i've been counting down since last Dec 26 ... are you ready? me neither!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

nuf said

William Tell Overture for Moms"

he's a big boy now!

This little baby
grew up

and up

and up!

He finally got his haircut,

goes camping with daddy,
loves motorcycles and 4-wheelers,

and took swim lessons!

He's ALL boy and is the sweetest, busiest, monster boy and our family loves him a lot.

We'll keep him!

Happy Birthday Ammon!

3 years old today!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

TV: total vacuity (had to look it up)

I have just completed watching the season openers to half of my shows ... sad that I have multiple that have sucked me in. Sadder still that there are more than one on most nights. I might even venture to say : Pathetic. I am hooked, the people in the marketing department of these shows have done their jobs well.
It all started with CSI: and it has blossomed to so much more ... they added CSI:NY and then they opened CSI:Miami (which, by the way is NOT my fave, but somehow I am drawn to watch it every Monday) and from there NCIS and Criminal Minds and just for fun I picked up Numbers. Then my shows started to double up! Monday is only CSI: Miami, The Bachelor is on at the same time but it's okay because this Bachelor seems like a real nice southern gentleman - but the women ... whoa! There is going to be too much drama, cleavage and nasty language this time around - I am happy to not be watching. Tuesday is NCIS and Beauty and the Geek also on at the same time! So now I have to watch B&G on cwtv.com. Wednesday is America's Next Top Model, Criminal Minds and CSI:NY - one right after another. Thursday is Survivor, CSI: and then Without a Trace (also not a favorite). Friday: Numbers, Sunday: Shark.
Luckily my obsession with the television started when I only had channel 7 ... otherwise really - can you imagine!? We got Dish Network a year ago so that we could watch General Conference at home and have somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 channels - and yet CBS has a loyal patron in me.
Long story short, I am weak. Unable to withstand the tempation of the vacuum that is my television. I freely admit that some of 'my' shows scare the "bageeses"(pronounced ba-jeez-es) out of me and I have on occasion turned it off for fear that I'd have nightmares. I frequently glance at the stairwell to make sure that my kids are not sneeking a peek while they should be in their beds. That right there should tell me that I shouldn't be watching these shows!! It's terrible. I know it. I confess. Although, I do not want to forsake. Does that make me a bad person!?

Monday, September 24, 2007

what's for dinner?

This delicious, delectable delight is my favorite fall food!
Taco Soup!!

It even looks fabulously fall-ish!

It's seriously the easiest soup to make,
simply dump the above ingredients in a pot
add your favorite taco meat
(we like hamburger, my sister does chicken)
simmer for a while - at least an hour
serve topped with shredded cheese,
we like to have it with fritos scoops!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

hello autumn

Summer 2007 has come to a close and we bid a fond farewell to the long, sunny days of summer and cheerful hello to the shorter, and not so sunny days of autumn. Gone are the days of shorts, t-shirts and flip flops, time to break out our fuzzy sweaters, yummy scarves and cozy thick socks.

The girls and I decorated for Halloween a little early this year ... Christmas is just around the corner and I tend to get a little ahead of myself! Halloween usually gets skipped (mostly because it's not my fave holiday) and then I'm 'Thankful' that it's almost Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love the colors of this season, all the leaves changing and the beautiful, early sunsets! I am just totally in love with Christmas! Come October 1st the merry tunes of my favorite holiday will be filling the air at our house and in my van! I just can't wait sometimes - especially when I go to Costco and see all their Christmas stuff out!!

So long Summer, you were good to us this year, thanks for all the sunshine, blue skies, and time to be outside with friends! Hello Autumn, let's go inside, have some hot chocolate and talk about all the stuff we have to get done before Christmas!

Friday, September 21, 2007

how will i choose??

Monica Farrar is practically family. She is Alicia's sister and Alicia is 1/5 of 'the Party' and therefore family. Don't you just LOVE it when you have an accomplished amateur in the family?!

Monica shot our family photos on the 12th and I got the disk last night. SERIOUSLY ... how will I decide which ones to print and hang on my walls?! I want to put up ALL of them!! I have a slideshow going as my screensaver while I hum and hah a bit longer over them.

Which are your favorites??

Thursday, September 20, 2007

resolutions anyone?

Stake Conference was this last Sunday and we had the opportunity to hear from President Hinckley. What a blessing! Our Stake President (Duce) spoke to us Saturday evening and taught us about studying and pondering the scriptures. He gave us a list of things that we can ALL do ...

