Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm "influential"

I was recently voted as one of only fifty influential women in the Phoenix area.

Well, OK. So maybe "voted" isn't the right word. "Selected" might be a better word choice. Alright, FINE. I responded to an email I got on my Facebook account and was probably the only one out of fifty that responded.

But, in my defense, according to the email they sent me it said, and I quote, "You are one of only 50 influential women in the Phoenix area who have been selected to participate in the latest word of mouth marketing program."

And what is it I get to market, you ask? Don't get all jealous now......but I have the pleasure of test driving the new 2008 Dodge Caravan this week and am encouraged to share it with my closest friends and family members. They call it a "living room on wheels". Let me tell you.....this thing is totally decked out! It has two TV monitors that come down and the option of two different videos or satellite TV that can be viewed at the same time. It has a navigation system, Sirius satellite radio, a computer to download your pictures and other miscellaneous stuff ( my husband is totally not going to let me drive this thing this week I know it! ) limo lights in the ceiling, automatic side door openers, reversible bucket seats with an optional table between the middle bucket seats and the back bench seat, back bench seats that adjust to the folded down position with a push of a button, back bench can also adjust as a bench for tailgating parties, outlets and plug ins for your video game console, six disk CD holder that will record the CD so you don't have to keep them in the car and mp3 player. Side windows that open and an alarm with a video monitor to see in the back outside of the van in case a child or object is in the way. If it is, the alarm will sound. And the best thing of all? THIRTEEN CUP HOLDERS!!!!

Got to love American cars!

I'm tempted to take a little "test drive" to San Diego for the weekend. I asked if there was a mileage restriction. They said "no". I almost asked if we could "test drive" it in Florida so we wouldn't have to rent a minivan when we go but I didn't want to push it.

So, it will give me something fun to blog about. Me and my exciting exploits with the minivan. Have a child who needs carpooled? Someone to drive them to a football practice or dance class? Anyone just want to borrow it for themselves for the day? You are more than welcome! You can even sign the test drive guest book they gave me. It will also look like I have lots of friends.

My husband said we should slap the bumper sticker on the back that says, "If the vans a 'rock'n, don't come a knock'n". I'm guessing Dodge wouldn't appreciate that so much.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Disney World 2007

I have wondered the last few days what it was that I was smoking the day I thought it would be a good idea to fly across the country with a two year old and a teether. I'm still not really sure but now that our whirlwind trip is over, the stanky laundry is all done, and suitcases are put back in their proper places where I have decided they will stay for another five years, I finally have time to write about our "vacation".

It started out with a phone call from United at about 4pm the night before we left. The agent on the phone wanted us to switch to the 830am flight the next morning instead of the 11am flight we were scheduled to fly. Take a wild guess at how much fun it is to get four kids plus yourself ready at 5:30am which is why we booked the 11:00am flight to begin with. I guess they were oversold so she upped the anti and offered us a $500 voucher if we would switch along with implying that because we were traveling on Frequent Flyer miles, more than likely, we would get bumped if we showed up. Before committing, she told us that she would be able to sit us together which was our biggest concern with a two year old and all. Needless to say, in reality, we were scattered on the very much full plane. Luckily, a nice old grandpa switched with us so that we could be closer together. I'm glad we didn't have to use our "We're putting our two year old holding our lap baby in that seat next to you unless you want to switch" threat. At the airport, I enjoyed seeing the faces of the waiting passengers as they gawked at us. I imagined them thinking something like, "That is one HUGE family! Those poor parents have their hands full!" or rather more likely, "I REALLY hope I'm not the one sitting next to them on the plane."

The earlier morning flight that was supposed to get us in sooner actually got us in about thirty minutes after our original flight did thanks to delays in DC from some "Security Breach".

I enjoyed the varying FAA rules and regulations which changed based on the airport and day we traveled. We learned that a child booster seat isn't an FAA regulation seat when flying from Phoenix to Washington DC but is acceptable if flying from Orlando to Denver. I'm still trying to understand how it is that a seat that is acceptable for use in a car is not acceptable for use on a plane. Because odds are, the seat will probably save a child while in a car going 60 miles per hour but if a plane is going down, unless the seat is lined in titanium and surrounded by silicone gel and an airbag which deploys just prior to hitting the ground, whether a seat is FAA regulated or not, seriously, a rapid descent from 30,000 feet, it's really not going to matter.

