Saturday, December 28, 2013

Oh, it's a jolly holiday ...

The fun thing about vacation is that I do tend to keep busy.

The even more fun thing (for me) is that Michael takes vacation time ... and we all get to hang out together.

This year was a little frantic ... He gets his bonus (which is partly used for Christmas shopping) just about a week before Christmas. And I get all OCD on what to buy for whom. (I like to get presents that people will like ... and I like to be able to spoil people if I can. Oh, for unlimited funds, right?)

And Bruise and Bucket's vacation started only a couple days before Christmas ... so I was booking it around town trying to get things done with pre-bonus funds so that I didn't have to schlep all THREE kids about.

And I wanted to get my Visiting Teaching taken care of.

And all sorts of things like that.

Our plans were to take off Sunday, after church, to visit family on the 22-25 (which, of course ALSO shortened the amount of time I had to get things done pre-Christmas). Our plans did end up changing a bit ... but it all worked out well.

So, I SHOULD start where I left off ... which was shortly before Christmas break started. ...

Let's see ... I cancelled my blood drive appointment so that I can donate at the one at church (a better time/closer place). Mom came up. I sent wrapped presents down with her for Christmas Eve/morning.
The school had rescheduled their Winter Celebration, so we didn't worry about that.
Michael had his company party (got his bonus! Yay!).
Bruise, Bucket, and Bubbles all had their dental check-ups. No signs of decay! YAY!! (I give a lot of credit to the Sonicare. I heart Sonicare.)

Taking Bruise and Bucket back to school after their trip to the dentist, we also dropped off cookies from Costco for their class party the next day. Bubbles, seeing the office staff TAKING AWAY THE COOKIES started to cry. But the principal saw and brought Bubbles and me (after Bruise and Bucket left for their classes) to the staff room to have a cookie from the array set out for the school employees. I also got to chat with the principal and Bruise and Bucket's teachers. Then Bubbles and I headed out to finish some errands.

Friday, Bruise and Bucket had their class party. Bubbles and I had a playdate in the morning ... and a change of plans for Christmas travel ... Michael and I ordered Thai takeaway for lunch as we finished wrapping presents and running errands before the kids came home.

Saturday, we cleaned house and prepared for Christmas travel. And ran last-minute errands.

Sunday, we had church ... and then drove down to visit my Nana, Uncle M, and Aunt I. The kids opened their presents (We broughr presents for Nana, M, I, and R, my cousin's son. And my great-aunt and her girls ... who had presents for our family).
We had a good visit and then headed down (with presents from M, I, and Nana ... and the ones we brought) to my Dad and L's to visit and spend the night.
In the morning, we opened presents and my Uncle S came over and was able to get his presents).
I worked on updating L's computers and helped her color her hair.
She gave me some nail polish and a tub of carnation-scented body butter (I LOVE the smell of carnations/carnation oil. Carnations from the florist, being kept cool, NEVER smell like a fresh carnation. So this body butter is a total treat).

Then, instead of heading over and spending a couple nights with Mom and C (my stepdad), we drove back home (They're working on fixing the well, a porch, my mom was getting better ... but wasn't up to clean the house. C hadn't ever brought in the Christmas decoration ... Mom was really bummed that they didn't even have a Christmas tree set up).

So, we had an evening to relax and get ready for Mom and C and maybe Aunt J to come.
It ended up being just Mom who came up for Christmas Eve, but it was a nice visit.
We got her the wireless keyboard she requested ... and a little Christmas tree. I found a little partly-decorated cypress tree (smelled very nice!) and we put some little red bead-string on it to make it look a tad more festive.

(While out getting that tiny tree and a few last-minute supplies, I ran into a sister from our ward. We had a nice chat. She told me something that simultaneously flattered and saddened me ... that I'm one of two sisters at church who stops and chats with her. She did say that the ward is really sweet ... but that the other gals are so busy. ... I really wanted to cry. Instead, I just gave her extra hugs in the middle of Safeway.)

The kids have been thoroughly spoiled by this point ... and it wasn't even Christmas morning.

