Jun 29, 2008

...Can't stop laughing

Ben and I had an experience this week that has inspired me to start a new series that will run on the blog from time to time. The series will be called "I'm an idiot". Now, I know I am a with-it person. I am smart, witty, intelligent... But sometimes I do things that make me say to myself, man, I am an idiot. This, the first in the series will be called:

"I'm an Idiot... or am I?"

Friday night Ben and I had gotten ourselves all pretty, we'd arranged for a sitter, and we were heading out {late} to meet up with friends for Thai food. Just as we got in the car and fired-up the ignition, we got a call from one in the group who was calling to tell us that some others in our party were stuck in traffic on the expressway, and could we meet up in an hour and 15 minutes instead of 15 minutes ago. We are casual people, and these kind of "set-backs" usually prove to work out even better for us than the original plan, so no problem.

Since this was now the case, I told Ben to turn around so I could get some things I'd forgotten to get in the rush to get out the door. We ended up turning up a cul-de-sac that connects to our street so that we could u-turn and go home. Once we got to the top, my eye caught sight of something I had been dreaming of getting for the kids since before they were even born, a swing set! It was nothing fancy, but I have come to the conclusion that a reasonably nice, used set would be perfect for our temporary situation anyway. It was beautiful, just sitting out on the grass bordering the curb, and it looked like it was just waiting for a nice family to take it home and love it. Was it for sale, or could we possibly be so lucky that they were just giving it away!?

Ben slammed on the breaks and I went tearing for the door to inquire. The lights in the house were all dim and I realized after knocking 10 times that they must be out. Dirty Darn. I ran back to the car and Ben and I started talking about just lifting it up and carting it down the street, since it was obvious they were getting rid of it -and we wanted dibs! We now had the time! But we thought better of it, maybe it had already been sold on Craigslist or something, and it was just sitting out here for them to come pick it up tonight or tomorrow.

I was giddy all night, thinking of the moment when we were finished with our evening with our friends so that we could go back to the house and see about this swing set. We left the restaurant at 10:30, which was late, but I figured it was the weekend and what was the harm in driving past to see if they were now home and still awake. I was nervous as we turned up the street, wondering if perhaps it had been picked up during the few hours we were out. But as we pulled up I sighed a sigh of relief as I found it was still there! What luck!

The owners were home, and they were in their front room watching TV. I decided it just couldn't wait until morning, it could be gone by then! I knocked on the door several times. No one was getting up from the movie. I decided I had probably already exceeded the number of appropriate knocks for this hour of the night, and started walking back toward the car. Just then, some one came walking up from the street. It was some one who lived there! Finally, time to talk details! Please bless it's not sold Please bless it's not sold Please bless it's not sold!

I said hello and small-talked for a minute, and then decided it was time to cut right to the chase. And these are the very words that escaped my mouth, "So... I see you've got that pretty little swing set just sitting there... I assume you are getting rid of it. Or do you just do your swinging in the front yard?!" Followed by a nice meaty laugh, like, how absurd right?!

She just stared at me. Finally, my laughter died down to awkwardness as she broke the news to me that, yes, they do do their swinging in the front yard. That is the place they found appropriate for their swing set. It was being given away, nor was it for sale. This multi-million dollar house has a $200 swing set in front of it, at the curb, because that is how they roll.

Just then the man of the house opened the door and the woman scurried in like an obedient animal and I was left saying my polite goodbye's to myself, praying that she didn't tell this brute why I was on their doorstep at 10:45 PM. I immediately regretted telling her who I was and where I lived {literally 30 seconds, by legs, away}. Man, I really, really need to perfect my fake Aussie accent so that I can be an Aussie anytime I want to completely humiliate myself.

I felt about this big at that moment. But it didn't last long. By the time I got the the car, and related the story, Ben and I could barely see straight we were laughing so hard. Tears were streaming down our faces. We replayed all of the events and conversations and plans to just take it over and over until we were just sick with fits of laughter. All in a days work I tell ya...
Here is a picture so you can be the judge on this one. The picture is terrible, mainly because I had already completely embarrassed myself once, going back, in broad daylight, to get a picture for the blog was too much. Though I still did it, and I was not as inconspicuous as I thought I should have been. I basically stood right there in the middle of the street, taking a picture of a stranger's house. Embarrasing enough even without the swing set debacle... In any case, you can't get a full feel of the dimensions of how close this was to the curb since the yard slopes down and makes the distance from the house to the set seem shorter. This also only captures 1/4 of this huge house. That ladder wasn't there when we came before. We need one of those too, that would have been a nice little bonus to go along with our new swing set.

