Friday, December 16, 2011

I Have A Problem...(okay, more than one)

Okay I realize I have what the show Glee would call "white, rich girl problems," in that they aren't real problems, but at least I know that. I know none of what I complain about it a real, hard problem. Mostly I just need to vent and this blog is a good way to do it without getting into a fist fight at church.

So this is not that kind of problem. Kind of misleading introductory paragraph, but what can I say, English was always my worst class in school. This is more of a personality disorder problem, of which I have many.

The one in particular I am thinking about today is my over preparing. I have no idea where I got this from (Dad), but when something big is coming up I have to see every disaster that can happen and prepare for it. Eric thinks my latest preparation is craziness...
So I have made a few lists for our upcoming trip. One list is a to-do list. One is a to-pack list. One is a...Every-Item-I Have-Packed-In-Every-Suitcase-And-Its-Monetary-Value list. That last one is the one Eric rolled his eyes at.

Looking at it from a normal person's perspective I can understand, but I am not normal. We are using the same airline that lost our suitcase on our trip to Florida, and I have quite a few gifts packed. Odds are that nothing will happen, but I know that if I AM prepared with my lists, and how much everything costs in them that the airline will absolutely NOT lose our suitcases. It's like superstitious flying insurance!

Twisted logic, maybe, but everyone knows that if one of the suitcases does go missing it will be Eric's, the one we don't have a detailed list for. You know I'm right!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Adventures of Shark Dog and Lava (face) Girl...or Awkward Social Situations

I realize I have probably been boring my readers (aka the kid's grandparents) with not many posts about the kids lately, but the truth is not much is going on. I could post pictures of their runny noses, or video's of them coughing, but that's even more boring than my ramblings, so onto retelling of my pathetic attempts to be social.

Okay, not a picture of sick kids. Livi had to try out her new paints from Carter!

I am normally a pretty social person. I like to be around friends, I like relief society cookie exchanges where we can sit around and talk, and I would even be at play group every week if it weren't right at nap time. I like to be involved in things, I've taken dance, photography, violin, and quilting classes since having children. New things don't really scare me all that much, or so I thought.

This week I got so worked up about a new social situation I literally started making myself sick. What could have been so bad that my back started aching, my neck started feeling strained, I bloated to the size of a small ice-burg, and not only the left side of my face, but the left side of my back and my left EAR broke out in cystic acne? What caused my body to panic, hoping I would call in sick? Eric's secretary's women only Christmas dinner.

Okay, so normally a cozy, intimate dinner with 8 other women, eating yummy food would be a welcome treat, but... when it is 8 people you have only met once or twice (one you've never ever met) and the invitation ambiguously states you need to bring a "Santa themed gift," I freaked out.

Now, I don't mind new situations where everyone is new (such as college classes) or get-togethers with a bunch of people I know, but put new people, that have all known each other a while and work together on a daily basis, and throw me in and all I want to do is curl up on the couch with hot chocolate and cry.

I pictured in my mind wearing the wrong clothes, sticking out for not drinking, stilted conversation with people I don't know much about or have much in common with, bringing the totally wrong type of gift (really, Santa themed gift? How much do we spend? Do you mean an ornament? Decoration? Hand knit sweater? Interpretive poem? ARRGGHHH), and eating food that I had to gag down.

After putting on enough makeup to cover the worst of my volcano like face and putting on clothes that kind of fit, that I hoped were not too casual/not too dressy, I headed off. It truly wasn't as bad as I pictured. Really the only things that were uncomfortable was my lack of drinking (she even offered to make me coffee or tea instead...."ummmm, water is fine"), and the stilted conversation. Everything else was fine, but considering this is an annual event, my body is already tensing just thinking about next year...

And as promised:
Yeah, even our dog has dental problems. Too bad Alan won't do an extraction on animals.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why I Should Take Kleenex With Me EVERYWHERE!!!

