Monday, November 19, 2007

Checking out

I have been meaning to post but it has been a crazy week with preschool, fieldtrips, Noah's birthday party, Paul going to Minnesota for 2 interviews, church meetings, temple recommend interviews, visiting teaching appointments...and, oh yeah, trying to get us all packed for a 7 week trip - which also means cleaning the house, doing all the laundry, emptying out the fridge and cupboards, getting the mail taken care of, the bills paid...I could go on and on! I think I'm about ready to lose my mind at this point - good thing we're leaving tomorrow!

So, we'll be bouncing around all over the place but I will try to blog here and there when I can so I don't have to catch up on 2 whole months when we get home. I feel like we are temporarily moving away, this is weird. We will miss our friends (and our life) here in Cleveland! And we'll be back January 7th : )

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I let the kids run wild for the last 1/2 hour - it was chaos but they loved it! I was never able to get a picture with everyone in it though - there's always at least one kid missing in action. I liked this one though because Noah and Austin and Alex are wrestling on the ground in the back.
And that's all : )

Cake and Ice Cream

Noah makes a wish while Alex tries to touch the flames

Noah kept telling me how "dewicious" the cake was

Alex decided on just ice cream and insisted on eating it all by herself, like a "big girl"


The food was a hit!
These 2 guzzled their juice boxes
Noah had fun flying his airplane sandwich around before every bite
Alex was the life of the party - she was so wound up and got a kick out of making everyone laugh. I don't think she knew that the party wasn't for her : )

The Big Airshow

After presents and letting the kids run wild with balloons I turned on one of Noah's favorite movies, "The Big Airshow" which is about an actual airshow. I think it's hilarious that he likes this movie so much. He discovered it on tv at Grandma Gunn's house 2 years ago and watched it with daddy every morning at about 4am (don't you love jetlag and kids?). Thanks for getting us our very own copy Grandma - we've gotten much use out of it. I thought the kids looked so cute squished onto the couch together - and no, I didn't pose them or tell them to do this. They did it all on their own, everyone helping each other up and making room. So cute! Alex got the chair all to herself. She's not very good at sharing.

Opening presents

Noah had a great time opening his presents - he was so excited about each and every one. He also surprised me by using his manners - after he opened each gift he'd yell, "Thank you ____" to whoever the gift was from. This is the part of the party that Alex sobbed through because I wouldn't let her open the presents or play with my camera.

Water Paints

Noah is really into crafts - I figured water painting would be pretty safe and manageable. He loved painting his airplanes and the kids were great. Alex, of course, had to be a part of the action too. She was doing great until she knocked over a very LARGE cup of water - surprisingly, there was minimal damage to pictures and kids

The Food

I got the brilliant idea of making PB&J sandwiches shaped like airplanes (Noah's obsession). I found these super cute cookie cutters at a candy shop and I was so excited about how they turned out! This is about as crafty as I get. I served the sandwiches with goldfish and juice boxes, which we never buy, so the kids were thrilled.

The night before

I took Noah to the grocery store with me so he could pick out his cake and frosting - he prefers the boxed stuff. His pick: yellow cake with white frosting and multi-colored sprinkles. I was really hoping for chocolate, but oh well - his birthday, not mine. Noah helped me bake the cake but his favorite part was, of course, decorating with "sprinklers."

Birthday Success

Hurray! I survived a birthday party with 8 kids all by myself. Well, not totally by myself. I called my friend Jen in for the second hour of the party. I just didn't know how I was going to serve 8 hungry kids lunch, cake, and ice cream all on my own (thanks Jen)! And then, as luck would have it, Paul got off WAY early and was able to participate in our first ever kids birthday party experience.

It was great - Noah was so excited about everything and had tons of fun. That's all I needed to make it worth it : )

Noah's actual birthday is not for another 2 weeks but he didn't really get that. He kept saying today, "I'm not three anymore, I'm four!" Except he can't say his "F's" so it sounded like, "I'm not three anymore, I'm sore!"

