Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mysterious Ways

So, today, Ketchup Prince Consort got an early Christmas present: an awesome job offer!

It's in sales, not accounting (the field he's getting his degree in and which he would like to continue in when he's done), but it's a great improvement over his last position. The base salary is $3000/yr. over what he was getting-- plus commission. Quite good commission, actually. It's closer to our place; even if traffic is L.A.-awful, it will take less than an hour to get home (and almost never that long to get there.) And no more incredibly late hours followed by coming home to rush through his schoolwork; once he finishes his four days of (paid) training, he will be on the "East Coast" shift. That means he starts at 7 and gets to come home at 3. As in he will be home by no later than 4 pm! He'll have time to play with the kids, eat dinner at a normal time, do his schoolwork, and have time to spare before going to bed at a decent time! We'll be able to do errands in the afternoons and attend church functions on weeknights, and have the missionaries over for dinner during the week. He'll even have time to help my aunt out during tax season (so he'll still be getting accounting-related experience while he finishes his degree) and not have to survive on 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night.

He's holding off for a few days on signing the papers in case he gets a better offer, but it would have to be pretty darn good.

This is amazing. Last time it took him 6 months to get another job. This time, the firing has been a true blessing-- getting him out of a stressful situation, giving him more time for school and family, more money, and it just feels right. They came to him, he didn't seek this position out. But once he went in for the first interview (yesterday) we both felt peace descend. We knew he would get a second interview (they called him at 9:30 this morning and asked him to come back today!) I knew he would get an offer. And it just feels right. I guess Heavenly Father knows what he's doing when he intervenes in our lives like that. I kept wondering why He would not intervene to soften the heart of KPC's former employer when he was berating and yelling and making KPC's life miserable. I kept praying for some relief for him. But the reason was, apparently, that if his heart had been softened this opportunity would not have come at the exact right time. The relief was a better situation for him; in the long term, a much better situation. Sorrow may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Or in this case, anxiety may endure for a while, but peace comes in due time. :)

Truly, the Lord does work in ways we can't comprehend-- but all for our good.

You may all commence partying. ;) Thank you for all your support and love, I'm glad I didn't have to make you worry for very long!

Christmas Meme

TxMommy issued an open invitation to do this MeMe, so I'm taking her up on it.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? First egg nog, then hot chocolate-- but only if it's my super special Best Hot Chocolate Ever. No powdered stuff for me! And no marshmallows, only whipped cream. And not icky stuff, but ReddiWhip Extra Creamy, or home-whipped. And also, the egg nog has to be Alta Dena. Okay, I'm a snob. Sorry.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wraps them.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Well, right now we don't have a place big enough for a tree other than our almost 3 foot fiber optic one. But if we did, colored for the tree, for sure. Inside house lights can be white or colored; outside, I'm partial to colored, and no outside decorations too ornate.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? If the local Cub Scouts (who go up to the Angeles Crest and pick it and bag it for a fund-raiser-- not LDS troops, obviously) hit me up for it. My dad has some fake but I think that doesn't count.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Decorations? Huh, what? *blank stare* Seriously, we have two crèche scenes but with the cats and the kids, we don't put them up until a week or two before. I want to get a Playskool plastic one like my mother-in-law has so it can be out and be none the worse. We have a garland to hang our ornaments on but last year never got to it. We have lights, ditto. We have that little tree, which goes up when presents start accumulating. Last year we really didn't get to anything but the tree because we were going out of town for Christmas, and, well, it's not safe to leave them up with the cats home alone. Plus I was busy. Someday I want to have a place big enough to really decorate and get things up the day after Thanksgiving, which was always our tradition growing up.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Grandma Norma's Jell-o, which I talked about a bit in my Thanksgiving post; I WILL have that recipe!

