As you will notice, I have changed my music. I have made sure it doesn't automatically start anymore. You have to make it start. Also, I love this music. If you don't, that's fine. I know my music tastes are strange. I hope you enjoy this, and that you dance around with your kids to some of it. We do all the time. Cannot go wrong with music from Grease!! Well, except for that one word in Grease Lightning.....
My friend Shell and blogger friend Jen have posted some thought about the New Year and resolutions.
I have been thinking about those same things. I have decided that I am in a great place to make some big changes. Right now, we are staying in a hotel, and for me it is the perfect time to start formulating some goals and making up a schedule. I find that when I'm in my home, I feel overwhelmed with all that needs to get done, and taking the time to write things down or to make a plan just seems to take way too much time. I just need to get to work and start doing what needs to be done!! But now I'm in a place where I really have very little that needs to be done. I have the time to write out a schedule, a list of things I want to accomplish, and the time to mentally and emotionally prepare for making these changes.
Some of the things that I want to accomplish are:
Daily scripture study Daily exercising Schedule of chores and a specific time to do them each day Schedule of my day with the kids and what we do when Reading regularly from my parenting book and my porcupine book
These may seem simple and easy for some of you. I find them incredibly difficult to consistently accomplish. I find that I have a hard time focusing on one project at a time. And that I'm being pulled in so many directions at once that I have a hard time prioritizing my time. I'm sure most of you can relate to these feelings. I just really really struggle with them. On my mission, I did very well under the very tight schedule that we had. I was always tired, but find me a missionary that isn't tired!! I think if I try to model my own personal schedule around what I used to do on my mission, then I might have a chance at succeeding. And I will need to figure out what my reward to myself will be. And stick to it!!! The hardest part for me to do is to stick to it!!! That is part of my mental preparation is to get myself to a place where I'm motivated to stick to it, not because of my reward, but because I want to and I want to be a better person. And I think I would have done this no matter what time of year I was stuck in a hotel. It just always seems to be at Christmas and New Years. (we were in a hotel last year at this time too)
What have you found that works for you to keep you motivated? Do you find that you are able to accomplish most of the things you set out to do in a timely fashion? (that's another part of my problem, other than reading and typing fast I take forever to do other things) If you have wisdom, please share. And are any of you going to be making some major changes this year?
Some other things I want to do are:
Stop buying things on sale because they are on sale Learn to love playing with my kids Practice what I read out of my parenting book and my porcupine book Really work on my spirituality
Whatever progress I make, no matter how small, will be great. I also believe there is a season for all things, and I feel that if I don't take advantage of this time I have now, I may not get such a perfect time to make these changes. Happy New Year everyone!!! Gros Bisous a tous!!
Shabby Apple is having a sale on some of their dresses. If you haven't already gone to their website, I'll tell you about them. The two girls that started the company, did it because they were tired of having to wear cami's under all of their dresses. And having cute dresses be too short. So they started a line of dresses that do not require cami's or anything else that are modest and just stinkin cute. I have been wanting to buy a few dresses from there for a while. I had a few problems ordering online, and they have great customer service. Very helpful. And they donate a portion of their earnings to help women around the world. Just the kind of place that I want to support!
Time for another introduction to some of my blogroll....
Two of the names LeeElle and Kerilynn, are my cousins. I have known them since they were born. That of course does not mean I know them terribly well, but I have known them their entire lives. LeeElle and I physically look more like sisters than my actual sisters. She is the cousin closest to my age on my dads side of the family. When we were little kids, my sister and I would go and spend the night at LeeElle's and Kerilynns. They lived in Anaheim and we lived a good 30-40 minutes away in Glendora. So, we wouldn't get to do it that often. My favorite time was over a Cinco de Mayo weekend. I think we were spending the weekend with them. I couldn't have been more than 10 or so. My aunt and uncle had a lemon tree that was just needing to be picked. At least I think so. We (Me, Dawnette, LeeElle, and Kerilynn and their sisters) decided to make lemonade and sell it on their front lawn. Total kid thing to do. They lived down the street from a pretty big park that always had a huge Cinco de Mayo celebration with carnival rides and all kinds of stuff. Perfect time for selling lemonade!!! We sat out there in our swimsuits and sold our lemonade all day to all the passerbys. I don't remember how much we sold it for. I do remember that we made about $20 and to us that was a HUGE amount of money. I remember my uncle sitting us down and giving me, my sister and LeeElle and Kerilynn each 50 cents to pay as our tithing and talking to us about that. Then, we had $18 to use for something. So we took everyone out to KFC for dinner. (LeeElle or Kerilynn, correct me if I have any of these details wrong) I am very glad these two girls are in my family. LeeElle is certified in ASL (American sign language) and is currently supporting her husband working two jobs as he goes through law school, using her ASL skills. My brother would always go to firesides at BYU with her. She would always translate up front and so he knew he could get a good seat if he went with her. Kerilynn recently got her cosmetology's license and I should have had her do my hair back in September when I was in California. One more thing about LeeElle is that a few years ago (and maybe she still has it) she had a license plate frame that said Legs Like Barbie, Chest Like Ken. Perfectly describes what our bodies used to look like, that is for sure. Neither one of them post very often, but check them out when you have the time.
Since I don't have a calendar up in our hotel room, it has been a little hard remembering what day is what. Friday, while I was enjoying myself shopping without my kids, I remembered what day it was. My brother got married that morning.
When he told me the date, I knew that reality was that we would not be able to go. We would be traveling the opposite direction, moving, and getting situated in our new "home". I kind of hoped that I would find an amazing deal on plane tickets, but I checked and there wasn't any deal.
They are having an open house at my parents house next weekend, and I keep hoping that I'll find a great deal and surprise everyone. I've checked southwest a few times, and I could get the $99 one way deal from LAX to here, but not from Raleigh to LAX. So sad. But the reality is that I won't be able to go. If I could get a cheap flight and if someone would let me have some Prozac or other anti-anxiety meds I could to it.
That is the reality of living a long ways away..... It's just really stinky.
No, this is not about my kids getting a time out. It is about Deseret Books Time Out for Women.
I had remembered that there was going to be a Time Out in Columbia SC. That isn't far from us at all!! I was very excited. Well, just went on the website, and it is a Time Out for Women and Girls. Not that I don't think our girls are important, I just want one for just me. I looked up the closest Time Out for Women, and it is in Tallahassee Florida. Which is about eight and a half hours from me. So, I'm hoping that I can get a few of these women together in this ward to go down as a group. Although I have learned that several of these women have husbands that are deployed. So, it might be a bit tricky. This one is in March, so if I'm going to that, I have got to get working on it!!
And for those of you who don't know, Time Out is a convention/seminar type of thing put on by an LDS bookstore, Deseret Book. The speakers and musicians are LDS, and are usually authors of books put out by Deseret Book. It is an all day thing, and for me is totally worth it. I would love to go with my sister again, but I'm pretty sure that won't happen for a while. Arizona is pretty far from North Carolina.
For all of you Texans, there will be one in San Antonio!!! So sad that there will be one after I leave. I just don't have the luck.
I know that many of these authors that speak are there to sell their books too. I know that, and I'm fine with that. Most of the books are good books, it's just a matter of what I happen to need at that time. So, go if you can!
As I type this, my feet are being massaged with one of these. My husband must be tired of rubbing my feet! It feels really nice, and I don't need my husband around to get my feet rubbed.
As an update on us, we are surviving in our hotel. We found a cool park right behind our hotel, so yay for us! We are going shopping tomorrow to return some things and to get some things. Our kids seemed happy and content with our Christmas in a hotel. I was worried about Andrew waking up. He coughs a lot in his sleep, and we had some close calls. I hope all of you enjoyed your Christmas!
I don't seem to have much Christmas spirit. I have had so many other things going on. It's a little sad. So, I have decided that tomorrow, no matter what football game is on I am going to watch White Christmas. And cross stitch all the way through it. We grew up watching this movie. My brother Marshall was pretty popular with a few girls at BYU because he knew all the words to "Sisters", knew the characters of Anne of Green Gables, and other very female movies. The girls thought he was so funny that he knew all of that. I'm sure he appreciated it.:) I will be singing all the way through it, and if I could manage to wear some of those dresses they wear, I would totally do it. So, finally, on Christmas Eve, I will get into the Christmas spirit. I hope none of you are in my predicament. And I think we'll get out the scriptures tomorrow night and read about the first Christmas. We never really did that much at my house as a kid. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!
