10.01.2014

Keeping my head above water

I have a teenager as of tomorrow.

This brand-new 13yo is supposed to hike Havasupai next week for youth conference. I'm already stressing about what the heck to pack for her to eat for 2 days of hiking. Since she eats, well, junk all the time and no one's going to get up and make her pancakes every morning. Beef jerky? Fruit cups? Trail mix? Top ramen? Ummm... she won't eat any of that. What else is light, protein, non-perishable??

A is plugging her way through 7th grade. She's in an advanced math class that is VERY challenging and fast paced. End of quarter is this week I think. We'll see if she gets at least the B she needs to remain in the class. N has been helping her with her math homework most nights. She just screams at me and I barely remember any algebra to help her anyway. She has made a lot of progress lately and seems to be understanding more though. She is enjoying band a lot. Her first concert is tomorrow night.

I really wish she talked to me. It is such a chore most days for her to even be in the same room with me. Piano/cleaning her room/brushing her teeth? SUCH DRAMA.  She says all I ever do is tell her what to do. Which is true, I guess. Because it takes 8 times of me telling/asking/reminding to do something for it actually to happen. SO of course most things turn into a fight/threat.

My middle daughter turned 11 last week. She's so great. Doing amazing in school. Helpful at home. Actually listens and absorbs stuff at church and activity days.  The fighting/screaming with her sister is regular. They pretty much wear the same size clothes now so there is A LOT OF DRAMA when someone wants to wear something in the other girl's closet.

M has got her team together for Battle of the Books. Problem is I don't think any of them are the dedicated readers that Allison's team was when she did it. Hopefully they can all get through MOST of the 4 books. First battle is in ONE MONTH. I've already slugged through more of the reading than M has.

My son is struggling in school. I do not know how to deal with this. This is new for me, since anything related to school has always been cake for both my girls.   His handwriting is atrocious. He is SO SLOW at everything he does. He is below the class average in phonograms, spelling, everything. His teacher wants him to do phonogram tutoring after school but I CANNOT make him stay an extra half hour after he's been there all day. The kid needs a break.  He needs to be outside. I know he should be in a sport right now but I can't fathom having time for practices when it takes SO LONG to do homework every day. Behavior is ok at the moment. But he does bring home a lot of "WHY ME" sheets when he gets in trouble... it's always for dumb stuff, talking in line, throwing things, turning around in his desk, not listening to instructions.

I just bought phonogram flash cards this morning. We're going to have M drill with him instead of him going to tutoring. We'll see if he's game for that. He better be, after $22 worth of flashcards!

On a bright note, he is getting an A in math. And he's doing very well in music. A few times just this last week he's actually sat down and played through all his songs and done his flashcards ON HIS OWN without me sitting right next to him. This is a first in 2.5 years of Let's Play Music.

Every evening it seems is jam packed with stuff to do, mutual, music, activity days, homework, me trying to put something edible together, trying to get everybody to clean up and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Everyone is too distracted by devices to get anything done. Screen time is KILLING US and causing strain on our family. I'd say let's just pitch all of the devices except I'm too attached to my phone too.

Next week is fall break. I want to go somewhere (free) while A is going to be gone. I'll at least take M & J hiking if nothing else and get that boy outside to get dirty!

We are trying to get a family picture scheduled but can't get all the Carters in one place at one time. I think I'll just jave to bite the bullet and hire someone to take our photos, at least. It's been 3 years since we've had pics taken. (together, I mean. last year's "MERRY" project doesn't count)

I'm going to be FORTY in two months. Ummm. Yeah. I need a spectacular girls trip for my birthday I think. Cha ching, if only I could afford my life...

Does anyone else ever feel that? I don't think we "live large" by any stretch. We barely travel, or go to the movies, or eat out... my kids aren't in expensive activities, I don't buy name brand anything, all our technology and devices are ancient, we only pay for one phone line... yet I'm scraping the bottom of the account every week.  Our house and pool and my car are all too expensive.

My kids keep asking what Halloween costumes we're going to get this year. I keep telling them whatever's cheap and simple, and preferably already in the house.

And Christmas is a mere 12 weeks away!

I want 4 trees planted in my side yard for Christmas. Lemon, orange, grapefruit and lime. I have wanted them for three years. I figure this is more attainable than the new kitchen I want. I would also love a year's supply of chocolate shakeology, new running shoes, a new bumper for my car I screwed up and jet skis. No biggie. Oh, and a new kitchen. And still have money in my savings account.  #dreamalittledreamwithme


4.07.2014

It's already April? No foolin?

