Friday, April 30, 2010

My 1st post - 100 posts later

I have been humbly bestowed the honor of a meme from In Real Life. She makes me laugh and reminds me to stay real. The rule (do we always follow these rules, I guess I'm not a fan of chaos, so I'll follow of course) is to re-post your first blog. Can you do it? 

I just posted my 100 blog (I'm kind of a big deal around here) and now I'm re-posting my 1st blog, so it's perfectly fitting. Now remember, I started my blog and then abandoned it for a L-O-N-G time and I'm not even sure what it is yet (I'm typing before looking and copying). But, thank you to all of you who inspire me to keep on writing, finding myself and sharing myself with some amazing people from around the world.

Here it is:

My most recent outing with my 4 kids was to downtown Seattle. To avoid the panic of them going in every direction in the crowds, we arrived at 830am. Parking was easy (Pacific Place is clean, well-lit and easy to get to). We bundled up (it was 29 degrees) and starting hunting for the Nutcrackers.

The Nutcrackers are 60 7 foot tall Nutcrackers decorated by various local artists. They are sold at an auction, but the are on view for the public. Most of them on are the city streets surrounding downtown Seattle. When we came up the escalator at Pacific Place, we found our first Nutcracker. There ended up being about 10 of them within the mall. We went from floor to floor to see them. The kids were so excited that they would run as soon as they saw one.

We headed outdoors and started walking around the blocks to find more We ended up finding about 30 total. There are maps that can be downloaded, but it was more fun to explore. We stopped at Specialty's Cookies for yummy chocolate cookies and hot chocolate (mochas for the adults). In all we walked for 2 hours without any complaints. We ended our morning with a carousel ride at Westlake Center. The timing was perfect. There were no lines or crowds. But the shoppers were starting to fill the streets and it was time to go home.

It was a great day!! With little cost.

**Well, what do you know. Not as terrible as I would have thought. And it's even about traveling. Go Me!!**

So, here's my 5 random followers who can continue in the fun. I look forward to seeing your posts!!

1. Nic at domestically challenged housewife

2. Draft Queen at The Drafts Folder

3. Rachel at A Reservation for Six

4. Corrine at A Day in the Life

5. Knitwit at 2 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cars, 2 tired...

I love reading your blogs and learning about Mom's like me around this little blue/green ball we live on.

365 pics

My Friday as incoming PTSA President.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My 1st "random dozen"

"2nd cup of coffee" has this great "random dozen" link up she does every week. This is my first week to participate and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your responses. Feel free to join in.

And now The Random prompt for this week:

1. Have you ever been so lost that you were really afraid?
I have. I'm sure more than once. When I was 18 I took a drive out of town (Brentwood, CA) and ended up 30 minutes away is South Stockton (not a good area to be at night). It took a little while to get turned around and back on the freeway. Every car or group of kids made me think I would pee a little.

2. Have you ever been to an island?
Several actually. I finally got to go to Hawaii (Maui) in 2007 to watch my brother get married. Plus, I live in Washington and we have the San Juan Islands. I've been to Orcas Island and San Juan Island (Friday Harbor). We've been to Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island. And we've been to the Bahamas, which are beautiful. And the most famous would have to be Manhattan Island and Ellis Island to tour downtown New York and the Statue of Liberty. Wow, I've been to a lot of islands.
3. Are you more of a thinker or feeler?
Definitely a thinker. I like to "think" things through. I like to "think" about the ways things might have happened. I like to "think" about how things might be. I like to "think" about where I want to go. I occasionally feel, but my husband has pointed out that I'm a little like a robot and don't show emotions. I guess I'm too busy "thinking" and I'm OK with that.
4. Do you tend to see issues or situations in life as black and white or shades of gray?
I would love to says shade of gray, but my first instinct is always black and white. After "thinking" for a while I usually find a shade or two of gray.
5. If you were stuck on an island, what book would you hope to have with you (Let's pretend the Bible is already there, so you can't say that.)
Honestly, as a non Bible reader, the Bible might be interesting. But, I would say "Twilight". I know it is not the most stimulating or thought provoking or even the best written, but I love the way this book makes me feel. I feel all mushy and happy and like a teenager in love for the first time again.
6. What are you most afraid of?
The death of my children. I have dreams (rarely, but often enough) that one of my kids is dead. I can see them and feel it and it's horrible. I wake up and try to scrub those images from my head. I even wake up crying. I know some of you have been through this and I pray that you have made the best recovery possible. I know I would deal with whatever happens in my life, but this is my biggest fear.
7. Would you rather lose all of your old memories or never be able to make new ones?
At this point, I'm thinking I'd rather lose all my old memories. I'm young enough that I have millions of new memories to make. I'm glad this is not something that will happen (that I currently know of).
8. Pretend I'm looking at a scrapbook page about you. There are three spaces for you to drop in individual pictures. What are those pictures of, and why did you select them?
a. the day I moved out after high school with me, my Mom, my Dad and my 2 brothers (it's a photo of my whole family and my whole future lying before me).
b.  my family Christmas photo from 2009 (it's a current photo of my whole family now, my husband and 4 kids).
c. a wedding photo of my Mom and Dad high fiving each other after my wedding (they raised an amazing daughter and found a great son-in-law. They were happy and alive).

