WHY??? (A Complain-y Post. Be Ye Warned.)

My 3 Day Walk is almost here, and I’m NOT ready.  I still have to raise $450 (or it comes out of my pocket… guess who is giving up her next two paychecks????), my period started today (I haven’t had it since the beginning of September… I’m so unpredictable… it couldn’t wait ONE more week???  I won’t be done and comfortable by Friday!!), and this evening I wrenched my lower back (OH!  The pain!  I can’t move… I can’t stand up straight… ).

I still need to either borrow or buy an airmattress so I don’t have to sleep on the ground.  I still need some proper clothes to wear (I only have one actual pair of capris that I’ve been walking in, and I’m not wearing the same pair for 3 days in a row), and I need a new waist pack (mine is super small and only holds one water bottle, my cell phone, my driver’s license, and a small amount of cash and I need to hold 2 water bottles, my cell phone, body glide, chapstick, cash, ID, bandaids/moelskin, and an extra pair of socks to change at lunch time).  

I had a rotten day at church today.  The kids in primary can be so obnoxious.  Our primary program is in two weeks, and since I won’t be here next Sunday, we didn’t have Sharing time today, just singing time.  The kids groaned no matter what song I said we were about to sing.  They wouldn’t follow direction, kept talking to their neighbors, and some just flat out wouldn’t sing.  In Senior primary, when I mentioned I wouldn’t be here, the kids cheered.  Thank goodness primary was over right after that, because as soon as the kids were out of the room, I seriously started crying.

Dallin won’t eat food.  Well, he’ll eat junk food, candy, and cereal.  He didn’t have lunch (it’s not unusual for him to skip a meal or two) or dinner, but only wanted milk to drink.  I wouldn’t let him have any milk until he ate some food.  He is one stubborn kid.  He never did get any milk.  I couldn’t even get him to take one measly bite of food.  So no milk, no dessert… nothing!  The kid worries the heck out of me with his constant refusal to eat.  And he’s not the skinny kid in the family.  How is he getting enough nutrition out of cereal and milk and tootsie rolls??  I don’t get it.

I stopped taking my medication for about 2 months.  I think it was only 2 months.  Anyway, things were not good, and Ches got me a refill.  I’ve been taking it, and I think overall it has helped, but now I’m getting migraines a lot.  I think Welbutrin is not right for me.  I might have to go back to Zoloft, but I hate the way Zoloft makes me feel when I forget to take it even once.  I get all dizzy and feel like I’m about to pass out at any second.  So… off to the doctor I must go to discuss my options.

I think my job is great, but I also think it sucks.  I am not a teacher of young kids.  My degree is in secondary education, and I think if I’m going to teach, that is where I should be.  As sweet as the kids are (most of the time), I’m just not enjoying it like I want.  I am a firm believer in doing what makes you happy.  If I’m going to leave my kids with someone else all day long, I’d better darn well LOVE what I’m doing, not just tolerate it.  And then there’s the whole discipline thing:  I think that most of the classes are fine.  I can handle a little bit of extra noise.  i mean, I’m not in a normal classroom, and these are all toddlers and preschoolers and young elementary school kids.  I don’t expect them to be able to come into a large, muti-purpose room and stay on task 100% of the time.  My methodology is to essentially ignore the little disruptions.  If I ignore them, they go away.  If they don’t go away, then I deal with it appropriately to the situation.  I am so tired of having other people in the school tell me to always be right on top of these kids… to not even give them an inch… blah blah blah.  Just let me handle my classes, thank you very much.  If I have major issues, I will let you or the lead teacher (who is where I’d go to first, anyway) know and we will come up with a plan.  But I just don’t think things are THAT BIG A DEAL, so stop instructing me EVERY DAY on how to teach and discipline my classes.