Update:

It's now been almost 7 months since my car accident. I've been through treatments by the chiropractor, myopractor, massage therapist, and most recently several weeks of physical therapy.  Julie, the PT from Verve Wellness, was great. She understood that I am an ACTIVE person and encouraged me to do/try everything still.  She was familiar with all the exercises I do at Crossfit, and didn't chastise me when I came in sore from this or that, etc. Her diagnosis was that I had TOO MUCH mobility in my lower back, from the accident and throughout all the many manipulations and adjustments I've had since. So, her plan was to stabilize my core and glute muscles through a series of exercises to keep those discs and everything where they should be. It's weird to think that such small movements make such a difference! I not 100% back to where I was before the accident, but I have made vast improvement since January.  For a while she was putting Kenisio (sp?) tape on my back which held everything in place. Amazing stuff! Who knew? It enabled me to lift, jump, and run (a little) without hurting. I haven't really gotten back to running yet, partly because I've been lazy, partly because I'm already doing 3+ crossfit workouts a week, partly because I keep hurting myself in other dumb ways...

Last month I went snow skiing - twice! That was a real test on my back - and yes, though I came home with many many bruises on my legs and hips, my lower back didn't hurt any more than usual. Sitting on the drive to and from Flagstaff was way worse than actually skiing!  Also went trampolining at Jumpstreet. I wish that place was across the street and I could go every day. Such a great ab workout. Also, huge test for my back - which I passed.

Now - my dilemma is this: I still have my medical claim open. I wanted to "be 100% better" before I even thought about closing it but realistically my injury isn't keeping me from doing anything anymore. My issue is sitting! Darnit! Hurts to drive more than a few minutes. Sitting through three hours of church is totally uncomfortable. Still. UGH. But what do I do? I don't know what other providers to see or if I should just keep doing the PT exercises and "hope" that everything will work itself out eventually... my husband asks me "how realistic" it is for me to be 100% again, but I think it's totally unfair if I'm not - right??

In other news:
I have gotten the remodeling bug lately big time! We finally hired a crew in March to come in and build a built-in bookshelf at the end of the hall, and do our baseboards (let's face it, I never would have finished them) and we're getting shutters on two windows this week. Hooray for progress! I also sold our playset, making our backyard look super empty, and sold our beast of our entertainment center last month (that we weren't using anymore). YES, I love Craigslist. I also bought a rug for our family room downstairs, which I wasn't sure about but since it was super cheap it's really growing on me! Next on the horizon: designing my new kitchen (If I could only remember where I planted that money tree!)

My identity was stolen a couple of weeks ago - awesome! They opened a charge account at Nordstrom and went $3800 worth of crazy in one day. They also got a hold of my Home Depot account, my Kohls account and my Sears accounts and also charged a ton on those. I'm walking though all the fraud stuff this week. Everything has a hold on it and I have cancelled and/or put holds on all my store cards. I think it will be my policy from now on not to open those anymore... (but I HAVE to have Home Depot and Kohls for all the discounts... am I right??) What a pain. Need to file a police report and send back all these affidavits to the companies.

I pulled a muscle in my rotator cuff a week ago doing something - probably pullups or pushups - and have been hurting since. Spent the weekend on the couch icing it on and off. Good times, when you can't hardly put a shirt on or do your hair... good thing I rarely do my hair...

I got called to be WARD CAMP DIRECTOR! Took me a while to get used to the idea, but I'm excited now. Theme is BOOT camp .   "Building Our Own Testimonies" so I'm trying to brainstorm pink camo and military drill ideas/ cadences/etc. So A and I will be going together in June!

Kids:
Kids are doing well. I've had them all in a parkour class for the last few weeks which they think is super cool.  We spent Spring Break traipsing all over the place - we pulled them out of school the Fri before break and took them up to SnoBowl for a ski lesson. J did pretty well, the girls were pretty frustrated. It was the middle of March so the snow kind of sucked, but I figure they at least got an intro to skiing.  After recovering all day, N and I went to the Rattlers game on Saturday. The fun began on Monday when we played with SoPho friends, did lunch with Daddy, and went to Jumpstreet that night, on Tuesday we did doctor appointments, Wednesday we went to the Aquarium, Thursday we did a quick hike and went to the Phx Zoo, Friday we went to Enchanted Island with the Malones and then had dentist appointments, and then on Saturday we went on a big hike in the McDowell mountains with M and J. A didn't want to go because she said she was too tired. Yeah, you think? Me too after that week! I couldn't wait to get them all back to school on Monday so I could take a nap!

