Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Red Light District

Last night I was driving around alone...well with Brooke, but she doesn't provide a lot of accountability. I knew that I would be facing temptation if I made the next turn up ahead. I would be in the red light district.

I never thought I would find it such a temptation. I completely regret my first experience...such a fond memory that I can't get out of my mind. During the day I usually drive by without much notice or pressure from the warm glow of the soft neon light. But somehow, on a cold January night...alone in my car, it is all I can do to resist. My flesh is weak. Just drive away. Don't look back. Get out of this area. You're better then this.

PLEASE. Turn off the light!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dancing With Dora

Friday, January 26, 2007

Homemaking Meme

Stolen from A Gracious Home. A, B, C...

Aprons – Y/N? If Y, what does your favorite look like?
Not usually...although I should since I have several shirts ruined with grease spots. I had a few nice one's from William-Sonoma that I received at a bridal shower. Remember when people gave you things from that I no longer am given anything, nor can I afford that store!

Baking – Favorite thing to bake

Clothesline – Y/N?
No. I don't think this question takes into consideration geography. The only home I've ever lived in with an outdoor clothesline was in Mississippi. That makes sense!

Donuts – Have you ever made them?
Once. Too much grease involved. Not a fan of grease. I prefer the experts at Krispy Kreme to make them!

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day
Open all the blinds to get some light in my house!

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?
Yep. Thanks to Meals a la Carte!

Garbage Disposal – Y/N?
Yes. Love it. Didn't have one in NJ and I hated it. I throw everything in there.

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
My mind.

Ironing – Love it or hate it? Or hate it but love the results?
Love the results...when someone else does it. Thank God for flight suits!

Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?
Since kids...just about every other drawer in my kitchen.

Kitchen – Color and decorating scheme
Oak cabinets with stainless hardware we added. Stainless appliances. Blonde paint by Sherman Williams. Travertine Tile backsplash we added and some antique bronzed light fixtures we added, too. My favorite kitchen so far of any of our homes.

Love – What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Having everything clean!

Mop – Y/N?
When my socks stick to the floor or I see Brooke eating a 5 day old dried up piece of fruit from under the kitchen table.

Nylons – Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
Live in WA state and you don't need to own them! It's a beautiful thing!

Oven – Do you use the window or open the oven to check?
Our light was always burned out on our previous oven so I always opened. Now we have a new oven with a clean window and bright light!

Pizza – What do you put on yours?
Hawaiian Oinker - ham and pineapple (mushrooms too)

Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Hmmm...not a situation I face much. Blog, make a phone call.

Recipe card box – Y/N? What does it look like?
Another great bridal shower gift. I actually pull it out frequently.

Style of house – What style is your house?

Tablecloths and napkins – Y/N?
Yes...Vinyl Dora and Strawberry Shortcake and paper napkins. Nice. Not quite William-Sonoma.

Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland?
Yes. A little of both. But childproofed.

Vacuum – How many times per week?
Frequently these days since Brooke is crawling/walking and my dogs shed and people are looking at our house all the time.

Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
OH. MY. GOSH. I think I could live in my laundry room. This will be a future blog someday. I do so. much. laundry! AHHHH. Thank God for my upstairs laundry room, otherwise I would never put the clean clothes away.

X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
Only in my head :-)

Yard – Y/N? Who does what?
Depends on if my husband is in Kyrgyzstan for four months. I frequently cut the grass (and pick up dog poop, lovely) so that our wknds are free for fun. I take care of all the flowers, too.

Zzz’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Pick everything up so it is ready for a realtor to walk through first thing in the morning.

What about you?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Mommy: "What are you guys doing?"

Baileigh: "We're playing a silly game."

Mckenna: "Yah, we're playing The Big Boobie Game!"

Soooooo Disturbing!

Bath Tub Fun

Since my house is so clean and Brooke is sleeping while the girls are at preschool, I thought I would play with our movie editor. So here is a silly little experimental clip of Brooke having some fun in the tub while working on her animal noises.

Please, don't submit it to Sundance or life is too busy already!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mixed Messages

I forgot about the toilet-paper-pulling-stage. I think this should be an official stage in developmental books. It can see it now: 1)Oral Stage 2)Toilet Paper Pulling Stage 3)Household Safety Hazards.