I’ve been having a real hard time just enjoying my life.  It’s so easy to put on a fake smile and pretend that everything’s great, but I’m getting sick of faking it.  I’m pretty sick of being so lonely.  I go to the park with my kids for the playgroups and I try to talk to the other moms, but I just don’t feel all that comfortable.  One day, after school, one kid had his skateboard at the park.  This other kid, who is probably in 2nd grade, was riding on the other kid’s skateboard, on his knees, when he feel forward and hit his head on the cement.  Of course he starts crying for his mom, but she isn’t there.  Their house is literally across the street. So he immediately runs home.  The other moms say he’s not the type of kid to take comfort from anyone else, but he ran home, so I’m not thinking it’s a big deal.  Then one mom says very emphatically, “THIS is why you come to the park!  You have to watch your kids!”  The other moms all start agreeing and nodding their heads, and they are all talking around this one point, and all I’m thinking by now is “CUT THE APRON STRINGS!”  The kid is old enough to be by himself at the park across the street!  I let Aiden go to the park now all the time without me.  I don’t let Dallin or Parker go, but Aiden, I feel, is old enough to be able to play without my constant supervision.  The park is visible from my house, and Aiden has certain rules he knows and follows (like he is either at the park or at home… he doesn’t go to anyone else’s house, EVER, for anything), so I don’t really worry too much.  You can not watch your kid 100% of the time, ladies!  Let them learn to be responsible for themselves at some point!  (The mom most vocal has kids both older and younger than the hurt boy)  I’m also thinking that if this is how you are talking about someone who isn’t here, what are you saying about me, behind MY back!  Sometimes I’m not there, at the park, when the bus comes in the afternoon.  I would like Aiden to come home first, but most of the time he just stays at the park and plays (because all the other kids are staying and playing), and a couple of the moms mentioned that they have tried telling him to go home and check in with me and whatever.  So I’m wondering what exactly are they saying to each other when I’m not there.  If they are going to say stuff about the one mom and be SO rude about it, I can only assume you do it to me, too.

I’m sick of trying to make friends, but not succeeding.  I just don’t feel a part of anything, no matter what functions or casual meet-ups I attend.  I feel like an outsider.  I miss my old ward and my old friends.  I miss other places we’ve lived because I had such great wards and friends.  I loved my callings, and I loved the friends I had and the plans that we made.

I miss autumn.  It’s my favorite season.  Arizona just doesn’t get an autumn.  It goes from HOT hot hot hot hot summer, to summer, to a mild “winter” (which feels like summer to some of you, perhaps), to summer, and back to HOT hot hot hot hot summer.  It was in the 70’s all last week and it was wonderful!!  Aiden wore a jacket to school each morning (hey, it wasn’t in the 70’s yet that early in the morning) and the boys wore pants instead of shorts and I got cold enough to want hot chocolate at night.  Not that I ever need it to be cold to drink hot chocolate.  It’s just nicer.  But I miss a real autumn, with a cool wind, changing leaves, wearing sweaters and scarves, and seeing my breath in the morning before school (I can do without scraping frost off the car windows in the morning, however).

So, now you know why I haven’t written in a while.  When it rains, it pours.  I have tons more I could complain about, but I need to go to bed and get some sleep before another “fun” day of work tomorrow.  Oh, and I have to pray REAL hard that my back is better so i can function.  I guess tomorrow I gotta try to see a chiropractor.  I can’t let this be like when I hurt my back a couple months ago.  It was a couple of weeks before I was back to normal.  It sucked!!!!

Camping and Pumpkins and Primary, Oh My!

Last week was Fall Break for Ches and Aiden (my school doesn’t have Fall Break, but I only work 2 days a week) so I decided I was done with our family never doing anything or going anywhere.  I went to work Monday, and once I got home we loaded the van and went camping.  We got out a couple of hours later than I had originally planned, but since Ches and I are used to setting our tent up in the dark, it wasn’t that big of a deal. 🙂
In the tent

We got there, set up the tent, and went to sleep. It got down to the low 40s during the night, so we were pretty cold, but it wasn’t horrible. I think the worst was waking up in the middle of the night to hear coyotes screaming. That’s what it sounded like, anyway. Screaming. It was so freaky!!

