Slowly but surely...

We have been to the top of the mountain and down again... er... went on vacation and came back home, that is. Although "vacation" is a bit of a misnomer in this instance... as it was a lot more "work" than "vacay"

The kids had worked SO hard putting on their kids camp we had them contribute $$ if they wanted to do "one more day" at an amusement park this trip. They all wanted to do THREE days instead of our normal TWO.  So, we did SeaWorld on Monday, beach on Tuesday, drove up to Anaheim and did California Adventure on Wednesday, Newport beach on Thursday, and then did Disneyland on Friday. WHEW three days. It was just as exhausting as it sounds, especially considering we pretty much stayed and closed each park each of those three days. And hot, hot, hot. I don't think I've ever been that uncomfortable at a theme park before... apparently we've never gone in July before. Never again in summer!

On the other hand, how great was it to go with three BIG KIDS??  Josh was tall enough for every ride. We didn't have to mess around with meeting characters or riding any of the "little kid" rides. Josh really liked the big rides... California Screamin, Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones, Space Mountain... he loved all of it. We didn't even have to venture into Fantasyland or ToonTown... awesome. We did stop about 20 times each day for the kids to trade PINS with every shop owner in CA and DLand though, sheesh! My husband was brilliant when he bought a big lot of cheap Disney pins on Ebay before we went... so each of the kids had pins to trade with, and didn't hardly look at any of the "new" pins at retail prices... so our credit card escaped from the parks relatively unscathed. I say RELATIVELY because it's still Disneyland. Seems to be even tougher to save $ at SeaWorld when you have to pay $16 for parking... it cost us about $50 for lunch and probably another $30 in snacks @ SW, not to mention the souvenirs...

Worst line:  Jungle Cruise, in the sun in the middle of the day @ Disney
Worst show:  Dolphin show in the middle of the day @ SeaWorld
Worst ride: Space Mountain. MAN, that one is too rough and hurts!

Favorites: Sea Lion Tonite show, the "Filharmonics" acapella group (from Pitch Perfect 2 fame) concert @ SeaWorld, Aladdin show & Mad "T" Party @ California Adventure
Best rides: Radiator Springs Racers, Tower of Terror, Manta

We've been recuperating and playing catch up for the last few days. Slept many hours on Sunday. I finally got all the stuff from my old computer transferred to my new one, installed all the new software from Adobe Creative Cloud, and am currently blogging on my new machine! Still using the old mouse and keyboard though, as the new ones are a little small and too streamlined for me. Now I'm just hoping I get sent some design work and start earning my keep.

School starts in a mere SEVEN DAYS! Woohoo! Kids and I are SO ready. They are so bored, spending WAY too much time on screens and way too much time at home. Every day I promise I'll take them somewhere if/when they clean up and do chores... but those "to do" lists never seem to get accomplished so we never end up going anywhere. Fine by me, because my computer and my office have gotten MUCh more organized than ever before this summer!

Speaking of office activities, I've actually SCrAPBOOKED several spreads this month too! Amazing! Here's to catching up on all those old pics I never printed & layouts I never finished! Manda is a great helper and loves to do it.

Allison is going to be a big 8th grader this year. She's so grown up, loves to hang out with her friends, doesn't mind practicing piano so much anymore (as long as it's songs she wants to play). Her favorite thing to wear is jeans, even in the dead of summer. It kills me when I see her wearing tight long jeans when she could be wearing shorts! We went through her dresser and most of her closet yesterday... she'd outgrown more than half! I had to convince her to go with me to the thrift store last night, and we found lots of cute new replacement things for her to wear to school.

Manda went through her drawers this morning too and passed down a dozen shirts to Allison, so her drawers are a little bare as well!  I will be taking her shopping tomorrow and hopefully find some cute stuff. She is super hard to fit. By the way I love thrift shopping, where I can afford to buy all the brands I wouldn't even think to look at @ malls.

Time to get something done today! Peace out!


Summer 2015 - probably the most epic-long post ever.

It's 2:12am. Awesome. Why is it that I can so easily fall asleep trying to watch a TV show, but once I go up to bed I'm wide awake... for hours...  *sigh*  I figured maybe if I got up and blogged and wrote down everything swirling around in my head I might be able to sleep... so here goes...
Summer is almost over - hooray! We started out strong it seemed, with SO much happening I could barely keep up. We got through all of the end-of-year recitals, school events, camp prep, etc. and then Nick and I were able to go to the U2 concert a couple of days after school got out in May. We got to do dinner and catch up beforehand with the Meadows... man I miss/love them.

When I bought our tickets for U2 back in December, I tried to arrange it so we were directly across from the end of the catwalk, essentially in the end zone of the arena (U.S. Airways). Anything along the "sidelines" was more than double the price, so I figured I was doing great getting such lower level-seats. When we showed up to the concert, however, we were directed to the box office and given new tickets... apparently they had changed the orientation of the stage and our seats didn't exist... long story short, we ended up being kind of on the front row to the side of the stage... and it was awesome. What an amazing show. Bono, Edge = still completely amazing after like 30 years. {SIDENOTE: Bono kind of ruined the song "Pride" for me forever by aligning it with GAY pride and celebrating the fact that Ireland had just legalized same-sex marriage that week. Psssh... why'd you have to go and do that??} I digress. I couldn't believe the graphic effects on the GINORMOUS screen that spanned the length of the arena. Had we been seated where we were originally supposed to be... we wouldn't have gotten the effect of it at ALL. We lucked out! Wish we would have gone both nights. For real.