Michael and I stayed up WAY too late (almost 2 AM), helping Santa set up the present he got our family. (Of course, he wasn't able to stay long. So many good boys and girls out there that he needed to deliver presents to ... so many stockings to fill. But he enjoyed the cake-batter cookies that the kids set out for him.)
After about four hours of sleep (for US, that is. The kids were asleep around 8:30 or so), the kids woke up and were ready for Christmas morning.

They enjoyed their gifts from us and each other ... and Santa brought them just what they wanted.
And a WiiU ... so Bruise settled in to play LEGO City:Undercover for a bit. Then I got to play Injustice (that and a tablet were my presents from Michael).

I went a little crazy in gifts for Michael ... he got a tablet, too, to replace his old one (cracked screen and all). But I also had a little too much fun over at ThinkGeek.com. The gift I was most excited about was a business card holder. It's Han Solo in carbonite. I know, I know. Totally geeky. But I love it.

After breakfast (a pastry-thing from Safeway ... see? I totally planned ahead!!), we got showered and dressed and headed up for Christmas dinner with Michael's side of the family.

Good times, good folk, good food.

Then we headed home to rest up ... since Boxing day was spent over at Michael's youngest brother's house, helping to renovate the garage into a bedroom.

Dad and J picked up Michael around 8AM or so. The kids and I got ready (played some Just Dance and they watched me play Injustice ... no, really, they requested it. Who was I to deny them?? ;P) and then headed out to J's town.
We first went to a children's museum (Bubbles LOVES the ball pit there) and then picked up drinks at a grocery store. (They didn't have the Rose Lemonade that I adore at this one ... but I tried a Cheerwine soda. Not bad. Tastes like Coke+Dr.Pepper) and a Watermelon Creme soda.

Then we headed to J's place. Due to some unforseen circumstances, the renovation is taking longer than it could. (Of course, I COULD say that it's because my husband, the engineer, wasn't asked to check the plans [no dimensions written on them. Sillies.] ... But, if Michael and C, his other brother, had been in charge, it would have been much further along. Oh well.)
Mom C and I helped to get things set up for when the rest of the family arrived for a late lunch. (Not much prep involved ... she had gotten Subway sandwiches. Just had to get things set out. No biggie at all.)

And we just kept the kids from getting hurt or wrecking J's house.
In related news, Bruise and Bucket can play on the trumpet.
This is nice, since Bruise has expressed an interest in playing the tuba when he's older. He also wants to play the violin.
Bucket has now asked for a trumpet. ... I don't know how the neighbors will feel about that. Because I'll be sending her outside to play that. Until we get a garage. And soundproof it.

Yesterday (Friday), we took the kids to his mom's (Dad C was still helping J on his garage renovation) and Michael and I went out for the day.

We did an endowment session at the temple. I'm not even going to guess at how long it's been since we've been to the temple. It's shameful.
But it was really very, very nice.

After that, we headed to OMSI for the Sherlock Holmes exhibit.
It was CRAZY CROWDED ... like, we had to park four blocks away from OMSI. And we waited in lines for about 45 minutes to GET into the exhibit. But we were behind a fun family ... They had all dressed up for the exhibit (They said that they like to dress up to go ANYWHERE). Now, it wasn't period-accurate (Yes, I'm a costuming geek. Once, I came back from a SOTW rehearsal when Michael was watching an episode of Doctor Who. I sat down, looked at the screen. "So, this is set in, what, the 1860s?" He looked at me and stated, "1864 (or 1865)." "I thought so." ... Yeah, I have a bit of an eye for this stuff. Too bad I don't sew with any confidence, huh?) ... Their outfits were a bit more steampunk inspired (corsets as bodices, gears, etc. One lady in their party had a Renaissance dress with a satin bustled section pinned onto the back. Turns out that one of the gals is a VERY good seamstress. They were really fun to talk to. It made the line seem to take less time.)

The exhibit was very good. It wasn't covered by the membership, but the discounted price was quite fair (unlike the Bodyworks prices. Those are pretty outrageous. Which is why I still haven't gone to one yet).