Happy Birthday Noah!

Now, get ready for WAY too many pictures and a play-by-play of the event : )

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tagged again

You're all going to be wishing you didn't know so much about me, but here goes:

5 Things I was doing 10 years ago:

1. Driving around in my moms minivan
2. Cheerleading at my high school football games
3. Dating a college freshman
4. Attending early morning seminary
5. Ditching out on early morning seminary with my sister so we could get Caffino (drive-thru) hot chocolate and sleep/talk in the warm car until school started.

5 Things on my to do list today:

1. Go running at 6:45 am (check)
2. Bake Noah's birthday cake (check)
3. Prepare airplane shaped PB&J sandwiches for Noah's birthday party (check)
4. Blow-up balloons for Noah's birthday party (I'm thinking about passing this one over to Paul)

5 Foods I enjoy:

1. Cafe Rio salad (no meat)
2. Chocolate Beet Cake from Jimmy O'Neals
3. Hot chocolate
4. Dewey's Pizza - I love them all
5. French Toast

5 Bad Habits:

1. Finishing other people's sentences
2. Talking about myself too much
3. Raising my voice when angry
4. Staying up too late
5. Eating WAY too much junk food

5 of my favorite toys:

1. The BOB
2. The computer
3. My ipod shuffle
5. Good books

5 people I tag:

1. Jen Harvey
2. Elise Dixon
3. Sarah Robertson
4. Michelle Cloward
5. Tiffany Brimhall

We are Thankful

Noah made this "Thankful Turkey" at preschool today. I thought it was fun to see what he was grateful for: Jesus, dogs, his trike, his cars, dinner, his grandpas, his family, and temples.

I am thankful for: beautiful fall colors, "loves" from Alex, the excitement I see on Noah's face everyday about some random thing, Paul's laugh and how it always makes me want to laugh too, a cozy apartment, the remote control door locker/unlocker keychain thingy for my minivan, good books, good friends, the many people who love and teach my children, and peaceful early morning jogs all by myself.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Ok, it took me a couple days to get to it and 2 days to complete but I finished my 8 things from being "tagged." But you'll have to scroll further down to read it. It posted as a saturday post, since that's the day I started working on it. Thanks Carrie, it turned out to be fun : )

Blown Away

That's all I can say about the primary program today. I was blown away - by the primary as a whole and by my son. Our primary consists of about 7 sunbeams and 5 older kids of various ages. I pictured a program consisting of talks and songs by the primary leaders, but that was not the case. The kids all participated and did a great job...including Noah! Paul and I were absolutely floored. I was only able to get him to practice his lines ONE TIME at home. And we've never had any luck with Noah, in the not-so-distant past, when it comes to speaking, singing, or standing reverently in front of a crowd. So when he marched right up to the stand this morning when it was time for the program I started to cry (cut me some slack, this was my first child's first primary program). I leaned over and told Paul I was already completely satisfied - I didn't care at that point if he sang, or said his lines, I was just thrilled that he was willing to participate at all.

Noah sat reverently (if that's what you can call it when he's lounging back with his hands propped behind his head) and when they stood for the first song he pushed his way right up to the front...and proceeded to pick his nose and eat it. Throughout the ENTIRE first song. Paul was laughing so hard he was crying. When it was Noah's turn to speak we were utterly shocked when he stepped right up to the podium, pulled the microphone down to his level and delivered his lines (which his teacher whispered into his ear) loud and clear. MY SON! My favorite part (which I sobbed through of course) was when he sang every line of the song "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus." That was the only song he sang. And that is just fine by me.

Noah, I am so proud of you and I love you. You are such a sweet boy with a strong spirit and I am so blessed to be your mother.

P.S. I didn't get a picture of him this morning because we felt it was more important to keep him as calm as possible. Sunday mornings are NOT good days for him. But I can promise that he looked very handsome : ) You'll just have to imagine it.