Jun 26, 2008

We've arrived

Wow, 6 long months. Our lives still feel like they are in a bit of an upheaval. However, I am finally realizing that we are happy here, and the most important thing is that we are all together. I really felt a lot better after my rant. And as time has gone on the past month or so, we are starting to feel nearly settled, in the house, and in the state of mind.

We are making friends, really good friends. We love our neighbors and have quite a few friends from church or other random places. We are hosting some couples at our house Saturday night and going out with others on Friday night. People drop in, call, or invite me /us over! I guess I was too unhappy to realize it, but actually I have made more good friends in a shorter amount of time than any other time in my life. But now I see it, and I am grateful. Bottom line is that we are home. It is starting to feel like we are a part of things here and that we are needed, loved, and appreciated. And we in turn feel the same for many people here.

Lately I have been busy painting the kids rooms and some furniture. Probably by next week I should have a little tour of our casa. Laine started dance class last week. It is a great little studio in the Fred Caterson Reserve. It is basically in the forest with a little park for Gabe to play in while we wait, which couldn't be more convenient for our situation. It is close enough for me to ride my bike, which I was planning on doing if I hadn't remember at 3:26 that she had dance at 3:30. We were late, and Gabe wore two different shoes, one of which was an old pink croc that used to be Laine's. This sort of thing happens all of the time, and I didn't even notice he was wearing two different shoes since he has worn that combo before. Then when other people are laughing and giggling at how funny it is, I stop and realize that it probably looks quite silly to other organized moms. We don't mind. Little Gabe has such a self confidence at 1 that he proudly parades around town in his pink crocs, whether it is one or both. Okay, that or he has a cheap and lazy mum...

I know, not the best picture...

I got to go to the Sydney Good Food and Wine show this past weekend which was great! I saw Gordan Ramsay live, which I thought would be the turning point in my career. I had visions of being selected out of the audience, wowing him with my wit and charm, and Gordon saying he'd be damned if he let me get away! My people would be in touch with his people... It didn't happen and I was so over it I didn't even bother waiting around to meet him at the book signing. I'll pave my own way Gordan, thanks anyway. The rest of the show was incredible and I picked up some fabulous foods I'd never heard of like Lemon Myrtle infused Macadamia Oil, genuine Aussie style.

yeah, the picture doesn't really capture this one either. it's my only proof!

This really is such a cool, cool city, and Ben and I had a new resolve to take advantage of all it has to offer while we are here. Anyone want to join us in our quest?

Jun 18, 2008

Not Much

Laine just stumbled in with her eyes closed and said, "I can't see. I fink I need glasses." Reminds me of someone, oh! Me! I always wanted glasses, contacts, and especially braces. I always put those skinny licorice ropes across my teeth, pretending it was a retainer. I also thought a towel wrapped on my head could be magical, beautiful long hair, and a long robe tied around my waist was a beautiful, full-skirted princess dress with a train...

Other than that there is not much going on, unless you want to hear about the dead bird in the pool. Oh, you do? Well, I've been dreading fishing it out, and finally just bit the bullet. The kids thought it was "swimmin", which was good, because I've had a long day and I wasn't in the mood to start the whole "pet heaven" conversation. Laine was actually excited to fish it out, I was wishing she was a little older and capable of doing it. We ended up doing it together and she said, "good little bird" and laughed as we caught him in the next and threw him into the trash.

On a completely different topic, Laine has had this new obsession with soap and keeps putting it in her drinking cup in the bathroom and then later forgetting and taking a drink of it. Today she came out screaming and crying and with each word she would blow a new bubble to go with the smaller little ones littered around the outer edges of her mouth. It looked like she was frothing at the mouth. For a minute, I had forgotten about the soap in the cup obsession and wondered what the heck was this?! Then I realized what had happened and I just lost it. I couldn't stop laughing at the poor wretch! It was so, SO funny, I'm telling you. She is such a good sport, because I always laugh at her distress, it's just too funny not too! Laine, I'm sorry I am a bad Mom sometimes, and thanks for being patient with me.

...Bubbles of a different sort

Jun 15, 2008

It must be...

...Gifts wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper with masking tape, cliche *pink* flower cupcake cake, 1 birthday candle and 3 huge dining room candles lit on said cake, no invitations sent out for the party that still isn't planned...it must be some body's birthday!