And speaking of descents....we learned after the first leg that my two oldest inherited their dad's "throw up on the descent" gene. I can honestly admit that there was never a dull moment.

We spent our first day at the Magic Kingdom. On the road between our condo and the park, I was thinking to myself that the street needed something......I don't know what.......maybe a big building with a huge wizard head poking out on top. I'm guessing a parent or two in order to save a buck has actually taken their child to this building under the guise that it really is Disney World. Before we headed to the park, we drove out towards Cape Canaveral and took those pictures I posted earlier from the Space Shuttle launch. That really was pretty impressive!

We had a fun first day and learned early on that the time it takes to get through the park increases exponentially based on the number of kids you have. When there are just two of you, you don't have to deal with potty breaks every two hours, nursing a baby every three hours,a screaming baby who won't nap and kids who wanted to spend hours playing in the play yards and water yards. Because of the delays we were already facing, we nixed the idea of getting in lines to get the character's autographs. Our time was precious so we just pointed them out and said, "Hey look kids! It's Chicken Little! Ok....let's go get a fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain."

There were hardly any people there. We were able to get on and off and back on rides again without any waiting. We got spoiled. It was decorated really cute for Halloween.
We made the mistake of taking Lauren on the first ride down Splash Mountain. She wouldn't go near a roller coaster ride after that. Jack on the other hand had a BLAST! It was so fun to go with him and see the grin from ear to ear and hearing him say, "WEEEEEeeeeee" as the roller coaster sped around on the track. By the way, you get over the shock of a $10.00 hamburger and $15.00 toy souvenir that I swear was in the kid's happy meals a few months ago pretty quickly. You really just kind of go numb to it after that first day and figure you'll just deal with the debt and taking out a second mortgage when you get home. It took all of about a half of a day to realize all of that gawking didn't end at the airport. Everywhere we went people stared as we walked by like we were some freaky park attraction. We had a lot of people ask us if the kids were all ours and then a lot of "Wow? Really? You're brave" thrown in now and again. Either we don't get out of Arizona much or some people clearly have never visited Utah, Idaho or Mesa, AZ. I kept thinking, "I know people with six or more kids so if you think my four is huge......" My husband replied to the United agent on the flight home who kept commenting on our family size, "It's not like we're the Brady Bunch!" So I started taking note myself of other people at the park and discovered that I didn't see a single family with more than three kids in tow. So, maybe we were a novelty after all. Which got me thinking....since Disney can make up their own rules by claiming that a nine year old is an adult, then at the very least, the park should give a group discount for families of 6 or more.

We went to Epcot the second day. We had a lunch with the Princesses. We got to meet Cinderella,
Belle, Ariel, Jasmine and Sleeping Beauty. For some reason, Jack wasn't in the mood to eat so I put his $15.00 hot dog in a plastic baggie for him to eat later.

And my all time favorite picture from the whole trip is this one of Erik ogling Belle.........I couldn't get a single picture of him looking at me. He kept giving her "the look" out of the corner of his eye.

Kirk and I made a colossal error by going on the Mission:Space ride first thing after the lunch with the Princessess. See, they had two ways to experience the ride. There was the "green" line ( non spinning ) and the "orange" line ( spinning). I took Jack with me on the green line experience. He had a blast ( so to speak ). Kirk went on the orange experience and came out green which is when I realized they made a gross error in their color coding system. I thought he was just being a wimp and decided I wanted to try the orange line for myself. Let's just say that no matter how much we may have thought about how cool it would be to be an astronaut.....we would never survive the blast off into space and traveling 17,000 miles per hour. I was nauseous the rest of the day.

We also went to MGM Studios but I don't think the kids really understood the park. It was a lot of shows and thirty-somethings reliving their eighth birthdays as they watched the Star Wars Jedi show. The coolest part of MGM that day though was as we were leaving, we ran into some old friends who we haven't seen in probably ten or more years! I mean, it was so completely random that we happened to run into them. I still can't get over it! And I'm kicking myself that we didn't get our camera out and take a picture! So here's my shout-out to our friends, the Wilsons......"Hi Wilson family! It was so great to see you again!" So, it was totally worth it to go to MGM!

We also went to Animal Kingdom where the new ride Everest resides. Jack calls it the Yeti ride. He looked forward to riding it all week long. So, knowing how much fun he had on the previous roller coasters, I took him with me to ride it. It was pretty intense and after we got off, I excitedly said, "That was SO cool! Do you want to go on it again with daddy?"