What a great day!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Okay, these are pretty random - hope you all enjoy.

8 Things about Me:

1. I love food. It makes me happy - really. When I need to cheer up I think about what kind of food I need to eat to make me feel better. In fact, I've been a little grumpy today and Paul is out getting me my favorite chocolate cake at this very minute. I know that having your emotions tied to food is not a healthy behavior but I just don't care. So, basically I have a huge appetite, I eat way too fast, and I think I need dessert after every meal. Oh yeah, and I hate to cook

2. I can't make small decisions - only big ones. When it comes to the mundane, everyday stuff I'm totally indecisive. What to wear, what to make for dinner, which route to take in the car - I can seriously stress myself out about this stuff! But the big things - where to go to school, who to marry, when to have kids, where we should move - well, that's a piece of cake. A total no-brainer. I always know what I should do and when. I guess I know what I want and I know when something feels right. At least that's what I like to could also be that I'm very stubborn and once I get my mind set on things I'm not easily swayed.

3. I think I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Ok, not really, but pretty close. I'm an organizational/neat freak. You may be thinking, "oh, how nice - what a time saver to be so organized." But for some reason, that's not actually how it works out, at least in my case. I think I'm so into organization that it actually makes me quite inefficient. I'm constantly getting sidetracked. For example: I'm putting the dishes away when I realize that the cupboards really need to be reorganized and before you know it I've emptied them all out...or I pull out my bin of clothes to pull out the winter stuff and I'm suddently sorting things by size, color, season - don't ask me why, the bin is just going right back out to the storage porch...speaking of which, when I took the bin back out there I saw that it, too, needed to be organized into specific sections. Hello, who organizes their storage?!? I waste so much time organizing and then half the time I organize things so well that I can't ever find them again. Paul is always saying, "where did you organize my _____ to?" That's his nice way of saying "great, you lost my stuff again." Hey, I just like everything to have it's own special place. When I get a little too out of control Paul has to remind me that "this is not a museum, people actually live here." Oh yeah, sorry. My ocd also includes list-making. I have a list for everything. I make several lists a day. The most embarassing part...I will write something down on my list that I've already done just so I can cross it off the list.

4. I threw up on my wedding day. In the bushes right in front of the temple, in my wedding dress, in the middle of our "group picture" - you know, the one where every single person who came to the temple stands on the steps with the new couple? Luckily, I had a great photographer who started doing magic tricks and telling jokes to distract everyone. Not that they didn't know what was going on, I was 10 feet away! I was also lucky to have my uncle there, all the way from Florida, who happens to be a doctor and who was able to get me anti-naseau pills so that half-way through the luncheon I was feeling great. Thank goodness for Zofran. Contrary to popular belief, I was not having second thoughts. I just learned the hard way that I have a weak stomach. It was a combination of being new to birth control pills, not sleeping for more than 1 hour the night before, not eating breakfast that morning because I was too excited to have an appetite, and taking cold medicine on an empty stomach (I was just getting over a minor cold). Poor Paul - he told me later all the little old lady temple workers were giving him dirty looks, probably thinking he was some big jerk that I was afraid to marry. It's a long story, so if you want more details ask me later : )

5. I have a rebellious streak that I can't seem to fully rid myself of. I don't like being told what to do. I don't like doing what everyone else is doing. And I don't like to do things just because other people think I should. It makes me want to do the total opposite. I'm sure this is a serious sign of immaturity, and I am working on it. But, although I'm much tamer than I used to be, I still find that rebellious streak flaring up within me periodically. Oh yeah, and I have a bad temper. Still.

6. One of my biggest fears is what I will do when all my kids are grown and gone. The thing is, I've just always wanted to be a mom. I know that to many people that sounds lame and unambitious, but it's the truth. I always knew I wanted to get an education and graduate from college - that was always very important to me - and I did. But I never had any career aspirations. Even now, there's nothing that sounds all that appealing to me. I do think I would like to go back to school but I'm kind of freaked out about the thought of getting a master's degree. It's the whole write a thesis thing. Totally intimidates me. Also, I don't want to be super tied down. I want to be available for my kids - be able to visit, help out, take care of grandkids. So, I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself and so much free time. I'm afraid of feeling like I've lost my purpose in life.

