Monday, September 29, 2008

Chop, chop, chop

I chopped off my hair again. Well, I didn't, but some lady did. I like it. David likes it better short also. It takes a whopping 60 seconds to fix in the morning. It's a win win.

One second while I pick my chin up off the floor

our house that we sold in Phoenix and this home were almost the same price, like within $500. We paid $2,000 per year in real estate taxes in phoenix. i figured we'd pay close to the same amount up here in Yavapai county.

the first year was super cheap as they were appraising land and not a house. Great, $400 for the year. i was thrilled. We just got our taxes for the next year and they are $3350!!!! What/// That comes to $280 per month! That's almost my car payment. i'm absolutely stunned. Here is what we pay;

Yavapai Community college $360
Humboldt Unified School District $778
Yavapai Fire $575
Yavapai library $36 (what for the library0
AHCCCS $355 (This is insurance for poor people0

etc, etc...i had no idea we'd pay all of this stuff. We never paid it in phoenix. Isn't this what sales tax and what not takes care of/ i guess i need to get myself educated in what is going on in my new county. i like my old county better.

p.S. i spilled coffee on my keyboard this morning and my shift key for my left hand no longer works. i popped it off and cleaned it, but it's still not working. That's why anything that was supposed to be capitalized or a ? didn't work out. i'm just too mad to take the time to fix it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Listen To This

David and I both have IPods. The headphones that are included in this $200 device are horrible. The sound quality usually goes from one ear to the other. For that much money, you'd think they could include some decent headphones.

About a month ago, David purchased a pair of JVC Gumy ear buds in black. He loves them and listens to his music every day when he goes for his afternoon walk. I needed a new pair as well for the rare occasion that I walk on the treadmill. I also will put on my music and earphones when the kids are driving me crazy. Some days I just can't take any more. To keep from turning into Mommy Dearest or getting a migrane, I tune them out and tune in to something that has me smiling and dancing around the kitchen. The ear buds pipe in John Mayer singing to me that my body is a wonderland. Please John stop, I'm happily married. Well, okay tell me one more time...

These ear buds come in 8 colors, so I got the hot pink pair to match my IPod. I was amazed at the sound quality. It's crystal clear and their is no fading in and out of the music.

Now, here is why they are possibly the best $10 you will ever spend. David thought he lost his set of ear buds. For the past week, we looked high and low. I bought him another pair yesterday convinced that they were gone. Last night, I pulled the laundry out of the dryer and there was this tiny black ball left in the dryer. His ear buds. They had been washed on warm and tumble on medium heat. He left them in his shirt pocket. I don't check for these things. He doesn't leave stuff in his pockets normally. We thought there would be no way they would work. David spent 5 minutes untangling them. He plugs them in his Ipod and they work perfectly. Now that's impressive!

I'm So Exskited! (as Emily would say)

After years of wanting a KitchenAid Mixer, we finally got one. Part of the reason may stem from the fact that there isn't any place good to get a pizza around here. We've been resorting to the chain "restaurants" and they always leave something to be desired. We decided we needed to take matters into our own hands and start making it ourselves. So, we had to have a mixer. We found someone on Craigslist selling a brand new one with some attachments for half price. It's the gray color shown above which wouldn't have been my first choice. You know I would've gone for tangerine! But for half off, I wasn't going to complain. Oh wait, I think I just did.

If you have any good recipes for dough or bread or anything else that we can make in our mixer, we'd love to have them. We are trying out pizza tonight! Oh, we also need a recipe for donuts as there isn't anyplace to get those around here either.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Father, Daughter Night

Emily's preschool had there first official Father, Daughter night on Monday. The theme was "A Hunting We Will Go". Can you tell we live in a small country town? Everybody was supposed to dress up in their hunting and fishing gear. David doesn't hunt or fish. Luckily, we have some friends that do. They let us borrow a hat and shirt. David said the night was fun. They had a snack, did a craft and the kids sang some songs. I'm only posting this because my hubby looks HOT in camouflage. I don't think I'm giving the shirt back!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Say Cheese

My Mother and Father in law got me an early birthday gift. Ugh, I'll be 35 in less than a month. They knew we were in desperate need of a new camera. Ours had stopped working for a few days. Then, spontaneously started working again, but still had other issues. If you breathed, a warning would flash on the screen and the picture would be blurry. Camera's don't last but 2 years in this house. I really wanted a camera that would take quicker photos as mine was so slow. I also hate how the kids now say "Cheese!" and every photo looks like that word is still on their lips. Hopefully a quicker camera will catch the moment before or after cheese comes out.

I got the new camera today and I love, love, love it! Thanks Gwynne and Enrique!