He said, "No. I don't want to ride it again."

I replied, "But, who will go with daddy then?"

His response was "He can just go by himself."

We had breakfast with Mickey and other assorted Disney characters while at Animal Kingdom.

Later in the day, it poured rain so we got our ponchos out and had some teenage boy take our picture. Afterwards, he made some snotty remark saying, "It's just rain!" So I said back, "Yeah. Well we're from Arizona and our kids see rain all of five times a year. So, get over it!" Punk. Our last day was spent back at Magic Kingdom. We ended up buying the tickets for the after hours "Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party". They had fun activities for the kids like free face-painting which would have been really nice to know a few hours earlier so I wouldn't have spent $15.00 for Lauren to get hers done.

There was a Not So Scary parade and rides that were open for people to ride. They even had places where you could trick or treat. And that we did. We had so much candy that we literally had to check two extra bags on the flight home because we didn't have enough room. All of that candy almost made up for the cost of the tickets. On the bright side, I don't need to go out and buy candy to pass out on Halloween.

All in all, we had a really great trip. The kids had a lot of fun and that's the most important part of all.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What's cooler than cool?

Getting to see the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery and the pictures to prove it!
How totally awesome is THAT?!?!?

Not so cool? Coming down with the flu while on a big planned-four-months-in-advance family trip to DisneyWorld.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kid funny for the day:

I went to my son's parent/teacher conference today. He's doing FANTASTIC by the way.....

Afterwards, I went into his classroom to tell Jack that he could come home with me since school was about to end anyways. As I was waiting for him to collect his things, a friendly little girl asked me whose mom I was. I told her I was Jack's mom.

Then she said, "You look a lot like MY mom."

I replied, "Oh. Really?"

Cute, friendly girl said, "Yeah. Her hair looks like yours."

I politely reply, "Oh. She has short flippy hair too, huh?"

Awkward pause.

Cute friendly girl I swear I didn't pay to say it said, "Yeah. But you're prettier."

Don't you just love little kids? They are so candid and brutally honest.

And now I get to be really shallow and spend the rest of the year trying to figure out which one is her mom. Oh come on! Like you wouldn't do the same thing!

Monday, October 15, 2007

What our little house flip has taught us....

I used to watch WAY too many of those home improvement shows. "Flip this", "Flipping Out", "Flipping on a budget", "Flippity flip flip flip". You name it.....I watched it. I was obsessed. I even had them set on the DVR to record those 3AM shows for later viewing enjoyment.

It was fun to watch those kinds of shows until it came time for us to do it ourselves. I'm wiser now to the miracles of turning a house around in a 30 minute TV show. And "flip" has taken on a whole new meaning. It's a word that as of late, has been used more often as a Mormon version of a swear word than for referencing a TV show.

Now that our journey is coming to a much anticipated end, I thought I'd share some things we learned throughout the whole process:

I should own stock in the company that makes Liquid Nails.

I'll miss counting 4 "Activity points" each time I went over and did work. Now I might actually have to exercise.

Tile in our new house is very much perminant.

Screws don't hold a heavy metal planter box in stucco very well.

Electricity should be turned off PRIOR to installing a light fixture.

Black Sharpies make good floor "fillers".

You get to a point where you find yourself saying, "Eh. So what if those baseboards/trim/bookshelves are crooked. We aren't the ones who will be living here."

My Bissell Carpet cleaner can do just as good a job as paying a "professional".

It's never ever a good idea to have an open can of paint within a two mile radius of a roaming toddler.

Craigslist ROCKS!

Joint Compound is my friend.

And my biggest lesson learned?........

I don't ever want to flippin' do this again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Are you intelligent?

I sometimes get calls from a marketing company to potentially take part in a focus group if I fit in their little window of the perfect demographic. I can always tell which direction they want to go by the types of questions they ask. I then try and base my answers accordingly.

Like, "When shopping for groceries would you say you shop at Walmart 0 - 25% of the time, 25 - 50% of the time, 50 - 75% of the time or 75-100% of the time?"

Uhhhh. 75 - 100 percent of the time?

I got such a call the other day and found it amusing enough that I had to share. I mean....I really was on the phone with this guy in the middle of the interview thinking to myself, "Thank you for giving me something to blog. I was starting to get Bloggers Block."

