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.


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.


Summer, summer, summertime...

WHEW - much has happened since my last update.

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!

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...)

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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. 

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.



N is finally finished with his ginormous project at work -- hooray! No more Saturdays or Sundays at his office, and less late nighters. He has a new position at SRP now; I've been too occupied to figure out what all it entails yet. Not sure if he gets to keep the temporary pat raise or not yet. He's hinted at getting the AWW back though (alternate work week where he has every other Friday off) but we'll see if that actually happens.

I am owning the fact that our house is simply too big. Too much to clean, too much to maintain, and entirely too much to pay to update and furnish! Ugh. We've reached the two-year mark since we moved in, and though we've made vast improvements there's still a LONG way to go. Sheesh. Speaking of improvements, we recently replaced 540 square feet of flooring downstairs... Office, guest room, bathroom, laundry room, and hallway... From ugly tile and scorpion-colored laminate to a gorgeous hand-scraped dark wood-look ceramic tile. Super cool. Our installation job wasn't the most level, though, so I'll be looking for an alternative installer to finish the rest of it when the time comes. In the meantime we've got a little more than three pallets of tile sitting in our garage, waiting for install (and for me to pay it off first!)

 S has finally gotten back to work after a monthlong floor-related hiatus. Finally got most of the dust cleaned up from tile removal (still have to wipe down a few walls) and the furniture back in place. Baseboards are finished in one room at least! Bring on the orders! Mama needs a new countertop and shutters!!

I got into a car accident on Friday May 3rd. Was heartbroken about my car. So totally not my fault, but my incompetent insurance has yet to determine liability. Which means I had to pay for my rental car out of pocket, as well as my $500 deductible to get my car back out if the repair shop yesterday. Good times. I will be leaving Progressive Insurance next week because I don't appreciate how they've handled this. Any recommendations?

Gandalf is back alive and well and unscathed. Kids are SO happy to have him back! They were tired of squishing in the rental car.

The kids are SO ready to be done with school! M comes home cranky almost daily and has had an increasing number of meltdown tantrums lately. A and M are fighting like crazy, and both totally want to quit piano. UGH, how do I handle this? It's pulling teeth to get them to practice every day, all they do us complain and argue with me! "Why do you force me to do piano mom???!!!" Etc.

J is the only pleasant one to be around lately it seems. He's in a good behavior streak at school with SEVEN "Os" (outstanding) -- it's taken all year! He's doing pretty well with reading and he is fabulous at math. And SO super excited for his upcoming Soccer birthday party!! 

I went through 12 weeks of Crossfit since January - it was great. I'm still kind of a wimp but I'm not nearly afraid of burpees and pushups and pullups and weights anymore... : ) And I felt like I always got a way better all-body workout with Crossfit, versus some of the classes at the gym. I will probably get back to Sarah's workouts in the fall again when it cools down. For now I'm keeping up with Body Attack and Combat, etc. Trying to make myself get back on the treadmill to run, too. Desperately need new shoes though, mine literally have holes in them and absolutely no support anymore.

Kids are signed up (only one against her will) for swimming all summer. M is doing swim team, J is doing lessons and A is taking diving classes. Hopefully A will love it - she's been a pill about everything else lately.

We are TRYING to go to San Diego for a week this summer, and would love to do Seaworld and Legoland and the beach, but unfortunately I've got 5 nights already booked in Anaheim that I cannot sell for the life of me!  UGH, may have to cancel it and book a couple of 1-Bedrooms for a different week so I can sell them easier. I don't know.

J had his "Let's Play Music" recital a couple of weeks ago. All the kids are so darling, I love that program and our teacher!  He will be playing his last soccer game of the season this weekend, as we'll be out of town for  the final game = bummer. Kids had their school's "Spring Sing" last night, which is always fun. And simple. Have I mentioned how simple it is to participate at our school? Because it is.  And it works very well with my laziness.

Off to the treadmill and to hopefully find something interesting on Netflix. Pics to be added later of all this stuff.