A couple of days after U2, Allison and Nick headed off to the pioneer trek. This was actually Allison's 2nd trek, as she went with Poppy Carter on their stake trek last year... their stake lets 12 & up go.  What a difference in how a Scottsdale stake, and how our Mesa stake, executes things! Last year their Scottsdale stake outsourced the whole thing... they bussed the kids over to California, and did the trek up in the mountains sort of by Palm Springs. Allison didn't really know anyone but her grandpa, and one other girl in her trek family, but she was a trooper and did pretty well, aside from the fact that the food was very scarce and awful. To this day, though, all she can talk about that trip is the horribly long and boring bus ride on the way there!

Fast forward one year:  Our stake went up north of Payson and had absolutely perfect weather for three days. Our stake does SUCH a good job putting on events like this. It was an awesome experience for both Nick and Allison. I'm so glad they let her go even though she's still only 13! Nick went as the "photographer" for our ward. I'll have to get him to write about all the activities they did, the jamboree show they put on, the dessert auction complete with professional auctioneer, the limerick songs everybody made up, the soldier who showed up to enlist the men in the Mormon battalion, the hatchet throwing, leather bracelet making, using tin cups to drink out of... you name it, it was done in a pretty awesome fashion!

That weekend, I put on a SHARK birthday party for Josh. I swear that kid wanted to decorate for the party a good TWO MONTHS before the actual event! He gets SO excited about that kind of stuff. Funny. It was simple, as I was so busy with camp prep I didn't put a lot of time into planning anything other than "swimming" and "eating", but we had amazingly cool invitations and cool inflatable sharks to play with and a super awesome Pinterest-worthy watermelon shark! A lot of the boys ended up being out of town, so it was small.

On June 1st my baby turned EIGHT! What a great kid. He's mostly up for anything asked of him, whether it's taking out the trash, helping set up for kids camp, judging American girl doll fashion shows, whatever. He's completely addicted to playing games on devices and watching cartoons on Netflix. He loves the Flash, and Once Upon a Time, Octonauts and Studio C. He still fits on my lap and is always willing to cuddle with me, which I just adore. He is getting particular about what clothes he likes to wear. I can't hardly get him to wear a collared shirt anymore at all. He mostly ends up in some sort of royal blue t-shirt everyday, and black soccer shorts. Whatever!

With turning eight, this kid has also entered CUB SCOUTS! Wow, he loves it so much. Grandma hooked him up with a knife, scout shirt, cub t-shirt and more for his birthday and he carries his pocketknife EVERYWHERE now, and wears that cub t-shirt (it's blue) every chance he gets. We have the most amazing couple as cub leaders in our ward. I appreciate so much the time and effort and love they put into their calling and into these boys. It's such a great group! We've got about a month off of scouts right now that everybody's going on vacation, and they'll pick it up again after school starts.

June 1st also brought the beginning of swim team for both Amanda and Josh. Josh SO wanted to do it last year but the teams were full at Stapley, so I made sure and sign him up first thing this year... turns out, it's not so much "his thing". "WHY do I have to go EVERY DAY" Thankfully his cousin Landon was also on the team so at least it got him to go to the pool most days... though their bad attitudes rubbed off on each other, I think. Amazingly, Josh got a blue ribbon in the backstroke meet! After getting disqualified at the butterfly meet, though, he got his heart broken a little and was embarrassed... he wanted to leave the meet immediately, and it was very, very tough to get him to go at all the next week. So, the IM meet and any kind of divisionals were out of the question. What a waste of $70 this year. I'll probably just put him in a stroke class next year, or try diving, but I think we're officially retired from swim team.   Manda did okay the first few weeks of swim team, but tends to beat herself up/gets self conscious/gets angry when she's not finishing at the top of the heap in meets, so it's not fun for anyone. I think I'm just not a good swim team mom anymore, if I ever was.