I guess it goes without saying that I am the worlds least organized Mom. Laine sure let me off the hook this year and acted as if it was the best birthday yet. My little girl is 4! I think we are finally past the terrible 2's and the horrific 3's, Laine has really turned the corner and is back to her sweet, sweet self {usually}.

She is so talented. I have always had a secret dream of some one thinking I am a really good singer and paying my voice a compliment. It still hasn't happened, and I'm starting to loose hope. But I don't think Laine will have the same problem. She has now moved on from mere harmonizing to every song she knows how to sing {her repertoire is quite large} and has now been reworking some of the melodies to her favorites, such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. She really amazes me!
She has a thirst for knowledge and loves to learn. She can already write her name unassisted. She knows all of her letters and colors and numbers, she is just like a sponge!

Though it appears that the worst of her OCD phase is over, there are still some remnants left. She still has to hear "Good Girl Laine" after going potty and "Laine's tired" after she yawns and reminds us to say it. She thinks she owns the number three "Mom, there's my 3!" and always has to be given 3 of everything -I suspect it will be 4 of everything as of today...

She always has to make herself into the characters she sees in books or pictures. And if she can fit all 4 of us in the story, so much the better. For example, she got a birthday card from Ben's Grandma Riley. It had a bear, a kitty, and a bunny having tea. She decided Gabe was the bear, she was the bunny, and I was the kitty. I saw her looking at the card and pointing saying, "There I am, having tea, I wanted to wear piggy tails in my hair and that's my birday cake..." {the bunny had pigtails and was eating cupcakes}. There is a book that my Grandparents gave her for Christmas called "Bunny Christmas". Since it is a story about 2 parent bunnies, and a daughter and son bunny, she just thinks it's perfect. Every time we read it she says "There's you Mom! That's you and that's me" as she points to the big fat Mom bunny bending over putting cookies in the oven with her big FAT bunny butt is wagging in the air...wow, thanks Laine, I'm soooo flattered!

Tonite she blew out her candles and made a wish, in the sweetest little four-year-old voice she whispered "I wish I want some ice cream". She LOVES treats {like me}. She also told me that she wants her bear to turn 4 too. {yeah, she started sleeping with this bear that my Grandma gave her last year. Strange that she is all of the sudden so attached to something!}

It has been a wonderful, challenging, stressful, beautiful, exciting 4 years. And I'm so glad to have you for my little girl and I can't wait for all of the girly adventures we will continue to have! I love you Laine, Happy Birthday! This is your life...

TV junkie from day 1

Cutest little bunny! Baby's first Halloween

I always loved this picture. Laine's 3 month pics...

Laine was born in Korea on the exact same day as Maya, my friend Stacey Gibby Lau's daughter. For Oremites who care, yes, Stace is Matt and Katie Gibby's sister and sister in law to Haley Kocherhans. We were all living in Korea at the time. Aren't they so cute in their little pig tails?! Happy Birthday Maya!

Laine at our favorite park in Taiwan 1 1/2 years old

Lantern Festival, Taiwan some time in '06? Ponchos were in style if that is any hint.

Great Wall with Daddy -May '06

Laine's face says it all. New brother, first day home

Gabe's Blessing Day. She changed her mind and decided he wasn't so bad after-all {sort-of}

Laine's 2 year old pictures... at age 2 1/2. She is ready to start in the field of journalism

Laine opening her presents tonite. It looks pretty weak, but that's only because we didn't get a pic of her new bike. She also got a digital camera {it probably came too late to save ours from her wrath, which was the original reason for buying the gift} and of course the Grandmas and Grandpas sent some love her way. Grams Riley made her some *cute* aprons and oven mits, pics to come. Gaengy and Pop Pop sent a goodie bag of treats, and some spending cash. They also sent a Dora cape for Laine and a Nacho Libre cape for Gabe, again, pics to come

Happy Birthday!

And Happy Father's Day to all of you Dads out there! Especially my two Dads, the Kev and the Big Al. Since it is not Father's Day here, Ben will have to wait until Aussie FD in September

Jun 10, 2008

Why Do I have No Spine?

Why? I am just wracking my brain as to why I allow myself to live the way I do. If you push me, magically I have a spine. But if you are someone who is trying to sell me something, nope. No spine.

I just got back from the Towers, to my Americans that means the Mall, which is where I do my grocery shopping. As I was walking in, I saw this little tent that had been erected near the entrance with sales demonstration written all over it. Great, somebody is going trying to sell me something. You can't not walk by it to get in the store, there is no way out of this situation.

