Monday, December 31, 2007

'Twas the night before Christmas (a week ago)

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The stockings were hung by the chimney with careIn hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there
The children were nestled all snug in their beds While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads

I realize that I'm a little late with this, but hey, I took a little time off last week and I was really busy. I guess you can't really tell from the picture, but I was BUSY. Christmas was really fun this year. It was a blast seeing the girls so excited about Santa, and seeing them open their presents. By the time my parents got there, the loft where all of their play stuff was looked like some sort of toy explosion. Of course, my mom immediately started tidying up. Bless her little heart, she just can't help herself. I dragged her back downstairs, where she proceeded to wash the dishes I had used cooking that morning. Sigh. My first time hosting Christmas dinner went really well, despite the blizzardy weather, and Santa Chris did another amazing job of getting me presents. He stresses out about it every year, but comes through big time. Last year, he got me crystal champagne flutes. This year, I got new jammies (which if you know me AT ALL, you'll know that I love jammies), perfume, and a new Coach purse. That he picked out all by himself and that I love. He's so good to me.
It was a pretty snowy week, so I decided to use up some sick days and stay home. I took a lot of naps and read an entire book and basically hung around and relaxed. P.I.C. was in town for Christmas, so he came over on Friday night (I lured him into the 'burbs by making his favorite - chicken enchiladas) and he and Chris and I sat around laughing and drinking wine. I miss my P.I.C. I wish he still lived in town.
Anyway, all the extra rest I got was negated this weekend, because Riley got sick with pretty much the same thing Abby had a couple of weeks ago. She's a great little patient. She doesn't whine or complain, and she just wants to snuggle with you. Abby, however, is the one that kept me awake. She loves to sleep with her sister, but I said no because Riley needed to be left alone. So Abby fell asleep in our bed Saturday night, and Chris took her up to her room. She showed up again at about 3. And wanted to chat. Last night we let her sleep with Riley, but she still showed up at 3. I get to leave work at noon today, and guess who's taking a little nap? My excuse is that I'm trying to stay well. Besides Abby being sick a while back, Chris was sick last week, and now Riley. Must...resist...germs...
I'm not complaining though. We had the best Christmas, and I see every day how blessed I am. Stay tuned for my review 0f 2007.
Happy New Year!
*p.s. that mouse in the picture is not from our house - he lives at camp in Montana. I didn't want anyone to think that we also got hanta virus for Christmas...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm dreaming of a clean Christmas

In case you didn't know, living in a house with four people ups your laundry considerably. Especially when one person works on a muddy construction site, one person tends to spill whatever they're eating on their shirt, one person manages to get the majority of whatever craft they're doing onto their shirt, and one person is relatively good about keeping their clothes clean, but hey, everyone needs clean socks and underwear. FYI, in case you think I'm tooting my own horn, I'm not the "relatively good" one.

Anyway, our room looked like a textile mill exploded in it. There was a mountain of clean clothes on the floor at the bottom of our bed, and our closet was chock full of more piles of clothes. There was a huge box of shoes that I hadn't unpacked (instead, I would just root through to find the pair I wanted to wear that day - klassy, I know) and a few other piles of stuff that hadn't been unpacked yet. I can't believe I'm even telling you this.

So Sunday morning, Chris hauled all of the clean clothes into the living room, and I watched all my TiVoed shows while I folded and folded and folded. We spent the entire day cleaning and folding and unpacking and sorting and getting rid of stuff, until by the evening, our bedroom was totally clean, our closet was organized, and it looks like tidy people live there, instead of the mess that was. And lest you think it took us all day to just clean one room, the rest of the house is also clean. Ahem. Also, as a side note, I'd like to thank TiVo for its complete and total awesomeness. I never have to miss a show ever again. Ever. Everyone needs TiVo.

My point (and I do have one) is that I'm really glad we got all of the tidying up done, because for the first time ever, I'm hosting Christmas. This means my dad, my brother, and my mom. In case you haven't met my mom, let me just tell you that she is known as either Ninja Mom or the Tidy Fairy. When I used to live at home, I lived in our basement, with my own living room and t.v. and everything. I swear, Ninja Mom would silently hang from the ceiling, waiting for me to finish my drink. Because I'd walk away, and when I came back, my glass would be gone. And when I lived in my own house, my mom would feed the cats, and I'd come home to a cleaner house than when I left. Clearly the Tidy Fairy had come by. Of course, I had to clean my house before I left so that I wouldn't have to hear about what a slob I am. But it was worth it to have the tupperware cabinet totally organized.

Lest you think I'm like Pigpen, I'm not. It's just that my mom is serious about a clean house. She doesn't have one of those pesky "outside of the home" jobs, and so our house has always been super clean. Which I totally appreciate, but sometimes I wish she had worked outside of the home so that she would actually understand what it's like to work 10 or 12 hours with people who need stuff RIGHT NOW and then come home to children who need stuff RIGHT NOW and so it would be logical why I can't muster up some righteous indignation at that dust on the side table and leap to action right that second.

I'm not complaining, not at all. I love my mom, and I appreciate that we grew up in a clean house and were expected to take care of our own spaces, because I learned how to be a good housekeeper. As an aside, I wish I had also learned how to iron like my mom does, because she can perfectly crease a pair of pants and I can't iron for shit (sometimes I still purposely show up at her house to go somewhere nice with a wrinkly shirt so that she'll make me take it off and she'll iron it perfectly for me - I can't believe I'm admitting that either), but that's neither here nor there.

My point (and maybe not my original one, but I've kind of lost track at this point) is that we still have some tidying up to do before Saturday. Why Saturday? Because that's when the cleaning lady is coming. I can't have the Tidy Fairy ruining Christmas by commenting on any sort of lack of housekeeping ("This house is just too big for you to take care of") and so I'm going to nip that in the bud by pretending that Chris and I cleaned the house in all of our FREE TIME. Chris thinks she might be suspicious, but oh well. I'm going to act innocent and pretend that it was all just a Christmas Miracle.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I feel like something's missing...

The Shepherds are there...

The Angels are there...

The Wise Men are there...
Wait a minute
I never figured Joseph to be one of those guys to run away from responsibility, but I suppose being the stepfather of the Son of God might be a bit overwhelming at times.

I seriously cannot find him anywhere.
And I'm sure they had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ho ho ho and whatnot

So it's a damn good thing that we went shopping the day after Thanksgiving and got all of the girls' loot, because I haven't had time to do any shopping since then. However, at Alice's request, I will now tell you what I have gotten so far...

It all started when I made a list before Thanksgiving with stuff that the girls have mentioned that they wanted. This is no small feat, because since Abby and I spent a lot of time on the couch watching "Spongebob" last week, I found out that she wants pretty much everything that there is a commercial for. But she is asking for it for her birthday, because she already went and saw Santa, so in her mind, there's no changing that order. Lest you think that we are raising a greedy and materialistic child, her list to Santa had the following: 4 coloring books, 2 Barbies, a new truck for her grandpa, and a Spiderman for Drake (a friend at school). That's all. I thought it was adorable and so sweet that she asked Santa for things for other people. Of course, I pretty much think everything she says and does is totally adorable, so I suppose I'm not much of a judge.

Anyway. Back to the list. I was originally going to order everything from the internet, since I love Christmas but hate crowds and lines. Then I got all concerned that something horrible would happen and the stuff wouldn't get delivered in time and the girls would have a Christmas morning like that episode of Friends when Chandler and Joey get everyone's presents at a gas station. AND since they both still believe in Santa, once the gifts arrived, we'd have a hard time explaining why Santa uses UPS.

Ok. THE LIST. Geez, I am not good at the focusing. Ahem. So I decided that I would separate my list into the two places where I could find everything - Toys R Us and Target, and then we'd go shopping. Even better, we'd go the day after Thanksgiving AT 5 A.M. - because that's when Toys R Us opened. I'm not usually that girl (see: I hate crowds), but I figured if nothing else, we'd see some die hard crazies. I was not wrong. By the time we got there at 5:45, the checkout line already stretched to the back of the store, around the whole back and baaaack to the front. Essentially, the end of the line was at the entrance to the store. We walked around for about 5 minutes before I declared that there was no holly jolly way I was standing in a three hour line. So we went to a nearby Super Target (which opened at 6) and spent about an hour and a half and got EVERYTHING on my list and then some. Including stocking stuffers and groceries. The best part? There was no line. That, my friends, was totally my kind of shopping.