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: I have so many... I remember one year my mom dropped us off at my dad's for Christmas Day (we alternated who had us on the Eve and who had us on the Day) and my dad had cooked, for breakfast, scarlet runner beans that we had grown in our own garden that winter. They were so tasty and warm that chilly morning as we opened our stockings. I also just remember the traditions; when we were with my mom on the Day, we would go to my Aunt Linda and Uncle Brian's house for Christmas brunch. It was always the same menu and I still love to think of all those mornings. And I remember getting dressed up for church or Mass or sometimes also Midnight Mass (my mom was Presbyterian, what we were baptized, and my dad was a "cultural Catholic".) It was extra-special at Christmas. I sometimes miss Christmas morning church now that I'm LDS. I was thrilled when it fell on a Sunday last year.

8. How and when did you learn the truth about Santa? I believed in Santa, but I didn't believe in him, if that makes any sense. I had much older sisters, and Santa in our house was always kind of an... in-joke. We all knew that he wasn't really real, but the tradition and the spirit of it (like my sisters would always get up early and we would try to sneak things in my mom's stocking that she wasn't expecting so she could have a surprise, too) was really special, that was what we believed in. But everyone "knew". My dad used to sign some of the packages from "Sandy Claws", Santa's lobster helper, instead of Santa, for laughs. Actually, he still does. :)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Not in the way I think the question means; growing up with divorced parents, we always had at least two Christmas celebrations with family, sometimes more, and so often one of them was Christmas Eve. But in my family, it was always: when the kids are up, open stockings together Christmas morning. Then when parent is up, open Santa presents and presents from each other (people living in the house.) All other presents are taken with or saved (depending on where it's to be held) to be opened at the big family celebration.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Right now, like I said, we don't. We have a fiber optic tree that makes pretty colors, no decorating really to do. But we do have a garland on which to hang our rapidly accumulating collection of ornaments-- gifts, crafts, buys at Cost Plus or craft fairs, rejects from parents' collections that we can't let them throw out...

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Um, it needs to stay up on the mountain tops where it belongs. I don't mind going to visit it and playing a bit in it, but it should stay AWAY from my house, please! I Don't Do Snow. That's one of the reasons I love L.A.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, actually I can! I'm always amazed because my ankles are prone to popping out of joint, but I can. I can't do fancy tricks or jumps, but I can go around the rink pretty well.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My husband proposed to me. That was a pretty awesome gift. Okay, it was a little early, but he did it by the tree and had a present and all.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? The joy and caring and tradition of the season. It eases that something in me that I miss without having ever known it (which I have been told is saudades.) My saudades are apt to be worse at Christmas time, and yet more easily soothed; they are happier than they are the rest of the year. Sometimes when they're really bad I just have to listen to Christmas music, even in May or August. I think it comes from the wonder of the thought of Christ as a baby; as a mother, all those stories and songs have taken on new meaning for me.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pumpkin pie, hands down. Home-made, not too much spice, vinegar pie crust. Well, that and egg nog ice cream!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Trader Joe's chocolate Advent calendars, which my sister used to always buy for me and which I now buy for my daughter, and caroling, especially at the convalescent home.

17. What tops your tree? Well, right now, a fiber optic star. But I have a crocheted angel for when we get a real tree.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving wins by a tiny smidge.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? I have too many. I will list them all, though. Favorite non-religious carol: "Good King Wenceslas." Favorite hymns: "Adeste Fidelis/O Come All Ye Faithful" (yes, I actually understand and sometimes sing five verses in Latin), "Angels We Have Heard on High", "A Child is Born in Bethlehem." Favorite classical work appropriate for Christmas: "And the Glory of the Lord" from Handel's "Messiah", followed extremely closely by "For Unto Us a Child is Born" from the same. These are just my very very favorites, though; I have lots of really close runners-up!

That's it! I hope you are now more in the Christmas spirit. ;) I tag Rayann and Mean Mommy for this MeMe.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Thanksgiving went well, or as well as can be expected with small kids. ;) I actually got them dressed in their special outfits, and even put bows in their hair. They looked precious. (Emma's dress was one of my awesome SunThrift finds, Bridget's was a gift from my Uncle Bob, and the bows were two of several I got on eBay; I also got a headband that can be used with any clip-on hair bows for Bridey, and it's awesome, but I tried to go without it; unfortunately her hair is not quite thick enough to hold the weight yet, so I was picking it up and putting it back in all night. In the future I will use the headband.)