1) Personal prayer - morning and night
2) Daily scripture study
3) Personal grooming - be presentable
4) Set and live by a schedule - be organized
5) Set and achieve goals
6) Keep the commandments - strive for personal righteousness
7) Live the standards of the gospel - carry a current temple recommend
8) Be honest

Some will be easier to incorporate into my scatter-brained life than others. When I was a missionary I did these things automatically - scripture study time was allocated, and living by a schedule and setting goals to achieve were part of the program. I naturally lived the standards of the gospel and kept the commandments. I worked to be presentable everyday and set an example for all the people that I came into contact with each day.
In all honesty - all I really need to set aside time for is daily scripture study - which, if I set a schedule, will be part of my daily activities. All it takes is discipline. Start making habits that will be automatic again.
Who says you have to wait until January to set resolutions!? I resolve to do these things and make them habit.
What new habits are you working on?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

to eight wonderful years ...

unfortunately we didn't have a digital camera at the beginning of our life together ... and if I had a scanner you know that all my pictures would be uploaded and burned to a disk for posterity (and for my blog). Maybe someday I'll get there.
For now you're just going to have to rely on your imagination to visualize the bliss that is my life.
The story of how we met is ... what's a good word ... fascinating, interesting, charming - perhaps. I had JUST returned from my mission, Thursday February 25th, 1999. Friday night (the 26th) I went with my good friend Katie to a Young Single Adult Dance at the Seattle Stake Center (where the UW wards meet). It sounded like fun ... shoot - I wasn't a missionary anymore!! We walked in and it was LOUD by comparison to what I was used to for the last 18 months! Good thing we both knew sign language and didn't have to try and hear each other over the music. I had served a few months of my mission in the deaf program and she had taken a few classes at BCC while I was gone. From across the dance floor came this guy ... Katie recognized him from the Deaf Branch (she had attended the LDS Deaf group a few times) - Andy. He signed to us asking if we were deaf. I shook my head - no ... and he asked if I'd like to dance.
This is where I like to say 'and the rest is history' ... but there is always "the rest of the story".
After I had told that story a few hundred times, I heard him tell his side and found out that he had walked past us to go get a drink at the water fountain [and check us out] and then had come back to talk to us. Apparently we had made the grade and weren't too weird looking for him to talk to!
We didn't ACTUALLY start dating until April 10th, and even that wasn't intended to be a first date ... it just so happened that Katie wasn't able to join us at a carnival for deaf kids that Andy had invited us both to. He picked me up at about 9am and we went to the carnival, then lunch at McDonalds with his deaf sister, he had to take her home and wondered if I wanted to go along for the ride, to which I said,'Sure - where are we going?' Everett - right past my house and north for about 20 minutes. When we arrived at his house he invited me in - I met his mom and dad and sister (don't even worry that this wasn't really a date and I was already meeting my future in-laws) we decided to go to a movie [Never Been Kissed], but it didn't start for a few hours so we took his trick kite down to Mukilteo Beach to try and fly it. Remember it was April and NOT summer yet ... the grass was still REALLY muddy and sloshy and I had my famous Doc Martens sandals on ... I went out to hold the kite to help get it flying and found myself surrounded by mud! Andy came to my rescue and piggy backed me out of the swamp. We never did get his kite in the air but there was an old gentleman there flying his trick kite and let us have a go at it for a few minutes! We left there and headed to the movie at the old Everett 9 Theater [that they tore down a couple years ago]. We sat on the aisle end of a row and the movie started ... Andy got up to get a drink and candy ... I thought that was odd ... getting up in the middle of the first part of the movie ... whatever. When he came back I had an overwhelming urge to hold his hand ... but didn't - HELLO this was our first date, my first date since my mission, c'mon what's wrong with me!?!? [I found out later that was the reason HE got up and went out for food - he wanted to hold my hand and had to get away for a minute!] After the movie we must have eaten dinner ... although that part is foggy. I do remember him asking me if I'd ever had Marble Top Ice Cream, 'No, but it sounds good!' So we headed to Seattle. That evening we had ice cream, went and picked up Katie at her house in Kirkland - came back to Seattle to walk around Pioneer Square (Andy's arms around each of us) and eat a good 'NY style' hot dog. We took Katie home and he drove to my house, we sat in my parent's driveway for about an hour talking. I went inside at about midnight ... 9AM to 12AM - our first 'date' was 15 hours long - uh yeah ...
I saw him EVERYDAY after that until he proposed at Waverly Beach Park in Juanita out on the dock on June 17th. My mom asked me once if I thought I should date other people ... since he was the ONLY guy I dated after my mission and I just told her, "Nope, I don't want to date anybody else." We were married Sept 18, 1999 in the Seattle Washington Temple. It was a BEAUTIFUL day! I don't remember too much that happened - that's why we video taped it, took pictures and invited lots of our friends ... so that I didn't have to focus on anything but him - my handsome husband.