I just bought this shoe today at this website. What do you think? Love it? Hate it? They also have it in a blue/green/brown combo, and one that is denim. I bought this one because I wear a lot of brown and orangey colors. I have to say that I love them. I admit that What Not to Wear has changed a lot of my perspectives on clothes and shoes. Thank you Stacy and Clinton!!! I would like to think that they would like this shoe..... Oh, and this is one of my christmas presents. Walmart might work for the kids, but there really isn't anything there that we can get for each other that is christmas worthy. So online shopping, and then we'll be hitting some after christmas sales!!!
I know many of you are incredibly busy with either wrapping presents, cleaning your homes because family is arriving, traveling to your families, or baking/cooking like crazy. I have none of that to do. I do have some wrapping to do, but that will be very easy to do. We have already done all of our traveling. No one is coming to see us, and its hard to bake cookies when all you have to bake in is a microwave. We have now been here for two full days....
First, I think I lost my makeup somewhere between here and San Antonio. It could also be in the black hole that is my van right now. I have looked, but not as much as maybe I should. Tomorrow that will be on my list of things to do, and luckily I bought some replacements, should they be needed, for church tomorrow.
We went to Walmart today, which some of you may think was a mistake. It wasn't too bad. We got the kids some pretty cool things. The lady ringing me up rang up a $30 item twice, so first thing Monday morning, I'll be back at Walmart. I also have something to return too. Lucy tore a box of crayons at Walmart today too. Luckily they were the cheap roseart ones, so it only cost me 72 cents.
I do have two small burners to cook on. We were going to do some grocery shopping at Walmart, but decided against it as time went on and more and more people were showing up there. We decided to stop at this small store, Aldi, that was on the way home. I love Aldi's. They are all over Germany and France. They even have the carts that you have to put money into to use, and have to return to get your money back. LOVE that. Anyway, I spent some time shopping for food for our dinner and for tomorrow. Get through the line, swipe my card and the lady asks me if I want cash back. I say no, that its a credit card. She says they don't take credit cards. I say what about a check. Only cash or debit cards. WHAT???? As we don't use our debit cards (we use our credit card for everything and then pay it off at the end of the month) I had nothing to use. So, left it all there and went back to the car. We had to drive for the longest time before we even found a small grocery store. I bought some things, and by the time we got home, the kids were starving. I cooked it as fast as I could. Cannot believe the lack of grocery stores around here. What do people eat?? Of course down our street are a few men's only clubs, at least that's what the sign insinuates, and there aren't that many houses.
We went to Big Lots today too, and I bought some cheap decorations for our hotel room. I thought about getting a small little tree, but the ones I saw at Walmart wouldn't stand up to the beating they would take from the kids. Wish I could find a Michael's or something like that. We really don't have a place for it, but it would be fun to have something. There is a cork board up on the wall in our room, so at Walmart I bought more pushpins and put our stockings up on it. And as the black hole has eaten up the decorations I bought (Matt says he'll go and look for them tomorrow) our little hotel room isn't very festive.
I have realized that I have lost all track of time. I didn't remember my mom's birthday. I called my sister today and asked how her day was, and she said that it was her anniversary. I had no idea. I haven't looked at a calendar for the longest time. And I was so focused on moving, Matt graduating, and Matt's family coming I just didn't have any room in my head left for anything else. My mom reminded me that my grandma's birthday was coming up too, and I told her that if I couldn't remember hers, there is no way I would be able to remember grandma's...
I talked to one of my sister in laws today and I asked her if I was cranky when they were here. She said that she would never had told me, but that yes, I was. She also told me that the "lazy sister" referred to in my other post has been diagnosed and is being medicated as being bipolar. That sheds some light on her behavior. Matt's maternal grandma was also bipolar. Hopefully it skipped Matt. I really want to make more of an effort to get to know this bipolar sister. We really have very little in common to talk about, but to kind of makeup for my yucky feelings in her direction last week, I need to at least try and talk to her a little more often.
I know that many of you are very busy and don't have too much time to comment or to post much right now. I seem to have the opposite problem. I have tons of time to post stuff. Oodles of time. So apologies if I seem to have an endless amount of things to say. I just have a lot of time to think about things, and fingers that are itching to type.....
1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a 'hoopla' and not the dreaded 'm'-word (Josi doesn't even know what the m-word is but she's trying really hard to think of all the dirty words that start with M that she's ever heard. Tristi thinks the "m" word is Meme.)
3. You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.
And we're off . . .
1. One consistent memory of Christmas for me is the music. Every Christmas we listened to the Beach Boys, Kenny Rodgers, Oak Ridge Boys (does anyone know where I can find their Christmas CD??), Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, Mannheim Steamroller, Patty Page, Nat King Cole.... I love all of their songs, and somehow it just feels more like Christmas when I hear those songs.
2. When I decorate my house for Christmas (which I might be lucky enough to do next year if we don't move again!!) I really try to make most of my decorations Christ centered. Santa's and snowmen and all that other stuff is cute and fun, but the real reason why we have Christmas is Christ, so why not focus on that. I have a small olive wood nativity, a really cool German one, and a Willowtree (is that what they are called?) one that my mom gave me last year. And to be honest, I haven't been able to even look at them for so long I don't remember what else I have to decorate with.
3. In the six and a half years we have been married, we have never bought a real Christmas tree. Our first Christmas we were too poor, the next one we were about to move (I'm sensing a theme here, how many times have we moved at Christmas??) and then the next one Matt was in AIT and I lived at my parents house. The years in Germany we did not buy one, and then we found a fake one for a great price at the PX after Christmas sale. Last year we were homeless visiting in California, and this year we are homeless again. I don't think our hotel would like it much if I brought in a live Christmas tree.
4. As kids, Santa would fill our stockings and leave bigger-than-stocking-size-gifts next to our stockings. The big stuff would be under the tree. Christmas Eve we all chose the place that we would hang our stockings. My parents would get stuff to fill each others stockings, and Matt and I do that same thing.
5. My Great Aunt Sybil started knitting Christmas stockings for the family a gazillion years ago. The tradition has stuck, and when she passed (I think I was 3 at the time) my Grandma kept it going. And anyone that has married in the family, as part of their wedding gift, they get a newly hand knitted Christmas stocking. They are all the same, and our names are on them, but you can tell which ones are newer and which ones are really old. As each new baby is born, they also get a stocking. Now that my grandma has passed, my aunt is keeping up the tradition. I don't knit, so I'll never have that responsibility....
6. Every year around Christmas, on my dads side of the family, we have a big Christmas party. We used to have it at someones house, but as we have grown, we no longer fit well in someones house. And according to my mom, (and I don't think this is true, but who knows) no one wanted it at their house because of the mess and/or work it entailed. I don't know. I am the oldest of 20 plus cousins, and most of us are musically gifted in some way. Some of us take turns at the piano, and most of us sing at one point. I love singing Christmas songs.
7. A tradition in Matt's family is to all go to his mom's house for Christmas Eve. When she was married, Jim's family would also come. It was a little awkward with them there. We would only see them once a year, and conversation was always a little difficult. Last year, only Jim was there as they had decided to be separated. Anyway, his mom always wants to play that horrible white elephant game. For me, it is not fun. I always forget to bring a white elephant. Then I feel silly taking a gift. I have a hard time making conversation with Matt's sister and her husband. His other sister and her husband I can talk to very easily. One year, she made us all stand in a circle, hold hands, with only candles lit, and had us say something. I don't remember what it was, and also had asked Matt to sing a song. He wasn't comfortable with that either. I guess I don't like it because everything feels so forced. And that there isn't a lot of people. I'm used to huge family gatherings, where we can sit quietly, or talk to someone. I must admit that when we were in Germany, I was glad that we didn't have to go to her house for Christmas Eve!
8. Our first Christmas in Germany, Matt was in Iraq. He wasn't fighting. The USAEUR Chorus went there to perform for the soldiers for the week of Christmas. Andrew and I were by ourselves at home for the week. Luckily he was small enough (not even 18 months old) that he had no idea. We just celebrated our Christmas when he got home.
