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Saturday, January 30, 2010

...growing pains

Lately I've been hearing the dreaded words every mother eventually hears.
"That's SO unfair!"
"Why can't I? Everyone ELSE is doing it!"
"so-and-so mom's is letting them do it!"

::sigh::

My daughter has really been trying to grow up. I know she's got to grow up, but the world is not the same place as it once was when I grew up. My parents used to let me hang out with my best friend Carrie, and we would walk to Dairy Queen, or to our cemetery (which was FAR away)... all by ourselves. We were in 6th grade. We could play outside in our front yard, run to neighbor's houses to play, and enjoy ourselves. I had slumber parties, I spent the night at my friends... I had a wonderful childhood.

Can't do that any of those things anymore. I can't trust this world we live in, and let my girls out in the front yard to play because of people who have chosen to do things unthinkable to children. I can't let my children... be children. I have to carefully screen the parents of my children's friends, to make sure their values are similar to mine... to see if they have the same concerns that I have. I have to constantly ask my oldest daughter "is so & so's parent there? Otherwise, you cannot go to their house!" Kids get into so much trouble these days.

But, I CAN, teach my girls WHY I have the rules I have for them. For example, Katie wants a Facebook page. I will not allow her to have a Facebook page. Why? It's harmless you may say. Well, if one would look at the rules of Facebook, a person has to be 13 years old. If I allow my daughter to have a Facebook page before she's 13 years old, I'm teaching her to be dishonest -- to lie about her age so she can have a Facebook page. When a company has rules in place, they're generally there for a reason. I know parents can monitor their children, but I'm still holding my ground and teaching her a valuable lesson. To be an honest human being, to listen to others & respect others. Our church (the LDS Church) strives to teach the basic principle of being honest (Article of Faith #13 "We believe in being honest....")
.... so yes, I am THAT parent...

Now, I'm bound to make mistakes along this road we call parenthood. I know I'm not going to be the most popular parent out there. I'm not aiming for my child to be the most popular kid in school, and will do anything to get her there. I am aiming for my child to be able to think for herself, to stand up for herself, and to stand up for what she believes in.

I will slowly release this leash I have on my girls... but an inch at a time. If that makes me a mean mother, so be it. If that means I'll be listening to my girls tell me things like "that's SO unfair!"... so be it. I'm ready for this ride called parenthood. I'm headed towards the tunnel called "PreTeens & Teenagers... enter at your own risk". Hold on for your dear life with me! We CAN make it through this!

Friday, January 29, 2010

.... the cake

Nothing says "I love you daughter"
than having a chocolate cake
with four candles
one of which was broken

Why only four?
Because that's all Maddie could find.
Katie turned 12.
We're 8 candles short.


Oh well.
I'll try next year to have the appropriate number of candles.

At least her wishes will come true! She only had to blow out four!

I'm sure there are some Mother of the Year awards being handed out right now...
feel free to enter my name....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

... i heart pandora radio

At work I listen to my iTouch. The same music, over & over & over again. There's only so much George Strait {GASP! Can't even believe I'm saying that!}, Lady Gaga & '80's music I can take.

A friend at work said and I quote her "hey dude... you should listen to Pandora"
Yes, she called me dude.
::rolling eyes & shrugs::

So I logged on to Pandora Radio online. It's FREE!! (my favorite word!). You type in a genre of music, or your favorite performer, or a song, and it matches up songs according to that type of music and it plays. You have a thumbs up if you like it and a thumbs down, if you don't like it, and it goes to the next song.

So the first day I did country. I did Carrie Underwood. I realized they were only playing Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill & Tim McGraw... over & over again. Every once in a while Sara Evans popped in. I got bored pretty quickly.

So I typed in Lady Gaga. I was "gagging" at the choices, and left that station fast! Too many thumbs down.

Then I typed in Disney one afternoon. I was whisked away to my girls' Disney movie watching days {2 a.m. with Maddie to Lion King} of songs from the Lion King, Beauty & the Beast, Mary Poppins, Sound of Music {which was SO hard to listen to and not sing out loud "Doe a deer a female deer... Ray a drop of golden sun! Me a name..... you get the idea} and Glee. How did Glee make this station of Disney music? I dunno.

