Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hurry, One More!

One more Christmas post! Is it nearing the end of the Christmas season already? Maybe some people are already done--I'll be done Wednesday morning when the decorations are put away. But I thought I'd post about this particular decoration.
This thing cracks me up. Isn't it the funniest wedding gift you've ever seen? Especially when you find out my wedding was in August! But Dot gave it to me, so no returns or re-gifts. Dot is an old family friend who is the eccentric, fun, kind lady you never forget. Some of my earliest memories are of her condo up at Snowbird and the creepy elephant foot she had as a footstool in her basement. She passed away recently and I can't remember the last time I saw her, but nobody in our family will forget her.

So the tacky elf. I love it and I hope I never throw it away. I hope I never become a person who can't appreciate a cheesy elf and let it live among the classier decorations. My parents often quoted Dot with this phrase:

"Be pretty if you can be, smart if you are, and smile if it kills you."

I looked at it tonight and smiled and thought of funny Dot. I need some more eccentric people in my life :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Best Gift

J and I didn't collaborate on gifts for Abbey so there'd be more surprises on Christmas. He bought her this spelling game for the tub--you fish out foam letters with a fishing pole to spell words. I didn't say anything until she started pulling the poles apart, but the box specifically says it isn't appropriate until age 3. (Abbey=18 months). He said "Ash. Our kid is advanced."

Here's what our gifted child spelled:
But the gift was redeemed and gave the parents endless fun when we figured out they stuck to her skin nicely.
Maybe the parents aren't so 'advanced' themselves.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Village

We went back to this town to take in the Christmas festivities Friday night. It's a fun town anyway, but they had tons of characters walking around and horse drawn carriages riding up and down the cobble streets. Here's J and Abbey with Saint Nicholas. Good thing we were wearing our neutral gang colors--what sign is St Nick trying to pull?

**Duh-leted. See comment section :) I remained concerned.**

Seriously, that's not 'I Love You'. Someone fill me in on this one or I will remain concerned.

There were carolers, Mrs. Clause, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Santa Clauses from different countries. Everyone stayed in character--even Scrooge was arguing with people walking by. There were street vendors making roasted chestnuts and hot cider, I loved it. The shops are too expensive so all I wanted to find was some good fudge. Oh boy. Did we ever find it.

I loved the store, this sign inside, the shelves and shelves of candy, and of course the fudge. I even loved the doorway outside and the little girl hanging out on the step.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Out There

Finally, we get some snow around here. We had a hard time getting to a Christmas party Saturday night but we grew up in the mountains! We know how to handle this stuff. On Sunday our bishop laughed that the only folks in church were the ones who grew up driving in the west.

Of course we had to take the little one out to enjoy. It was pretty uneventful, to be honest with you, but how yummy does she look in her get-up and rosy nose?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tree Trimmins

A while ago I was reading one of my favorite blogs and she said that for every ounce of creativity you possess, you probably have a pound of crazy. I loved that! Unfortunately, I am practical to a fault. Seriously. Annoyingly practical. And I'm not saying that as a backwards way of giving myself a compliment, I wish I was more spontaneous and right-brained. J and I are the worst decision makers because we think about every option, everything that might come up, and then throw in the time value of money. And my favorite computer program is Excel. So I don't think I have very many ounces of creativity. But I've become pretty good at stealing ideas. Here are the projects for Abbey's tree:

Garland idea I stole from Emily's blog:


Ornament ideas I stole from Martha (true to my scrappy nature, I had to involve cute, Christmas scrapbook paper somehow):
Adorable ornaments I stole from Hobby Lobby. Just kidding!!! I paid, but not a lot, woo woo Hobby Lobby:
Our neighbors let us have their big, beautiful, fake Christmas tree so our skinny one is going in Abbey's room. I regret the fake tree thing. My cousins go snowmobiling in the mountains every year to cut down their own tree. I am instituting that tradition as soon as I get some snow. And some mountains. And some snowmobiles.

