Cara got her TAKS test (state mandated tests supposedly to help No Child be Left Behind... don't get me started...) results on Friday and did very well. In fourth grade there are three tests - Writing, Math, & Reading. She scored 'commended' on all three!

At her school last year, they gave medals to the students who earned commended on their tests. At her new school, this year, they don't do that... So, I did. Two months ago. I knew she'd do well and I wanted her to feel like her hard work didn't go unnoticed.

We had a little family award ceremony and Bryan, Jordyn & I each put a medal around her neck. Cara beamed from ear to ear. I secretly felt kind of dorky about it until she said, "Mom, if you ordered these for me that long ago that means you really believed in me!"

Of course I do, silly, but nothing's better than believing in yourself. You go girl!


This was one of those "Why didn't I think of this ten years ago?" moments...

Cleaning out garbage cans is disgusting and gross. Who likes doing that? Who wants to do that? Not me. We try to put grocery sack liners in the garbage cans but it doesn't always happen and then you have who-knows-what in there... gag.

So after I emptied out the dishwasher, I had a flash of brilliance and loaded in the garbage cans. Two of them were too tall to slide under the top rack but I was not to be defeated. I removed the top rack swiftly and let out a triumphant cry! I will win this one! (But who knew that top rack could be so heavy??)

Totally worked. Yes.

Shots Stink - Big Time

So I finally took Jordyn to her four-year-old check-up. Things get crazy around her birthday in November and then I've been dealing with my own health issues that I sort of forgot to get her well-child exam until yesterday. Yikes!

She probably would have been okay with missing it after one finger prick to see if she was anemic (she's not), a TB test in her forearm (gotta call them back tomorrow with results), 2 shots in her left leg and 3 more in her right leg. That's seven ouchies in case you were counting. It was not fun at all.

I'm starting to see the logic in getting them all over with in one visit but, man, that's a lot of trauma for a visit to the doctor when 20 seconds ago you were feeling just fine, thank you very much. You know? They asked me to hold her arms still while they did the injections so, of course, Jordyn is staring into my face with such betrayal in her eyes. It was a sad, sad moment.

(You can see where three of her shots ended up along with nice bruise...)

Sometimes growing up sure stinks. Jordyn didn't cry long at all and she left the office laughing, actually, because they gave her six stickers as a reward for being such a big girl. :)


Take Me Out to the Ballpark

I got to go with Cara's 4th grade class on a field trip to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington where the MLB Texas Rangers play. We've been fortunate enough to attend our fair share of games at the Ballpark but this was a visit providing quite an inside look for the kids.

Our tour guide, Darwin, admitted to us after the tour that he'd only been working there for 5 weeks but you would never had known it. He was full of baseball trivia and information. He worked very well with the kids and answered any questions thrown at him like a pro.

This is the press box. It had three levels of desks and computer ports for the media. The kids got to see where all the announcing and reporting of the games happens.
This is the locker room. Tourguide Darwin is on the left. The kids thought it was cool that the major league players relaxed in there by playing video games and cards. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised...
The team is away for a few games so their lockers were not very full. Michael Young's cubby is the corner there with the orange boxes of shoes.
The kids loved being in the dugout. Darwin explained to them all about the bull pen telephones and showed them where the manager, Ron Washington, sits.
They didn't get to go on the field, (it was being aerated anyway...) but they stood at the edge of the dugout looking out and tried to imagine what it would feel like with the stadium full of cheering fans.
They also got to go to the Legends of the Game Museum at the Ballpark. The whole upper level is a discovery kids zone. Cara was trying to find the "sweet spot" on a bat by tapping on it with a wooden hammer in the above photo.
Cara, the catcher, and her friend, Johnny, posing in a fun cut-out scene. In the lower two levels of the museum are many, many displays with some really cool baseball memorabilia. "Legends of the Game features the largest collection of baseball-related artifacts outside of Cooperstown! With over 100 items from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the story of baseball's greatest legends is told through their jerseys, bats, gloves, words of wisdom, and more. Imagine coming face to face with items that were once in the hands of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, and many others."
This is one of Babe Ruth's actual jerseys, bats, & shoes. Very cool. Tourguide Darwin told the kids about Babe playing baseball with a lettuce leaf under his ball cap.