9. As a kid, we would drive to Utah either before or just after Christmas to visit my Grandparents. I remember driving up with it snowing. Another year, there was black ice on the roads, (this had to have been around Cedar City) and there were lots of cars on the side of the road. My dad drove very very slowly, and we made it through without any problems. Another year, it was snowing so badly that we got stuck there for an extra day, and we missed a day of school. My Grandparents had these huge vaulted ceilings, and they could put a 12 to 15 foot tree in their living room. My grandma always had it decorated all the way to the top. It may not have really been that tall, but to me it seemed tall. (at one point I was kind of small!!)
10. My worst Christmas had to have been right after I came home from my mission. I came home the evening of the 21st. I was rushed to the Stake Presidents home to be released from my mission. The next morning I was in a bridesmaid dress on my way to the temple as my sister was getting married that day. And we took family pictures. Then standing in the receiving line between my sisters' new brother in laws was a little awkward. The time difference between France and California is 9 hours. I was just a little bit tired. Christmas was OK. The hard part was that my mom was expecting a whole different person when I came home. She was a little disappointed. (and she actually said that too. aren't I lucky) That whole week was just overwhelming and hard. I didn't want to be home at all. I think that was what made it so hard.
11. (almost done! Jen, this is hard!) I don't mind homemade Christmas ornaments. I like them. But if I do buy an ornament, I'm very picky. I like the glass painted expensive made in Poland or Germany ones. I don't like hokey country themed or plastic junk ones. I like to go to the after Christmas sales at Cost Plus World Market because they have cool ornaments. Not the hugely mass produced ones at Target or Walmart. Although I did buy a silver Eiffel Tower at Target. I also like to go to Kohls (not that those aren't mass produced, I know) and get cool ornaments on clearance. I got an amazing Arc deTriomphe and Tour Eiffel last year for a great price. I'll have to find a Kohls out here in NC and do a little searching. I think this comes from working in a Hallmark/Gift store, and having to decorate about 10 different tree's, each with different themes. I also love ornament exchanges. If I were more crafty, I would take the time this year and make some. I just might do that while we're stuck in this hotel room.
12. I have cross stitched a beautiful Nativity scene. (it is the second picture on the page. I tried to find it bigger, but this is as good as its going to get) It has a few little parts that still need to be finished. I cannot wait to frame it! I think the reason I haven't finished it completely is because I know I can't hang it up for a while. Hopefully next year we'll be able to stay put at Christmas, and I'll have it framed up on my wall.
If you are planning on staying in an extended stay hotel, I have a few words of advice for you. I have spent quite a bit of time in a few different ones.
-First, if you are able, bring pots, pans, silverware, and cooking things. Most of the time, they do not have that in the room, and will charge you a ton to borrow what they have. I brought a can opener, small cheese grater, crock pot, skillet, square skillet, pot, cheap silverware we bought last year, and cheap cooking spoons, spatula and that sort of thing.
-Bring your own towels. Most hotels do not have towels that actually absorb anything. Unless of course you have a ton of money and can stay in hotels that have decent towels.
-Bring a laundry bag. Many times the laundry room of your hotel is forever away. Bring a bag to tote it around in so the world doesn't get a show of all your dirty underwear.
-If you have a toddler/infant, bring your own portable playpen. Most hotels will charge you for using theirs. Also bring sheets for the bed along with blankets.
-If possible, use suitcases that fit inside each other. You usually have very little storage space, and big bulky suitcases take up a lot of room in a small room.
-Buy or bring a small, cheap DVD player you can hook up to the hotels TV. Helps your kids when you're stuck inside because the weather is bad. (always seems to happen to us. must start doing this moving thing in the summer not winter.) Bring their (and your) favorite DVDs to watch.
-Jump on the beds with the kids. They love it, and it helps to get their pent up energy out.
-Bring a laptop so you have a connection to the outside adult world. Being stuck in a hotel room for a few days can wreak havoc on your mind.
-Find the nearest Walmart, or Target, or local grocery store. Buying real food and not eating out all the time saves money, and is better on your system. These last few days without veggies was hard on my body.
-If you know you'll have to use a laundromat type of place, start saving your quarters months ahead. I did, and I'm sure glad I did. I just hate having to pay so much for doing my laundry. But it helps if I have saved it up from random change.
-Hotel tap water tastes like poo. Buy a 2.5 gallon jug with the spout on it. And then put it on top of the fridge.
-Use paper plates and bowls. Doing dishes in an extended stay hotel kitchen is not a fun time. No where for it to drain, tiny little sinks.... no fun
-Keep your eye on the check out date. If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can do anything.....
If I come up with any other words of advice, you know I will be letting you know.
I decided to create a blog just for our family stuff. The blog address is holmeshomelyhome.blogspot.com. I just started it today, so there really isn't anything on it other than my really lame first post. I plan on making it pretty with pictures and other fun stuff once I have gotten us situated in our new "home" in this hotel room. Which really isn't that bad. It's bigger than the other ones that we had when we moved to Texas, and is slightly more expensive, but I'll take more space and nice big fridge anytime. So, don't go yet to my new blog. Give me a few days, but bookmark it and then sometime after Christmas go and see if I've been able to do anything.....
I'll have another more interesting post later today once I have laundry done, clean underwear, and am able to take a shower.....thank goodness I saved a ton of quarters!!!
I think my kids have been in more hotels than most adults. Right now we are in our third hotel of our trip. We are taking our time to get there as we will have to stay in a hotel no matter where we are, so what is the rush?? So far, we have been through four states, and tomorrow will embark into our fifth, and then the sixth, the one where we will live for all of next year.
I was a little irritated/angry on my last post. My in laws bring out some major irritations with me. I'm not sure if it is their personalities, their life choices, or how they treat me and my kids. Whatever the case, I need to get over it because I have to deal with these people for the rest of my life. Perhaps I feel a little gypped. I sometimes wish someone had told me more about them so I would have had a better idea of what I would be getting into. Luckily for me, I have lived far enough away for so long that my contact with them is very limited.
I have done very little Christmas shopping. We made the choice to wait until we had gotten to our final destination to shop. Just because of the lack of space in our vehicle. As it is right now, we have 1,000 pounds of personal things in our van. (we had it weighed). Obviously no room for Christmas presents. One of my suitcases is purely cooking type things with recipe books, utensils, pots/pans, and dish towels and dish rags.
This afternoon we had Panera Bread for lunch. YUM!!!! If you have one near you, go and eat there. So yummy. I wanted to buy some bread and some bagels or muffins or cinnamon rolls, but Matt wanted to get back on the road. It was nice to have good food for once. I get really tired of hamburgers, chicken strips, and french fries. And their whole sandwiches last me two meals. Even their chips are good for you. They have organic milk and organic yogurt for the kids too. Not things that I can keep in the car for the kids very well.
I just finished reading Pillars of the Earth. I really really really liked it. I was sad to find out the next one is still in hardback. (I only buy my books in paperback, that's how I can afford to have so many!) I have Atonement which I started to read in the car the other day, but I was having a hard time getting into it. Maybe when I'm not on the road or so distracted with how Matt is driving and the kids behind me. Anyone have any good books to recommend?
I've noticed that I haven't had too many comments recently. Probably because I have been pretty focused on one thing: Moving and you all are a little bit tired of hearing about it. Hopefully I'll have other things to talk about once we are settled into our new home/hotel for the next month. I do have other things to talk about, just this one always seems to be at the top of my mind.
I will introduce you to two more people from my blog roll as a change to all of the moving talk....
Joe and Emily. I have known Joe since I was 21 and he was 20. At the time he was Elder and I was Soeur. For some reason, we have kept in contact for many years (I won't say how many, then you'll know how old I am!!!) and while we were living in Germany, he and his cute wife Emily came to stay for a day on their tour of Europe. That was the first time I had met her. I had no idea what a gem Joe had found until I started reading her blog. Of course I liked her when I met her, but now I wish she lived around the corner from me. And of course Joe would be there too. Because of Joe's work and school schedule, he isn't able to post very often. But Emily just had a cute baby and is on maternity leave. She has a ton of time (albeit at 4am) to be on the computer. She takes amazing photos, and is just a very crafty person. Joe loves loves soccer (or foot as we started calling it in France) and loves so many different kinds of music. At one time he had his head shaved into a checkerboard pattern dyed blue with a mohawk going down the middle. He has now regular hair and works his tail off at his schooling and his work. Go and visit Joe and Emily. I love you two!!
I cannot believe that I have made it through these last few days.