This is how it played out...and why Brooke is probably very confused as to whether or not playing with the toilet paper is a good or bad thing:

"BROOKE. NO. We don't play with the toilet paper. Please come out of the bathroom." Then I take a quick picture without her noticing.

"BROOKE. Mommy said, no." Then she looks at me, confused, as I snap a picture.
"Please get out of the bathroom, Brooke." She crawls off, with toilet paper stuck to her. When she discovers the fun material is following her and she is pretty excited. I take another picture.
She stops to look at me and questions why the toilet paper is now in the hall...and why is Mommy taking pictures.
Her internal thoughts..."so is it okay for me to play with this stuff or not?" Sorry for the mixed messages kid, but you were entertaining me so much that I had to capture the moment.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Deep Thoughts

Around 4:30 yesterday I got a call to see the house. Instead of driving around our neighborhood, spending money aimlessly at the store or eating out, I decided to be productive with my time and we headed to the YMCA. Brad had an evening simulator so I packed up the girls, and the dogs, and we joined the after work crowd at the Y. I'm usually there in the morning so the evening chaos was new to me. That's really all beside the point...which actually I'm not sure if I have one right now.

In preparation for my July triathlon I'm going to participate in an indoor version at the Y in late February. It's a 200 meter swim, 6 mile bike, then a 2 mile run. So last night I decided to run 1.5 and bike 3 miles as a warm up for the real thing. I was having a tough work out mentally. I think I was tired and my body was confused as to why we were at the gym at 5:00pm. Then a song came on my MP3 player that effected my entire attitude. I was struggling on the stationary bike and thinking to myself, "why am I getting a nice road bike and participating in a triathlon when I don't even like to bike, or run?!" when the song "This is Your Life" by Switchfoot began to play. The lyrics go like this:

Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
Yesterday is a promise that you've broken
Don't close your eyes, don't close your eyes,

This is your life
And today is all you've got now
And today is all you've ever had
Don't close your eyes

This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything that you dreamed that it would be when the world was younger, and you had everything to lose?

Yesterday is a kid in the corner
Yesterday is dead and over
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, are you who you want to be?

I've always liked the song...but for whatever reason at that moment I found it extremely inspiring and motivating. Perhaps because I was sitting there with my legs spinning in circles and questioning most things about my life. I began to think that I need to be doing this because, no, this isn't who I physically want to be and I want to demand more of myself. I began to visualize myself completing my first race and the rush I anticipate I'll feel at that moment.

And then it evolved into thinking about my role as a wife and a mother. I thought about how being married isn't everything I dreamed it would be, yet the reality of it is much greater in many ways. I thought about how having three daughters isn't as daunting as I anticipated. I thought about how I've evolved in my struggle as a stay at home mom who always felt the need to tell someone at a playgroup that I have a Masters and I'm capable of more then changing diapers and wiping noses. I think I've settled into a level of contentment in my mommy role and I know that I'm capable (yet not worthy) of the awesome responsibility it is to raise kids in addition to a lot of things beyond the mommy realm...but if I'm the only one who is aware of that then that is enough.

Then my mind wandered back from it's "Deep Thoughts" moment (I used to love that segment on SNL) and I realized how much my butt was hurting from the bike seat. Then I began thinking again...what am I thinking doing a triathlon? I left the Y that night proud of myself for mustering up the energy to drag myself, the dogs, and the girls up there in rush hour traffic and near dinner time. I resolved to return tomorrow and sit on that bike again and run the track again. Hopefully I'll begin to develop a tolerance for the bike seat. And hopefully another great song will come on my MP3 player that helps me have a "Deep Thoughts" moment.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Living Under A Microscope

It has begun. The on-the-market madness. Our house is officially for sale.

I guess I should be thankful that the first twenty four hours of having our house in the MLS system has been a little crazy. We had 4 realtor's call, two looked at the house today with clients, one is scheduled for Sunday, and I anticipate a few more tomorrow. Considering we had about 3 offers in the first two days in NJ you would think I may be disappointed...but the market is much different out here and having this much traffic on our first weekend is encouraging.