The big tree was decorated with no love. Just store bought ornaments over the years. And the bottom third is empty after Abbey crushed an ornament in her fist (Hercules, Hercules). No cuts though, luckily. I do love these gold branches and berries.
The first Christmas we were married, my mother-in-law was having an Open House to sell her Christmas designs and decorations. It is one of my favorite memories at their house because the whole place was decorated to the nines and every room had at least two or three beautifully decorated Christmas trees. The house smelled delicious and we made tons of treats for her customers. The best part was she said I could go into the shop and pick anything I wanted. Anyway, this is what I picked and they always remind me of my first Christmas with the Paces.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's a Gimmick

While playing with Justin's hand today I noticed one of his nails was quite shiny and smooth. I started giggling, knowing the same Israeli worker at the Sea Beauty kiosk at the mall had snagged him for the demonstration I got two weeks ago. (My nail is still shiny and smooth, by the way.)

J told me the lady, in broken english, was saying 'Oh yeah, works great. You can even wash your hands! This is a gimmick!' J asked 'What do you mean by that?' She asked him if she was saying it right. He said 'yeah.'

For all you kiosk workers:
gimmick |╦łgimik| noun: a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business

Welcome to America. And I think the schpill worked, which is good. I did kind-of want that buffer thing.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Have an Accounting Problem?

Enter Ashley Pace,

C.P.A.!

nailed it.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I tried.

The little one was under the weather yesterday so we were stuck at home. And since she needs to be entertained every minute (just like daddy) I tried to make some playdough. As you can see by her face, it didn't work out so well.
I failed. I felt pretty dumb because my mom used to whip up huge batches like it was no big thing. Katherine called to tell me about her crappy (yet amusing) day. I sensed I was getting too much pleasure out of her ordeal, so I told her about mine. I said "I guess I'll just be one of those moms that buys playdough." She said "You say that like it's a bad thing."

Hopefully it isn't one of the qualifications of being considered a 'good mom'. But if anyone does have a good recipe, lay it on me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Deckin' the Halls

In an attempt to find some Christmas cheer around here sans the snow (yeah, yeah, all you folks in Utah, it looks beautiful and yes, I am jealous) I have my Christmas playlist going all day. This is seriously starting to wear on J's nerves as I cannot help but prance about and sing along when 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year' comes on. I feel a lot of reponsibility to bring the Christmas spirit to our home since it is our first year doing it on our own. The plan:

1st: the spiritual side. We went to a nearby church Sunday night that had a huge assortment of nativity displays. Literally every room in the church was full of them. Then they played the Christmas Devotional broadcast from SLC. Great start to the season, as always.

2nd: a strategic move. Abbey's already unwrapped one of the Christmas presents from Grandma. She's getting very frustrated that we won't let her dig in to the rest of them, so...I'm wrapping her old toys and books today. Decoy gifts. (FYI, tonight she opened the first one--a toy she rarely notices--and said 'No Way!'. Success.)
2nd: christmas letters in the mail. I wrote one last week and it ended up being like two pages long. In 5 pt font. So I like to talk about myself, what about it? The revised one is ready to go, just need to print, stuff, stamp, and mail. Done. Mostly.

3rd: figure out some traditions. Every time I think of ways to make it special, I always return to food ideas. I need you! What do you do as a family to bring the Christmas spirit to your home?

Tomorrow: the Christmas projects...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Holy Crappy Day, Batman

You know the days when it all hits the fan? Or the MONTH it all hits the fan. It seems like nothing is going smoothly these days. First-- a house project cost more than we thought. Hey, we build a little extra into the budget for months like this. Then the cars. I was unaware Justin was driving on completely faulty brakes. I thought we were just going in for an oil change. Yeah, $850 later... But we build a little extra into the budget for...whatever. Goodbye Christmas.

Then we had to have a plumber come unhook the sink--long story. $150 for a 20 minute job. Really? No parts, just labor. 5 days later, after we get back from Thanksgiving, our downstair's neighbor's son comes knockin' on the door. 'Dottie's kitchen ceiling is leaking.' Crap. Our water is supposed to be OFF! Well it wasn't. It was slowly dripping its way into her ceiling. And since both of us were out of town, we didn't notice until it was too late. We didn't plan THIS much into the budget. The plumber and the company are giving us the run around, which is to be expected. But in the meantime, Justin hasn't wanted to hook the water back up before they come assess the damage. But that leaves me with no dishwasher and no kitchen sink and an ever increasing pile of dishes on my table. I've admitted to not being the best housekeeper, but for anyone's standards, that is disgusting.

I'd had it last night. And I couldn't fix anything for dinner, every pot and dish was dirty. Then the silver lining. I see my blender and remember Erin's wheat waffles. I grab the recipe and have everything I need, including the one appliance left clean in my kitchen. It made me so happy, I have to post the recipe. Hope you don't mind, Erin.