We went over to my mom's house, after picking up the ice, and I arrived in time to help some by getting all the drinks in buckets of ice, slicing the jellied cranberries and putting the whole-berry sauce in a bowl (those were my contributions, as well as some Martinelli's Sparkling Cider), and to help stir the potatoes (my mom actually used a recipe for mashed potatoes, which she had *shock* never made before, my Grandma Katie always brought them and when we had them at home, which was rare, she used instant; unfortunately the recipe was weird and they had to be cooked down so we didn't end up with potato soup) and the gravy while everyone else was otherwise occupied, and to help my cousin finish the green beans (my mom's kitchen is crowded at the best of times, and five women in there at once made getting the green beans out of the saucepan with no burns or other disasters a two-woman job.) My sisters were both unable to make it; one had planned to but came down sick, the other spent this year's Thanksgiving with her other side (I know my terminology is amusing here; that means her dad's family. She's my half-sister, technically.)

We finally sat down to eat and Emma was EXCITED! Also being her contrary two-year-old self, she at first declined to fold her hands for the prayer, but when my mom reminded her that we don't eat until we pray, she decided to comply. Little stinker! She told us in the car that she didn't want turkey, but she would eat chicken, so we warned everybody to refer to the turkey as "big chicken" to Emma. She ate a ton, at least as much as my mom. Her favorites were the turkey ("Want more that big chicken!"), the potatoes, the green beans (which had an orange glaze), the roll (with three servings of butter) and the Jell-o (she liked the orange with carrots and pineapple okay, but she loved my own personal Thanksgiving favorite, besides the cranberries, the Grandma Norma's Jell-o, so named for my cousins' deceased grandma whose recipe it was, which has sour cream, walnuts, apples, and whole-berry cranberry sauce in it. Once again I asked Grandma Katie for the recipe, once again she said okay, we'll see if I actually get it this year! This is my fourth attempt!)

Bridget kept me so busy feeding her, I hardly got to touch my food for a while. She ate an entire jar of Beech-Nut Turkey Rice Dinner baby food, then half of a jar of sweet potatoes. By the time she was 3/4 done with the first jar, though, my Aunt Linda, who was sitting on her other side, was done with her food, so I passed the spoon to her and got to eat some. Dessert followed when the table was cleared; in the mean time, the girls played on the floor. Then we had pie, which was also a hit with Emma (although Abba startled her putting whipped cream on, she was thrilled when she discovered what it was, she loves whipped cream.) She was the first one ready at the table for dessert! Then the girls played some more; then people started leaving. It was chilly once all the body heat departed, so we got the girls in their matching holiday sweaters (I got them on sale for $6.68 each at Target, score!) Then they rode Star the horsey with Grandma's help (actually, Emma did first and then Bridget, after playing some more, went to join her) and finally we went home, where Bridget cried because her tummy was so full, Jeff conked out almost immediately, and Emma slept earlier than is her custom because she was also very full. (I was hungry again a few hours later, but had to settle for leftovers from dinner a few nights previous because my mom invited us over for leftovers the next night instead of sending them home with us.)

More pictures to follow!

More Thanksgiving Pictures

I know you all only read my blog because my kids are adorable, so eat your hearts out. ;) :D

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Check out my Cooqy Widget!

No, it's nothing dirty. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Scroll down to the bottom of the blog and check out my cool new thingy that tells you what I'm selling on eBay! I tried to put it on the sidebar, but unfortunately if you make it small enough to fit a sidebar that size, the widget doesn't like you and won't display. So I put it down at the bottom, in all its glory.

Neato, huh?

