Friday, January 1, 2016

Yasmine, Goodbye 2015, and January the First. (In Which Surfing is Still Awesome.)

January the first.

Starting again.

First item of business: this girl.

Right smack dab in the middle of our business for a whole night.

I loved every minute of it.

To my niece, Yaz Ma Taz: When you are a rich and famous Broadway star, you still have to claim me and send me free tickets to your shows, and there isn't much you can do about it.  That's just how family rolls, and you are mine and we are yours.


Next up, we kicked 2015 outta here in style, because it was a year that was good to us, despite the fact that Casidee, Brynn, and Cali decided to move in with their dad (though Cali came to her senses and came back home), aside from that little tidbit, which is not so little, but putting it aside, 2015 was good to us.  So very good.  I'll be trying to catch up on year of posts that have been neglected, but it was a year worth remembering so hopefully I can jamb the highlights in here soon-ish.

Plus, also, New Year's Eve is my wedding anniversary with The Man so that in and of itself requires some pomp and circumstance.

We hung out at home with snacks, games, and The Circus.  But don't be fooled, after getting my butt handed to me by Brynn in Settlers of Catan (that game!), we did get fancied up with cookie cocktails and midnight kisses.

Proof that Pinterest doesn't always fail.

We also found a long forgotten bag of hats and noise makers that Papa Mike gave us a few years ago and those came in quite handy as well.

Sorry to our neighbors on both sides who have babies...  Happy New Year and all.

AND, The Man had lost/forgotten about Christmas presents that he had bought me as he had stashed them around the house.  Merry Christmas to me on New Year's Eve (or perhaps happy anniversary?) as he found a bag of York Peppermint Patties in his car and this shirt in his desk:

He amuses me.

He also gets me.

This is why we're married.

This brings me to January the first.  Today.

For Christmas we gave The Circus a day pass to Provo Beach, where The Man and I had gone before (here), but had not yet taken The Circus.  (Also, I was happy to see that the golf simulator was gone; replaced by laser tag which is a million times more enjoyable.  Times a million more.) I joined the email list in hopes that a deal would show up at some point where we could go again, and Cyber Monday did not disappoint.

Merry Christmas kids, you have to spend time with us.

Which, thankfully, is something The Circus has not outgrown.


We'll see.

But not if I have anything to do with it.

So today we drove down to Provo Beach where Cas and I watched everyone high above the ground on the ropes course (we know where our feet should be... safely on the ground), and we all joined in on great croquet tournaments, laser tag games, bowling, and arcadia bliss.

Plus ice cream.

And Coke.

Oh, and surfing.  How could I forget the surfing already?

Cue onslaught of pictures:

January the first, I think you've set a solid standard for 2016.

Bring it on, we're ready.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Will I Do Then? What I'm Doing Now.

It's a personal goal of mine to have someone say to me, "Whatever you stand to make, I'll double it."

Which granted, most of the time I stand to make a good round figure of zero on most things that I venture into, and zero doubled isn't much of a stretch, but it would awesome to have someone think my mad skills are worth that statement.

Mad skills in what, you ask?  That's inconsequential; minor detail; I'm just pretty awesome on every level so we're just going to roll with that goal.

Brynn asked me tonight what my plans are for when I finish my degree.

The question triggered a thought process for me and I realized the answer is very easy:

I hope to be doing exactly what I am right now.

How many people get to say that?

I love my job.  I love what I do, I love the people I get to work with, I love the work that I help propel, and I love my boss.  I believe in his vision and our personalities mesh really well.  For the first time in my life, I'm not casually browsing for the next work opportunity while going through the motions of my current job.

Which is probably a good thing since my boss "lectures" me and reminds me that I have a job and don't need to be looking for one elsewhere, thank you very much.

I'm not!  I swear.

  I hope to be able to ride this job out with him for a long, long time.

I love the opportunity that I've been given this year to do make-up with a local haunted house.  I love that it's a "come as you can" schedule and I look forward to learning so many new techniques and growing leaps and bounds artistically with it.  I'm still meeting and getting to know the people I work with at the haunted house, but it's a place where we all have a mutual love for the hobby and we're all choosing to be there, which makes an instant bond and acceptance.

A demon make-up that I did one night at the haunt.
Perhaps it's a useless talent in the scheme of things that matter in life, but it's my useless talent and I really love it.

So my answer to Brynn is this: The one thing that ever seemed to hold me back, was the fact that I was missing my degree.  It's been hard to finish it with the way my life has unfolded.  I've had to make sacrifices, my family has had to make sacrifices, and it has been a lot of stress facing homework along with all my other responsibilities but it will never again be the thing that stands between me and the opportunity that I want to go for.  That being said, I'll be happy to have this stumbling block become an asset in my back pocket as I continue on with where I already am.

I am so happy with my opportunities right now and I'm absolutely enjoying giving them all I have.  I plan on enjoying the ride for as long as the road will go there for me.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thanks The Circus McGurkus.