March Madness


J finished out his very first season of soccer last weekend. It was all kinds of awesome. He had a blast on his "Red Rockets" team being able to play with all his friends!  He's a great runner (sometimes he has to squeeze his eyes shut tight to go faster!) and probably an even better goalie. I loved it when we'd be getting him ready for a game and he'd reassure me, without prompting, "I'm going to do my best Mom!". He's Oh-So-Proud of his trophy too! The day after he got it he probably told me 15 times, "mom my trophy is so cool!"  Love that boy! He's a sweetheart, has lots of fun with neighborhood friends and at school. He comes home with like a half cup of sand every day in his shoes from the playground. I went with him on his Phoenix Zoo field trip last month. Absolute perfect weather. Gotta love Arizona in February! Spent the whole time following four wild animals around the zoo, looking at boys. I mean, following four wild boys looking at animals. We had parent-teacher conferences last week and he's doing great in everything except some of those pesky two-letter phonograms. And.oh yes, his behavior. I have a hard time being concerned about that, though. : )

M is such a treasure, sometimes I don't know how I deserve her. She gets straight As in school, her teacher loves her, for the most part she cleans up at home, loves to try new things and cook and eat healthy and be crafty. The other day I bought a shoe cabinet at Ikea and M instantly jumped in and helped me with all 38 assembly instructions... which took hours. She knows how to wield a hammer and a drill, and can tell you what a philips screwdriver or a cam bolt is! She's also a project "finisher" which I totally appreciate! She helped me paint her bathroom a week ago too... Something that's been needing to get finished for a LONG time. Anything to get out of practicing piano I guess... She tends to get frustrated easily with piano because she doesn't get songs perfect right away... Difficult to stay positive and not have major drama with each song. She's been on a "smiling" campaign since her stake activity day thing a couple of weeks ago. Sweet girl. She's still enjoying synchronized swimming.

I'm starting to realize what a spectacular writer A is. I mean, really. Her stories are elaborately detailed and she's great at adjectives. Right now she's writing a story about a German U-boat. The logistics are sketchy a lot of times, but I love her enthusiasm and great plot lines! I wonder if there's a creative writing class I can get her into somewhere?
 Coming up is her third battle for "battle of the books" at school. Her team is currently in third place, so it's a long shot for them to make it to district, but I'm hoping!
She's doing great in piano, though she tends to play the songs she likes 100 times to every 1 time she'll play the others. I have "Minuet in G" permanently etched in my brain I think. It makes me sad that she didn't want to get back into gymnastics. But I think she's getting plenty of exercise daily on the playground, playing basketball with all the boys.

N still lives here, I think. His project at work, plus plenty of basketball each week, take all of his time and energy. He does love his church basketball though. Thankfully he hasn't been working Saturdays lately, and this weekend he's actually taking off TWO DAYS so we can head up to winter in Idaho for my niece's wedding. Which is nutso, considering how beautiful it is in AZ right now. Super excited to see all of my family though. Have to take some games to play in the hotel!

Sparky is no more! Have to include him on my update because he's been part of the family for so long. Posted it in CraigsList at 4pm on Saturday and then sold him right away that night to a couple of guys. So-and-so was buying it for his bro-in-law, who lives in Mexico, etc etc. who knows. at least the guy we did business with was legal.  We met him at the MVD yesterday and after dealing with incompetent people for TWO hours, transaction finally got done and title transferred. I was glad to see Sparky one last time to be able to remove my sun devil stickers from the back window! Lol, I didn't want anyone else to have them!  So! That means I'm getting a new (used) car! It's getting transferred here from Texas and it is lovely! Can't wait! 20 days and counting...

Okay!  What have I been doing this month? Organizing a whole bunch of Relief Society activities, that's what!! We played Jeopardy at my house at the end of January. It was a riot. And my house hasn't been so clean since we moved in. It was all decked out decorated for Valentines Day too! Then just three weeks later we had our big annual service auction at the church. Turned out nice. Now tonight we've got the stake RS activity which I have to prepare a few things for too! Whew.
Finished my first six-week session of Crossfit and started my second round today. Oh my, it was a killer.
400 meter run
2minutes on Airdyne
10 burpees
10 squats
10 dips
40 box jumps
40 more burpees
20 tire flips
20 pull-ups
20 Sledgehammer Swings
40 parkour vaults
100 navy seals
100 Supermans
400 m rowing
400 m run
Took me forever to get it all done. So I'm laying on the couch now, wasted.

Also in February I was in charge of M's class party at school. I love having loud a rowdy games for the kids to enjoy since they have to be so straight-laced all the time!
We took off after school that night and spent a couple of days in Prescott with all of the Carters at the coolest.cabin.ever. Carl had rented the place for all of us to celebrate Brooke's birthday that weekend. Super cool.


Holy update Batman!

