Monday, June 29, 2009

Coolest Family Bike EVER!!!

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1. Zoo memberships and playdates with "Birth" cousins. As far as family memberships go, the zoo is by far my favorite (and it's the best deal). We use it ALL the time. This week we made an effort to see the elephant show with Christie (our elephant whose preggars and due in August - yay for baby elephants!), and the penguin show (they were just getting fed and doing tricks in the water). 5 hours later, we came home EXHAUSTED!

2. For fun playdates with Leach cousins: lunch at Rubios, playing in the pool, bounce houses.

3. Catching up with my sister. I love it.

4. Libraries. I love not spending money on books & children's dvd's anymore. And the children's activities that are FREE and super fun - yeah, it's pretty great.

5. Good books. No, make that EXCELLENT books:
I just finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. By far one of the best books I've read in a really really long time. I finished the last couple chapters this morning and I was crying so hard for an hour. My poor kids were like - what the heck is wrong with you mom? Now, onto the 4 others I have sitting waiting for their turn to be read. I think I'll read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn next.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our little pony

Here is what I saw when I came into the kitchen tonight after dinner.

She knows that she is NOT to sit on the dog, and Bentley knows that he's not supposed to let her sit on his back. But do you think either of them cared? Nope. He was totally content and happy to oblige her pony riding wishes. He didn't even flinch when the Belle polly pocket got shoved in his face and bounced on his nose, all while shrill, "neighs, Neeeeiighs I say" were being shouted in his ear. Serves her right if he chews Belle up tonight while we're asleep.

(gotta love the guilty look of being caught here ...)

(followed by the, "it's ok mom, I'm SOOOO freakin' funny!" look here.)

Book Reviews

When people learn that my degree was in English, they automatically assume that I'm a good speller and love grammar. WRONG!!! I hated gammar and only endured those classes as they were a must to graduate. I chose English as my major because I love to read. Fiction, non-fiction, novels, short stories, juvenile lit, etc. But since having kids I've found it hard to find the time & energy to delve into books. I always seem to put aside reading in favor of other things - like sleep, laundry, chores, weeding, gardening, tending to kids. You know, life! But I decided earlier this year that I really needed to start reading again. So, over the past couple months I've started taking the kids to the Holladay Library every Wednesday morning. The kids love picking out their own books and then reading them in the book "hut" while I browse for my reading selections. Here are reviews for 2 of the books of recently finished, both recommended by others and both of which I liked for very different reasons.

Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
Excellent book for a quick, entertaining, guilty pleasure read. Recommended to me by my hairdresser who also happens to be an avid fan of Twilight (thanks Devyn @ Landis Salon). Saying this much you obviously know this book is going to be considered young adult fiction along the same lines of the Stephanie Meyers books. Despite my hesitancy in reading the book, I have to say that all said & done (or read & done), I actually really liked the book. I don't really know how to describe it, other than a fight-to-the-death match of a group of youth trying to survive a futuristic (a la Mad Maxx or something) world. But it was a great read.

Honeymoon with my brother, a memoir (Franz Wisner)
My sister Shauna read and blogged about this book. I was one of her honeymoons. So I had to check it out and read it as well to see what she was talking about. Overview: Franz is ditched at the altar and goes on an extended honeymoon with his brother Kurt (this is a true story). It's about their relationship with each other, with the world, and how they change as they travel the globe. I loved this book. It just reminded me of my own travels, and how those travels have shaped who I am today.

My first trip was in my senior year of High School. I scrimped & saved for a whole year to go to Spain for 2 1/2 weeks with my Spanish teacher. This trip awakenend the travel bug within me and was the beginning of many trips to come. This trip was probably THE most significant thing that happened in the first 18 years of my life.

Like Franz in the book, I too traveled with a sibling that I hardly knew -my sister, Shauna. After finally graduating from BYU, I wanted to reward my new found college degree with a BIG trip. So I talked my sister into traveling across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland for a month - with nothing but a back-pack and BritRail pass. Shauna and I did NOT get along growing up. It was this trip that took us from just sisters to good friends. I'm so grateful to have shared that experience with her.

