Monday, April 28, 2008

New Quote Monday

It's Monday! That means there is a new quote so go check it out! Last week's quote was, "So, there I was, tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil Librarians," from Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz Vs. the Evil Librarians.

Webkins Extravaganza and How it Reminded Me of My First Motherhood Fear




Recently there was a Webkins Extravaganza at four fine retailers near us. If you don't know what Webkins are, they are the hottest new thing in online pets and actually are a lot of fun. One of my first blog posts was about how I'm addicted to the Webkins website. You buy the pet, usually ranging from $10-15, but at the Extravaganza you could buy a $10 pet and get one free. After you buy the pet you go online and "adopt" the pet. You play with it, feed it, dress it, all kinds of stuff. There's an arcade with games, you can have a garden and get farm fresh food to feed your pet, you can buy all kinds of stuff to entertain the pet with, and decorate its room. You can even take your pet to "school" and get it a "job."

At these Extravaganza parties, two of the stores participating (both Hallmark stores, actually) had fun activities for kids to do. Both stores had a coloring contest, one had a "Gem Hunt," and plenty of candy. One store manager kept putting more and more candy in Megan's and Jeremy's hands. Both also had a guess-the-number-of-jelly beans-in-the-jar contest. Neither of the kids got anything out of the Gem Hunt: a big box with packing peanuts and a few rocks, a few of which said "winner" which meant a free Webkins.

But Hip-Hip-Hooray! Both kids won the coloring contest for their age groups at the Hallmark store in the mall. When the Candy-Pusher called and told me Jeremy won for his age group I laughed and said, "He was probably the only one in his age group!" He said I was right and half an hour later called to tell me that Megan won for her age group. They both got a free Webkins and we went to pick them out this morning. They both picked Persian cats. Jeremy's cat is named Woof-Woof and Megan's cat is Star Catcher. No, I didn't help them with their names, they came up with the names all on their own.

At the other Hallmark store they also had a Wheel of Wow, which is one of the games on the Webkins website. Megan won a package of fruit snacks and Jeremy won a small drawing pad and a zebra stamp. We just barely turned in their coloring contest entries for this Hallmark, so we don't know if they won there yet or not. If they have age groups I'm sure Jeremy will win again since most kids who play with Webkins are considerably older, even more so than Megan.

At the store in the mall I decided to take advantage of the sale, spending $10 and getting a free Webkins. I bought a small polar bear (the kids decided it would go to Emma when she is born) and then got a pig for free. The pig we decided would be Nathan's since I already have one (a dog named Zia, which Megan named). After we bought these and started talking about names for the Webkins, Megan and I frequently forgot the names we'd come up with. It reminded me of when I was a kid and would name my stuffed animals and dolls. I could never remember the names I'd given them. I had a stuffed dog I named Toto and I only remembered that one because of The Wizard of Oz. I just knew that when I grew up and became a mom I'd be a bad one because I'd never remember my kids' names. I even believed this as I got older. When I got pet fish I had to continuously give them new names because I continuously forgot the names I'd come up with.

I'm glad to know now that I can remember my kids' names and don't have to worry about forgetting what I named them. I don't have a chance to forget their names anyway. After all, I yell their names all day long! "Megan! Don't hit your brother!" "Jeremy! Don't hit your sister!" I'm actually saying this as I'm typing it.

I can't forget the next three kids' names (assuming there are two more after Emma) because Megan talks about them all the time. "Can we get this for Emma?" "One of these is for Lucy and one is for Lincoln."

Here is a picture of Megan and Jeremy with all the Webkins. Left to right is Star Catcher (cat), Swesty (dog), Frosty (polar bear), Grant (frog), Filbert (pig), and Woof-Woof (cat). Zia is somewhere in Megan's room, so she isn't in the picture.

Anyway, I've got to go use my kids' names now.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Constellation

This post is by Nathan.


A couple of weeks ago, I affixed glow-in-the-dark stars and planets to the kids' ceiling. Over Megan's bed I made a crude representation of the constellation Orion, and I put the Big Dipper over Jeremy's bed. Extra stars are randomly distributed over the rest of the kid's "sky" with the planets orbiting (in their correct order) around the light in the center of the ceiling. This, naturally, fueled an already burning interest in space and its occupants.