A is a fully fledged young woman now, and loves going to mutual every week and being with the older kids at church. Now if we could just remember all those firesides - we keep forgetting them because we're just not in youth-schedule-mode! She is such a tweenager with all the attitude and defiance that comes with it. She is fully addicted to her phone, and most of the time disappears- she goes and hides away in her room so she can play on it. She has a hard time keeping her room clean. She has an even harder time practicing piano. It is a struggle every day, and most weeks she only ends up with a couple practices before it's time for her weekly lesson - she's SUPPOSED to be doing 30 minutes a day!  She is a spectacular student and gets all As. Her last battle for Battle of the Books went great - her team answered every question they got correctly, but couldn't make up for the first battle where they biffed it, so it was a good run, but we won't be going to district. As of last week she has BRACES! Her mouth has been in a lot of pain this week. Good thing she's good at taking pills, makes it easy to pop Ibuprofen. A will be going on a TREK with Grandma and Grandpa Carter's stake at the end of May, which I think I'm more excited about than she is. I've been trying to get her out hiking to prepare her, but she's way resistant to it!  A week after trek, she'll be going to her first Girl's Camp at LoMia! So excited.

M is such a good egg. She keeps her room perfectly clean. She loves to eat healthy food and be organized and is also a straight-A student. She puts a lot of pressure on herself at times, though, and has episodes of tantrums and crying and feeling sorry for herself when she gets overwhelmed. This almost always happens late at night. I try to be very careful of her bedtime, because she so needs her sleep. We rarely plan for her to be far from home after 7. She's had a loose tooth bugging her for more than three weeks now, poor girl. She also struggles with practicing piano but does a little better than A. She loves to create cute outfits and hairstyles and coordinate accessories with everything she wears. She's addicted to Disney shows on the Ipad, and can often be found laying on her bed with screen on lap.

J is my superhero! He had such a hard time last semester with school (and behavior at school) that we had actually considered transferring him. He's like a different kid now. Something clicked when he went back in January and he has had a record of good behavior since then. I think part of it was him getting a new soccer ball for Christmas (dumb little thing, but it enables him to run so much at recess that I think he gets his wiggles out!) Partly I think he's just a little older and more mature now too.  : )  He's also been way more motivated to practice his Let's Play Music each week - hooray! We try and sit down before and after school M, T, W and get them all done. Some weeks we get all five in. He's doing well at the piano playing, even if he still doesn't want to sing the songs. This kid is also keeping his room perfectly clean the last couple of months. YAY.  He went through the winter season of soccer and now he's in T-ball. Which his mom thinks is super cool, but will probably never happen again/ he prefers soccer. It was awesome in his first game last week - his first ball at bat and he hits a HOME RUN. Totally cool. Wish I'd had it on video.
He takes his soccer ball to school EVERY DAY. He's actually been through THREE balls in the last 12 months/ the most recent one popped and gave up the ghost over the weekend... wish it had held out a little bit longer so we could wait til his birthday to replace it!  His favorite new thing is Power Rangers. UGH, so painful to watch, and even listen to. I was going to buy him a power ranger dress up costume over the weekend but it was the "old" style costume, and apparently there's new Rangers now... gag me







1.24.2014

Stevie and his TV

We entered a Dr. Seuss poem contest this week.  Unfortunately I got carried away with the story and the length, so I'm sure we won't win, as they only wanted a 3-stanza poem. I had to abridge it for the entry form so it wasn't nearly as cute. Oh well. The contest was sponsored by a bookstore, hence the subject matter....   Here's our poem in its entirety.


STEVIE AND HIS TV
 
On a polka-dotted couch
Sat a little boy named Stevie,
Who never left his house
He was always watching TV.

His mom said Go! Go! Run outside!
It's such a beautiful day!
His friends said, We have many toys!
With us you should come play!

But Stevie sat, and sat some more.
His eyes glued to a screen.
Pictures and shows would come and go
So many adventures to be seen.

