Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Double Digits!

Hooray James! After a packed semester which included buying a house and moving into it, working full time, filling a tough church calling, and being the greatest husband to a pregnant wife and father to an on-the-go toddler - you know, in addition to the two classes he was taking - James finished with A's! I am so proud. If you weren't aware, James isn't too keen on school (unlike me) and so simply passing a class and getting one step closer to graduation is reason enough to celebrate. Straight A's is just icing on the cake. He has worked so hard for this and I know he would have rather spent his time on his music (or anything else for that matter) but he buckled down and finished strong. Hooray for James, and here's to a wide-open summer - you know, except for work and that family that just keeps tying you down!

Oh yes, and again explaining my title references:
It's from Flight of the Chonchords,"the almost award-winning fourth-most-popular folk duo in New Zealand." Jermaine refers to the three women he's dated as "triple figures" so I figured that since James got 2 A's, that would be double digits. Am I right?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"I'm Done With Whiskey, Wine, and Beer..."

"'s Nasal Spray from this day here!"

It started back in February. It got just warm enough for nature to gear into Spring mode. Translation - pollen. Significance to me - allergies. I don't know if it's the pregnancy or if my body is just deteriorating at such a young age, but this year my allergies have been worse than ever. The first warm days we had I woke up with a sore throat, which evolved into congestion so bad I could barely breathe at night. Which then turned into a sinus headache that lasted a month. I'm so serious. One continuous pounding headache for a month. "Gee Desta, why didn't you take something?" Oh goodness, why didn't I think of that? Oh wait, I did. I took everything that has ever alleviated my sinuses. It didn't work. AM, PM - there was no relief. Even when I accidentally took the AM's in the PM and vice-versa. It took me two days to figure out why I was so tired. Since when did Tylenol start making their PM pills white? What an abysmal thing to do. I digress.

Eventually the headaches and congestion stopped. Mostly because it started snowing and freezing regularly. As happy as I was for the snowing/freezing cycle to end, I knew it would just mean a new onslaught of symptoms. As usual, I was right. I did some searching on the internet and found that 1) pregnancy can make allergies worse and 2) there are hardly any prescription drugs approved to help. So I dutifully popped an allergy pill each day hoping that it would ward off the sinus infection boogey man. But one morning I woke up with that ominous scratch in the back of my throat and by the next day I was in full allergy-suffering mode. In my misery, I reached for the only over-the-counter solution I hadn't tried - nasal spray.

Simple saline, shove-it-in-your-nose-and-squeeze spray. How could this $1 liquid succeed where more than $30 worth of pills and capsules had failed? I don't know and I don't care - it did. I take a few hits each night before bed and then whenever I need them during the day (in addition to the daily allergy pill) and I have been clear for two entire weeks. It's bliss. So if any of you have ever, or will ever, suffer from the worst allergies of your life, don't forget our old friend nasal spray. In our world of medical advances and prescription cure-alls, sometimes it's nice to have them all trumped by a bottle of water that you stick in your nose.

For any of you interested, the title and first line of this post come from a Grandaddy song about a guy who gives up alcohol in favor of the buzz he gets from expired nasal spray. The song is called "Moe Bandy Mountaineers." And yes, I know I'm weird.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Baby Sit Bike"

It's Zoe's latest request. James thought I had let her sit on the bike before, but I was just as shocked as he was. Zoe has a new-found fascination with our bikes and begs to sit on them anytime she sees them (often from inside the house). I have to admit she has great balance and sits on a bike better than I do. And ok, that isn't too hard, but still impressive.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Backyard Barbeque

Last Sunday, the 13th, was the first beautiful day we've seen in weeks. The weather was perfect, we were without church responsibilities, Zoe was an angel all day, and someone actually spoke to me in Relief Society, so for me the day was already a success. Hoping the weather would be warm at some point during the weekend, I planned to have James grill up some kabobs for us. We dusted the grill off and fired it up.

These chicken kabobs are TO-DIE-FOR, and paired with roasted potatoes and lemonade, we were in heaven. Plus we got to eat outside. Zoe ate 2 skewers worth of food (on top of the dinner I had already fixed for her) all by herself.