Tonight I showed Megan where Saturn is (near Regulus in Leo) and where to find Mars (near Pollux in Gemini). She was very excited to locate her two favorite planets, even though they appear as nothing more than pinpoints of light.

As I was carrying her back inside, Megan pointed north and emphatically said, "Look, Papa, look! That's the one over Jeremy's bed!!" She had located her first constellation with no prompting from me. I was pretty surprised she could pick it out so well, especially since there was a street lamp just below the Big Dipper, making the sky harder to see.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tons of Pictures

So, the kids have been playing hard lately. I have tons of pictures from their shenanigans and thought I'd post them for Grandma and Grandpa and whoever else is interested.




Megan loves her trains. She had me set them up for her a couple days ago and played with them all day.










Megan's self portrait








Jeremy's after-dinner treat








On Nathan's day off he made slime with the kids. As I was leaving for Kellie-Time he yelled, "Who wants to make slime!" I was so glad I was leaving. Of course, there were little blue spots on my carpet for days. . .






Nathan bought a kite for the kids and they had a ton of fun flying it at one of the parks in town.





So as you can see, there is fun being had. If the weather would stay warm we could all have more fun outside, but we are still waiting to see what Spring will do. Friday it was so nice outside, then Sunday it hailed. Spring here is so weird.





New Quote Monday

Hello everyone. There is a new quote for the week. I meant to do this quote a while back, but since we left the book it came from in Cleveland, I had to look it up on the internet. (At least we'll get the book back when we move.) Anyway, it is from the book Alcatraz Vs. the Evil Librarians, a book I highly recommend to anyone who wants to laugh. Hard. It is a middle grade book and as the author, Brandon Sanderson, says, it's for ages 9-99.

Last week's quote, in case you missed it, was "You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt


Enjoy the blog for today. It's just under this and I had a lot of fun writing it. When you read the Announcer parts you have to do it in the Boxing Announcer-type voice. It makes it more fun.

The Pot Vs. The Red Chair

Announcer #1: "Here in the left corner of the ring we have the long-time champion, "The Pot," coming to us from under the kitchen counter."

"And here in the far right corner of the ring we have the underdog, "The Red Chair," coming to us straight from a local grocery store."
Announcer #2: "We sure have a great fight lined up today folks, let me tell you. For the last year The Pot has been ruling the dinner table as little Jeremy has had no choice but to sit on The Pot during every mealtime. His real chair was broken by Big Sister Megan and was immediately thrown into the trash. When his parents went out to buy him a new chair they could only find plastic chairs with lame girly pictures on them. Absolutely refusing to subject their son to ugly anime animals with overly big eyes on a pink plastic chair, they stooped to sitting him down on an old pot at every meal. At first he questioned The Pot. Why did Big Sister Megan get a cool Princess Chair and he got a cold, metal round thing? But gradually, with time, he came to accept The Pot and even grew attached to it. His parents joked about the "White Trashiness" of The Pot whenever they had guests for dinner, so as to relieve their guilt over the matter."

Announcer #1: "Then one day, as Jeremy's mother was walking into a great sale where she could buy cake mixes and Gatorade for 50 cents, she looked to the right and saw it-a clean, child-sized red chair with no insipid cartoon characters glued onto the seat. It was on sale and she grabbed one, excited she had a chair her son could sit on at mealtimes."

"She brought the chair home, full of anticipation. How will the fight go? Will her son take to the chair? Will The Pot roll over The Red Chair like a rolling pin over soft sugar cookie dough? Or will The Red Chair be the new non-white trash chair Jeremy's parents have been dreaming of?"

"And here we go with the fight . . ."

Announcer #2: "Jeremy's mother places the new chair at the table. . . ."

[Ding.]

The bell sounds for dinner and the children come running to the table, excited for the opportunity to not eat when told to stuff their faces or starve.
They reach the table and Megan sits on her Princess Chair. Jeremy stands, eyes scanning the room looking for The Pot.