Whole Wheat Blender Waffles
1 c whole-wheat berries
1 1/2 c milk
2 eggs
2 tsp sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/3 c oil
3/4 tsp salt

Put wheat berries and 1 cup milk into blender. Blend on high for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 c milk and blend additional 2 min. Add remaining ingredients and cook on hot waffle iron.

I was a little nervous about putting wheat berries into my blender but by this point, who cares. They're great. And there's something fulfilling about making whole wheat waffles from scratch.

Justin got home from a 15 hour day at the hospital. He was stressed and extremely tired, but saw the tears in my eyes every time I walked in the kitchen. Part of the tears was feeling overwhelmed, but I think a bigger part was just the smell :) So he quietly grabbed the tools, figured out the pipes, hooked it back up, and helped me load the dishwasher. We've never been so in love.

So today my kitchen is clean and smellin' fine. You can stop being grossed out now. The plumber asked if he could put me on 'hold' this morning. And by hold, I mean he hung up on me then wouldn't pick up the phone when I called back. This may be a problem...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanks Indeed

The Man's Holiday. Justin was in 7th heaven. Football and basketball in the morning, straight to an amazing Thanksgiving meal, more football on TV, games, and Thanksgiving desserts. What could be better?

We headed north to have Thanksgiving with the Ultimate Hostess, Katherine, and family. Boy, do I know how to pick friends. I've never seen someone go to such lengths for a Thanksgiving meal. Isn't the place setting pretty? That's brand spankin' new china, I unpacked it and took the tags off myself. She made everything so special, Thanks Katherine! And her family was in town so we were especially grateful that she even wanted us lurking about.

The family, pre-dinner picture. Well, I guess Abbey is digging in. You don't wanna see post-dinner pictures. I was regretting having put anything in my mouth that day before the big feast because my eyes wanted what the full, aching tummy would not allow. I think three separate people offered to take my plate to the sink. I refused, insisting I could finish it off. Oh, the tragedy of Thanksgiving, I could not. Thanks heavens for leftovers.



And the beautiful apple pie. I loved the pastry leaves on top. Don't tell, but I didn't actually try the apple pie (but was sure to take a picture). I was stuck on the other two desserts all week--pumpkin pie and a fudgy, pepperminty goodness I don't have a name for. I guess we could call them my hips now.
Sweet babes; here's a picture of Abbey leading Sophie in a prayer before reading time. She's all about the prayers these days.











And then the strategic move of sticking around the Thanksgiving home for a few days of leftovers. By today we were growing tired of the leftovers, but never fear. Turkey Salad Sandwiches with Pomegranate and Pineapple. Um, yum! I'm sure Katherine will post the recipe on her blog (now you have to), check it out. Delicious.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dewey Day

So my mom gets gypped. Her birthday falls on or within a few days of Mother's Day every year. I can't speak for my siblings, but I tend to lump them together and call it good. I know, the shame. It's like having your birthday on Christmas. Which our nephew and Grandma do. Unlucky birthdays around here.

I digress. I decided this year something must be done. And so it was born, Dewey Day! Dewey Day, you ask? My dad lovingly refers to my mom, Julie, as 'Dewey' because my 2-yr old self couldn't pronounce Julie. I know, adorable, right? It's basically her own Mother's Day but my dad can take her out to eat because it's not Sunday :)

To inaugurate Dewey Day, I'm posting some pictures of my beautiful mom and telling you why she rocks.

My mom is Home Makeover Extraordinaire. We buy her power tools for Christmas. Right now she's remodeling her bathroom (we're talkin' knocking out walls), recarpeting the house, and repainting the upstairs...and parts of the downstairs, I believe. I don't know, I lose track of the projects. But she loves it. She loves to stay busy. She and Justin had so much fun this summer redoing our house. I felt bad they spent every waking minute of her trip out here working. She insisted she loved it though. I also love that she and Justin get along so well. Neither of them know what to do with nor enjoy spare time, I think. Her projects are meticulous because she doesn't want people to know she did it herself. But then she tells everyone she did it herself :)