And as promised, here are the answers to the little "game" I posted last time:

"dipah ouse eat"= "something else to eat" (As in "I want.")
"touwwied"= "carried" (Most commonly "I want to be." Sometimes "Abba touwwied bof Emma and Bwidget!")
"mlowk"="milk" (I guess that was the easy one!)
"puwsd"="first" (She likes to list the order of things, as in "Puwsd Misser Woguhs, den Seffy Dreet!")
"sosoaw"="dinosaur" (sometimes "isosoaw")
"tain-dwin"="penguin" (as in "Mommy look! I be a tain-dwin!" while waddling like a penguin.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006


My mom asked us if we wanted to come over this afternoon and do some laundry, save our quarters. So we took over a couple of loads. My brother ("Un-kow Mike!") was there helping my mom clean out some stuff, including the shed. Inside the shed, my mom found Star the Wonder Horse! Star is a plastic horse attached to a frame by springs, large enough for children to ride on. My mom got him at a garage sale for $25 back in the 70's, and he looks a little worse for the wear, but made 8 kids (my sisters, my cousins, two children of a friend of my mom's, and then my brother and me) happy for years. My brother helped get Star out and then helped my mom clean him off. KPC went and got two replacement springs (two of the four were missing) and then he and my mom wrested with some huge pliers to open the springs up enough to attach them. Finally, Star was ready! Emma was lifted on and bounced until dinner was ready, then bounced some more before dessert, then bounced again afterwards! She really, really loved it, and treated us to all kinds of horse noises and talk about the horse. I was amazed at what she knows about horse-riding! She wanted to hold the reins at first, not the handles, and gave the horse a gentle kick when she wanted to go faster! I honestly don't know where she learned this. (I did explain that this is a pretend horse and if she wants to go faster she can just rock or bounce faster.)

I made "whatever's around soup" for dinner while we were there, and my mom made biscuits to go with. My mom's kitchen wasn't very well-stocked because she just got back from her trip to Ireland with my sister (but the soup turned out yummy anyway. We got to bring the leftovers home for dinner tomorrow.) She brought Jeff an amusing candy bar that said, "It's not for girls" (we all got a laugh out of that) and I got to choose between earrings and one of several pillboxes. My mom and Jeff both made a guess as to which I would choose before I saw them; eventually I settled on a green pillbox with a harp on it, which is what Jeff had thought I would choose (my mom thought it would be a green pillbox with a claddaugh on it; green is my favorite color, and I have a little box addiction, and a thing for both claddaughs and harps. Eventually I settled on the one of which I liked the colors better. The earrings were also claddaughs.)

Here's a little game for everyone to play: see if you can decipher these "Emma-isms." Each has a definite word or words that it corresponds to, her pronunciation just cracks me up sometimes.

"dipah ouse eat"

Good luck, and have fun! I'll post the answers next time. :D

Thursday, November 16, 2006

There's no good title for this.

My husband was fired. Right before the holidays, right after we made The Big Decision (and knowing us, it will happen whether we actively try or try not to.)

I usually am able to be supportive at times like this. But right now...

I fell like I'm going to break.

Of course, I've been feeling that way for quite a while right now, with the stresses of this job. But I'm usually the one who tells my husband that it will work out for the best, that It Will Be Okay, after things like this happen. Today he had to do that for me. Which isn't fair since he already feels rotten.

I just can't be strong right now, as much as he needs me to. I'm praying for strength.

Emma knows something's wrong, she's been hugging us and kissing us and saying, "I love you!" in her cutest little angel voice. I'm trying really hard not to let my mood leak out into my interactions with her. I don't know how long I'll be able to (although having more help with the kids will probably prolong my ability.)

So tomorrow the job search begins again.

Please pray for us. I know a lot of you have what I think of as "real problems", like you've got degenerative diseases and family members dying and husbands overseas while you give birth to your child alone and then take care of him on the military base, along with your older kids, and your parents and in-laws can't make it to help you out-- those are classed in my head as "real problems." But me, I'm weak. I feel weak right now. Which, I suppose, can be a good thing, I tend toward pride and arrogance and I know I need a lot of humbling to be able to come to that broken heart and contrite spirit. But I'd appreciate your prayers anyway, so I can get through this with grace.