So what did we get them. Well, Riley is getting a lot of crafty things, as she loves crafts. A friendship bracelet maker, needlepoint, a fancy version of Spirograph, chapter books, a puzzle, a stuffed dog, a Strawberry Shortcake Doll (because they'll be getting skanky-ass Bratz dolls over my cold dead body) and a hair beader. I didn't WANT to get the hair beader, because our house seems to be a strange sort of bead breeding ground. The laundry room is right outside our bedroom and dear god, the racket. I found a bazillion beads in there this morning when I opened it up. I also step on them constantly and find them in the folds of the couch. But the hair beader was specifically asked for, so I got it. Along with assorted other things. Abby is getting a Fisher Price digital camera, so that I no longer find 55 pictures of her stuffed animals on my phone ("I took 4 pictures of each one!"), a coloring book, a Strawberry Shortcake doll, a puzzle, some books, spirograph, a stuffed kitty, and some Littlest Pet Shop stuff. They are also getting gifts for them together - a lot of coloring supplies, a bowling set, and dominos. And of course, they're getting clothes, including matching jammies and robes for Christmas Eve. It's a good thing they're not spoiled, don't you think? We were very careful to spend similar amounts of money on them and make sure that they have an equal number of presents, because Santa does NOT like to have the Fair Police on his ass.

Other than that, I've gotten a present for my parents and that's all. I got my mom and dad tickets to see B.B. King when he comes here in April, which they will love. However, even though I haven't been shopping much, I'm having a great Christmas season. I love Christmas (did I mention that?) and I've realized that it's even better when you can experience it the way kids do. Everything is so exciting and interesting and new and it's just fun. I've gotten to bake and frost homemade sugar cookies, decorate the tree with little people, talk about Santa as if he were real, tell them the ACTUAL Christmas story and play with the nativity scenes I have, and sing Christmas Carols. A lot of it is stuff I've done tons of times before, but I never really paid much attention - I just did it because I always have. But this year I get to do stuff with the girls that is still new to them, and that's been the best. It may sound stupid, but it helps me remember what Christmas should be all about.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ha.

Apparently when I said "tomorrow" I would update the blog, what I meant was "in about one week."

Here's why. Abby was sick allllll last week. Day care sent her home again on Thursday, and so she couldn't go back Friday, so workplace was graced with the presence of a 4 year old. We just remodeled, and the boss is all about "open spaces" and whatnot, which is totally great for Abby. To run through at top speed. She only fell into a cabinet and hit her head once. She was a big helper, and actually, unbelievably well behaved. She was pretty quiet (although I guess it took the relative quiet of an office to realize that she talks loud and also kids that age don't control THE VOLUME OF THEIR VOICE), and was so patient about staying much longer than I meant to. Her day of work was so exhausting -- what with the running and the talking and the helping and coloring and movie watching and writing on my dry erase board and sort of my newly painted wall (oops) -- well, she pretty much didn't say a word the whole ride home and then took a nap. She and I went to bed early too. Because mommy had a long week and a lot of sleeping next to a kid with a fever who also likes to sleep sideways.

I've figured out that work is pretty much just people constantly saying "Amber, I need..." and I've decided that I need something. For people to stop telling me they need stuff. I'm really not complaining, because I love my job, but come on. You're killing me people, I'm not even kidding. In fact, I'm typing this at work while I wait for stuff to download so I can take home some more work. FUN. I've almost given up, but then again, it's supposed to snow tonight and just my luck it'd take me eight years to get to work and then the guys would be all "AAAAAaaaaaack!" and I just don't want to hear the freaking out.

Still waiting on the downloading. In fact, I'm giving up and burning a cd instead of screwing with my stupid memory stick.

I'd like to take this time wish myself a happy three year blogiversary! I was trying to get to the 300 post mark by the 3 year anniversary, but this post marks my 296th. Still pretty impressive, I think. I'm patting myself on the back right now.

I still am going to talk about Christmas with kids and all that, but right now I have to go home and make dinner for said kids.

I'm not going to re-read this because I'm afraid I'll be like "not going to post -- too disjointed and boooooring". So enjoy!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Being a parent is hard: Part bazillion

This is not a complaint, but merely a statement. Being a parent is hard.

The newest hard part of parenting is the sick child. Abby has had a fever for the past 3 days (Chris took her to the doctor today, who said she probably just has a virus. Helpful.) and so even though it's her mom's week to have the girls, we have kept Abby because we can stay home with her. Since Chris' ex tends to go through jobs like some people go through underwear, she doesn't have any sick time accrued at her current job, therefore can't stay home with a sick child. So we have just kept her so that she doesn't have to wake up early at mommy's and come to our house - she can just sleep as long as she wants to.

This of course does not mean that WE get to sleep as long as we want to. Monday night, Chris slept in a different bed because Abby slept with me - she had spent most of the day laying on me on the couch and wasn't about to relinquish the snuggles to Daddy. I worked yesterday morning and Chris worked in the afternoon. Then last night Chris put Abby on the floor next to our bed after she fell asleep next to me, which lasted about two hours until a little voice said "Amber, I'm not comferbul on da flor." So she slept in between us for another couple of hours until she woke up again and asked for the cold "wafclof" for her hot forehead, and then she couldn't get "comferbul" again, and I took her temperature and it was almost 104 and I was all worried and I laid there worrying for an hour until she finally settled down and her temp went down to 100. It was my turn to sleep later this morning and work in the afternoon, so I at least got a little sleep. Very little, but better than nothing.

Again, not complaining. Because even though I hate for her to be sick, I love to spend time with my little baby snuggling on me and laying next to me in bed while I read a magazine, spelling out every headline until she falls asleep. Kids are funny. And totally cute. And exhausting. And adorable and worth all the other stuff.

Anyway, I should probably stop procrastinating and get some work done. Tomorrow I'll tell you all about why parenting is way cool, especially at Christmas.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Giving Thanks

Ok, so I realize that Thanksgiving was like 4 days ago, but that doesn't make me any less thankful for the things I have - it just makes me a litle late in verbalizing the thankfulness is all. So, without further ado, I bring you "The Things I am Thankful For".

Chris - I seriously could not ask for someone better to spend my life with. If you've read this blog for any length of time (pre-Chris, of course) you might remember some of the dismal dating escapades I've endured, and believe me, there were many prior to that. If I knew that the result of all of those would be Chris, well, I would do it all again. He is everything I had on my mental list and more. He makes me laugh and he listens to me and he cares about me and he takes care of me. He's a great dad and a great man - I always know he appreciates me and he does stuff around the house and he's the best snuggler. My mom has said "you can tell Chris really loves you" - and he does - I never doubt that. I think about how when I found out that he was going through a divorce, I almost didn't take a chance on him. I didn't want to go through the pain of another Not Boyfriend. But, since I'm not known for my good sense when it comes to things like that, I ignored the prospect of a repeat performance and jumped in with Chris. I have never been so happy that I ignored the safe road and barreled down the unknown path, because having him in my life has shown me what loving and being loved by "The One" truly is.

Riley & Abby - Being a parent is a hard thing in itself, but being a parent to kids who are already 8 and 4 years into their lives is harder. BUT, I am thankful for my girls. I'm thankful that they are sweet and smart and that they have accepted me into their lives as part of their family. I am thankful that I don't have to fight the battle of kids who harbor the illusion of mommy and daddy getting back together and see me as an obstacle to that. I am thankful for hugs and kisses and my baby who wants to be with me from the minute I get home until she goes to sleep. I am thankful for funny things they say, and the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of people who are not yet cynical and for who so much is new and wonderful and interesting. I am thankful for my little family.

My parents and my brother - I am always thankful for my family. I hope I can be the kind of parent that my parents are to me. They never stop being willing to help and I always feel loved. I talk to my mom at least once a day and it is great to have her to listen to me freak out and give me advice on being a mom. I don't talk to my dad as much, but that's because he's a guy and doesn't need to talk to me 85 times a day. But both of my parents are awesome and they have not only accepted Chris as part of our family, but have totally embraced the girls and love them. I am thankful that I get to see what amazing grandparents my parents are - because they TOTALLY ARE. I am thankful for my brother and that I get to see him grow up and achieve a lot of really cool stuff. I am thankful that whenever I talk to him on the phone, he always says "I love you" before he hangs up. I am thankful for my family.