(There also was a trip to Deseret Book between the temple and OMSI. Some children will be getting some Baptism presents.)

The one not-so-great part of this last week is that we learned that barely any of Michael's family is able to attend Bruise and Bucket's baptism.
His parents will be out of the state with one of his sister's family.
One brother has to work that day.
His other sister's family is living in the midwest, so they probably won't be able to attend, either.

It's disappointing ... and I did cry about it.
We did offer the kids to move the date. Or to be confirmed (receive the gift of the Holy Ghost) the next day.
But both Bruise and Bucket were adamant that they wanted to be baptized as soon as they could and receive the Holy Ghost the same day.
Not that I can blame them.

I mean, when I was baptized, none of my three sets of grandparents were there. It was just Mom, Dad, and me ... and probably some folks from our ward. There were other wards with children being baptized, so it's not like I didn't have people there.

Michael only had one set of grandparents at his baptism.

And Bruise and Bucket understand what's going on.

It's a bummer, but it's not like they won't have some family there (My mom is coming. And probably my stepdad and aunt. Our SIL will bring our kids' couisins. Maybe J can come. Maybe their great-grandma can make it. I don't know if anyone from my dad's side of the family will make it ... but, well, I'm sure that other families that Bruise and Bucket want to invite might come.)

Well, I'd better close this up and finish getting ready ... and make plans for Bruise and Bucket's birthday party. *Oy* ... Seriously, I need naps. Lots of naps. And maybe chocolate. And some (medicinal) Cherry Coke. Good times, right? ^_^

Monday, December 16, 2013

End the Cricket Chorus!

Wow ... it's been a month and THREE DAYS since I last posted.

I promise that I haven't died ... This isn't my zombified, undead corpse posting.
(But how would you REALLY know? ... Well, I did shower, so I don't smell like rotting corpse-flesh, so that's in my favor, right?)

Um, let's see ... what all have I failed to tell you all since I last posted?
(A lot. I know.)

Freyja-cat got her shots all caught up. And I got a nifty little spray bottle of topical steroid, since my cat has issues and had over-groomed to the point that she's missing a LOT of fur around the base of her tail.
Good times.
Besides that, the vet and assistant remarked on her overall good health and good behavior.
Bucket was thrilled that we all got to go (Well, besides Michael), so that she, Bruise, and Bubbles could all pet the Sphynx cat at the vet's office. (Yes, my proclivity of adoring that breed is, apparently, hereditary. I don't see us owning one, since our heating bills would be WAY higher. But I do like them a lot.)

But I'm getting all out of order here ...

Let me sum up. There is too much. And it probably won't really be in order anyways.
I'd say sorry ... but we all know that I'm just too lazy to actually REMEMBER all the crap I've been up to.

But you know what? I'm gonna TRY. I have my calendar open. I'll check on Facebook to help fill in the blanks ... we'll see how it goes.