On Tuesday, we got in the van and started to drive, just to see what there was. We were camping just outside of Payson. Not too far away we saw the sign for the Tonto Natural Bridge in Tonto National Park, so we decided to check it out. It was so fun! We got to take a small hike to see a waterfall, and we had a picnic lunch while we were there.
Cheese!

After lunch, we jumped back in the van and continued to drive. The boys fell asleep, and we woke them up to see Potato Lake. They liked seeing all the animal tracks around the lake and climbing on the fallen trees.
On the tree

We drove up Kehl Ridge, and at the top got to see a gorgeous view. I’m not a photographer, and I’m sure I had my camera settings wrong, so this just doesn’t do it justice.
The View

That night, back at camp, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores and had hot chocolate. The kids had a blast running around, “collecting firewood” (which really meant picking up sticks and throwing them into the campfire).

Wednesday morning we packed up and went home. It was a short camping trip, but perfect for us right now. We figured out that Parker has never actually been out of Phoenix… he’s never been in the car for more than an hour at a time! He had a hard time that first night. Parker really didn’t like being strapped in the car for so long. (Driving to Texas for Christmas is going to be interesting)

On Saturday Ches and I took the kids to Vertuccio Farms, which is a farmer’s market, pumpkin patch, corn maze, and more. The kids jumped in a bouncy house, pet and fed some farm animals, and ran through a hay bale maze for kids. Then, as a family, we went through the corn maze. That didn’t go over as well!!
corn maze
Yay sheep!!
The boys

It was a good week, overall. Until Sunday.

Sundays are hard. It’s hard to be dressed up and have to sit quietly and be reverent during chruch. I get that. But Aiden has SUCH an attitude lately! As you may know, I’m the song leader in Primary (basically the children’s church). We had just started Singing Time when a sister from the Relief Society (the women’s organization) came in to make an announcement. They were getting a group together for whoever wanted to join to make rag quilts. She was showing some quilts as an example and said, “So if you are interested, let me know…” when Aiden stands up and says very loudly, “My family is NOT interested in THAT!”

I was SO embarrassed. I told him to sit down. I actually am interested in participating in this activity. Aiden just thinks it’s girly and is anti anything girly these days. It’s one thing to not want the pink cereal bowl, however. It’s quite another to be rude in front of the entire Primary. So he got quite an earful after church (even though when I went to apologize to the sister for Aiden’s rudeness, she just laughed it off and said she can’t wait to tell her grown kids about it. At least she thought it was cute!) and we’re working on limiting outbursts now.

Today is a new day. I’m cleaning and cooking and baking and ignoring the kids who are begging for ice cream for breakfast. I don’t have to work today, and we have friends coming over for Thanksgiving. Hooray!! it’s a great day today!!

Oops, I Did It Again

We went to one of the neighborhood pools today, but not the one near our house, so I thought it’d be easiest to just throw the kids in the van and go.  We had a great time swimming, and there were no fights when it was time to go.  I got Dallin and Parker in their seats, with seatbelts on, of course, then shut the van door.

It was like slow-motion.  As I was shutting the door, I saw that all the locks were in the down position and my keys were sitting on the driver’s seat.  It was too late.  I locked my kids in the van.  Again.

After several unsuccessful attempts to get Dallin to somehow escape from his seatbelt (dang five point harness!  You and your safety!!), I realized that I had a key ring in my hand.  It didn’t have an extra key to the van, but it DID have a house key on it (with the pool and mail keys), so I decided to run home and grab the extra set of keys.