Andy is my best friend, he loves me through thick and thin - lately mostly thick but when I'm thin he'll love me more cuz I'll be a knock out! - he loves me come rain or shine, when I'm grouchy or smiling, bossy or accomodating. He loves me and I love him - always and forever.


Thank you for your love, your patience, your strength, your laughter, your snore that is usually curbed by your CPAP, your hands that work hard to provide for us, your eyes that easily tear, your ears that listen to me, your sexy muscled arms, your legs that would walk a million miles for me, your cute perfect little feet, your ability and willingness to let me stay home and be the mom and your amazingly GIGANTIC heart. Thank you for just being you. Know that I love you with all my heart - it only beats for you!

I love us.

Happy Anniversary!
Looking forward to many, many more (an eternity) with you!!

this was waiting for me when I got home from running errands this morning!
he really is the best - and wanna know what the card says?!
"Another year of being cute together."
See - I told you!

Monday, September 17, 2007

oh yeah - double digits baby!!

today marks the beginning of only double digits
count down with me ...
today there are 99 days 'til Christmas!!

what i have learned ...

My Christmas of 2004 was this computer ... I say 'my' because: Andy had a laptop for work + our home computer was obsolete and old = I get a new one!
So ... fast forward to just last week. My computer had been getting slower and slower and totally annoyingly slow that I was spending more and more time sitting and waiting and less time acutally getting stuff done. Then it started to pop up crazy advertisements and pictures - aaaaah! I tried to close them and more popped up and I had to shut it off ... when I tried to bring it back up I had a desktop with no icons - you need icons if you want to do anything ... this was a problem. I called my personal computer genius' wife (who happens to be one of my best friends) and asked if I could bring my computer over to have him take a look at it. She said she'd ask him for formality sake but to go ahead and bring it over. So Thursday last week I showed up on their doorstep with my box in hand.
He hooked it up to their moniter and started going to town ... I was there until about 1AM and he said that it was going to take a while to download the 77 crucial windows updates that somehow I had missed over the 2+ years that I had not ever downloaded updates ...
Long story short - after MANY hours of manual search and destroy, he killed about 30 viruses on my computer. Some of which were 'trojan' type that allowed other people to watch my keystrokes and -if they wanted to- use my computer to do their bidding!! Bad, very bad!!

Now to what I have learned:
1) DO NOT OPEN ATTACHMENTS that people send to you! - even if your friends send them to you ... you don't know where they came from or what terrible people may have started them! also ... if you want to look at the pictures that someone sends as an attachment, ask them to make them embedded in the text of the email or upload to a reputable picture sharing site (such as Costco, Snapfish, Picasa, etc.) and send a link to the album.
2) DO NOT DOWNLOAD STUFF OFF THE INTERNET - unless it's from a reputable company like Google, Microsoft, etc.
4) DO NOT DOWNLOAD ACTIVEX whatever it is ... unless it's from a reputable company - if you don't know who the company is you don't need to view whatever it is that they're trying to send you!
5) DO NOT CLICK ON A LINK in an IM message unless you know exactly where it will take you - even if it is sent to you by a friend.
6) REGULARLY CHECK FOR UPDATES your computer should do this for you ... if you have it set up to do it ... but even still ... it's always a good idea!
7) WHEN IN DOUBT - don't ... (or call the computer genius and ask!!)

I put my hand to the square and swore an oath to follow the above guidelines. May we all take a lesson from my BIG UGLY MONSTER mistake and watch out for the BigBadAwfulNasty people that are out to get our computers to take over the world! (k, that's a little extreme ... but you know what I mean!)

I better give credit where credit is due ... Travis Wright is the computer genius - (he actually does work for Microsoft and knows more than the average computer genius about computers and most anything really) and his lovely wife Nicki shares his brains and time with us - she's the best! (ps- Travis is the one flexing his big ol' muscles in the pictures below!)

