Thursday, January 31, 2008

Adam's breakfast

Adam wakes up hungry . . . not a little hungry . . . EXTREMELY HUNGRY.

Today he had a huge bowl of Cinnamon toast crunch. (Trent doesn't even eat this big of a bowl)

Then I started emptying the dishwasher. I noticed the dishes did not seem clean and it appeared that the soap dispenser did not fully open. There was still a lot of wet soap in it. Just then the phone rang. I got off the phone 2 minutes later and look down at the dishwasher (where Adam is always trying to help) and notice his face is all red. I realize he stuck his hand in the soap and put it in his mouth. I pick him up and try to get the soap out of his mouth and then the throwing up started. He puked and puked and puked . . . and puked and coughed and puked. It was awful. On the plus side I am certain he did not digest any soap. On the flip side I am certain he did not digest any cinnamon toast crunch either.


Sorry for sharing. I don't think he'll try the soap again. He keeps pointing to the dispenser thing and babbling loud, I am sure his gibberish when translated is this. . . "Mom, that soap is disgusting. Don't ever put it in your mouth. Trust me on this cuz I know first hand!"

My running Goal

I set a goal to run 15 times in four weeks. I posted my little goal thingy over there. As you can see, it shows that I have run 11 times so far. . . but that is the problem. I have actually run 13 times. One time I did my run and calibrated my Nike plus. Apparently a calibrating run doesn't count. How dumb is that? And then today I started running and then it started raining. Having just read my friend's blog about ruining her Ipod while running in the rain, I raced to my house and took the ipod off (I also stopped running because it was pouring). When I stopped I had only run .44 miles. I waited at my house until the rain let up a little and then had to run again (because my car and my kids were at my neighbor's house). It is not that far (.3 miles) but I sprinted. So I actually ran .75 miles (not a lot I know, but it is the rain's fault). But my Ipod only sees the .44 and if it is less that .5 miles it does not count as a run.

I am going to reach my goal. I need 2 more runs in 4 days. My Nike plus will not think I have done it. Oh well. All of you in the blogoshpere will know and that is enough for me.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Repairo Auto

If I were a witch, that would be one of the most valuable spells. Repairo Auto. Cars are such wonderful tools, but when things go wrong I HATE THEM. It always takes more time than anyone thought. It always cost more than anyone thought. It always involves more people and more coordinating than anyone thought. So . . . here is the car repair story. It might be boring (if so, skip it). It might make you want to give us your car (if so . . . call! ha ha!). It might make you cry (OK , only me).

Trent driving.

Check engine light illuminates. (big word huh?)

Trent exits freeway.

Car dies.

It is 40 degrees and rainy and 9:30 p.m. (cars never do choose very convenient times to die, do they?)

We tow it to the closest place that we have been to only once before.

Our neighbor brings Trent home (Thanks Jeff!)

They call.

We need . . . blah blah,blah blah . . . . . blah, blah, . . . think it is . . . . yada, yada, yada . . . $one thousand Five hundred eighty six dollars.

We say OK.

They work and work and then call to say!

Well, it looks like you have another problem, the ECU (or the car's computer or its brain) is out, you need a new computer. That will be an additional 870 dollars. But it is working now and you don't have to get a new computer, but without it the check engine light will never go off and none of the indicator lights will work.

I went to pick up the car (without replacing the computer) so we could think about it and also get another opinion. The owner and the mechanic were both very kind and helpful as they explained to me exactly what they had done and how they know that the ECU needs to be replaced. The whole time I listen intently and look into their eyes and try to ask "good" questions all the while trying my best to judge their character because let's be completely honest, I know NOTHING about cars and they could be telling me complete lies and I would have no way of knowing.

I asked what would be wrong with not fixing the ECU and they said nothing, but that we could never pass state inspection again! Oh . . . well then we have to fix it.

So I called and called and called and every place told me that they really doubted the ECU went out. . . that rarely happens. They each gave me their estimates and we decided to take it to a Honda dealership for a 2nd opinion and also because they told me it would be between 700 and 800 dollars to replace an ECU if that was in fact the problem.