I love that she is thrifty. Didn't love it so much growing up, but what an invaluable lesson she taught all those girls. Now that most kids are out of the house, money isn't going to lessons, car insurance, school clothes, etc, her thing right now is 'I can have whatever I want.' And yet she still can not, for the life of her, buy clothes at full price. I think all of us girls have a serious aversion to full-price items as well. I called her this morning to wish her Happy Dewey Day and see what they had planned for the day. My younger sisters came home for the weekend and my dad's taking everyone out to whatever restaurant she chooses. Problem is, Mom wanted to take everyone out for chinese but my dad is insisting she pick somewhere nicer. She just said 'What? I like Chinese.'
I'm thankful my parents valued the right stuff. Some moms spend crazy energy making sure their kids are dressed in name brands and are in with the right friends. My parents didn't care about that stuff. They value our education, our talents, our testimonies, our achievements. She always encouraged us to move away. I guess that sounds mean, but she wanted us to be adventurous and grow up. I think she's eating those words now that all her grandkids live so far away...

She threw the most creative birthday parties and would let us have Back to School parties, Halloween parties; any reason to throw a party. I had carnivals, crazy scavenger hunts all over the city, murder mystery dinners, at some point we had a painting trough (new, of course) full of ice cream sundae fixings. All of us had our hands tied behind our backs and just dug in with our faces. Awesome, huh.

Then, of course, all the things you don't appreciate until you are a mother yourself. Thinking about all the violin, piano and tennis lessons, basketball games, swimming meets, choir and orchestra performances, school projects. Oh, it makes me want to cry. People always would compliment my mom on our violin performances and ask her how she did it. I would be thinking 'Uh, helloooo. I'm the one up there!' Now I get it. Kudos to you, mom, for anything we turned out to be.

I hope your first Dewey Day is memorable and you feel how much we all love and appreciate you. Wish I could be there with you.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Adult Children

This entire post is a not-so-subtle hint for my sister to come visit us. :) Or at least fly her kids up here.

J's preceptor had a conference in DC, so that meant party time for us. We went to City Museum which is anything but a museum. It is a giant playground with caves and giant slides and a 'skateless' park where you slide around on skateboard ramps in your socks. Nothing is off limits, you can climb on everything. And we did.

My favorite part is the caves. It's dark and creepy and there are holes and crazy crevices you don't think you'll fit through. But you try anyway. You'll look 30 feet in the air and there are kids climbing through rebar tunnels above you. It is crazy. Crazy fun.

This picture is quintessential Abbey. You can't tell because of the flash, but it was dark in there. I couldn't believe she took off in that hole. It comes out under a cabin and I really didn't feel like belly crawling after her. Luckily my friends were on the other side and saw her head pop out so I could go around another way.

Silly J--trying to keep up with the kids. He got wedged between the netting and a sprinkler in the ceiling. Hilarious, what a good sport.
Do you like the deer-in-the-headlight look? This is because I had no business climbing down this with a kid. I don't think J realized how slick it was when he handed Abbey down to me. He was like 'Smile!' and I was like 'Grab your child before we slide to our death!'

Oh, Koryn, this is all totally safe. No worries! Send your kids!














Can you see me in the giant slinky? It's a good four or five stories in the air. I got in as a joke but then a pretty determined kid got in behind me so I really had to go through it. And fast. Luckily I'm not a few months further along or they would have had to get the jaws of life.

And then there's sweet Abbey. I felt funny sending her on a train without me. But you had to be 4 ft or shorter, so...what can you do? She had this expression on her face the entire time. Well, I don't know what she did when they disappeared into the dark tunnel. I like to think she laughed and had a great time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Think To Myself

I love mornings when the kid wakes up at the crack of dawn then falls back asleep on my chest for another hour. I can't sleep with the wiggly thing on me, so I just thought. Here was the train of thoughts this morning:

"The Tao of Pooh. I like the idea of Taoism, but is it so wrong to want to gain knowledge. Even if it is just to be wise or appear knowledgeable? Look at Ken Jennings. It's weird my favorite color right now is green. My 5-yr old self would be so upset. Tums. Tum Tum Tum Tums. I love that Tums spelled backwards is smut. 'What's a little boy like you doing with big boy smut like this?' (10 points and a free lunch when we're in the same city to whoever can name that movie first.)

Abbey's skin is like porcelain. Curse those hours spent at the pool working on a good tan to look like those gorgeous Friden girls. The only summer my skin was even close to the same color as them was the year I was a lifeguard. Curse that lifeguard job. I'd give back the $700 I made that whole summer for some porcelain skin.

