Archive for the ‘House and Home’ category

Too Old For This

November 20, 2011

When I was a teenager, I remember staying up until 2 or 3 a.m. with no problem. OK, so I would sleep in until noon the next day, but that’s beside the point. These days, 10 p.m. rolls around and I am heavy-lidded and ready for bed. And it doesn’t seem to matter what time I go to bed, I’m always up between 7 and 8 a.m.

Last night Greg & I went to some friends house for dinner and games. By 9 p.m., I seriously could have gone to bed. MAYBE going to the new Twilight movie premier at 12:10 a.m. two nights before had something to do with my exhaustion. MAYBE the fact that 3 hours of sleep followed by a full 8 hour work day was a contributing factor. MAYBE the fact that I’m just not as young as I used to be is relevant. MAYBE having kids vomiting in the middle of the night earlier that week played a part. Needless to say, it’s been a rough week in the sleep department.

The movie was silly, but the pre-party and get-together with friends was definitely a fun time and almost made it worth it. But I must admit that I’m relieved that there is only 1 more movie to go, because these ridiculously late nights are going to kill me. I’ve only missed 1 premier, and that was because I had surgery on my shoulder that same day. I’m all for vampires, werewolves, completely implausible plot lines and bad hair, but come on… I’m too old for this crap!

We ended up sleeping at our friends house last night (they live about 25 min. away and both Greg and I were so tired that crashing at their place seemed like a better option than the drive home). Air mattresses are better than a hard floor, but not by much. I went straight back to bed when we walked in the door at 8 a.m. this morning, and woke up at 11. That additional 3 hours made all of the difference. I feel caught up on my zzzz’s, and I’m ready to begin another week.

I’m gearing up for our annual Thanksgiving trip to St. George… lots to do to get the kids, house, and myself ready, but a few days off from work, helping kids with homework, and early mornings is definitely something I’m looking forward to. What are YOUR plans for this next week?

Show Me The Money

October 8, 2011

Have you ever heard the saying about how it doesn’t matter how much money people make, they always spend what they have? What about it doesn’t matter how much money you have, it’s never enough.

True? Maybe, maybe not. But it does seem like for many, spending rises as fast, or faster, than the money comes in. Sure, you make more, realize maybe you can buy some of those things which you wanted but felt like you couldn’t afford, and you can never really get ahead. Helloooo… highest foreclosure rates ever in the history of this country! Personally, I think this country has become a slave to their stuff.

But that is neither hear nor there. This post isn’t about the shit show the U.S. economy has become. It’s about asking the question: how do you get to the point where what you have is enough. Because for many of us, we never reach that point.

I have friends that span a huge gamut in terms of income. Some live very modest lifestyles… living paycheck to paycheck, getting by and surviving, but barely. I also have friends who have a monthly income that is comparable to a typical family’s yearly gross. The funny thing is, many of these people also live paycheck to paycheck, and what would seem like a fortune to others is barely enough for them to pay all of their many bills.

What I have also noticed when I look at all of these people is that it doesn’t matter what kind of money they bring in, everyone has problems. Money doesn’t buy happiness, securing, fidelity, love, or respect. Getting that $400 raise each month doesn’t “save” the struggling family and solve all of their problems. You can live in a mansion or a shack because misery isn’t biased.

Finding the niche where you are content with what you have, comfortable in your own skin, in healthy relationships… I think that’s the only way for any resemblance of happiness.

Of course, I am no exception to the rule. More times than I’d like to admit, the thought goes through my head that if only we had a little bit more money, then (fill in the blank) . While I’m not sure if that will ever change, I often remind myself of how incredibly lucky and blessed me and my family are. That reality check helps to keep me grounded. We have a nice home, clothes in the closet, can enroll our kids in various extra-curricular activities, food in the fridge & pantry, cars that get us where we need to go, a vacation to Disneyland last Christmas, and have the luxury of going out to dinner and a movie every once in a while.

Do I wish we had “more”? Sure! However, I do know that we have enough. And I am proud that we have very little debt, no credit cards (I never have owned one), and pull our heads out of the clouds every once in a while to keep a realistic perspective. And that is a true feeling of freedom and happiness.

Oodles of Changes

August 22, 2011

This past week has been a full one, and life is going to be changing around here.

First, our 9-year-old girls have been bugging us for quite some time about sharing a room. My twins, Emma & Cooper, have been sharing a room for about a year, and while it’s been fine, in the back of my mind I’ve known that it would be short-lived. As much as they love each other, I think that at some point a brother and sister have to go their separate ways when it comes to the living arrangement. And really it made sense for the girls to room together. Not only are they the same age, but they almost never fight and they like the same things. Greg & I told them it would happen, but hadn’t really made any plans or preparations for the move. Last week I just sort of started the process one day, and 24 hours later, we had switched Alex & Cooper. Alex & Emma are now roomies, and for the first time since moving into this house, Cooper has a room of his own. Everyone seems pretty happy with the new arrangement.