My friends - I have often said that I have the best friends in the world, and I am reminded every day that I really do. I have a circle of people in my life who care about me and love me and take great care of me. I have a life full of memories and history with amazing people. I have more love and support in my life than I could ever repay, and for that I am infinitely thankful.

I am thankful for my life and all of the people and things in it that make every day an enormous blessing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Short Attention Span Post

Well gosh, has it been two weeks since we last talked? Yes? Sorry about that. Life has been kicking my ass, but I think I've finally got it in some sort of reverse half-nelson (or other such fancy wrestling move) and might be able to twist it into submission sometime at the end of this week.

Work has been insanely busy, which means that I sit at my desk all day typing and designing and printing while people keep coming up and asking me for stuff. Or calling and asking me for stuff. However, I think things are going to slow down considerably after this week, at which point I will have a normal paced day, instead of the kind where you look at the time thinking "oh, it's like 2:30" and really it's 4:30.

I moved, thanks to the ass-busting hard work of Chris and Karen's husband John. Poor John - he's sort of screwed two ways when it comes to stuff like this - not only is he my friend from high school and Karen's husband (which of course means he sort of married all of us too), but he and Chris are also work pals (Karen and I call them "work spouses" because they totally act like an old married couple) so there was no getting out of it for him. But both were extremely good natured and patient with the ridiculous amount of stuff I have. John asked me at one point "are you sure you live alone?" Yeah. You wouldn't know it from the tons of boxes and bags they packed into the truck. And John's truck. And my mom's mini van. I also kept them stocked up on beer, so that helped.

So now the two front rooms of our house are full of boxes. I have mostly gotten all of the bags unpacked - pillows and bedding and clothes and the like. We spent pretty much all of yesterday working on rearranging the girls' rooms. The first thing we did last weekend was to set up the loft with my couch and t.v. so that the girls had their own play area. They love it. We hardly ever see them.

So that's pretty much it. Lots of unpacking and rearranging. I'm still having a hard time adjusting to the fact that I live there now. I keep feeling like I need to go home or something. But then again, it's only been a week. I love it though. I'm happy to live with Chris and when we have the girls it's a fun little family.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Update du jour

Hi there! I just thought I'd say hi real quick, because I have a short break from the smackdown being laid on me by both work and home. Nothing drastic -- just busy. Insanely busy at work + remodeling + more moving = Are you kidding me with this? I'm moving offices today and so as if I haven't had enough of the packing, I have to do it at work as well. My boss said something about how fast I packed, and I was like "Yes, well, I've been practicing at home."

Last night I finished packing up the second bedroom -- I still have some minor things to do in there, but the millions of books and piles of papers are packed. Well, the books are packed. The piles of paper were shredded - I suppose it's not necessary to keep electric bills from the last two places you lived prior to buying your house. Or insurance information on cars you don't own. As a result, I have a large trash bag full of shredded paper. It was very satisfying.

I got the cats declawed, which was a very tramatizing experience for everyone. We made it through, thanks to Auntie Dr. Karen, pain medicine (for the cats), and a lot of pathetic gimping around the house (also the cats), which resulted in a lot of guilt (me) and subsequent getting nothing done because I had to hold the druggy Baby Kitty. The Booger wasn't in pain, just seriously disgruntled and seemingly unaffected by the "narcotic" effect of the pain medicine. His annoyance was compounded further after he managed to get one bandage off of his foot and the other one half off, and instead of claiming victory, he was thwarted by Auntie Dr. Karen and her sticky bandages of doom.

Anyway, I suppose I should go back to work. So that I can move after lunch, unpack, and then go home and pack some more. There are two things that make this sort of ok. One is that since I work in an office full of guys, I won't have to actually carry anything in the move. And two, I hired a cleaning lady to come on Saturday afternoon and clean the house after all the stuff is moved out so that I don't have to spend Sunday doing that. And the bonus third thing is that I can have wine while packing and unpacking at home.

See? It all works out.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Move it or lose it.

Moving SUCKS.

As far as I know, no one likes to move. If there's anyone out there who does, come on over and pack my house up for me, will you? Because I'm about 1/20th done, and I want to stop right now.

I'm overwhelmed. I cleaned out the closet in my bedroom and gave away 4 trash bags full of clothes. The closet in the second bedroom yielded another trash bag of stuff to give away, and at least one bag of just stuff to toss. I cleaned out the closet in the bathroom (another bag of stuff to toss), and that's ready to go. I cleaned out the junk drawers in the kitchen and got rid of all the excess junk, expired vitamins and prescriptions (yet another bag of stuff to throw away). When I think about it, there's not that much that needs to actually be packed -- but then I LOOK at it, and I have a ton of stuff that needs to be packed.

I hate moving. I hate packing. Unpacking is better, but not by much.

Next up is the filing cabinet full of bills and statements from the past 5 or so years. I'm shredding a bunch of that stuff and getting it out of the house. Then I'm packing up the bookshelves, getting rid of a ton of books in the process.

I'm looking forward to the day when I can actually pack some stuff, instead of either throwing it away or giving it away. I have to get my act together well before November 10th -- that's moving truck day and my goal is to have the house emptied of everything but furniture.

Wish me luck. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Working and sleeping are totally overrated

Why I'm not working: Because I, like 85 brazillion other people, am online NOT getting World Series tickets. Not for me, mind you, but because the boss wanted as many of us as possible to get online and buy tickets. I spent most of yesterday also not working, for the same reason. Clearly whoever assured everyone (multiple times) that whatever stupid company is running this clusterfuck had the servers to accomodate the traffic had their heads up their ass.

Why I'm not working part deux: Because I'm writing this entry - duh.

Why I'm not sleeping: Well, I didn't sleep much on Saturday night, because Chris was out of town and so it was just me and the girls. This is obviously totally fine with me, as we always have fun. And we did, except for when Abby accidentally shut the garage door on Riley's head. It sounds worse (and more complicated) than it actually was - they were playing with a bouncy ball in the garage with the door partially up. Bouncy ball escaped, Riley went after it, Abby tried to help by making the door go up, not realizing it would go down first, door caught Riley and Abby hit the button again, averting horrible injury. There was some hysterical crying (on Riley's part) and some hiding in the garage (on Abby's part) before everyone got it together again. Riley was fine, and the crying was mostly fear vs. actual injury, but that did not stop me from googling "symptoms of a concussion" and making sure that she didn't have any of them. She didn't, which of course did not stop me from getting up a couple of times in the night to make sure she was still breathing, as I have seen enough CSI episodes involving seemingly innocuous head injuries that end in death to make me paranoid. On top of that, Abby was sleeping with me, and spent a lot of the night having bad dreams, which involves tossing, turning, whimpering, talking in her sleep, and hogging the bed. Good times. All culminating in my having to get them ready for their mom to pick them up, which is less about getting THEM ready and more about getting ME ready - mentally. It was fine - we were very civil (as I have met her quickly once before) and chatted amiably for a few minutes before she left. I told her about the garage door incident, and she seemed wholly unconcerned. This may change when she talks to Chris and tells him that I'm obviously unfit to be alone with the girls. Hey, he asked her if she wanted to have them for the weekend and her answer was "Can't Amber take them?"(I know, right?), so I say it's on her. Because in my defense, I can't possibly hover over them at all times during the day and kids are bound to do stupid things. Right? Anyway. I also wondered if she was weirded out ringing the doorbell at the house she used to live?

Why I'm not sleeping part deux: Because I'm moving to Castle Rock in 3 weeks. It's not the moving there that makes me lose sleep, it's the fact that I have so much to do at my condo before I move. I found a family who wants to rent it for a year, and they are moving in on November 15. This is all very awesome, because they're renting for my asking price, they seem stable and rent-paying, and also have lived in their other place for six years. AND they want to rent for a year, which makes me happy because I don't have to search for renters at random. All good signs. But I can't help but wake up in the middle of the night and think about all of the stupid packing I have to do. And the cleaning. I hate moving so very much.

And that, my friends, is why I'm yawning up a storm and wishing that I could take a nap. I suppose I could, as I sit here and wait to NOT buy tickets.

Friday, October 19, 2007

There are no secrets here

A conversation I had with Abby this morning:

Abby: "This is your middle finger. If you stick it up by itself, it means you're saying a bad word"

Amber: "You're right. Let's not do that."

Abby: "Riley did that one time."

Amber: "Did she get in trouble?"

Abby: "Yes. But don't tell Riley I told you. It's a secret."