I was talking with several people (and reading my sister's blog) when I realized we all have these stories about seemingly stupid things we cry over. For one person it was a book, for another it was a new challenge at work. For my sister it is the animal "character" dying in a movie. We all have those moments where we are crying, knowing anyone on the outside is looking at us like we are crazy, and we couldn't stop even if we wanted to. I think my most memorable embarrassing cry happened this spring.

I read in Ella's kindergarten class every Tuesday all year. I really got to know the class and her teachers and it was a truly great experience. Livi even became a little class mascot and they would bring extra treats for birthdays and parties when they knew she would be there. I had a great time all year...until the very last time.
If any of you haven't read Mo Willems "Knuffle Bunny" series (pronounced Ka-Nuffle as plainly described in book 2) I highly recommend taking a moment to seek out these very cute picture books. The art is unique, the writing is funny, and the are very touching for anyone that ever had a "special friend."

I had read the first 2 books to Ella's class during the year, but refused to read the 3rd to them. All year long they asked me to bring it, but I held firm in not bringing it. Why? Because I sob like a little tiny baby every time I read it. It is emotionally gut wrenching to me because it combines my childhood trauma of loosing my "special friend" with the pain of watching my babies not be babies anymore. I loved Ella's class, but I just didn't think I could handle crying in front of 20, 6 year olds.

Then, on the last Tuesday I was going to read, I broke. I decided I was big enough to read this book. I could separate myself from the story and finish the series for these kids. It would be AWESOME!!!

Well, it wasn't. I sobbed so hard Ella had to get up and read the rest of the book for me. When she started reading the note at the back from Mo Willems to his daughter (that the books are based on) I had to get up and leave the room. Here was my little girl, almost done with Kindergarten, reading about another little girl growing up. (Plus ask anyone in my family, we feel stupid when we cry and that only makes it worse)

After we were done with the book one of the teachers came up to me and asked: "when did he pass away?"

I sat there a minute confused. Had I missed part of the conversation? Was she talking about the fish we had recently lost? What in the world was the lady talking about?

Me: "Ummm, who?"
Her: "Your father."
Me: "My Dad is still alive, last I checked." (secretly dying to leave the room and text my dad to make sure).
Her: "Oh, I assumed by the way you broke down in the father part, that you had recently lost your dad."
Me: "Um, no, I'm just a weenie."
Her: "Yeah, I guess."

That was the most embarrassed I have ever been while crying. Fun time all around. I help in Ella's class again this year and a couple of the kids have brought it up to me "remember that time you cried so hard Ella had to read..." Yep. I do.

Speaking of breakdowns; We are putting Tonks in a kennel for our trip to California. Eric and Ella both want to take her, and I do to, I just don't want to have to deal with her in the airport. Then this morning I came out and she was doing this:

How in the world can we leave this comic relief here?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mutant Cookies From The Black Lagoon

This is NOT how my cookies turned out

I'm not quite sure how I ended up baking sugar cookies for both Ethan and Ella's classes, but that is what happened. One minute I want to make a batch to cheer me up and all of a sudden I need enough to feed 40 kids and adults. Oh, and my kids desperately want them the next day, because you can't wait an extra day when you are 6. Impossible.

If you have ever tried to make sugar cookies you know that it is all about waiting. Waiting for the dough to chill before you bake. Waiting for the cookies to cool before you ice. Waiting for the icing to set before you transport. Trying to fit that all in one morning was not the mood elevator that I had wanted making these cookies to be.

I also had the added pressure of knowing there is one Jewish girl in Ethan's class and 2 Jehovah's Witness' in Ella's class. Sooooooooooo, not every cookie could be super Christmas-ie. Trying to not alienate these very nice kids, I decided a star and gingerbread man wouldn't be too bad. Oh, but wait, what color are gingerbread men?