Has it really been 2 1/2 months since I last posted? Oh my.
Let's see:
• We had our 14th anniversary. We went out for Costa Vida and I got increasingly disgusted with election results. Hooray.  You know, one of these years we're going to actually have to GO somewhere together, hint hint, Hawaii, or a cruise, or NYC....
• I got super depressed because the idiot got re-elected. No, I take that back, he's not the idiot, everyone who voted for him is an idiot, or else way too entitled/comfortable with all the government handouts. It's not really a surprise at all - who's going to beat Santa Claus in an election? Nobody.
• I got super stressed out because our renters decided that they couldn't afford the house anymore. Of course, they didn't bother to tell us until halfway through November, after rent was late and countless phone calls to try and reach them, so I footed the bill for November and December. Awesome! Just in time for Christmas!
• We spent Thanksgiving in Scottsdale with all the Carters. Then bits and pieces of my family were in the valley for various reasons that weekend too, so we got to hang out with Safford peeps, as well as Colorado peeps. Fun.
• Renters finally moved out on December 2nd. I spent a week going over to Phoenix every day cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning some more. On the surface it looked like they had left the place in good shape - but once I got in there I realized how absolutely disgusting it was. I literally burned up my vacuum with all of the hair left behind. All in all we 1) Bought a fridge - that was quite the feat moving it over there 2) Hooked up water to the fridge (because of course the renters took all the lines, awesome) (Did I mention my husband is NOT a plumber??) 3) Ordered and replaced an $80 part on the microwave 4) Bought new hinges for the dishwasher 5) Fixed the garbage disposal that wasn't working 6) Hired a landscaper to do the yard and take out a dead tree 7) Had the carpets and tile cleaned 8) Spent hours dusting, scrubbing, mopping 9) Repainted walls in two rooms 10) Touched up paint everywhere else 11) Replaced almost all the lightbulbs in the house because they were all burned out (?) 12) Kicked myself that we didn't collect a cleaning deposit from them when they moved in!!! 13) etc, etc, etc.
• I just wasn't feeling Christmas-cardy this year. Not only was I stressed with the no-renters-thing, but my horribly awkward growing-out-my-hair inbetween-ness is still nowhere near ready for a family picture. So I apologize if you were expecting one from us. I think this is the first year out of our 14 years of marriage I haven't sent anything out!
• We spent a weekend at the cabin in November. It became a work trip because Grandma and Poppy went too. Excited to see that new room get finished, hopefully, the next time we're there.
• I had to speak in church. Worst. Day. Ever.
• I only ended up doing one vendor show for my vinyl business in December, that being the SRP Christmas party. With M in synchronized swimming practice on Saturdays and N working almost every Saturday, there wasn't really an option to do any more! Luckily I was too busy with orders for the rest of the month to worry about it too much.
• We refinanced our house (again) and were able to skip December and January payments. This is the only thing that got us through not having renters. Total blessing.
• My 38th birthday came and went. Celebrated by jumping and flipping around on trampolines and riding a mechanical bull at Jumpstreet with a couple of friends. Total blast. I love that place. Shhh, don't tell our kids we went without them.
• Went to tithing settlement to discover that I was $1400 behind where I thought we were for the year. UGH, that was a hard check to write. IN OTHER NEWS, we got a surprise $1439 check in January from our old escrow account that we didn't have any idea was coming. Ummm, coincidence? Heavenly Father truly looks after us.
• Tried to keep Christmas pretty simple. Didn't get our fam picture done. Didn't get cards sent out. Gave goodies to a few neighbors and called it done. Didn't get any presents for any friends, because I'm lame like that. N had all of two presents to open, and one of those had socks in it. The other was an ASU shirt that was supposed to be returned to the stadium shop months earlier, but never made it there, so Merry Christmas! lol. A got a kindle (that we'd had for months), M got roller skates, and J got a new bike (that had been in a box in our garage for 1 1/2 years). Santa also brought us a family membership to the Science Center, which has been great already. We got spoiled by Grandma and Poppy of course, with lots of things including a great TETHERBALL set. Fun.
 • Went to Safford the day after Christmas to hang out with Sam & Brie and everyone. Went to play in the snow while we were there, but it was bitter cold and the snow was ice hard, so not as fun as last year. We have yet to find a great sledding place on Mt. Graham. I stayed up really late for a couple of nights playing games with the Scotts.