Then today happened. It wasn't a good morning. Let's just say "when Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" and let's leave it at that. So, country wasn't going to cut it, Disney wasn't going to cut it, and I needed something to mellow me out.
I love the Carpenter's. They mellow me out.

I found myself taking a trip back in time to when I was a kid. Listening to my dad belt out the words to songs from Air Supply, Bread, Journey, Chicago & other groups. He's a good singer. Everyone in my family is a good singer. Except me. Maybe it's b/c I'm tone deaf? ::snort::

I found out I knew most of the songs this station played. I didn't know that I loved:
Bread, Air Supply {sing it with me: "I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you, I know you were right believing for so long...."}, Bee Gee, Carly Simon {seriously, I was shocked to hear her sing some of my favorites}, Christopher Cross {WHO is this guy?}, Dan Fogelberg, Anne Murray {Danny's Song.... ::sigh::}, Neil Diamond... and oh
"Nights are Forever without You" by England Dan & John Ford Coley?? Who are they? I don't know either, but I do know the song!

I also realized how dumb I was when I heard a song, checked the name of the song & who sang it, and sheepishly realized I was singing the wrong words all this time in the chorus.

::shrugs:: Oh well. That's me.
Take it or leave it.
Most likely, none of you will ever hear me belt it out in the car anyways. I'm too shy.

So check out Pandora Radio, if you haven't already.
It's seriously awesome, and very addicting!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

...highland fling

Saturday night my girls participated in the Scottish Society Robert Burns dinner. I have more pictures, but since I have videos of them dancing, I'm going to put them here throughout this week until I can get the pictures off of my good camera.

Sorry quality isn't the best. I really want a nice digital camcorder. :)

Katie is dancing the Highland Fling. It is not set to traditional bagpipe music, but to a cool '80's song. She is in the front w/ the long blond hair.




Monday, January 25, 2010

...happy birthday Blondie!

We love you even though you make these kinds of faces.

I don't know who you take after, but we still stand by our story of how you came to us.

We found you under a rock.


Psst... a more appropriate birthday post is coming soon....
Whenever I find the time....
to scan in pictures....


Friday, January 22, 2010

...the game is SPEED!


I'm so glad the days of Candyland is over. I hated that game.
Even Chutes 'n Ladders. Including that cherry tree game that we played.
We played it so many times I wanted to die of boredom. I know.. mean mom!

Imagine my excitement now that my girls are old enough to play games that I like to play!
Like card games! and Chinese Checkers!

I was taught the game of Speed when I was in high school. I played with my friend Jennifer. She gave me scratches over my hands every time I played with her. It quickly became a game I was NOT fond of playing with Jennifer.


Then, Katie learned how to play it from a friend! Oh, it brought back the memories! Now both my girls play it. One is a fast mover at the cards, the other is gentle & laid back.
Guess who wins?


Imagine this argument:
"NO! You're not doing it right!!"

then this little hand messes up all the cards.... typical.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

...grandma 'n katie


I have a grandma who I called "Grandma in the house" when I was little. I had another grandma that I called "Grandma in Texas". My "grandma in Texas" moved to Florida, and it took YEARS for us to adjust & start calling her "Grandma in Florida".

I have no idea why I called my grandma Polly "grandma in the house". Was it because she was always in the house? Was it because she lived several blocks away from us? I don't know. My grandma is a short little feisty gal. She's tiny.. but she's the spunkiest person I know. I think she's 5'2"? Maybe 5'1"? HER mother was even smaller! She was 4'11" (give or take an inch)!

Grandma Polly is also a butt pincher. No one's butt is safe from Grandma. She also gives triple kisses. ::smooch:: ::smooch:: ::smooch::

Grandma Polly taught me how to make homemade fabric yoyo's. She also watched me when I was home from school: sick, puking.. and giving me warm Coca-Cola to drink, which I then proceeded to throw up again. My parents were working, but grandma was home. She loves her soaps on TV. Still does!