If I didn't have my friends, I honestly don't know what I would do. You all are my lifeline when things get rough. May I have permission to hang on tight?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Another truly awful tv post.

Oh, I'm so horrid lately.

I've been watching the promos for Medium, which I like pretty well, more for the characters than the plots (okay, I'm just a character-lover, I guess! In any case, I like the fact that her husband is annoyed when his life is interrupted and livid when his children are endangered by her "gift", as opposed to the insipid yes-man husband on Ghost Whisperer, and also Patricia Arquette looks a lot more like a Real Woman than Jennifer Love Hewitt. Plus she's a mommy, a real mommy, not a sitcom mommy, I can totally relate to that. Her relationship with her daughters is a huge part of the show and that's part of why I love it.) I can't be the only one out there who hates her hair. I mean, either ditch the bangs, grow them longer and style them, or keep the hair long! The mid-length straight bangs with medium-short hair is NOT a good look for her. Ick.

I know I am not the one to talk about bad hair. You may all scold me for a) caring so much in the first place, shallow, shallow, tv-watching me, and b) gossiping and being uncharitable. *hangs head*

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm so bad, but I just can't help it.

So last night I was watching CSI: Miami, (ABOUT TO POST SPOILERS) and whatever-her-name-is Boa Vista wants a DNA comparison between her and the latest victim (who she, correctly, thinks is her sister.) So she gives the tech her swab and STANDS THERE WAITING WHILE IT'S RUN! Hahahahaha! I just couldn't help laughing out loud at that one. Even the most rudimentary of mitochondrial DNA comparisons (that's the one that siblings share through the mother, right?) could never, ever be done WHILE SHE STOOD THERE WAITING! I laughed for about three minutes. I'm awful, but I just can't help it. It's like when I'm watching Numb3rs sometimes, and I'm no math expert, but the math makes me laugh sometimes. Why does CBS even bother hiring consultants if they are gonna ignore everything the consultants say? But I do like the characters. That's why I keep watching CBS shows; good characters and interesting stories, even if parts of them make me laugh. Hard.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Our Trip, Part II: Phoenix

So when we got to Phoenix, we were all ready to get out of the car! We got in and said hi to everyone; my Aunt Helen and Uncle Harry, and they already had my Grandma Ronnie over. She is not allowed to drive any more after her brain incident (she can't remember what it's called and right now neither can I) and so they had picked her up and she stayed the entire time we were there (she wanted maximum time with her only great-granddaughters!)

I fed Bridey some cereal and carrots, then we had a very nice turkey dinner together, except Ems, who was still cranky from the lip-biting incident and wouldn't come to the table, and kind of hung out. She played with Legos during dinner. There was much baby-holding. Emma played the piano a bit. We all chatted a lot. Then everyone else had to go to bed, not being on California time or a weird sleep schedule. Bridget fussed a bit and had to be fed three times before she went down to sleep. Emma wanted to eat at midnight, and Jeff and I wanted a snack, too. We ate leftovers made into sandwiches (mmm, turkey dinner sandwich!) and ice cream and watched The Empire Strikes Back. When Ems was wound down, Jeff brushed her teeth and his and got her into bed, and then I spent some quality time with the toilet (*wince*), washed up, and brushed my teeth and climbed into bed myself. Emma had fallen asleep between the wall and Abba, so I actually got to cuddle with him, which was nice.