After the museum, the kids had lunch on Home Run Porch and got to ask any other questions they could come up with. It was a great day for a field trip and was lots of fun!


Field Day Fun

After being rained-out yesterday, Cara's field day was this morning. She competed in three events:
  • Tennis-Ups (stand inside a hula hoop and bounce a tennis ball on a racket as many times as you can.) - 1st place Blue Ribbon!
  • Hula Hoop - good effort!
  • Class Tug-of-War - 1st place Blue Ribbon!

Each class made their own t-shirts with team names. Cara's teacher is Ms. Gant so they were Gant's Gators. I thought that was a pretty cute idea.

It was a beautiful day for a nice tug-of-war...

And of course, Jordyn had to be right up in the action and watched all of the competition going on with a front row seat by Cara.

Good job, Munchie!!


Jordyn's Latest

Last night as I was getting Jordy ready for bed she had me laughing so hard...

Jordyn: Mom, I have one big boobie and one little boobie.

Me: Really? Hmm... You do?

Jordyn: (Very seriously) Yes.

Me: Oh. (pause) Which one is your big boobie?

Jordyn: (Pointing at her chest) This one.

Me: Okay. Which one is your little boobie?

Jordyn: (Chin on her chest, looking down) Hey! Where did that other one go??


Smooth Criminal Walrus

I hate it when animals can dance better than me... This walrus has skills!


Mother's Day Depression?

Mother's Day is supposed to celebrate mothers. And it does. But sometimes Mother's Day depresses me...

In some sick way I feel guilty getting so much attention. I look at my husband and children who just love and hug all over me, telling me how great I am and making me crowns and homemade cards and in my head I'm thinking, "Yes, I know you think I'm great but I could be so much better..." I know thoughts like that aren't coming from heaven but it doesn't change the fact that I have them.

Bryan and the girls really spoiled me this year... Two dozen roses, fabulous breakfast of waffles with ice cream and berries, roast for dinner, funny cards and a game for the Wii that I've been wanting (Guitar Hero!!). Don't misunderstand, it was all terrific ~ I just felt like I didn't deserve it.

My house seems to be in a constant state of disarray, I'm tired all the time, Jordyn's been watching her fair share of videos if you know what I mean... I have good days where I get tons done and I feel like I've really accomplished something but, lately, those days are few and far between.

Then I look at my two beautiful children and I squint really hard and try to imagine seeing them the way the Lord might look upon them. They make me want to "Try a little harder to be a little better." Cara is smart, loving, compassionate, very open to the spirit, and is gaining more and more confidence in herself every day. She is a huge blessing in my life. Jordyn is funny, very musically inclined, independent, affectionate and so forgiving it sometimes makes my heart hurt. The last few nights they've been sleeping in the same bed for some strange reason that I've yet to figure out... They truly love each other.

And then I think, "Maybe I am doing something right..."


Do You Believe in Magic?

I hate, hate, hate my kitchen sink.

The kitchen sink should be one of the cleanest surfaces in our home. Unfortunately, quite often, the kitchen sink is full of germs. After all, the kitchen sink sees a lot of action.

I rinse our fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, poultry, and almost anything we can think of in the sink. I drain pots and pans into the sink. I wash dishes, glasses, and silverware in the sink. I rinse out paint brushes and other crafty items that need cleaning in the sink.

I've even tossed a child in the kitchen sink for a quick nighttime bath.

I can never keep it clean enough... It's an old iron/porcelain sink with numerous chunks of missing porcelain. It has a weird brass? drain on one side that is mysteriously multi-colored and difficult to clean. It seems like my sink's favorite thing to do is absorb stains.

I've tried comet, soft scrub, and, as the Fly Lady reccommends, even soaked it with bleach but nothing worked. That is, until my friend, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, came to visit. This thing ROCKS!

A quick swipe with the Magic Eraser and the yucky grime that used to be impossible to get rid of is gone! I know the 'after' photo still doesn't look that great but it really is a 100% improvement! My bathtubs come clean. Scuff marks are removed from doors so easily. The grossness that can sometimes build up on the lightswitches - gone! I love me some Mr. Clean. It's a piece of foam heaven. Seriously.
** A side note: The magic eraser should not be used to clean people... I heard about a child with "chemical burns" from a magic eraser and looked it up online. Apparently it's similar to a very fine sandpaper and the burns were actually caused by friction, not by any chemicals in the Magic Eraser. The company insists they are non-toxic. **


Iron Man Fan

We saw Iron Man last night with Brandon & Suzy.