Grandma has a trunk that I think is magical. Every so often at Grandma's house, I would ask to take a trip through her trunk. Her trunk has tons of mementos inside: newspaper clippings, old dolls, pictures.... everything that will take a person back through memory. She would tell me stories of herself as a kid, how much a soda pop would cost, or going to the theater. I love her trunk... it holds many great memories for me, and the happy times I spent with my grandma when I was a little girl.

She once threw me a party for all my friends when I was a teen, and we had a "tacky party". We all had to come dressed as tacky as we possibly could. (wigs, clothes inside out or backwards, mismatched clothes, etc). She played some fun games as well, such as sending us out to the neighborhood on a scavenger hunt asking for oddball things such as Q-tips, and needles, and toilet paper. You should have seen people's faces when they opened the door and found a few groups of teens dressed weird, asking for q-tips.

All of her grandkids knew we were growing up when we were able to catch up to grandma's height. Anyways, every time one of her grandkids caught up to her in height, we knew we were getting older. Katie has been eyeballing Grandma for a year or two now, and I think, she's finally caught up to her!

I'm imagining she's telling Katie "now listen here.... "

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

....joshua

My brother has a little boy. He'll have another little boy joining the pack in two months. I laughed w/ my dad when he said "my daughter has all girls, and my son has all boys". Anyways, Joshua is my nephew. He's a smart cookie. He's also quiet and you can tell he's thinking about way to dismantle a computer, or compose a song, just like his daddy did when he was 12. I also think he has my nose. I'm so proud. ::sniff::


He's also the spitting image of his daddy. When I look at him, I see his daddy dressed up in a dress with makeup on him. Yep, I tortured my brother. I made him get dressed up in a dress when he was probably 2 or 3. Trust me, I received payback WITH interest for that, and all the other crap I gave him. He's also 6'3" or 6'4"... he's tall. He's also incredibly smart. That's why I think Joshua is already thinking of ways to dismantle a computer..... he's going to be a smart cookie as well.

Anyways, we had some great times loving on Joshua.

Maddie loves on Joshua a little....

My mom & Joshua

My parents w/ all of their grandchildren.
They have a ton..... can't keep 'em straight too!

That's how many they have! ::snort::

Oh Joshua! where is your smile?! Aunt Mimi loves you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

...butter yaki & won tons


In continuing with my winter vacation stories.... I have to show the pictures of a big tradition that my family has. Ever since I was a little girl, we have made a dinner called "butter yaki". Now, my spelling of this Japanese dinner might be off, but in short, you cook it in an electric skillet, using butter to cook the vegetables & marinated meat. My family "adopted" a man named Floyd, who lived in Kansas City to go to dental school when I was little. He was the one who taught the family this amazing meal. I have also heard he named his daughter after me as well.... :)

There is a lot of preparation for this dinner. My parents start soaking the chicken (or steak) in homemade teriyaki sauce the night before. My mom likes to cut up the meat when it's still partially frozen and cuts it very thin (that way it cooks faster). Then she pours the marinade over the meat and places it back in the fridge.

We use all different kinds of vegetables. Broccoli, sprouts, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, snow peas... you name it! We all give our opinion on what we want in our stirfry....

This is my dad. He's the cook of the night... always the cook the night we have butter yaki. It's just the way we roll in our family. Dad cooks the butter yaki. He takes a little of each ingredient and stirfries it... and serves it to us. Then he does it again: melt butter, add meat, & add veggies. He usually does about 3-4 rounds of this. We always have leftovers. Mom makes the rice and fries the won tons. Oh, won tons you asked? Now, THIS, is my most favorite food in the ENTIRE world. Other than chocolate. Every year my mom always asks me what I want for my birthday dinner, and it's always won tons. I would be perfectly happy with just won tons. Nothing else.

It also takes a bit of time to prep these babies. You mix up the mixture of chicken, green onions, soy sauce & egg whites. Then you buy the won ton wrappers, spread a little in the middle, and fold it accordingly. My girls are now helping with the job that my brother and I held for so many years. I love teaching them the tricks that I learned... {use the fingers!}

Then, my mom fries them. Yummm! Keeps them warm in the oven until it's time to eat.