Jeremy: "Pot?"
Mother: "You have a new Red Chair, Jeremy. Look, you can eat at the table and sit on a chair."
Jeremy: "Pot!"
Mother: "Look at the chair. Why don't you try it out?"
Jeremy: "No! Pot!"

Announcer #1: Oh, folks, it's getting to be a rather dirty fight here in the living room. What is The Pot going to do to our new contender, The Red Chair? If only this family could actually use their dinner table instead of having to put the computer on it.

Announcer #2: If only this family didn't have to eat at the coffee table for every meal, then maybe the kids would be used to sitting in regular chairs and actually sitting while eating. Maybe the kids would actually eat! Oh what will this mother do now?

Mother: [Hand to her head and breathing deeply] "Jeremy, please sit down. Mom got you a new chair today. This is so you don't have to sit on The Pot anymore. You can have a regular chair like Megan."

Jeremy: "Pot! Pot! Pot!"

[Mother continues to attempt to reason with Jeremy]

Announcer #1: "Now folks, this is an interesting fight today, we are in for a treat. It is important to note that the seat of The Red Chair is higher up than that of The Pot. Will this help or hinder little Jeremy as he eats at the table? That is, if his mother is even able to get him on The Red Chair."

Announcer #2: "Look! The mother is picking up Jeremy and placing him at the table on The Red Chair. How will little Jeremy react?"

Jeremy: "No! No! No! No! Pot!"

Mother: [Sighs and looks over to her husband] "Fine." [Mother turns around toward the kitchen]

Announcer #1: "Oh, look at this folks, the mother is giving up. It looks like she isn't going to last much longer."

Announcer #2: "It looks like you're right. Do you suppose she'll introduce The Red Chair at every meal, or give up the fight now?"

Announcer #1: "I'm hoping she'll continue the fight tomorrow. What she needs to do is really work at getting a new strategy. Maybe tomorrow at breakfast she'll be able to throw a couple quick punches at The Pot and make a clean path for The Red Chair."

Announcer #2: "Let's hope so! I look forward to meeting everyone here again tomorrow for another great fight."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Baby Countdown Update

So here's the update on the baby countdown. According to the countdown clock on our desktop, as I am writing this blog there are 25 days 3 hours 6 minutes and 38 seconds left. I continually tell Nathan that in two weeks he's taking me to Olive Garden because I firmly believe it will put me into labor. A couple years back there were a bunch of girls in our ward who all swore by the Olive Garden. They had all eaten there and then that night or the next day gone into labor. I decided to try it when we were pregnant with Jeremy and he just wasn't coming soon enough. Well, lo and behold, that very same day, just hours after eating at Olive Garden, I went into labor and Jeremy was born! Just in time for my sister to see him, too. She had to fly back to Texas the very next day and I was so worried that I wouldn't have him before she left for home.

I now believe in the power of O.G. :o) And I know it wasn't just a weird mind over matter thing (or whatever it's called) because those things never work for me. So there. I'm curious to know if anyone else has heard this or tried it and what the results were. Let me know!


25 days 2 hours 58 minute 40 seconds.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Quote Monday


A new quote is up. It is located on the left side of the blog, under the picture of the kids and Nathan. Last week's quote, in case you missed it, was, "After a great deal of time examining oceans, investigating rainstorms, and staring very hard at several drinking fountains, the scientists of the world developed a theory regarding how water is distributed around our planet, which they have named “the water cycle.” The water cycle consists of three key phenomena— evaporation, precipitation, and collection—and all of them are equally boring."

-Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Megan's Dance Recital

video

Here is Megan's first dance recital. Megan is the one in the pink leotard without the little skirt. The girl in the pink skirt is funny because she kind of forgets to pay attention at one point. Their teacher, Robyn, is so nice and patient. After the show she gave all the girls a little paper "purse" with two necklaces, stickers, and a sticky ball. Megan has two more dance classes for the season and then I guess they are done. Anyway, Megan has loved it. Thank you to Grandma Mary and Aunt Laurie who have provided Megan with this opportunity to dance.