Amber: "Ok. I won't tell her."

Abby: "But you can tell the people at your work."


After further conversation, it was established that I could also tell Chris and my mom and dad. Apparently, the only person it's a secret from is Riley.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

These are days to remember

Chris worked late last night, so I picked up the ladies from school, and we went home. As I chopped cucumbers and carrots to dip in salad dressing (for those who didn't want asparagus) the girls colored and did homework, asking me how to spell words and telling me about school that day. Once that was done, they ran outside to ride their bikes in the crisp evening, raking leaves at the neighbor's house and jumping in the pile. They came back in as it got dark, and sat down for dinner, washed their hands with no complaints and no faking and tummies growling from hunger and the smell of roasted turkey that filled the kitchen. The three of us ate dinner together and chatted some more. After dinner, we baked cookies and played chess until it was t.v.time. At bedtime, Abby and I did our nighttime ritual of my stroking her face (but only me, because daddy doesn't do it right) until she drifted off to sleep. I tiptoed in Riley's room, kissed her goodnight, and went downstairs. I snuggled up with Chris and watched "SVU" and we called it a night.

I know not all days can go like this, but it reminded me of when I was a little kid and how my house used to be. I was a happy kid and I want that for the girls. When they're with us, I want them to know that they're at HOME. Where we cook dinner and bake stuff and eat together and we have bedtime rituals and family time and stuff we do to make their little lives less hectic and more stable. Sometimes it may take a little more frustration and patience than I have at that moment, but it's important enough to me to keep trying. Days like yesterday remind me that it's all worth it in the end.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Kid Fears

I was listening to the radio the other day and they had one of those "dream doctors" on who will interpret your dreams. I wanted to call, but figured I'd just listen and see what other people called in about. Sure enough, someone called and said they had dreams of being chased by people. I ALWAYS have those dreams. Creepy people, murderers -- they've all shown up in my dreams.

According to the dream interpreter, being chased means that you're trying to let go of something and having a hard time with that. You're struggling with letting go, and it's chasing you. This made a ton of sense to me when I thought about the time frame that I'd been having a lot of chasing nightmares - like every night. They started right about the time that I started spending time with Chris' kids.

I can't remember if I said this on the blog or if I said it a lot in my head and never really out loud, but as much as I love Chris' kids, I did have a hard time at first. Not because I didn't like them or because they were bad kids -- I loved them right away and they are really good kids. Not because I didn't want to be with someone who already has kids or because I didn't want to be a mom -- the first one has never bothered me and the second one, well, if you know me AT ALL, you know I've always wanted to be a mom.

What it was was the suddenness of it all. I went from being a single person to having a boyfriend, which is a big enough transition. We dated for four months before I ever met the girls, so I at least had time to get a little bit used to being part of a pair. Then we added two more people to the equation -- and not just any people. LITTLE people. Who need lots of attention and care. So then I had to get used to being part of a family. To being a mom figure who has to think about what to feed these small people and how to get them to stay in bed and then get up in the morning and how to amuse them all day and teach them things and holy crap I need a drink but then again I suppose getting wasted in front of them isn't the sort of thing I need to teach them.

So I started having chase dreams. Because I was trying to let go of the idea that I only had to care about me (and of course the cats, but seriously, I have low maintenance pets for a reason) and all of the sudden I had to take into account things that affect the small people. I seriously think I was being chased by my single life. And maybe my independence and selfishness and the quiet evenings alone in the house. Pretty much I was being chased by the things that have been my life for the past five years - living alone on my own terms with no one to answer to but myself. And sometimes my mom, but that's a whole other post. Anyway.

I spent a lot of time being afraid that I was losing myself -- that I wasn't "fun" Amber anymore, but that I'd been taken over by "mom" Amber, who is considerably less fun because of the way she makes people eat their vegetables and not drink pop all the time and to go to bed at a reasonable hour. That all I had to talk about was the girls and what they said and did and how I didn't want to be that person because I used to be so BORED by those people and also? Your kids are never as funny to everyone else as they are to you. It's a fact, I know it, and yet? I STILL can't help myself. And because of all of those things, I was afraid that I'd be phased out by my friends who didn't have kids.

That was my biggest fear -- my best friends have been my best friends for 16 years, and in one case, 25 years. If I lost that, I'd be devastated. Apparently my mind glossed over the fact that we've been friends this long for a reason and I wasn't going to be phased out. I mean, they had a million other chances to phase me out - when we were much younger and stupider and fought more. I finally got up the courage to tell them my fears, and they said (I'm paraphrasing here) "You're an idiot. OF COURSE you won't get phased out." Whew. That was a relief.

So now more time has passed and I no longer have the chase dreams. At least not nearly as often as I did before. I have my mom to tell all the mom-related stuff to, not only because she is a mom (and a good one!) but also because she spends a lot of time with the girls and knows their personalities. And as their pretty-much-grandma, she finds the things they do to be as funny as I do, because really, that's her job now. I have my friends to talk about some kid stuff, but also the multitude of other stuff we can come up with. I'm still not totally comfortable in the realm of mom, but I'm feeling better as I learn more. It's not easy for the kids to have two different houses and two sets of rules and so right now our biggest job is establishing routines and creating stability. Also not easy, but TOTALLY worth it in the end. Because seriously, how cute are these small people?



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Boring entry about my love of decorating.

I love to decorate. I love to choose colors for rooms in the house, I love to pick out matching accessories, I love to find the rug that really pulls the room together.*

When I got my condo three years ago, I was thrilled, because since I owned it, I could paint and hang curtains and pictures -- all to my little decorator heart's content. And I did. You may remember how I agonized over what shade of beige to paint my living room -- thank god my aunt swooped in and informed me that we were painting it yellow before my head exploded. I have the "accent wall" in a brick red, and my aunt chose the perfect shade of yellow that wasn't too lemony and yet not so light it was almost - ack - beige. If you haven't seen the pictures of my house post-painting, look here.

The first room I painted was the guest bedroom -- I painted it "cabernet" and decorated it with black and white accents. It wasn't a highly visible room, and so I was able to take a color risk and paint it a darker color than I generally would have otherwise. Then, when the girls started staying at the house, we decided to make it into a bedroom for them.
So there it was -- three rooms I could decorate. And now? I have like 10. I haven't moved to Chris' house yet, but hopefully that will happen before the end of October (here's where I would make a snide comment about his money-grubbing ex, but I will not because we're talking about DECORATING. Ahem).

I also may have mentioned how Abby's room was not decorated at all -- nothing on the walls, no shelves, no paint, nothing. So I decided I'd do her room first -- it's a garden theme. I spent Saturday with her picking out paint and accessories (I already got her bedspread -- it's called "happy flowers") and luckily she's an easy kid to shop with, because she picked out a lovely almost flourescent green, but pretty much didn't care when I said no. I instead painted one wall "Bibbidi Bobbidi Blue" which you may figure out is a Disney color, and sponge painted on white clouds so it looks like a sky. Along the bottom of the wall, we're hanging a white picket fence and putting silk daisies behind the fence so it looks like a garden with flowers. I put little painted wood bees and ladybugs and dragonflies and butterflies on the wall so it looks like they're flying around the sky. She LOVES it. And I have to say, it looks adorable. I love when the project turns out like I envisioned it would. I'll post pictures next week.

Next up - Riley's room. She's getting the bunk bed and bedding from their room at my house, so it will be a couple of shades of purple and also a pale green. After that, I have our room, our bathroom, the guest room, the kids' play loft, the dining room, the kitchen, the living room. Oh the painting to be done. But I am SO EXCITED to have an actual house to decorate. A BIG house. And because Chris is a sweetie, whenever I tell him what I'm planning for one room or another, he says "whatever you want". Aww. Poor guy has no idea how much painting he's going to be doing in the very near future...

*You will not get this unless you are familiar with one of the best movies ever "The Big Lebowski".

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes

The angry pterodactyl showed up again this morning. The NAKED angry pterodactyl. You know, the one who kicks and kicks so that you can't get their underpants on and then if you accidentally get them on by some stroke of luck, well, the angry pterodactyl will take care of THAT thank you very much and take them off and throw them. Then, when the angry, nay FURIOUS pterodactyl is hustled up to her bedroom to cool off, there is a lot of door slamming and full on screaming.