It was basically the best day we've had since we moved in. The only thing that was missing was all of you. Seriously. Not that there would have been enough food, but we really missed our friends we've grown accustomed to seeing, especially outside during warmer weather. But I'm sure we'll do it again, assuming it ever stops snowing. Yes that's right. For you out of towners, after 2 days in a row of 70 and 80 degree weather, we got snowed on again the following Tuesday. It's the middle of April for crying out loud!

For anyone who is interested, here is the recipe for the best chicken kabobs you'll ever have:

For 6-8 skewers
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Concentrate
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs fresh thyme (I substitute dried and it's no biggie)
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into even pieces (at least 18)
  • 1 green pepper, cut into pieces
  • 2 (or more as desired) green onions, cut into large pieces.
Combine first 8 ingredients and set aside.

Onto each of 6 skewers (obviously use more if there is left over meat/veggies), alternately thread three chicken pieces with three pepper pieces. Finish with one piece of green onion. I really like the green onion flavor, so next time I am going to put more onto each one.

Arrange skewers in shallow baking dish. Pour all but 1/4 cup marinade over kabobs. Cover and let stand 30-60 minutes (I rotate the kabobs half-way through)

Grill over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Serve drizzled with reserved marinade.

Wipe up drool!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Requiem for a Big Girl Bed

When we set up Zoe's crib in her new room, we decided to set it up as a toddler bed, ie, no cage-like rail on one side. I figured that she was going to be in a big-girl bed before too long and it wouldn't hurt to start the transition. Oh how naive I was.

The first night was tough. We had to go in a few times and regulate. And by "regulate" I mean of course read her yet another book and lovingly place her back in her bed. She eventually fell asleep around 9 pm. The next day I put her down for a nap and she went to sleep all by herself. In the middle of the floor, certainly, but still, all by herself. That night was awful. She was so upset and couldn't calm herself down. Climbing in and out of the bed was just too much fun to go to sleep, but she was so tired that she was fussy. As James and I tried, fruitlessly, to accomplish things around the house, the thought came to mind, "Why am I doing this? Why am I squandering these nighttime hours when I could just go back to locking her in a cage? Why did I think this was a great idea? How long would it take James to put the rail back on?"

Turns out, James could reattach that rail in about 10 minutes. I thought Zoe would freak out at being re-fenced in, but to my astonishment (and relief) she merely curled up on her side and fell asleep immediately.

So here is where I call for the aid of all you moms who have children who are currently NOT sleeping in a crib (or in your bed). How do you do it? When do you know they are ready to handle the responsibility? Zoe was absolutely overwhelmed by the possibility of getting out of bed and seemed happier (and better rested) when her choices were taken away from her. I guess my most important question is this: Is there such a thing as bunk-cribs? I might be in the market for one shortly if things don't change...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Filling in the Gap

Three posts in one day? Don't I have anything better to do? Yes, yes I do. But blogging is easier. That said - Do your Thursday nights seem as bleak and empty as mine? Like a little piece of your soul is missing? Sure Survivor is on and The Office has made a return, but somehow I just don't feel quite *whole*. I'm not talking about James being away at work and school until 10pm. I'm talking about Lost. Here is something that a friend (ok, well, a brother) of a friend was part of that is helping me feel complete again. Hope you enjoy.

Quotable Quotes

The first 2 weeks in our house have flown by. Having 2 separate sets of guests definitely helped. My parents came for nearly a week and brought some of my things that had been cluttering up their own house. Now they can clutter up our house! Actually, I am so grateful that they came. Among my many treasures were a day bed (to accommodate any guests *hint hint*), a nuggle-sized table and chairs, my cedar chest that my dad made for me, and various keepsakes from my youth. It's all just a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of my crap they still have at their house, but it's a pretty good start.

Shortly after they left, my niece and her friend - I kid you not her name is Deshka - came for a couple days for a snowboarding trip to Park City. My niece is only 5 years younger than I am so it was fun to hang out and catch up when she wasn't busy with the Provo singles scene. And it was great to break in our "guest room."