Monday, September 22, 2008

The County Fair

We went to the fair on Saturday. It's about 5 minutes from our house and the kids are too little to HAVE to go on all the rides. We were there for 2 hours, saw all the animals, spent only $12, and the kids are still talking about what a great time they had.

They played on a swingset that was on display:



They saw a rainforest show with a snake, macaw and wambat.


Emily met The Incredible Hulk.


They pet a chicken...


a horse...


a goat...


and a sheep.


Emily thought this sheep getting fed a bottle was the coolest thing.


We found out there is an Alpaca farm about 5 minutes from our house. Is this what I smell sometimes when the wind is blowing from the East?



They were farmers for the day.






They even got a ribbon.
"Look over here kids."


"Emily leave your brother alone and look at the camera."


"Put your arm around him."


That'll do.


They got to ride the best ride...on Dad's shoulders. (Yes, David really needs a haircut.)

A Toddler and A Gentleman

This is my little man. I realize I fall deeper in love with him daily. He is turning into this little gentleman in front of my eyes and it's truly interesting to watch. He is his father's son. Sure, David will tell you I'm Ben's favorite person and I'd agree with that, but his soul is that of his Dad.

The year I met David I had over 20 first dates. I would discard people as my future soul mate sometimes in a matter of minutes and I'm sure they did the same with me. I knew what I was looking for in a man and I found it with David. I knew right away that he was it for me. He is kind, gentle and thoughtful. He makes me coffee in the morning and has a cup waiting for me when he wakes me up everyday. He walks in the door after work, greets all of us with hugs and kisses, and puts on an apron to help out with cooking. After dinner, he gets up and helps with the dishes. If he sees the floors need vacuumed (his pet peeve) he'll just do it, even though it's technically my job. He doesn't see the household stuff as my job. He'll help out when he notices things need done. I don't have to ask or nag. He never makes me feel like I didn't do anything all day, even though some days the kids and I give the TIVO a workout. He knows what I do is hard and he will often say that he could never do it. He's a good man. His Mama raised him right (thanks Gwynne).

Ben is taking after his Dad already. I'm noticing little things daily and I'm not teaching him this stuff either. He has started opening the door for me. When Emily learned to open doors, she'd open it, run through it, and it would slam shut in my face. Ben literally stands there holding it open for me. If I have things to unload from the van, he'll wait patiently in the laundry room holding the door and then he'll shut it behind me and lock it. Today, he even tried to open the van door for me. I had to help him a little and he said, "There you go Mommy" and he hopped in the back seat. Where is this little gentleman coming from? Ben has such a sweet spirit. I just hope he continues to take after his Dad. One day, he'll make some woman as happy as he makes me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's Called Kool-Aid

Sometime last week, the kids were watching Curious George on PBS. They watch it occasionally. We were getting ready to head out the door to run some errands. I needed a few minutes to load the dishwasher, get water and snacks. You know the basics. Curious George ended and this new show called Sid the Science Kid came on.

This is Sid. He does some awesome experiments and wants to know everything about everything. We had never seen Sid before and the kids were transfixed especially Emily. I loved the show immediately. Sid started singing this song which is in every episode and it goes, "I love my Mom. My Mom is cool." I'm thinking fantastic. Nothing better than brainwashing. We've TIVO'd Sid everyday and we've been watching it more than once a day. David was fortunate enough to catch part of an episode the other night. He pointed out that Sid is from bi-racial parents. I had noticed. I think it's great.

So, Sid did an experiment last week where he froze ice pops. I happen to have one of those little containers with 4 sticks used for freezing stuff. I've had it since I was single and I'm sure I made margarita pops one time. It's been collecting dust since I had kids. I got it out and Emily said, "I'm so exskited." Her version of excited. She could not wait to freeze something. The first night we froze orange and apple juice. Then, we froze coke. She was so exskited that she woke up at 6 AM wanting to check to see if they were ready to eat. While shopping today, I came across Kool-Aid. We've never had Kool Aid before. The kids are wired and don't sleep enough. I don't need to add Kool Aid to the mix. I thought it would be fun to freeze it though. We just finished mixing it up and Emily asked what it was. I told her it's called Kool Aid. I gave her some in a cup. She took a huge sip and with a red ring around her mouth and a bright red tongue she declared, "I love Kool Aid!"



***UPDATE 30 MINUTES LATER***
Bad idea, bad, bad idea. I hate Kool Aid more than bubbles. There needs to be a warning label on this stuff. I looked out and the kids were playing on the swing set. I saw Emily swinging and thought oh, she put on her ruby red slippers. Um, when did she do that? They are in the office where I was. Upon further investigating, her feet are stained red! Ben's hands are red! She dumped Ben's glass of Kool Aid down the slide and they played in it. This will be the last time we have Kool Aid. I'm donating the other packet that I bought to the food bank.