Baby Animal Days '08

Ok, this is try #2 for getting this blog up. Sometimes I really hate blogger. And today is one of those days. Anyway, on with the blog.

Today I took the kids to Baby Animal Days at The American West Heritage Center. We went with our good friends Sara and Melynda. Most of this blog is pictures, which is why the first try to get this up didn't work. Blogger doesn't like for me to post more than two pictures or so and as you've probably noticed, I love posting pictures since we have so many friends and family who are far away and don't get to see Megan and Jeremy very often. So here are pictures of our day. Hopefully.




Megan's first pony ride.






I gave Jeremy a piece of candy before putting him on the pony, thinking he might need something to take his mind off being on a pony. I thought for sure he'd freak out as soon as I started lifting him toward the pony, but nope! He thought it was great!









Sara, Melynda, Jeremy and Megan looking at the baby goats.









Looking at a mama horse and the foal.









Jeremy petting a calf.








Mere seconds after taking this picture, Megan stepped in the bowl of pig slop and got it all over her pants and one of the little piggies.









Quack!









Jeremy didn't want to hold the duck, just look at it.









Megan loved the bunnies. She kept going back to hold more and more bunnies. They were also for sale. Mama says, No Way!!







This is David the Cow. He's for sale.









Just hangin' out.









Megan is learning how Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger.









Sara, Megan, and Melynda on the wagon ride.









Me and Jeremy on the wagon, too.






All Megan could talk about was going to see the turtles. It was her favorite part last year and she really wanted to do it again. Of course "Turtle Town" was the furthest attraction from the entrance.





Jeremy really liked the turtles and tried to get a second turn at petting them. I wasn't really willing to go back and do it again, though. Plus, Megan had to go to the bathroom at this point and the bathroom was back at the very front of the Heritage Center.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Baby Countdown Time!

I just can't seem to stop writing today! It's been so long that my fingers just want to glue themselves to the keyboard.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to do a little baby countdown. I don't know how to make a cool one and put it on here, so I'm just going to tell you I have 35 days left as of today. Some time later I'll update that. I had a doctor appointment today and he said I was measuring a week early. I measured a week early with Jeremy and he was born a day late. I don't think that will be a problem this time since I've been contracting for over two weeks and they are pretty painful. Actually, right now, I've been contracting for a couple hours almost none stop. It hurts, but not bad enough to mean anything. Maybe I will go early, like in two weeks. Oh, that would be so nice.

Books

It was a busy reading week last week. I read Alcatraz Vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson out loud to Nathan and finished it on the plane ride to Cleveland. It is one of the most hilarious books ever. Brandon wrote most of it while free-writing. I think I'll use the first line of the book as the quote of the week next week so look for it. He came up with the first line while he was at a FHE in his singles' ward. He was bored and having nothing better to do, allowed a clever and hilarious line pop into his head. He wrote it down and filed it away for later. After he finished writing one of his Mistborn books he needed a break and wanted to write something fun, not serious and heavy. He remembered the random line that came to him years before, got it out, and started free-writing. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a good read and a good laugh.

I've also recently been re-reading The Jimmy Fincher Saga by James Dashner. I just finished book two again. I find the story to be very clever, even if the telling of it is definitely for a little kid. My only complaint is that too many of the main characters sound the same. I am looking forward to reading Dashner's new book The Thirteenth Reality (also a series) which recently hit the shelves. Dashner's sense of humor is one that I love and can just have fun with. He has told me, more than once, that he wishes he could go back and re-write some of the Jimmy Fincher books. But since that probably won't happen anytime soon, I'll just say they are fine how they are. Also I just finished (yes, all these books are being read and finished in the time period of about 5 days) just finished My Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life by Julie Wright. Oh my gosh. I cried through the last half of the book. I stayed up till about 1:30 A.M. to finish it and just sat there in tears the whole time. Very well written. The last book I finished before getting back to Logan was Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George. I loved it!!! It is being marketed as a "New Fairy Tale" which I find to be most unique. Who knew there could be new fairy tales? But as I read it I completely understood how they could do it. It is such a clever and amazing story. The writing is superb and I just love it. I think it is one of my new favorites. I'm actually itching to read it again and I just finished it last night. I almost asked Megan if I could read the first chapter to her for bedtime. She intended it for YA, but it is being marketed as middle grade. I disagree, because I think it could go either way. Maybe they will re-market it later at YA. Publishers do that sometimes. So now I am between books. I may go to the library tomorrow and check out a YA chick lit book called Meet Your Match by Stephanie Fowers. I liked her book Rules of Engagement, so I'm sure I'll like this one. Rules is very girly though, so if you don't like girly stuff, stay away.