When you "quit" blogging due to the overwhelming madness in life (high stress job, full time school, half a dozen kids, The Man, volunteering in a church position with the youth that requires a lot of your time...), and by "quit" I really just mean that there simply aren't enough hours in the day. 

But then you come home from a long camping trip to find you received happy mail of a book sequel for a book you reviewed last year, along with a personal note from the author.

 Two things Monica McGurk told me in that note: she calls her gang The Circus McGurkus after the Dr. Suess book, and she says I can visit her in Georgia so I can scratch that off my bucket list. 

Also, the first book was really good. 

Also, also, I really miss blogging. 

Here's to a good push to start up again. Daily posts starting... Now. Watch for a book review and giveaway coming soon (where was this book this weekend while I was re-reading Harry Potter??)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Giveaway: The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies On Blu-Ray.

My Circus can't grasp that when I say I studied "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy in Jr. High School, I mean we really studied it.  We read them all the way through, tested on them, wrote essays on them, and spent class after class talking about them.

For three years.

Being the lucky soul that I am, I was in a certain program in Jr. High which led me to have the same teachers in every subject, year after year.

Generally that was okay, I was a good kid, and an excellent student, and my teachers were pretty cool, but it's a wonder that I actually still like JRR Tolkien , as I had a strong aversion to my English teacher.  It took a certain level of patience and tolerance to stand her personality, none of which I was willing to give her in all my adolescent glory.

To be fair, she didn't like me either and was always making underhand remarks about me to the class.

So I think my intolerance was justified to say the least.

As it is, this post isn't about my Jr. High English teacher.

It's about JRR Tolkien.

More specifically, it's about me giving away a blu-ray of the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Argue if you must that the books are always better than the movies.  Argue if you must about the storyline changes.

Argue if you must, but frankly, I find myself being a solid fan of both the books and the movies.  And I'm pretty stoked to be giving this movie away to one of you.

Here's what you have to do:
Take this quiz and see if you're brave like Bilbo. (Warner Home Video's rules, not mine, so go with it.  It was kind of fun in that cheesy quiz way so I can get behind it.  For the record I am brave like Bilbo.)

Now tell me in the comments, are you?

I will choose a winner from the comments on Thursday April 9th at 11:59 pm.  Or if I'm being honest, I'll choose it on Friday April 10th around 8:30 am, but I'll be looking at the comments that hit before midnight... so either way, get your comment in before the end of April 9th.  Winner will be notified by email, so please make sure I have a valid email to contact you.

To be fair, there are some rules. Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Blu-ray The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  Open to the US and Canada.

Also, this:

I didn't receive anything for writing this post, but Warner Home Video is fronting the prize, so there's that.

And guys!

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Which isn't The Hobbit, but The Hobbit begins it all and it's now time to geek out and re-watch the trilogy.  All.  Weekend.  Long.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shark Tooth (Hoo Ha Ha).

This post was partly written and originally posted on January 17, 2012.  Updates have been added to this post.

Sometimes you get a phone call from the school saying your daughter has fallen (but was able to get up), and they believe she's okay, but she has a fat lip and some blood.  Everything seems fine, regardless, she didn't break a tooth or anything.

Sometimes you talk to your daughter and your daughter agrees that, yes it hurt, but she's fine and wants to stay at school.

So you hang up and don't think much about it until you get home.

What turns out to be "she's fine, she didn't break a tooth or anything" actually appears to be quite the opposite and you're not entirely sure how the school staff missed the fact that your daughter's tooth is now shaped like a shark tooth.

You call the dentist.

30 minutes and $50 later...

Getting rid of the shark tooth... PRICELESS.

Cali has an overbite and the orthodontist mentioned, at a check up while we wait for her to get older before beginning work, that Cali needed to be careful because kids with overbites of this degree tend to break their front teeth at least once when they fall.

Oh good, she's done it three times now.  We tend to be over-achievers at our house.

I just need to make this kid wear a helmet until she turns 12 and we can begin her orthodontist work.

On the plus side, the dentist only charges to fix a broken tooth one time within a year's span.  If it breaks again, there's no charge.  I'm sure this is to cover any work that doesn't stick on their end, but I'm not complaining in any way.

Need a good dentist referral?  Go here.

Tell them Cali sent you.

(No, I didn't receive compensation for this post.  I just really appreciate a good dentist.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Your Pill Problem Has Done To Me.

This post was originally written and posted on May 30, 2011.  I would like to add that while my relationship with my mom still feels strained at times, we are on much better ground with life than we were at the point when I wrote this, and she is in a much healthier place.

Dear Mom,

First, let me say that the apologies don't really count when they're covered with enabling excuses. I know you were in a car accident. That happened 30 years ago. I know you had breast cancer. That happened 13 years ago.

Maybe I don't understand.

But let me tell you what you don't understand.

I remember lying in my bed in the middle of the night, and listening to you upstairs, getting up every half hour (oh how I wish this were an exaggeration) and going to the pill cabinet. Until I finally crept up the stairs and took the bottle I knew you were going after. I took it and hid it in my bedroom. And then I got to listen to you get up every half hour and dig with more frantic sounds through the pills, dropping bottles everywhere as you couldn't find it. I don't even know what the pills were.