In the beginning, the interview went the same way that the hundred other interviews had gone in the past. This focus was on laundry soap. Typical questions might include something like,

Interviewer: What percentage of the time would you say you were responsible for doing the laundry in your home?

Me: ( chuckle and/or other assorted throat noise ) Uh. That would be 99% .

My husband wanted me to mention that it was a good thing they didn't ask who it was who did most of the ironing in our home. Ha ha. Funny. He's just lucky the interview wasn't about the garbage.

Then realizing I had gone pretty far in the interview without hearing,
"I'm sorry. You don't qualify for our study this time", we started getting into the more personal side of my character. He told me he was going to say a word and I was supposed to say if it was a word I would use to describe myself.

This is where it got good.


Yes. (I'd say I'm pretty right-brained )


Yes. (I had four kids didn't I?)


Yes. (I'm making a scarecrow out of a #10 can for my kid's school this week)


Yes. (Like that I'm delusional to think others are in awe of me?)


Yes. (My kids think it's more normal to have pancakes for dinner than for breakfast. See? I can change it up if I have to)


Yes. (Ok. If by "organized" you mean is my house always tidy and my bills are nicely filed in their proper place? Then no. If you mean are my twenty half used bottles of salad dressings all neatly in a row in the door of my refrigerator? Then I'd say yes.)

After this next defining adjective he said, the rest of the interview was all a blur. I just couldn't stop giggling inside.

Would you say you are intelligent?

( Assorted throat noise again ) Uh. Are you serious? Uh. Yeah.

In retrospect, I should have come back with something witty like, "I couldn't be THAT dumb if I commit to showing up for your focus group and get paid ninety bucks for an hour of my time."

And even if I thought I wasn't intelligent, like I was going to admit it to Mr. Telemarketer Man.


No one is THAT dumb.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Well darn it all!

I missed being on the Forbes top 400 wealthiest in the country again by a few billion dollars.

There's always next year..............

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Throw down Thursday

If I had written a blog entry about my morning yesterday, it might have gone a little something like this......

The word for the day by the way is "Inadvertently".

I was nursing Ian while my two year old figured out how to open the lower oven door. This all started because he heard me setting the timer for something non baking related and went to the drawer, grabbed a spoon and pointed to the oven saying screaming, "Toochie! Toochie!" That's "cookie" in two year speak. After convincing him in my best Vanna White impersonation by lovingly gesturing with my hands the empty contents of the oven where there were no cookies I in turn inadvertently showed him how to open the oven door. He then thought it would be a good idea to fill the oven with spoons and bottles of glue.

I decided I wasn't going to fight that battle because for one thing, I was nursing a baby and for another thing I figured he could be doing something worse.

I inadvertently figured wrong.

At some point, I looked over and he was holding the right half of a now unhinged door in his arms. I put the baby down and ran over to put the door back on the hinge and realized just how ridiculously heavy that thing really was!
I couldn't fix it so I held it together with some string and packaging tape and hoped that my mechanical engineer husband would be able to figure it out when he got home from work......which he did. In case you ever wanted to know what the inside of an oven door looked like.... Inadvertently, just two days ago I invited people over to my place for Thanksgiving dinner guessed it......I have a double oven.

Then I got a phone call from my five year old's nurse at school. It appears he put the "P" in P.E. ....if you know what I mean. So, I got the baby up from the nap that I had just put him down for, finally dressed the two year old, grabbed a change of underwear and pants and headed to his school so that he could change his clothes.

All of this happened before 11AM.

My son's accident incident inadvertently reminded me of a blog entry I did about a year and a half ago. So, I thought I'd have a "Throw down" and post a past entry that was one of my favorites for you to enjoy. Post your own "Throw down" if you'd like!

I call it.......
The Spare Pair

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Drum roll please...................

Final pictures of the house remodel! We just have a few odds and ends of things to do inside and then some landscaping stuff in the front/back then we are done!

Ready for a bunch of pictures???

Views into the kitchen:

Office space:

Guest bath. We tiled the floors and framed in the mirror. We have plans to frame the window like the other ones but it's on our "if we have time and feel like it" list:
Family room:

Close up of archway in family room:

Down the hall to the kid's rooms. The left door is the bathroom, the one straight ahead is one of the bedrooms. Notice the pretty trim around the doors?

Kitchen eating area:

Front entry:

The end.