The important word here is “run”.  I don’t run.  I’m fat.  I’m out of shape.  I was wearing a very wet bathing suit, a towel loosely wrapped around my waist, and flip flops on my feet.  This was not going to be fun, but I was starting to freak out about my kids being in the van with no windows open at noon in Arizona.  I started to run.  I decided to take what I thought would be a short cut, but found out later I would have been thwarted by a very high wall.  I would have climbed it, I’m sure.  What a sight that would have been!  As it was, I was very out of breath and trying to keep my towel on my waist, when I saw a woman watering some plants outside her house.  I can only imagine what I must have looked like as she said “hi” and asked me if everything was okay.  She also acted as if she knew me, so I asked her for a ride to my house and back to the van.  I explained the situation (and introduced myself… her name is Erica and she goes to my church, so I guess she kind of DOES know me… her kids do anyway.  heh), and she dropped her water hose, grabbed her keys, and we were out the driveway before you could say “911”. 

I’m thinking I need to make some cookies for her today.  I seriously must have looked like some kind of deranged freak, but she was more than nice, more than willing to help, no hesitation.  Some people are just nice.

And some people (cough*me*cough) are complete idiots.  I think I should get one of those magnetic keyholders that you stick under your car.

Weekend Update

It’s been a really busy/interesting weekend.  Friday started off well… we all love Fridays, as it is the last day of school before the weekend, and since this was a long weekend, it was even better.  Friday evening we learned that Ches’ cousin, Nathan, passed away that morning, so it became kind of a somber day for us.  While not unexpected, it’s still hard, as Ches is really fond of that particular branch of the family.  We’re really going to miss Nathan.  We are both upset that Ches’ school district has screwed up his paycheck, so we can’t drive up to Utah for the funeral. Although, even if he had gotten what he was supposed to get, I think we are still too poor to be able to afford the gas money to drive up there.  So we are both sad about that.  We want to be there, but we can’t.  It sucks, but oh well.  

If any of the Vons are reading this, our sympathies to you.  We’re really sad to not be able to be up there with you guys this week.  Just know we’re thinking of all of you, especially Kristy and the boys.  Again, we’re really going to miss Nathan.  

Saturday was a really busy day.  We were still kind of somber, but with all the plans we had, it was hard not to have fun. 🙂  Dana was visiting a friend of hers, so we met them at Ikea and did some shopping.  Then we all headed to a really fun splash park at Tempe Beach.  We left there for a swimming/BBQ/ birthday party for the son of a friend in Tempe, then came back to Gilbert for a “Jimmy Buffett” party that was hosted by the parents of Ches’ drum instructor.  It was also a pool/BBQ party, and Peter, the drum instructor, is in a steel band, so we got to hear them play.  This was their 12th or 13 year of throwing this party.  SO many people of all ages there.  You could tell it was a popular tradition!  That was a really, really fun party, and if we hadn’t been so tired we would have stayed longer.  It was really long day, so we headed home and we all crashed (actually, everyone else crashed.  I headed to Wal-Mart for some food and birthday presents for the next day).

Sunday I slept in, but the boys got Ches up nice and early.  It was Ches’ 36th birthday, so before church I wanted to get the cake made.  As I was in the middle of that, I got a call asking me to sub in Dallin and Parker’s nursery class.  I’m already in Primary, so I couldn’t, but for some reason the call triggered my memory.  Aiden was supposed to give a talk in Primary!!  Aaaahhhh!!  So after I got the cake in the oven, Aiden and I went to the filing cabinet and took out his old talks and picked one.  I’m so thankful I’ve kept his old talks!!  He chose the one he wrote last year on “The Creation”.  He did a really, really good job reading his talk.  Of course everyone was impressed with his reading skills. He only mispronounced two words… he pronounced the “h” in “herbs” and he said “image” like “im-MAHGE” and with a soft “g”.  Cracked me up.  Ches, too.  