The next morning we SLEPT IN! Yeah! When we got up Helen graciously made us french toast, mmm, and even got peanut butter for Jeff to put on it, ick. But he was happy. We hung out a lot, Emma played outside (wearing her blue Superman t-shirt and red pants and socks and her red t-shirt on her back for a cape.) She loved the tetherball. And the lacrosse stick. And the laundry basket and basketball that Aunt Helen got out for her to play with. She watched Curious George and then went outside to play again, even though it was getting hot. I made some more cereal and carrots and let Grandma Ronnie feed them to Bridey. We warned Emma four times that we were going to Target, but she wanted to stay and play. We enjoyed ourselves going to Target alone, and of course when we went back Ems had had a fit that we were gone. She had finally settled into a grumpy but placated state watching Lady and the Tramp and eating a lollipop. (Bribery works wonders with that child...) We packed up the car and had dinner (Stouffer's Lasagna, one of my favorites! With garlic bread and green salad, as I told my aunt, "Just like my mom used to make!" *grin* ) Uncle Harry got home from work in time to say goodbye. We all got in the car and started driving. A quick stop for gas and we were on our way.

Since we hadn't really had our typical "Family Home Afternoon" the afternoon before, we decided to have FHE in the car. We decided this kind of in the middle of it. ;) Jeff was kind of being testimony-bearing-ish talking about things that have made him see the power of prayer, the power of the priesthood, the truth of the Gospel. We turned back a few times in our discussion to include Emma (she loves to talk about Heavenly Father and Jesus. Especially Jesus.) We stopped for a snack at Del Taco, then continued our discussion. A while later we needed to go to the bathroom, so we stopped at a rest stop (Arizona has WONDERFUL rest stops. They are clean, well-lit, well-maintained, have stocked, tidy vending machines, places to sit, places to walk... They're just really nice, their only shortcoming being the lack of toilet cover seats. But no one can have it all, right? ;) ) Emma decided to sit on the metal bar in front of the vending machines and fell backwards, hitting her head twice, hard. :( Poor kid. She was soothed by picking out Cheetos, snack mix (of which she wanted only the pretzels, but they didn't have just pretzels) and, after I got some Sour Skittles for Jeff, M&Ms. (There was something funky with the machine; instead of giving us 1 bag, it gave us 3! I looked for a number to call to tell them, but couldn't find one. Oh, well.) We then got back in the car, Emma fell asleep, and the really interesting stuff began.

You see, we've been feeling we need to have another child, sooner than we had thought. It started with me, but after praying, Jeff felt it, too. This is despite me not really WANTING another child yet. I can barely handle the two I've got. We'd almost certainly have to move, probably get a different car... I was worried that it was just my secret wants that I didn't know were there coming out, because usually I KNOW when something is coming to me through the Spirit. But after prayer, we thought this was right. But I was starting to think of a date, of starting to try sometime in January (trying for us means not using BC, and letting whatever happens happen.) I already knew I need to get my IUD out, I'm STILL having pain from it, I just haven't been able to get in to the doctor. But I just haven't been sure. Jeff has been afraid to pray about that date, afraid of what answer he would get. I was reminded by someone on one of my forums that the righteous believers are allowed to ask for a sign. So I told Jeff this. He being the one who was the most unsure, I figured that if a sign came to him, it would be for real. So he prayed, and he said that he hated to bother Heavenly Father with this, but we were still unsure, and if it wasn't too much, could he please have a sign? Could he see something like a shooting star going across his field of vision (he was pretty specific in picturing it?)

So we started watching. At the moment he was looking at traffic, I saw five shooting stars go across the sky in rapid succession, right where he had shown me he had pictured them. He wasn't sure, so he watched some more. He thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye, but then was still unsure. So he prayed again. He said, "Heavenly Father, I'm really sorry. I'm just still unsure. Can I have something brighter, if that was the sign?" After the prayer was finished, there was silence as we scanned the sky. All of a sudden, he said, "What was that?" "What?" I asked. "That! Did you see that?" "That airplane that I have been watching for five minutes?" "You've been watching for five minutes? Did you see it just glow very brightly?" "No."

Apparently, the airplane that had been moving across our field of vision for quite a while had just glowed very brightly-- only for him. He felt a confirmation that this had been sent by Heavenly Father. This was what he had asked for. Heavenly Father changed his perception so that he would KNOW the sign when he saw it. And so we knew.

So in January or February, it looks like we will be abandoning all efforts at birth control.