In order to fully appreciate won tons, we dip them in a sauce made out of mustard & soy sauce. One can also use plum sauce. Very delicious!


My dad this year made virgin strawberry margaritas for us (the kind in the bucket, w/ ginger ale). Again, a very special dinner for our family! We don't get it often, but when we do get it, it's a special treat for us!

***Recipes will be on my recipe blog!

Monday, January 18, 2010

....new table!

The family had a very happy day a few weeks ago.

We introduced someone new into the family.

A dining room table with 8 chairs.


Every time Mike & I find a table + chairs that we like, we always wait...
and by the time we are ready to go buy the furniture, they run out.
{we've been looking @ Sam's as they have the best deals ever on furniture!}

Finally, we have learned our lesson. Buy it when we see it. So we did.
The table was only out for a few weeks, and we snatched the last one. YAY!

I have to say, this was THE missing link that pulled my entire room together.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

...things I learned this week

What a week.... here is a list of things I've learned:
  • Katie wants to grow up.... & I won't let her
  • Maddie's music teacher has a "grouchy" voice. {her words, not mine}
  • Totally loving MyJobChart.com.... my girls are ecstatic about it too!
  • I'm seriously in love w/ the show Chuck. Doesn't hurt that the guy who plays him is eye candy!
  • Katie has too much hair! Tried to get her hair up in hot rollers... didn't succeed
  • Love Lady Gaga's music, but I think she is just plain weird...
  • Not to mention "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum... can't listen to it enough!
  • Or "Fireflies" by Owl City!
  • Or "Temporary Home" by Carrie Underwood
  • Apparently Maddie can never have too many toys
  • I only have a week left to plan Katie's birthday
  • Maddie can't remember her Highland Sword Dance... ERRGG! in time for the Burns dinner next week...
  • It takes approximately $100 a month for our girls to eat at school. That is going to change, if I have a say in it...
  • Maddie drives me nuts when we go shopping. She seriously has a bad case of "I WANT's"
  • My legs are seriously screaming at me to stop working out on the elliptical a day after working out with Mandi....
  • Mandi kicks my butt twice a week.... for the better though! One of these days, the fat is going to drop O-F-F!
  • Mountain Cedar season is kicking my family's butt..... specifically Mike, & the girls
  • My girls are so peaceful with each other.... when they sleep!!!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

... my BFF's since childhood

(from left to right: me, Jennifer & Malonda)

We all have friends who know us so well.... sometimes even better than we know ourselves! When we were in KC, I met up with two of my childhood friends for dinner, and even though it had been a year and a half since seeing one of them (Malonda) (UPDATE: Malonda reminded me she saw me 3 months ago... OOPS!), & 9 months since seeing the other... it was as if we've never been gone that long. We wasted no time laughing, chatting away the night as if we never left. Friends like that are gold... {thinking of my Girl Scout days: Make new friends, but keep the old... one is silver & the other gold}

Jennifer is in the middle. Malonda is on the right. She is also VERY pregnant. Like, 12 months pregnant. She's that big. Poor girl... the kid should be here in a few weeks. We had a "thing" going on when our birthdays rolled around. I was really into the sepia pictures of little kids doing cutesy stuff: holding a balloon, holding hands with each other, laughing, playing in the waves... everything. So, everytime our birthday rolled around, we'd give each other cards or other mementos with these little kids on the front. It was just "our thing".

We also had tons of laughs as we grew up. Jennifer loved to ride the brakes on her car ~ and HARD! I dubbed it "seat belt check" everytime she landed her foot on the brake pedal. Thankfully, she has grown out of that.

I also have wonderful memories of going to Vail, Colorado when Jen & I were 19 years old. We drove my car, following my parents' car in front of us. We had such a blast in the car, and while we were in Vail. I drove down to Texas to pick her up from college her first year. Had tons of fun (and tons of NOT so fun when she set me up on a date with a friend! Arnold Schwarzenegger lookalike!).

Malonda worked at Taco Bell. She LOVED Taco Bell. She also had a major huge crush on a boy named Jason (at least I think it was Jason). We heard about Jason all.the.time!