The book made me appreciate my relationship with Ryan. Other than the trip to Kentucky during the early stages of "dating," we have always traveled well together - from Arizona, Baltimore, So. California, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Las Vegas, Bear Lake, Germany, Austria, Chicago, San Francisco, and more. We both find travel to be an immediate necessity rather than a far-off dream saved only for retirement. In fact we are already planning a month long trip to Europre in Fall 2010. I hope that this passion is something we can hand down to our kids and grandkids.

S0, those are the 2 latest books I've read. I have a few more waiting in my queue at the library (hurry up and return them people, I need more books!!!). The problem I'm finding is that it's hard to browse the grown-up section with kids in tow. So, here's a simple request I have for those reading this blog, please share recommendations of your favorite books (current, past, or even your future reading choices).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In celebration of ...

our recent anniversary, Ryan and I headed to Chicago. Ryan's friend, Patrick, is finishing up his doctorate out there so we hung with him before having a couple days to ourselves. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel on Michigan Ave. Being our anniversary they upgraded us to the king suites up on the penthouse level (34th floor). They room & view were amazing (and the bathroom was twice the size of our bathroom here at home)!

The highlight of the trip by far was the US Soccer World Cup Qualifier game versus Honduras at Soldier Field. We had killer seats (2nd row about 38th yard line). It was such an exciting game and despite the predominately Honduras fan base, the US kicked their butt and won the match. We were screaming and cheering so loud that the next day our voices were gone.

We also attended a White Sox game which turned out to be the most boring game ever. They lost in record time (score was 6-0) yet still did a fireworks show at the end. Ummmm ... I guess celebrating a big loss is cool.This is us at the lamest game ever.

We took an Architectural Boat Tour of the river. It was the ony time that it rained while we were in Chicago. Lucky for me, my sweet man bought me a $2 poncho. And lucky for us it stopped shortly after the tour began. This was the morning after the US soccer game. Can you tell we were so tired? Note to self, book the later tour next time.

The Institute of Art museum was also on our list of to-do's. It was fun going thru the museum with Ryan and partaking of all his knowledge. I think it's pretty safe to say that I do NOT like modern art. I had fun mocking most everything in the modern section. I can't believe what some people consider art. Seriously, dumping a pile of rocks in the middle of the floor is not art. This is us waiting outside on the front steps of the museum.

And of course we ate lots & lots of yummy food: BBQ at Fat Willy's, Burgers at Blackey's, Culver's in Indiana when we went to the outlet's, and more. But the best meal I had was breakfast at Orange in Boystown. Ryan got this yummy Rosemary Almond Orange french toast (to DIE for) and I got the Green Egg's and Ham (pesto, mozarella, tomato, prosciutto egg dish). It was probably the best breakfast I've ever had, hands down.

We also splurged at the outlets (not in Chicago, but just over the border in Indiana - an
hour drive). I got a new bag from the Fossil outlet that I've been waiting and waiting and waiting to get. No more waiting :) Plus a new outfit from JCrew outlet. Ryan scored at the Puma outlet with a wetsuit hooded track jacket and some sneaks. You know, cause, all anniversaries deserve celebrating with gifts to ourselves :) Overall, it was a fabulous trip and when it was all over, we were very happy & eager to come home and be with our kiddos.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Freaky Friday

this past week I haven't been feeling so hot. Dizziness, nausea, hot & cold flashes, and severe pain along the back of my head (literally it's all tender and sore, like someone hit me in the back of the head with a baseball bat). I'd just been writing it off as exhaustion or something as we had just returned from a trip to Chicago where we exhausted ourselves at Museums, Baseball games, US Soccer games, river boat tours, lots & lots of shopping, lots of yummy eating, movies, and more.

But when I woke up this morning to find myself covered in a rash from chest to toe, I knew it wasn't just my body trying to re-cover. So, I went to the Doctor fearing a gazillion things (shingles, west nile virus, reaction to a venemous spider bite, meningitus, eventually even a brain tumor, cancer, etc).

Turns out I am allergic to Sulpha (not sure of the exact name, but the Dr. said to just remember that I'm allergic from here on out to Sulpha). I had taken it for an UTI last week yet for whatever reason the rash didn't appear until now.

Thank heavens for antihistamenes and steroids - may they work faster than normal, lest I scratch my itchy self to death. Here I am in all my red, splotty, itchy gloriousness. And this is nothing. It's now spread up my face, the one spot that didn't have it earlier.