All of this room swapping made me realize that we can never move. The sheer amount of crap that these kids have is overwhelming, and it’s only a fraction what is in the house. Guess we’re here to stay.

I’ve also been really busy with work. I’ve got a buyer who I’ve been working with for over a year and who this last week put an offer in on a house. It’s kept me really busy, but it feels good to be on the front line of negotiating a deal and seeing this through. Also on the “work front”, which is typically slow for me, I was offered a part-time job working with my real estate broker (already kind of my boss), assisting him with his other business. After Mr. N & I married, I put my real estate-ing on the back burner and focused solely on my family. Getting semi-back into a working state of mind is exciting and also a little scary. Luckily it’s only a few days a week and will be somewhat flexible around my schedule. There are still a lot of details to be worked out, but it will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

Last but not least, today was the first day of school for the older kids (Kindergarten doesn’t start until next week). I cannot believe I have a child in 6th grade! I remember sending him to his first day of preschool, and it doesn’t seem that long ago. Now my babies are in 3rd grade, and my step-daughter, who I started caring for every day when she was only two, is starting school as well. My how the time does fly!

This summer has honestly been the best since becoming a parent, and I’m oddly sad to see it end. Most years I’ve been ready to have the kids start school and out of my hair for half the day. But I’ve enjoyed having them home for the past 2 months, and I’m not sure that I’m ready for the early mornings, days filled with volunteering, and hours of homework at night. UGH! But it will be nice to get back into our routine and have a schedule. I’m also pretty sure that their brains deteriorated over the summer, so getting a little cranial exercise will be good for them. I hope they all love their teachers and give their best efforts this year. If we could only get them to smile even slightly naturally. It’s the truest  evidence that they are getting older… they are too cool to smile :).

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August 16, 2011

There was a touch of excitement this weekend when Corner Canyon, which is a few miles south of our home, caught fire. The smoke smell and ash falling from the sky led us to go for a little exploratory drive. Here’s what we saw:

What’s more exciting and entertaining than flames! That’s what I call a Saturday night. From what I know, there was no damage, even though the flames came within feet of people’s homes, and the smoke in the sky made for an amazing sunset!


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.


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.

Don’t I Know It

July 19, 2011

Twilight Zone, But Better

July 15, 2011

The last 2 days have been kind of weird. Not really bad, not really good, just different.

Wednesday I spent what was supposed to be 1 to 2 hours at the car dealership working out a “bug” in our new car. 5+ hours, 2 shuttle rides, 3 wet and cold kids getting picked up from swim camp and waiting it out with me, and some of my sanity later, I ended up going home WITHOUT said car. Normally I’d be really irritated, but my serious love for our salesman who has taken care of EVERY issue we’ve had and seriously gone above and beyond kept me from taking it to that level. Yeah, it sucked, but I also realized that they made the logical repairs/replacements, and it wasn’t their fault. And his profuse apologies as well as always getting back to me right away and keeping me informed, as well as driving me around the valley, made it all OK. Luckily the problem was solved (although now I have to take it back to have the tires balanced). This purchase hasn’t been perfect, but I think that this experience has proven to me that I can deal with anything as long as I feel like I’m being taken care of and respected. Customer service trumps and issues or flaws with a product. And I still love my van in spite of her sensitive sensors :).

Of course my week wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t have to work on the sprinklers, and luckily yesterday a broken head insured the I got my hands a little/lot dirty. Woo hoo. I spent a few hours in the garden and yard weeding, which gave the sprinklers a nice break from my string of profanities aimed at them.

Later that night I had a meeting for the charity that I am a board member of, and it really re-ignited my desire to raise some money for an amazing cause. How many charities do you know that give 100% of their donations? NONE! Well, this one does, and I will totally give you my undying love and thanks if you donate. Click here to become awesome. Also, you can, should, and will be the coolest ever if you “Like” them on Facebook. I’ll give you some history and more info about how I got involved with this organization in the next week or two. Until then, think about how good it would feel to give, and then do it :).

At 12:05 am, Greg and I partook of the wonder that is the Harry Potter phenomenon. Normally my parents take us to an early screening (sponsored by their financial advisors) that happens Thursday at 7 pm, but for some weird and über lame reason, they thought they should actually invite my brother and his family to go this year. What a bunch of crap! OK, maybe it was more than fair, but whatever. So to keep up appearances and continue tradition, we knew that we had to see it opening night. Once again, I’ve been shown that I am old and staying up past 11 is an accomplishment in and of itself, AND, I don’t do well on 3 hours of sleep. But the movie was awesome, and watching it at the new theater in Draper, in 3-D, XD, was pretty sweet.