They of course stop me and try to sell me this magic car cleaner that uses no water. It cleans every inch of your car, outside, inside, mirrors. Now, I have a not so secret love affair with an immaculately clean car. Ultimate Tire Shine{Tyre for the Aussies, yes, that is how you spell it here. You also spell jail - gaol which is madness} anyway, Ultimate Tire Shine or Tire Wet would be a perfectly appropriate birthday gift or stocking stuffer for me. I'm borderline obsessed with it. Anyway, you'd think this would be something I am interested in. However, it just the exact opposite. As a fan of cleaning products in general, I respect the fact that all cleaners are designed and formulated for specific purposes. It is not a selling point for me that I would be cleaning {and simultaneously waxing} my car with the same cleaner I would then do the glass and upholstery with. I also like using water to clean things.

Graeme, the salesman, wanted to walk me to my car to show me how this Genie in a Bottle works. I said I would love to, after I finished my shopping. What?! Did I really just say that. I am not at all interested. Inviting him to my car for the sales pitch only makes saying no after his presentation only that much more difficult!

I shopped and was walking out, wondering if I could muster the courage to tell him no now, or if I would end up put us both through the sales pitch. FYI, they had reminded me that I did need car cleaner, and incidentally I had already purchased an arsenal of car cleaners in the store.

It was then that I remembered there was an exit that I could go out that I could possibly slip by. I took my chances, and even though I had to walk an extra mile through traffic that was not for pedestrians, putting Gabey's and my life in danger as we played life sized Frogger. There was a spot where I would have to get close to them, and I thought I might be seen. I was now practically running past, casually of course, so as not to draw attention to myself.

I got to the car. I made it! Then I realized to my dismay, that I would have to drive past them, right past them, and they would surely see me, on my way out. I might even have to stop in front of them because their tent was at the crosswalk to enter the store. Crap. What now? I reverse out of my stall and start driving towards the exit. I do end up having to stop, right in front. So I roll down my window and say, "Hey, sorry, I ran out of time, I have to go pick up my daughter from school {big fat lie, it is not 4:30 in the afternoon with Laine standing there, the last one to be picked up} -Will you be here through the week? You will, okay, we'll be back tomorrow!"

Great, I hope I got everything I needed since I can't show my face at the Towers until next week. This is just typical example of what I have to do every few days when salesman are out looking for an easy sale. I used to constantly get accosted by Mary Kay ladies at Walmart. They would pressure me into giving them my contact details, which I would. They would call, I would think up a lie and hang up and promptly save their phone number in my phone as "Don't Answer". I had several of them programmed, and they all would occasionally call. When I was single I could never tell guys I didn't want to date anymore, I had a few bad situations and since I can't name names, there is probably no point in elaborating. I would always give guys a fake number because I could never say I wasn't interested. In fact, I think that "don't answer" bit that I use now was back from my single days. And don't even get me started on the Jehovah's Witnesses! The same set of witnessers has come to my house 3 times {that I know of} in the last 2-3 months because I politely agree to read their literature.

Anyway, I need to be better at just saying no. I feel bad, I don't like to let people down, I am too much of a pleaser sometimes. I need to find a nice polite way of declining so I don't have to deal with situations like these that take a lot of my time and energy!

Since every post is better with pictures, even if they have absolutely nothing remotely to do with it, here's some of little baby Laine. She used to love to eat berries and since they are so healty, we didn't really care about the mess. Man, Laine is sure getting some love from the blog, it is her birthday later in the week so she really will be getting all of the attention. I wanted to do a post about Gabey, but Ben said no to the pictures of Gabe in girl's pajamas on laundry day...

Jun 5, 2008

A wonderful, magical, golden era

Okay, so sometimes caring for two toddlers is taxing and stressful. The house is always covered in crumbs and sticky fingerprints. There is some whining and carrying on that occurs daily. But recently, I was reminded of some of the perks on the horizon, like the fact that Laine is almost old enough to do chores. Not like her chores she has had up until now of helping carry in the grocery bags or putting the poopy diapers in the garbage. I am talking about the kind of chores that I had as a kid. If you hold on just a tick and I think I can scrounge up some photographic evidence i.e. Nicole and I doing nightly dishes at age 2 and 3.

I know my Mom worked hard and even felt as most mothers did that her job was never done {the house was immaculate and the counter underneath the answering machine was wiped daily. NOT an exaggeration. There was a constant threat of having to wash walls and baseboards when we acted up or wouldn't go to sleep} But we as 5 little girls in the house felt that we did quite our fair share of the work {looking back we probably didn't, but at the time we did feel like we did a lot} Anyway, I think back to those times and am now excited that Laine will soon become somewhat more of a helper and hopefully less of a dead weight.