After church and naps, I made Ches’ requested orange chicken for dinner (I went the easy route and bought one of those easy dinners from Wal-Mart.  I much prefer the Trader Joe’s orange chicken, but we don’t have a TJ’s close to home, and it was so late once I went to the store anyway. Another time, perhaps.)  After dinner we did presents (Ches got an iTunes gift card, a DVD of all the Pixar shorts, Phase 10 dice, and some almond rocca), then cake.  He had asked for a black forest cake, which I have never made before.  I found a nice, easy recipe, and most of the reviews on it were favorable, so I tried it, but I only modified the frosting and made it a two layer, round cake.   It turned out really well, but it was NOT what Ches was expecting.  Now, I’m not normally a cherry fan, and I’ve never liked cherry and chocolate mixed, so I didn’t know what a black forest cake really was.  This is not it.  This should be called a chocolate cherry cake.  THIS is more of what Ches had expected.  So, I’ll have to try again, I think (just not really soon… Parker’s birthday is in one week, and I think we might be caked out for a while).  Anyway, everyone like the cake, and then we all went upstairs to watch the Pixar shorts.

Today was our lazy day.  The boys still got Ches up early and I still got to sleep in, but we just hung around the house most of the day.  Ches got some school work done, I cleaned the bedrooms and loft, and then about 4:30, Ches took off for school.  The band was supposed to help Chick Fill-A do some promotions for their new Chick-n-Strips.  Chick Fill-A has really helped Ches’ band out over the past couple years, so even though it was a holiday, most of the kids said they could be there.  I packed the kids up in the van about 5:15 so we could eat out, but the band wasn’t there.  My cell phone was out of power (oops), so we drove to the high school. Ches was there with just two students.  The rest had all gone home already.  The busses never showed to take the kids to Chick Fill-A, and there was no one to get a hold of to find out what was going on.  It was so disappointing!!  Once the remaining students were picked up, however, our family went to Chili’s and used the last of the gift certificate Ches won in a radio contest a month or so ago.  Yummy food.  🙂  Oh, and we remembered why we rarely take the kids out.  It’s just too hard.  Dallin didn’t want to sit in his chair.  He wanted to dance to the music and “play games” (he could see the TV in the bar and thought that must be a fun place, even though we kept telling him that wasn’t games, but a room just for grown-ups.  Aiden wanted more of an explanation, so I finally said it’s where grown ups go to drink alcohol, and before I could finish with any more of an explanation, Aiden practically yelled, “Alcohol?!?!?!  Oh no!!  We don’t drink alcohol!!!!!”  The hostess started giggling at that.).  So there is nothing leisurely about taking the kids someplace other than McDonald’s.  They’ll grow out of this, right??  Right????

So, that was our holiday weekend.  Full of unexpected twist and turns, full of swimming and parties.  It was fun, but now I need a couple more days to recuperate from the weekend.  I’m tired.

Differences Between Arizona and Alaska

Haha.  I bet you think this is going to be some kind of a political post, don’t you?  Nope, sorry.  Not gonna say a word about McCain or his pick for Veep, Sarah Palin.  Read on for something non-political. 🙂

Kris wrote a post yesterday about August in Alaska.    It’s like we live in two totally different worlds.  Go read Kris’ post and feel sorry for her, then come back here and read mine, then feel sorry for me.  Go ahead.

You done?  Okay.  Here we go.  Right now, I am…

1.  Paying an arm and a leg to keep our little house cooled down to 83 degrees.  Yes, I said 83.  That’s cool for us.

2.  Opening the fridge to find Blanket (Dallin’s blanket) shoved in there.  He wants Blanket to be cold.

3.  Waiting for Ches’ stipend money to come in so we can finally do some back to school shopping and get Aiden some more shorts.  Even the thought of wearing jeans or pants to school makes Aiden cry right now.

4.  Trying to teach Parker to keep his shorts on.  The boy likes being half naked.  Who can blame him?  It’s just too dang hot to wear clothes.  I just have this modesty issue…

5.  Wondering if those brown patches on the lawn will ever be green, or if I should just get used to not having a lovely green lawn in front of my house.