  • So, have I mentioned previously that I was able to get together with my friend, T, and her son (and my brood) to watch the local Veterans' Day Parade? Well, we did! And it was fun. And I got a decent parking spot and a decent sitting spot and we made it through the after-parade traffic easily enough. (PHEW!)
  • Our Stake (geographical group of wards/local congregations) had its "Super Saturday" ... I was pretty busy, so I only went to the candymaking demonstration. And it was very fun to get to chat with friends there. And I got to take candies home. And they were DELICIOUS.
    It was worth having to have Michael jump the van (a light had been left on in the van. D'oh!)
  • There was a Kids' Club activity last month at the mall where the kids got to make a little photo frame and placemats for Thanksgiving. Michael took Vesper to play in the mall's new play area. She approves. ^_^ (I since have also taken her to play there for a little. She loves it.)
  • We also picked up the kids (Bruise and Bucket's) ceramic stuff over at the local pottery-painting place. They turned out very well. Bucket painted an owl (and Bubbles will point to it and go "Whoo! Whoo!") and Bruise painted/drew (with a little help) a barn on a tile.
    I had the forethought to put their names and the year in puffy paint on them. It helped the owner to find them (and it'll help us to remember when they made them).
  • Bruise lost his front teeth. However, he refuses to sing about all he wants for Christmas is those teeth.
    But he looks ADORABLE. Especially with his new haircut.
  • Mom and I sent off a book order ... which arrived on Friday. I should wrap up those, huh?
  • Michael and I went and watched the new Thor movie. Very good.
    Now, we need to see "Catching Fire" and take the kids to "Frozen."
  • The weekend before Thanksgiving, Michael got a little ill. Then, when he was at home (from work, since he wasn't feeling well), he put out his back. Just turned the wrong way. Missed a week of work, really. (I took him to the office after a doctor's appointment on Thursday. That was after going to Urgent Care on Tuesday. Modern medicine is very nice.)
  • Bubbles and I went to a Duplo Party at Jenny's ... had a great time. It's nice to be social (even when I forget how. Ha ha ...). We even ran into Bri and her childREN (her son was only two weeks old).
    Bubbles said her first REAL sentence: "Iza BABY!"/It's a baby! ... I was impressed (BEHOLD THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP, amirite?). Good times. I've missed my ladies.
  • I got my flu shot ... made Bruise and Bucket watch me. AGAIN.
    They got theirs a few days later ... and it went SO MUCH BETTER.
    Michael's the only holdout now ... but he got his dTap, so I'll count that as success, right?
  • I made it to November's PTC (Parent-Teacher Committee) meeting.
    And Michael and I went to the arena-style Parent-Teacher conferences.
    (Summary: Bruise and Bucket are good students. They're both reading well. Bruise's Spanish skills are not as strong as his other skills. Also, he totally aced [100%] the math assessment. Bucket's scores are good, too. She's a bit stronger in reading [100% accuracy on a section in DIBELS] ... So, yeah, I guess I don't NEED to worry about that ... for now. We'll see how middle school goes, right?)
  • I went to Dawn's doTERRA party. And, well, I need to order myself some oils (After the last couple weeks, I wonder why I didn't do that right away. Oy.)
    Also, in related news, if you need a pumpkin roll or the most amazing apple dip ever? Go to Dawn.
    Just trust me on this, okay?
  • The kids were off for the week of Thanksgiving. We didn't do a whole lot, really. Mom came up Monday after the kids and I Visit Taught some friends. (And talked a LOT about Once Upon a Time (I'm still in early Season One. I know, my bad.) and books and things.)
  • Thanksgiving was at Mom and Dad C's house.
    After dinner, we worked on crafts (making ornaments and decorations for Christmas).
    It was really fun. Too bad that T2's family couldn't make it this year.
  • We braved a little of Black Friday ... and found that he had a flat (got it filled to see if it needed to be fixed or just due to the weather). I got my dang socks at Fred Meyer (it's TRADITION, okay??) and checked out a couple other stores ... but, goodness, it was crazy. I got my free cookbook at Costco and we headed home and put in a Kohl's order online (Michael needed a new suit. It arrived last week. It's REALLY NICE. The Anglophile in me wants to believe it's that nice JUST because those Brits know how to make and wear a suit. *nods*). ...With the Kohl's bucks that I earned, I got myself an enameled cast iron oven for just $5 out of pocket. *preens* It's GORGEOUS.
  • We took the kids to Home Depot the next day to one of the Kids' Workshops they have. They ended up making more than one type of kit ... so we have some boats and a picture frame and a pencil box and these lawn-mower-shaped pencil holders.
    Michael and I picked up a set of shelves (and then another set) so we have a matching-kind of entertainment center thing (Three sets of shelves ... the one in the middle is shorter, but they're all the same color and it looks SO much sharper. ... And I took the other shelf that didn't match (from my Nana) and put it in our bedroom ... more room for books! SCORE!
    But, yeah, with those new shelves and the newer bookshelves that we picked up in, um, maybe September? ... Our house is starting to look like a HOUSE, not just someplace designed with wedding gifts and Salvation Army in mind. :P
That brings us to December!
(No wonder I feel like we've been busy!)