That said, I hate living in a house that is for sale. It brings out the worst in my anal tendencies that I combat on a daily basis. Having children has helped me let go of the need to have a clean house, however, not the desire. Knowing that my house is going to be viewed with much scrutiny by prospective buyers basically sets me over the edge and I become the Housekeeper-Nazi. This isn't a good combination with a baby that throws bananas all over the floor, a three year old that always tips over her big girl cup, and a five year old that seems to be following in mommy's tidy obsession and becomes a pre-K version of the mommy Housekeeper-Nazi and yells orders at her younger sisters. Oh yeah, and my two 80lb. dogs and their shedding hair and smelly presents left in the backyard aren't an asset either.

So this is how it goes. Realtor calls. I calmly say that it would be fine if they come in 15 minutes. I hang up the phone kicking myself for being such a people pleaser and wondering why I didn't ask them to give me 30 minutes. Then I begin to twirl around the house, much like the Tasmanian Devil in a cleaning frenzy while I bark orders at the kids. I run around flushing toilets, wiping counters, picking up socks, hiding toys, eating old Cheerios off the floor, shoving dog pillows under the bed, turning on lights, blowing out candles, washing dishes...I think you get the ugly picture. All this in hopes that someone will come in my house and be overwhelmed by the peace and tranquility and warm sense of home that they feel...that I just created in my frenzy...and that they can experience on a daily basis for the rest of their lives for the right price.

The fun doesn't end there. Then I get to load everyone into the Suburban, including the two excited dogs and we drive. In circles. Nowhere. Killing time. Waiting. Watching. Wondering. Is this my life for the next week? The next month? Months? I'm not sure if anyone in my family can handle that prospect.

The other thing I have failed to mention is that we aren't using a realtor. Why not? Why?...said my husband. Note, my husband. There is a thing called MLS4Owner in the NW and basically you pay a nominal fee and in return you are given an MLS# so you are "in the system" for realtors and they put a sign in the yard. We're responsible for flyers, an open house if we choose, and working with the realtors. It really isn't a big difference then normally showing the house, until a possible offer is presented. Then we may have to consult a real estate attorney and deal with the escrow company on our own. This is a little intimidating but Brad is pretty savvy in this stuff. However, he is going to be gone the month of February and therefore...I may be doing this on my own. I think I gave into the idea when Brad offered to let me have 75% of the profit we would make that would normally go to a realtor! I confess, I was enticed and begrudgingly agreed.

In the midst of the distraction of preparing our house, I have had my sad and sentimental moments about all the memories we have created in this home. This was where we brought home baby Brooke. This is where Baileigh has celebrated her 3, 4, and 5th birthdays! Mckenna was just 13 months when we first moved here. Brooke will be 13 months when we leave here. Crazy how time passes so quickly! There are some things I would change, but I have truly loved this house and have felt blessed and fortunate to call it home.

I guess I should be thankful that tonight I won't be painting baseboards at 1:00am, or organizing my linen closets, or scrubbing my stove. Tonight the house is clean. Tonight I will go to bed before the next day begins. Tonight I will enjoy my house. Tomorrow we wait. Tomorrow, we go back under the microscope.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

10 Months Old

I'm over a week late on getting this posted...Brooke turned 10 months on the 7th. I'm noticing a trend that I post these a few weeks late, but at least I'm remembering to take the pictures.

So what is she up to? I wouldn't say she is truly walking yet, but frequently she takes anywhere from 3-8 steps. She is clapping and bouncing at any type of music. She loves to eat cheese, grapes, pancakes, and baby goldfish. She clearly says "hi" and "bye" while waving and also knows "Mama" and "Dada". She has a set of lungs on her that allows her to compete with the noise level of her two big sisters. She get's insanely excited when her two large dogs enter the room and a kiss from Ranger makes her belly laugh. She has mastered the sippy cup and prefers to try to hold a spoon and try to feed herself. She went from no teeth to 3 in the past month (all on the bottom) and I believe a 4th one is on the way.

Working on her wave...I also think she is sucking in her gut...isn't she a little young for that to start?
It wasn't easy, but I managed a photo of the three teeth!
I think it is almost safe to say that her blue eyes are officially turning green like mine.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dress Up Queen

Mckenna, although not really a the dress up queen. Within minutes of waking up in the morning she is already requesting to dress up. I decided this past week to take at least one photo a day of her creative outfits. She frequently pretends to be a princess, a mommy, a super hero, a super hero princess, a girl going on an adventure, a teacher...who looks like a beautiful princess...etc.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

New Kicks!