7. I hate crafts. Seriously hate them. Any and all kinds. (Which plays into my fear of what I'll do when my kids are gone - isn't that what grandmas and old ladies do? make crafts?) I hate to make things myself, even if it saves me money. My motto, which I've shared with many of you before, is "if I can't buy it, we don't have it - if I can't afford it, we'll go without." Maybe I'm just lazy. Even when it comes to buying things I'm not interested in shopping around for the best deals. I just want to hurry and buy whatever it is that I need or want. Yeah, lazy.

8. I love to read but I hate starting new books. It's weird, I know. I'm always reading and I always have the next book ready to go so that there's no lapse. If I don't have a book to read I feel a little panicky/ansty/jittery. So even though I always start the next book right away I hate the feeling I have inbetween - just after I've finished a book and right before I start the next. The thing is I get really "into" my books. For me, it's like being transported to another place and time. When I read, I'm totally oblivious to what's going on around me. But, of course, it takes some time for that feeling to come. If it's a good book, that can happen within the first few pages. Sometimes it takes a few chapters. Sometimes more. So when I finish a book I miss that feeling. And I dread that period of time I will have to endure until I experience that feeling again.

Okay, Anna Connelly and Nellie Johnston - tag, you're it.

Paul's purchase

Paul and Noah went to Costco yesterday and they came home with a new cd...spanish guitar music. Paul said he just couldn't resist. Noah asks for it everytime we get in the van now. He calls it the "magic guitar music." So funny

Alex's Monologue

"I fast!
I super-fast!
I super-hero!

This is what she said to herself as she ran around the block in all her winter gear last night - she looked hilarious!
Noah looked pretty good too. Don't ask me why he'll wear a big puffy winter coat, mittens, beanie, and snow boots but he he refuses to wear long sleeves, jeans, a hoodie, socks and shoes. He went to preschool barefoot the other day because I wouldn't let him wear his snowboots and he wouldn't wear his sneakers. I think we're both a little too stubborn for our own good : )

Dewey's Pizza

We love Dewey's Pizza. The food is great, the service is nice, and it's a kid-friendly place. We never take the kids out to eat with us unless we're going to Dewey's or Chipotle. The first time we ever took the kids to Dewey's Noah looked at us on the way out and said, "Is this the new Chipotle?" Yes, it is : )

Last week we took my mom to Dewey's. One of the fun things about Dewey's is that they have a window that looks into the kitchen and you can watch the guys throw pizza dough up into the air and spin it around. Our kids love it. We were climbing into the car after dinner and I thought I heard Alex say, "I make the pizza dough!" I thought to myself - that can't be right...she couldn't have just said that. I turned around and looked at her and she was throwing her little blanky up into the air and trying to spin it with her fingers. She looked at me, smiled, and said again, "I make the pizza dough!" What a smarty pants!

Today I was running errands with Noah and he asked me, "Mom can I be a pizza maker when I grow up?" I said, "Sure, you can be anything you want when you grow up." He responded, "Thanks mom, so can you!"