9. If you were re-doing your wedding, what would you do differently? (If you're single, tell me one thing you would do if you were planning a wedding OR huge party.)
I would have worn regular color nylons (not dark blue for my something blue) and I would have worn my hair down and loose. I think I would have moved my veil behind my head during the ceremony, but I was so was nice to have something to hide my face so that I could make it through without crying. I hate having people stare at me.
10. Tell me one thing you know/believe about forgiveness.
I know that with an open mind I can forgive any person for any reason. But, I will no longer have an open heart or allow for another digression.
11. You're waiting in a doctor's office. What is your favorite way to pass that time?
If I'm alone, I read my book that I'm currently reading. If I'm with the kids, I play a game on my phone or read the magazine from the bottom of the pile of the free magazines you can take home.
12. If there were a clone of you in a parallel universe what is one way you hope she/he would be the same as you and one way you hope she/he would be better?
the same - I hope she would be loving and willing to do anything for her friends and family.
better - Be more like the person she is at home and around family when out in public and around friends. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I bought 1 of these for Mr. N and Miss R. I just noticed that it is 5
servings at 140 calories each (700 calories total for a sucker!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Easter 2010

Our Easter was fun filled with all the kids running around. Marc made this great poster for the kids to play "pin the tail on the rabbit". Miss R ended up being the closest and was very excited to win her little prize (a bubble gun). We start out our weekend dying Easter Eggs. Take 4 kids times a dozen each and we have a lot of eggs to dye. This year, we let them do 8 each and then had some plastic eggs with money. I reminded the kids that they had to wake up early in the morning because we had to be at Grandma's at 11am. At 3:30AM I hear voices in the living room (the eggs weren't hidden yet). We went out and told the kids, waking up early does not mean 3:30AM! I was thinking 7AM. They had been sleeping until 8 or 9 while on Spring Break. Mr C wasn't too happy that we were sending him back to bed and kept trying to sneak upstairs while the "bunny" was hiding eggs. He finally went to bed and we all woke up at the reasonable hour of 7:30AM. The kids found their baskets and were very happy to find their toys. We were then able to have breakfast, get dressed and get to Grandma's EARLY!! We never arrive anywhere early.

The kids were so happy to be at Grandma's and find their Easter baskets she made them. There was chocolate, toys and a stuffed animal for each. After their baskets were all emptied into their bags. We were ready to head outside to find the 128 eggs that were hidden in the backyard.

We were proud of Mr N did so well this year looking for eggs. Last year, he would only pick up an egg if it was green or yellow with a hint of green. This year, he was willing to pick up any egg he could find!

Mr C found 38 eggs and the others found about 15-25 each (our nephew Mr T was there with us). I think we were only missing 1 egg in the end. I hope they found it before they had to mow their lawn!

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11 years of marriage

This is my husband of 11 years. I've known him since we were 15. We've discovered that we had crushes on each other at 18 (while we went to our first year of college together). We didn't discover that we liked each other until we were 20. We weren't ready for that commitment yet as we were in different places on our lives. Our paths crossed again when we were 22. This time...our lives were ready to join onto the same path. We started our real dating that May 1996. We were married in March 1999. We have moved 6 times, we have 4 kids and have lived in 2 different states. Our 1 life together is a roller coaster full of butterflies, laughter and fun.

