Thursday, January 22, 2009

For Your Information (or, Thursday Around Here)

FYI, Emma has already learned how to manipulate her boyfriend:
Trevan (Emma's betrothed), Emma, and Colbin (running for his life)

FYI, rubbing alcohol removes pen ink murals from wood kitchen cabinets and other wooden surfaces.

FYI, there are 10-15! bay area phone book regions, not 5 or 6.

FYI, two days before you have house guests coming is not a good time to have your dryer break.

FYI, even when you let your dog outside several times to do her "business," she still might poop all over the floor when you turn your back.

and finally,

FYI, brownies made with marshmallows and chopped almonds mixed in are as good as they sound.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"No Pain, No Gain," right?

Since business has been slow, Dylan decided that we should send out advertisements for DMG Engineering, Inc. We've done this before, but never to this extent. We designed a new logo and new business cards, and spent days copying addresses out of the local yellow pages. This is how I currently feel about the endeavor:

My fingers are dry and cracked from folding and pressing so many papers.
My hands and tongue are covered with tiny little slices from stuffing and licking so many envelopes.
My back and neck are stiff from sitting at the computer looking up hundreds of zipcodes.
I broke the child labor laws and had Emma affixing stamps onto the corners of envelopes for hours.

But finally, as of this afternoon, close to 300 letters telling about DMG Engineering, Inc. will be sent to local architects, contractors, engineers and surveyors. Enclosed with the letters are our new business cards with our new logo: (Pretty sweet, huh!) So what do I, the secretary of this fine corporation, get for all of my pain?

For every phone call that one of these mailers generates, I get a coffee drink from Peets. (I've recently been cut off since our economy is in such a slump and work has slowed down)

For every job that one of these mailers generates, I get a $20 gift card to wherever my husband chooses (a few ideas for him: Panera Bread, Peets, Target, Gap, Chipotle, CostPlus, Marshalls, TJMaxx)

So no, I won't be getting rich from my job, but at least I will get to escape our budget for a few blissful moments!

Let's hope that this initial batch of letters gets some good responses or else I'll be working through the phone books for the other regions in the Bay Area- I think there are 3 or 4 more!

And thanks to my mom for that phone book class she taught in home school all those years ago! :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Weird, Crazy Tuesday & Why I Love My Sister

Tuesday started out all right:
The kids were happy and healthy. The house was clean-ish. I had the menu figured out for my mom's birthday dinner that night. It was like 70 degrees, so the windows were open and the fresh air was circulating blissfully throughout my house. My sister came over at lunch time to help prepare for my mom's dinner. During the kids' nap time, we left them home with Dylan and went to Starbucks for lattes and some Speed Scrabble.

Then it got weird:
This 50 year old guy interrupted our game and started 'chatting' with us. It wasn't too weird at first, he was just asking questions about what we were playing. Then he started asking if we were twins, who was older, if we ever play regular Scrabble and where (why does it matter where we play regular Scrabble?), and then he smiled and said, "Do you want me to make your days? Are you girls in high school or college?" WEIRD. CREEPY....

Then it got crazy:
Joy and I headed back to my house to make cake and appetizers and soup. The kids got up from their naps. Emma peed her bed so the kids got baths in the middle of the day.

The kids and dog were playing while Joy and I were getting ready for dinner and we heard a thud. Of course it was my kids or Lucy knocking something over, right? Nope, they were right next to me. Actually, it was Grandma falling when she got out of the shower. Dia came. The fire department came. The ambulance came. David came. That's 9 people in Grandma's bathroom. Grandma was banged up and bruised but, praise the Lord, nothing was broken. Grandma, Dia, and the ambulance left. The fire department left. David left. It was 4:45. Suddenly our cul-de-sac seemed pretty empty.

Oh wait, Mom's birthday dinner was to start at 5:30.

And this is why I love my sister:
Without being asked, instructed or even acknowledged, Joy kept my kids entertained and fed, finished making the cake, took over cooking the food, made some phone calls delaying the dinner for 30 minutes, and did the dishes. (Perhaps she should add "initiative taking" and "multi-tasking" to her resume.)

