Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Double guh errrrrr

Just spent the morning on the phone trying to convince someone that they needed to bill our current insurance for the latest doctor's visit rather than the insurance that we haven't had for almost a year. Finally got put through to some lovely woman who, let's just say, probably won't be celebrating American Thanksgiving, who kept making me repeat everything and then informed me multiple times: "I can't understand you. You are like a robot."



Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Equinox

(Yes, I know.)
PS: I am not an over-achiever like this weirdo. :-P

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nunchuk skills...

I just got home from World of Dance at BYU thanks to my little sister who gets free tickets to such things.

Going to these events always reminds me of my lack of skills. Why didn't I become a dancer? Then I could have had homework like "practice the cha-cha" and I could have married my dance partner and in our spare time we would do well-choreographed ballroom dance numbers in the kitchen. And we would never have to discuss the moral appropriateness of hunting. Why did I not do this?

Oh wait, I remember now. I did take dance lessons. And I was pretty terrible at it. I could lie to myself and say I was a cute little ballerina/jazz/tap dancer because my family was not (un)fortunate enough to have a camcorder during my dance days. So I could just sigh and wonder why I didn't keep it up. Except that a friend of mine who happened to be in my same dance class came from a family that did have a camcorder at the time. So about a decade after my dance debut I got to watch myself perform on video. And it was painful. My body does not bend. Except maybe at right angles. While the other girls gracefully plie'd their way across stage, I looked like someone suffering from spinal fusion. Think 4 foot tall Frankenstein's monster in a tutu. Which explains why my memories of dance class all revolve around the teacher going from girl to girl and trying to balance a glass of water on our backs as we touched our toes and then listening to her sigh and move on when she got to me.

That is why I didn't take up dancing. And quite likely any guy that I might have met in dance class would have been a little effeminate for my taste. And besides, the one time I did dance on stage they made me wear sequined underwear over my leotard which was just embarrassing. Who can concentrate on dancing gracefully when their underwear is on the outside?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Visions of his teenage years?

Will: Mom, will you pick me up?
(Mom picks him up. Will lays head on Mom's shoulder.)
Will: Mom, I got Smarties and ate them in my oven so you wouldn't see me.
(Mom looks over and sees play oven (i.e. tricked out cardboard box) full of empty candy wrappers.)
(Mom puts Will in time out and tries to ignore him and avoid eye contact.)
Will: Mom! I was looking right at you and sticking my tongue out!
Will: Mom, I will play you a beautiful song on the piano.
(Will begins banging on piano keys.)
Will (Singing): Chhrrriiissstttmaaasss. I want everything. I just can't wait. (Repeated over and over again.)
Will (as he is being forcibly hauled to bed): I'm in charge. I'M IN CHARGE.
Will: Dad, don't touch my lamp.
Mom: Will, that isn't very nice. Daddy gave us the money to buy that lamp for you.
(Dad touches lamp again.)
Will: Dad that isn't very nice.
Dad: What isn't nice Will?
Will: Touching other people's lamps.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pack up the babies and Grab the Old Ladies...Everyone goes!

Catch up time.