They looked it over. They called. They told me exactly what the first place told me and then said it would be 1250 dollars to fix. What?????? On the phone you said 700-800 and now 1250? They came down to 1050. I told them we had a firm quote for 870 and I was coming to get the car.

We took it back to the first place . . . they fixed it. . . they were able to find a refurbished ECU that has a warranty and the final (second) price was 470 dollars.

I think we may have found a mechanic. They were honest with me, frugal, helpful, glad to let me take it for a second opinion, and quick to fix it.

If you ever need one, give me a call!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I feel blessed.

The past couple of days have been a little trying. As Trent was driving home from work Tuesday evening, we were chatting on the phone when he commented that the "check engine" light had come on. I asked him if the gas cap was on tightly. He answered that he had not gotten gas that day. I asked if there was any change in the car's performance. He answered that it seemed to be the same. I asked if the temperature was normal. He answered that it was. Since he was only 10 minutes from home he was just going to finish the drive. I told him I would see him in a few minutes and then hung up the phone to get a few things done before he got home. Immediately the phone rang again and it was Trent saying that the car completely died. He was stuck in the middle of the road in the cold, rain. I called a tow truck and called our neighbor, Jeff. Jeff very graciously went and picked up Trent.

The sad part is that it will cost just shy of 2500 dollars to fix. I am rather attached to money apparantly because I am having a hard time parting with it!

So then, why do I feel blessed? Well it has been cold and rainy here for a week. And miraculously every morning at 5:10 a.m. it stops raining just so Amy, Nora, and I can go running. I mean -- you have to feel pretty special when you realize the heavens (and clouds) are parting just long enough for you to exercise. Each day by about the 2 mile mark it starts raining again. Yesterday it was raining hard enough that I called it quits at 1.73 miles. But today I made it to 3. Of course we were walking at the end, because if we ran the rain kind of stung on your face.

So, I know, that even if the car breaks down, and I have to part with a lot of money, someone is watching over me to make sure I exercise!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Face Painting

On Monday, I took the kids to the Children's museum. They really enjoy going. Their favorite activity to do there is the face painting booth. There is a bench and mirrors and a lot of crayola face/hand crayons. Every time we go, the booth is in a slightly different place. Every time we go, I secretly hope we never come upon it. I don't know what it is about face painting but my kids love to go all out with it. I probably should admire their unabashed zeal for life and allow them to enjoy those few precious years where they are not self conscious of appearances, but the problem is that I am self conscious of their appearances. Madelyn loved her final look! She did not even want to bathe that night assuring me that it would not come off on her sheets because it is completely dry. Now the good news is that things do get better as they age. Here is Catherine and she is a cat. She drew whiskers, fur and a nose and mouth. She instantly became a character actor and played the part of cat until I informed her I could not take it any longer. (I was having difficulty understanding the meows)And finally Julianne. She has arrived at self conscious. Notice the only painting adorning her body is a single balloon on her left arm which will be covered by the long sleeve. Congratulations Honey! And the crazy thing about it is that it makes me happy and sad. Happy because I don't cringe when someone looks at her decorations . . . and sad because my little girl is growing up and has a new found awareness of other's opinions of her.

Death of a phone

I have often thought that phones just aren't made to last. It seems that I buy a phone and within a couple of years the buttons stop responding no matter how hard you push, or the sound starts to fade, or the caller ID stops working. Phones today are disposable commodities. Do you remember when most people would rent their phone from the phone company because they were so expensive that most people couldn't afford to buy it. Those phones lasted forever.
Just the other day, my Mom commented that the Eccles family still had their old rotary phone and that it worked just fine. AMAZING isn't it. My guess is that their phone is 35-40 years old. There is not a chance that any of my current phones will still be around in 35 years.
Of course my phones don't always just die. Sometimes they are murdered. In fact, in this case, my phone was drowned. Adam did it. I don't think this means he will cause any harm to any other person in his life, but let this be a warning to all other phones out there. Please consider Adam armed and dangerous. Above all avoid being in a room with Adam alone -- Especially dangerous in bathrooms.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dropping like flies

Well, Julianne had to wait a long time to lose her first tooth. Then she waited a long time to lose her second tooth. And now, a mere 6 days later, the third tooth came out. Curiously, she now has about 8 very loose teeth and so maybe she will be quite toothless here soon. If that's the case, I guess I'll have to use that baby food grinder once again so she doesn't starve!