One day, however, there was a glitch.
The electricity went out!
Stevie's TV would not work!
So he began to pout.

He would not go or run outside.
He would not go and play.
He would not play with friends or toys
He would NOT enjoy this day!

His eyes were off the screen for once.
Instead they were on the clock!
He watched the hours slowly pass
Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick tock.

Finally his eyes began to wander
From the clock to the shelf of books.
He thought, well, what have I got to lose?
I guess I'll take a look.

He picked up a book, and blew off the dust.
And opened the cover just a crack.
Suddenly his mind came alive with a thought ...
His stories and pictures were back!

Imagination started stirring in Stevie's head
Adventures he'd never dreamed!
Suddenly his stories were coming alive.
So much better than on a screen!

Now instead of dusty books,
The dust is on the TV.
Stevie is playing and pretending each day
Reading books has made it easy!




11.13.2013

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

and just because I don't want to have to go back and search for this on Pinterest:


http://reallyquitelucky.blogspot.com/2010/12/all-is-calm-all-wasnt-bright-but-now-it.html

10.16.2013

I crashed my car into a bridge- I don't care

Okay I didn't actually crash my car into a bridge, but I do love that song.

It's  October 16th- today makes one month since my big car accident. If we're not Facebook friends and we haven't talked and you didn't know, a lady turned left in front of me in an intersection. I braked and swerved but couldn't avoid her... slammed into her Suburban and then ricocheted off into another big truck, and Gandalf was totaled.  Kids weren't with me, thankfully.  Completely not my fault. Already got a pretty new car ( name still TBD) and insurance has paid us for all the property damage. The question now is MY damage. Though it didn't seem to be anything at the time of the accident , my back got tweaked somehow- somehow the combination of the impact and the seatbelt tightening down= hurt tailbone?? Weird. After a couple of swings and misses with a couple of docs that forst week, I'm seeing a chiropractor now. He says its most likely a bulging disc. I keep having adjustments and ultrasounds and a couple of days ago I had a massage... But no real improvement yet.  It hurts to sit on hard chairs or benches. Actually it hurts  to sit very long at all. It kills to get in and out of cars- somehow that leaning/ twisting required???If it doesn't get better in a couple more treatments then they will do an MRI.

So... I've got all this medical paperwork looming. Asking me what providers, treatments, diagnoses, duration of problems, etc. I'm at a loss as to how to fill all this stuff out. Of course they want to put a number on everything/ time off work, missed salary, etc. I swear nothing has ever made me feel so worthless.  How do you quantify your worth as a Stay At Home Mom? How do you put a value on feeling good? Or sitting mext to your kids practice their music? Or throw amazing birthday parties for your kids instead of "just okay"? Or volunteer at the school book fair? Or being able to run around and play with your kids on fall break?  Or being able to sit on benches through ASU football games that i already paid for season tivkets to? As much as my hubby/friends/etc have jumped in to help, I can't just hire a "replacement". I was going strong and working out hard almost daily before this happened, both at gym classes and doing Crossfit-type strength training.  Now I'm a wuss and can only do light weights, very modified moves. Sit-ups, box jumps, tire flips, and anything high impact really are out of the question.
You know what time it is right now? 8pm. I've been laying in bed for almost an hour already. Which is fairly typical of how it's been for the last month. Maybe it's the lack of real exercise, all the comfort food, or plain being bummed out and not feeling good, but I am TRASHED by the end of each day nowadays, and way less productive.  Cleaning ? Grocery shopping? Cooking anything for dinner? It all just seems exhausting. Instead of being Supermom and doing all I normally do, I feel like I've just been doing the minimum to get by. And I'm trying my best not to be Totally. Cranky. Mom. Every. Damn. Day.

The adjuster for the other lady's insurance has been nothing but understanding and helpful. He essentially told me "Go see whoever you want to see to feel better, then send us the bill." As time progresses, however, and the more I talk to people, I'm totally freaked out about this becoming a long- term thing! Almost daily I hear of someone else who was "in an accident YEARS ago"
and still has lingering problems and pain. WHAT!