So, Sulpha meet Penicilan. Penicilan meet Sulpha. You two are forever engraved in my medical charts under the "Allergic to" section. May you become great friends and may I never encounter you again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

6 years ago ...

we took the plunge.

Here we are today...

Thanks to Ryan for the past 6 years of marriage. He's patient and forgiving of my faults, and he's given me the 2 best gifts I could ever ask for - F & B.

Love you hon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the Hell that is Potty Training

Yes, I said Hell and no, it wasn't by accident. Warning to those I just offended, do not read below, you will just continue to take offense.

Potty Training has truly become the bane of my existence as a mother and has definitely turned me off to having any more kids. Seriously, I will not have any more children because of Potty Training. I can deal with temper-tantrums, squabbling siblings, and toys all over the house. But not this. 

Riddle me this:  How long does it take a 4 year old to get the hang of it (especially since we started Potty Training when he was 2)?  Apparently forever.  We go a week with no accidents, then 2 weeks riddled with a gazillion accidents, and only after losing ALL of his toys will we get another week of no accidents, only to be followed by another 2 weeks of accidents galore and once again loss of all toys. This never ending cycle is getting old.

I decided to do a friends boot camp routine with Berlin as she's had great success with both her kids. YEAH RIGHT!!!  Berlin was doing great the first part of her potty training, but she sees Finley fight, scream, and protest on a daily (hourly) basis when I ask him to sit on the potty, that now she has no desire what-so-ever ... and gives me lip-service everytime I put her on the potty (what a great teacher Finn turned out to be).  My kids could care less about any reward ...  Stickers? Fruit snacks? Unlimited capri suns or juice?  Popsicles? Chocolate?  Toys?  All she says is, "I don't like stickers, " "I don't like fruit snacks," "I don't like soda," "I don't want to be a big girl," and blah blah blah blah blah.

The best advice I have gotten to date; be consistent and loving. Loving? LOVING? It's a little hard to be loving after the 100th time of dragging your child to the toilet, all the while getting punched and kicked the whole way over, and hearing "Stupid Mom" a hundred different ways. Only to have them soil their pants in the process. Loving flew the nest a long time ago. So to well-intentioned advice-givers out there who think they know the trick in getting them to embrace a relationship with the potty ... Please refrain - unless you plan on coming over and "implementing" the plan yourself while I check into the hospital.

So, that's it. I'm done. I'm calling it quits. I could care less if my children wear diapers 'til they're 8. The money that underwear is supposed to save me is being wasted by the enormous amounts of laundry I do each day from accidents. And I'm tired of being grumpy mom, because trust me, it's made me grumpy (just ask Ryan).  I was much happier when they were in diapers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Lovin'

Summer is here and we are SOOOOOO happy. We've had a lot going on so bear with me :)

Preschool is over for the summer. They had a really cute Pirate graduation party with lots of piratey activities. Unfortunately, Finn was a grump-a-lump and it wasn't nearly as fun as it should have been. 


Our favorite part of summer is going to Bear Lake. We opened the cabin this last weekend. It was a little sad for me at times knowing that Peter (Ry's father) isn't with us anymore. It makes me glad to think that the cabin will always be a reminder of Peter & Renate (Opa & Oma to the kids) in our lives, and I know that they are with us in spirit when we're there.

Here are some pics of the beach. We had great weather the morning we went down to the water. Later that day it rained and then on Sunday we got caught in a little hail storm on our hike up the Limber Pine trail. Despite the not-so-great weather, the kids are already begging to go back up.


And of course with Summer comes yard work. Yuck. Most days I feel like all I do is weed. Morning glory, dandelions, & prairie grass are the bane of my existence. It seems that just when I get it all done (a good 3 weeks later), that I have to start all over again. Arrrgh! On a positive note, we spent Memorial Day weekend clearing out the field of all the debris (bricks, concrete, metal, logs) & broken tree limbs that have accumulated over the past few years. Here's Ryan on the new mower cutting down the 3 foot tall weeds. Literally, this was an all-day project and we were totally spent (and sore) by the end of the day. 


These are just some cute shots of Berlin. She is all about dressing up these days. Here she is all ready to go with me to Joann's to get some No-Sew last week. She's all about "accessorizing" these days.  Even if it's not her. Bentley bears the brunt of this and can usually be found sporting a necklace, courtesy of Berlin. He's very good about letting her dress him up, but by the look on his face, I'm sure he doesn't love it.