Friday, August 29, 2008

Which is which?

These posts were wildly popular when I did them a few months ago. I thought we should do them again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pepsi for free

B.A.R. is a Coke drinker, but Zephyr and Froggie are Pepsi drinkers.  I am a courtesy Coke/Pepsi drinker; I drink Coke/Pepsi when it would be a whole lot easier than explaining that I don't want the Coke/Pepsi that you were so nice to give me (this doesn't happen very often).  We bought a whole bunch of Pepsi for vacation, and Zephyr and Froggie took the extra home with them.  All except 3 cans.  3 cans that I found a week ago.  B.A.R. choked down one, but if you want, I still have 2 cans of Pepsi to the first person to claim them.  No, sorry, I won't ship them. If you are local and you would like them (for yourself or someone else) just let me know.

Being Prepared

I'm  the kind of person who has to be prepared for EVERYTHING.  When I was younger I had tons of stuff in my car, just in case.  I carried backpacks with all my books to all my college classes in case I needed to use them.  As I have matured, and married a minimalist (at some things) I am improving my need to be prepared for every possible eventuality all the time.  I only take things on outing with the kids that there is a 10% chance I will need.  For example: I no longer take 3 extra outfits to the grocery store.  

Since our marriage we have only given a half-hearted effort to ensure we were totally prepared for emergencies and had complete food storage for one year.  On Sunday, there was a tornado in our area.  It was visible from our front yard, but was about 2 miles away.  The funny part was the sky was blue over our house, and the leaves were barely rustling.  Baseball size hail was seen 5 or 6 miles away, and we got nothing!  For more information and other pictures check out The Wealth of Home, or her friend's blog.

B.A.R.'s friend called to tell us to bolt for the basement because of the tornado, which we did.  Suddenly, I was surprised at how prepared we were despite our lack of effort.  Until then, we hadn't been watching the news (the sun was shining and the wind was hardly blowing), but when we got downstairs I realized that we have a small TV, a phone, a box of toys for Tiger, all of our food storage, all of our camping supplies (except the stove and fuel), 5 gallons of water, all the kids clothes not currently in use, the extra chairs, a small fridge with soda, a large chest freezer with food, our 72 hour kits, and for 1 day only: Blanket's favorite bouncy chair.  

It seems that my old instincts have served us well. While we weren't down there for very long, and it isn't likely that a serious tornado will have us in our basement more than once every few years, it is nice to know that we were prepared for an emergency even if it only lasted 20 minutes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Redneck Picture in Picture

Please read this post in its entirety before looking at the picture.

Over a year ago B.A.R.'s co-worker was retiring and moving to Florida.  He was offering up unwanted furniture pieces for reasonable prices (read free).  Since we didn't have an entertainment center, just a coffee table, I thought this would be a great time to move the electronics out of the reach of our current and future children.  We only had one small problem: our TV (the second free one) was a 21" model and the cabinet had room for a 42" screen.  BIG HOLE, small tv.    Thus it has stayed for 16 months or so.

When B.A.R.'s other friend moved he gave us (free) a 21" TV.  It has been sitting on the floor for a couple of weeks.  I went to church yesterday and left B.A.R. home with Tiger because he was sick.  When I came back this is one of the changes I saw.
My new 42" television can watch a DVD or VHS movie or play PS1 while watching cable channels.  It can watch 2 channels at the same time with sound for both of them.  Channel surfing can be accomplished twice as fast.  You can watch a movie during the commercials of the shows you are watching.  You can have one show on while you surf the channels for something better to watch.  The combinations are almost endless.  I am still getting used to "redneck picture in picture."

The best part may actually be the look on Tiger's face when both of them are on.  He is so confused about which one he is supposed to be watching, or which one has the sound on.  That is great entertainment.