We didn't think we needed a lawyer at first
A) because I hate the legal system and especially people that are sue-happy and take advantage
B) we haven't had any issues dealing with the other insurance as far as fault or treatment, etc.
but now, I'm wondering if I need to retain someone just in case this isn't a short-lived thing... Eek. And dammit, my quality of life definitely HAS been greatly affected and I certainly want SOME pain and suffering $$. Do I really "deserve " anything? How can you want pain and suffering money without being an entitled brat? But how much do you ask for without bring ridiculous? What's fair? Again, how do you quantify something like that?  $1K? $5K? $20K?

I'm going to bed now. My brain hurts.



8.12.2013

Never enough.

Feeling inadequate today. For the most part, my life is super easy. Seriously.  But it seems like lately I've been under par in every way.
— We can't seem to get rid of our little lice friends. I treat, comb, launder, and clean more than you can imagine, yet we're still finding the stupid things on a certain 9-year-old's head. It's emotionally traumatizing and full-on child abuse at this point to try and apply treatments and comb through very difficult, ultra- thick, curly hair.  The whole family is suffering, everybody is mad and yelling at each other. It's horrific.  My house is cleaner than it's ever been! Before you judge - clean is not the problem here! These are a nightmare!  I wish my daughter wasn't the one who has to endure this. She's absolutely had it.
— Yesterday at stake conference the overlying theme was missionary work. I'm really at a loss as to really how to do this. I feel like I'm the one who needs spiritual nourishment all the time, forget trying to extend that to others around me.  I'm paranoid that we're not teaching our children the gospel. My 12-yo can't sit through an hour of church without reading or drawing the whole time. (!)
—I'm feeling sorry for myself! Which is ridiculous! I need to be out serving people! I know that! I've been telling my daughter that you need to "work hard" and "help people" in order to be happy. I know! I know! I've got the "working hard" part pretty much down!
— I feel like I've got FABULOUS ideas for my calling and the sisters in our ward, but feeling stifled. Had a whole Super Saturday planned out with teachers and everything for next month — and then it got nixed. BOO. I honestly don't get it. When the MANUALS say these additional RS meetings are OPTIONAL and "not to make the sisters feel like attendance is mandatory" and I'm offering all types of free classes too, then WHY can't we charge to put together some nice projects? FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT THEM! Not "making" anybody pay for anything!  People LOVE to create cheap DIY Christmas gifts for people and decorations... we are teaching skills here! Sewing! Jewelry making! Bread/roll making! UGH, frustrated.  THIS IS WHAT I'M GOOD AT.
— My "Super Saturday" has morphed into "craft day at Shellie's house" - which I'm fine with, because I really want to give people what they want - this just makes it ten times more difficult to plan/advertise/put together. Since I can't call it a "Relief Society" activity and will not be advertising it at church. Oh, and that means I have to coordinate ANOTHER activity for RS in September. In addition to a "craft day at Shellie's house" and a double "Spa" birthday party for my girls. I'm supposed to start Crossfit again in September too, which means I'm going to be sore and tired all the time, even more than I am now. Sheesh.
— It's been a good six-eight weeks since my feet have been hurting. Bought new, expensive running shoes. Right foot doesn't hurt anymore - left foot is excruciating. Returned the fancy new expensive shoes and bought some others. Slightly better arch support, thought they would help. No dice. I'm starting to think I have a broken bone in my left heel or something. Time to see a foot doctor. Oh but wait, I don't even have a regular doctor to refer me to one!  I tried running the other day and it just about killed me.
— This foot pain is making me severely cranky. As well as the lice. And the face that money seems to be sliding out of my fingers out of my control. I thought we'd have enough cash to get the rest of our tile installed this month, but it's not looking likely at this point.
COMPLAIN COMPLAIN! I KNOW! DON'T YOU HATE PEOPLE WHO COMPLAIN??!!!

7.10.2013

Summer, summer, summertime...

WHEW - much has happened since my last update.

ROADTRIP:
We skipped the last day and a half of school to head to Colorado. The kids were bummed they were missing their final school parties, but I decided it was more important to go be with our family. Besides, J wasn't really even having a kinder graduation... just a small deal during classtime - not a big deal - so we didn't miss much. Okay, like 15-16 hours each way... wow, that was a long trip. We broke it up and stayed with Aunt Shauna in Albuquerque on the way there and back, what a great hostess! She pulled out all the stops to make us breakfast. I think it was the first time I'd had fried spam... actually not bad.
We rolled into Highlands Ranch around 6pm or so on Thursday the 23rd for my nephews' (Weston & Mason) graduation party. It was at their friend's house that was AMAZING... apparently was built by Champ Bailey, football player... you should have seen the view... and the theater room...etc etc... I should have taken pictures (no, would have been rude!)  The boys had hundreds of people coming and going... then A got in the pool... then all the big soccer and rugby boys got in the pool too...oh my.

