Friday, December 9, 2011

The Pattern Continues

I told y'all if anyone posted anything relevant to me I would snatch it up and put it on this here blog. Thank goodness some people in my life have not fallen off the blog bandwagon like I have, so that there can occasionally be activity on here. My best friend, Kelly, just posted about our latest get together, which took place at The Y. Before I give you the link, here are my thoughts.

1) The longer I'm away from BYU the more I love it. I enjoyed going there (although some of the darkest days of my life were there too), but the older I get the more obsessed and compulsed I get about my kids going there. Hence, taking the children to BYU as much as possible for the indoctrination process to really take affect. Taking them to BYU sporting events, buying them BYU paraphernalia, getting them treats at the bookstore candy counter, taking them bowling at the Wilk. It's a calculated plan, people.

2) Why do I want them to go there so bad? Honestly, I was thinking about it the other day and I realized it's because I made some of the best friends of my life there. I have talked to people who hated BYU and the difference between our experiences is that they didn't have great friends. I truly think the friends you have in any stage of life can make it or break it for you and thankfully I had friends that made it for me. I'm sure I could have met amazing people wherever I went, but I wouldn't have met Kelly or Reyna or Sarah or (man, I shouldn't start naming names) and I wouldn't be the same if they weren't part of my life.

3) I noticed on this last trip that my increasing love for BYU is directly proportional to my increasing hatred toward the U. I didn't really have strong feelings against the U while I went to BYU. I only know a handful of people who went to the U and I adore them all. But I feel it is my moral obligation as a Cougar to hate those Utes. Hate is a strong word, especially for a Cougar. Let's say despise. And not really the Utes per say, as much as the institution itself, of which I know nothing about. Basically, I'm admitting that I blindly despise the University of Utah because I feel like I should. When I see that red, my blue blood starts to boil just a little. I guess that's what a rivalry is all about.

3) I was astounded that I agreed to eat at J Dog's. It was Nate's idea and he assured me that I would like it. I do not eat hot dogs. Ever. But I do eat Polish sausage, occasionally. Let's be clear that there is a vast difference between the two. It still scared me though, because it had a lot of the same properties as a hot dog. I just kept telling myself that it was not a hot dog. Honestly, I don't exactly know what hot dogs taste like, but this thing was delicious. I could only finish half because it gave me a horrendous stomach ache. But it was delicious, nonetheless.

4) The highlight of the visit for me was when we crammed into Kelly's van to drive back from J Dog's to campus (about a block). Nate was taking the rental car to Price to trade it out for a van (We hit a deer on the way to UT and had to get a rental until today, actually. See how I'm using these posts to get in little bits of information?) Anyway, this left me car less so we all crammed into the van and I sat shotgun with Kelly on my lap. Now if putting a few too many people into a car just to avoid a little extra walking doesn't bring back memories from the good old days of college, I don't know what will.

5) I had to hold myself back from obnoxiously screaming out one of our old shenanigans when I first saw Kelly at the bookstore. Man, we had some fun times back then. I'm sure our fellow students at the time were not enjoying our antics nearly as much as we were, but they probably didn't make a best friend for life in the process either. Love you so much, Kell Belle! It was so good to see you and your darling kids!

6) My face is excessively red in one of the pictures because I was blushing about something. I do not think of myself as one who gets embarrassed easily, but someone needs to tell the blood vessels in my face that because I blush like crazy over things that are not that big of a deal.

7) Don't ask why my children are incapable of making normal faces in pictures. I really do not know.

This is why I don't blog anymore, because I get on here and I ramble and stay up way too late cracking myself up with my pontificating.

Anyway, here's the link:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bloglifted Baby Shower

I'm noticing a pattern here. . .

One of our dear friends is having a baby and we were thrilled to celebrate with her. I enjoyed working together with some friends to throw her a shower. Brittany was the mastermind of the whole thing, as usual. I must say, I'm having a little post shower let down. It was fun to plan, set up and attend.

And I guess my blog has deteriorated into posting links to other people's blogs that involve me. I need to hire a personal blogger. Just as soon as I'm done hiring a housekeeper, a nanny, a chauffeur and a personal shopper.

In other news, Oprah's life class really helped with my withdrawals. Not that I even watch it that much, but knowing she's there waiting for me on my DVR really helps. And I'm counting down the days till the Breaking Dawn premier. I'm going to the midnight showing for the first time! I thought that being 32 and a half and having three kids would be the perfect time to start acting like an irresponsible teenaged girl!

Anyway, here's the link to the shower. It's hard to believe, but it was even more beautiful in person.