2 years ago, I realized that Valentine's and our anniversary are only 6 weeks apart and why would I put all the pressure on my husband to plan something romantic each year. I have my own ideas and things I would like for us to do. (wink, wink). So, we've agreed to trade years. Marc gets all the even year anniversaries and I get the odd years. Then, we plan Valentine's on the opposite years. This year, it was my turn for our anniversary.

I planned for months, but every idea ended up falling through and I had already exhausted my free babysitters in the previous month. I decided we would have a fun family day and just be together. We woke up early to a beautiful sunny day. I surprised Marc with a 1/2 hour massage at InSpa. The kids and I went over to Frost to get us all doughnuts and then over to Starbucks for my morning coffee. We then drove up to the Skagit Valley to see the tulip fields. Tulips are my favorite, so this was mostly for me and the pictures I wanted to get.
We went to Roozengarde and walked around the gorgeous grounds and through the fields of tulips. The kids posed (mostly happily) amongst the tulips and smelling them until they managed to trip and fall into the muddy ruts of the field. They weren't too bad, so we managed to talk them into staying in a good mood and continue our exploration.

Afterwards, we went into town, Mt. Vernon, WA, and had a great lunch with beer (for us, not them) at Skagit Valley Brewery. We got there right before the crowds (which is a must with 4 hungry kids who will talk us into McDonald's every chance they get). We were full and tired and headed home. Marc and I managed to take an 1-1/2 nap that afternoon. This is a rare treat for us. The kids "washed" our cars and then my brother volunteered to come over so that we could go to the movies. I have a great family that watches our kids for free!
We saw, "She's Out of My League" which is quite funny and cute. My favorite kind of movie.
We had a fun, full day celebration for our 11 year!
Happy Anniversary Honey! I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow!

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The Big Day (Dad gets married - part #2)

So, I explained our whirlwind trip to California for my Dad's wedding. Now, here are some details and our trip home.

My Dad and Betts got married on a beautiful, sunny California day at Oak Leigh in Fair Oaks, CA (outside of Sacramento). The best part was we didn't have to drive very far. After all the miles we put on the car in the previous 2 days, it was nice to have a more leisure emotion filled day.

There were about 30 of us total at the wedding. Each side meeting for the first time. We had some quick introductions and then were asked to enter the room. The minister (Bett's best friend) had given 6 of us cards to read during the ceremony that were little pieces of advice. My Dad stood in front of the room, looking a little nervous and VERY happy. Betts came down the aisle, escorted by her son. I'm pretty sure my Dad had a little tear and he gave a nervous laugh. It was very beautiful and you could see the love in their eyes. The minister gave them a few moments to reflect in the merging of two families and then asked for each of us to stand and read our advice. This was a surprise to Betts and my Dad and was an emotional touch to the day. For the vows, the minister tailored the words to reflect who they were. She had them repeat after her about how they met, how they were engaged and how their lives are more complete with each other. Betts and my Dad laughed and smiled and repeated. It was a perfect ceremony.

We all met outside afterwards and then the 5 people with cameras had the happy couple pose in various locations and we took all the photos. I tried to rack my brain of all the photos taken at my wedding and tried to make sure a lot of those shots were duplicated. It wasn't as easy as you would think. We did the grooms side, the brides side, the brothers and sisters of the bride and groom. The grand kids, the couple, the family members and friends who were able to share in this joyous day. Before we headed to the reception, I snuck out front and took some shots of the building (that's the first photo above) and then we headed to a nice restaurant overlooking the river.

The decorations were so lovely (see above) and we all fit at two tables. We were able to eat a delicious dinner and drink some beers. We all laughed and talked and got to know one another. The kids were wonderful and happy. Someone was thoughtful enough to bring bubbles and my 4, plus Betts 2 grand kids were able to blow bubbles and keep each other entertained. We were done around 6 (which was perfect for us because we had friends we wanted to see in town before we left the next day). We headed back to my brothers house, changed into our comfy clothes and hung out for the rest of the evening, talking and drinking 7-11 icees. Our friends came over and we had a great visit.

It was the best day!

So, our final days of our whirlwind trip..Sunday we went back to my brothers and had breakfast together with my brothers and our friends. We headed out of town around noon. We were taking our time to get home and letting the kids have time to play along the way (instead of 15 hours straight in the car). We stopped in Redding, CA and played at their favorite park. A great big wood structure with a water spray pad next door. We went into town and ate dinner. And then headed North into the dreaded Oregon.