Five minutes later, she returns. Except I'm not sure it's actually the one that was sent upstairs. Because this one lets me dress her and she even laughs. She chats away and lets me brush her hair and kisses me goodbye. "Have a great day, Dr. Jekyll!" I say as she leaves. And then I go upstairs and look for the portal to the alternate dimension where I'm SURE the angry pterodactyl is hovering, waiting for the moment when there will be evil panties to avoid once again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Foot-BLAH

As some of you might know, I LOVE fall. And since it is rapidly approaching, I’m thrilled. It reminds me of good things. Plus, I just love the crisp air and warmer clothes and changing leaves and pumpkin carving and hot cider. Fall + Amber = Love.

Last year in the fall, Chris and I started dating. Here's an example of last year vs. now.

2006: Chris and I would watch football while waiting for dinner in the crock pot to be done. We'd laugh and drink beer and be that newly dating couple whose main interest is the other person. I'd nap on the couch while he cheered on the team. There'd be a fire in the fireplace and fleece blankies. There might have even been some angels singing. Oh, love in the early stages. So sweet.

2007: I’ve pretty much had it with football already. I like to watch Bronco games, but that’s just the one game – a couple of hours and you’re done. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure on fantasy football. That means all football all the time, and when he's not watching the games, he's monitoring the fantasy site on the internet to make sure he's winning. Here is what was most certainly a very loving conversation we had Sunday evening, post-football.

Chris: “I’m BORED. Can we watch a movie?”
Amber: “I don’t feel like watching a movie. I’m watching Law and Order.”
Chris: “But you just watched Law and Order. Isn’t it over?”
Amber: “Yes, but it’s Sunday night – it’s on ALL NIGHT.”
Chris: “All night? Humph.”
Amber: “Humph? Really? Coming from the guy who watched football ALL DAY?”
Chris: “I did not watch football all day. We watched the Bronco game, which was a couple of hours, and then we watched Law and Order.”
Amber: “Were you in a time warp? We turned on football at 10:30 this morning, watched the Bronco game and about 90 brazillion other games, and turned on Law and Order – at FIVE THIRTY. That’s a good 7 hours of football. I’ve watched my show for one hour."

Chris: "Really? Huh. I wonder if I'm still ahead in fantasy..."

So yes, things might be different this year, but it doesn't diminish the fact that I still love watching football with Chris. If it's just the one game and also if he's actually sitting next to me on the couch instead of in front of his computer. I love him, even if he is obsessed. He's a guy -- I expect that. I'm crossing my fingers for next week though! Let's hope for just one game and actual sitting next to each other!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Things I've learned...

…now that I’m a “parent”.

Turns out, dinosaurs aren’t actually extinct. They’ve simply been reincarnated in the form of children. For example, the shrieks of a four-year-old being woken up at 6:30 a.m. sound JUST LIKE what I believe a very angry pterodactyl sounded like. And I’ve had plenty of opportunities to witness this. Probably TOO many.

If you’re in the middle of say, Act I of “The Little Mermaid” and aforementioned four-year-old has to go to the bathroom, don’t panic. Don’t think about all of the OTHER shows you’ve been to and the inevitable loooong lines you’ve stood in during the intermission potty break. Reason that maybe some nice women would let you take the small child to the front of the line, but then remember that you’re at “The Little Mermaid” – you’re probably not the only one with an impending pee emergency. Simply check to see what the last song is before the lights go up for intermission, and begin channeling your inner linebacker. When the lights go up, shoot up from your seat, hustle the child to the end of the row and walk as quickly as possible to the nearest restroom. Turns out, if you’re good (like I totally am) you’ll not only get there first, but be able to use the handicapped stall, where it is much easier to supervise AND go to the bathroom yourself, after asking the child to please not open the door until your pants are buttoned. Not that that has happened before. Repeatedly.

I used to be that person who would hear a child screaming in Target and think to myself “If that were me, I would just leave”. Turns out, I wouldn’t. What I WOULD do is sort of bribe the kid to be quiet because gah, we just got here and I haven’t gotten anything on my list and I just don’t want to turn right back around and go home.

As soon as children get into the grocery store, it’s as if they are a starving, malnourished child from a 3rd world country who must have absolutely everything they see. Man, do I ever get tired of saying no. But simply not answering…I can get on board with that.

You might as well never vow to yourself “I will NOT be like my mother” because it is going to happen whether you want it to or not. As we get older it happens, and with kids, it balloons out of control. I’ve heard.

The Fair Police is the most annoying phenomenon EVER. If I have to hear “well she got more than me” or “she didn’t have to do as much as me” or what is quite possibly ONE KAJILLION other incarnations of that same sort of thing, I will scream. See: angry pterodactyl.

Sometimes taking away t.v. is more punishment for the parents than the kids. But you have to stick to your guns, even though what you’d rather do is shoot yourself for taking away t.v. in the first place – not that it’s a babysitter, per se, but sometimes it’s nice to have a break from the bickering or the stuff you told them not to do because it’s dangerous and they do it anyway and then there’s a lot of crying. Plus, I like to watch “Drake and Josh”.

Kids are like snowflakes – no two are alike. They could be related, they could be sweet, they could be many things. But they will most certainly react completely differently to every situation. Turns out, some kids laugh when you call them Poutyface Whinypants and others turn into Tantrum McScreamy because you’ve hurt their feelings, by god.

There’s more. Trying to teach kids manners and behavior is HARD. But in the grand scheme of it all, that pain in the ass stuff often falls by the wayside. Because there’s the time – like today - when they’re in Portland with Chris and Riley calls because she misses me. Or when it’s just Abby and I, and she of the never wanting to go to bed gets into bed with me, snuggles up to me and goes right to sleep. I remember those moments a lot more because I know that there’s going to be a day when they don’t want to snuggle or talk to us or tell us every miniscule detail about everything. So I guess I can endure the occasional pterodactyl/starving orphan/selectively deaf moments. But not the Fair Police. I draw the line there.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Of illness and Marilyn Manson

I never thought I'd say the words "I watched a Marilyn Manson concert in it's entirety" but guess what? I watched a Marilyn Manson concert in it's entirety.

Chris and I were with some friends from work on Saturday night, and because we're all very dedicated to our jobs (or something) at the request of a client, we had to go check on the security situation at a jobsite near the concert. Those crazy-ass whippersnappers were climbing places that they shouldn't in order to get a gander at Mr. Manson - for free - and so we had to go make sure none of those idiots broke their necks on our jobsite. The six of us piled into a Tahoe to head out there and make sure our hired security guns were doing their jobs. As it turned out, they were, although the security guys were maybe 12. But they seemed to have things under control. We went up to the 13th floor of the building to make sure that the alleged sightings of teenagers climbing around where there aren't any actual WALLS yet were not in fact accurate, which they weren't. While we were there though, I realized that I have developed a sort of wicked fear of heights. Although I think I can attribute that to the fact that standing that high above the ground and looking down without the comfort of walls or windows might make anyone a little scared of heights. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, we ended up going to the roof of a parking garage and watching the concert from there. Let me just say that I enjoy a concert just as much as the next person, maybe more, but boy was I glad not to actually be inside the venue. It was LOUD and also Marilyn Manson screams a lot. I am baffled that he still has a voice at all -- we were speculating that he HAS to have some sort of polyps on his vocal cords by now. Also we were amazed that the graphics he shows on the screen behind him were even allowed, especially all the drug-promoting ones during "The Dope Show". We then discussed our gout and how the impending change in season will most definitely have an adverse effect on our arthritis. Ha -- no we didn't, but seriously, when I was recounting the conversation I felt like we were elderly and whatnot. Those damn kids and their devil music.
After the concert, we headed out, while loudly ridiculing the outfits of the kids coming out of the concert - with the windows of the truck rolled down - because they were all so oblivious to us anyway. Especially the ones laying passed out in the grass -- they totally couldn't hear us.

On the way back to our friends' house, we stopped at a wine bar and proceeded to hang out until closing. Late enough? Of course not. One of the guys decided that 2:30 a.m. is a GREAT time to play poker, even though half of us had never played. Finally, Chris and I left and drove home -- a loooong way - and got to bed around 3:30 a.m. Seriously, I am STILL tired. Why why why am I so old that one night of staying up almost all night affects me for like a week? Sigh. Oh well -- it was worth it. We had a blast.

