Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Beware of the Mask

The year is 2003.
Just about 3 months from the day that Jason and I got married. We headed to New York to attend the wedding of Jason's cousin Kathy. *editors note: his cousin Kathy, is married to Jeremy who is now an INVESTIGATOR with the police force he works for in New York state) holla!
Kathy's family arranged for Jason & I along with other family members to stay for free in a home owned by some friends of theirs. This home was no longer being used by this family, so it's doors were open to us to use for the weekend in preparation for the wedding and we were grateful.
We traveled separately and arrived at separate times. This would be my first time actually getting to know many of Jason's extended family members.
This house was... memorable. It was fairly dusty so I quickly developed allergies and couldn't breathe. I went thorugh a whole box of kleenex and several bottles of ibuprofen. So I was self conscious wondering what Jason's family thought of his new asthmatic bride. (though I don't even have asthma!) There was one restroom upstairs with a bear claw tub and the toilet was no longer usable because *someone (who shall remain nameless) broke the toilet seat in half. When it was time to shower, there was only one restroom with a shower smaller than the earth's smallest closet, and to top it off, it had no door. We had to actually open up the pantry door which was beside the restroom, so that people would see there is someone in the shower, naked, at this present time, please don't go beyond this door...
As we chose bedrooms we noticed that each room had a weapon of mass destruction hanging on the wall. The room Jason and I chose had a gun and a sword hanging up. Another room had a sickle, and yet another room had a spinning wheel (hey, I know there are psychos out there that can wield a spinning wheel for killing purposes) there were others too, but I can no longer remember what they were. Out of all the items in the entire household that caught our attention, there were 2 that were extremely eerie. Masks. What were these people doing with ceramic white masks laying around the house? Perhaps this is the reason they abandoned the house in the first place: it was haunted!
Of course, as I said earlier, this was my first encounter with most of these family members-including Uncle Gil whom I coined the funniest uncle ever in my previous post. He found the masks. Our first evening in the house he took the masks and made them float in front of each bedroom, warning us that the minute we fall asleep-the masks would get us.
Here is the picture we took all those years ago, posing with the masks. I love how Gloria is cradling one of them. Pay no attention to the fact that I look drugged. Indeed I was.
You can imagine my surprise then, after all these years... When we went to bed the first night of the family reunion, after hours of reminiscing, I laid down and I heard something crumpling underneath me in our pull-out bed. I reached behind my back and found this.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Family Reunion

Jason and I have decided to reunite the ants from our ant farm to their long last family in the anthill outside our back door. This is not true. I needed a grand story to go with the boring title so I made that up. This post is really about the family reunion we attended over the weekend with Jason's side of the family. But don't you think the ant story is much less boring to introduce a bonafide family reunion? I'm all about interesting titles.

Story of the trip:
We went to the park all day Saturday in Parma, where Jason's mom's side of the family is from. On the way to the park, Dawson was being impatient because it was really hot out and we had all the windows down and he just wanted out to play. So Jason turned Dawson's playtime CD on for him which was playing the song "There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-o". We pulled up to a stop sign in a 2 lane highway and Jason cranks the volume up and pimps out at the steering wheel while a young couple in a convertible beside us stared at us.
This is the song, but not the situation.
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At the Park:
I had the brilliant idea of caging all the cousin toddlers in a pak-n-play for a photo op
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Yeah. I couldn't even bribe Lydia with a cookie to get her stay with the 2 boys...

In the left corner we have Owen. (applause) In the right corner we have Dawson. (applause)
Who will take the first shot? Oh wait! They're moving in for the HUG!
Actually, right after this picture was taken, the adults all removed themselves from that tent area and within in 2 minutes we heard crying and screaming coming from the pak-n-play. Sure enough, Owen and Dawson were going at it. Fists flying, slapping. It was a crime scene.
We calmed them down and I pretended there was somthing interesting for them to look at on the ground. Maybe a giraffe. Or a bowl of jelly beans.
Baby Julius was caught by the paparazzi.
 
Of course, at all picnics what you really care about is the food. Am I right? Uncle Gil (who happens to be the funniest. uncle. ever.) Was offering up a plate of snacks to those of us who were starving.
 
Our choice: junk food, or fiber enriched snack "sticks"...
He was also the one that decided to offer Dawson a ladel in order to get him to eat his breakfast.
While we waited for the food to grill, the kids played with water balloons.
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Look at Owen's innocent face. "No, I'm not doing anything".
While they were bombing each other with water balloons I decided to honor my friend Steph by trying my hand at a jumping picture. So I called Brianna, Kelsey and Kirsten over. Here was their fist attempt:
 
A bit homeschoolish don't you think?
After I lectured them on the value of risk taking, being adventurous and using all their college savings to go shopping I got this:
I should consider lecturing full time.
Then we were CORN-HOLING.
 
