Archive for July 2011

Best. Birthday. Ever.

July 29, 2011

“This was the best. birthday. EVER!” were the words that escaped my twins mouths yesterday after their birthday party.

If I’m going to be honest, I can’t say that a reptile party was entirely their idea. I definitely planted the seed, but with my love of animals, can you blame me? Luckily the twins love animals as well, and jumped right on board.

This wasn’t a terribly complicated party. I booked the Scales and Tails reptile show months ago, and other than cake & ice cream, plus present opening, that’s all this party entailed. But I invited quite a few people, including about 30 kids and 15 adults (not including our family). Not crazy, but bigger than anything I had ever attempted.

Shane, the owner of Scales and Tails, and the person who did the party, showed up earlier than expected, got set up quickly, and was entertaining the kids before he was on the “clock”. He was the perfect mixture of professional (he kept calling me ma’am), teacher (he knows SOOOO much about his subject), goofy and fun. I don’t have much experience with these kinds of parties, but I know enough to know he was amazing! So funny, for both the kids AND the adults, brought wonderful animals, and spent an hour of extra time with us. Shane was great at focusing on Emma & Cooper, and I know they felt very special. What was great about this show is that after introducing us to all of the animals and telling us some interesting facts about them, he brought most of the creatures out again and gave everyone time to handle them. He didn’t rush through it, and everyone got to hold or touch all of the animals they wanted. It was tons of fun for the kids. AND me!

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The photo where Emma is holding the snake was maybe my favorite moment. When the snake was crawling on her, she kept giggling and saying, “this is so awesome”. It was a moment of pure joy and excitement. LOVED IT!

Yes, there is a scorpion in Shane’s mouth. Yummy! Every animal was awesome, and I especially liked the giant tortious named Twinkletoes. He gave rides to the little ones, and was super gentle and cute with all of the kids. On our lawn, there is a “U” shape in the grass from where he ate (yep, they eat grass). I think he especially enjoyed the dandelion leaves that I hunted down for him. All of the snakes were beautiful, but I absolutely loved the 16 ft. python… especially because I got to help carry her out of her enclosure and display her on the lawn. Holy crap she was heavy. And AMAZING! When the sun hit her body, there were patches that became iridescent and I couldnt’ believe all of the amazing colors. Seriously, I was in awe. And she was great letting all of the kids maul her.

Actually, all of the animals were wonderful in their own right, and each one was exciting and fun. These kids (and myself) get to now say that they touched an alligator! From the tarantula and scorpion (the only non-reptiles of the day) to the Nile monitor and bearded dragon, to all of the snakes, big and bigger… they were all awesome!

I’m so glad that we had such a great turnout and that so many of Emma & Cooper’s friends were able to make it to the party. Thanks to all of our family and our friends who came to wish the twins a great 9th birthday… we hope you and your kids had as much fun as we did! I’m going to have to agree that this was the best. birthday. ever!

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It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

July 27, 2011

Utah is known, sometimes infamously, for certain things:

  • Bad Drivers
  • Mormons, who are all polygamists and have horns, didn’t you know?
  • Weird Alcohol Laws
  • The Osmonds

There is something else you can add to the list, which I’ve become more and more aware of as of late:

Utahns don’t R.S.V.P.

I’ve thrown b-day parties for my kids before, and while I did ask the recipients of the invite to RSVP, I didn’t take too much notice when they didn’t.

However, in the past couple months, it’s become blazingly obvious that what Mr. N has told me about this state and the residence inability or unwillingness to RSVP is true.

When I threw the baby shower for our friends last month, I think I got maybe 5 R.S.V.P.’s out of 40 invitations. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to know those aren’t great statistics.

Sidenote: We only throw “friends” birthday parties for the kids every other year (we do a small family party every year, so quit calling me an abusive mean mother in your head). This year I am putting together probably the biggest party, at least in terms of numbers, for the twins birthday party tomorrow. We invited all of the kids from Emma & Cooper’s class, other friends of theirs, as well as all of our family.

The adults coming aren’t a big issue, but I’m getting party bags together for all of the kids and having some sort of idea of who will or will not be there would be nice. An evil part of me thinks that I should only create a bag for the kids whose parents RSVP’d… it might be a way to educate parents that when an invitation asks for an R.S.V.P., they should actually do it. Of course I won’t do that, but damn it, if we thought to include their kid in what should be a really fun party, the least they could do is respond.

Here’s the thing… I’ve been a really crappy R.S.V.P.er in the past. And not so distant past. I can sympathize when it comes to forgetting about letting the party thrower know if you or your kids are coming or not. You get the invite, you may write it down in your calendar, and then it sort of gets pushed out of your mind. What this is called, my friends, is being a hypocrite. BUT, I am turning over a new leaf, and I will be R.S.V.P.ing ALL over the place. Just watch me go.

Not R.S.V.P.ing when invited to a party… It’s Gotta Go!