We went on our air/road trip.
Day 1: We flew to San Francisco. Early. Thought the kids would sleep on the plane. Ha! They fell asleep as we were landing. Got picked up by my brother Michael. He drove us to his house in Sunnyvale. Went to check out Google - it being the place of Michael's employment. Will was thrilled to discover that Google employees have more toys than computers. At Michael's desk he found a light saber, a skateboard, and a cardboard fort. They also had a ball pit. And lots of snack bars and beverage coolers where everything is free. They also have a free gourmet cafe, but it being Saturday the cafe was closed. Then we went to lunch and thought about why we hate eating out with children. Then we went back to Michael's house with the thought that the kids might take a nap (yeah right) and Will played Rock Band and Asteroids for a while. After several hours we paid Michael (mostly...we'll get the rest to you shortly!) for his second car that we had flown in to buy from him and drove to the hotel. We stayed at the Santa Clara Hilton for $55 plus tax (thanks Priceline!). We went and got something to eat at In-N-Out and then planned to get back together with Michael, but the kids were already overtired so we just went back to the hotel. For unknown reason there was a fireworks show that we could see perfectly from our window. End day 1.
Day 2: We got up early and drove into San Francisco. We were worried about traffic so we wanted to leave plenty of time and ended up getting there 2 hours early for our ferry to Alcatraz. So early in fact that we waited in line to get on the ferry and when the lady checked our tickets she told us we weren't on that ferry and to wait for the next one. Alcatraz was pretty interesting, but Will got bored of the hour long self-guided audio tour in about 4 minutes. He did okay until the last 15 minutes when he started screaming like something possessed, which was rather conspicuous in a room full of silent people trying to listen to tour through headphones. We took the ferry back and wandered around Pier 39 until we found somewhere to eat. Will's behavior had not improved during this time so after eating we found a tiny playground and let him burn off some energy while we waited for it to be late enough to check into our hotel. Then we saw the sea lions and walked to the hotel. We stayed at the Fisherman's Wharf Hilton for $70 plus tax (thanks again Priceline!)...found out that to park at the hotel for 1 night was $36 (could have mentioned that Priceline!). The kids were asleep when we got there, but it didn't last long. After sitting around for a while we went out to take the trolley. This is when things turned into more of our typical vacation. The end of the trolley route was right next to our hotel. My mom had told me horror stories of trying to ride the trolley with my pregnant aunt and having people just rush in front of them and actually knock my aunt down and walk over her in an attempt to get on the trolley. That was 25+ years ago. Michael had assured me that now they had lines and it wasn't just a free for all so we figured we would take Will to ride a historic San Francisco cable car. There was indeed a line. A long line. We patiently waited our turn as the cars came about every 20 minutes. We were getting close to the front of the line and figured we had about 1 more car to wait and then it would be our turn. There was a little souvenir shop about 10 feet away from us so Bryce ran in to buy Will a little trolley car. As he was paying a second trolley pulled up right on the tail of the other trolley car that had just pulled out. The paying process was going slowly so rather than get on the car without Bryce, I stepped to the side and let people go past. By the time Bryce came out the car was completely full so we said "That's okay, we'll just wait for the next one." So we are now first in line. Yay, we can get good seats. About 15 minutes later a trolley pulls up. Now at the front of the trolley there are bench seats which face outward. These are the good seats. The bad seats are located inside of the compartment on the car where they smash about 30 people into an area that is about 5 feet by 6 feet. But we are first in line so we will get good seats. So once the trolley comes to a complete stop, Bryce heads around to the other side of the car for a coveted outside bench seat. After about 2 steps we hear someone yelling after us "Hey! You have to bring your strollers back here!" So Bryce stops to hand me the umbrella stroller to give to the employee guy. When he turns around the good seats are taken. So we head to the back of the trolley. Also taken. So we give up on "good seats" and try to go inside the compartment. Full. Meanwhile the employee sees the predicament that has occurred as a result of us stopping to give him the strollers so he says "Come on. I'll get you seats." So he looks down at the closest people and says "Stand up. These people are sitting there." Although he spoke quite clearly the people just stared at him and squished over to create about 2 inches worth of space which apparently Bryce and I and the two kids were supposed to sit in. The employee was in the process of again telling them to stand up when I said "Can you just give us our strollers back and we will wait for the next one?" The guy assures us that he will get us seats and once again tells the pretending-they-don't-speak-English folks to move. I was feeling like we were kind of creating a scene so I said again that we would just take our strollers and wait. The employee got us our strollers and demonstrated how when the next car came we should hold them out to act as barricades while we got on board. Please note: all the people in line can see and hear this whole scene. So we get off and stand in line (once again). We are first in line (once again). This time we decide we aren't going to lose this game again so we step out from the covered boarding area and stand a few feet up the sidewalk so that we will have faster access to the far side of the trolley when it arrives. After another 15 minutes or so a trolley pulls in. Before it has even stopped moving, the woman standing in line behind us darts out in front of the car causing the driver to yell "Hey! Don't walk in front of the train!" We, being obedient type of folks, stay put. Not this lady. She continues running and climbs on board the bench seat on the far side of the car. Our seats! (in case you didn't catch that). Not only does she sit there, she spreads her arms and legs out in an effort to save the entire bench for the rest of her party. We did, at least, get an outside seat...but I spent most of the ride thinking of the unkind things I wanted to say to that woman. Like "Excuse me Ma'am. Did you fail to notice that we were in line in front of you? Did you fail to notice that we have been waiting for 2 cars now because people pushed in front of us last time? Did you fail to notice that we are also dealing with a toddler, a baby, and 2 strollers?" or as Bryce said "Too bad the train didn't hit you." (No, he didn't say that to her.) To counter my disgust, I should mention that a lovely couple named Abby and Steve from Chicago stood on the running board and rode on the side of the trolley right in front of us. They talked to the kids and gave some restaurant recommendations. We spotted them walking a few blocks ahead of us about an hour after we got off the train and after a while they saw us too and waved and said hello. The world needs more Abby and Steves and less crazy trolley women.

