Friday, October 26, 2007

My New Chair...

Matthew has been pretty silly lately with container like items. He likes to sit in them, push them around, dump things out of them, fill them back up with other things and wear them on his head. It's fun seeing him explore and figure out new things.

Our friends Kari and Garrin borrowed our baby tub awhile ago and returned it last weekend since they aren't using it anymore. It is now Matthew's favorite place to sit. He uses it like a regular chair. He's sitting in it right now watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It's so weird to think that a year ago I was using it to wash him and he was pretty helpless.

He's changed so much and definitely has opinions on various items. I'm already getting an early dose of the terrible 2's. I am glad though that he is pretty independent and can play by himself. He generally is a pretty happy kid unless of course he really wants to do something that we don't let him do/have for safety reasons. Wow can he scream! Lately I keep very calm and lead him into his room and tell him I understand he's frustrated, but I don't want to hear his yelling and that he can throw a fit in his room and come out when he's done. I close the door leaving it open just a crack and let him come out when he's done. It seems to work and I feel less frustrated with his screaming fits.

Oh another thing he started doing a couple of months ago that really cracks us up is squinting his eyes so he can barely see out of them. I was fortunate to catch him doing it yesterday.

His squinty eyes

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Goin' Yard

It has taken us a while to get settled into our house over the last year-and-a-half as busy as we have been, but a month or so ago I finally got the last room in the house fairly organized, and I told myself that we were finally there. Then I walked back into the living room and looked at our dry, barren backyard.

With Matthew now sprinting to any open door that leads to the outside world, I decided it was finally time to stop living in direct violation of the HOA bylaws and throw together a backyard. I could have paid someone to do it, but it seems that I'm some combination of cheap and crazy - at least looking back on it now. As with most things in life, this hasn't been nearly as easy as it sounded in the beginning, and I still have a long way to go, even with our tiny yard.

I should have seen this coming, since our house was one of the last built in our neighborhood and was therefore almost certainly a parking lot and dumping ground for our builder for a few years. The Bible would have you believe that a wise man would build his house on rock instead of sand, but we seem to have found a way to do both. I didn't realize this until I rented some highly ineffectual equipment from Home Depot.

To be fair, I can't totally discredit the equipment, because there was a little user error involved in the beginning. Three of us (I, Ray, and Ray's truck) rented a tiller for four hours, and the first hour or so was wasted on trying to start it up and then figuring out that you had to flip the front wheel up in order for the tines to actually hit the ground. Even then, it was sort of like trying to carve your name in cement with your fingernails, so we had to spray down the whole yard to soften it up enough to make an impact at all.

Having successfully transformed my yard from a dusty wasteland to a muddy mess, I moved on to the trenching. Ray and his truck were back the next day to help me on the 25-minute haul from Home Depot to Maricopa, and Ray took the first stab at cutting a simple 8-inch trench. I was around the corner hacking away at some buried concrete the builders were nice enough to leave directly in the path of my planned pipe to the backyard, and after about five minutes I heard a loud clanking sound. The first trencher had broken, either because it was old or because my 1/16,000th-of-an-acre backyard/marble quarry had gotten the best of it.

After a return trip to Home Depot (where they carted out several trenchers before they found one that actually worked, which didn't increase my confidence), I was back at it, this time with a trencher designed to dig 12-inch trenches. I think at best I got about 4", which was at least a start. (At the same time, our neighbors over the back wall were having a pool party and probably wanted to strangle me). So, despite my hopes that I'd spend one Saturday on trenching, I spent the past two weeks finishing it all of by hand and gaining newfound empathy for slave labor in Indiana Jones movies (Karin actually came out & laughed at me the other night because I was working so hard to clear about three inches of trench). I'd probably still be working on it were it not for the fact that Karin's dad was here last week and slipped out there a few times to hack away while I was at work.