 
The game wasn't quite challenging enough for us, so we put Lydia in the way for an extra 10 points.
Off to the lake to swim. Dawson was not happy to swim in this water and I'm thinking it's because he couldn't see the bottom. Since he's used to a pool, it took him a good time of clutching on to us, whining and overall fear before getting used to the water.  
Then we couldn't get him out.
Before the day was through, the girls broke out some silly string. I thought it would be funny for Brianna to spray Dawson. Dawson didn't think it was funny.
And just how well does a toddler sleep after a full day at the park?
Pretty good I'd say.
The following day he was still so wiped out that he actually fell asleep on my lap!
And now for the car ride home.
I was trying to keep Dawson entertained. I really wanted to get video of him singing but he wasn't cooperating...
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Finally... he came through for me.
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But the closer we got to home, he could no longer hide his true feelings:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

M.O.H.

I have the HONOR of being the Matron.Of.Honor. in my sweet sister-in-law's wedding.
She is marrying this great guy named Steve on October 25th of this year.
She's having a fall themed wedding and I was bursting at the seams when I heard about the engagement because secretly in my heart, many times I have wanted to be a wedding planner!
-I am for hire by the way-
IAlso,I've been racking my brain for the perfect toast for the wedding so if any of you have some good lines, send them my way. :)
While we were in Colorado I had the opportunity to get sized for my bridesmaid dress. She is having them made by a great lady that she works with.
Here are pics of me, and her friend Amber. Both of us got fitted at the same time. We're just showin off our stuff!
The amazing thing is, my sis-law found the material for the dress online! The material and the color turned out to be perfect! The lace for the waist is a real pretty ivory color. I'm just proud of her and how it all pulled together.
Now we are in bridal shower mode.. so if you have any ideas for games, and such send those my way too!
This is my first time being an M.O.H. if you can't tell.
How am I doing?
That reminds of those semi drivers who have to put those bumper stickers on the back of their truck that say "How is my driving? call 1-800-my driving sucks" or something like that.
Of course that was a tangent.
Should I get a bumper sticker for my M.O.H duties?
Anyway,
Congrats to my beautiful "sista" (as we call each other)
Oh, and to Steve too!
:)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Never Let Go, Bob the Builder!

Dawson's new favorite show is Bob the Builder. However, the theme song for the show can repeat itself over and over in a toddler's mind. I can see how the industry uses that to make millions. But when the toddler repeats it over and over again, it can be kind've cute. Take a look.

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There is a worship song that I think is sung by Matt Redman on the Passion CD that we just purchased. Jason said he was listening to this song one morning and he heard Dawson singing along. Matt Redman, do you read my blog? I'd like to say "hi", and ask if there's a place on your worship team for my son? He knows almost all of his shapes. Thanks.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Marathon.

Friday night I had the privilege of having one of my closest friends come and stay. Mindy and I were roomies in college and we've made it a point to stay in touch ever since. Her daughter Cora is just a few months younger than Dawson so I was anxious to see how they'd interact (if at all) considering Dawson is just a tad on the selfish side, and after all, she'd be playing with his toys!
We had planned on an OFFICE marathon, staying up all night and watching it back to back because she owns seasons 1 through 3. Which is the real reason we're friends. just kidding.
We did make it through all of season one. And one episode of season 2... I looked at the clock on my way to bed and I had made it to 12:41!Look at me and my bad self.
We kicked off the Office festivities with none other than (drum roll please) The Chocolate Fountain!
Where I ingested about one full quart of strawberries, 10 homemade rice krispy treats, 12 oreo cookies, one bananna and 1/2 a marshmallow for good measure. I'm still constipated.
We did allow each child one oreo as well.
Cora won for the best cookie face.
Of course as I said earlier I was quite interested to see how Dawson and Cora would interact. It was just as I suspected. Dawson said "mine" the whole evening and Cora would chase him down taking back what she wanted. And I let her because she needs to take a stand for her rights now! Before they get married.
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The next morning we had breakfast. Eggs for the children, Pillsbury Cinnabon cinnamon rolls for the adults. Because adults need protein.
Then for a walk to the park. Where Mindy and I continously tried manipulating our children into obeying our every command. For the most part it worked.
Hold hands!
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Cora is a little daredevil around Dawson. He brings out the best in her.
Back to our house for fun in the sprinkler!


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And by the time this was over they were worn out. Which Mindy was quite excited about because she let Cora stay up with us while we watched the office and she wanted Cora to sleep the whole way home in the car. We mothers are always thinking.


Mindy wasn't convinced Cora was fully worn out. So our parting gift to her was to let Cora jump on the bed for a while.
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I really should consider opening up a bed and breakfast.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Are you a Bucket Filler?


I just sat in on a "bucket filling conference". My boss brought in a speaker to address us on the concept of "filling people's buckets", (be encouraging, let someone know you care, greet a stranger with a smile), as a way to kick off the new school year. By the end of the session I was in tears. Have you ever had tears that were just because the things you were hearing were just such a blessing? That's what this speaker was like.
We all have invisible buckets that need filling. She told story after story of how we should be bucket fillers, meaning, take the time to every day to really let someone know they are special. (this was especially geared toward our new teachers to incorporate into their classrooms to fill the needs of their students, but all of us secretaries were asked to go). If you are a negative, critical person, -that is called "bucket dipping" and basically we can gather that you dip from other people's buckets because your bucket is so empty. Your bucket needs filled up. If you are around a person with a bucket dipping attitude, put a lid on your bucket and protect it. Do your best to fill the bucket of the person taking from you. She shared lots of stories with us.