Maybe we should get 2 more 21" TVs and see what happens.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The furniture repository

I must confess that we are not your run-of-the-mill furniture/appliance buyers.  We are the kind of people who believe: "If you are going to do it wrong, do it right!"  Which means if you are going to buy something, buy the one you really want.  Buy it once, don't skimp and you will be happy with it, instead of wishing you had something better.  If we don't have the money, or can't find what we really want, we will spend as little as possible to acquire something we need until we can get what we want.  You must know that we have not purchased any furniture for our house ever except the bedroom set and mattress set that we bought right after we moved to Colorado 2.5 years ago.   We did buy a fridge for our house in California, and have it here, and then we bought a new dishwasher for this house.   We did buy our vacuum.  We are on our second free washer/dryer set.  We just recently replaced one long couch with a love seat and chair (again, free).  We had 2 free beds (that came complete with serious problems) before we replaced the second with our Tempurpedic and lots more sleep.  We have 3 TVs (all free) and one that we disposed of already.  Even our DVD player, VCR, and crib were gifts.  Our stereo equipment, dining table, coffee table, floor lamps, even the bunk beds were free. We are not above free anything.  That said, I need to tell you about our newest acquisitions (free, of course).

The office at B.A.R's employment was getting new furniture.  This has been an ongoing project over the last few months.  6 months ago he came home with waiting room chairs (for hosting parties we will never have because he hates them).  He told me that he was going to get one of those steel cubicle desks for our office when they became available with rolling chair, hutch, and additional bookcase and upright filing cabinet.  It isn't as though we need office furniture (a 2nd chair would be nice).  Our office used to be just the safe, the small filing cabinet, a plastic filing cart, a floor lamp, one old folding relief society chair (blue padding) a keyboard table, and two well used desks about 18"x24".  Considering he works from home some days and we have 2 computers, one printer, and 7 years of paperwork, 3 house purchases, lots of stuff for his job, and all of our side business stuff stored in there I wasn't looking for MORE furniture for the office.

So Thursday he came home with the aforementioned steel desk and hutch.  We moved the piles of stuff and furniture around and got the desk in there.  There was much consternation involved, but I will save you the dramatics.  B.A.R. did flush out one desk into the living room (to find a home somewhere else in our house).  After the desk was moved we decided to move the chest freezer B.A.R. acquired from his friend who was moving (the same one who gave him that huge chair).  It has been in the garage being cleaned for about 3 weeks.  That involved moving a few things around in the basement to accommodate it and more drama getting it into place. 

B.A.R did say he might be able to get me two more of these steel desks for sewing if I wanted them, and a rolling chair too.  Wow, 25 sq. ft to sew, cut, quilt, craft and store my stuff so that it is not all piled haphazardly in a closet I will need in the future, or overtaking my dinner table.  Yesterday he came home with those two desks.  I helped him unload them into the garage,  and we discussed the location of the new furniture.  I figured the location most cordial today would be in the basement.  This means a lot of moving stuff around down there.  Not 10 minutes of box shuffling.   No, trash can filling, box dumping, relocating  your work tools to a different address, putting the clay thrower in the crawl space kind of moving stuff around.  Today I meant to vacuum the house and steam clean two or three rooms where Blanket commonly barfs.  Instead, while B.A.R. was home this morning, we worked for 2 hours in the basement.  We will probably need to work for 2 more hours just to make the room for the desks.  We have decided to move a larger dresser upstairs, and a smaller one back to the basement and I am hoping to spend the rest of today on mommy tasks as B.A.R. is off practicing for the upcoming deer hunt.  Maybe after this week is over and B.A.R. comes back from his business trip to avoid the DNC I will have a new sewing space and dinner on my table for a change.  Until then, tho, my sewing is on hold.

Potty successes

Blanket successfully used the toilet for the first time just 3 days after I first let him sit there.  He seems unfazed by the new sitting space, and is not afraid of the flushing noise.  He should not develop fears if we keep this up.