Geez, she's a sweaty kid. Is that normal? Should I send out Christmas cards this year? Will my Christmas decorations work in our new house? I need to clean my house. I'll do it today. I said that yesterday then went to the park. I'm a horrible housekeeper. But at least that makes me approachable--you know, flaws. I hope people think I'm genuine. But would I genuinely want people to see my house like this? No. I wouldn't even let a repair man witness this mess if my toilet was flooding over."

At some point during this fascinating, introspective thought process, the kid stirred and woke up. Sweaty and confused. With this face. And this hair.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Here Comes the Sun...Again

Today I glanced at Abbey and was taken back for a second. When did she become so irresistable? And when did she start looking and acting like a little girl? Oh, I'm so thankful for this kid. I want to do a big ol' thankful list because I have been anything but grateful the last few months.

I had a huge post written up about how unbearable the last few months have been with this pregnancy. But then, who wants to read that garbage? The jist of it was, I looked at this little face today and was so grateful that I have the chance to be a parent. Period. I have a wicked first tri-mester that ends up in easy deliveries and a beautiful, healthy kid. So that's my trial. And I'm pretty lucky that that is my trial. The past week has been awesome as I got on some new, dramatic medications and am lovin' life. I asked Justin if it would be weird if I bore my testimony about a prescription. I think of love letters to send the makers. I should become a spokesperson, really. Well, a spokesperson for the generic that came out this year so I could afford to be on it... It's actually a drug for chemo patients and the name brand was $650 for 30 pills. Yikes.

We had a gorgeous fall morning here. I feel like I missed out on fall but it stretched long enough for us to enjoy it today. So life is good. We are happy. Go Zofran.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Interpret My Dreams

I've had wacky, intense dreams my whole life. My roommate, Sheena, used to tell me I would laugh all night. I've started documenting some of them over the last few months. What do you think, Freud?

(1) I dreamt I had a baby (baby girl) on April 2nd. But I had her in my sleep and had no idea I'd given birth. I was in my mom's living room and they said "Oh yeah, your baby is in the laundry room, go take a look!" I went in and my baby was on a baking sheet--they had put a caramel glaze on her and stuck her in the oven for a bit. While very disturbing, in my dream this was a normal tradition that didn't hurt the baby. But it did make her look a little...well, glazed and baked. I returned to the living room, without touching or cuddling my brand-new baby, and non-chalantly said "You know, you should probably let me see my baby before you bake her next time." Naturally, everyone agreed.

(2) Golum was chasing me and my new baby (baby boy) through marshes. My baby was born to rule middle earth or something, I don't know. All I know was there was a baby involved and I haven't watched Lord of the Rings in years. I don't know where this stuff comes from.

(3) I was driving home by myself and noticed a guy with an obviously broken down car in a storage shed off the side of the freeway. I stopped to help--you know, super handy with the cars and all. He was on a roadtrip from Alabama and asked if I was headed to Ogden, I was indeed, and wanted a lift. I said "I don't think it would be a good idea to be in a car alone with you." Ah, yes. But hanging out in a storage shed alone was perfectly safe... That's when I noticed a baby crying in his car. He asked if I could nurse the baby. Um, no. Then it hit me. Nobody takes a nursing baby on a roadtrip without the mommy. This kid was kidnapped. It was too sad, so I woke myself up.

(4) Another baby boy. I found him in the kitchen molding beef figurines of Justin and I to cook on the grill. I think it was some sort of voo doo revenge for dream #1.

So what could it mean... Well all that plus this:
and this:
makes me think we're having ourselves a little baby! And that baby is due May 30th :) I know sonogorams are the kind of thing only the mom and dad really enjoy. But isn't this one funny? Abbey crosses her ankles the exact same way when she sits down.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Must Discuss


For those of you who have already been through the Twilight series, I have another good read for ya. And if you could finish all 754 pages by...Sunday, that would be great. I need a book club discussion!

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

It took me a year to finish it. Not because it is boring. Far from it, my friend. I had to hide it from myself while I needed to be studying other stuff. The night I finished it, I knew it was leading up to the assassination, obviously. I kept hoping and wishing that he wouldn't go to the Ford Theatre. Thousands of history books could have had it wrong, right? Oh shoot. I hope I didn't just ruin it for any of you :)

It's a biography on Lincoln's life and it truly gave me a deep respect and admiration for this man that many consider the greatest president of our country. It talks about all the haps in DC at the time and goes into not only Lincoln's life, but also the lives of his family, some friends, members of his cabinet, and important generals in the Civil War. It was so interesting to read about things that were glazed over in US History classes and understand the background of the people and why they made their decisions. General Grant is a main figure later in the book. His wife grew up in St Louis and they lived here together for many years. There's a large park and museum here on their farm so it's been fun to go see his house and learn more about his family.