Nathan and I are still reading Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. We've been so busy that we don't have a lot of time to read together. We read most of Alcatraz on the way to SLC and on the plane to Cleveland. We need to get started on it again. Actually, I guess I am supposed to be reading the books for book club this month. I guess I better find my paper where I wrote those titles down and the check out the books. . . .

Visit to the Dentist and more


Before we left for Cleveland we took Jeremy to the dentist for his first visit. He did a great job. This kid is amazing. Doctors . . . dentists . . . needles . . . blood . . . nothing fazes him. Just as an example, we had to take him down to Primary Children's down in SLC in December for some major testing. Jeremy just sat in Nathan's lap as the technician taped stuff to his arms. It couldn't have been comfortable and the technician was really surprised that Jeremy was so calm about it.

Anyway, Megan's first visit to the dentist she did great. She was a little nervous about having some guy looking in her mouth and she didn't really want to lay back like we needed her to, but over all she was great. Jeremy was just like, "So you want me to lay back and open my mouth wide, right? Ok." Megan stayed out in the waiting room with one of the hygienists (yes, mom, Nathan was out there with her, too) and played Go Fish the whole time. When the dentist was done Jeremy got a balloon and even got one for Megan.

Now, while we were in Cleveland, Jeremy was playing in the blue room at Grandma and Grandpa's. We only know this because that's where the pool of blood was found. Got your attention? Ok, so Grandpa and Megan are watching tv when they hear Jeremy's little voice, calm as can be, "Grandpa! Boo-Boo!" Kent is just thinking he scraped his finger or bumped his head on a toy or a table or something and calls to him to come in. Jeremy walks in the room and Megan starts freaking out. There was blood all over Jeremy's left hand. Kent took him to a clinic or E.R. or something and turned out Jeremy needed stitches on his index finger. We still don't know what happened exactly. But when the doctor was stitching up Jeremy's finger and when he gave him a shot, Jeremy didn't even flinch. He just sat there, calm and happy. The doctor told Kent that most adults don't behave as well as Jeremy did during the whole process. Amazing, huh?

It's funny, because Jeremy didn't make a big deal out of the pain, stitches, or shot, but he'll sure tell you about his "boo-boo" and shove his finger right up in your face over and over.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Forgot to Explain

Ok, so in the previous post I said I'd explain why the papers listing things to do stayed in Cleveland. The reason is because we left our luggage there. Not on purpose, mind you. Remember the car we borrowed from the really nice couple? Well, the guy was scheduled to fly home the same day we were. So we planned on leaving the car at the airport in the long term parking lot with the keys locked in the car (he has another set to open the car with). So when we found a parking spot we decided where to hide the keys, got out, and walked over to the elevators to call him and let him know where we parked the car. Then as Nathan was relaying to him the exact place where we left the car locked and ready for him, I realized that our luggage was still in the trunk of the car. I called the parking garage people and they said they couldn't open the car for us and that the airport police wouldn't do it. They gave me the number of a locksmith, but he couldn't get there before we needed to be on the plane. In the end, we called the couple and told them that our luggage was stuck in the car's trunk and asked them to please take it to our new apartment where it will wait for us until July. We did have to ask them to go through one of the bags though. I finished reading a library book while on the trip and had placed it in our carry on bag. To avoid a huge fine I decided to have them open the bag, find it and send it to us. I'm kind of bummed that I don't have my glasses, my hair straightener, or most of my maternity clothes anymore.

We're Back!