If you know my big push to get kids out of diapers fairly quickly this shouldn't come as a surprise to you.  No, I am not one of those natural baby, cloth diaper, potty trained before walking  at any cost kind of moms.  I am of the opinion that a little practice and lots of success before we ever decide to venture out of diapers goes a long way.   

I started with Tiger at about 7 months.  He could sit very well, and the first time I put him on the toilet he went.  Lots of sitting w/o success in the beginning turned into potty trained before his second birthday.  He is still lazy about saying that he needs to go at home, but always stays dry in public.  We have changed to a time-limit between potty breaks this week, and he is having great success.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

TV Networks

Caution: lots of opinions put forth here.

I am very upset at NBC's handling of the Olympic coverage.  Live ought to mean live.  Not live when we taped it. Not live to those who matter (on the east coast), but the rest of you don't deserve live and don't matter.  Last night I wanted to see the beach volleyball finals, but they were starting just as I was going to bed.  Because they aren't live here in MDT, I checked the website for the results and went to bed.  If they had been live, I would have seen them finish before I went to bed.  Then, this morning I decided to try and watch the match on the internet.  NBC's olympic web videos are only available to be viewed on PC's and Intel-based Macs.  My Mac is 3 years old and is the last generation of PowerBook before the Intel chip was used.  My Mac has never before had this problem.  My Mac interacts great with everything on the internet, except with Microsoft's monopoly of NBC's monopolistic control and dispensing of these Olympic games.  It feels like NBC is taking all their information control cues directly from Beijing (double-speak intended).   I didn't get to watch it on the internet.

And while I'm piling on the "Obama is the anointed one" network I am going to rant about American TV programming in general.  I could do without most of the trash available that degrades humans and is without morals, but that is for another post and time.  No, I am going to rant about how Canadians get the big 4 networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox) but we don't get any of the CBC networks in most of the country.  When I lived in Michigan we got CBC 1 and TVO (Ontario Public Television).  I want to watch Hockey Night in Canada, The Red Green Show, and CBC's Olympic coverage.  When I watched the 2002 games I liked CBC's coverage much more than NBC's controlled release of information.  I want to have more selection than what the big 4 are giving us, because most of that is prime time trash.  In a truly capitalist society we would be free to watch Canadian TV, as they are free to watch ours.

While we are on the subject of TV channels, why must I buy a package of pre-selected channels?  Why can't I buy my TV stations a la carte?  I would pay only for the stations  I watch: like ESPN and Discovery, and not for stations I won't ever watch: like FitTV or Telemundo.  I think that if you go this route, you could choose premium channels individually too (they would cost more each) and once you reached a certain threshold of channels say 25 or 50 you could get 5 or 10 more channels (of your choice) for free.  And if you think that this isn't possible, then your wrong.  Just because no commercial entity is offering such a program, doesn't mean the technology isn't there to do it.   I know I'm not the only one interested in this programming structure.

In the spirit of full-disclosure: This is the first time we have paid for television in our married life, and we are getting more channels than we are paying for (I think).  We only got the cable though so that we could get internet and Packet8 (VOIP).  And no, I don't have a DVR!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blame it on the sewing machine

I feel like I should blog so that you don't think bad things have happened to me.  
New things Tiger can say:  Mocolotive and then Locomotive.  Then on Sunday, he said "Excuse me, mom." (!)  Polite when he thinks it will get him something.

We have determined that Blanket should have some tummy time each day (despite his protests) so that he will learn to crawl before he goes to nursery.  He will tolerate about 10 min on his belly if he has a toy to play with.  When he gets done, he cries.  He doesn't roll over, he just fusses until you pick him up.  At least he is content to spend the rest of the day sitting in one place or other out of my way.

The boys have had a touch of a cold today, so we just stayed home. 

I have been working on my quilt for the last few days (instead of blogging).  I finished quilting it (by machine) and now I am using the border as a binding because I had some issues with the size of my backing.   Then I need to fix all those pesky quilting threads.  As soon as I finish the binding I will have my machine free to start my new project--skirts.  