Friday, November 09, 2007

Day Three

This was definitely our favorite day. We drove down to Key Largo, the first of the Florida Keys, where we went snorkeling. It was awesome! They took us to a reef about 5 miles out into the ocean, which freaked me out a little bit, but it was great! We saw beautiful fish, big fish, schools of fish, and a few baracudas. I thought the baracudas were sharks at first - they were about 3 feet long and had big sharp teeth. One swam right under me and I was too afraid to even move. Paul, on the other hand, was chasing the thing down. When we all got back into the boat another snorkeler told us he'd seen a 6 foot shark. Paul was so mad that he hadn't seen one - I was so relieved!
After we went snorkeling the 4 of us decided we'd keep driving down through the keys and see how far we got. It was a beautiful drive, surrounded by water. We made it all the way to the very last key, Key West! Key West is actually closer to Havana, Cuba than it is to Miami and it's the southernmost point of the U.S. Key West was awesome. I felt like I was in the Bahamas again. We strolled throught the streets full of shops, restaraunts, and cute bed and breakfasts. Then we splurged on an amazing seafood dinnner out on a beautiful terrace with twinkling lights and a nice view. What a way to end the perfect day! After dinner we realized that, once it gets dark, the streets of Key West are full of drunk Karaoke singing people of all ages. So we decided to head back - we had a 4 1/2 hour drive ahead of us! It wasn't nearly as scenic either since it was dark. But we managed to keep each other entertained until we made it back to our place at 1am.
Sunday morning Paul and I got up early and took one last stroll along the beach, where we collected seashells for the kids (which turned out to be a huge hit, much better than any of the souvenirs we bought for them). We went to sacrament meeting and then packed up, grabbed a quick lunch, and headed to the airport. It was sad to leave but we had a fun reunion with the kids!

Day Two

Remember what I said about Paul and pictures? Just keep that in mind as you look at these. Also keep in mind that I live in the city with the most grey days in the whole freaking country (I'm not joking). I can't help it that I'm pasty white!
Anyways...Day two we headed down to South Beach. We shopped around for the kids, ate a delicious lunch which included sipping on yummy virgin Pina Coladas, and went swimming at a gorgeous beach. The weather was perfect. If anything, it was a little too hot and sunny. The thing about South Beach is that, on the beach at least, clothing is "optional" We scouted it out though, and it looked safe. However, after our swim we went for a stroll along the beach. Not so safe - but pretty funny : )

Good Friends

We did this trip with our good friends Chris and Lisa Weight. Chris and Paul did a research project together, which is why we were there in the first place. Lisa and I were lucky enough to fly out together and meet our husbands. It was so fun! The Weights were great vacation buddies and we all learned a lot about each other. It was a bonding experience : )

Day One

The great thing about going to Florida in November is that it was empty - no crowds. The is still hurrican season, hence the no crowds thing. There was a hurricane off the coast of Florida when Paul arrived and the weather was pretty crazy. Luckily, it calmed down some by the time I got there. It rained on and off the first day and it was really windy, but still warm. We found a beautiful deserted beach and had a blast swimming in the ocean and getting pummelled by the crashing waves.

There's more...

Ok, done with Halloween...onto Florida pictures! Don't worry, I don't have nearly as many. Paul hates posing for pictures (as will soon be evident) but loves to catch me at akward moments.

I didn't realize how much pent-up blogging I had within me - I had to get it all out of my system. Now that I've started, I can't seem to stop! The great thing about blogs is that no one is under any obligation to read this, look at this, or care about this.

Preschool Halloween Party

I know these are not the best pictures but I just thought all the kids were so cute!

Alex kept slipping out of this chair and then getting stuck because of the costume - pretty funny!
Spider crackers, Noah's favorite part of the day. Why does my kid have to love spiders?!? Nothing creeps me out more!

The finished product

Paul is not going to be happy that I posted that picture of him, but here's the story behind it: Noah wanted to carve a "vewy scewy jack-o-lantern!" He chose the spider pattern. By the time we put it out on the porch it was dark and Noah was scared. So he refused to take a picture with Paul next to the pumpkin. Paul posed for this picture alone (thinking no one would ever see it) just to show Noah that there was nothing to be afraid of. But Noah, being the "mommas boy" that he is insisted he would only take the picture if he could sit on mommy's lap. Paul was not happy, considering he did all the work (I hate pumpkin guts). I guess Noah's "weally, weally, scewy Jack-o-lantern" was a little too much for the kid : ) I love you Paul, what a great daddy!!!