Moving on. Our plan was to ride the trolley back to our hotel since we had gone quite a ways, but we wanted to check out China town so we started walking. And kept walking. Have you seen those pictures of San Francisco with the roads that go up hills at like 45 degrees? We were conveniently downhill of all of those hills and therefore walked up them...pushing strollers...I think I almost died. Will was throwing a temper tantrum because he kept insisting that Bryce let go of his stroller and "let it go by itself." No amount of explaining would convince him that letting go of the stroller would result in one long downhill roller coaster ride ending in death. We found the Chinese restaurant that the hotel had recommended and waited in a long line before having the inspired idea that maybe we could order take-out instead. Bryce went in and discovered that yes we could order take-out. Unfortunately they told us 10 minutes and it took more like 45. During which time Sawyer was doing some unearthly screeching and alternating between throwing his arms in the air while arching his back and throwing his entire body weight backwards into my face. I'm sure everyone was sad when we got our food and left. Please note crazy child in picture below. We couldn't figure out a good way to catch a ride back to our hotel so we kept walking. We walked through the Little Italy area and bought desserts and kept walking. We did eventually make it back to the hotel. Nothing fazes Bryce (I think he is one quarter Pack Mule), but I think my legs will never be the same again. We ate Chinese food and watched the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.

Day 3: We got up and walked down to Ghiradelli Square. I really wanted an icecream sundae for breakfast, but decided against it after buying a whole bag of chocolate. Should have gotten the icecream sundae. Still thinking about how delicious it looked. Dang. We went back to the hotel, loaded up, unloaded Will and went back in the hotel to go potty, and drove out of San Francisco towards Eureka, California. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge (we must have been lucky because it was hidden by fog and I hear that hardly ever happens...) and found Highway 1 which goes right along the coast. I think possibly it should be renamed as Highway Vomit or the Motion Sickness Scenic Byway. I lasted about 30 minutes before I made Bryce pull over. I took 2 Dramamine (too bad they take about an hour to work) and then tried to survive the next 30 minutes until we could get off that road and find Highway 101. We drove through Humboldt State Park and saw some huge redwoods, but managed to drive all the way through it before realizing that there would never be a "you are now entering the park" type area...so all we did was drive through it. Well, Bryce did pull over and take a picture or two of Will with a big tree lest we have nothing to show for our redwood efforts. We might have turned around and gone back, but we planned to also visit the Redwoods National Park so we figured we might as well just keep going towards Eureka. We got into Eureka a little before dark and found our hotel. We stayed at the Econolodge for $50 (not so much thanks for that one Priceline!)...I'm pretty sure $50 was an increase over their regular nightly fee.