I have had one new (non-maternity) church outfit since I got home from my mission (8+ years ago).  Now don't get me wrong, I like what I have, but I am getting a little bored with it.  I just wanted a few new pieces to get excited about wearing to church.   I went and got the fabric and patterns on Monday.  I have never made anything quite this ambitious before (mostly just shorts and buntings) but I am so excited to finish that I am putting my quilt into overdrive so that I can get to these skirts (and hopefully more after that!)

In case you are wondering, I will definitely post a photo of the quilt when I am done (but not before).

Saturday, August 16, 2008


So here is the long-awaited post about my hair.  If you have known me for less than 15 years you have never seen me with hair longer than my chin.  B.A.R. met me back in '95 and has always wanted me to have long hair. 

To me, hair ought to be functional, low maintenance, and fit my personality.  My close-cropped hair has been just great for me.  With the addition of Blanket, I am having difficulty keeping it that way.  Getting to the barber with both kids in a manner that keeps them stationary and relatively quiet while I get my locks attended to,  is more than a challenge.  B.A.R. suggested that this would be a great time to let my hair grow.

So here is the picture of my current mop.  I need to get it trimmed and reshaped, but I am still going to grow the back until it touches my shoulders.  I don't know whether I will like it. I don't know whether I will do much more than pull a comb through it, and buy something besides cheap shampoo for it.  

For now,  it is a work in progress and an ongoing project.  The worst thing that could happen is I will hate it, and I cut it back to a more comfortable length.

Friday, August 15, 2008


The apparel item that seems to bring the most consternation to my friends is their kids' socks.  Thinking that I had managed to find a way to minimize this frustration I bought a 12 pairs in each size of Hanes boys' Toddler socks.  The baby size has red writing, and the toddler size has blue writing.  I bought them at Wal-mart.  I picked the easiest way to manage the boys' socks. 

I just pulled out the baby ones for Blanket to wear, and realized that I needed to buy a few more pairs to spread out laundry days. Tiger is managing to put holes in all of his socks (usually inside his shoes.)  See my other post about Shoes. Wal-mart, however, has stopped carrying these socks. Target never really did.  They carry bigger socks, but not the baby/toddler variety.  They do carry Hanes boys' socks in Tiger's size, but those are colored coded red and look different.  Kohl's is the same story.  So is the Hanes outlet in Castle Rock.  They have never carried the baby/toddler variety.  It seems the only place to get these socks is online. 

I don't want to mix varieties.  I don't want to wait until they all wear out before I change varieties.  I don't want to pay shipping (and full price from Hanes) for something as simple as SOCKS!!!  I don't want to complicate this any more (remember, no consternation).  All I want is socks that are simple to match and easy to find. 

If you know where to find these socks please let me know.  Pictures at Amazon and Hanes

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The War

I hate to be a downer again, but there is so much that is bothering me, some of which I cannot blog about right now.  One of the things I can write about is the war of Russian aggression.  
Many of you know that I went on my mission to Russia.  What you don't know is that my mission was split while I was there.  Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan were taken from my mission and made into the Armenia, Yerevan mission.  
The last city I served in was Sochi, the last family I taught lived south of  a suburb called Adler.  From their window you could actually see the mountains in Abkhazia.  During the time I was there, the war in Chechnya was going on.  I often saw the UN Land Cruiser.    I do not understand all the reasons for the new fighting, but I do know that people I love dearly can hear bombs going off.  They can feel the aggression just over the hill, and my friend was just diagnosed with cancer right before the tanks started massing.  The war may seem far away and obscure to you, but I have seen the hills and mountains they are fighting on.  I have been within a mile of the Georgia/Russia border.  The war is in the backyard of my consciousness.  I would almost rather be closer to it, so that I could be doing something besides watching it on the news.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A few thoughts on school.