So, if you have read it, let me know. We can shoot the breeze on Civil War times or do an online book club somehow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"I'm Not a Witch, I'm Your Wife!"

I'll Call Ya Lata On The Night

Justin has a lot of old friends that I just adore. Wil is one of the good ones. They were mission buddies in the Dominican Republic and this picture says it all:

Shoot! I can't find it in the dumping ground we call a storage room.

Anyway, Wil puts on a rebel front but he is a sweetheart (He'd be so mad if he knew I wrote that for all the internet world to see). He and his wife, Angie, are the most generous people I know. When we were engaged they asked if we needed anything for the house, like a TV, a DVD player, furniture. I thought they were kidding. I'll never forget them walking into our reception with nightstands. We still have them, they are beautiful. But most of all I love the effort they put in to staying in touch.

Wil had some business in Kansas City so drove over to see us for the weekend. Abbey wouldn't even look at him at first, but by the end of the night she was laughing, flirting, showing him her dance moves.
Wil turned my baby into a thug....

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tis the Season

For SCARY stories. Here is the most frightening experience of my life (although, almost getting Banner's truck hit by a train is a close second) But this one is more Halloween-ish:

About this time, seven years ago I was a senior in high school. My parents took off to Europe for the month so it was just me and the younger sibs. Yes, I was THAT trustworthy :) Not much of a party animal. One Friday night I was hanging out at home because I had a competition early the next morning. My friend, Tif, and her date, I think his name was Austin, stopped by after going to a corn maze or haunted house. As they were pulling out of the driveway all my electrictiy went out. I ran out to stop them because I had no idea where a breaker box would be and boys inherently know that stuff, right?

Tif and I went inside while Austin went to find the box. He was gone for a while and said he couldn't find it. I remembered there was a box in a basement bedroom so we headed down there when all the lights in the house started flickering on and off. I wasn't too freaked out until we heard pounding. Everywhere! I thought my house was surrounded by people (murderous people) pounding on the walls and windows. We ran around and locked all the doors and I grabbed a barstool to get the candles above the fridge.

As I closed the cupboard I remember looking down and seeing someone just standing there, in the doorway of the music room, about three feet away. It was one of those moments your heart stops. I shake even remembering it now. We were frozen looking at each other in the dark when the figure says "Ashley, what's going on?" My little brother! Sheesh! Don't walk up on people like that! I thought he was asleep. Actually, by this point, I'd kind-of forgotten all about him. Sorry, Collin.

The pounding started again and someone was trying to get into the music room door. I realized they were running on my roof and that was what was causing the pounding everywhere. Less scary than the thought of thirty people pounding on my house, but still chilling. I grabbed the phone and we all huddled in the dining room--the only room with no direct access to a window or outside door. I was hysterical. I called my neighborhood surrogate pop, Brad and told him what was going on. A minute later, he pulls up in his big truck with...a hockey stick! Oh, I love it. There was this look on his face, like he was not the man to be messing with. I mentioned there was someone on the deck trying the door so he and Austin ran back there. I heard some yelling, mostly Brad, so I ran into the backyard. I'll never forget this pathetic boy in the fetal position screaming "I know Ashley! I know Ashley! We're friends." Yeah, some friend. Meanwhile, Brad, a very strong, intimidating Canadian, is yelling "What are you doing here! Do you know who's house this is?" That's right. Jordan Folsom. You dog. I felt bad, his mouth was bleeding. Which I'm pretty sure was a result of him jumping off my deck when he heard Brad coming--and I'm also pretty sure Brad did NOT hit him. Just to clarify.

The next day, he and Mr. Nathan Bond thought they were pretty funny. It took me a few days to find the humor. They told me they were going to try and break in after they figured out a few weeks earlier they could shimy up the house and climb onto my deck. Hello! I was so scared, I honestly would have grabbed some knives to protect myself. Boys are so dumb. Oh! And I later found out that while Austin was 'looking for the breaker box' he came across the boys and knew they were just joking around. You would think he would have mentioned that when Tif and I were in my dining room crying and calling for backup. Boys are so dumb.