I just don't know what I'm going to say to my family when I get pregnant. They all know I don't want another so soon, how am I supposed to explain that it was planned?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Our Trip, Part I: Flagstaff

So we started off at 3:40 in the morning, and drove to Flagstaff. We got in about 11 local time. Although check-in at the Holiday Inn Express, where we stayed, wasn't until 3, our room was ready so we got to check in early. It was a very nice room-- there was a king bed, a sofa bed which we later unfolded for Emma to use, and they had left the crib we requested outside the door. It was easy to set up, sturdy and safe, clean, and fit right between our bed and the wall, perfect! And since when we booked through the company's website we joined the Priority Club, besides expedited check in/out, they had left a special welcome sheet and two bottles of water and two bags of chips for us. Cool! Also, they've changed the bedding since last time I stayed at a Holiday Inn; they've switched from those itchy ugly bedspreads to duvet inserts in a high-count cotton cover that's white, same as the sheets. It's more attractive and ENDLESSLY more comfy, especially when you just lay on top of it, as we ended up doing (they had a very efficient heater.)

Once we got everything situated, we changed into swimwear and went down to the indoor/outdoor pool. Nice! It was Bridget's first time swimming (we used to take Emma a lot when we lived in a complex with a pool, but it has been a while and I'm unsure if she remembered ever going before, but she seemed to enjoy it) and after a little adjustment, she seemed to have fun. We swam for as long as the girls stayed warm, then Jeff took them up while I got some alone time. Swimming is one of the best things ever for my sore back and I hardly ever get to do it, so it was a real treat to be able to do it there. I spent some time in the whirlpool, too, before I went up.

We then went to lunch, to the mall, where Emma played on the equipment, which she loves, and I shopped (I found some discounted Superman shirts for Ems and some pants and some socks and tights for the girls, as well as some dress socks for Jeff. Everyone was having sales but Dillard's; unfortunately I had just missed theirs.)

Then we headed over to my almost-step-sister's and her husband's. I took my allergy medication in the car because they have a dog. They had also vacuumed and washed everything, which was very thoughtful of them and made my allergy medication much more effective. We had a wonderful time with them. Jeff took a nap on their couch, which they didn't mind, and Craig cooked. Emma loved the food. She REALLY loved the food. She's a fan of simple but elegant meals, and the barbecued chicken, baked potatoes, steamed carrots, and Cesar salad really hit the spot for her, apparently. She also liked the dog and cat (Bridey, having just had some bad experiences with barking dogs, took a while longer to get used to Pandora.) We had a great visit and a wonderful time. We love Jilly and Craig and it's always great to see them. Emma even opened up enough to sing all her songs for them at the end of our visit. And she loved feeding chicken to the dog.

We then went back to the hotel and to bed. Unfortunately I developed a killer headache. After I ironed the clothes for church the next day and the kids were bathed and down, I took a bath. Emma laid down with Jeff on the couch bed and went right out, which surprised us all, but was wonderful.

The next morning we went down to breakfast. (I'm nursing and Emma is a toddler, so we don't fast; Jeff prayerfully considered whether or not to fast on a day when we would be driving another two or so hours immediately after church, and decided against it. I agreed that this was a good choice, knowing his body chemistry and physiology.) Emma had a fit about getting up and dressed, and carried that over into breakfast. She cried because her banana broke, and when a lady at the next table gave us one her kids had taken but not eaten (we had taken the last banana), cried because it had a black spot. I cut it out and she cried because I cut her banana. So finally, I "fixed" the banana by gluing the piece back on with cream cheese (I was having a bagel and cream cheese.) She ate it and decided she liked it-- so she made me "fix" it "gain". I cut a piece from the other banana. After about three repetitions of this, I decided we would be there all day if it kept on. So I took her banana, split it in half (risking more tears), and spread cream cheese all down the middle, then put it back together, which she accepted once she tasted it. She also ate 1/2 of a huge cinnamon roll and two bowls of Fruit Loop-type cereal with milk. Ay.