Okay, so here's the rundown for December:
  • Bruise was assigned the Primary talk for December 1st. Of COURSE, the December issues of The Friend (the Church's children's magazine) wasn't delivered by then.
    So, we looked up the theme for the month and wrote a talk based on that. I made him tell me what he wanted in it and all.
    He got quite a few compliments (as did I) on how well he did. 
  • I put in my order for my friend, T's, Scentsy party (It's already arrived). My house smells so much better for that. ^_^
  • Bubbles and I headed up and visited my friend Roxy for her birthday (and also because she's not been in perfect health). We had a good time. Roxy and I rocked out, playing SongStar, to Queen (and some other songs ... but mostly Queen). And we ate DELICIOUS Thai food (She was impressed at Bubbles' advanced palate. ;P). Good times ... and I JUST made it back home before the kids got home from school. PHEW!!!!
  • Then the snow started ... and Friday, we were pretty much stuck at home. The roads and traffic were bad enough that Bruise and Bucket missed their friend's birthday party.
    To help alleviate the tears, Michael and Bruise walked to the store and picked up dinner (frozen Taquitos, soda, and ice cream) ... And we watched shows and read stories and played in the snow a little.
  • Those taquitos, though ... Oy. Friday night was the start of what I have taken to calling The Vomit Chronicles (or, in my lighter moments, "The Chronic-WHAT-cles of Nausea" ... yes, that's an SNL reference. You're welcome.)
    It started with Bucket throwing up ... lots. She ended up in bed with us ... and threw up on the floor in our room on her way to the bathroom. AFTER she threw up on the bath mats in THEIR bathroom.
    Between her ... and then Bubbles, throwing up in HER bed twice, we called it a night ... and we stopped trying to sleep in our bedrooms at 4:30 AM.
    It was a Saturday, we had a Netflix DVD that we'd like to get in the mail before 9 AM ... So, we woke Bruise up and we all huddled under blankets on the couch (kids and me) or the recliner (Michael and Bubbles) and watched Mortal Instruments:City of Bones (or, as Bruise and Bucket describe it "That movie with all the demons that we watched when [Bucket] puked seven times and it was REALLY EARLY in the morning? That movie.")
    Michael was nauseated. I threw up (foam. You're welcome. Yeah, you REALLY wanted to know that) ... partly from sympathy. Bruise was the only one untouched.
  • We were all feeling better and made it to the Ward (Congregation) Christmas party ... Michael was in charge of food ... so we didn't get to be together as a family for much of the evening. And, at the end, I was trying to help out in the kitchen and get things DONE so that we could go HOME (tired kids. Tired parents) and Bucket, running around after Bubbles, threw up in the hallways AND a classroom. (I kept hearing people for the next week, extending sympathy for Bubbles throwing up in the church. Nope. Wrong daughter. It was my older one.)
    SO, I got THAT cleaned up (apparently not well enough, since people could still smell it. JOY) and we were able to get back home to sleep.
  • We've had church choir RIGHT after church the last couple weeks. It's been a good thing, though. Even though Bubbles SORELY NEEDS a nap, we were able to more than DOUBLE the amount of people in ward choir. Phew! Because I was getting a little nervous about being the ONLY soprano (besides Dianne, our choir leader).
  • Monday, Michael took the last of the taquitos to work.
    Partly to TEST and see if that really WAS what caused The Vomit Chronicles.
    And partly because he just REALLY WANTED taquitos.
    The answer to the first sentence was YES. OH MY YES.
    He came home halfway through the day. It was NOT GOOD.
    In the morning, the kids and I went to a local used bookstore and got a present for their cousin's birthday. We were back by the time Michael came home.
    And, yes, I probably bought too much ... if such a thing is possible.
    I ditched the kids (still off from school) while Bubbles took a nap and drove around one of my Visiting Teaching sisters, since she doesn't have a car and it was SO cold and snowy outside.
    After I got back, we loaded up to go see the Nativity Festival ... but, it wasn't nearly as good of an experience as we had hoped.