Allison, Amanda and I headed to Camp LoMia for girls camp on June 3rd-6th. What fun. Again, our stake hit it out of the park with the theme and activities and programs, just as great as last year. We had FIVE leaders go with our ward, and 15 1st - 3rd year girls in our 2 cabins. Theme was "look up" and everything related to the movie UP, not looking to the sides to compare yourself to others but rather looking up to Christ, and the temple... great crafts, classes, speakers, service projects... it was completely awesome. We had very little drama even with our huge group of girls that were all very different. Everyone loved everything I'd created for our ward... t-shirts, bandanas, banners, posters, handouts, etc. I've got this girls camp stuff DOWN now, I tell you!  The weather was absolutely divine as well. We didn't even have to turn on our fans in the cabins! We had rain the last day and a half, but it was like a raining miracle... every time we were scheduled to be outside, it would clear up, and every time we came into the lodge or cabins it would pour. For the program on the last night, a singer named Freddy Ashby (sp?) came and spoke and sang for over an hour. It was an excellent, spirit-filled program. Even more amazing to me was the "rain testimony"... if it was pouring rain on that corrugated metal roof, it was difficult to hear what was going on on the stage, but it's like it was perfectly timed to Freddy's talk & songs... while he was talking, no rain... while he was singing... no rain... as he finished a song... pouring, deafening rain on the roof... as if it were applause. Time and time again. Kind of a miracle. Also, I got to wear my awesome Sun Devil rain boots for two days, which was pretty sweet!

We spent the rest of June in ortho and dentist appointments, swim team, some playing with cousins, but mostly my kids have hung around home all summer and haven't wanted to go anywhere.  I feel like everybody's just holding their breath waiting for vacation and for summer to be over... me too! I also had a mammogram last month, which was horrific and traumatizing and I never want to do that ever ever ever ever ever ever again.

We spent the fourth of July weekend at a resort in Scottsdale with some of the other Carters. It was a very nice place but HUGE. Everything we did was a trek to get from one place to the other, and my feet were killing me after two days there. And it was still very, very hot outside and very, very miserable. Maybe I'm getting old and getting to be a total prude but I am SO uncomfortable at a public pool at a place like that, where there's just miles of way-too-exposed or way-too-tattooed skin everywhere you turn. Just not our kind of hotel. Got to watch lots of shark shows on Discovery getting ready for shark week though!

For the last three weeks the girls have been putting on a kids camp to raise some money for our trip to  California. They have done little crafts, relays, games, parades, dance parties... you name it! They bought their own supplies and snacks, and have done really well, and they are both fantastic with the kids, but man, it is a struggle. They fight with each other for a full day beforehand about how things should be run or "She's not helping!" "She's not cleaning up" "She's not listening to my ideas!" Trying to get them to clean up after themselves after each camp has been super fun too, because once the kids leave, they're just kind of done... I just try to breathe deeply and remind myself that it's good for them to learn to work together, and learn the value of money, and learn how to be good babysitters. I have tried to help them prep most days, but have also tried to stay out of their way once camp starts. Today was the last day. They have earned their money for Disneyland tickets, plus spending money, and everybody's happy. HOORAY!!!

Now onto the things that have been keeping me up at night... I was approached with a job opportunity this week that could potentially be so, so great for my situation. However, it requires a computer upgrade for me, (macs are NOT CHEAP) plus a monthly membership fee (that you pay FOREVER AND EVER) for a software package... one of whose programs I do NOT know and would have to MASTER in order to be assigned jobs in order to make money in order to pay for the upgraded computer and monthly software fee. You get me? I realize that it is an investment, but can an old dog like me really learn new tricks? A new program? And be fast enough at it to compete with designers that, you know, haven't been 10 years out of the business??

Hopefully I am going to be pulling the trigger on all that tomorrow (well, I guess today, since it's after 3am) and will start the process of transferring all my old computer stuff onto a new one. I have spent HOURS this week going through cleaning up my files, trying to eliminate all the ancient and/or dated design stuff, and organizing everything. I've barely scratched the surface of what is on this computer, though. I probably threw away 1000 files in the last couple of days. After all that, THEN I have to somehow teach myself how to work off "the cloud" and learn this new software program inside and out.

This may just be what the doctor ordered for me, though, to get me out of my Netflix addiction-slump, and relieve some of my financial stress. Seems like July is every bit as hard as December when it comes to me running out of money to pay for everything... maybe it has to do with this month's $497 electric bill that I have yet to pay. Air conditioning is fun! #firstworldproblems  Get me on a beach STAT!

In other news, we tried to start our kitchen months ago... we did the remodeling part of it anyway, and had the old pantry ripped out, and reconfigured that wall, and patched in the tile. Now we're just waiting... waiting... waiting...  All of our appliances are purchased, (plus a kitchen sink!) and nearly all of the design decisions have been made... contract has been written with the cabinet guy... just waiting for more money to be able to continue with cabinets and countertops.  So my spending nearly $1K on a computer this week is not so conducive with that happening anytime soon. Nick's car repairs have totaled $2700 this summer as well. And we're trying to pay for a vacation next week too! We are 4.5 years into paying off a 5-year loan we borrowed from Nick's 401K when we were buying this house...  almost there!! January can't get here fast enough!  I can't WAIT until that is paid off and we can actually start saving money again each month, instead of spending every penny.

We are so blessed. I have good kids. We have amazing, fun, faithful extended families on both sides of the tree. We have a beautiful house, and I have a cool car. My husband has an excellent job and is good at it. I have talents, and it's about time I started getting paid to use them! I need to remind myself to be grateful more often. Daily. Hourly. I really, really try to live within our means and be humble.

The End, for now.


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


It's already April? No foolin?


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 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


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.

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!


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:



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.