The next morning we headed over to W&M's graduation ceremony, [huge school]  which gave me an inkling of what Mountain View's graduation probably will be like in just seven more years...! We got to hook up with Jordan, N's cousin, and her kids while we were there too, which was fun. I learned that when addicted to Coke Zero I MUST have one every day to be tolerable... ugh, there is NOT a QT on every corner in Colorado, I'm afraid...
Stayed in a great hotel while we were there... best part, the kids went down and swam in the pool and WE didn't have to go too... Aaaah. Call us bad parents, whatever. Teach them correct principles and they can lifeguard themselves, I say.
The twins had turned in their papers and were waiting for their mission calls... which just happened to come in while we were there! They had a big "opening party" which my big bro streamed live online (of course!)  It was SO fun to be there and watch them open their calls. When guessing where they were going to go earlier that morning, I had asked Mase what food he DIDN'T like... he said "lobster" - so we figured he'd probably go somewhere in New England... he's going to be in Boston!  : )  Weston is going to Anaheim. Both are going spanish speaking and report to the Mexico City MTC on October 9th. Pretty cool! Are you tired of all the details yet? This is my new scrapbook! Deal with it!
We also hit a touristy-place called Heritage Square while in Colorado. Went on an Alpine slide for the first time, did a high ropes course, jumped on trampolines, went through mazes, rolled around in hamster balls, rode a train. Totally fun. Learned that Tyler is a freakin' monkey rock climber.  Impressive. I, however, kicked everyone's trash on the spinning wooden barrel-thing. Apparently I have way faster feet than everyone else, ha! Should have videoed that...
Tyler reported in church on Sunday, and then W&M got ordained as elders as well. Can I say what a neat experience it was to share that weekend with them?  Love the Scotts!

SWIMMING:
Started right up with swim lessons, dive lessons and swim team once we got back. I forget every year how miserable Thursday evenings are, sitting out in the heat for two hours to watch one or two 1-minute races. Oopsie, we forgot to sign up for invitationals or divisionals in time, so thankfully I think our swim meet-watching days of this summer are over! lol.  I did get a lot of reading done at those meets though...  A & J have exactly 5 days of lessons left and then we're done. Time to think of school shopping! (Mwahahaha...)

BIRTHDAY:
We had a "soccer" birthday party for J's 6th. Had a dozen little boys running around here. Mostly they just swam, we had a pinata, and cake.  Spent all my time on prep work this year, with the pinata, customized water bottles, decorating the mantle, dipping and piping soccer ball oreos, and cake... even found all the kids green soccer shirts to wear... so didn't have any time for game planning. (Not that 6-year-olds notice).  Somehow I need to find a balance of activities/fluff/time/etc.
After that soiree I told the girls they had to AGREE on a theme for their birthday parties. Took a while, but we've settled on a "SPA" theme for both of them. We're going to have both parties back-to-back so they technically aren't "sharing" the party but we get to use the same decorations, activities, etc. Genius, I say. Saw a big pink rose-covered "A" on pinterest as a party decoration - done and done! Will work for both girls! Planning on doing facials, cucumber slices and all, making turban-style towels for their hair, decorating flip flops, soaking feet, painting nails...  I'd love to hire a couple of ladies to come in to help paint nails too...
any suggestions welcome!

EVCT THEATER:
They were watching entirely too much TV, and I wasn't getting any work done, so I signed the girls up for a 2-week theater camp in June. They performed "Through the Looking Glass". A played the part of "Belle" and M was a Robin Rabbit in the Snow White portion of the play. Super cute. I was pleasantly surprised A sounded so good in her singing solos, and M was just a natural performer - she was great on stage and hit all the dance moves and everything. They both are still singing the songs from the show! Nonnie and Papa came up and were able to see their performance too, which was fun.  Shame on me for not getting ONE PHOTO. I think I'll have to buy the DVD.