This weekend is pretty jam-packed with my cousins gallery opening tonight (SO COOL!… check out some of her work here. She is really talented!), a get together with friends (which may or may not take place depending a certain someone who I secretly call Mr. Death-by-Stomach) later tonight, a birthday party tomorrow for my beautiful, charming, and witty friend Maree.

MOST importantly, I’m awaiting the long (ok, 4 days) overdue arrival of two of my favorite people’s baby. This is Sarah and Dave’s first, and I am so incredibly excited for them. More selfishly, I cannot wait to hold Geoffrey, which is my name for him until he is born and they choose a less lame and less likely to get his arse kicked more appropriate one. BABY!!! He will be making his debut in the next few days, and I CANNOT WAIT!

Enough of this chit-chat… laundry awaits and I’m sure there is some part of my sprinkler system  that is eagerly awaiting my caress. Have a fantabulous weekend!

It’s Gotta Go Wedsnesday

July 13, 2011

Yesterday while I was busy minding my own business and doing some work stuff on my computer, I heard the doorbell ring which was followed by loud pounding on the door. After pulling my savage, barking dog away, I opened the door to two, angelic looking young women. The second I saw them I knew 3 things. 1) They were selling something. 2) The “goods” they were pushing was books. 3) I wasn’t buying.

The reason I knew this is years ago, the same thing happened, and it was eerily familiar. Foreign, young, fairly pretty girls selling these lovely “tutoring”/school books. With THAT girl it took me 30 minutes to get her off of my porch. I guess she was good at her job seeing as it took me that long to get rid of her, but I almost had to call the cops. She tried every tactic in the book, including:

  • I’m a poor foreign student just trying to make my way in this country.
  • If I don’t sell xxx number of books, I’ll probably die or be sold into prostitution.
  • These books are the best books in the world and your children might as well start flipping burgers if you don’t buy them.
  • How can you call yourself a mother if you don’t buy these awesome books?
  • It’s really hot out here… could I just get a drink of water?

After looking at the books, hearing the price, trying to close the door just to have her pull it open, and getting her a stupid drink of water, I finally shut the door in her face, ignoring her appendages that may or may not still be in the way.

I am so not confrontational (I can be quite a wimp, actually), that anytime a salesman comes to the door, I make Greg answer it or if he’s not home, I crawl past the window on my hands and knees so that they don’t know anyone is home. This time I got suckered into opening the door because I was expecting someone. Grrrr.

Yesterday I was nice, but very clear from the moment that I opened the door that there was no way in hell that I was buying anything. She tried to engage me in conversation by asking me my name, how many kids I have, about the neighborhood, about motherhood, etc. Then she slyly pulled out a book. She tried to show it to me, and I looked her straight in the eye and said, “there is really no point in me looking at it because there is nothing you can do or say, I will not buy it”. I must have looked pretty serious because she put the book away and went on her merry way.

I always feel bad telling people “no” when they come a’ knocking, which is something the Mr. doesn’t really understand. I know that I have a right to slam the door in their face, but I still see them as human beings (albeit human beings that I want to punch in the face). But more than feeling bad, I am mad that I am put in an uncomfortable position IN MY OWN HOME! This is my sanctuary, and to have it invaded pisses me off. Phone solicitation is bad enough (which is why I never answer the home phone and don’t answer calls to my cell phone if I don’t recognize the number), but having an unsolicited solicitor… a STRANGER… come to my door and get all up in my grill, to me it’s seriously violating.

Since this incident I’ve been thinking about what I will do or say the next time around, and I’ve decided that it’s time to re-do my “no soliciting” sign on the door. If they still knock after seeing that, I don’t feel so bad about being a jerk.

A word of wisdom to those who are interested in selling me something… Don’t.

People who come to my home uninvited, especially those trying to push their crap that I don’t need… it’s gotta go!

A Baby Shower

June 7, 2011

So, the couples baby shower that had me getting the yard into tip-top shape came and went. While I’m glad that it is over (throwing a shower is stressful!), I am thrilled with how it turned out.

We weren’t sure how many people would come, but if I could have picked a perfect number, that’s the number of people who showed up.

The food was delicious (there was a lot more in the house), and the decorations turned out really cute. Neither Sarah or I are fans of games at showers, so we didn’t have any. And there were TONS of compliments as a result of that choice. We did do a “Guess His Weight” thing, where people could put in $5, guess how much Nameless Joe (that’s what I’m calling the baby) weighs at birth, and the winner gets the pot.

The party started at 5:30, and the majority of people stayed until close to midnight. It definitely ended up being more “party” than “shower”, but everyone commented on how much fun they had. And I have to say that once the shin-dig began, I relaxed and enjoyed myself as well.

I’m so excited for Sarah & Dave, and cannot wait to meet their little man. And I was happy to be able to throw this shower for them to help their friends and family celebrate with them. Congrats!!!