The biggest addition to our family lately has been Zoe's vocabulary. She is seriously starting to master the art of the sentence, with such phrases as "Turn the light on/off" and "I want it." She has also mastered the tantrum that more often than not follows "I want it" with any sort of delay or refusal at whatever she has requested. She also picks out the most important nouns and verbs from what we say and repeats them back to us. Her new best friend is definitely Dora the Explorer, and so she has learned such helpful words like : flashlight, rope, froggy pond, Swiper, Tico, Isa, backpack, map, etc.

If repeating everything we say isn't enough, Zoe has started to make up her own words for things, completely unprompted. While giving her a bath a few nights ago, she simple started saying "nanum" and then laughing hysterically. For the next half hour that was all she did - say nanum and crack up. As the days have gone by I think I've figured out a pretty accurate definition for the new word - Nanum: v, to lay down on one's stomach in the bath tub and drink of the water therein. What, do you have a better word for that? I didn't think so.

Music Snobs Anonymous: Mojave 3

So here's the deal - I have about 5 other posts written, all patiently waiting for their turn to be released to the world. The only thing that is lacking is pictures. Unfortunately, James has quite literally had to chain himself to the "big" computer for the last few days to get homework done. Which leaves me with the laptop. And no access to our pictures. So you all get a middle of the night post about an amazing band.

They're called Mojave 3. They have also been known as Slowdive (before 1994). Also, the lead singer, Neil Halstead, has a few solo albums out which are equally amazing (which will probably be addressed at a later time). Anyway, they're fairly mellow and it's hard to find videos to go with their stuff (well, videos that aren't poor quality, live video). So here is my personal favorite song of theirs. It's called "You Said It Before," from their album Puzzles Like You. Another one of my favorites is "She Broke You So Softly" from Excuses For Travelers.

And if you really need a video, here is one for "Love Songs on the Radio." It's a little different from most of the stuff on their albums, but still hauntingly beautiful.

And just for fun, you might actually recognize this song as it's been used in a couple commercials:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Real Cookie Monster

I've talked about it before, and any mom will tell you the same: if your child is quiet, they are doing something naughty.

In the first stages of unpacking, Zoe was left to her own devices quite often. On one occasion, I had left a nearly empty package of cookies on the table. James and I were working on a project upstairs when my mommy senses started tingling. I jogged downstairs and found Zoe toting the now empty package of cookies and delightfully shoving a half-eaten cookie into her mouth. What concerned me most wasn't the sprinkles she was dumping and grinding into the carpet, but the location of the other two cookies that USED to be in the package. Eventually this is what we found:

Each cookie had exactly 2 bites taken out of it. Classic "Three Bears" syndrome on display.

Friday, April 11, 2008

...Another One Rides the Bus

Since we've been married (over 3 1/2 years now) we have lived approximately 1.6 miles from my (James here) place of employment. It never took me more than 5 minutes to get to work.

You may have heard about our recent move south to Payson.

I am now officially a commuter. I live 21.5 miles from my previously mentioned place of work. I don't really mind getting up a little earlier and I actually enjoy driving for 25 minutes or so before work. It gives me time to think, listen to music, and just generally wake up before I get to the office.

There is only one thing that really breaks the deal for the whole commuting thing. It is the fact that the cost of gas right now is between $3.20 and $3.40 per gallon. And that's the "cheap" stuff! And the cost is only going to go up. If I was to drive to work every day, it would cost us well over $100 in gas every month...

...No thanks.

So, the good news is that the UTA (Utah Transit Authority) bus system has an "express" route that runs directly on the freeway from Payson (where we live) to Utah Valley University (where I work and go to school). The even better news is that as a student/staff, I get a yearly bus pass for $5. That's cheaper than one trip driving in the car!

Now I just sit back and sleep or listen to the iPod (or both) while some nice man drives me to work every day. It's never crowded and there is free Wi-Fi service on the bus so I can check emails or whatever. I just sit back and watch the miles fly by and count the money that I am saving. I could get used to this.

(You know, they say there is one crazy weirdo on every bus. I don't think that's true though because I've yet to spot him.)