CALIFORNIA:
Roadtrip, part II.  I feel like I spent three weeks getting ready for our 6-day vacation. Sheesh!  I was running around buying beach chairs, boogie boards, new swim suits, etc. Got a DVD player installed in Gandalf, renewed Sirius radio (the BEST), sewed a bag so we could turn our pool umbrella into a portable beach umbrella, getting orders ready and shipped out before we left... WHEW. It's always a relief to lock the doors and leave the house for the last time for a trip with everything DONE and packed.  We ended up spending 6 nights at our Anaheim resort. Smoking deal. We love our timeshare! Bonus: we signed up to do an owner's update while we were there (agonizing hour of sales pitch to get free stuff) but they ended up overbooked so we got $100 in Disney dollars anyway and didn't have to listen to the presentation! Score.  Thanks to them we saw a movie and ate lunch the next day for FREE at Downtown Disney.  Man, I need to figure out how to do food cheaper next time we go to Cali though - we spent a fortune at a dozen different restaurants over the course of the week. That is the one part of vacay that blows the budget every time.

KNOTTS:
Chose not to do Disneyland this time to save some $$... so we did Knotts Berry Farm and Knotts Soak City instead. Well, you get what you pay for I guess. First of all, it's NOT HOT ENOUGH in Anaheim to have a water park. I was cold all day at Soak City. J and I only ended up going on 1 slide, twice. The rest of the time I laid on a chair and watched him on this huge spray-tower-climber-thing.  Waste of time. Knotts Berry Farm has some okay rides, I guess, but customer service is SEVERELY lacking at that place. Employees  totally disengaged. And wooden rollercoasters just HURT. Overall, the place is just lame and feels like a ripoff. Nothing themey or cute or surprising, ever. I think we're just too big of Disney fans to ever like another amusement park. LEARNED OUR LESSON.  We didn't even bother with staying for fireworks on the fourth.

ORANGE:
Went over a couple of times to a little city 5 minutes from Anaheim called Orange City and walked around. Darling little college town with dozens of antique shops, ton of old restored Craftsman style houses, and community events all the time. We ended up watching fireworks there on the night of the 3rd. If/when we go again, I will definitely buy the $7 tix to get into the stadium to listen to the musical performances leading up to the fireworks too!  Definitely a place we would look to retire to!

NEWPORT:
Truth:  There's no place like Newport Beach. Best sand, period. Can't beat free parking. We rented bikes the first day and rode for an hour - that's all our butts could handle. Unfortunately we didn't put on sunscreen til we were done riding and heading out to the sand, so N & me were burnt before we even got started!  My face is still peeling.  #won'tforgetmyhatnexttime  Waves were perfect, weather was perfect, I had a couple of great books to read and a Coke Zero in hand. Excellent. J dug and dug and dug for sand crabs and made friends on the beach, as always. The girls boogie boarded for hours. I went out and caught more than my share of waves too, which is remarkable because I usually get frustrated trying to boogie board.  Should have saved our Knotts money and just gone to the beach every day, methinks!  #weneedabeachhouse

Now we're back home, (BOO) laundry is almost all done and we're back to reality!

EXERCISE:
Was going pretty regularly to the gym before vacation, doing BodyCombat and BodyAttack, and every once in a while Step.  Love toning everything up, but I miss the strength stuff of Crossfit. Hmmm, need to find a middle ground. Like maybe running every day in addition to Crossfit? Or maybe if I just counted calories I'd start making progress? Or sign up for some kind of race to be in?  Hard to find motivation to get on the treadmill though...I tend to put it off all morning, and then it's too hot... and then I get busy cleaning or working... maybe I need to get a rowing machine, lol.  And by the way I am FEELING all those doughnuts I ate for breakfast last week at the resort. This week has been HARD at the gym. 

PROJECTS:
Finishing up a ton of little annoying projects around here. Cleaned out my closet. Ordered hinges for my never-installed-cabinet-door in my office.  Ordered new glass globe for my ceiling fan. Ordered last light fixture for bathrooms - four installed - one to go!   Installed a shelf in the garage to hold a bunch of wood and clear some floor space.  Had countertop company come out TODAY and measure to finish counters in my office (FINALLY! IT'S BEEN TWO YEARS IN THE MAKING!)  Paid off all my new tile that's sitting in the garage (Hooray! Now to find some more $$ to get it all installed!!)  Made some scrapbook pages with M this week - made me realize how sad my picture taking has been the last three years.   And now I've done a blog post this week too! Hooray!

And congratulations if you made it all the way through.