I remember my high school boyfriend finding your pills in my jacket pocket and looking at me angrily. Until I had to explain to him that the only reason they were there in my pocket, was simply so you couldn't find them.

I remember coming home after a date to popcorn spilled all over the floor, and knowing that you had just stumbled from the couch to your bed, not caring or perhaps not comprehending the mess you were creating.

I remember you trying to talk to my friends in slurs and fragmented sentences. And the drift that was created between my brother and me because I stopped bringing my friends home, and thus stopped being home.  He's blamed me for not being there for the family ever since.

I remember coming home after a date and telling you I was home. You were in bed but asked me about my night and we would stumble through a 15 minute conversation. Only to have you scold me the next morning for not checking in when I got home. You didn't remember anything about our conversation.

I remember the letter you tried to write me... that was nothing but scribbles and illegible words. Until it finally just dropped off.

As an adult I remember taking my brand new baby to visit you. And as you held her you weaved and stumbled, and then got angry and threw a fit when we took her away from you.

And how you faked the seizures in the kitchen until we hauled you off to the hospital. What you don't know is that Dad and I took the E.R. doctor aside and told him of your medication problem. He said he wouldn't give you anything that would "affect" you. But once you knew you had your medicine, you started acting "loopy". Being flippant with the nurses and calling loudly across the hall at the doctor. When my 8 month pregnant body screamed for bed after hours in the ER I decided it was time for me to leave.  I don't remember the degrading remarks you made to me for leaving, but I remember they were made. And I remember how embarrassed Dad was by them.  And how empty it made me after all that I had done for you that night.

Every conversation was slurred. And full of chronic diseases. And I finally stopped answering your calls.

And now you need a place to live. With a pending neck surgery and a bag full of pills. And I don't think I can do it.

I can't have my Circus watching it. I can't have them living it. I can't listen to your excuses as to why we should all put up with it. I can't listen to the apologies that are nothing but "feel bad for me's". I can't feel bad for you. I'm too hurt for myself.

I'm too hurt that the pills take precedent to your family.

 I'm too hurt that I raised myself, with Dad being at the fire station and you...

I'm too hurt that I can't handle a conversation with you that goes deeper than the latest mod podge project.

And I'm too hurt to bring it into my home now.

 I'm sorry, but there are some things that medicine can't fix.

And no one can fix this but you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Toothfairy Test

I had a conversation with a co-worker a few weeks ago about being a parent.  I think she said it nicely when she stated, "It doesn't matter how many books or articles you read, or how prepared you think you are for parenting, it's never enough.  Those kids come with their own hard drives and you can only hope that they'll turn okay despite you."

Here here, amen, and all that jazz.

Parenthood is giving me a great big slap in the face right now with a couple of my children who are struggling with school, and I'm at a complete loss as to what more I can do.

And equally as aggravating: the toothfairy. (here)  Yeah, totally on the same level for me.

Yesterday morning I was throwing a load of laundry into the dryer because I needed an article of clothing out of it to wear to work.  Tayler's alarm went off in her bedroom, and she crept out into the hallway rubbing her eyes.

"Mom, I need to tell you something."

This could be the opening for who knows how many things so I simply turned and looked at her, waiting for what would follow.

"Cali lost a tooth yesterday but she didn't tell you because she wants to see if the Toothfairy is real."

I almost had a hallelujah spot right there in the closet of a laundry room (Literally.  It used to be a large linen closet).  I hate the Toothfairy.  Loathe her.  Who in their right mind ever thought she was a good idea?  You're naturally growing up and loosing body parts, let me give you money.  And here it was, my perfect chance to be done with it for good.  Cali is my last believer, and we're on borrowed time with her belief at that.

But then I thought of all the ways to realize that the Toothfairy isn't real... and of course, subsequently the Easter Bunny and that jolly ol' elf, Santa Claus himself...  In one early morning moment all of that would be gone from our house.  Forever.  And not just the loss of those beliefs, but we'd be leaving behind a stage of our lives.  That would be the end of little kids in our home.  Our family would step into a new phase of life.

And it all hung on that stinking Toothfairy.

I walked Tayler downstairs where we raided The Man's wallet for a single dollar, because let's face it, I rarely have cash on hand.  I handed the dollar to Tay and asked her to go make the exchange.  If Cali woke up it would be much less strange to see Tayler standing next to their bunk beds than it would be to see me.

But Cali didn't even stir and Tayler found the tooth hidden in an empty gum box (I don't know... my kids are weird).

And with that we borrowed just a little more time for Cali's childhood, before she gets too big on me.

For the record Cali didn't say a single word to me about her missing tooth until after dinner last night.  And she only showed me the gaping hole in her mouth, she made no mention of her test, and the fact that it successfully proved the reality of the Toothfairy.

Not a single word.

I guess that's how it is when you know something secret, that not everyone else is sure they know.  There's power in that, and that was good enough for her.

Or she faked sleeping and knows exactly what went down and now has a completely different secret.

I guess I'll never know.
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