As far as illness, well, I realized last night that I think I actually have a genuine sickness. I believe the official name is latin or something, but translated, it means I have a difficult time leaving the little girls department of any store without buying one meeeellion dollars worth of clothes for the girls. I was shopping for outfits for the ladies for this weekend -- we're going to go see "The Little Mermaid" Broadway show on Saturday -- and I had to keep putting stuff back because let's be realistic here. I have to pay my mortgage and I think the bank frowns on excuses involving my inability to pass up adorable toddler clothing. I'm a sad, sad girl.

In other EVEN MORE trivial news, I realized today that I use song titles or lines from songs as post titles kind of a lot. 14% of the time, in fact. Yes, go ahead and say it -- nerd terror alert has been upgraded to a lovely shade of yellowy-orange. Like a delicious summer nectarine.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Totally sap-tastic

Ok, so another one of my youth group kids has graduated and is leaving for college in Minnesota tomorrow. I mean, every year a few of them graduate, but each year it seems that there is one really special one. This year it's Margo -- one of THE coolest girls I've ever met. She's beautiful and fun and athletic and smart, and one of those girls who is up for anything. She doesn't worry about her hair or whether she'll look perfect -- if it sounds fun, she'll do it. She's totally loyal and a great friend -- she's thoughtful and remembers things about people she cares about. For instance, every year she visits family in Pelican Bay, and she always brings me something pelican-related back from there. Because as everone who knows me knows, I like pelicans.

Anyway, I decided I'd get pictures together from the last 4 years of trips together and make her a collage frame. I was at the craft store in the scrapbooking aisle finding cool stuff to put on the frame -- quotes about friends and things like that -- and I found myself getting all teary. A lot. I'd be like "oh, THAT will look SO COOL on the frame *sniffle*. I think she'll really like this *SNIFFLE*. COME ON. HOLD IT TOGETHER." So I managed to get all my supplies and I finished the frame last night. It is SO. AWESOME. Behold:

Now all I have to do is not totally lose it when I see her tonight to give her the frame and say goodbye. I know me, and I know that my odds? Are not good. I'll miss my girl.
In other news, I keep noticing that Abby and Riley are getting bigger. Last night I took Abby to get a present because she slept in her own bedroom for the first time EVER on Sunday night. I was so proud of her. So we're walking around Target, and the kid keeps READING things. I mean, it wasn't the cover of US Weekly (thank God -- can you imagine a 4 year old saying "What does 'My Twisted Night With Britney' mean?") but it was a word here and there nonetheless. She was sitting on my lap last night and I noticed how long her legs were, and then I saw her writing up a storm -- she used to only be able to write her own name, but now she can write mine and her sister's. *SNIFFLE*. My little monkey baby is growing up. As for Riley, well, she put on a pair of pants today and I was like "Um, you realize that those are waaaaaaay too short for you, right?" She did, but she just rolled them up into capris. Obviously they've been growing all along, but it seems to have snuck up on me. So ends the "mom" portion of this post.
Let's see, what else. We watched "Disturbia" the other night, and it was not stupid like I assumed it would be. Because I always assume all of the horror movies coming out are going to be stupid. It was similar to "Rear Window" which is my favorite Hitchcock movie, so I liked it. I wasn't as a big of a fan in the middle of the night when I had a bad dream (surprise, surprise) and developed a fear of the dark. I soldiered through it though.
Speaking of dreams, last night I dreamt that I had a meth problem.
Ok, since this entry is pretty boring, I'm going to take a page from Sundry and ask you: tell me your favorite or best story about a celebrity you saw or chatted with. I love stories like that.
Do it -- don't make me come after you!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dream On

I need to keep a dream analyst on retainer. Here are just a sampling of the elements of my dreams from this weekend:

-- I was looking for a vase – the perfect vase – at Wal-Mart, while simultaneously trying to avoid a creepy guy following me. He chased me to my mom’s and she protected me from him. My brother was there, only he was a little boy again. And I never did find that vase.

-- I saw a mirror fall off the wall in my mom’s room and crack in a bunch of places.

-- It was night and I was with someone (I don’t know who) trying to steal a key and break into a safe in an elementary school temporary building, but realized that we had turned on the lights and Snape would be able to see that from his room and come and catch us. We were running out of the temp when I realized that we left the key in the door of the safe, so we went back to return it to the desk drawer where we found it and were caught by my 7th grade science teacher. He was disappointed in me.

-- Remember that flying thing that Atreyu and Bastian ride in “The Neverending Story”? Falcor? I was riding him in one of my dreams – underwater. Only apparently he was a water buffalo.

-- The place that I was riding Falcor was cool – I was there with a bunch of the youth group kids and we were all in this HUGE, really deep lake. It was in this canyon, and we were surrounded on all sides by high rocky cliffs. The water was black, until Falcor swam underwater, and then it was clear.

-- People who appeared in my dream: P.I.C.; about four people from high school that I never even liked; the son of one of my dad’s high school friends; many of the youth group kids; and a bunch of random people, some I knew and some I didn’t.

-- I was at camp, at church, at Wal-Mart, at a lake, at my mom’s, at a school temp building, at a weird place that was a mix between the balcony of a theater and a school, Walgreens, my parents’ garage and also it was snowing in August

-- There was betrayal and judgment and failure and loyalty and fear. Like what might constitute a pretty good book, only so jumbled up that it would only sell to crazy people.

-- I was at some event and I wanted a roast beef sandwich, but all that was left was lamb and some other pretty gross looking sandwiches. I hate when that happens.

-- Chris told me that he wasn’t coming over to my house because we only got along 63% of the time when we were alone. I made him feel pretty bad about that when I woke up this morning.

So yes. This is what happens when I sleep. Friday night I woke up from the stalker dream and I was laying on my back with my teeth and my fists clenched. Ahhh, restful sleep. No wonder I’m always tired. Stupid brain.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

An entry that pretty much makes no sense

I was eating a sandwich today, and I had a total flashback to the summer after my freshman year of college. Weird, right? Allow me to 'splain.

The summer after my freshman and sophomore years in college, I worked at a flower nursery -- I was the watering girl. All this required was that I walk around a humongous nursery for 8 hours a day toting a hose, listening to my walkman (yes, walkman -- it was 1995) and getting a tan. This was a great job because, well, did you just read my description? Cake. Except for when I came to work after a slight incident involving lots of champagne and thought I might die right there in the bonsai greenhouse. Hangover + Heat + Humidity = Barfing. Ahem. Rainy days meant no work, and bonuses included getting honked at by pervs driving by when I was out front and flirting with the landscape guys. I also learned the names of many flowers and whether or not they were perennials or annuals and if they were sun or shade plants. Another bonus was this little bunny that followed me around the nursery -- he was pigeon-toed because the stupid landscape guys would throw rocks at them to cripple them so the foxes would get them. Because the bunnies ate the bark off of trees. But this bunny didn't get eaten by a fox and followed me around for two years. It was pretty cute.

ANYWAY, my point is that every day for the first summer I was there, I took my lunch. It consisted of pretzels, Chips Ahoy, and a sandwich -- made with turkey, pickle and lettuce. And I was eating that exact same sandwich today and it made me think of those days. You know, when my biggest concern was what I was doing with my friends that night and maybe hey, what's mom going to make for dinner? I was also a little concerned about getting my wisdom teeth taken out, but that turned out pretty ok. My mom rented me every movie starring my crush, Chris O'Donnell (again, it was 1995) and kept me fed with pudding and refried beans. And I had tylenol with codeine. Good times.