There have been some subtle clues lately that the time is arriving soon. We have now reached the days where I can offer her "incentives" for doing me "favors". Like just last week at the Gold Coast, for instance. The jets on the hot tub kept running out so I kept telling her that I would give her a dollar if she would go turn them back on. She would get so excited and carefully run around the corner and they would instantly turn on as she pressed the button. She would run back and I would say, "okay, here you go, thanks!" and give her a pretend dollar. She loves to imagine and pretend so much, that this fake dollar is no doubt even better than a real dollar. She is so into it, and one of the times she forgot to collect her "dollar" and about 10 minutes later reminded me of it. Oh, silly me, here you go, here's your dollar...

Laine has also seen her TV friends receiving medals. She loves to give and receive fake medals. I now have a whole closet full of them. If they weren't imaginary, I think they would be taking up too much space and I'd have to get rid of them. Thanks goodness their fake! They are fun, and are another great way to help "inspire" Laine to help me out with things that need done around the house, like getting me my drink or fetching my slippers, rubbing my bunions and corns, etc. And the best is yet to come, I haven't even broken out the, "do it, I'll TIME you!" bit yet, which of course works every time and is shear genius.

Laine loves TV {she calls everything movies though, so I guess I should say she loves her movies}. Anyway, she loves her little Movie friends so much, {she is constantly saying things exactly as they are said on tv -"oh no!, now we'll never get home!" "oh no, it's ruined! We will never fix it!" Wait, I have an idea!"}
She kind of reminds me of a cuter, more wholesome, not creepy, kid version of "Model Walk" MW was a girl at USU who always walked and talked like there were cameras following her every move. You would be talking to her and looking around, instinctively desperate to find where these hidden cameras were, all the while thinking, Model Walk, come back down to Earth, please, no one talks like that. No, seriously Model Walk, there are no cameras, no one is paying attention. Stop prancing, stop giving me canned mumbo jumbo like you are in a beauty pageant. -Please tell me some one out there remembers who I am talking about, Rex, I know at least you Ben and I will. If you didn't know this model walk, though she was one in a million, maybe there are other MW's out there that you have found and can relate nonetheless

Okay, I think I've rattled off on Laine and MW long enough, sorry Gabe, all of the cute things that you are doing will have to wait for another day. I'll leave you with some of Laine's recent one liners:

Said as we were reading The Hungry Caterpillar together: "Look! The caterpillar is going in his raccoon!"

I promised the kids we could go to the park on the way home from the Towers. We spent too much time shopping and it was dusk as we pulled out of the parking garage. I told Laine it was probably too dark to go now. All of the sudden, from no where, she starts singing to the tune of One Republic's Apologize: "It's too late to go to the park, it's too late..."

In Laine's primary class they were talking about their siblings and Laine agreed with her classmates: "I have a sister too, but he's a boy"

Jun 2, 2008

Hello. Again. Hello.

No, we're not dead. What a relief right? We just went on a little mini vacay. We're back now.

Ben had to go up to Queensland to arrange some details for an upcoming convention. Since the Gold Coast is the home of many theme parks and other such fun, the kids and I couldn't resist tagging along and making a long weekend {or short week however you look at it} out of it. We weren't blessed with the best weather, but we made the most of it and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We took the kids to Seaworld and Warner Brother's Movie World. We went swimming and hot tubbing at the hotel while Ben was in meetings. The kids loved it, they are such water babies. We walked the beach and boardwalk until dusk...

So here is a picture of the camera bag, right on the bookshelf where we left it before leaving the house. Yah, no pictures. We did have Ben's phone but that somehow maybe didn't make it home with us...

A lack of pictures won't stop me from recreating the events for you so that you can clearly picture the amount of fun we had. Here is what we basically looked like arriving at Sea World, ready for a thrilling day. Except we are not Asian and had a double stroller that the kids were sitting in.

Flash forward two days later and this is almost what we looked like on our way into Movie World

Here we are, this is really close to what we looked like ready to enter the Looney Tunes Village at Movie World

Here is the Royal Woods, where we stayed. I don't think I have spent that much time in a pool since I was 11 years old at my Granny's house.

Here we are this morning. Me in my bathrobe until noon allowing Laine to rot her brain watching cartoons while I catch up on some email, blogging, and TCB. There is the suitcase I should be unpacking, and looking for Ben's lost phone.

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