Friday, September 7, 2007

we did it! 3 whole days!!

after much deliberation including consulting weather.com, the weather man and 'encouragement' from our good friend Alicia - we finally decided that we would not be true seattleite-washingtonians if we never experienced a campout in the rain! I ran some errands before loading up and requested prayers for sunshine from the Conlin clan. We packed all the proper attire and necessities for protection from the LiquidSunshine (amidst intermittent showers!!) and headed to our fave campground Cascade Park! We had planned to arrive there about 5ish ... as per usual we were running late and unfortunately the Wrights were running a little later. We arrived around 7pm and hurried to set up before the sun went down ... the Wrights showed up about an hour later and we all pitched in to get their tent up in the dark! Saturday morning I expected the rain to drizzle but to my great-big-smiley-faced surprise it was sunny!! Sadly, I was so prepared for rain that I didn't put in the swimsuits!! We made due and got wet and sandy down at the river. Trav swam with the kids while the rest of the adults stood on the bank and put our feet in a little! Saturday evening the campers that had been there Friday night packed up and left. We were left with free reign of the whole campground! The missionary couples that are the caretakers came around on their 'jeeps' and gave the kids rides every once in a while - that by far was the greatest service they provided for us!! Sunday morning we woke early because Andy's battery that was running his sleep machine ran out of juice!! We got up and started the fire. Nicki came out and said that she had been wrestling with a migraine and feeling sick. She climbed in her van, turned on the heater and slept for a while - trying to sleep off the effects. The rest of us went fishing at Andy's parent's lot and when we came back she was feeling a little better - no longer thinking that she'd have to leave early. Our Sunday was pretty quiet - we didn't make it to the Ice Caves as we had planned ... but it was pleasant. Monday morning we woke to overcast skies ... just perfect so that we didn't sweat too much taking down camp. We had breakfast and then packed up while the kids played and rode the jeep with the missionaries!
All in all it was a great time had by all and we are so glad we decided to go!! I know that I would have been really upset had we decided not to go! We missed not having Alicia with us - next time! We learned a few things on this trip:
1) bring more clothes that you think you'll need
2) put in the swim suits ... even if you think it's gonna rain!
3) dinners can be simple - especially for the kids!
4) bring activities for the kids!!
and most important
5) take friday off - go up early and set up - make it a good long weekend!
We did it!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

school: our home away from home

I stepped outside this morning to fog. I took a deep breath and gave myself over to autumn. Summer is over folks ... school started today! To quote my good friend and fellow blogging mommy, Colleen, "I am no different." I have uploaded and am now going to chronicle this the first day of school - such an exciting event! I thought about the title of this blog all day and even as I upload my own pictures of the day I haven't decided ...

Abi was off to first grade and I drove her to school this morning. We located the blue helium balloon as promised from Mrs. Maule (sounds like 'molly') and a few friends and the bell rang and she was off. She was so happy to be going and I was so happy to see her so happy ... and yet I cried the whole way home. I am happy she's growing up and learning quickly, she loves school! I cry because this is the first year she is gone ALL DAY - she is getting to be so grown up and now she spends 6 hours under the influence of the world. I pray that all the love and direction we have given her will be enough. Now it's up to her to remember all the things she has learned at home and stand up for herself and her standards. I am confident she will be a great example and friend to all the kids in her class!

Elyssa started kindergarten today! She is in Ms. Smith's afternoon class and gets to ride the bus with all the other PM Kindergarteners!! She was so excited this morning that she wore her backpack all morning ... even though she didn't have school until 12:40! We went up and waited for the bus then drove to the school to make sure she got there alright ... The bus driver was new to the route and was late and so she didn't get to meet in the kindergarten corral with the rest of her class ... but she was happy to be there and said "Bye mom!" and off she went. She's going to do great! I was happy to see her so happy ... and yes ... I cried the whole way home - again.

They wanted to ride the bus home ... not my first choice but maybe it will grow on me.

My babies are growing up - my mom told me that this would happen when they were born, I would blink and they'd be off to school - I didn't want to believe her but time really is flying and Ferris is right "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it." (to steal another quote from Colleen - she's got a lot of good ones! It was this one or "time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana" ... Ferris was more appropo)

I am confident that they will both have a great year - we're so glad to still be at Silver Firs where we feel at home.

ps. Elyssa told me that I didn't need to come to her school tomorrow - 'I can do it mom ..."