(Jen & I at Malonda's wedding)

I wish I had my picture of when the 3 of us took a "professional" picture together. That is, if you call a KMart picture professional. I'd scan it in, but my memory box is currently on the bottom shelf in my garage, with three ATV's in the way plus a screen door. No getting to them now!

I had gotten married first out of the three of us. Jen followed me later that year, when I was 9 months pregnant. She wanted me to be her Matron of Honor... and Malonda was her Maid of Honor. ::snort:: You should've seen me in my dress. Waddling down the aisle to Shania Twain's "From This Moment"... and I was 9 months pregnant!

Malonda had a very cool wedding as well. She & her hubby turned around after being wedded, and walked back down the aisle to the song that goes "I would walk ten thousand miles and I would walk ten thousand more just to be the man to walk & fall down at your door"... or something like that. Remember, I make up my own lyrics to the songs! She had a taco bar ... totally untraditional, but SO awesome! and so FUN! That is just Malonda. Malonda is also a signing interpreter. Since I'm hearing impaired, she & I took a class at church together on signing (when we were what? 13?), b/c we had a bunch of people who came to church who were deaf. I quit, but she kept on going.... she's amazing.

The month before we made our move to San Antonio, I turned 33 {at least, I think I did... I can't remember how old I am half the time!) .... and so I wanted to have a birthday party to celebrate & to say goodbye to all my wonderful friends! You can recap here .... we met up at the Peppercorn Duck Club in Kansas City where we had a delicious chocolate bar. I made everyone matching flowers for their hair.... and afterwards, Jen & Malonda & I caught a late night movie where we giggled, laughed & almost peed our pants all through the movie (we saw Sex & the City). Malonda was starving.... so we bought some appetizers from the restaurant next door to the theater, and she bravely walked in carrying it in the bag. She's got guts..... that girl!

Through thick and thin (and we've all been there!), tears & happiness, I'm proud to call these girls some of my best friends ever.

..."my job chart" website

A month ago, I was lurking on another blog, and this gal spoke highly of My Job Chart website. This website is free! I have created tons of different types of chore charts for my girls in the past. We've used stickers, we've used stars, we've used magnets, we've used marbles.... we've done it all. Nothing sticks. I blame me. I can't keep up w/ it all.

Fortunately, today I had some time to finally head on over to this website and created an account for my family. I added in the chores that my girls are expected to do daily (i.e. make bed, brush teeth, clean room, etc) plus extras that I want them to do (Katie has to empty dishwasher on Monday/Wednesday/Friday & Madison empties it on Tuesday/Thursday & Saturday).

Now, with all of this comes the rewards! Each chore is worth points. There is a reward store in which they can "shop" for rewards! For example, Katie has an iPod, and I used the amount of 150 points equals one download (she can earn about 75 points each day w/ her chores). To skip a job is 150 points! My girls love $$ for an allowance, but we usually have it set up to where they have to do their chores for the money. There are also some extras like making cookies, or getting an ice cream cone. You determine what the reward is and the amount of that reward. Now, some parents are not big on TV time, so maybe 30 points equals a half an hour of TV time. Or even computer time! It's your choice.

It's even so easy to login once you set up your family account. Upload a picture of each child, and use a password for each kid. Bookmark the site, and when they go there, they click on their picture, and type in their password. It goes directly to their list of chores to do that day!

No more clutter on my fridge or walls! My girls love being on the computer anyways, so this is an easy way to keep track! Let's see how long it lasts!


Friday, January 15, 2010

...my new favorite makeup!


Back in December, I was given the opportunity from BzzAgent to try out L'Oreal's new Paris Lash Boosting kit. I have to admit... I was a skeptic about it (kind of like how there is certain lotions out there for cellulite.. yeah, RIGHT). I was to try it out for 4 weeks and see if there was any improvement in my eyelashes. You use the serum at night on your eyelashes after your remove your eye makeup, and use the Double Extend during the daytime. Now, I used my regular L'Oreal mascara Voluminous after I place the Lash Boosting Primer on my eyelashes. After using this for 3 weeks so far, I can tell a MAJOR difference!