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who's Reading This Stuff???

Sometimes, I check my site meter and wonder who the heck in that part of the country is reading my blog. Are they a stranger who is a voyeur (which is fine), a long lost friend or family member I don't know very well? I want to share an awesome story about blogging and how our writing reaches people whom we may never know.

Recently, I joined facebook.com. It's an online site to connect friends from school. We had a group of 11 girls in high school who were all really good friends. We took a photo together at our senior prom. Most of us have lost contact. One of the girls, Amy, was on facebook and we wrote to each other. We thought it would be fun to try to get all 11 of us on facebook just to catch up on where everyone is. Through some investigating, Amy found Sarah. Her and I weren't the closest in the group of 11, but she was always very sweet and kind. She was a good person and even at 16 you could tell that. Her brother in law and sister in law (Stephanie) were in a plane crash in Phoenix. They sustained major burns to their body, Christian 35% and Stephanie over 80%. Stephanie kept a web page nieniedialogues.com. Over the last few weeks, I've been reading her blog and loving every minute of it. She is always positive and it's truly beautiful to read every post. She is one of those Mom's that I admire and I doubt she could ever hate bubbles! Her sister has taken over her blog and is reposting some old favorite entries while Stephanie has been in a medically enduced coma for the past month awaiting skin grafts. Her story has been on the Today Show and written about in the AZ Republic and the New York Times. Why? She was a wonderful blogger. Her stories touched people. Sometimes, she'd write the smallest of things or post a photo of her stopped up sink full of Cheerios. She had readers around the globe most of whom she never knew. In her time of trouble, her blogger fans have supported her and her husband and raised over $100,000 to help with their medical bills which will total into the millions. There are times when we curse technology and think it's changing everything and not for the better. Then there are times like these when you realize it's a gift.

Why Do I Write?

I've been thinking a lot lately about this blog. I started it as a way to keep family and friends up to date on things going on in our lives. I had hoped that David would write some entries, but to date, he's only written one. It was about Forest's passing and I asked him to write it as I didn't think I could. Sometimes I don't feel like writing at all. Sometimes I feel that if I don't write for a week I might let one of the 5-10 people who read my blog down if they check everyday for a week and find nothing new. So, why do I blog?

David recently asked how long the blog and photos will stay on the web. I said I was pretty sure forever as I've seen blogs dated back to 2001. This is when we decided the blog is basically our diary, or rather mine. It's the diary I always promised that I'd keep for my kids. It's a way to fill the cute spiral journal that I have beside my bed that, after 5 years, still remains empty. So, why do I find time to blog when I've never found time to keep a journal?

It's accountability. I don't want to let my mother-in-law, best friend or Aunt down if they want to spend a few minutes browsing through my random thoughts and daily activities. I thank all 5-10 of you who read with regularity, who sometimes post a comment (which I love) and who I know are always logging on tomorrow hoping for a new story whether it's short, long, funny or personal. Someone will read it. Hopefully, someday, my daughter will sit at the computer and browse through all of the entries and gain some insight into her mother. And maybe, just maybe, she'll see things through my eyes...if only for a moment.

I recently came across a quote from Anais Nin that I just love.
"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our New Car


Well, we did it. David finally traded in his Honda Accord that he had for 10 years. The dealer up here in Prescott did not have any more Civics, so we chose to go to Phoenix. David did all the haggling online and got a good quote for a new 2008 Honda Civic. We loaded up the kids, drove almost 2 hours, spent 3 1/2 hours at the dealership, had pizza and drove 2 hours home. Everyone is completely exhausted. It took way longer than it needed to. First, our salesman comes back with this ridiculous price that was $2,000 more than what he quoted in an e-mail. David was visibly livid and was getting ready to storm out of there. He was certain this guy was full of it and that we'd just wasted 6 hours of our Sunday and a tank of gas to listen to this guy's B.S. Luckily his manager stepped in and helped out from that point. He got down to business and honored the price quoted in the e-mail. Seriously, our salesman should've been named "Pokey." He had no idea how to multitask. "We got 2 small kids here who are hungry, move it along buddy!!"