Check out my new pink shoes (Daddy likes to call them kicks). I'm pretty proud of them so I'm doing my best to stand up so I can show them off!

Major Bed Head!

Nice! Why am I holding out for her first birthday haircut...the poor girl can't see.

Friday, January 12, 2007

3 Weeks of Abstinence

Last night I broke my new vow of was over three weeks ago that I set foot in a Target...I was challenging myself to see if I could make it a month! I was out with some girlfriends last night. Where do 3 mom's go at 9:00pm after dinner and before a movie...Target of course. Good thing I didn't realize it was pay day! So much for abstaining for least I know I'm not the only one with a problem.

What did you think this blog was about?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My Current Read

The title obviously caught my eye. Then the chapter titles alone made me laugh:

1) Life In The Slow Fat Lane

5) Losing Your Tri Virginity

6) Going The Extra Mile or 124.5

8)When Bad Things Happen To Slow Fat Triathletes

I've begun reading a few different "triathlete wannabe" training guides in anticipation of my July race and I thought this one was the most appropriate for myself. It is encouraging, funny and inspiring. If you're looking for some practical advice and motivation and considering a triathlon I recommend this book.

So I'm off to the Y in a few minutes to apply what I'm reading and run 2.5 miles. That becomes a lot of ovals when you're running the indoor track...I'll just find my place in the slow fat lane and loose myself in my MP3 player and hope the 15 laps go quickly.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Zealand or Bust!

Brad has an opportunity to spend the month of February in New Zealand as part of Operation Deep Freeze. I would usually use the term "opportunity" loosely in regards to any trip that takes him away so long...but I must admit, this truly is a unique opportunity. He initially told me about it while he was still gone on his four month deployment, so it didn't sit well with me. Now that he has been home a few months I'm recognizing the cool factor for him and I'm more on, did I forget to mention...I get to go!!!!

Before I say anything more on that, you can read below a summary in a few articles I found of what he will be doing and why he is going.
A C-17 cargo jet sits at the Pegasus Ice Runway near McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in August 2004. The U.S. Air Force provides air support between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Station, Antarctica, for the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Williams Field, a skiway 16 kilometers from McMurdo on the Ross Ice Shelf, is the aerodrome for ski-equipped airplanes. Wheeled airplanes use a harder, smoother runway on sea ice in October and November and into December, when the sea ice usually begins to break up and become unusable.
A permanent, hard ice runway for wheeled planes - the Pegasus site on the Ross Ice Shelf was completed in 1992 and can be used in all but the warmest months.

So essentially he will stay in Christchurch, New Zealand and fly about 4 out and back missions to Antarctica. I guess for a pilot, landing on an iceberg is an exciting flying challenge. The remainder of his month is more or less down time in Christchurch in some pretty plush accommodations provided by the AF! So when we learned that spouses were welcome to visit during the month we thought that despite the poor timing (remember...our house will be on the market) we couldn't pass up the opportunity. I had to purchase my own ticket, which wasn't cheap, but our hotel is paid for, we get a daily allowance, and Brad obviously will fly for "free".

Now if the thought of this is upsetting you or you're thinking that your taxes are funding government expenditures such as this...just keep in mind that in the 11 years of his military service and the months of deployments...this is really the first trip I've been "invited" to attend. There was a long weekend conference in St. Louis, but that doesn't really compare.

So I have a ticket, my passport renewal application is in the mail, and Grandma is onboard for keeping the girls! 8 Days on the South Pacific Ocean in New Zealand without my kids...Yahoo! It took me awhile to convince myself to do this...I was thinking practically about all the reasons I shouldn't...but then I decided to just be a little impractical once in awhile and go for it. Without a doubt this won't be the last you're hearing about this adventure.