Now it's on to the sprinkler system. I've never done this before, but I'm hoping it works the first time (I'm always amazed when things work). Again, nothing is as easy as you'd expect, but sometimes you can get lucky. Someday when you all visit (and I know you want to - I mean, how could you miss the Salsa Festival or random concerts by Air Supply at the casino on the local reservation), we might actually have grass and not a three-inch-deep layer of dust on everything on our patio.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sun, Sand, San Diego....and some rain

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted. I was out at an event October 4-6 in Phoenix and my parents came in to visit on the 4th (Jordan and Matthew picked them up) and left today (16th). We left for San Diego on the 11th and got back last night (15th). Needless to say it's been pretty busy around here lately.

I just thought I'd post a little bit about our trip.

We all stayed together at the La Jolla Embassy Suites which ended up being the perfect location, and of course had a great breakfast every morning. Matthew always wanted to leave the room to go out to the elevators and run around. He was such a trooper and did really well considering he was in a stroller for 4 days straight and never took a nap unless we were back at the hotel. He was so sick of being in his stroller on Monday and was not very happy to ride in a carseat for 5 hours coming home. I think he's just glad to be back in his own house running around and playing with his favorite things.

Friday we decided to hit Sea World and boy was it warm and Sunny. The Stephens all got some good sun and it was a good thing we went that day as the rest of the time was overcast and drizzly. Matthew was pretty antsy and didn't love the shows as much as I thought he would, he loved watching the kids and eating more. We were going to go to the zoo on Saturday, but it rained all morning so MJ got some much needed rest, I did some work, and everyone else napped. In the afternoon we went to Old Town San Diego and then to Coronado Island where Matthew met the Ocean for the first time. It was so cold and he still wanted to run into it if I let go of him. He loved the sand and water-too cute! Sunday we went to the Zoo and saw some awesome animals. They have some seriously cool exhibits at the zoo and parking is free! Monday we packed up and then went to the San Diego Animal Park. Jordan and I had never been there before so that was really neat. It was drizzly on Monday morning and we discussed bagging it as it was about a 30 min. drive north of where we were, but we just all decided to go. I am so glad we did. The rain cleared up and the weather was perfect, not too hot or cold. We went on a Safari tram ride first thing so that was interesting. After the tram ride we went and saw the Lions, Giraffes, and Elephants. They put these branches on a pulley system up a pole for the giraffes (so they would think it was a tree) and about 7 were eating right in front of us-so cool! I just wish we would have had more time. You can pay to go on this jeep ride and get up close to the animals. I would LOVE to do that sometime and pretend I was in Africa. We saw the cutest little elephant running around that was only 2.5 weeks old. Seriously it was so, so cute!

We had a lot of fun, but it's always good to get back into a routine and Jordan and I needed to get things done for work. It was really fun having my mom and dad come and of course Matthew loves them spoiling him. It's always sad when they go, but they have things to get home to and we need to get back to normal. Matthew walked into the guest room this afternoon looking for them (after they left) and seemed to wonder where they went. I did tell him they had to go home and we would see them at Christmas, but who knows how much he understands.
I'm including some of my favorite pics from the trip.

At Sea World

On Coronado Island

Also on Coronado Island

San Diego Zoo


Momma's sunglasses

Heading into the Wild Animal Park

On the Safari ride

More Safari

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Thanks, cleaning fairy

When we got home on Sunday the house was perfectly clean and organized. Matthew mostly made a huge mess yesterday and I didn't have time to get everything cleaned up before Jordan got home from work. Matthew was off schedule, VERY ornery and difficult yesterday and I needed a break when Jordan got home from work. He took Matthew for a walk, had him watch baseball with him, and got him ready for bed. I was still pretty exhausted from this weekend and went to bed early intending to take care of the mess today.