Now let me say, Oregon is beautiful and a great place to visit. But it is hell when you are trying to get from California to Washington and you just want to be home. The state is 300 miles long and the speed limit is 60mph. Logically, this should take 5 hours. But we never get out under 7. I swear, there is a time warp somewhere. Anyway, we were taking our time and planning on staying the night, but we weren't sure how far we would get. I love my iPhone! Not a shameless plug, but it's ability to look up hotels and find a good hotel at a good price. We found our hotel around 9pm around 120 miles into Oregon. It was OK, but a great location and we were tired.

Monday, we woke up, ate the decent breakfast (they had freshly made Belgium waffles) and hit the road (after my requisite cup of mocha). We made it to Woodburn where the HUGE outlet mall is located. Those outlet prices and no sales tax call my name every time we drive through the state. We were able to get the kids soccer gear and save 10% just on the sales tax alone! The rest of the drive was most typical and boring. We discovered that our angelic passengers are only so good because they watch movies in the car. We turned the movies off through Portland and within 30 minutes, they were bickering and hitting. I was a little relieved to find out they are just typical kids. I was a little worried that if they were such great travelers and always got along that they were going to make my life hell when they are all teenagers (and all four will be teenagers at the same time). UGH!

We finally got home at 6pm and I have never been so happy and relieved to see my home and my comfy bed.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Whirlwind trip to California for my Dad's wedding (part 1)

Long story short, my Mom died in June 2004 from Inflammatory Breast Cancer. This was a shock to all of us and the healing process is long, but we all want to be happy and find that person that makes us happy. After 9 months, my Dad started to look at dating (sorry Dad, I'm spilling your life). He met a woman from Lebanon (the country, not a city is a US state). She came here and met us all and seemed not quite like the right fit, but if she made my Dad happy, I will support him. The deadlines for getting married came and went and he decided to end this relationship. In hindsight, I think she was the perfect relationship because she helped him feel alive and loved and not so alone. He went "fishing" again for someone to have some fun with and date. A few fun times and a few dates later, he found Betts.

Betts lives in the same town as my Dad. She was hesitating on looking and giving up on finding a good man, until she met my Dad. I can brag here because he really is a good man. He's is she (aren't we all), he's outdoorsy, he's thoughtful, he's generous. There first date was at her house (silly woman), it was basically a blind date, but she invited him over for breakfast.  The sparks flew!! 

There first date was in July. He proposed in November. They were married in March. I can brag here, a little, that she is great. She is such a good fit for him. She fits in with our family like she's always been a part of it. My only request was that we meet her before the wedding. My Dad and Betts made some arrangements and flew up to Seattle to meet us. She is outgoing and fun and lively. She and my Dad babysat my kids one night (definitely a She came upstairs in her robe and sat to talk with us. She was comfortable and relaxed and wonderful.
 (Dad, me, Miss M, Miss R, Betts, Mr C, Mr N)

So, here comes the whirlwind weekend of weddings in the month of March.

Thurs, Mar 19:
The kids had a 1/2 day of school. We left the house at noon and drove 600 miles to California to stay the night at Dad and Betts house (arrived at 11:30 PM). We stopped for dinner, coffee and gas, otherwise it was straight through. The last hour is always the worst because the kids won't fall asleep and they are ready to get out of the car. There's a little whining going on, but overall...the drive was great.

Fri, Mar 20:
We wake up to fresh baked scones, coffee and fruit (thank you Betts) and let the kids run around outside while Marc and I get ready. We leave at 10am realizing we are on a tight schedule to get this day done. We drive 3 hours South to check into our hotel in Sacramento. Marc and I get dressed as fast as possible for a wedding we were going to that night and then take the kids to my brothers for the afternoon. We drop the kids off at 2pm and leave by 2:30pm. When we agreed to go to this wedding (in Pleasanton, CA) I didn't realize it was 2 hours away from Sacramento. So the kids had a wonderful time with my 2 brothers and sister-in-law going bowling and pizza and video games. Marc and I drove 2 hours away. The wedding was for Marc's sister's best friend. She's an awesome person and it was a free night out. How could we say No! The wedding was at 5pm. The reception was at 6:30pm. Dinner was at 7:30pm. We left at 9pm (before the party even started) because we had to drive 2 hours back to Sacramento. We pick the kids up at 11:30pm and go back to pass out at our hotel. 