See you next time someone blogs something that I can post on here!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blog-lifted Beach Week

It's somewhat of tradition now that I just blog-lift my sister-in-law's beach week posts. I always say I'm going to do my own and never do. So this year, let it be known that this is all you're gonna get as far as a report from beach week goes. In fact, at the rate I'm going, this could be all you get for a while!!!

It was another wonderful week at the beach. Well, other than Johnny's screeching that Kate mentions in her post. He's outgrown that, thankfully! He did an awful lot of screeching, and crying and making me a nervous wreck around the ocean and pool. I was longing for trips past and future in which all my kids could swim and I could relax!!! Harrison has always LOVED the water, so he was endlessly entertained, as evidenced by his crazy dark tan. Elizabeth could swim this year, which was so nice. If she wasn't swimming she was having a blast with Gwen and Emi. Being with my family was so fun. We ate and relaxed and ate and swam and ate and played games and ate and read and ate and watched some great TV and ate. My kind of vacation! In fact, I could use a little of that right now!

Click here for Kate's beach week post:
Once you're there also click "newer post" to see our family beach pictures.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

O, How I Miss You!

I know I have fallen off the face of the blogosphere, and with all the catching up I have to do this is the most random thing to blog about. But I miss Oprah. I mean I really miss her bad. Like one of my best friends moved away. I didn't notice it as much over the summer because it's always reruns in the summer anyway. And the days have no structure. But now that school has started, I'm really feeling the void. I know the season wouldn't have started yet if there were going to be one, but it would be around the corner. I have nothing to look forward to. 4 o'clock rolls around and I glance longingly at the big, dark, quiet TV screen missing my friend. It really is so sad to me. The end of a long relationship that spanned the decades of my life. Over, just like that.

It's not helping that we are in the barren dessert that is end of summer TV. Design Star and Project Runway just aren't enough to keep me going through an entire week. Any suggestions of a good Oprah replacement or shows I should be watching right now? I know, this is SO pathetic! I'm trying to read books to entertain myself, but reading makes me awfully sleepy!

Maybe I should catch up on this blog with my extra time! Until then, thanks for all the good times, Oprah. You are dearly missed.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Karate Kid - A Full Circle Story

About a year ago, Harrison became totally obsessed with the original Karate Kid movie. I mentioned it briefly in another post. He watched it and then Karate Kid Part II (where Daniel San and Mr. Miyagi go to Japan) over and over and over again. He was very upset that we hadn't named him Daniel, said he wanted to marry a girl with the last name Laruso (Daniel's last name) when he grew up so he could change his last name to Laruso and started bringing his papers from school home like this:
These movies made him even more in touch with his Japanese side. He started begging me to get him a gi (karate uniform) and sign him up for Karate. I told him we could borrow his cousin's gi and hoped that would suffice.

Several months later, the obsession was still going strong and his birthday was coming up so we decided to have a Karate Party. I was actually really excited about it. Doing a theme that had something to do with his heritage (and my past) was fun for me.

The invitations looked like a gi top with a black belt. They were addressed in Japanese and English. On his birthday Nate took Harrison and his best buddy Logan to see the new Karate Kid movie while I got ready for the party. They got back just in time. Thanks to Ashely for using her special printer to cut out freezer paper for me to make headbands for all the boys and a shirt for Harrison. First the kids decorated the drums I had made. I wanted each kid to have one of the drums that you spin between your two hands to use during the "tournament" that we were going to have (this is part of Karate Kid 2 in the big fight scene at the end). I searched on-line and it was going to be too expensive to get each boy one. So I got creative. Nate said thought they were ghetto -- I thought they were very innovative. I took an empty yogurt container, threaded it with strings with a bead at the end, stuck a pencil through the bottom, glued a piece of card stock over the top and spray painted the whole thing red. Then we went outside for the tournament. The boys spun their little drums when it wasn't their turn. We had two boys go up against each other at a time and balance on a garden brick in the crane pose. It was a little too easy for them, but still fun. The first kids to fall got yellow belts, the next round got green, then brown and the winner got a black belt (I just used wide ribbons for the belts). Next the boys broke boards (balsa wood from the craft store). They each got to kick one and punch one. It was very exciting. Then we had a chopstick relay. They had to run down, pick up a marshmallow with chopsticks, and run back. They didn't exactly get the concept of a relay, but that's okay! After opening presents, a friend from church who is an advanced martial artist came over and taught the boys some cool moves! After working up an appetite, we had a Japanese feast. Menu: Tonkatsu (breaded, fried chicken cutlets), rice, ramen, edamame, and watermelon. They ate with fun kid-friendly chopsticks that they got to keep. They had Ramune soda, a favorite from Japan, that has a marble in the top that you have to push down into the bottle in order to drink it (it gets stuck in the bottle, not a choking hazard). Pretty neat! We barely had time to eat the Japan flag cake at the end. Elizabeth and Johnny donned their traditional Japanese outfits for the party. I love this picture because if you look closely you can see what stages their teeth were in at the time. Johnny's two little bottom teeth and Harrison's big top teeth starting to grow in. We love our Karate Kid! (Notice the darling shirt that Logan gave him -- he didn't hesitate to change right into that in the middle of opening presents!) Traditional birthday kiss picture! We hadn't gotten him any presents, knowing he was going to get lots from his friends. On a whim, I called and signed him up for Karate classes from a business card that he had brought back from the rec. center one day and continually hounded me about. Little did we all know that would turn out to be the most expensive and time-consuming gift he ever got from us!!!