6.  Wondering why my friend isn’t allowed to wear those cute, professional-looking dressy shorts to work, and why she has to wear pantyhose when she wears a skirt.  Did her bosses forget just where it is we live?

7.  Sitting under a ceiling fan, eating a large bowl of ice cream, and planning on what time to take the kids to the pool.

8.  Trying not to think about the fact that none of this is going to change until November sometime.

Technically, Kris and I live in the same country, but wow.  We live on two different planets!!  Most of you live in much more moderate climates.  Be thankful!!

Oh What Do You Do In The Summertime?

I got a new calling at church a couple of weeks ago, and last week was my first week.  I’m the primary chorister, although I tend to think “song leader” is a bit more appropriate of a title.  I’ve never done music in primary before, and it scares the heck out of me.  Getting ready for Sunday felt like my Elementary Music Methods class at University of Idaho.  Basically, I was trying to come up with a lesson plan to teach a new song that all the kids would enjoy and would be able to learn from.  All the kids means all 120 of them!!!  Argh!!  scary.

This Sunday, in addition to learning the song, I want to do a fun activity for the 20 to 30 minutes I have in Singing Time.  When I was a kid in primary we would sing “Oh, What Do You Do in the Summertime?” and I just loved that song.  The summer my parents separated my mom took the three of us kids with her to live with her dad and stepmom in Kelowna.  My grandpa’s house was this huge place, on top of a mountain (or so it seemed to 6 year old me) that over looked the Okanagan lake.  That summer (and the summer I was 10 and got to visit my grandpa all by myself while my mom and stepdad were on their honeymoon) had many afternoons of sitting. looking over the lake, hoping to catch a glimpse of Ogopogo.  I swear I even saw him when I was 10, and I stick to my story today.  

I still remember going to primary that summer when I was 6 and during Singing Time getting to sing the Summertime song.  Then the leader asked all of us children what WE liked to do in the summer, and she replaced the regular lyrics with what we said.  One kid even said he liked to look for Ogopogo in the summer.

(I’m going to steal the idea and do this activity with the kids this Sunday.)

I was thinking today of the different things I used to do as a kid during the summer.  Once school got out, it seemed like summer was the best time of life.  In California we rode bikes all over town.  We climbed trees.  We’d play soccer in the backyard and baseball in the street.  We’d go to Thrifty and get ice cream cones for 25 cents.  We would walk to Grandma’s house to play cards and to go swimming.  In Maine we’d walk to the local swimming pool, or my best friend would take me with her to the lake with her parents.  In Wyoming we’d go to the Frontier Days parades and pancake breakfasts and carnival.  In Norway we went camping and sightseeing and once went fishing in the fjords.  In Arkansas we’d walk to the park and meet up with friends.  In New Hampshire we would walk across the street and down the path to the beach.  In Indiana we would walk to the library, the park, friend’s houses, downtown.  We’d play in sprinklers, on the slip-n-slide, or just use the hose to drink from.  No matter where we lived, our summer activities were basically the same, and they were always spent outside for the majority of the time.

My kids stay in the house and watch movies or play on the computer.  We go swimming almost every day, but almost no time is spent just outside, running around.  We have this huge, grassy, common area right in front of our house, and some evenings the kids go outside to see if any of the neighbor kids are out.  It’s pretty rare, though.  We have a playground practically across the street, but we’ve only been 3 or 4 times since we’ve moved in.  My kids don’t own bikes, and they don’t know how to climb a tree.  They don’t get to walk to the closest grocery store or convenience store for ice cream treats.  We haven’t been camping since Aiden was Parker’s age, and we just don’t have the money to travel to see relatives like I did when I was a kid.

What is wrong with their summers???  Summer was supposed to be the most enjoyable time of the year for kids!  What happened?