I've never read the comic book and actually don't remember seeing any previews for the film either but they said, "Free movie?" and Bryan & I said, "Heck, yes!". I guess that's my way of saying that I had no expectations of what the movie should or shouldn't be, as opposed to, say, a Harry Potter film or the upcoming Twilight movie...

Two words: Awesome! Okay, that was one word - but still... Awesome!

Robert Downey Jr. was great in this role. His dry humor and wit were perfect. Jeff Bridges was fabulous and I loved the bald look he's sporting. It had action and laughter. It had brains and brawn. Great, great movie! If you're looking for something to do this weekend - check it out!

And if you happen to see it at Studio Movie Grill, I highly recommend the Brownie Sundae. :)


Our Love Story

Bryan & I recently celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. Twelve years already? TWELVE? A dozen years gone by and it feels like yesterday that we were newlyweds.

We met while I was attending BYU and Bryan was going to UVSC. He lived in an aprtment that was very close to the Y and, therefore, he and I were in the same BYU student ward, the 3rd ward. It might seem a little strange but in most BYU wards they divided the wards into 'families' so that you can have Family Home Evenings. Bryan was the FHE 'dad' and my roommate, Mindy, was the FHE 'mom' so we frequently met together at our apartment.

From our kitchen window we could actually see directly into Bryan's apartment living room. It was a little difficult to see anything past a disconcerting hazy (dirty!) spot that clouded much of the window but that didn't stop us from looking...

My roommate, Aleena, had a huge crush on Bryan's roommate, Jeff, so she talked me into asking them out on a double date. Bryan and I had a lot in common and, of course, I thought he was cute so I agreed. We planned this whole elaborate date, (BYU-style, if you know what I mean - and if you don't it means cheesy...) that revolved around the letter B. We made them a poster with some sort of poem on it to ask them out detailing our plans for Bowling, Banana splits, and Blockbuster.

All of my scrapbooking friends know how painful it is for me to actually post the following layout I made of our first date with my horrible handwriting and extensive use of markers... but, embarrassing as it is, I am glad I have it.

There was another group of people at Regal Lanes that night on a video scavenger hunt who were looking for people on their first date. They talked to us for awhile and documented the action. I've always thought it would be so cool to find that tape someday... This was probably the only time in my life that I had a higher bowling score than him. Bryan absolutely LOVES to tell people that I asked him out first...

To make a long story short, Aleena and Jeff never went out on another date but Bryan and I saw each other every day after that. He was very upfront and honest about his medical issues. He'd just finished a round of chemotherapy and had lupus which was wreaking havoc on his body. (It's actually a tremendous miracle and blessing that we have children now.) I did have people question the decision to be with him but I gave them all the same answer, "You don't choose who you fall in love with." I knew this was it very early on and so did Bryan. We were engaged in December.

Sometime in January, maybe February?, Bryan's kidneys failed and he was put on dialysis. The doctors did surgery to make a fistula in his arm but until it was healed and large enough to work he had these tubes inserted into his jugular sticking out of his neck that they did dialysis through. They are a little hard to see but maybe you can see them in this photo. It was fun to see the different looks Bryan would get when we went out in public... many, many double takes...

His health improved very quickly on dialysis and we continued to make plans for an April wedding. The dialysis tubes were a challenge to avoid in our engagement picture but I told the doctors they had to OUT by our wedding day! They did remove them the day before... phew!

Our wedding day was the best day of my life. Nothing went wrong, all of the people we love were there, and my parents didn't have to set up or clean up! I loved every minute of it! It feels like yesterday, really.

Since then we've gone through our share of challenges:

  • Bryan's many other surgeries (his kidney transplant - 6 months after our wedding, appendectomy, removal of his fistula, a hernia or two, removal of a non-functioning kidney, and more I'm sure I'm forgetting...
  • The house above our apartment burning down in Dec. 1996 and smoke-damging everything we owned and, no, we did not have renter's insurance... lesson learned.
  • Unemployment
  • Bryan's long and drawn-out college career
  • Moving so far away from our families

But we've weathered them together, hon. So here's to the next twelve!! I love you.

(To all my blogging friends: I'd love to read about your love story sometime!)