Dude… That’s Deep

July 26, 2011

This post is dedicated to my friend, Grunt (and his mysteriously disappearing post 😉 )… may you find your path.

I recently happened upon a quote that is probably the most personally profound statement I’ve ever read or heard, and it’s something I’ve thought about every day since I first read it.

People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost. – Dalai Lama

I’m not sure what this means to other people, but to me it resonates more deeply than I can express (at least very well).

In recent years, I’ve changed directions and definitely taken a slight detour from the path that I was on… a path that most people in my life were probably more comfortable with me being on. Some might say that I fell off of the this path and became lost. But I know that I’ve taken a scenic, alternate route, which sometimes runs parallel to my previous path, and sometimes not.

Talking about my these changes has been something I’ve really hesitated to do. Not because I question my decision. In fact, it is something I feel very comfortable and at peace about. But I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable, including myself. My “path” is such a personal one that it’s not something I want to defend, nor do I think I should have to. The truth is: I’m not really much different than I’ve always been. My moral and ethical convictions are as strong as they’ve ever been, and I am still commited to being an honest and empathetic woman, although I am far from perfect. I make choices based on a number of different factors, including wants and desires, but more importantly, I follow what I call my “moral compass”. I don’t do what is “right” out of fear or guilt. I try to do what is right because it’s the right thing to do. I try to make choices that I am proud of, that would make my children proud, that will make me a better person and mother, and better the world around me. Do I always succeed? No. But such is life.

I guess the reason I like the quote is that it describes better than I could ever articulate how I feel in terms of the choices I’ve made in my life and where my path continues to take me.

I believe I was put on this earth for a purpose, and every once in a while I get these small, brief glances at my purpose being fulfilled. By no means am I Gandhi, but I am a work in progress. I believe and have faith in God, that he loves me unconditionally, that he IS my biggest cheerleader, even when I am losing the game. I believe that the little bumps in my path, whether I pass over them gently or trip and fall flat on my face, are simply experiences which teach me and prepare me for the next obstacle. Ultimately, I believe to my very core that when it’s all said and done, it WILL all work out and it WILL be OK.

After reading this quote, I thought about how it applies to me and how I judge those on a different path. Being tolerant and accepting of other people’s paths, even when I think they are stupid, is something I know I need to work on.

I get why it’s hard to watch someone you care about take a path different from your own, especially when you think your path is the one that will lead to fulfillment and happiness. As a parent, it’s hard to watch my children make choices that I find, well, completely idiotic. So I can imagine how seeing someone you love and care about take a different path than the one that is right for you could bring up feelings of sadness and disappointment. I can only speak for myself, and for me, for the first time in my life, I feel like I am on the path that I need to be on… one that does bring happiness and fulfillment.

E.P.I.C.

July 25, 2011

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“Epic”. That seemed to be the word of the weekend, at least coming from the kids mouths.

I’m not sure how “epic” it truly was (or why that seems to be new, choice word, kind of like “rad”, “sweet”, and “killer” was), but based on what I saw, I think the kiddos had a wonderful time.

Friday, after our afternoon swimming at Maree’s house, Ian & Emma had friends over to spend the night. For the first time this year, we pulled out the tent and let the kids sleep outside. Which is also what happened the next 2 nights as well, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Poor Cooper has been the odd one out when it comes to friends and sleepovers as of late. The other two have friends that are also siblings, so when one wants to play, it only makes sense that the other come along. Luckily a boy just Cooper’s age has moved in to the house that we share a back yard with, and this new friend was over pretty much every day this weekend. Yahoo! There were a few times that we had 9 kids running around, and while it got a little crazy at times, it was fun watching all of my kids play.

I did have a revelation at one point. Don’t get me wrong… I like kids. That being said, at times I do have my limits when it comes to chaos and noise, but I never did reach it. And I realized that we are becoming that house. The house where all of the kids come to play. Thinking back, I think that my parents had the same thing going on… a home in which we always knew we could bring our friends and they would be welcome. A home in which we could have sleepovers, be loud, and not get in trouble.

I think it will be good to have our house be a kid “hub”. I like knowing where my kids are at and what they are doing, and if that means that it looks sort of like a day care at times, so be it.

Saturday afternoon we pulled out the big, inflatable water slide, and all of the kids had a blast trying to kill themselves and each other on it. At one point Cooper’s lip met the head of his friend, and mouthfuls of blood and a few tears later, he was left with a seriously deep gash on the inside of his lip (check out the pictures). I did call the dr. office, unsure if it would require stitches, but was told they didn’t stitch the inside of mouths and we were both happy that this injury wouldn’t require a visit.

Saturday night, Alex had a friend sleep over, and all of the kids ended up sleeping outdoors, including the dog. I’m happy to say that no one was kidnapped or murdered, as this girls parents were seriously terrified they would be. Too much Dateline is dangerous.