The dinner was great. The cake was fabulous. Mom was celebrated. American Idol premiered. Grandma was patched up in the ER and brought home- a little sore, yet able to walk around and sleep peacefully!

"Through the Lords mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is YOUR faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!'"
Lamentations 3:22-24

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas Magic

Whoever said that Christmas is magical for kids was obviously not talking about two toddlers who were WAY overstimulated during the Christmas season and are just now, two weeks later, sleeping calmly through the night again. But I digress....

This was the first year that Emma was really excited for Christmas. She got to decorate wrapping paper and help wrap presents.....
decorate the Christmas tree, help her dad put lights out in front of our house, and meet Santa....
("I want those magic pills that are different colors that you put into water and stir with a spoon and then they turn into an animal")

For Emma's first Christmas, my mom bought her 25 Christmas story books that we could read one of each day leading up to Christmas. For the past few years, most of the stories were a bit over her head but this year, it was SO fun seeing her eyes light up as she was able to understand and appreciate the different stories. When she realized that Christmas is Jesus' birthday, she was very concerned if He was going to have a cake or not. So, we made a cake to share with her friends at church. Hopefully Jesus really likes sprinkles!
As soon as we woke up on Christmas morning, the kids climbed into our bed and we opened stockings. Grady got 3 bouncy balls. He spent the rest of the morning clutching two in one hand and one in the other. Why did I even bother buying him anything else? And would you believe that Emma got some of those magic capsules that turn into animals!
The rest of Christmas day was spent at Dylan's parents' house. It was a great time of being together with some of the great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

So now the craziness is over, the tree has been torched, the kids have started sleeping through the night again and we've started a new year. We hope your Christmas was as magical as ours!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas Eve Spectacular

As is tradition, we spend Christmas Eve with Julie's family...

We open a few gifts...

eat a LOT of food...

and have our annual poetry competition.
My Grandpa Vern writes cowboy poetry and has been reciting original pieces at every family event for decades. No, this is not a competition that an English major would be proud of; his poetry doesn't contain much meaning, rhythm, or meter and every line rhymes- kind of. But, we've been laughing along with Grandpa's poems for so long, that the cousins decided that we should write our own poetry and have a yearly competition on Christmas Eve. The winner gets to take a plaque with Grandpa's picture home with them for the year.

Like any good competition, we trash talk each other throughout the year and attempt to intimidate our competition at all costs. Last year, my brother Joel won from sheer shock value when he told us his wife was pregnant- and then said "just kidding." This year, although I totally should have won and the judges obviously did a terrible job (ahem, Dylan), my cousin Eric won. BOOOOOOO. Perhaps I'll have some video to upload in the future but my loss has left such a bitter taste in my mouth that I can hardly stand to even think about poetry anymore! ;)

6th Annual Christmas Costume Party

Okay, so it's been a few weeks since our annual costume party but better late than never, right?

Our first party was 6 years ago when Dylan and I wanted to have some people over from our church for a get together. People were strongly encouraged to come in something Christmassy. When people showed up dressed as elves, Father Christmas, gold, and a "wrap-er" not to mention some AWESOME Christmas sweaters, we decided that this party needed to become a tradition.

This year was by far the best. We had WAY too many people in our house, the fireplace made everything WAY too hot, and there was WAY too much food. Sounds like a bummer, huh? The costumes were super creative and I find myself wondering, yet again, how will we ever be able to come up with different costumes next year? Well, I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

The "festive" category (ie, sweaters, christmas colors, etc) was won by my father. I'm not really sure what he was supposed to be, but people seemed to like it!

The "costume" category (ie, santa, snow, gingerbread men) winner was my cousin-in-law, Billy Porter. He was dressed as a Rapper/Wrap-er. I wish I had a better picture of his get-up but my husband, who was supposed to be "Santa's Photographer," decided to take candid shots instead of portraits. Oh well.
Enjoy the slideshow!