I did take some before pictures, but I'm going to wait to share them after my 4 weeks are done. My eyelashes are longer, thicker... and amazingly, they curl much better and stay curled as well!

This kit is a little on the pricey side (like $21 dollars or so), but wow oh wow... it's worth it! So, if you're worried about your eyelashes, this is a must have!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

.... Christmas memories

Before Christmas rolled around, bad weather was settling in. My sister in law Tiffany was keeping tabs on the weather for us (as well as my dad, mom, in laws... and friends here in Texas!). Mike informed me as soon as I came home from work on Wednesday, to "pack up and we're leaving as soon as you're ready". We were out the door by 7:00 that night. We drove. We drove & we drove and we drove. We drove ALL night! I stayed awake with Mike all night long (OK, I fell asleep for 20 minutes, but I did wake up refreshed!). We didn't hit bad weather at all! Just a few areas of bad fog outside of Dallas, and rain when we came to Kansas City!

My parents called early that morning. 5:30? 6:30? I can't remember, but it was early. I think they were excited to see us. That's OK, but we were so excited to see them as well! We stopped in at Cracker Barrel at 8:00 that morning to have breakfast with them. It was so delicious! We parted ways with them, and finished our 10 minute journey to my in laws home. That day we prepared for our great Mexican food feast (OK, I didn't prepare, my mother in law did!). I slept that afternoon, trying to catch up on my sleep! My girls were quickly swept away by their cousin Presley, who made sure to keep them busy every second she was around them! They all played so well together! That night, we had a wonderful dinner, played some games, and had a great time.

This picture was stolen out of love from my sister in law Marcie's blog.... :)


That night, Maddie & Presley laid out the cookies & milk for Santa. Maddie wrote a note for Santa asking for the things she was hoping to get.


"Santa" wrote her a note back! And took a bite out of the cookie! And drank the milk! Man, if I were Santa, I would've finished that cookie!



Now, my girls are not early risers. They slept in. You can tell by their expressions (and their father's expression) they're still sleepy....

Sadly, the pictures I took of Katie were in a bad light, so most of her pictures turned out bad. But I did get a few here & there. She opened almost all her presents by the time I had sorted out most of the presents w/ the family. Stinker....


THESE books, according to Maddie... are THE best! Loved Amazon's $5 price for them!


My girls bought each other gifts this year. Katie bought Maddie a book (one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book), and Maddie bought Katie a "Teen Bop" magazine with some Sour candy Katie loves. Both were in love with their gifts!

Here is Katie with her big gift this year... a digital camera!

Maddie (& Katie) have both been begging for scriptures for a LONG time. Since Maddie was getting baptized two days after Christmas, we decided to buy her scriptures. She was so surprised!


Both girls also bought Mike & I gifts. I took the girls each out one time, and they bought for Mike. Katie bought Mike peanuts & Hot Tamales. When I took Maddie out, I asked her what she wanted to buy her daddy. She said "Hot Tamales". Ha ha! I had no clue Mike even liked those candies, but they did! I was driving along the highway on the way to Target, and Maddie sees "Freddie's Custard", which is a restaurant that sells yummy custard. Mike takes the girls there every now & then for Daddy/daughter dates. Maddie said "Daddy hasn't taken me there in a long time". So I said "well, do you want to buy Daddy a gift certificate and write him a letter?" She was ALL for it! So, we bought a gift certificate, and she wrote him a letter telling him it was for their next Daddy/daughter date. So cute!


This was Madison's big gift this year. She wanted the Bitty Twins, but seriously, that was one doll more than I wanted in my house. So she got the doll that looks like her. She named it "Christina". or "Madison II". Ha ha!


As for me? The girls bought me a beautiful scarf, Sharpie pens that come in 24 colors (Caribbean colors, to be exact), a nutcracker snow globe that Maddie's been wanting for a few years now.... and Mike bought me my Polar F6 heart monitor I've been eyeing for a year now, and a small pair of binoculars, for more theatre shows this year! Now I can sit in the cheap seats and actually SEE!
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