I have been trying to avoid thinking about it, but I really can't.  I shouldn't be worried about school and all that (Tiger won't go for 3 more years) but I can't avoid thinking about the start of school.  It's not as though it doesn't affect me at all, all my friends have kids who just started school (it started last Wednesday here).  But the thing that I just can't shake is that I am not taking my little girl to school this year.  She would have been starting kindergarten this fall.  The start of school has never bothered me as much as this year.  I've never given much thought to it at all before now.  It crept up on me and surprised me how much I think about it and how much it is costing me my focus and drive.  I am mildly depressed because of this (and other things).  It is costing me my motivation.  I could be sewing, working on my quilt, or cleaning my house.  I could be doing lots of things that really need to be done, but all I want to do is play video games and watch tv to avoid thinking about these things that are weighing on my mind. I don't know when I will start feeling better, and that is bothering me too.  Sorry for the downer post.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A pleasant trip to the Dentist.

Dentists are not the kind of appointments I keep willingly.  I do like my dentist here, and she is the best dentist I've had, but I still don't like going.  My dentist did make me want to go back often today.  She commented that I had lost weight (she last saw me when Blanket was 1 month old).  She also noticed that my hair is longer (I'll post about this soon).   How nice to go to a dentist who compliments you on all the things you are doing right (even if brushing your teeth everyday isn't one of them).  She also understands that chastising you about your bad habits isn't the best way to make you change them.  Thank you Dr. Geving.  Oh, and she shares an office with the bishop of another ward in the stake.  She's great!

Oh boy! Really big chair!

That's what Tiger said as he climbed into this chair.  B.A.R. says his friend "forced" him to take it because he was moving.  All Tiger knows is now it is in his room and he gets to sit in it to read or be read to.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The passing of an inspired writer

Today marks the death of Alexander Solzhenitzyn.  A great writer who worked to expose the injustices put forth by the Soviet Empire.  Specifically those of Stalin.  A man who was kicked out of his own country for 18 years for speaking the truth.  A man who wrote and memorized his writings in case they were destroyed before publication.  A man who went home 18 years ago only to have to get reacquainted with his home country.  A man who spoke out against corrupt political leaders, and who never forgot his ethics.  A man who remained faithful to his religion through the entire Soviet regime.  A Nobel prize winner before his 60th birthday; an unusual honor.  A great intellectual, and a fierce defender of his country's history and culture even while he could not live there.  A man I look forward to meeting.  Thank You, Alexander Isayevich Solzhenitsyn for your contribution to the world.

My latest sewing project

I have put my quilt on hold while we did vacation things and the pink buntings.  Since my machine was set up for no project in particular and I had extra pink thread I decided to make a sampler of all the stitches on my new sewing machine.  This is a good way of seeing what all the stitches really look like.  Think of it as an index/reference card for your sewing machine.  I used up a lot of old thread, or thread leftover from other projects that I really wasn't going to need ever again.  In case you are wondering it is over 8 feet long, and it is made up of 180 stitches and 3 alphabets.  I spent Monday-Wednesday working on it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Vacation, Day 4

Day 4 we listened to the boys fight all morning and looked forward to our day away from our lovely children.  The first order of the day was the Rockies game.  Froggie and I are baseball fans.  B.A.R. and Zephyr suffer for our sakes.  Froggie really came to watch the Dodgers.

B.A.R. enjoys baseball when there is a lot of action.  This game ran out of action fast.

After the game we went to dinner at The Buckhorn Exchange.   Zephyr had been dying to go there and try some of the more exotic menu items.
Like Rattlesnake chipotle dip and rocky mountain oysters.

That's a rocky mountain oyster.  They taste better than you think they would, and if you weren't thinking about what they are, they don't taste bad at all.
Zephyr's ostrich, yak, and buffalo dinner special.  I had ribs. B.A.R. had a steak.  Froggie had a baked potato (and 2 of my ribs).