Also, so that no one is wondering, the majority of my family do not have my blog address. Especially my husbands family. I do it that way so that I have a place to go with my irritations. And not have to worry about the whole darn family knowing of my personal issues. And as any of you know, I tend to be easily irritated, especially so in times of stress. So, as I reflect on last week, my feelings may change, but right now they are fresh in my head. And I have this HUGE need to share them with my blogging friends....
They arrived without problem on Thursday. They encountered problems navigating around the city though. The navigator was reading the words wrong, and really threw off the driver in trying to locate their hotel. I had told all of them that I had talked to that we would be moving when they came. That we probably wouldn't be able to do much else but finish up our moving. So, when the five of them finally showed up, Matt got his brother and his dad to help him move out all of the big stuff. Matt's sisters and mom started helping doing stuff in the house. Now, I am so far from being organized. I have tried, and I admit, I find it pointless to try and be ultra organized in a home that I will be in for less than a year. I don't have the motivation, and that is what my house was in San Antonio. I am going to try and get past that in our next home, as we might be there for maybe a year and three months. Anyway, it was pretty much a huge disaster when they got there. And Matt's mom and one of his sisters were a huge help. The other one was not. She (who I must point out is possibly less organized than I am with only having one child that is at least 10 years old and can help in the house whereas I have two very small children that are more prone to destroy than to create tidyness) got "too confused" trying to help, and she went and sat in the car for two hours. Later, as Matt's other sister was trying to suggest ways that she might be able to take one or both of the kids, the lazy sister was approached and asked if she would stay and help for a little bit so that they could have room to take one of the kids. Her response was that she was "tired and wanted to go back to the hotel and go to sleep". Apparently sitting in a car for two hours can be tiring and prone to making one a little rude and irritable. So, you can imagine my feelings in the lazy sisters direction.
The next day we had to be up at the buttcrack of dawn as graduation started at 0800 hours and Matt had to be there at 0730. I had never been there, so we all had to be ready by 0720. For some this might be easy. I usually wake up around 0800, so this was a tad difficult for us to achieve. Matt's family was there on time, and followed us to where graduation would be held. My children were fairly well behaved, but as the graduation went on and on, they got worse and worse. Lucy would ask me almost every time there was a lot of clapping if we were done yet. And once, it was loud enough for everyone to hear. Finally it was done, and now Matt is graduated and we are off to the next phase of his schooling thank goodness.
The rest of the day was crazy. We were scurrying around trying to finish packing up the trailer, and getting rid of the immense amount of trash. Matt's dad came down with the beginnings of a migraine, so he had to lay down. Which worked out well, because he watched a movie with the kids so that we could get things done. Overall, his family was helpful. Especially his dad and his brother as they were the muscles that got our big stuff out and packed. Matt's mom and one sister were great at helping sweep out rooms, getting stuff into boxes, and asking a lot of questions about what I wanted done with things. I'm sure they didn't expect to be helping us so much. Kind of feel bad about that. The one things that was really irksome was the lazy sister. At one point during the day she came up to me and kind of put her arm on my shoulders and said something along the lines of "aren't you glad we are here to help you cause you are so unorganized". I don't remember her exact wording. I thought wow, yeah, you sure helped those two hours you sat in the car and the rest of the time when you wandered around my house doing pretty much nothing.
They took some family pictures, as they all wouldn't be together for a long time, and then they left for the airport. I must admit, I was glad to see them go. And the reason is kind of sad, but I'm going to say it anyway. I was just so tired of hearing them say how proud they were of Matt and oh Matt you're so great.......Yes, he has accomplished something that none of them ever will. He has more motivation than a lot of people do in this world. (more than I do that's for sure). I just kept thinking to myself, He didn't get there all by himself!!!! I kind of feel selfish for even thinking this. But I really do think about it. Who did this man's laundry? Grocery shopped and got him the food he asked for? Cooked his meals? Did her best to allow him to have the time he needed to study?? Talked to his family when he didn't make the time? I took care of more things this year than I ever have before. Things that he should have done, but that I did. Put up with a cranky husband because he was stressed out over the studying and tests??Went to church functions and to friends houses for dinners and hanging to by myself with my kids because he needed to study??? Sure wasn't his family. His parents did literally nothing to help him during high school and years beyond. From what I understand (and from what I have observed since we've been married) his parents are usually pretty self absorbed in their own lives, and don't do a whole lot for their kids. They try and make up for it in nice gifts at Christmas and birthdays. I guess I want a little recognition of the year of Hell that I have been through. I think we as the families of these soldiers got one round of applause at the graduation. I'll eventually let this go I'm sure. But right now it is very fresh in my head. And I'm really irritated with his family. Perhaps they are irritated with me. And I don't really care. The good part is that the reality of them coming to see us in North Carolina are slim to none. Possibly the non lazy sister will come. I know my parents will come at least once as my dad served his mission in North Carolina, and he has never been back.
That paragraph seems a bit disjointed, but it all centers around my irritation of his family and lack of recognition for what I've done. And guys, please don't feel the need to fulfill this wish of recognition. Its not you that I want it from. I want it from my husband, from his family. I should get it from my husband, at least in private. But who knows if I'll ever get it from his family. They still haven't realized how difficult it is for me to function in their family. They just assume being married multiple times (and I'm talking up to 5 times) is normal, and having babies before getting married and also having two or three different families with different women and men in one lifetime are completely normal. It isn't normal for me and it's going to take me a lot longer than the six and a half years we've been married to figure things out. My feelings for his family seem to subside the longer we are not around them, but as soon as we have contact, they come right up to the surface again. Need to work on either letting go of these feelings or working through them so that I can come away from being around them and not feel irritated.
The next part of my moving saga is that all weekend we stayed a friends house. They saved us on having to put out money for a hotel, and the kids had a great time playing. They made us some really yummy tacos for dinner last night, Tacos al pastor (I think that's how you spell it, its marinated pork tacos with pineapple, cilantro and onion and this tomatillo/avacado type salsa stuff on corn tortillas. yum) and got to hang out with them a bit. We left this morning, and right now, everyone else is asleep in their beds, and I finally get some quiet time on the computer!!! Matt wants me to look up the allergies in both San Antonio and Fayetteville to see if we'll have any issues with allergies in our new place and to see what it was that made us so miserable in San Antonio. Haven't done it yet...
I also went to see Enchanted Saturday night with my friend that let us stay at her house, and anther friend and that friends mom. I really liked it. Amy Adams character is a bit irritating at times. I loved most of the music, and I am currently coveting Princess Giselles hair. I love the color, and I want mine to look that good long. Matt also went to see a movie with our friend, but it was a guy movie I am Legend or something like that. I'm glad Matt has friends that will go and see movies like that with him. I sure won't.
Don't know if I'll post much this week. We have lots more driving to do tomorrow, but we're not in any kind of rush to get there. We'll have to stay in a hotel no matter where we are and he doesn't have to report until 1 Jan. Lots and lots of time.
You know, just getting out my feelings about Matt's family and graduation have already helped. I really don't know what I would do without this blog. My hand always gets tired when I have a lot to write, but I can type for days!!!! LOVE typing.....
I thought I would tell you about a few of the people on my blogroll, and why I know them. First is Vashti. She was my last companion on my mission. She is very very short, and she is also from the UK. Born in England, and moved to Ireland when she was 12. Went to university in Scotland. She and I had a great 6 weeks together. Last year I went to visit her for a weekend in Derry, North Ireland. It was a great weekend!! I got to meet her husband and her little guy Caleb. I also met her parents and her sister. I love Derry. And I love that I have a friend that is willing to have me stay with her. About two weeks ago, her sister in law passed away. She had cystic fibrosis. She almost got donor lungs, but one of them was not healthy, and she needed two, not just one. Her brother is having a hard time I'm sure. Head on over to visit Vashti if you have the time. Oh, and if you think her name sounds familiar, she is named after a queen in the Book of Esther in the Bible. The King was displeased with Vashti and had her banished, and eventually took Esther as his queen. She hasn't gotten into posting very regularly on her blog, but I'm sure she'll start.
The next is Shell. I have known her since we were about 8 years old. We moved to Glendora and her family was in our new ward. We have been friends for 21 years. We have so much history that I just don't have the time to write it all down. Right now she has a great clip of the new movie Enchanted on her blog. Lucy has watched it at least 10 times. And I like to watch it too!!
So, go and visit these girls.