Check out this picture. You might have to click on it to see what it really is. It is my blog (every entry from 2007) all formatted to print. I am so excited. I downloaded the Blurb software and signed into my blogger account and in about 5 minutes all my text and photos from my blog was downloaded and in a publishing software. It took about 2 hours of moving things around to maximize the space (they put one post per page and some of my posts were so small I could fit 3 or 4 per page). And now I ordered it. My 2007- Just what am I thinking. . . blog book. It was $44 for 80 pages, hardcover, plus shipping! I plan to print out a book for each year! Good bye journal, hello Blurb!

Also, you can print a copy for yourself on your printer --it does have For proofing only written diagonally on it as a watermark--, but it doesn't really interfere with reading it or seeing the photos).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Little House

It took us almost 3 years, but we just finished reading out loud the entire 9 book set of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House Series. I had read these books as a girl, and I remembered liking them, but I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading them as an adult and with my children. There were many nights that I continued reading (even though I was fairly confidant that the girls were asleep) because I wanted to know what happened next. I think the stories of a simpler, much harder time taught my girls some very valuable lessons in gratitude. It is quite a juxtaposition of times-- ours and Laura's. She relishes the first "real" doll she gets, but is said to part with her "corn cob" doll . . . while my kids have 14 dolls that they rarely play with. Laura's family nearly starves during the long winter and lives off of a wheat roll for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for months and my family complains when we have the same meal in the same month (except pizza and mac n' cheese, of course). I especially loved These Happy Golden Years (when she marries Almanzo) and Farmer Boy (the story of Almanzo's childhood). The books have such an optimistic tone that when we started The first four years I was so surprised by how devastating life was for her and Almanzo. More than once I cried while trying to read. (Their crops failed each year -- hail, wind, drought, freezes; their son dies at 3 weeks old; their home burns down; they get in so much debt they eventually lose their homestead claim and move onto their tree claim, drought kills all their trees and they cannot own up on the tree claim, they both contract dyptheria and Almanzo suffers a stroke at age 27 I think which renders him partially paralyzed and so Laura must help him even more to keep up the farm.) It makes my first four years of marriage seem like paradise. I am so grateful for the times I live and the challenges I have.
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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The First day of Magic