We got everything in the car but then got lost and couldn't find the church building. We called Jill, who directed us to a different one, the stake center, which is under construction. Luckily they had a family ward that was also starting at 11; we made it in time to walk in and sit down with just a few minutes to spare. They had THREE baby blessings, and then the testimonies began. Now, not to criticize, but I was wondering if their bishop was new, because at least half of the testimonies were from kids. Including some two-year-olds. Did they not get the letter about that? It's periodically read in our ward, and having now witnessed the reason it was probably written, I can see the difference. Not that the kids weren't cute, or even that I'm denying that they have a testimony. But to hear the same exact things from five little boys in a row does reduce the spirit of the meeting just a bit. On the other hand, the reason this is allowed may be because everyone else seemed pretty reluctant to bear their testimonies. But other than that, it was a very nice ward, if HUGE. There were two or three women there who were grandmothers, I think. Everyone else was young couples with kids! I don't usually bear my testimony while visiting another ward, but I felt that someone might need to hear what I had to say so I did. It was actually cathartic to say things that have been going on in my life that I probably wouldn't be able to share in my own ward. I was very proud of Emma because she was having trouble in Sacrament meeting and asked Abba for a time out. (We don't use time-out as punishment, but as a cool-down period, so she feels free to ask for it when she needs it.) It was much better than having a meltdown in church.

Like I said, it was a very nice ward, but... I dunno, they didn't seem very, well, deep. Or involved in the discussions. Maybe it's all the exhausted parents with young kids. But Sunday School and RS were just not on the level I was used to. I did enjoy it, though, and it was nice to visit another ward and building and see how the organization of the Church works elsewhere. And did I say they were nice? They were very nice.

Their nursery is huge. They had three rooms and rotated groups through. I was happy to see that Emma went to a different nursery without any qualms whatsoever. She is growing up so much! Unfortunately they were a bit understaffed and the group Ems was in had some rowdy boys apparently; they were running around and knocked her into a table and she bit her lip. She was taken to Abba and when I got out that awaited me. She was okay once we got her Bert jacket (from Halloween, one of her favorite things to wear right now) on, gave her a Superman toy, and gave her a chocolate muffin, though. Jeff had mostly stopped the bleeding by the time I got out.

So then we drove down to Phoenix. Next up: Part II: Phoenix.

Home safe.

Very tired. Had fun. Off to bed now. Will post more soon.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

As Tigger Would Say, TTFN...

...we're about to leave on vacation, I'll see you all in three days! (ish.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Well, NOW I feel productive.

I just spent 3.5 hours doing the equivalent of 13 loads of laundry at the laundromat (although 3 were in the triple-loaders, so really only 7 loads in practice.) Part of it with a baby on my back. And then I dried and folded it all.

I'm exhausted. As soon as the laundry is safely put away, I'm gonna spend some quality time with my heating pad. In bed.

The sad part is that that isn't all the laundry. Just what would fit in the car. There's more to do at some point. *groans*

Just How Exactly Did This Happen?

I just picked the baby up and noticed that she had caramel and chocolate on her little jammy leg.

Upon closer inspection, it's in the playpen, too. It appears to be of the Milky Way variety.

Emma was last seen with a big ol' Milky Way in her hand on Halloween night.

I just asked her why it was in the playpen. Her answer? "Emma Bridget SHARE!"


She thought it was so yummy she decided to share with the baby by throwing it in her playpen for her to eat.

Luckily Bridget didn't eat it.

Just mooshed it and made an incredible mess.

It's not coming off the playpen.

I have one last question on this subject:

WHERE EXACTLY WAS THEIR FATHER WHEN THIS WAS GOING ON? I ran to the bathroom and then went to lay down with a heating pad, I was sore after schlepping Bridey around, he was supposed to be dealing with them, and there's a CANDY BAR IN THE PLAYPEN.

Good heavens.

Does anyone know what gets caramel out of Pack and Play mattress? The chocolate is coming out but the caramel (and to a lesser extent, nougat) is not. And we're supposed to take this with us on our trip this weekend. GRRRRR!