Now, I'm off to dry my hair, and get a packing. All of Matt's family will be here today, so I will be putting them to work and we're hoping to be completely out by this evening. And I think I need to buy boxes and bubble wrap. We are glad to have been given several boxes, and we've almost used all of them up. We also had a few that we had saved from when we moved in last year. This time I'll be smarter and save as many as possible (hopefully we'll have the space in the new place) and next year or so when we move again (yes, we'll move again. Pray for us to get sent back to Germany!!) we'll have boxes.
I have now used 550 feet of bubble wrap. Mostly for my pottery, and then some for our photos. I have no idea how many boxes I have packed. A friend took the kids for several hours today, which was great. I have some of our suitcases packed. Matt's family arrives tomorrow, and I'm hoping that all of them will be helpful. Matt graduates at 8am Friday morning. We need to be pretty dressed up. I'm hoping that I can make it through the next few days and not explode in any one's general direction. Right now I have to go and take care of my side of the bed as all of the clothes that I'm not taking are all sitting on it in those new huge ziplock bags. (you should really try them if you haven't. the really big ones can fit sleeping bags!!) I may not be back for a few days....and it would really help our moving if it weren't so darn cold and wet outside.
If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services. How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! It is FREE and it only takes a second. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them… Thanks for taking to time to support our military!
I did not write this, but I got it in an email. So, for those of you out there that would like to do something for the military, but don't know how, here is a free way for you to do it. I have not yet done it, but the friend that sent it to me did. And now to pack up some of my kids toys. After Andrew started crying when I was packing up the books, I have decided that my kids need to either be sleeping or out of the house when it comes to packing up the toys. Don't need to add any more drama to this week. And I will update the on the Crookstons when I know. If you didn't already know, he got these wounds from serving in Iraq.
Do you remember that boy that I told you about?? The one that had both his legs and an arm and a hand amputated? And was burned? Well, found out today that he probably won't make it. I feel so helpless for this family. So, if you have a minute, say a little prayer or send comforting thoughts to the Crookston family.
Today is the first day of the week of our move. I slept in a bit, Andrew was up way before I was, and Lucy just barely woke up. (she's been sick) I suddenly realized that Matt had told me that housing was going to have a walk through with us today to tell us what needs to be done before we are out. He neglected to tell me what time. I called housing, and they told me between 9 and 10. Well, she'll see me in my pjs and no bra. Well, I might put on a bra if I remember to. I already know what needs to be done, so its just a formality that they do this. And, some contractor people came over just as I hung up with housing, and found out that they will be converting our crap house into a new beautiful two bed two bath. They are converting a lot of these little house into homes that wounded soldiers can stay in, instead of having to stay at the Powless Guest House or the Fisher House or the barracks. Which sounds like a great idea to me. We already have a few of them on our street. But I'll still have to clean!!!! Oh well. And I found out why Lucy's room gets so cold in the winter. Her room used to be a porch, and they enclosed it.
Our house at Fort Bragg is probably a duplex (which is find with me. I spent two and a half years sharing my floor, ceiling, and walls with people. Only one wall is fine with me, especially if its the garage wall) and renovated. Which could mean a lot of things. I'm hoping it will be nicer than this one (that isn't too hard to do) and maybe a bit bigger. Well, I'm off to clean and pack!!! And last night a cold front came in again, and we have to wear coats again. This back and forth weather is really getting to us. Why can't it just make up its mind???? If you're bored, come and help me pack. :)
Took the car to Carmax yesterday. The sadness is replaced with Look at our big check!! Between selling our car, moving (the army pays us to move ourselves. it actually saves the military money), our dislocation allowance (when you move in the military, they give you money for your expenses), and taxes, we will be doing pretty darn good. Better than we have in a long time. Which is pretty exciting for us.
Matt sang at a church thing Friday night. I recorded him singing, but the file is so big, it won't upload onto blogger or onto YouTube. Not sure how to change the size of the file, but last night I was so tired, I didn't try very hard. He sounded really good, but the piano was turned the wrong way (they had the stage all set up already), and there were a ton of kids running around and making so much noise you could hardly hear me play.
I am getting SO overwhelmed with thoughts of what has to be accomplished this week. I have been packing, but it is a little difficult to do so when two kids want to pop and play with the bubble wrap, get inside the boxes and play, use the rolls of kraft paper as swords, and start to cry when you pack up their books. It doesn't help either that all of us are still suffering from allergies. Both of the kids wake up in the middle of the night coughing, or can't breathe, and then all day Lucy's nose is running and I'm sure her hair is covered in snot. I'll have to give her another bath before church today. I'm kind of whiny today. One positive thing is that today at church, someone else will be asked to be the Relief Society President!!!! Hooray!!! I am very glad to hand it all over and be done with that responsibility. The only thing I will miss are the calls about people that are over at the hospital. For some reason, I really like to help the families that are over there with their wounded soldiers. We give them rides to church, go and visit them, help with anything that they need. I will miss that. I don't often have such amazing ways to serve people. We will be about two minutes from the hospital at Fort Bragg, so maybe we'll be able to do something of the same thing there.
As we have a church this afternoon, I should probably get into the shower. For some reason it has been SO humid and warm here. I almost didn't put the vaporizer in Lucy's room last night because she was already sweaty. But that was what probably got her to stay sleeping. Can't wait to leave San Antonio and leave all the allergies!!!!!!
1) Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I love them both. But I like the good stuff for both. 2) Do you wrap your presents or not? I have to say that I hate wrapping presents. I usually do, but would rather throw them in a plastic bag and call it good. I'm just not good at it. 3) Colored lights or white? I really like plain white lights. I don't mind colored ones though 4) Do you hang mistletoe? No, I get enough of that stuff (and I mean kisses) .5) When do you put up your decorations? Whenever I get to it. Last year we were in a hotel, and then in California. This year we will be in a hotel again, but not going to California. Little rough to decorate a hotel room. 6) What is your favorite holiday dish? Green Bean Casserole. And some decent desserts. 7) Favorite memory as a child? I don't think I have a favorite. We usually went to Utah at some point. When I was in 6th grade Santa brought everyone bikes, and we went on a bike ride that day. I would love our Jex Family Christmas parties. They were fun because I have a ton of cousins, and where the Jex's are, there is more food than you can imagine. 8) When and how did you learn about Santa? I have no idea. I think I figured it out. My parents would leave Christmas music playing all night. I think they did it to mask any noise they might have made. 9) Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? When I was a kid, my mom usually had new pj's for us. So we would open those. Now, if we are in California on Christmas Eve, we go to Matt's moms house and we open a ton of gifts. 10) How do you decorate your tree? With whatever we have. We bought a fake tree for a steal after Christmas one year while we were in Germany. I have some cool glass ornaments, and my mom gave me all the ones that I made as a little kid. Next year it will be fun to do it with the kids. Neither one of them will have any recollection of decorating a tree. 11) Snow...love it or dread it? Not only do I dread it, I severely dislike it. It was fun as a kid, especially growing up in Southern California, because we never got snow. As I got older, I just have a hard time staying warm, so playing in the snow is at the bottom of my list. Although when I was dating Matt a group of us went up to Mt. Baldy to the snow for some reason. The things I do for love.... 12) Can you ice skate? Not a whole lot of ice skating rinks in So Cal. I've only ice skated once, and that was on my mission. I don't think I fell, but I don't think I'll try it again. Being 6 feet tall gives me 6 feet to fall. I don't like to do that much. 13) Do you remember your favorite gift? I have to say that I cannot remember any specific gift. I thought I had a good memory, but lately I've realized that I don't remember a whole lot from my childhood. Either I'm repressing it, or my long term memory is shot. 14) What is the most important part of the holidays? The most important part of Christmas is remembering why we are celebrating it in the first place. I need to figure out how we are going to teach our kids about this. They are finally old enough for these things to make some sense. I wish I could decorate. Then we could talk about the nativities that I have. I'm hoping to get one that the kids can play with for next year. 15) Favorite holiday dessert? My mom always makes this cereal mix stuff. It's like rice krispie treats, but its in a bowl, and you use crispix, coconut, almonds, chex, and some other stuff. We much that all day and all night Christmas day 16) Favorite tradition? Well, I don't think its my favorite, but the rule was that we could only look in our stockings on Christmas morning and we had to wait for my parents to get up to open anything at all. And lots of times we would go in and jump on my dad to wake him up. 17) Favorite Christmas Carol? Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming. Just something about the music to this song really gets me. Its pretty simple and sweet and short. Nothing long.