Nathan and I went to Cleveland, Ohio this past week. I am extremely pleased to tell you that we are not only back, but alive. I have to say, I have been in a lot of downtown big cities in my life, many of which are known for having their "scary areas": Vancouver, Victoria, Kamloops in Canada, Rome and Venice in Italy, Houston, Dallas, Salt Lake City, New York City, San Francisco, Rochester, Atlanta, and Ogden in the U.S., and a few in Mexico that I can't remember the names of to name a few, but I have never been in a place like this. I thought Beaumont and West Valley were the ghettos. I was wrong. None of these cities hold a candle to Cleveland. I was terrified. Completely terrified. I am so glad that we left the kids with Nathan's parents. They would have been one more thing to worry about as we traveled around the scariest city in the world. Nathan thinks I'm overreacting, but I'm sure that any girl would feel the same way I did. And Nathan has to admit that there were times when he knew we were in the ghetto and times when he understood why I took my rings off and hid them.

What makes this really interesting is that there is a church every ten feet in Cleveland. One we noticed is called "The 4 Real Church." Yeah. Does anything else really need to be said on that subject?

Months ago, before we even planned our trip out there, we emailed a couple in Cleveland Heights and asked about buying homes, renting apartments, the schools, etc. The couple was listed on the Case Western (the school Nathan will be attending come August) website as trying to sell their house. We liked the house (and at the time thought it would be in our price range, then we looked into the property taxes and realized we would not be buying a house). Anyway, we contacted them with a bunch of questions. They were totally wonderful and helpful. They offered to let us stay at their house for our trip and everything. Then when we found out we would be coming during their spring break and they would be gone, they left their car for us and their house. It was awesome!

We did find an apartment-- not in Cleveland thank goodness. It is in Shaker Heights, a nice safe neighborhood. We also live very close to the police department, so if anything was to go wrong, they are only about 100 yards away. There is also a library very, very close to us that has a playground and the library has a drop-in story time and also a drop-in time for what they call "Grow and Learn." They have a special play room for kids to paint, draw, color, play games, read, all kinds of stuff, and then they have another room where younger kids (infant to 18 months can crawl on big soft-play blocks.

A financial aid person at Case Western gave me a list of things to do in Cleveland. The list is geared toward moms who need to get out of the house so they don't go crazy with their kids. Unfortunately, I left it in my luggage which is still in Cleveland. I'll explain in a moment.

Other than looking at apartments in really scary neighborhoods, Nathan and I did do quite a bit of sight-seeing. Since we had this family's car to drive around in, we figured we'd go to Kirtland and do a bit of Church history sight-seeing. It was amazing! I'd done the tour years and years ago with my college roommates, and then years and years and years before that with our YM/YW group in the Stake, but this time around was so much better. After doing the typical Whitney store, sawmill, and temple (the Community of Christ now charges a $2/person restoration fee and why they need to charge that when our Church is in charge of the temple restoration and grounds, I don't know and I won't go into it here because there were many things that bugged me, but I am stopping now) we then went to the John Johnson Farm. This is where the Prophet Joseph Smith was dragged from his bed in the middle of the night and tarred and feathered. Nathan and I got to stand on the front steps of the house where he preached the next morning. We got to go on the tour with a set of sister missionaries who were new to the area (we'd actually met them the day before while doing the Kirtland stuff-- it was their transfer day).

We also went to various malls (some of which were a disappointment), parks, to the lake (since Cleveland is next to Lake Erie), and the quarry where stone for the temple was quarried. We also took lots of pictures of houses there that I liked. Some of the architecture there is very different from other cities I've been to and so I thought I'd take pictures so I can remember what I like from them.

Here are some pictures from our trip.



Outside the N.K. Whitney Store












Nathan skipping rocks in Lake Erie










On the front steps at the John Johnson Farm













The outside of our apartment building (we are on the far right side).









You enter our apartment . . . notice the half-bath. The doorway on the right leads into the dinning room and then the kitchen. There is a storage closet on the left, you may be able to spy the door knob on the left edge.















View from the entryway into the living room.









The fireplace





Hallway and entry into the full bath, our room is to the left, the kids' to the right.






From the living room, looking into the kitchen









Kitchen (there is a dishwasher next to the sink, yeah!)