Here's the full circle part -- Karate has now become our life. I should have known when we found out the dojo is run by a family where the Dad is Japanese American, the mom is white and there are 2 teenage boys. Do you think Harrison could be any more enamored with this family? All that in common, plus a love for karate -- it was a match made in heaven. So he now goes to three classes a week (four for the last few months because he had a lot of make-up classes to do). I am seriously considering getting a small side job to pay for all of it. It's insane how quickly we got sucked in and next thing we knew it we were buying a bo staff, sparring gear, paying for belt tests and tournament fees. Crazy. I've really got to stop complaining about it though because I'm giving Harrison a complex. He tells me, "Mom, I know karate is taking over our life and taking all of our money. I hear you telling your friends on the phone all the time." He's also been a little pre-occupied with money lately and doesn't understand why we don't have more cash. I keep trying to explain to him about the bank and credit/debit cards, but he doesn't get it. At one point he said, "Mom, I know why you and dad don't have any real money. It's because it all goes to karate." I have reassured him that I'm happy to spend the time and money as long as he loves it and is willing to be responsible about getting ready on time, and that I'll stop talking about it (good thing he doesn't read this blog!)

Anyway, a few weeks ago he had his first tournament. He was going to participate in traditional forms (kata) and sparring. I really, really wanted him to do well. For him, and honestly for me too. I needed all this time and money to feel worth it. Honestly, I had an unhealthy desire for him to win. I didn't used to consider myself competitive, but the older I get, the more I realize I kind of am. Nate had been practicing sparring with him every night for a few weeks leading up to it. In class he had been beating most of his teammates, but I had no idea what the other competition would be like. First they did the forms and it was really hard to tell how well he did compared to the other kids (all looked about the same to me). He ended up getting 4th place, which is the lowest you can get and still get a trophy, anything lower gets a medal. Here they are presenting him with 4th. I was happy with that and so was he. But when we went to get it from the trophy table, we saw the 1st place trophies and I could tell he wanted one of those really bad (takes one to know one). I knew no matter what, now that he had gotten a trophy -- a little taste of victory -- the karate bug was just going to get stronger. There was no way he'd want to quit anytime soon. Maybe the GAP is hiring.

Then it was time for sparring. I was a little nervous about watching my baby fight with other kids (they do wear protective gear, but still), until he won his first round. Then in the second round he had to go up against a very tough, big girl and I went all cobra kai on him and had to keep myself from yelling, "No mercy!" It was a very close round, but he beat her in sudden death. The third round was a pretty easy win but I was still about to have a heart attack. It was so intense. Can't you just feel the intensity as his sensei coaches him during a time out? So in the last round he had to go up against his best buddy from his own team, Richard. Well, that was a little awkward. I've gotten to be friends with his mom and we had been cheering each other's kid on up to that point. The parents all told each other it was a win-win and acted like we didn't care which way it went, but my thespian skills from high school weren't doing me much good at that moment, because I really wanted Harrison to win. It was a very close fight. They were very evenly matched and it really could have gone either way. If it had ended 30 seconds sooner or later, it would have been a different story. But it ended while Harrison was ahead and he won!!! I was so excited, but trying really hard to down play it and be gracious. When I went over to him right after he said, "Who won?" So innocent. You can tell he was pretty in awe of his trophy. It was almost as big as Elizabeth. He carried it from room to room for the next several days. He was pretty mad I wouldn't let him take it to church and school. Most of you probably know how girl crazy Harrison is. On the way home he said, "Mom, this tournament wasn't exactly like the one in the movie. When Daniel San won Ally ran out onto the mat and kissed him on the lips. But Gabriella (the darling girl he has a crush on in his Kindergarten class) wasn't even at my tournament." Oh well, the huge trophy will have to suffice for now, buddy!
I actually have mixed feelings about the trophy. On one hand, I am so happy that all of his (and our) efforts paid off and that he has something to show for it (a very cool something for a six year old). On the other hand, I don't want him feeling like he needs a giant trophy everytime he does something good. We've had talks that some of the most important things in life never result in trophies. But all in all, I'm really glad his first tournament was a great experience.