I think I'm supposed to tag someone but I got this from Shell, and she didn't tag anyone either. So, if you want to do it, go for it. Let me know if you do. Would love to read it!!
OK, I've heard about this book on Oprah. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert has been on now twice. I have my DVR record Oprah, and I watch it at night as I'm trying to finish my Christmas cards! Some of the people in the audience yesterday called the book their bible, and one even said she became a believer in God after she read it. (this particular girl said that she had not grown up with any sort of religion, and after she read the book felt as if she had that in her life) I am all about finding books that speak to you, and using them as a guide. I have my favorite, How to Hug a Porcupine, that has taught me so much, that has notes, highlighter and post its all the way through it. I guess I kind of hesitate to read a book that people consider their bible. I believe the scriptures are the scriptures. And I know there is a ton in there that we miss because of either the language of it, or our lack of pondering, meditation or prayer. I am one that needs things spelled out for me. Things like "honor thy father and they mother so that thy days are long in the land". OK, so how do you honor them? Does that mean calling them often? Or does that mean that you go and visit them regularly? What do you do if being around your mom for a few days is a problem? What do you do if your mom or dad abused you? This particular commandment is hard for me, and my Porcupine book has really helped me understand that specific commandment better, and others also. And so maybe this book Eat Pray Love will help me also. The author seems honest, and very up front about things. She doesn't know all the answers, and stated that on the Oprah show. I saw the book in Target (and in Walmart today), and thought about buying it. But I was buying Christmas presents, and I have enough books that I haven't read yet. So, have any of you read it? What do you think? I already have Oprahs book club pick Pillars of the Earth to read, that I think I will read on the way to North Carolina. As a side note to this, I have been packing up my books these last few days. So far I have about 7 or 8 boxes of books. Some of these are Matt's textbooks from previous classes (or mine), but mostly these books are mine that I have either read or are going to read. A lot of them I have bought just this year. My problem is that I love to read, and if I like a book, I don't want to get rid of it. Hence the reason that I just don't go to libraries. And the fact that my kids go crazy and aren't quiet at all. Maybe next year we'll start going......
We are moving next week! Today the Fort Bragg housing office called Matt and gave him a date AND an address. Very exciting for us. We will only be in a hotel for about a month, which is totally doable. After being in a hotel or the equivalent for two months last year, anything is better than that. I will have packed things like pots and pans and can openers and cheese graters so that we aren't putting out so much money. I've actually already set up our Internet/phone/cable with TimeWarner. Cut down on the waiting time to get our Internet set up. I just have to get on the ball and really start packing. I could pack most of the stuff in my kitchen, but I don't have the paper to wrap it. I don't have any newspaper, and I don't want my pottery to break, so I will probably go out and buy paper tomorrow. It's worth it to me to keep my dishes and things in one piece. I am also using those huge ziplock bags. You can put blankets, sheets, sleeping bags, and toys in them. I love them. I have already had lots of the kids toys in them for storage. That way all my linens and clothes won't be so yucky when we unpack. And it is pointless for me to wash them before I pack them anyway. So, at least they will be protected. Wish we had some of our stuff in them before, would have helped with our basement that floods.... So, I won't be posting too much as I really should focus on finishing my Christmas cards, and packing up. Say a few prayers for me to keep my sanity and not go completely crazy on my kids during this time. My poor little brain gets overwhelmed very easily.
I enjoy walking. But I am not a slow walker. I never have been. My legs are really really long. I walk quickly. I don't like to dawdle, and look around me. I walk with a purpose, and I get really irritated with those in front of me that cannot seem to get out of my way. (But today I was walking really slowly pushing a cart in Target. It's hard to move quickly when you have two kids that are fighting over the $1 popcorn and drink, not to mention screaming at me to look here or there at some toy that they want Santa to bring. I actually had people having to go around me. That was something new for me.)
While I lived in Germany, I would walk with some friends about three nights a week. We would walk the little over 3 miles it took to walk around post. I lived for those nights. Not only was it exercise for me, but I got to be with other women, and I usually didn't take my kids with me. We talked about our frustrations, our kids, husbands, church, family....you name it. Sometimes one of my friends, Holly, would call me up and say "can you meet me downstairs in five minutes?" Usually that meant that she was going to physically hurt either her children or her husband, or was frustrated with her mom 5,000 miles away, and just needed to get out of the house. I loved those walks. Right now, I walk with no one. And I usually only get to walk maybe once a week. After those walks I would feel better emotionally, physically, and mentally. I hope at Fort Bragg I can find people to walk with me again. Maybe I would be tired enough and have gotten all my issues out so that I would have gone to bed instead of blogging at 2:30 in the morning...
We have had a white 2002 Nissan Sentra for more than four years. It is a manual transmission (I just love driving those) and it has gone so many places with me!!! It has driven all over Southern California, driven to Vegas. Then it was shipped to Germany, and that car has taken me to France numerous times, down below Munchen (Munich) to Garmisch and on to Newschwanstein (Disneyland Castle that is a huge waste of time to visit) and on the way there drove through Austria. It went downtown Heidelberg with me, up to Frankfurt to the airport.... I really love this car. It was our only car while we were in Germany. Now, as we are moving to North Carolina, we feel the need to take it to Carmax. The blue book value is pretty good as there are not many miles on it. It has only been in one tiny little fender bender in Germany (someone rear ended Matt on his way to work) and it still looks really nice. I am sad. I remember as a little kid (I think I was in sixth grade), my parents bought a new van after our lovely gold station wagon was in an accident. It was still drivable, but we were outgrowing that car. Anyway, as we were driving away from the dealership, I was crying because I missed that nasty gold station wagon that had a huge dent on the passenger side door from the accident (where I was knocked out). After I came home from my mission, I convinced my dad to cosign with me on an awesome little red Nissan 200SX. That was so fun to drive!!! Before we had Andrew we took it to Carmax too. We had 3 cars at the time, and 3 car payments were too much. But I was so sad!! For some reason I have this attachment to cars. I know that it will be too much to drive two cars 1600 miles with two kids plus whatever stuff we need. But I will be sad with all the memories that go with that car.
I have this good friend Crystal. I met her in 3rd grade, and now at almost 30, we are still friends.(see post on the wedding I went to) She currently is living in the Virginia/DC area. And this year for my birthday she had something sent directly to me from amazon.com. I was kind of surprised when I got an amazon box in the mail but hadn't ordered anything. Well, yesterday after I picked up my dad from the airport, I came home and found another amazon box with my name on it, that I didn't order!!! So I open it up and I find two books. One is called Kitchen Playdates by Lauren Bank Deen that has some amazing recipes and ways to do things with kids. The other one is the above cookbook. Ratatouille Whats Cooking? A cookbook for kids So, I first emailed her and said Thank you!!! (these are our Christmas presents) and then sat down and looked through them. OK, you all know I'm kind of crazy about french stuff and the Eiffel tower. Well, the last recipe in the book has a picture of an Eiffel tower made out of SUGAR WAFERS!!!!!!! It is an Eiffel tower sundae. It is just stinkin cool. And it also has a recipe for a real ratatouille. Which, if none of you have ever had, should really really really try sometime. It is so yummy. We will be using these books for sure!!! Thank you Crystal!!! I highly encourage you to look into these books. They would be great Christmas gifts!!! Especially if they are anything like me and are crazy about French things and love recipes!!!
When Matt and I were first married, his mom gave us the piano she had. She had told Matt that when he had room for it, he could have it. I used it to teach piano, to practice, and to help Matt practice for his songs that he would sing for church or for the chamber choir he was in at the JC he was going to at the time.
When we moved to Germany, we brought the piano with us. It was an old piano, really heavy, missing a wheel or two. And with us moving so darn much, we decided to get something different that was lighter, didn't need to be tuned, and took up less space in the small homes that the military gave us to live in.