Friday, October 19, 2007

So Lovely

I bet you wish you had a girl...

Doesn't it look like she opened a purse full of shine?


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Arizona Love


Back from my trip, learned a few things along the way: (I was babysitting my 5-year old niece and 19 month old nephew)

1) Don't try and switch up the menu plan mom left. Bean Quesidillas? Ravioli?!? What is this stuff? Keep it simple, lady.

2) Abbey is bold. OK, I knew it before, but it's never been tested to this extent. Her cousin has three months, 12 pounds, and a good three inches on her, but she doesn't back down.

3) Which leads me to baby injuries. I didn't know they could be so vicious and inventive--where do they learn this? The most significant ones being a chomped finger, a purple nurple, and a good sized rock to the noggin.

4) A five year old misses her mommy. A one year old misses his mommy. A 24-year old misses her mommy. We all miss our mommies in a week like this.

5) Family rules are great but modification is sometimes necessary. I wasn't feeling well so went to take a bath (big jetted tub...couldn't help myself). After about three minutes of bliss came a kid fullspeed to open the door to find it, dun dun dun. Locked. "Hey! We don't lock doors in this family!" Kid, you don't want to see your aunt naked. I just saved you some emotional scarring, trust me. This led to insistent knocking for the next five minutes I lasted.

6) A house gets ten times messier, four times as fast with three times the kids. Explain that math to me.

7) And I'm glad I learned this late in the trip. I was walking home from the neighbors late one night and he asked if I would like a flashlight. I jokingly said "Oh, rough neighborhood?" and he, in all seriousness, said "Well, you've got coyotes, scorpions, tarantulas, hyenas, and lots of snakes this time of year." All right, I'll take the flashlight then. And a double enforced jeep, if you please.

8) I L.O.V.E., love Skype. OK, this is more of an endorsement than a lesson so take note. Skype is a free program you download on your computer and acts like instant message, except with video conferencing. We made all our family download it and buy cameras and it is awesome. J's parents are in Argentina and it still works great. (Barbs, you have an awesome camera and microphone built in to your imac, try it!) One night I was lonely and J called and just talked to me while I cleaned and sang Abbey 'The Itsy Bitsy Spider'. It was like he was sitting in the room...with his speech and movements a bit delayed :)

So when you DO download skype, and you know you should, let me know your username so I can say 'hi' when I see you on.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I'm Baaack

Took my last CPA test this afternoon, so it's back to an audit-free life. But I will be MIA for another week because I'm flying to Arizona on Wednesday. In the meantime, a little Abbey treat for your viewing pleasure. I love her pose at the end of the song--I just wish I wouldn't have laughed and interrupted her concentration. I wonder how long she would have held it...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Help My Pod

I think it's time for some new tunage to my daily soundtrack. I've been referring to J as my plain white t and demanding he call me 'Delilah'. Hey, it's applicable! Two more years of school? And I've been giving this song 'another listen' when I'm lonely, pretending J wrote it for me :) Actually, I think it takes a pretty sensitive, emotional soul to write songs like this and I'll keep my steady, level-headed hubby any day.

I digress. My point is, I need some new tunes. And I think the best way to find good music is to dig into everyone's 'favorite' playlist. Before we moved I hijacked Paul and Melody's 'favorites' off their computer and found some new loves--Mushaboom, Leigh Nash, Fa-Fa-Guster--that I listen to every day. I have weird taste in music--meaning, I don't have a particular genre I like. This morning I listened to Mozart, Michael Buble, Pink, Beatles, Beatles, Beatles, Woody Guthrie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Backyardigans. So...not really picky. I can appreciate a selection of all types, so lay it on me.

Although, no Christina Aguilera, please. A particularly brutal man has been subbing the Saturday morning Body Pump class and has perfected the 'FREEZE! Hold it, hold it, hold, it. I don't care if the song is over! I said HOLD IT!' Just the sound of her voice makes my biceps tremble.

'If every simple song I wrote to you would take your breath away, I'd write it all.' Thanks, plain white t! That's sweet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Head Wounds

Yesterday, after running a frustrating errand and then realizing I didn't have an east-bound freeway entrance to get to the zoo, I gave in and decided to spend a little dough and go to The Magic House instead. Of course, it didn't open for two more hours when we got there and was three times more expensive than I thought. So we hung out in the gardens for a while and to top it off, Abbey tripped and received her fourth major head wound in three days. Is it any wonder? She was pulling this stunt not two minutes later.