Vacation, Day 3

So on day 3 we sent B.A.R. and Sgt. Benelli off to visit the east portal of the Moffat tunnel.  Froggie and I took the boys to the Children's museum of Denver.  By this day the boys were starting to get on each others' nerves.  They are both 2 and have normal 2 year-old issues with sharing, wanting what the other has, etc.  They played well at the museum, though.

Leprechaun and his train.
Tiger and his train.
Playing nicely, ahh.
Leprechaun playing in the "gopher hole."
Look how tall.
Tiger loves to have this make noise.
Tiger trying to remove the "ball" from the flower.
Leprechaun, the prospective firefighter.
A moment very indicative of the boys' interactions.  See Tiger trying to take the dog from Leprechaun as if it were his alone.
After the Children's museum we went to the Molly Brown House Museum. This would have been a great place to go without the boys.  It was 90+ degrees and there was no a/c.  There was also no touching anything (including the walls).  There was no leaving the tour, and no bathroom on the tour.   The kids were tired, hot, and Tiger had to go potty.  The stuff inside is really interesting, but don't take little kids, unless you can hold them. 
When we got back the boys spent the afternoon playing with each other somewhat peacefully. 

It looks like Leprechaun would like a sandbox of his very own.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Vacation, Day 2

We started off the morning at Forney Transportation Museum.  Zephyr really wanted to go there to see the Big Boy locomotive.  My family had already been twice since Tiger was born, so it wasn't as big a deal to us.  This first photo shows off their personalities really well.These riding toys are new since we last visited.  As you can see, they were a big hit with our boys.  They did trade rides after we had seen most of the museum.

Playing dress-up in the Model T.
Blanket didn't see much of the museum. I kept walking so that he would keep sleeping.  He fell asleep about 20 minutes after we got there, and woke up about 20 minutes before we left.
Enjoying a non-alcoholic brew after the Coors tour.

Group photo at the brewery.
Zephyr "enjoying" his very first anchovy at Woody's Pizza in Golden.  About that Browning hat: it may seem annoying at first look, but it makes him really easy to find at large or crowded venues.  It works just like a beacon.

After lunch we went to the Colorado Railroad Museum.   This is probably where Sgt. Benelli took the most pictures.  It was 92 degrees and I spent most of the time keeping Blanket in the shade, or inside.
I love this picture of Leprechaun as he looks at the model through the glass.
The men and boys on the restored mail car outside.
Tiger and Leprechaun in front of a rotary snow plow.
Froggie's favorite part of Sgt. Benelli's train obsession is these little powered rail carts.  She was trying not to melt too.

Vacation, Day 1

On the first day we went to ride the Georgetown loop railroad in Silver Plume Colorado.  We made the mistake of sitting right by the locomotive as the ride started (the horn is LOUD), and Leprechaun spent the rest of the ride with his hands over his ears, even after we moved to the other end of the train!

Froggie, Leprechaun, Zephyr family photo on the train.

Stitches, Blanket, B.A.R., Tiger family photo.

We opted to take the Lebanon Mine tour as part of our ride package. It is a tour of an old silver mine and some reconstructed buildings made like the ones that were there when the mine was operating.  There is lots of historical and geological information given during the tour.  Well worth the stop.
This is B.A.R. carrying (wrangling) Tiger through the tour.  He was, "scared tunnel."  Apparently he still has mild claustrophobia.  

Zephyr and Leprechaun post mine tour.  He handled it a little better than Tiger.

Here are the dads holding their charges.  As Froggie is pregnant with Birdie, and I was packing Blanket around the men were in charge of the big boys.  They have matching leashes.  Leprechaun's is a bear and Tiger's is a dog.  $10 Target.

After the train we went to lunch at Beau Joe's in Idaho Springs (but somehow didn't get any pictures of that).

On the way home we stopped to walk around the grounds at the Denver Temple.  We also got some family photos there too.  It's nice to have someone else operating the camera so that we can all be in the pictures.

Tiger was interested in the fountain, just not in the spray from the fountain.  Notice he is standing outside of the splash zone!

Denver LDS temple.