Day 4: In the morning we checked out historic downtown which has a lot of fancy victorian houses and old book shops and stuff. Then we loaded up and headed north. Again. We came across this fellow with his giant ox -Bryce and Will are sitting on his boot. We planned to spend the afternoon visiting Redwoods National Park (as previously mentioned). I guess we are suckers for signage because once again we expected some sort of "Welcome to the National Park...here is a map...here is all the cool stuff you should see...and don't miss the gift shop!" sign. After several hours of driving our atlas appeared to confirm that we had managed to drive through the entire park and were now some ways past the end of it. Hmmmm...I didn't think you could hide giant trees that well. After a bit of a discussion about the proper way to plan a vacation we stopped at the Crescent City visitor's center and went in to get some information. The visitor's center was staffed by two elderly women and Will immediately began telling them all about our drive from "EurekaCalifornia"(he seems to think it is one word) and finished off his little narrative by stating that "Mommy was yelling at Daddy in the car and driving him crazy." He always takes Bryce's side. See if I make you a Halloween costume this year kiddo! His little pronouncement is funny now, but wasn't really at the time. Everyone needed a break so we let the kids play on the nearby playground for about an hour. Then I dragged Will into the visitor center bathroom (tried not to make eye contact with old ladies) and told him he needed to go potty before we got back in the car. At which point I discovered he had already gone potty in his pants. Disgusting. I didn't even have the diaper bag with me so the only reasonable option seemed to be to throw the offending underwear in the bathroom garbage, clean Will up, pull his pants back on and take him out to the car to find some new clothes. Did I mention that as Will was telling the ladies about our drive, I had been signing the guest book? So I'm sure those ladies have a really high opinion of a certain family from Utah. After leaving the visitor's center we drove to Jeremiah Johnson State Park and saw some more giant trees. This park was the setting for a scene in Return of the Jedi--I learned that from a pamphlet. The kids were both asleep in the car and the mosquitoes were terrible so we just took turns taking a quick look around and posing inside of giant trees. Then we got back on the road and drove to Springfield, Oregon where Bryce's sister Becky lives.

Day 5: We visited the Eugene library, ate burritos at Laughing Planet, got an eclair from The Sweet Life Patisserie, and let the kids play at a park. The times the kids were playing at parks were the only times they were behaving so we saw several parks during our trip.

Day 6: We drove to the Oregon coast (more Dramamine for Erin) and after one false try found the ocean. Dramamine pretty much puts me into a coma so I dozed on a blanket while Will ran around on the beach with Bryce and Sawyer ate sand-covered snacks including a piece of pb&j sandwich that had fallen in the sand about 3 hours earlier that he dug out and popped in his mouth before anyone could stop him. Then we ate at Mo's by the water and drove back.

Day 7: We went swimming at a local pool and then ate at a Mexican restaurant. I stayed at Becky's condo with the baby while Bryce, Becky, and Will went and picked blueberries from a farm and blackberries from the side of the road. That evening we visited some of Becky's friends who have a few kids. Will was thrilled to see toys again.

Day 8: We searched out a store called Real Deals that I had heard about online. Sawyer was asleep so Bryce stayed in the car with him, but Will was restless so he came inside with me. The store had a kids play room so Will happily amused himself in there while I looked around. That lasted about 5 minutes. Then I heard him calling for me and answered him saying "I'm right over here." I turned around to see him running towards me with legs spread about 3 feet apart yelling "Mom, is there a potty here?" It was clearly too late for a potty so I went and got the diaper bag and herded him into the bathroom where I did my best to get the situation cleaned up. Disgusting. Note to self: limit quantity of berries consumed by potty-training toddler. I had forgotten to pack a change of clothes and we were on our way to the Eugene Saturday Market so rather than driving all the way back to Becky's condo we stopped at the nearest Wal-Mart and bought him new pants. Did I mention there is no sales tax in Oregon? Ask Bryce how much I liked that. We met up with the same friends as from the previous night and saw all the wonders of the Saturday Market. Never fear, the hippie culture is alive and well. Then we went back to Becky's condo and hung around for the rest of the afternoon before Bryce and I decided that we should run to the grocery store to buy some food for the car ride since we were leaving in the morning. The grocery store was right next to a dollar store and I thought it would be a good chance to pick up some toys to try to entertain Will during 2 days worth of driving. After some quick shopping we got to meet a firetruck...and an ambulance...and a police car, but you'll have to ask me personally for that story! Note to self: 2 places we can't return to- Crescent City, California and Springfield, Oregon.