I love the look on her face when she realized it wasn't as easy to get down as it was to climb up.

J was at the hospital for almost 40 hours from Friday to Sunday this weekend, so I headed up to The Ville to see my gal pals. It didn't take too much persuading--I think all Katherine said was "Bobby has a hard weekend too". Hmm, should I come up? I should come up, huh. Ok! I'm coming up! See you in three hours.

Before we moved out here I had a dream one night about what med school would be like. I dreamt we rolled into town to find that everyone lived together in this compound sort of thing. There was a huge common area and everyone's separate apartments stemmed off this main room. I remember thinking 'what did we get ourselves into?'. Now, I don't think it would be too bad :) It was nice to have someone to talk to all weekend, cook meals together (Ok, mostly Katherine cooked), and Abbey was content and entertained with buddies all day. Here's a picture of our two kiddos staring each other down in the tub. What a funny shot. (Can you see Abbey's black eye? This was head wound #2)
It happened to be the weekend Jessica was doing a caramel party, so I invited myself over. Thanks, Jessica! Abbey loved the carameled apples--well, mostly the caramel. And Jessica had us doubled over, laughing at hilarious stories. Great times, I love this place.











I almost forgot to put this picture: I set the timer on the camera and was trying to get Abbey to smile. It caught this moment instead, I thought it was cute.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This Little Piggy


















I am borderline obsessed with this, but I dare you to find a sweeter hair style than The Pig Tail. Unfortunately, this hair battle is rarely won. So I must document that I do care about my urchin's hair and would fix it like this every day if it were up to me. Especially since it encroaches 'fe-mullet' status more and more every day. Any hair stylists out there? Do you cut a cute bob or let it flow? I'm afraid the Mullet Patrol may sever connections if I would allow it in my own progeny.

Anyway, at least we're not battling over clothes yet. I'm sure she'll have an opinion soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's The Final Countdown

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Let the countdown begin! Seven days until The Office premier. Yes, I am
that excited. I feel like The Office is to me what Mash and Cheers were to my parents. Bleh, Mash. My mom likes to share how she went into labor while watching Mash. And 23 years ago today, that baby waiting to come and blow this world away was....my little sis, Allison!

Happy Birthday Allison!

Nice segue, huh? Well, you're lucky your birthday happened to start off my countdown! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Immunize By Two

No, this isn't a public service announcement. I actually avoid and postpone immunizations as long as I can.
Doesn't she look so delicate? You who know and love Abbey know she is anything but delicate. My little pixie is usually so feisty, daring, and full of energy and life. Sleep is always met with varying degrees of resistance--why succumb to sleep when there is so much to explore and destroy. So it was bittersweet to look at my sleeping mermaid, zonked out on my bed as I studied this afternoon. It was nice to have her close and calm, but then I would look at that little bandaid on her thigh and remember it's probably a little drug induced. Poor baby. I hate sitting in the doctor's office with Abbey happily reading a book, not knowing what's coming. They always ask "Mom, are you doing ok?" No! You have needles! Just get me out of here.

An excerpt from Justin's prayer at dinner tonight:
"Please bless Abbey's body that it will be able to handle the virus agents that have been introduced into her system." Closely followed by, "And please bless Ashley to be more reverent during my prayers."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The World Below

















This weekend was the great hot air balloon races. One of us wasn't so thrilled to be there, but we thought it was pretty cool. They blow up this humongo Energizer Bunny balloon which I thought looked kind-of tacky. Sorry, that probably offended a few, people were pretty proud of it. I guess I prefer the classic balloon look. And then they play a cheesy song that goes something like 'Up, Up and Away...in our beautiful ballooon.' Hmm...the lyrics don't do the cheesy factor justice. You'll have to call and I'll sing it for you to get the full effect. Sheesh, I'm cynical today. Anyway, the rabbit starts it off and when it's on its way, they announce the go ahead and all the crews start blowing up these balloons right in front of us--I counted about 3 dozen in the field just ahead of us. What a pretty sight.

'Well this can't be good,'

methinks to myself. If it were me and I was blowing up a huge, nylon balloon with hot air and fire, I think I would give myself a little room. The crowd got a little anxious as this group of balloons all started crowding each other at once. But what do we know--it turned out fine.