Spring Has Brought Me Such a Nice* Surprise

The day we moved in, the sky was clear, the sun was shining. I figured we probably wouldn't get around to our boxes of clothing so I had duffle bags packed for everyone with clothes and other necessities for the next few days, just in case. What I didn't plan for was this:

This is what we woke up to early Sunday morning. The church clothes I had packed for me and Zoe included lightweight, shorter skirts/dresses and a t-shirt. So, at 8 am I started ripping into our boxes hunting for sweaters and corduroy. Since then it has snowed (or been cold enough to do so) every day that we've lived here. I guess I thought April meant something around here. How sorely mistaken I was.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Surefire Cure for Depression

I feel so badly that I've made you all suffer without your weekly dose of Flashback Friday. Luckily, our good friend April decided to clean out some photo albums and post a ton of adequately compromising pictures on her website. If you are feeling the severe pangs of withdrawal from my ritual posting of embarrassing pictures, it would do you good to click here. If you are in them, or know the people in the pictures, be prepared to laugh your butt off!

Farewell Tour

While I am working on no less than 6 other posts that are swimming around in my head, here are a TON of pictures that should have made the blog before the move. They didn't, so now I present them en masse, as a tribute of sorts to our previous home.

Farewell, green-tiled, rusty and moldy bathroom

Farewell, Westmore Park

Farewell, lovely-but-cramped apartment

I think we might need a bigger box

And finally:
Farewell, street where we spent over 3 wonderful years as a family

Hello, Summer!
(It has to come someday, right?)

Friday, April 4, 2008

In a Perfect World...

  • I wouldn't have any boxes left to unpack
  • I wouldn't have to wait until James got home at 10 pm to use the laptop to finally get online because the computer is still in shrink wrap
  • I would have my ton-o-pictures from the last few weeks cropped and posted for the whole world to see
  • I would be asleep before 1 in the morning
  • This blog would be re-launched from our new home with a new design
Somehow, despite home ownership, our lives are far from perfect. The corners of our rooms are still cluttered with boxes, mostly filled with odds and ends that need to find a permanent "spot." My parents are visiting and have been helping a ton, but what I'd really love to do is shamelessly stick Zoe in front of the tv for a few hours and "get er done." Over the past couple days we've discovered the bliss of a Nickelodeon Sandwich. Here's the recipe: Start with one episode of Dora. Add Yo-Gabba-Gabba. Repeat Dora, then add Diego. Two hours of mommy time guaranteed. Add Wonder Pets as an appetizer if more time is needed. It's fool proof. Except for the fact that I think my mom and dad would think less of me as a person if I actually let Zoe watch that much television at once. But I think having nothing in our dining room but the dining room table might be worth it.

So consider me on semi-hiatus. We are loving the new place and I'd like to thank everyone who helped in any way with the move. We miss all of our wonderful 7th ward friends and you're all invited to visit us anytime. We are also known to make appearances in the Provo/Orem area.

What else can I say? Please continue to wait patiently. Your call is important and will be answered in the order received. Words to live by.

In the meantime, check out what my awesomely amazing (or is it amazingly awesome?) friends Erin and Deneal have been up to. They created a blog for moms (or dads) that is just cool stuff to do with your kids. No venting, whining, bragging on cute pictures, or documenting milestones. If you want to contribute, drop them a note (or comment on the blog) and they will probably let you join the club. They're cool and accepting like that (obviously if they'll let me join in, they're pretty accepting). Otherwise, feel free just to check it out whenever you feel like you're in a rut with your kids. And yes, I am aware of the hypocrisy of this post - yearning to put my child in front of the tv for hours and touting a new blog to combat said behavior. Anyone have a problem with that? I didn't think so.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hold Tight Folks

Of course things are still a bit crazy and up in the air at our house right now. You can imagine that without internet service it has been a bit difficult to keep you guys updated. That's not to mention the fact that we have not even unpacked the computer yet.

But there is a bright beacon of hope to all of you dedicated Gillice fans out there. We should be up and running with internet service by Thursday night. I will then hand the primary posting responsibility back to Desta (who does such a wonderful job). If there are no updates after that time, you know who to blame.

Thank you for your patience. We will be with you again shortly. In the meantime, please enjoy this random photo.