While we were in California, Matt was asked to sing solos fairly frequently. And of course in Germany he sang and danced for his job. I would help him practice and if it were for church, I would accompany him. I LOVE accompanying a good singer. I am not a concert type pianist. I love to play for an amazing soloist, that just sings, and knows that I will follow him/her as they go. I love how it feels to be a part of that voice (cause I have a choir voice) and to allow the piano to have those same emotions. Since Matt has been in this school, he hasn't sung at all. In fact, when the choir sings, he just gets up and sings with them, without going to choir practice. The choir director is just fine with it. In fact, she asks for him to do it sometimes. Our choir is pitifully small.... So, since we aren't going to be here for the Christmas program at the end of the month, she has asked him to sing before we leave. And of course I will accompany him. I am so excited! First, for a new song to learn. Second to play for him. We haven't gotten to do this for so long. Its one of the things that brings us together, and when I really feel unified as a husband/wife team. Maybe I'll have someone record him and I at church in a few weeks and post it. Is that against the rules?? He is singing an arrangement of Silent Night. One that start out with four flats, and then changes to 3 sharps. It really isn't that hard, its just always a bit of a trick to go from so many flats to sharps. Sharps always seem harder for me. Don't know why. So, maybe in a few weeks I'll post a video of him singing in church, with my playing. I'm actually excited about it. I don't get nervous playing for people anymore. Thank goodness.
I SO wanted Mel B to win the disco ball trophy tonight. But I do love Helio. And seriously, if Marie hadn't been eliminated, I would have died. Hooray for Helio!!
Tonights show was so much fun to watch. I'm sad that I'll have to wait for next season. And the tour is going to North Carolina, but it is WAY too much money for me to go. So sad. And this is the last post on Dancing with the Stars. Aren't you all sad?? I am. I just need Burn Notice to come back, and I'll be good to go.
My kids are weird. They like to eat stuff, and are excited about eating stuff, that normal kids would run away from. This was my 2 year old a few nights ago:
Lucy: Mom, can I have your broccoli??
Lucy: OH Fank you mommy, fank you!!!!!
Tonight I made a spinach casserole that is kind of like a quiche without a crust. It has onions in it, and of course spinach. My kids ate it up really fast. Andrew even ate the onions, even though they were a little bit "spicy" as he said.
They often will come to me and ask for carrots. Andrew will ask to eat celery. And when I say that we're having pot pies for dinner, they literally do a dance they are so excited. They love the stuff inside of them. I finally started buying the smaller Marie Calendar ones so they each could have their own. They each can almost finish one on their own. Andrew will eat baked sweet potatoes and ask for more. They love salmon. I have no idea why they are like this. I didn't do anything to make them like this. I guess I was just lucky. Hopefully when I have the next one they will be just as excited about eating broccoli and spinach. :)
My friends Joe and Emily just had their firstborn, Joseph Noah. They both have videos and pics on each of their blogs. If you're baby hungry, go and look at those pictures!! And then cry when you read her story. Cause I did. Félicitations!!!
Wednesday afternoon, I got a phone call from a friend and church and she was calling to invite us over for thanksgiving. They had bought two small turkeys that they were going to deep fry, and needed some help eating them. Well, talked to Matt, and we decided that we would go to our friends house instead of Cracker Barrel. (but maybe next year!!)
Yesterday morning, I set to baking my fabulous corn bread, my more fabulous apple cranberry crisp, green bean casserole, and a pumpkin spice pie (courtesy of jello pudding mixes). On top of this, I have been suffering from the worst allergies I have ever had. I haven't had a voice since Monday night. My nose wasn't yucky, but now it is. My throat is killing me. And on top of that, Andrew and Lucy are both having some of the same issues!!! (cannot wait to leave allergy ridden San Antonio!!)
Our meal was good, the turkey was really good. (even the white meat was really really juicy.) All the kids had a great time running around and playing. I brought my camera, but didn't even use it. Oh well. Not much to take pictures of at thanksgiving other than food and people eating. I felt really yucky most of the time anyway. And all of a sudden it got really really cold here. Wednesday we were wearing sandals and t-shirts, and we wake up Thursday morning and it is really cold. Highs in the 50's I think they said. Crazy weather.
All of my brothers and sisters are at my parents for thanksgiving this weekend. Except me. (I'll have to start getting used to that) My youngest brother is speaking at church this Sunday for his farewell talk before he leaves for his mission in about two weeks. (the little stinker is going to Paris!!!) My other brother is there with his fiance that I have never met. And I can't even go to the wedding because they are getting married right when I'm moving and on the opposite side of the country. Well, not really opposite, but way closer to the rocky mountains that I'll be. So, a little sad for me. But I am realizing how stressful it is for me to go home. I have to go to each of Matt's parents homes, find a time to see my sister in law in San Diego, see my grandma who lives near LAX, and see my parents, and whatever siblings are around, and at the minimum see my best friend. And that is just too much. I end up not enjoying myself, and driving around way too much (on California gas prices). And this is why I don't want to go home at Christmas anymore either. We just can't this year, and I doubt we'll be able to afford to go next year either. But who knows where we'll be after that.
I hope all of your thanksgivings were relatively stress free, and that the food was yummy, and that there weren't any disasters of any sort. And I hope you were smart enough to stay home on black Friday.....
I was going to do a list of things that I'm grateful for, but I just took a few benadryl, and my mind is a bit foggy. So, you'll have to wait for that list on another day.
I am in the process of looking up moving trucks and companies to see which is the best choice for us. We wouldn't mind doing a Uhaul type of thing. The only problem is that we may not have a house available right away. So far, Penske trucks rentals are the best choice. The stinky part about that is that we would have to move it into a storage unit if our house wasn't available, and then rent another truck to move it into our house once we were able to move on post. Anyone out there have any suggestions? Have you moved 1600 miles? Let me know what you think. All four of you out there that actually read my blog....
Last night I needed to go to Walmart. Next to our Walmart is a Payless. I don't usually go in. But they carry wide shoes for kids, so I go in and check out what they have. Yesterday I found these cute brown shoes for Lucy. They didn't have a price on them. It is also Buy One Get One half off time. I had also found Lucy some cute athletic type of shoes. Those were $10. I get up to the register, and the cute brown ones ring up for $5, and because of the BOGO thing, I only paid $2.50 for my cute shoes!!!!! Total of just over $13 for two pairs of shoes. Can't get better than that. Aren't her new shoes so cute?
For those of you who don't speak French (or can't figure out what my title says) it says Prince of Egypt. On my mission, the music from this movie was some of my favorite. And of course it was in French. I was at Walmart last night, and I saw it there for $7.50. I bought it. Something that the kids can watch on Sundays instead of things like Cars or Toy Story. (we love those movies too, but I try to have more spiritual things to watch on Sundays) So, I put it on today. Matt even sat down to watch it with the kids. Just listening to the music made tears come to my eyes. Partly because I remember things from my mission, and partly because I just love the music. One of the last songs has the line "There can be miracles when you believe". I don't know the title of the song. Anyway, it just kind of hit me. Been feeling very very overwhelmed with the fact that we're moving and his family will be here at the same time. Also, I just have a hard time getting our bathrooms and other stuff done in our home. I know it sounds simple, but if I believe that I can do it, and focus on just doing one thing at a time, I can do it. Which is a miracle for me. Anyone want to come over and help me pack???
This is a picture of me (not looking my best), my dear friend Andrea, and my other dear friend Crystal. We had a great day!!! I had almost 12 hours without my kids between my father in law and my dad. Andrea looked amazing. Her cake had the best frosting ever on it!! I wish I knew what it was. It was also great to spend so much time with Crystal. We haven't been able to spend time like that since Andrew was born. Andreas apartment was within walking distance of the church, so she walked with her bridesmaids to the church and had people clapping for her. I just wish we had had time to go to the beach. The church was in Santa Monica, and the reception was so close to the beach. The roads were all hilly (first clue of how close you are) and then that occasional glimpse of the beautiful water between the expensive apartments and homes. And that smell!!! I just love the smell of the beach. Even when I walk out of LAX, I can smell it. Yeah, I miss the beach.
Again, this is going to be about Dancing with the Stars. I mean, its Tuesday night. What else am I going to blog about?
I think every single Mormon person in Utah is voting for Marie. How else could she have gotten so far? Seriously, Jennie is much better of a dancer. No question. But this is what happens when uneducated America gets to choose. Not that I don't like Marie. I just think she might be a little over her head. And I just love Mel B. Yet another reason why I still like the Spice Girls. I would love to go and see the Dancing with the Stars tour. I know, totally retarded, but I just love it!! I wonder if it goes to North Carolina???