Yesterday after getting rid of excess children, we took our kids to the Oquirrh Park Swimming Pool. The weather was awesome, the kids had a blast swimming and playing in the water, and I attempted to relive my youth by performing some of my old diving standbys. It was definitely not perfect, but I did my first 1 1/2 off of a platform. Scary, my suit came off of half of my body when I hit the water, but not too bad.

In celebration of the 24th, we planned a bbq, and s’mores and fireworks with friends. Greg is sort of a pyro and has some serious firework history. His family ran a Black Cat stand growing up (and up until he was an adult), so he’s no stranger to this game. The owner of a stand he went to, who happened to know the family, hooked him up and gave him a great deal on a bunch of fireworks, including some really cool aerials. One did happen to malfunction and shoot flames at our neighbors, but that just added to the excitement :).

Here I am, another weekend gone, and me totally exhausted. In 3 days I am throwing what will be the biggest birthday party I’ve ever attempted, and while I think it will be fun, I’m not quite sure I’m prepared for it. Which will then be followed with, 11 days later, Alex’s b-day party which is no small shin dig either. Ugh!!! The great news is that after this August b-day, we’re done for the rest of the year. Woo hoo!

Well, I’m sure after all of my descriptions of this weekend, you think it’s pretty dang epic too.

 

Did You Know…?

July 24, 2011

NO, you didn’t, cuz this crap is weird. Kind of. Here are some strange happenings to me or my kin.

  • When I was a kid, I sat next to Wilford Brimley on a plane ride from Southern Utah to SLC…  he was really nice.
  • Our house was on the news in the 80’s after a HUGE hail storm (think golf ball sized) broke most of the glass in our greenhouse and dented my mom’s car. My older sister Brooke’s hand, holding one of the hail balls, was featured. As a kid I was always jealous it was her and not me. Damn her.
  • My dad’s golfing buddy died a few years ago WHILE he was on the course with my dad. I feel really bad that my dad had to witness it but SO glad he didn’t die of a heart attack himself while running all the way back to the clubhouse to get help. He now carries a cell phone (or makes sure someone he’s with is). The weird thing about it is that even though there was a dead body on the green, people totally played through and didn’t even stop their game.
  • I’m pretty sure I almost got kidnapped when I was in elementary school. White van, candy, creepy man. I ran like hell and survived. But I am now open to the possibility it was just a friendly plumber :).
  • I can make a weird sound with my tongue that NO ONE has ever been able to duplicate. Strangely, I don’t know how I ever realized I could do it.
  • At one time, I really thought I would do some sort of animal rescue/rehab. I married a man who hates animals. GO figure.
  • I CAN NOT STAND the word “panties”. Even typing it made my stomach turn.
  • My grandpa was knighted by the Queen of England. Seriously.

There you have it. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Held Captive

July 22, 2011

Last year when organizing our shelves in the family room, I got sort of overwhelmed with all of my cd’s. I probably should have taken them out of their jewel cases and put them in folders right then, but I was in a hurry, so they all got put in a storage container and shoved in the storage shed.

Fast forward to the present. Before I put them in storage, there were a lot of these cd’s that I hadn’t gotten around to transferring to my iTouch, and I got sick of not having them available. Wanting to unearth these lost albums PLUS looking for a book for a friend inspired me to clean out the storage shed to find these lost items AND get it more organized.

I got the shed cleaned, found the book and the cd’s, and have spent the last couple of days transferring cd’s to my computer. HOLY BORING! It’s not like I can load ‘er up and walk away… it’s essentially a babysitting job that’s kept me tied to this dang laptop for hours. 45 discs down and about 15 to go… there is light at the end of the tunnel.

All of this forced computer time leads a person to sites that they might not otherwise discover. Introducing my favorite new blog:

http://animalsbeingdicks.com

Knowing my audience, I am sure there are a few of you who don’t entirely appreciate the name of this website, but get over yourself, quit being a sissy/baby, and check it out! Other than the “D” word (which doesn’t bother me, but I’m rebellious like that), this blog is hilarious AND something I wouldn’t have any problem showing to my kids.

Oh look, it’s time to switch my cd… again. On the menu for today: Swimming lessons for girls, then a swim party with the ladies and their kids. Woo hoo! I’m looking forward to this holiday weekend with the fam, and hope to shortly leave my cd’s and computer and join the world :).

It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

July 20, 2011

There is nothing like opening the dryer door to a pile of warm, clean, fresh smelling clothes.

There is nothing like the mess created when a wad (or 10) of tissue paper are forgotten about in someone’s pants and it gets all over the warm, clean, fresh smelling clothes. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. And giving.

Washing my clothes separate from the kid’s clothing is no accident. It only took a few times of finding pens, lip gloss, more lip gloss, chapstick, crayons, etc., deformed and highly unstable after a cycle before I was cured of that.

Seriously people, is it that hard to empty your pockets? You can leave the money though… I keep that :).

Leaving messy crap in soon to be laundered pockets… it’s gotta go.