For example, she travels a lot and because of this she has to eat out quite a bit. She makes it a point to find one person in the restaurant who looks like they could use a little encouragement and she tells her waitress that she would like to pick up their tab. But she wants to remain anonymous and then just a leave note with the person to have a great day. One student in her class she taught decided that everyday he was going to help his elderly neighbor because he was single and couldn't walk very well. So the little boy (who was a 3rd grader) went and got his mail and his newspaper and brought it in to him. He did this for a whole year. One night the neighbor came over and knocked on the door. The whole family was in the living room and the gentleman excused himself for interrupting, walked right over to Zachary and shook his hand (in front of his mom, dad, grandma grandpa) and said "Zachary, thank you so much for all you have done. You are an outstanding young man" and handed his mom an envelope with $1,000 in it with a a little note that said "for Zachary's college fund".

Another story she shared is of a mom who had a son in 2nd grade. He made a list of all the reasons he loved his mom and he read it out loud to her at dinner. She cried and cried. She was pregnant and feeling awful about herself. 2 weeks later, her husband did the same thing for her and read it to her at bedtime. He had never done anything like that for her before.

One more story and then I’m finished. This one happened to the speaker personally. She was in the airport, (a stressful place these days!) and her flight was just told they’d be running late. An angry man walked up to the stewardess (Andrea) at her counter and started pounding on the podium demanding this and that and making a huge scene of how upset he was. The stewardess did her best to calm him down but he wouldn’t. After his rampage he walked away. Our speaker said she walked right up to the young stewardess and told her what a great job she had done, trying to calm that man down and such and then went back and sat down to read her book. Once it was time to finally board the plane, another stewardess had taken over and called her name over the intercom. She and her father (whom she was traveling with) came up to the desk. She asked them if they would like to travel first class. Andrea had left a note to seat them there when it was time to board…
Don’t those stories touch your heart? Are you a bucket filler or a bucket dipper? It’s the smallest things you can do each day to make a difference to someone and fill their bucket. And in the process, you fill your own.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Meme

Random FYI Meme

It bothers me that I still don't know what a "meme" is or how you pronounce the word. I tried looking it up online but the definition made no sense. So who made up this word? The French?

Rules Once Tagged:
1) Link to the person who tagged you.2) Post the rules on your blog (copy and paste 1-6).3) Write 6 random things about yourself (see below).4) Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.5) Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.6) Let the tagger (who tagged you) know when your post is up.

This tag came from Mindy and her crafty blog.

Random FYI:

1. I don’t wear makeup. Does this come as a shock? I don’t know how to put it on because no one ever taught me. Though I have sat through a few Mary Kay tutorials in the years I have been alive. I fear, if I start wearing it now, I’ll always have to wear it and that would be too obsessive compulsive for me.

2. I love times on the clock that are all the same number or are in a sequence. ie: 11:11 or 10:10. That’s exciting.

3. I hate toast crumbs in my butter.

4. 90% of the music I listen to is worship music. As a matter of fact, I very rarely ever listen to the radio. Therefore, I have no clue who most contemporary artist are nowdays because I don’t keep up with it. Other than that, I really like jazz. Though I am a connoisseur of all music types. Because I wanted to use that word, connoisseur.

5. I stand at my office desk because I do not like to sit. When I sit, my butt conforms to the chair and then my whole lower half goes numb. That’s not my favorite. Smiling’s My Favorite.

6. Sometimes when I’m having a bad day at work, I sneak to the bottom of the basement stairwell in our office and sing. Because the acoustics in the stairwell make me sound really good. 10 times better than singing in the shower. I have yet to be mortified by someone walking in on that transaction

Those I am tagging:
1. Princess Bri
2. Kelsey Kakes
3. Ashley

I will have to ask Jason if he’d like to contribute to this randomness. He’s quite capable of filling as many pages as me. That’s probably why we’re so good together.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

V: The Last Day

Did I make it to Day 5? Really? Because that would mean that Colorado posting is over. Which means that I'm officially home from vacation. Imagine that.
Day 5: The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo & Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que. That ryhmes!

Those were some who were thinking that they could sneak into day one of the Senior Open (golf) because they were playing at the Broadmoor the same day we went to the zoo. As a matter of fact, we could see them playing as we drove up the mountain to the zoo. Jason though it would be funny to honk. I did not think that would be funny.

Of course you're all wondering if we fed the giraffes! Why else do you think we wanted to go to the zoo?!

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Believe it or not, we saw some animals.

But I have to admit, this monkey was hilarious. He's called a howler monkey. You'll see why.
 

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Dawson got to ride the merry-go-round. He takes these things seriously.
Josh & Steph took a ride on the sky thing. What's it called?
This is the view from the top
While they were on there way back, we were ready to go. Dawson especially.
We ended our last night together with some good eats. Famous Dave's.
Great vacation!
Though I recommend flying...