We concluded our drive to Orlando on Saturday, Dec 29th. We had beautiful weather. It was close to 85 degrees and sparkling blue skies. We got something to eat, picked up our 6 day magic your way park hopper passes, went grocery shopping and then checked into our house. By the time we were all situated and ready to go we headed to Disney World around 4:00 p.m. We hadn't always planned to end the day in the park, but when we realized that the difference in price between 5 day MYWPH and 6 day MYWPH was 2 dollars per ticket, we decided to splurge and spend the extra 10 bucks for another half day in the park. (For all the details of the money we spent check out my other entry -- The Disney money game). We were excited to have this day to take our time, enjoy the smaller things, and do the events that might not make it into our busy agendas on the days when we open the park. We decided (of course) to spend our extra day in the Magic Kingdom. We parked and walked to the Transportation center. There you have to decide how you will get to the Magic Kingdom. There are 2 ways . . . the monorail and the ferry. We decided to take the ferry and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The kids were taking it all in. Isn't it beautiful? Who could have asked for a more perfect day?
Here is Dad and the gang waiting to get on the boat. (Yes, I do dress my kids alike at Disney world. They are so much easier to find that way! and they are so cute that way!)All aboard!
Mom and the kids on the ferry boat. (We were glad to take the ferry this day because it was nice and relaxing and the weather was warm. It is also super easy with a stroller. We took it both ways, but on our 2 other days in the Magic Kingdom, we took the monorail. The monorail is not very scenic and although you can get on it just pushing your stroller there is a bit more maneuvering required, but it is a bit faster than the ferry. Also the freezing cold weather we had on our other 2 days didn't exactly make you want to get on a windy, outdoorsy, ferry boat.)You just have to wonder what is he thinking? "Where are they taking me? It looks so fun! But what is it?"As this was our "leisure" day, we immediately stopped and posed at the main entrance. From there we split up. Trent headed to Splash Mountain to pick up fast passes and the kids and I headed down Main Street. We went in and out of all the shops. The kids really like seeing all the merchandise. Ok, actually they loved it!
I couldn't even keep Adam seated in the stroller. He thought each new stuffed animal was the most exciting thing ever!I took him out of the stroller and he started filling it with all his new friends.
We were quickly joined again with Trent (who probably set land speed records as he ran all over the park to get our fast passes). We found a jewelry store with all the charms and let the girls each select 2 new charms for their disney charm bracelets we had purchased on our trip to Disneyland 18 months ago. Julianne chose 2 Sleeping beauty charms, Catherine chose Cinderella's castle & a ballet slipper, and Madelyn chose a different Cinderella castle & a Belle charm. The charm bracelets have been big hits with the girls, but that just wouldn't do for Adam. We looked and looked and found a cute set of the 8 cars in Cars. We didn't buy it that day, (in case we found something better), but we never did and so we bought his cars on Friday.
As we made our way down main street, we ended up in front of the castle at 5:45 pm right as the Cinderella's holiday wish show began. She wishes that the castle would be all decorated for the holidays. They said there are a quarter of a million lights on it to give the ICY look. Again, the kids . . . well, they were in AWE!
Next we entered Fantasy land. Without fast passes for any of the rides and it being late in the day, all the rides had hour long waits. We bypassed them all knowing we would catch them another time and went on Cinderella's Golden Carousel. Our ridemax tips had let us know that pretty much regardless of the time of day the carousel had little or no wait.
As we kept walking, we stopped and let the kid's play at Pooh's Playful Spot. It is a cute little play area for kids mostly designed for the 5 and younger crowd. Although it is cute, it is the kind of place to hang out only when you have nowhere else to be. For us, it was the perfect escape from the crowds. (I don't think I have mentioned yet, that it was CROWDED. . . not just a little crowded but very, very, very crowded. The week following Christmas, through New Year's day and then the next few days are THE VERY BUSIEST days at Disney world. But that couldn't keep us away!)
We then made our way over to Toon town. Toon town is full of things that are best enjoyed at your leisure. We went through Minnie's Country house and the kids enjoyed trying out all the chairs and activities.
The kids especially like playing around in Minnie's kitchen. It had all sorts of "surprises" inside.
Here we are on Minnie's front patio.
This is at Mickey's Country House. The kids loved that it was still all decorated for Christmas.
In the back of Mickey's house is the Judge's Tent and the Toontown Hall of Fame. We were able to see Mickey and get his autograph.
There is a train station at the back of Toon town and so we hopped aboard and road the Walt Disney World Railroad to Main Street, USA.
Yes, not the best picture of the gang . . . but then they can't all be great, can they???
Along Main street, we enjoyed the Spectromagic Parade. Our kids (especially Adam) really enjoy the parades. The songs and dancing and the chance to see so many characters make them favorites.
A little later it was time for the firework show called Wishes. It was great. It is amazing how well the fireworks are timed to the music. From here Trent ran to get another fast pass for us (Winnie the Pooh)
Then we all went to the Hall of President's. It is a great activity to do when everyone is tired (or hot or cold) as there is no line, and it is indoors. Since we wanted to do every single thing at Disney, we thought now would be the best chance. Also we were killing time, we could not use our Splash Mountain fast passes until 10:00 p.m. and so we learned a little history. The kid's did not LOVE it, but they seemed to enjoy it. I was surprised how much I was enjoying it -- my brain seemed to ache trying to remember when last I learned American history -- that is until Madelyn informed me of her urgent and immediate need to go pee. I guess I'll have to review American History another time.
Following the fireworks, we headed over to Splash mountain to use our fastpasses. This is Julianne's favorite ride. Since Madelyn and Adam did not go on it, we took turns. First, Julianne and I went.
Look carefully and you will see our picture on the back row of the toboggan. Julianne had her face delightfully covered by the person's hand in front of us. Next it was time for Trent and Catherine. Catherine grew to love Splash mountain by the end of the trip, but was unsure about it this first time. She doesn't even appear in the photo at the end because she is ducking so low. Butt, here is Catherine's favorite spot. (Aren't I clever with the word play???) She told everyone about the bear's bottom and giggled and giggled.