This stream of consciousness entry brought to you by the letter P -- as in Politics, Office. And the letter S - as in Stupid (see Politics, Office) and Stress (also see Politics, Office). Sheesh.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Notey note notes

You know what? I really like work email. You know why? Because it's an awesome way for me to cover my ass. I cannot tell you how handy it is to have an email trail when someone is questioning whether or not you did your job correctly. "Of course I did what I was supposed to", I can say confidently "Here are some emails to prove it." Although I'm sure many of you already knew about the trail handiness, I just thought I'd reiterate, since I had cause to break it out yesterday.
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I always thought that when I had kids, I would want boys. Less drama, more adoration of their super cool mom. You know, important stuff like that. However, now that I have two little girls to dress and whatnot, well, I've changed my mind. I have the hardest time walking through somewhere like Target and not wanting to spend one meeeeeellion dollars on clothes for them. I had to actually go into the little girls' departments yesterday (even worse, Abby is still in toddler clothes, which of course is EVEN MORE ADORABLE) because they needed some items. The first thing I saw were plaid bermuda shorts in assorted colors with matching tops. I told myself no and I walked away. I then had to tell myself no about 4 more times because I couldn't stop looking at them. I went online today so I could post a link to the cutest capris that I bought for them, and instead, I found a pair of Curious George pajamas that I'm pretty sure Abby MUST HAVE. Because she is a little monkey. And I am an out of control freakshow.
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In other news, Janet tagged me to post 8 things about myself that people maybe don't know or might find shocking. After giving it some thought, I couldn't think of anything. Unless you count my above referenced lack of all control when it comes to dressing up the girls. I think I've regaled you with way too much information than you really needed in the past three years already -- so unless you have questions for me that beg to be answered, well, I'm just going to have to come to terms with the fact that I'm an open book. A decidedly un-shocking open book.
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In case you were wondering, if you dream about being at a pond and being chased by a bear, it means you have some aggression and are wallowing in negative emotions. I suppose that means I'm going to have to quit being so grrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRR about Chris' ex. I'll have to write more about her one day -- suffice it to say that I'm not her biggest fan. Not because of anything she and Chris have to work out -- he's a big boy and he can handle that however it works for him. I just think she's a shitty mother. And to me, if you care more about yourself than you do about your kids, there's something wrong there. That's just my opinion, and truthfully, it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. But I'm going to have to learn how to deal with her without it making me crazy, because I'm going to HAVE to deal with her for a looooong time.
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Chris and the girls and I are going to Winter Park for the weekend. My parents have a time share there, and we've been going there every year since I was a little tyke. However, this weekend, my parents won't be there -- they're coming up on Sunday to stay for the rest of the week because it's quieter during the week. Therefore, this is the first time I've been there without my mom and dad. The first time I sleep in the master bedroom, the first time I make a list of all the stuff to bring from home, the first time I'm in charge of groceries and meals. It's almost like I'm an actual grown up! I'll let you know how that foray into actual adulthood works, because clearly I don't spend a lot of time there on a regular basis.

Monday, July 23, 2007

What is WRONG with me?

Apparently I was hit with a number of different spells this weekend once I purchased the new Harry Potter book. I started reading it late yesterday afternoon and all of the sudden, it was 8 p.m. So I was like "no problem, I'll read until 9:30 or 10". And then it was "ok, I'm don'e reading at 10:30." Then "Ok, 11. 11 tops." This went on until I finally finished the damn book at 2:30 a.m. I got to sleep for 4 hours until I had to get up for work. What is wrong with me? I'll tell you what -- SOMEONE must have placed an Immobulus spell on me, along with a Confundus, an Imperturbable, probably a Petrificus Totalus, and one I just made up, the "oh my god, am I really that big of a nerdalus?" The answer is yes, Nerdalus Totalus. Although, I will say it was worth it -- it wasn't just that I wanted to finish it in order to avoid the possible spoilers sure to be all over the internet today, but I seriously could not stop reading. I talked to Beth yesterday, who read the entire thing in six straight hours (I think it took me longer, but I can't be sure because I can't remember when exactly I started reading) and she even refused to give me her opinion until I read the whole thing, so as not to ruin anything for me. Also, the whole reason she called was to tell me about the new show "Scott Baio is 45 and Single" because we also have an enduring love of all things "Charles in Charge" - related. And HYPOTHETICALLY if I were going to really cement my - and Beth's - Nerdalus Totalus status (besides using made up "spells" to describe us) I would tell you that we used to write "Charles in Charge" Lost Episodes. Hypothetically. Anyway.

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My mom was reading a book about the five senses to Abby on Saturday, and she said "Abby, what are the little hairs on your eyelid called?" and Abby said "Mustache?" And my mom and I started cracking up and my mom said "Nooo, it's eye...?" and Abby said "Eyestache?" And that was it for us.

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You might remember back almost two years ago when my little car was rear ended by a large Expedition. I got it repaired, and sort of soon after that, my trunk stopped opening. I kept forgetting to get it fixed, but since Chris and the girls and I are going away next weekend, I decided I needed to get the trunk fixed in order to be able to carry all our stuff. So my mom took it to be fixed while I was gone and Yay! It worked for about a week until Friday afternoon I went to put something in it and it wouldn't open. Unfortunately, I had stayed at Chris' the night before, and therefore my overnight bag is locked in there. Makeup, hairbrushes and product, makeup. Clearly makeup is my first priority, however, since every time I go to Sephora or Ulta I usually spend 8 million dollars, I happen to have SOME back-up cosmetics. Like a whole drawer.
Again I ask, what is wrong with me? Anyway, tomorrow I have to go lay the smackdown on the service department and get my trunk fixed hopefully for real this time.

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Ok. I suppose it's time to go fake doing work. Or more accurately, fake NOT napping.

Friday, July 20, 2007

What's my age again?

I am thrilled to be home. I really missed my boyfriend (yep, I’m THAT girl) and my little people. That is inclusive of both Chris’ girls and my cats. Chris ever so sweetly volunteered to leave me alone at my house on Saturday when I returned from Montana, knowing that I am a person who needs quiet time alone like some people need air.

My parents were supposed to pick me up from church when we got back, and instead, left my car and car key with one of the parents waiting for their children, because there was some sort of pressing engagement across town that my mom and dad had to go to. Like Bass Pro Shop. Anyway, I realized as I was driving home that while I had a car key, I had no house key. So I went to my parents’ house (I can get in THERE because I know the garage code) and called my dad’s cell from there. The conversation was wholly unproductive and also managed to turn me into a small child.

“Hey dad – maybe you guys could have left me a house key”
“Did you TELL your mom that she should leave you a house key?”
“Well, considering that the car key she gave me was off of my keychain AT MY HOUSE, I guess I figured she’d go ahead and do that.”
“Well, you’ll just have to wait until we get home”
“Well when will that be?”
“About an hour and a half. We’re going to have lunch.”
(cue tears)
“But I want to go hooooooooome!”
“Maybe you should just take a nap”
“But I’m all dirty and sweaaaaaaatyyyyyy!”
“We have showers at our house”
“But I don’t have any clean clooooooooothes!”
“Too bad. You’ll just have to wait.”

I was pretty mad at my dad. So I thought to myself “maybe I WILL take a nap. On HIS side of the bed with my FEET on his PILLOW.” Because being at camp creates the absolute dirtiest feet ever, and the daily shower seemed to not do anything noticeable to fix that. Plus, there were no showers to be taken Saturday morning because we all wanted to get on the road. No showers+14 people in the van+95 degrees+I'm really tired= angry crying dirty person.

Anyway. I decided against that because I’m 31, not 10. Instead, I handled it like a mature 13 year old and when my parents got home (two hours later) I gave them dirty looks, didn’t say a word to either of them, and stalked angrily out of the house. Because I am nothing if not good at projecting righteous anger. Or something. Did I ever mention that I was an only child for a long time and sometimes the spoiled princess makes a surprise appearance?

Luckily, I got home, went straight to the shower and scrubbed my disgusting feet and took a nap. In clean clothes. And then, all was right with the world. Because I had a Corona with dinner.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

On a brief hiatus from teenagers

So I'm back for a limited time -- until Saturday, specifically -- at which time I head off for camp in Montana. Yay! Camp!

New Mexico was really f*&%ing hot. Nice language for describing a church trip, right? Actually, it wasn't as bad as all that. In fact, it was like staying at the Four Seasons, compared to previous years spent in Juarez. We were on the campus of what used to be a boarding school, but is now just a regular private school. And when I say private school, I'm not talking fancy like say, Hogwarts. Although wouldn't THAT have been an awesome place to do fix-ups? Yes. Anyway. It's a lower priced private school that is essentialy the one place where kids from that area can go to help keep them from the extremely dangerous public school environment -- and I say that without an ounce of sarcasm. Meth is a huge problem there, and the school is getting broken into constantly by druggies looking for stuff to sell for drugs. There were two break-ins while we were there, if that tells you anything. Another telling item was the sign in the cafeteria that said "Celebrate Survival". I don't know a lot of cafeterias that have that -- the sign had little handwritten notes on it from kids who had lost siblings to violence. Sad. But, the school provides a lot of opportunities for the kids, including sports and tons of scholarships, and most importantly, a safe place to get a good education.