Day 9: We got up, loaded up, and headed out. We had mapped out the most direct route on the atlas and planned to take a mountain pass even though I was afraid it would end up taking longer than staying on the highway that appeared to go up and around and avoid the mountain. The pass turned out to be a good plan and at the top of the mountain we were surprised to find huge lava fields. Don't you think they might have mentioned that on a map?! I just kept thinking that whatever mountain man first discovered that area must have been wandering along through the forest and then stepped out of the trees and thought "What the?..." There was an observatory you could walk up to that pointed out various craters and formations in the lava. I took Will up with me and there was snow whirling in the air which led to him declaring "It's snowing! Now Santa can bring me more presents!" I hope it doesn't snow very many times before Christmas. We drove the rest of the way to Winnemucca, Nevada and found the Red Lion Inn . . . which (at first anyways) was nicer than expected (thanks Priceline). We went to McDonald's for supper after Will saw it and asked to eat there and we said no and he very cheerfully said "That's ok! We can find somewhere else! Like another McDonald's!" He was so cheerful about it that we gave in and took him there. He played in the playground for over an hour and was joined for half the time by three 13 year old girls who humored him by playing hide and seek. When they left he yelled "Wait!" and ran out and gave each of them a hug and kiss. I think we need to have a stranger danger discussion soon. We went back to the hotel and told Will he could stay up late (thinking it would lead to him sleeping in the car the next day...ummm no, no it didn't). The kids finally went to sleep and in the middle of the night Sawyer woke up screaming. Sawyer never wakes up crying at night. Will always does. Never Sawyer. This night, however, Sawyer was screaming his little lungs out and would not be consoled. Bryce thought he might be hot so he took off the sweatshirt and pants Sawyer had been sleeping in. When Sawyer still wouldn't calm down I went into the bathroom and flipped on a light and saw some kind of bug bites on his stomach and back that hadn't been there previously. Draw your own conclusions. He eventually calmed down and went back to sleep in bed with us. Will also insisted on sleeping in bed with us. This was the only hotel during our trip which gave us a room with only 1 bed. When Bryce asked for a 2 bed room they told him that we had booked our stay through another company and had to request room assignments through them...even though our confirmation printout from said company says explicitly to speak to the hotel directly for things like bed requests. Upon returning home we also found out that my sister Megan and her new husband Chad had stopped at our hotel that afternoon before our arrival and left a note for us at the front desk, but they never gave it to us. (Megan and Chad were on their way back to Idaho after their belated wedding reception in California.) So the Red Lion Inn exceeded my expectations upon arrival, but had succeeded in disappointing by the time we left.

Day 10: We got up (not very early...since no one had slept much) and drove home. For unknown reasons, Will called me "Mother Duck" the whole way home. At home we found that my sister Mollie (who had been staying at our house while we were gone) had cleaned pretty much the whole house which we had left in a state of late-night packing disaster. Over the next few days we also discovered that she had cleaned our fridge and freezer and washed Will's drool-marked sheets. My brother Kyle had also managed to figure out how to change the batteries in our garage opener (a task we've been needing to do for at least 3 months). Someone had also put up streamers and had a vase of fresh flowers on the kitchen table (I'm guessing Mollie, but Megan might have been involved as well). I guess we should leave more often.

Roadtrip complete.

Pictures are on the other computer so I will have to add them tomorrow. Since getting back I have...not finished unpacking...and not accomplished much of anything really. We did go to the State Fair on Saturday. And I did almost succeed in ruining our printer. Whatever you might read on the internet DO NOT try to print directly on to freezer paper with a laser printer. Bad things will happen.

PS: The pictures from the second half of the trip are apparently, once again, on the other computer...so they will have to wait...some more.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Attention Walmart Shoppers

Just got back from Walmart where I picked up 13 little boy shirts and 8 pairs of little boy shorts for $21 plus tax. All of the boys summer Garanimal brands shirts and shorts rang up at $1 a piece. Considering how Will treats his clothes, $1 an item is about what I prefer to spend on them! Whatever your feeling about the super-duper-mega-run-mom-and-pop-out-of-business-chain store, you really can't beat the prices. And since I'm lame and clearly don't do very exciting things, finding $1 clothes to keep my kids decent next summer makes me kind of happy.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I think we'd be friends

I came across this after clicking on a link on my cousin's blog. Now you can come across it too. Warning: unless you live in the heart or some other vital organ of Mormondom you probably won't think this is as funny as I do. It will also help if you've read a few blogs broadcasting from one of the afore-mentioned areas.


More later about the road trip...recovering today.