Who knew that showing him that movie last year would bring us to this point? Now who can help me think of a movie to show him about a kid who loves reading, is really nice to his siblings, and is super helpful around the house?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Two Pink Parties, One Long Post!

While we were in Virginia for the holidays we celebrated Elizabeth's 4th birthday with my family. My brother's wife, Wendy, offered to make a cake and host a surprise party for her. She really went all out decorating with all sorts of pink and princess things!

Nate had Elizabeth playing at a nearby park and when we were ready, we all hid and they came in.

She was just chatting away (as usual)
and then she was surprised (and a little confused and scared).
Her little heart was beating so fast when I hugged her.
I think she felt pretty special.
Wendy had thought of all sorts of cute details, like these clip-on earrings, fit for a princess.

They decorated sugar cookies.
They played pin the tiara on the princess (princess drawn by Amy, Andrew's girlfriend.) Notice that the pillow pets were also in on the fun.

Harrison, Gwen, Emi and Elizabeth. We wish we could have cousins at all of our birthday celebrations. Cousin Max was being shy but we were happy to have him, K.C. and Suzanne there too!
Then we had the darling and delicious cake!

Look at these cute party-g0ers. Cousins, Blake, Beau and Johnny.
Thank you, Wendy for making such a fun family party! You really went all out and we appreciate it so much! It definitely could have sufficed, but Elizabeth has know for a year that she was getting her first friend party this year. So I had to deliver. I did push it off until the very end of
January (I'm glad I did, everyone was sick the weekend I had thought about doing it).

Elizabeth wanted a pink party and I was more than happy to make that happen. I LOVE having boys and there are some really amazing things about being a mom to boys. But let me tell you, I'd much rather throw a pink party than a Spiderman party!
The invitations went out (thanks Tamara for giving me your leftover triangles!)
And then the big day arrived. I spent all day making sure the house looked like it had been hosed down with pepto bismol!

(Thanks to Tamara for the banner too!)

One of these days I will learn to master party prep while maintaining a happy attitude. Unfortunately, this wasn't the day. And of all people to take it out on, it shouldn't have been the birthday girl when she didn't want to cooperate for pictures. But it was.
Thankfully she is quick to forgive and forget. (Thank you Brittany for letting us borrow the girliest, pinkest outfit ever!)
The little girls all looked so pretty in pink (as instructed on the invitation).
For almost an hour the girls quietly sat and beaded pink necklaces. I wasn't sure how long it would take and if I had enough things planned. Let me tell you, if you want an activity that is calm, make necklaces! Ten little girls focused and entertained! (Too bad I didn't think to take pictures until almost all of them were done.) I also had them make a shrinky-dink charm to go on the necklaces. I wish I hadn't done that part. They weren't that into it and it ended up being too complicated and time consuming on my part. Lesson learned.
While another mom and I slaved away on the charms, Nate entertained the girls in the other room. They played "Pink, pink, pinkalicious."
And pin the tiara on the princess made another appearance. (Mina, I needed you there as my photographer! I hardly got any action shots!)
Then it was time for the cake. Wendy really raised the bar of what birthday cakes should look like (usually my kids get a half-heartedly decorated 9X13). I don't know if she wanted to one up her last cake or if it was because she was 4, but she insisted on a "4 layer cake with pink skin and white polka dots." Well, I wasn't about to attempt that. So I hired a girl in our ward who makes cakes to do it. Kristina made Elizabeth's vision come to life and it was a big hit! Yummy too, strawberry cake with vanilla frosting.

This picture cracks me up because one of the other girls was trying to blow out the candle and you can tell that Elizabeth is perturbed.
We gave her another chance and she was much happier.
She looks so satisfied.
I finally had some time to take pictures. Here are all the silly girls eating cake!

So, you might have noticed that one of Elizabeth's friends looks like she could be her twin. This is a friend from Karate. The big brothers are in karate and these little girls play while we wait. She is half Japanese too and they seriously look so much alike, it's crazy!
I made each of the girls a flower clip for their treat bag. They are pretty easy. . .until you make ten of them!
They also got a pink pencil, a lip gloss ring and lots of pink treats that they picked out themselves.
They really got a kick out of making their own treat bag and actually took less candy than I would have given them.
At the end we got a picture of the fam. Don't mind Harrison's pose. That's his new favorite trick in pictures.
Our traditional birthday kissing picture!
This girl better feel loved after TWO great parties! We really do love and adore her so, so much! It is so fun having her in our family! And I'm glad to be done with birthday parties for 18 months until Harrison's 8th! (I'll post his Karate party from this summer next -- I really do have big plans for catching up on this blog).