We had an entire wing of a dorm to ourselves, complete with actual beds with actual mattresses and -- get this -- showers. Not just a cinderblock building with spigots coming out of the walls, or bathroom stalls with shower curtains, but actual real bathtubs and not only that? We had our own bathrooms attached to our rooms. We each had one roommate and two suitemates, and it was great! Air conditioning was not one of the amenities, but that was ok -- it was plush by mission trip standards.

As for the work, we spent the first three days tearing up a hardwood gym floor (that had been installed in 1932) and the last couple days doing outside grounds cleanup type work. I got to run a Skilsaw for the first time -- and not just your normal use-around-the-house saw, but the industrial type. I had to call my dad and tell him. I was pretty proud. I love using power tools, and mission trips are a great way to learn how to use them without ruining something expensive or important in your own house.

The staff at the school loved us, because our kids (as usual) busted their asses to get whatever done that they were asked to do. The school didn't think we'd finish the floor as quickly as we did, and they kind of had to scramble everyday to keep us occupied, because things just kept getting done almost as soon as they were assigned. It always makes me proud, because a lot of times, people assume that teenagers will be lazy or mess around all the time, and that's just not our group.

It wasn't all work though -- we had two half days of work, and on those days we went to Santa Fe and Bandelier National Park. We also visited Chimayo and in the evenings, spent a lot of time hanging out playing games, doing puzzles, stuff like that. It was really good.

So. I'm happy to be home, because let me tell you -- it gets a little crowded when you're in a 15- person van with 15 people in it for 6 or so hours. And also hot. Did I mention hot? Although I will say that being home isn't much better -- it was 80 degrees at 8 this morning, and close to 100 when I go home in the afternoon. I'm not complaining though -- it could be worse. Humidity, higher temperatures, and I could be working outside or stuck in a van with stinky boys or in a place with no a/c. So I'm good.

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's that time of year again!

Yes, the annual mission trip. This year, we're going to Espanola, New Mexico to work on a school there. I would tell you more, but since we've never been there, I have no idea what exactly we'll be doing.

We leave Sunday, and I've already been getting MySpace messages and texts from the kids about how they're so excited and how fun it will be. It is going to be fun -- it always is and it's always a new adventure!

So I'll see ya when I get back!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Even the elderly enjoy the occasional concert...of the elderly

So Becki and I went to the "True Colors" tour a couple of weeks ago at lovely Red Rocks with a troupe of lovely gay boys. This worked out well, seeing as it was a sort of benefit concert for the Human Rights Campaign and for the Matthew Shepard Foundation and I would estimate that a large portion of the attendees were gay/lesbian/transgendered and/or drag queens. Please don't misunderstand my humor here for bigotry -- the aformentioned troupe of gay boys included one of my very closest friends from high school, his awesome boyfriend, and another couple of boys who I just love. And from the standpoint of people watching and just pure fun, you can't beat the crowd at this concert. More on that later.

Anyway, after the requisite unknown bands did their thing, Debbie Harry from Blondie came onstage. I was looking forward to her, sort of, because really, who doesn't like at least one Blondie song? From the 20th row, she looked pretty good. But then she started dancing. Wait, no, not dancing -- I'm pretty sure she was doing jazzercise. Do you know that she's 62? That's my parents' age -- and while I feel that my parents are pretty cool, I would NOT want to see my mom attempting to dance around on stage in a metallic silver miniskirt - which, I might add, was just one part of an ensemble including nude pantyhose and low heeled sandals. Yes, you heard me. It was painful. And to top it off, I'm pretty sure the audience could tell she was totally phoning it in, because everyone lost interest quickly and I'm also pretty sure I speak for the entire amphitheater when I say "WTF? Why did she not sing ONE Blondie song? NOT ONE." Humpf. Blondie is dead to me now.

Next up was Erasure, and of course they rocked. They sang every song I wanted -- "A Little Respect", "Chains of Love" AND "Oh L'Amour". Plus, Andy Bell is a graceful dancer. I could have totally done without the unknown bands and pseudo-Blondie and just had more Erasure.

In between each act, Margaret Cho came out and did stand up, and she was funny. Over the top and nasty, but funny. If you like that sort of thing, I highly recommend that you watch this. It's funny, and um, not safe for work or children.

Lastly, Cyndi Lauper came out and she was GREAT. Note to Blondie -- Cyndi's 54 and she looks absolutely fabulous, she dances well AND she knows enough to sing her old favorites -- I mean, she sang the "Goonies" song. She's aware that no one really cares about her new material, so she kept it to a minimum. I love her.

As for the people watching, well, how much time do you have? There was this one guy who was super skinny with very messy black hair and he was dressed in a red tank top and gold lame pants (that's "lam-ay", not "lame", althought truth be told, the pants were both). He also had shiny bronze gloves that went up to his elbows, and he was dancing around like a spazz. One of the boys with us is like "Um, just so you know, he is NOT representative of us. We're embarassed by him." Funny. There was also a guy there who looked like the typical preppy -- short blonde hair, khaki shorts, blue polo shirt, copper stiletto peep toe heels. You know, the usual.

We had a blast. Dancing and singing and laughing and people watching. It's times like that that remind me (again) how unbelievably fun and cool my friends are. SO fun and SO cool.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

First, some pictures...

...and then some words.
First, my girls -- at the Botanic Gardens, the park and the Zoo...



and my handsome boyfriend...

...and there was going to be a picture of me, but I decided to wait until I got my hair cut later today.

Anyway, the words for today consist of a small bit of news. I'm moving. Here's my house:

I have more pictures, which I will post if you so desire.

It's Chris' house, and it's pretty far away from where I live now. Which, on the one hand, really sucks, because I will no longer be two minutes from Kendra, seven minutes from Karen, and five minutes from my mom & dad. On the other hand, it works so much better for the four of us in that it's at least twice the size of my house now. I love my house, and it's perfect for one person, maybe two. But not four people and two cats. With just one t.v. I mean, I love Spongebob, but there's times when I'd really like to watch something else. The upside is that there's a yard and a place for the girls to ride their bikes, the downside is that there's no longer a pool within walking distance. Also, it's pretty much the kind of house I would have picked out. It's been for sale for a while, and we figured it'd sell and we'd get a different house somewhere in the middle. However, it hasn't sold, and so we decided we'd keep it for a while at least. The other upside is that it's 15 minutes from work, which is way better than the current 35-40 minute commute. And the main upside is that I get to live with Chris, although we basically already do -- it'll just be easier to live together in just one house.

So yes. That's the news for now. Stay tuned for the tale of Becki and I's recent concert experience. Fun times.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Aw, who am I kidding?

I thought it was time to leave, but as it turns out, it wasn't. I'm back.

Can I promise regular posts? No, but then again, who can? Can I promise that I won't tell stories that are really only funny if you were actually there? No, but then again, who can?

When I closed down the blog, it was because I thought I was no longer interesting. Maybe I'm not, but I feel like I lost some of myself when I stopped writing.

I've been living in fear lately of that very thing -- losing myself. Losing myself into the realm of mom - I love Chris and I love the girls, and I love our little family. But no matter how happy I am in that realm, there was always the fear poking at the back of my mind -- am I losing something important here?

My biggest fear was that I would be phased out by my friends -- Becki, Beth, Karen and Kendra. It's stupid, because we've been through pretty much every possible life changing experience together and yet are still as tight as ever, but I was afraid that I would get so wrapped up in what it takes to raise two great little girls that I would no longer have anything in common with my friends who weren't wrapped up in that.

My fears were laid to rest last weekend, when Becki showed up for the weekend. I got to spend a lot of time with her -- just us -- and time with Karen and Kendra as well. I cannot tell you how much I needed that. As cliche as it sounds, it made me realize that as much as things change, some things will always remain the same. There will always be things that make us laugh and laugh and laugh -- waiver rancheros, anyone? -- and there will always be the songs that we know by heart (and sing at the top of our lungs). And what I forgot was that there will always be coversations about whatever is going on in our lives. In high school it was lamenting grades or boys or the unfairness of parents. In our early 20s, it was lamenting hangovers or new jobs, finding apartments and the unfairness of boys. In our late 20s it was lamenting mortgages and health and the fears of the impending future. As life evolves, we've evolved with it, both as individuals and as a group, but even if the subject is serious, there will always be laughter and there will always be good advice from the girls that love me the most.

So thanks to my girls for making me feel like I have balance in my life again, and to Chris, for understanding my fears and encouraging me to spend time with my friends.

So yeah. I'm back! Didja miss me? Because I have a lot of words that REALLY want to come out!