About 5 months back, we bought our mini-van from Prescott and were in and out of the dealership within 1 1/2 hours and we even went to the grocery store in the middle of that time to get a few things and give the kids something to do while they got the paperwork ready. There is something to be said about doing business with a small town dealership, although "Pokey" mockingly remarked to David something to the effect of, "Oh yeah, that dealership. They probably sell 40 cars in a good month...Pfff." Well we have news for "Pokey", he could sure learn something from hanging out in a smaller dealership where the dealer honors its word without trying to pull one over on its customer at the 11th hour. The customer service was 100 times better. In the end though, we got a good deal and "Pokey's" manager salvaged the day for us, as "Pokey" sat silently by, moping and stewing with egg all over his face. I'm sure he learned a thing or two after tangling with us, since he looked none too happy when all was said and done, though he managed to flash us a plastic smile once or twice.

Pokey's co-worker was nice to us. He took it upon himself to make our kids popcorn and get a crying Ben, a huge balloon. David and I both love the color of the car. They only had red, beige or silver. Since the van is silver, we both thought we'd go for beige assuming the red was a fire engine red. Much to our surprise, it was more of a dark cherry red and David and I both loved it immediately. There wasn't even a discussion. If only everything could be that simple.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

He Started It

As the kids get older, they are fighting a little more. They've always had their moments when Emily would take one of Ben's toys. But, Emily was louder and bigger and she'd do what she wanted and Ben would just cry. Ben doesn't cry as much anymore and they will often get into fights over toys. They don't throw off the gloves and start going at it, but they do verbally argue over things. David intervened yesterday and Emily said, "But, he started it." She had never said that before and in a flash David became his mother and replied, "Yeah, and I'm ending it." I laughed as I knew he had waited 37 years to say that. He had to say it again today and he's completely enjoying using this one liner. At what point did we become our parents? I guess when we became parents. David and I agreed that things that don't make sense when we're young, make a whole lot of sense as we grow older.

Hug A Farmer


We all go to the produce section at the grocery store. We pick up produce examining it for the slightest blemish and only select the perfect ones. We put the produce in our cart and don't give it a second thought. I think everybody should try to grow just one thing and see how difficult it can be. We'd all be a lot more grateful to the farmers who bring us beautiful produce.

After starting our first garden this year, we were thrilled when vegetables started growing. It's all so very earthy and organic. The kids love the grape tomotoes. I pull 15-20 off the bush, and they are gone before I've even gotten them inside. I'm not going to complain, but we've only managed to get a small bowl actually in the fridge. Tonight we decided to pull up the carrots. We knew once they started growing that we planted them way too close to each other. We didn't think they would all actually grow, but they did. Lesson learned. Some carrots ended up looking absolutely perfect. Others were so close that they actually fused together. After pulling them up, it took about an hour to clean them all. I find it hard to believe that we can go to the store and get 20 uniformly shaped, perfectly clean carrots for 99 cents. Although we probably have a 6 month supply of carrots, I think we will either not plant them next year or plant them with adequate space.

As I was cleaning the carrots, I came across so many that were interesting shapes. I took some pictures. Please enjoy my carrot art.
CARROTS IN LOVE


JELLYFISH CARROT


IF SPERM WERE A CARROT


WHERE'S MY OTHER LEG?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bubbles...Friend or Foe?

I'm sure I loved bubbles when I was younger. What kid doesn't? I'm sure I even thought they were amusing as an adult. All that changed when I became a Mother. I despise bubbles. Bubbles to me now have a meaning. They mean more work for me. With a 2 and 4 year old, it's a very simple equation. Bubbles + more bubbles = a big mess (work). Bubbles are soap. Who would think soap could be such a mess?

Usually a typical bubble session goes like this: Both kids have to hold their own bubbles. The patio floor ends up soaked in a matter of minutes because the bubbles drip all over as the kids try to blow them. Bubbles on the floor outside might not seem like a big deal, but soap is slippery. Ben slips and falls. While crying he wipes his eyes. Oops, bubbles got on his hands and now he has soap in his eyes. The screaming grows louder. I get the hose out to clean up Ben. While I'm at it, I hose off the patio to get rid of the soapy residue. The grass dies in a few days. Who knew soap killed grass? I'm wondering how the heck the kids found the bottle of bubbles in the back of the shed anyway?

Today, the table got it.

I had to take over the bubble blowing at this point.

I have decided each day to do one thing that I really don't want to for the kids. And getting out of bed doesn't count. I mean the things Emily asks for almost daily, paint, chalk, play doh, water balloons, "helping" with the dishes. It's always messy and only holds her attention for about 15 minutes which is exactly why I usually tell her no. It takes me longer to get it out and clean it up then it does for the kids to actually do the activity. Today, I decided to say yes to the bubbles. The kids had fun when I was blowing bubbles. They chased them all around the yard. It lasted about 15 minutes, but it was a fun 15 minutes. Maybe bubbles aren't so bad after all...as long as I'm the one holding the wand.