Oh, yeah.  We live in the desert of Arizona.  It’s frickin’ hot out, and we can’t stand to be outside for more than 30 seconds.  I took Dallin to the doctor today, and from the second he got out of the van, he started complaining of how hot he was.  Don’t start with all the “Oh, but it’s a dry heat!” business, because i have to tell you, 115 is hot, not matter how humid or how dry.  Yes, it’s beautiful here in January, and we spend a lot more time outside here during the winter.  However, it’s just not summer.  Winter time is full of school activities.  You don’t get that freedom that comes with summer. 

School starts in just two weeks, and I have to say I’m really happy.  Aiden will finally have something to do.  He will make friends, and in just another 2 or 3 months it’ll cool off enough for the kids to go out and play after school.  And maybe we can see about getting some bikes.  I feel bad that my kids don’t get the awesome summers of freedom that I had as a kid.  I know there are tons of things we could be doing that doesn’t involve melting in the heat, but again.  Summer is supposed to mean outdoor freedom, not structured trips to indoor, air-conditioned places.  I’m going to mourn this for a while, I think.

The Not So Secret Life Of Bees

The other day, about 9:30 am, the doorbell rang.  Ches was at school, getting some work done, and we don’t know anybody, so I was a bit confused.  And I was in my pajamas.  Well, it was a neighbor who noticed something odd at the corner of our house, upstairs by the roof, and thought we ought to know.

It was a swarm of bees.  Big bees.  Lots and lots of bees. 

Not good.

So I called Ches at school and he called the management company.  We had an exterminator at the house that afternoon.  The sprayed a bunch of chemicals and said the bees weren’t getting in the attic (yay!) but it looks like they were getting in the wall.  They used some of that expanding foam stuff to close the hole.  Apparently there were actually two spot where the bees were congregating.

It’s been a few days, and most of the bees are gone.  Hopefully the queen is dead, because that should take care of the rest of the hive, or so we’re told.

The scariest part to me is that there have been all these reports around the valley of some swarms of mean, vicious, attacking bees.  People and animals are getting seriously hurt because they end up in the wrong area and these bees start attacking them and stinging like mad.  I’m scared of that happening to us, so once I saw those bees I freaked just a little bit.

Things are fine, now, and mostly I’m just glad that we are renters.  It’s times like this (and like yesterday when the handyman came to do some little repairs around the house) that it’s nice not to be a homeowner and have the financial responsibility of that kind of thing.  When something goes wrong… we make a phone call and it’s taken care of.  As much as I want to own my own home, I’m not looking forward to having to take care of all those little things that come up.  Water heater breaks?  I have to pay for it.  Leak in the roof?  I have to find someone to fix it and I’d have to pay for it.  So yeah.  Sometimes being a renter is the best thing in the world.

Pay It Forward

This looks like so much fun!  I got this from Julia, who got this from Karen.  If you want me to send you something awesome from Arizona (or what *I* deem awesome from Arizona), follow these rules: 

1. Leave a comment that says you want to receive something from me and you want to Pay It Forward. The first THREE to agree to Pay It Forward at their blogs will get a gift from me. I need your home address, so I will respond to your comments by email and request your addresses.

2. The three winners must do the same thing on their blogs, so the Pay It Forward challenge will continue.

Date Night

Last week I was called to sub for someone in the monthly Bunco game.  I love subbing for Bunco.  It’s so much fun to go out with “the girls”, eat some food, play a crazy game, and just talk and talk and talk.  There is always bowls of candy or chocolates on each table so you get to snack as you play, too.  I love it.  I never do really well, however, but I also never suck enough to come in last place and get the booby prize.  Imagine my surprise when in the first round, I got three Buncos!  Three!!  In the second round, I got two Buncos!!  I did really well in all six rounds.  Well, one round I didn’t, but that girl was doing soooooo poorly all night, she claimed she was bad luck.  She sure was for me!  She got the booby prize at the end of the night.  Anyway, back to me.  At the end of the game, when all the scores were totaled, I was the winner with 11 Buncos.  I got the first place prize!!  This month, it was a $20 gift card to Harkins Movie Theatres.  Wo-hoooooo!!!