I have no idea when Jordan came to bed as I was pretty out. I think I fell asleep at 9 pm. When I got up this morning the cleaning fairy had visited (Jordan). I don't expect him to do this and he does it often. I know he's tired too so I really appreciate it. He's so great in helping out with everything around the house even when he doesn't need to. I don't know what my MIL did to raise him this way but I need to learn her secrets to pass along to Matthew.

Thanks Jordan for the clean house this morning. It will definitely make my morning less chaotic and hopefully I can get ALL of the laundry (about 3-5 loads) done today. I am so blessed to have you in my life. Love you!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Me, Myself, and I

Ok, so my friend EmmaLee tagged me to share 7 things about myself.

1-New York & Company is my favorite clothing store. It carries trendy clothing, isn't too pricey, and their pants fit me better than any other store. I almost shop there exclusively. They are always offering coupons in my email so it's hard to pass up. I scored big time (as did my credit card) while I was in Utah. It's so interesting the same things and different things that each store carries.

2-I work from home part-time. The company I work for Isagenix has been gracious enough to let me work from home. I go into the office 1 day a week, definitely always a much needed break from Matthew and to really focus on things that need to get done. I find and book the hotels for our events, order our promotion items, and work with the hotels when we're onsite. It's a busy job and depending on our workload I vary between 20-30 hours a week. Sometimes it's hard keeping everything running smoothly with Matthew causing chaos but it works for now.

3-I really do love to cook. We have been trying a lot of new recipes lately. Sometimes they are winners and sometimes the recipe needs tweaking to fit our taste buds. It's been really fun to experiment and try new things. I can't wait for my parents to get here so I can make these super yummy shredded beef tacos (I've made once), yummy mexican rice (I've made 2-3 times), homemade guacamole, and homemade taco shells. I'm trying to find a good recipe using pinto beans-the two recipes I've tried aren't up to my standards. :)

4-Ok, I admit it I am CHEAP! We have gotten pretty good at shopping sales everywhere. I really do hate paying full price for anything! We are so cheap that we buy our chicken and beef when it's a really good deal and then use our food saver to suck the air out and put it in our freezer. I refuse to buy a 12-pack of coke for more than $2.50 so we usually stock up when they are on sale. I love Gymboree clothes but can't bring myself to spend $24 on a pair of pants for Matthew that's going to last about 3 months. I usually wait until I get a 30% coupon from them and then shop the clearance sales. I usually get shirts for $4-$8 that normally costs $16.50 or more. If you need any tips let me know!

5-I love to scrapbook and make crafty projects. I have more supplies than I know what to do with and plenty of pages to get caught up on. My scrapbook table is a mess and I must get it cleaned up so I can do a few projects that need to get done for Christmas. Speaking of Christmas I got some super cute paper to make my cards with. It was all 40%-50% off and exactly my style. Love it!

6-My favorite candy is licorice. Give me red, black, or brown and I am a happy camper. I was really craving sweets last night after getting home from 9 days in Utah. Not a single sweet in the house-total bummer!

7-I really hate the flavor of Cherry. I think this stems from having to take Cherry flavored cold medicine when I was little. I will eat all other flavors and leave the Cherry behind. One of my friends loves Cherry so we make a good team when eating candy together. You know what's weird, I love the fruit Cherries, just hate the artifical flavoring of cherry-ick!

Ok, so that's a little bit about me! I am tagging Heather Strasser and Jordan Stephens to tell me 7 things about them!

p.s. Return Plane Ride Home Update
We made it through the return plane ride from Utah just fine. I was at the airport WAY early and then my plane was delayed. I was first in line though to get on the plane. About 10 people passed me up while I was getting everything off the stroller and getting situated, but we did much better. A stewardess even offered to help, but I passed since I had everything under control (much easier to do when you're not stressed). We sat by the nicest lady and man (they weren't together) and Matthew did pretty good considering the plane was full and he couldn't get off my lap. He smiled and flirted with everyone. Sometimes I think he's too friendly for his own good. He zonked out in the car about 5 min. after leaving the airport-poor guy!