Trying to Walk

Brooke is taking a few more steps each day. She was 10 months a few days ago (I need to post those photos, too) and ushered in the day with her first official solo steps. Of course I never have the video camera ready when she decides to perform. Yesterday after breakfast (thus the bedhead and crazy hair)I thought I would attempt to see if I could get her to cooperate when I had the camera rolling. She has done as much as 8 steps in a row...this time she took a few tiny steps but demonstrates her balancing skills which are also improving.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mountain View

Yesterday Brad and I got into a debate, turned into an argument...about whether or not you could see Mt. Rainer for the girl's bedroom window. I wanted to add "Mountain View" on our fl yer to sell our house...this is a big deal out here and that is how the discussion began. I thought he was kidding or just trying to push my buttons. To be honest, I'm still not sure. He said we couldn't see the mountain. Is he kidding? We've lived here over 2 years. Could he really be that unaware of his surroundings?

So to prove my point, which is always the healthy and recommended way to resolve issues in a marriage...don't argue with me on this one...I have a MS in the field to tell me I'm right...I took a subtle photo today from the girl's bedroom window. It isn't a bright and sunny day so the green outline is to aid your eye, but I think I prove my point, none the less!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hiding Out

The girls built a fort today. They took in their toys that light up and had fun playing in the dark. I could hear Brooke's belly laugh from the kitchen...can't tell you how much that warms my heart to hear all three girls making each other giggle and playing together. Check out the static in their hair.

"Hi Mommy!"

Brooke's latest thing is to crawl up to an object and then use it to aid her in standing. This may be a chair, the couch, a table, the cabinets...but her favorite is me. This can be challenging in that if I want to move a distance greater then 6 inches she has to be compliant and take small steps that synchronize mine or she falls down. Usually I warn her mommy has to move and then she falls down. More and more though, I move and she continues to stand in place without any assistance. But the majority of the time this is what I see or feel as I'm standing in the kitchen.

The Chicken Sham

The other night at dinner Mckenna was told to finish her chicken before she could have any dessert. A few minutes later we heard "can I have dessert now?" Upon seeing her clean plate we praised her for obeying and dessert was served. A little while later I was cleaning up from dinner and noticed a stash of chicken pieces under Mckenna's chair. Apparently her cooperative spirit was really a chicken exporting scheme in which the chicken was discretely transferred to under her chair. Unfortunately for her, our dogs were out in the yard, otherwise we may have never discovered her sham as I'm sure they would have been willing accomplices in the disposal of the chicken.

While we found her actions humorous and ingenious...she was disciplined (I had to leave the room because I couldn't stop from laughing, after I took pictures of course).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A tale of two teeth

We're having a lot of conversations about teeth in our house lately. Brooke's two little teeth are finally visible and Mckenna frequently announces their arrival to whoever will lend an ear. I've kept my camera handy the past few days in attempts to photograph them, which proved to be a bigger challenge then you would think. But without further is the first photo ever of Brooke's teeth!
The talk of teeth has heightened Baileigh's awareness and curiosity of the concept of "loosing teeth." She has a few older friends that are sporting toothless grins and apparently she is anxious and nervous to enter that phase of development. It seems that every conversation is infiltrated with the topic. For example, "I'm 5 now, then I'll turn 6. Then I'll loose a tooth." or "We're going to move to New Jersey this summer. Then I'll probably loose a tooth." or "Brooke has two new teeth. When she get's older like me she'll probably loose her new teeth, like I'm going to soon." You get the idea.

Yesterday in the car Mckenna and Baileigh began discussing the impending event and the tale of the Tooth Fairy. I took the best mental notes I could as I struggled to listen over my internal laughter.

Baileigh: "When you loose a tooth the Tooth Fairy comes and leaves you money under your pillow while you are sleeping."
Mckenna: "She must be magical like Santa Clause."
Baileigh: "I wonder what she looks like."
Mckenna: "She must be very tiny because when you have your head on your pillow it is very small underneath your pillow so she must be very little if she has to go under your pillow and put money!"
Baileigh: "I wonder if I'll get enough money to buy something at the store."
Brooke: "Ah-da-ba-ba-ma-ma"
Mckenna: "You might eat an apple like Amanda did when she was in Disneyland and your tooth will come out like her."
Baileigh: "We just went to Disneyland, silly, I can't loose it there...I'll have to loose it in New Jersey when we move!"

Monday, January 01, 2007


USC 32, Michigan 18

Go Michigan

The 93rd Rose Bowl Game will feature an exciting match up between two championship teams, showcasing USC and Univ. of Michigan in The Granddaddy of Them All®.

Less then 3 hours until kickoff! GO MICHIGAN!