    Gastronomical distress necessitated my running into a store and getting some MUCH needed supplies.
    We were going to go out for burgers afterwards ... the kids settled for grilled cheese at home (and a promise that we'd go out the NEXT evening).
    By the end of the night, I was about ready to cry.
  • Bubbles had been throwing up about every night/every other night in her bed. In other words, I got caught up on laundry.
  • Tuesday, we went to Storytime with Santa at the mall ... all the kids, since they were still off from school.
    In the evening, after Michael got back, we went to Red Robin for dinner.
    A MUCH BETTER evening than the one before (even though it was SO NICE to meet up with friends from past wards at the Nativity Festival).
  • Wednesday, my mom wasn't able to come up ... between being sick AND the roads being awful, it wasn't going to happen. We went to Storytime at the library instead. We got Bruce's hair cut. We let a friend take a shower at our place. And we cleaned the house a LITTLE (they cleaned their room!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!!!! AFTER MUCH THREATENING AND NAGGING!!!!!!!!) and read some books.
  • Thursday, we CLEANED THE HOUSE and I finished making dinner for the missionaries (they came over for dinner): Turkey enchiladas (gluten-free), spanish rice, salad, and apple-cherry juice.
    I took the kids out in the afternoon, though, for the promised doughnuts, if we had a snow day AND we got the house clean. They were delicious.
  • Starting Friday, there's been an end to The Vomit Chronicles (don't let me have jinxed that).
    The kids actually had school. Michael and I got some shopping done when he came home from work. Picked up the kids' book order (PRESENTS!!) ... Then we got them ready for a sleepover that evening, after Michael helped set up for a wedding at the church.
    And I borrowed my SIL(A)'s DVDs of Doctor Who.
    Michael, Bubbles, and I finished watching Series/Season 5 ... Now, to watch Season 6  (on Netflix), then to watch A's DVDs. And I'll be caught up ... for a little bit.
  • Saturday, we took Bubbles to Breakfast with Santa at the mall (She may have been the youngest one there!) ... It went well. We went home and relaxed, then headed up to the family party for our niece. Then we headed back for that wedding that Michael had started setting up for. (The food there was AMAZING.)
  • Sunday was busy. Michael had meetings in the morning.The kids and I took the van to church. We had choir right after church. Then we had Tithing Settlement ... Michael took the kids home after that and I gave a ride home to a friend. Of course, our Bishop had things come up, so there was some rearranging of appointments ... I called a friend to let her know she could get to her appointment early. Yeah, between the financial clerk and me, we got things taken care of. Yeah, I'm totally an unofficial secretary. *rolls eyes*
    We then delivered stuff for our day of the 12 Days of Christmas that our ward is doing.
    Went home and watched a Netflix DVD ... and headed back to the church for the Stake Fireside.
    Bubbles had to be held by Michael the whole time (no nap) ... so it wasn't as fun for him.
Aaaaaaaand that brings us to today ... where I am suffering some of the effects of less-than-optimal amounts of sleep. Apparently, my body decided that having the appropriate amounts of flora in my lady bits was SO last week. (Thrush! NOT YAY!) ... But since I caught it early, it's not as hideous and horrendous as it could be. Still, I hate it. So, yeah.

I should be cleaning up the kitchen and finishing up laundry. Instead, I got a shower, read "Gotham by Gaslight," got Bubbles down from being stuck in Bucket's bunk, and wrote this!
I should also go out and get some Christmas shopping done. And wrap presents! But I am feeling NOT AT ALL motivated.
(Maybe I'll run those errands AFTER the kids get home from school. They won't take long.
Then I can wrap presents NOW and do the dishes. Laundry is always ongoing, so that's okay. And I can make Bucket's bed AFTER Bubbles is done with her nap. That could work. We'll see.)

Okay. I think that's really everything that I NEED to share. And plenty that didn't need to be shared, just for good measure.

I can haz naptimez plz?

Counting ...

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