Recently, I have been trying to eat more organic foods, and trying to use organic products. Also, to eat some gluten free foods so that my kids are used to them. Since my sister has a wheat and oat allergy, and my best friends son has celiac disease, I thought I would get us used to some of those foods. If/when they come to visit, I don't want to have to make several different things or have them having to put out extra money to have the foods that they need at my house.
A few of things we have tried (and loved) are:
Fruit and Grain Bars from Back to Nature. I think they taste better than any nutrigrain bar. They are smaller than a nutrigrain bar, and cost more. But I think they are worth it.
Back to Nature macaroni and cheese dinner. These also are more expensive than the Kraft mac and cheese. But they taste better, and you cook it the exact same way.
Cascadian Farm Granola Bars. They are above and beyond better than any Quaker oat granola bar. To me, these granola bars are like eating rice krispie treats with oats and other things in them. My kids like them too.
Cascadian Farm cereals. They have really good cereal. One of them has Clifford the big red dog on it, so they like that one.
Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake mix. This is so so so yummy. My kids eat them right up, and so do Matt and I. It is $2.99 for a 22 oz. bag of it at our commissary. I'm sure they are more expensive at a regular store, but if you have gluten issues, or just want to eliminate some of the gluten in your diet, try it! Their gluten free bread mix is really good (my best friend makes it as their bread on a regular basis in their bread maker). And I would assume that their other mixes are just as good.
Also, my sister sent me this recipe, and it is so yummy!!
one 15 oz can tomatoes two 8 oz cans tomato sauce 1 tsp. sea salt 2 tsp. oregano 1 cup onion, minced 3 cloves garlic, crushed 1/4 cup olive oil 1 lb. ground beef 3 cups quinoa cooked (in the recipe it says to rinse it before cooking to remove the bitter taste, but I never do and it tastes great. Rinsing it just takes away some of the good vitamins) 1/2 lb ricotta cheese 1/4 lb mozzarella cheese (I always use more, because i like it cheesy!) 1/4 lb Parmesan cheese or use Romano cheese
In a large pan, lightly saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft, but do not brown. In another pan, brown ground meat and drain fat. Add cooked meat to the onion and garlic mixture and heat briefly. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, salt and oregano. Reduce heat and gently simmer.
Preheat oven to 350. In a 9x13 pan, place a thin layer of the sauce, following with a layer of quinoa and a layer of cheeses. Repeat this pattern ending with sauce and extra Parmesan cheese on top. Bake uncovered for about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting.
My son just eats it right up. I used my own sauce, and it was so yummy. Quinoa by itself doesn't have a great taste, but with all the cheese and sauce, it takes over the taste of the quinoa.
I have also really made an effort to recycle. I wish I had a composter, but instead I throw my leftover peels and cores in the front yard in the bushes. Maybe I'm not supposed to do that, but I feel better about making less trash. I have also done better at eating up our leftovers. I grew up eating a lot of leftovers, but I think my leftovers taste better than the ones I had as a kid.
I also recently read an article in Newsweek on food allergies. It was very interesting to me. So far, this is the only thing I've read on it. My kids have had very very few issues with food allergies, but I feel like I need to research it a little bit more. If not for my own kids, for others who might come into my home or be my kids friends at school.
And you know, I've been buying Newsweek at the store these last few weeks. Next year, I think I'm going to get a subscription. Since I don't even watch the news, maybe reading it will make me more aware of things going on in our world. Especially with the Presidential race next year. I don't know much of anything about who is running for president. Better start now!!
I highly encourage that you try some of the stuff above. I find that I prefer to spend a little bit more money for a higher quality product, and have it taste better too. I wish I could afford to shop exclusively at stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joes, or Sun Harvest Farms. Maybe when we're officers....
A girl in my ward invited me out last night to go out. Her husband is deployed, and her mom was coming over to watch the kids so that she could go out. We went to my favorite restaurant La Madeleine. Then we went to watch Elizabeth: The Golden Age. It was so so very interesting. While I was watching it I was trying to figure out who her parents were (I'm pretty sure it was Henry VIII, but I'm going to double check that today.) There were some unnecessary things in it, but just the story of it is fascinating. I've learned more history from historical fiction that anything else. My only history class in high school was a summer school class where we took tests out of the book, had a speaker once a week come in, and watched some epic historical movie almost every day. I have little retention from that class other than someone came and talked about picking cotton, and then a black man came and talked to us, but I cannot remember what he talked about. Haven't had another history class since. Anyway, fabulous movie. I had brought some treats in with us, and we were so focused on the movie that we hardly ate any of it. I'm looking forward to The Other Boleyn Girl. I'm reading that right now. Hopefully it won't be rated R. There is another movie coming out called PS I Love You. It is also a book by Cecilia Ahern. I really enjoyed the book, and it looks like the movie will be good too. I would have linked things, but I have to go to the store and get potatoes so that I can make a ton of mashed potatoes for a dinner our church is putting on for some older shut ins in our three wards. I don't mind making them. I put heavy cream in mine.....So yummy......And since I'm not cooking at all for thanksgiving (we're going to Cracker Barrel) I can make mashed potatoes. I think I'll keep a little bit for me!!!
I was going to post about this at the end of October, but I never got around to doing it. I guess I was busy.
We have now been in the USA for a year. More specifically, Texas. I am more accustomed to living here now, but I can't say that I like it. I can't really pin down what the reason is. When it comes down to it, I would just rather be in Europe. Even if the weather is bad. I would rather be in Paris when its raining than Texas. Or California for that matter. They totally freak out when it rains there. "Storm Watch" is all over the news, and people just cannot drive in the rain at all. At least in Europe they are used to it, and aren't crazy drivers when it rains.
This last year has been extremely challenging for me. I am pretty much a single mom. My husband does very little in our home other than sleep, eat, and study. With sometimes watching a UFC show, sport show or The Office. Friday nights are my only "break" (if you could call it that). This past year I have been camp director at church, which might seem easy. But when you have little kids and you're trying to figure out who will watch them while you're at camp, it can be stressful. Then I got this Relief Society President calling. I must say I will be glad when I'm done.
This year has also been stressful with having our family so close. For most, that might sound great. And also, you might think, isn't her family in California? That's not that close. Compared to Germany, its close. The problem is that because I live so far, I have to spend lots of time/money to visit home. And because of experience, I know that I cannot stay around my mom for more than a week. Any longer, and it is just bad. Which is sad because they don't get to see us often, and only spending a week isn't very much time. Which makes it stressful for me trying to fit all of Matt's family in on top of mine, not to mention some very good friends that I like to see when I'm home.
This is kind of off subject, but another stress for me right now is that Matt graduates next month. His dad, his dads wife, and their two little kids (the youngest is only about 9 months older than Andrew if I remember right) are coming, and will be staying with us. And Matt's sister called last night and told me that she and her mom want to come out too, but that they would stay in a hotel. So on top of packing and getting ready to move, I'm going to have most of his family visiting. I just might lose it. If we lived in Germany, this would never happen. Luckily, North Carolina might be far enough to keep most of them away. I know that sounds bad. I have just learned that there is a limit on how long I can be around certain people. With my mom, no more than a week. With Matt's family (other than his oldest sister) its about a few hours before I need a break and some air. So having that to deal with in person rather than on the phone has been stressful this year too.
We also make less here than we did in Germany. When you are overseas, the military gives you something called COLA. Cost of Living Allowance. It is to alleviate the exchange rate, and the amount you get is based on your rank and family size. Some months, we got a ton. I was also teaching a lot of piano in Germany. Here, I have had only one student and that one for only a month or so. It has been a little tricky with our finances.
I am hugely looking forward to moving to a new place. To see our friends that we haven't seen in almost two years. To be further away from family. To a house that isn't falling apart like ours is now. To new foods, and meeting new people. To the end of Matt's schooling so that our lives can get back to a kind of normal.
I have learned a whole bunch this year about myself. I wouldn't trade the knowledge that I have gained. But if I had to do this again, I would say no.
The things that I will miss about living here is mostly the people. But most of them move around too, so there is a chance that we will see each other again. I will miss great Mexican food! And I will miss the weather. We will see how I like North Carolina. I am a west coast girl to the bones. It will be a huge change for me to live in the Southeast.
This is my blog. I write about being a military wife. Which is pretty much the same as other wives. Except when my husband leaves, it isn't for a week long business trip. Sometimes I write about regular stuff. Sometimes I don't. But hey, this is me. :)
A bad day in Paris is better than a good day anywhere else.