Have you ever tried to make brown food coloring? It is not as easy as I thought it would be. When I was little and tried to mix colors it seemed like every thing you mixed would produce brown. Not so when you are bigger and actually want to achieve that muddy brown that red and blue always use to make. Now all you get is a weirder and weirder color of purple. Mix in a little black and you have a color that seems to have grown in a radioactive swamp.

Since this was a very bad color to use on gingerbread men, unless you want the kids running in fear, I thought maybe a light sky blue would be good, but of course they ended up looking more like mini Captain America's.
The kicker is the Jewish girl picked a Christmas tree.

Also while I was there I noticed Ethan's desk. What am I doing wrong?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

To Me; From Me

After months of calling, scheduling appointments, having nobody show up to appointments, playing more phone tag, and waiting, we FINALLY got our fireplace fixed (there is only one place in town that does fireplaces). What we thought would be a simple removal of a gas insert and putting on a chimney cap turned into our "Christmas Gift To Ourselves!" (guess I'll have to wait for next year to get an elliptical and loose weight, dang!)

So after a fun afternoon of Livi not napping while the guys worked and worked, we ended up with a real, working, wood burning fireplace. Yeah!!!! The workers kept trying to get me to stay with gas saying I wouldn't have to worry about wood and it would still work in a power outage. I had to explain that Eric and I both adamantly wanted wood. They looked at me like I was crazy but managed to get it switched over.What I didn't tell them is my husband is expecting the apocalypse and wants someplace we can cook our freshly shot deer meat. He wants some type of warmth for when society fails and we are holed up in our living room trying to survive.

Me? This is what I wanted it for:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Early Gift To You

Only watch the videos if you enjoy laughing so hard you cry.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Home??? or "Who Am I" (said like Zoolander)

After a couple of recent conversations I have come to realize I am defective. Okay, I've always known that, but here is just another example of how I am defective:

I have no desire to move back to Utah. None. Zip. Nadda. I am not one of those wives who is constantly trying to get their husband to get a job in Utah so they can move back "home." Despite having lived in Utah for half of my life, it doesn't feel like going home when I visit. Don't get me wrong, I like Utah a lot. It is fun to visit, there are great things to do there, I love visiting my extended family, but it is not "home."

So that got me thinking, where do I feel at home? California is where I claim 'home' but I'm not dying to move back to California (mostly because I think my kids would get stabbed at school). Scottsbluff isn't really where I feel at "home." So why can I not come up with a place where I get teary to visit, and teary to leave?

I think it boils down to this: "Home" for me is not a town. It is not a specific place where I have tons of fond memories. Probably because this is my life; 8 years in Utah, 10 years in California, 6 more years in Utah, summers in Miami and D.C, bulks of summers in Canada, 3 years in Lincoln, and now 5 years in western Nebraska. I haven't been in one place long enough to have the bulk of my "home" making memories. I was a child one place, fell in love in another, had my first baby in another, bought my first home in yet another. All my big memories are really spread out.

So what is a poor little wanderer like me to do (tongue in cheek)? Well I've decided that, for me, home is not a place. It is people. I may not have a constant place that evokes those feelings of returning home, but I do get that feeling when I am around my family. Whether we are meeting at my parents home in Lancaster, blessing a baby in Salt Lake, doing Aspen Grove in Provo, going to DisneyWorld or Disneyland, or meeting at the Cabin in Waterton, those are the time I get teary. The more of my siblings and their spouses, the more those feelings warm my heart. Those are the times I am going "home."
Oh, I did think of a place that feels the most like home to me...Disneyland. Probably because we have been going multiple times a year since I was 8. I do get choked up every time we pull into a tiny parking spot dictated to us by a grown man in a yellow vest with an orange wand thingy. Plus I tear up every time we have to leave. I guess I should be begging Eric to get a job with Disney and move into Sleeping Beauty's castle. Problem Cara, you need to stop saying "your family." When you are there it feels more like home to me too. You are like my other little sister.Aren't you all jealous of my mad 5 minute photo shop skills? (a cookie to the first person to spot all 5 additions).