacs. This is me checking to make sure that I am still hot. Do not bother me by mentioning that I was literally within inches of 6 different mirrors. Pictures never lie- mirrors sometimes do (have you never been to the circus? Oh- me neither- but still. . .) You would probably not believe me if I told you that I have an entire file on my computer dedicated to self-portraits such as these. Some call it vanity, I call it necessary.
It took her 10 minutes to figure out how to open that container and manipulate the little mint goodies inside. Very cute. She was also entranced by the fact that the container was tinted pink, so the candies that looked pink were actually white. (side note: I purchase pink products with the breast cancer ribbon on them whenever possible, and so should you!)

Yup, still as hot as can be expected after a 2 hour wait in a car with busy children and no back-up make-up.
After this, we just barely made it in time to spend part of our gas stipend on the early bird special at Texas Road House. No, we are not Senior Citizens, but we like our steaks on sale, thank you very much!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Super Bowl and Denny's

This one time, I watched the Super Bowl with Ross and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. This one time, while watching the Super Bowl, I found out about a free meal provided by Denny's.
This one time, while waiting out in the cold to receive said free meal from Denny's the manager gave Emma a free cup of hot chocolate on account of her cute pathetic whimpers.

Sara was a really good sport as we waited in line. She just sat all cozy in her carseat and made adorable faces at me.
We like free food.
No, seriously- we like free food!

We are the worst kind of sneaky muchers too. We first went to the new Denny's in AF. Just as I was getting in line the manager there was passing out 'rain check' vouchers to come back and get a free grand slam some other day. We happily took 4 of those passes, and then went to Orem and stood in the shorter line there to get our food.
In essence, that means that not ony did we get a free lunch on our 'Family Day' this week (his nights are all too busy, so we made a day of it this week), but we now have the ability to either go on two more dates for free by ourselves (possibly 4 if we feel like splitting) or even a double date. I love us and our cheapness! Dating on a budget!
Once we got in after standing in line for 30 minutes, we were seated across from a table where that individual featured with the flowing mullet had some of the most potent B.O. I have smelled in a long time. Every time the waiter walked by that table, the scent would waft our way- oh, Denny's patrons. Our experience would not have been complete without you.
Sara also used a straw for the first time. I was really proud of her when I saw her amazing suction abilities. Good job Sara-Bear!
She celebrated by pulling the straw out and flicking us all with water.
Emma was unmoved as she finished her complimentary hot chocolate.
Thank you Denny's for the free fun!