• Went to a car dealership while in Safford and fell in L.O.V.E. with the brand new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder. Now, if we could remember where we planted that money tree we'd go buy one.
• We had a friend party a few days after Christmas with appetizers, desserts, minute-to-win-it games and some pretty amazing white elephant gifts. Man, I so need that party every year just to be able to laugh that hard.
• New years? Did that happen? I was out at the Phoenix house painting all day on NYE, so I didn't really notice. To add insult to injury, J's scooter got stolen from the neighborhood playground while we were there. Awesome. At least the new renters showed up with $$, and signed papers that night. Whew.
• School resumed! HOORAY! I just get so tired of the fighting around here, I need my solitude!
• Small redos in one bathroom have led to me making bigger changes in all three bathrooms. All at the same time. I know, I'm awesome. Hired our handyman to move electrical boxes for new lights to go in in the kids' bathroom. Bought new mirrors for the master bathroom, but decided they look better in the kids' bathroom, so I'm on the hunt again for the perfect 30"x42" dark cherry, or mahogany, or walnut, framed mirrors for my master bath. Once I find just the right ones we can patch the current holes in the drywall, move the electrical boxes up a few inches, and install two new light fixtures in there. Sheesh! In the meantime, I found the perfect glass mosaic tiles that I want for the master bathroom - - but because I want that to flow with the not-yet-tiled-shower and tub surround (neither of which will happen for years to come) I went ahead and bought about 20 extra tiles, lol. I seriously need to find a contractor ASAP to at least help me design it, so I know if I need more of these accent tiles or not, because I won't be able to buy them ever again.....!!! I'm good at making my life and house projects complicated/expensive... As of last weekend our downstairs bathroom has new wall paint, new ceiling paint, new light fixture and hardware. Looks a million times better. Someday that bathtub and molded plastic (gag) surround will come out and the whole thing will get tiled too.
• My dear Amberly got me to a Crossfit workout a couple of weeks ago, so I decided to give it a try for at least one 6-week session. It's motivating because 1) I don't know what I'm going to be doing once I get there each time - kind of like I'd rather listen to the radio so I don't know what's coming next..... lol and 2) I'm for sure going to go every single time because I already paid for it! I couldn't walk for three days after my first time there. Now I've been there for two weeks. And looking forward to the next workout.
• I've been reading a LOT lately. Just made my way through the "I am number four" series by Pittacus Lore (ps.) just to realize it's NOT OVER! Ugh, next book doesn't come out til fall 2013, and then after that fall of 2014! I know, my big ol' nerd problems.
• J is so grown up lately. Love that boy. He is doing pretty well in school (except for behavior!) and in music class (though he's the most hyper one in there) and he just started soccer a couple of weeks ago with 6 other kids from his primary class. He's the cutest little Red Rocket on the team! Last week after the game, all the parents made a tunnel for the kids to run through... J couldn't go through without stopping to hug my legs (love him) which then in turn made him trip the kids behind him... too funny. He has lots of friends in the neighborhood and ends up having them over a couple times a week.  He has to recite "Little Bo Peep" next week in his school class, and has it down! He has come a long way, since the first poem he was assigned at the beginning of the year he was too shy to say it, at ALL.   :  )
• M is still in synchro. Her first big meet is tomorrow morning. I have spent a small fortune getting all the makeup and gear ready for this thing. I think she now owns more makeup than I do. Also have to RENT a ROUTINE SUIT for $35. SHEESH!  And I thought synchro was cheaper than gymnastics! Ha!  She practices on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. I've almost pulled her out MULTIPLE times simply because she's so exhausted on Thursdays that she can't handle it, but she loves it so much! Glad it's only 1 school night a week. She's doing awesome in school. Still a great helper around home, but strangely she's in a phase of a very messy bedroom ALL THE TIME. She used to be the neatest in the house, not so much anymore. Let's just hope it's a phase anyway. She's not a fan of the piano lately at all, it's a struggle to get her to practice.
• A is a preteen and makes me crazy daily, whether it be her defiance about mealtime, brushing her hair, going to bed, washing her face, practicing piano, getting off a device... however her room is staying mighty clean lately at least!
• N is still working like crazy. Including lots of late nights, lots of Saturdays, and lots of time on his Blackberry while at home. He still insists on playing basketball 4-5 times a week in the early mornings, so he's thoroughly exhausted all the time.

 Time to get some dinner going! Ta ta for now...