At Christmas time, the girl I had been babysitting for gave me a gift card to a restaurant called Oreganos.  She wrote me a really nice thank you note, and I was super surprised to get the gift card.  I’ve never been to Oreganos, but my friend assured me it is so good.

Ches had nothing going on Saturday night, so I handed him our ward phone list and said “Find a sitter.  Someone from your Sunday school class because all the older kids are at Youth Conference.”  Then I went to take a shower.  We were going out!!

The sitter arrived at 5 and once I got the kids’ pizza in the oven and gave last minute instructions, we were gone.  Oreganos turned out to be an awesome restaurant!  The ambiance of the place was wonderful.  There was one small building with a bar and a few tables, a large patio full of tables, then another even smaller building full of tables.  The kitchen was in the first building, I believe.  There was cool memorablia on the walls and huge cans of tomato sauce lining a shelf near the ceiling.  Jazz music pumped through the speakers, and we expecially enjoyed that.  There were small candles on the tables and white “twinkle” lights outside.  We were greeted warmly… several times!  As the hostess was taking us to our table (inside the second, smaller building), we passed other servers and I believe some managers and every single one welcomed us. 

The place was busy, but we didn’t have to wait for a table at all.  If we had been even 15 minutes later, however, we would have been waiting.  When we left I heard the hostess saying there was someone wondering if they should go to the Oreganos in Mesa, but that was still a 45 minute wait.  It was a very long line of people waiting.

It’s mostly a pizza joint, but it felt like more.  It had a “mom and pop” feel to the restaurant, too.  Ches and I got a deep dish Chicago style pizza.  We were already stuffed when the pizza came, however, because we were filled up from really yummy garlic cheese bread and hot wings.  We each ate one piece, and we were done.  It really was so good.  Definitely going back there!

It was wierd at first, because once we got our drinks and had made our order, Ches and I kind of just sat there in silence.  It felt like forever, to me.  Ches said later it didn’t seem very long to him.  All I could think at that point was, “Oh crap.  10 year together, and we’ve run out of things to say!  This is bad.”  But then Ches made a comment and we didn’t stop talking all night.  So, we’re okay. 🙂

After dinner, we went to the movie theatre with no idea of what we were going to see.  We stood there for a good 5 minutes just trying to agree on a movie.  He said absolutely not to “The Other Boelyn Girl” and said “Rental” to “College Road Trip”.  I wasn’t in the mood for something like “Vantage Point”.  We finally agreed upon “Penelope”.  If you don’t remember, that’s the one about the girl cursed with a pig’s nose.

It was really cute.  Christina Ricci is adorable, I’m now in love with James McAlvoy, and Reese Witherspoon is just plain awesome.  She’s hardly in the film, however, and her role is so low-key, it probably didn’t even have to be there.  It’s nice to see that someone with that kind of star power can step back and just play a fun role and let other people really shine.  Oh, and Reece Witherspoon was a producer.  Anyway, Ches called it a chick flick, but he enjoyed it.  It was a fun movie, but I think I would have rather waited to rent it.  I don’t know.  It’s one of those that you don’t regret seeing in the theatre, but it wouldn’t have killed you to wait, either.

When we got home after the movie, the house was really quiet.  We went to the boys’ room to find Aiden and Dallin asleep in the bottom bunk and Parker cuddled with the sitter on the floor next to the bottom bunk, sound asleep.  I think the sitter was asleep, but we’re not sure.  She got up right away.  Maybe she was just dozing.  Anyway… the house was clean, the kids loved the sitter, she did an awesome job and said the kids were really great.

I don’t remember the last time we had date night, and I don’t know when we’ll be able to do it again, but I’m glad we got to go out.  Thank goodness for gift cards!! 😀  The best part wasn’t the food or the movie.  The best part was just being with Ches.  No kids.  Just the two of us, talking.  I miss that.