2 days - 988+ miles = 18-1/2 hours of driving. So far, this is not a vacation.

Fri, Mar 20:
Today is our relaxing day because we only have to drive 10 miles to my Dad's wedding and it's not until 2pm.

We wake up and get everyone bathed (there are 6 of us). We go for some lunch at a local teriyaki place that we miss living in Washington. It was pricey, but yummy. We head back to the hotel and get ready. Everyone is freshly scrubbed, hair brushed and dressed up by 1pm. We are doing great. Now, you would think...uh's comes the disaster. But, there was none. Unless you count my Dad calling because he brought two left shoes for his suit and wanted to borrow Marc's shoes for the wedding. Marc was more than happy to give up his dress shoes for his adidas. I still had to wear my heels. It just wasn't right.

Next blog will be the actually wedding to spare your eyes (and the fact that I need to run up the hill to get the kids from the bus).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's Joke

We kid A LOT around our house. Miss M learned to peek around the corner when she was 18 months old to make sure I wasn't hiding on my hands and knees to say "Boo". We still hop into the kids rooms (when they are supposed to be asleep) and scare them. The kids have learned to hide and scare too.

The best was when Marc came home from work and the kids ran downstairs to hide in the dark. When he walked in from the garage they jumped out and he actually screamed. It was priceless. I chuckle thinking about it. Evil, I am.

Anyway, one year, while driving to California, my Dad and I were discussing a magazine article about food that fools you (sushi made out of candy). I came up with a whole meal to serve the kids.

I made meatloaf in a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and topped them with mashed potatoes dyed purple and green peas for sprinkles. I served them for dinner. The kids did not appreciate my talent to make dinner look like dessert. They were actually really good. I'm getting some inspiration of what dinner might be for tonight.

my new eating plan

Marc and I have started NutriSystem. It is a meal delivered program. Marc and I went online and ordered 1 of everything so that we can try all the food. We ordered 35 breakfast, 35 lunch, 35 dinner and 35 dessert. They were all delivered on Monday and we started our program on Monday.

So each day our food each day includes 8 glasses of water and then:
1. breakfast entree + a dairy or protein + fruit
2. lunch entree + 2 vegetable servings + fat free dressing (if needed) + dairy or protein
3. dinner entree + 2 vegetable servings + fruit or vegetable serving + fat free dressing (if needed) + fat
4. dessert entree

The main entree each day is pre-packaged and pre-portioned and then we add our vegetables and fruits. It is really easy to stick to (so far) because we grab the meal and make it. It takes about 90 seconds. This is perfect for us with the spring soccer season starting and we have practice or games 3 nights a week plus swim lessons twice a week. I get to practice making our normal meals for the kids. By the time we finish the program, I'm hoping I will have the portions down and meals planned for Marc and I to continue eating healthy and correctly. We are planning on being on this program at least 2 months. It takes awhile to get a good habit to stick and we have a lot of weight to lose.

Each day we make a mark on our master list of food we like and don't like so that we know what to order next month. I have to say...I will not reorder the mushroom risotto. It smells like feet. I managed to eat it all because I was hungry and it tasted much better when combined with a bite of asparagus.

I find that I am less hungry today and think about food less. It's a process and my biggest challenge will be to stop myself from pulling into the drive-thru and ordering my favorite grande non-fat, no whip mocha. It's 220 calories and will be a nice treat on occasion, but I really need to quit buying it everyday. Not just because of the extra calories, but for the money. I'm printing out what I spent last year on Starbucks and keeping it in my wallet and car to remind myself that I need to quit. It will be like keeping my inspiration board for why I want to lose weight.

Speaking of inspiration board, it's time to pull out photos of myself from recently and the past. I can make this my before, current and future photos of myself. Where I want to go. What my goals are. My greatest goal is to be comfortable and active. It's not the numbers on the scale or in my pants. Well, it's a little about the number on the scale, but the clothes just need to fit comfortably. I have the energy to hike and walk for miles, but I'm uncomfortable at my current size. It's time to lose those kids (the weight I gained with each one) and work hard for my new and improved body. It may never look like it once did, I may never be comfortable wearing a bikini, but I will be comfortable and willing to go to those tropical vacations I long for and waterslide parks my kids long for.