Despite having 1 more fast pass for Winnie the Pooh, the kids were getting tired and so were we so we called it a day and left the park about 11:00 p.m.
But for 6 hours in the park we did a lot . . . 1 parade, 1 fireworks show, 1 castle show, and 10 attractions. We did all of them without waiting at all!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Little Gym

Here is Madelyn running up to get her Little Gym Medal. I don't know if you can see how excited she is, but let me assure you she was

Here are her 3 friends who take the class with her!

And here is Mommy and Adam in a picture Madelyn just had to take!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Catherine's 6th Birthday

Catherine was so excited on her birthday morning when she opened the garage and found a brand new bike waiting for her!!! Then it started to rain, and she did not get to ride it to school that day. She has ridden it now several times and she sure can go fast!

Here are her birthday cupcakes. The whole party was tinkerbell themed with the colors green and yellow. As the girls arrived to the party, they got sprinkled with pixie dust (glitter lotion and glitter fingernail polish) so that they wouldn't scare away the fairies. We played Fairy, Fairy, Human (Duck duck goose) and Red Fairy (just like red rover, but I made up this poem. . .
Red Fairy, Red Fairy stop being so scary; Send Catherine right over before things get hairy!

Then we walked to this field by our house that has a lot of trees. I had printed 21 pictures of Tinkerbell and my sister had tied them to the trees. All the girls had so much fun hunting for fairies. They ran and ran and ran. Then we played hide 'n' seek in the fairy forest. The kids all seemed to have a great time.

Did I mention that there were 20 -6 year old girls at the party? That means that there was a lot of screaming and squealing. Little girls are sure cute, but they are noisy!

Opening some of her presents!
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The Second tooth!

Julianne finally lost her 2nd tooth today! She pulled it out all by herself in the middle of dance class. It is one of the front teeth. The only other one she has lost is the other front tooth (way back in July) and as you can see the new one is already there.
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Friday, January 11, 2008

The Drive to Orlando

We started at 6:00 in the morning. The kids had their PJ's on, a pillow, blankie, and (of course) hot chocolate. Our kids are addicted to hot chocolate in the morning like most people are addicted to coffee. They are excited to go. We are excited to go. After loading up and traveling approximately 1.6 miles, we stopped at a gas station to fill up. As we slowed down, Catherine perked up and said, "Are we out of Texas?"

It was going to be a long, long drive!

Here we are 2 1/2 hours into the drive. We are all still smiling. Everyone is enjoying the new coloring books, the activities and the beautiful scenery.
Oh, and did I mention, how much we love watching DVD's. Just look at Madelyn, watching a movie and coloring. Eventually. . .
She fell asleep. . . but thenWelcome to Louisiana! Home to the worst drivers (as evidenced by the 5 car accidents we came upon). We got to sit in a lot of traffic in Louisiana . . . and that doesn't exactly endear a place to you. And then . . .It started raining and raining. Let's just say Louisiana was not our favorite state. Who is sick of the rain and traffic???"I am" Adam says as he raises his hand!Soon enough the storm stopped, we left Louisiana, Passed through Alabama, Passed through Mississippi, and as we entered Florida we were even graced with this faint Rainbow. . . (Look hard, you'll see it). We took that as a sign our trip would be great!Hey look kids! There is a sign! Disney world this way! We're almost there!
Kids? Kids? Now they're asleep!
But with this sign ahead, they all woke up.

Doesn't Adam look excited?