Friday, February 29, 2008

Flashback Friday: McDonald's

Did you all know that McDonald's gave away free (with purchase of a medium or large drink) breakfast burritos yesterday and today? I was going to get one today but that would require me to be dressed and out of the house before 10:30 so it didn't happen. Anyway, it just made me think of these great pictures that I meant to post several weeks ago but didn't and then forgot that I hadn't.
James and Steve showing the clown some love.


For some weird reason this is one of my favorite pictures of James and Ben.

And now for some justification/venting: It's getting increasingly harder to post because I usually do the blog thing while Zoe takes a nap and this week none of those naps have been more than an hour long. Then between school, work, and business trips for work, I haven't really seen much of James since Monday and I stink at the single parent thing, no matter for how short a period of time. Might I also add that I lose all motivation to do anything while he is gone. I'm pathetic. But to top it all off, we've been having some slight computer problems. Something's up with our power source and it has been affecting everything else - the external hard drive with all of our pictures on it, the scanner, and even the mouse. Loads of fun. Ok, I'm done whining for now. At least the weather is decent and as soon as we go out Zoe forgets that she is overly tired and in a bad mood.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Movin' On Up


Alright, enough beating around the bush. Let's just get everything out in th open:

Yes, we are moving. Here are all the details, or at least the ones I feel comfortable posting for all the world to see:

We are in the process of buying a townhouse in Payson, 20 minutes south of Orem. We started looking at the beginning of the year hoping to be in a place by late spring. We fell in love with Payson and found a great little place in our price range and in the part of town where we wanted to be. The house itself is 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, just over 1300 square feet (nearly double what we live in now), has a fairly large back patio that opens onto a huge field, two bay windows - one in the kitchen creating a nice nook and one in the living room - and great storage space (a storage unit in the back, a full attic, and a crawl space). It is really almost everything we were looking for. The only thing it lacks is a garage, though it does have covered parking, and most units with a garage were out of our league.

The location is absolutely perfect. On one side we have baseball fields (with a playground) and on the other side is a nature preserve (with a playground). Did I mention the $5.5 million dollar water/skate park that is being built half a mile away? All this and I am still under 2 miles from a Wal-mart - which also happens to be one of the newest, non-crowded Wal-marts in the valley. We've also heard that Payson canyon has some great spots for camping.


James and I both hail from relatively small towns and feel just a bit too crowded in the Orem/Provo area. It's so strange to us that you can get more house for your money by moving FURTHER away from all the bustle. That suits us just fine. We are excited to be in a more "quaint" town that boasts of such community events as Onion Days and the Scottish Festival. We are literally going to be in heaven (and I truly am not trying to be sarcastic in any way).

OK, so I do have to point out that we will really miss our neighbors and friends in our current ward. I think people are pretty perplexed that we are moving because it has nothing to do with a job, school, or family. We're not even waiting until the end of a semester! We are simply moving because we can. We can afford a house payment and we want to build some equity before we move out of Utah (presumably in another 5 years or so). We have been so blessed in the apartments we've rented and the people who we've come in contact with. Many of them have already moved on with their lives and we are excited to be doing the same. I feel like there needs to be some sort of ceremony or ritual, like for graduation, only without the silly hats. So now there is nothing left to do but gather boxes and make the most out of our last month in the first place we've ever lived as a married couple.

Speaking of making the most of our time here - let me invite all of our female readers (who live in the area) to girl's night out this Friday. We'll be hitting the dollar theater (in Orem) and seeing Enchanted at 7:20. Be there!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

All Apologies

Let me first address all of you who may ever have to plan a wedding reception in the future: If there is ANY chance that a small child will be in attendance, DO NOT, under any circumstances, spell anything in flower petals on the floor. No matter how lovely the room looks with the dance floor monogrammed, please don't do it. I'm begging you.

Last night, James and I went to a wedding reception for an old roommate of mine. Zoe was stomping and dancing around the room (see the video) until she discovered the dance floor in the middle of the room.


To my dismay, there was a beautiful, and quite large "Y" made out of vast amounts of purple and white flower petals. At first she carefully stepped over the letter, then she happened to walk through it and scatter the petals. She thought that was pretty fun. Then some older boys joined her in the festivities, scattering the petals further. When they were done playing the Y was still mostly in tact, but, despite our best efforts to distract her, Zoe destroyed the Y completely before the evening was over.


To justify her behavior, let me say that if there were absolutely no flower petals on the dance floor, Zoe would have behaved in the exact same manner. She loves jumping, stomping, and dancing around, especially on hard floors. James and I did try our best to keep her under control but she was having so much fun and just couldn't understand why we kept pulling her away. And when I say "just couldn't understand why," I really mean, "screamed and threw a tantrum when." We eventually gave up - after the petals were in no semblance of a Y and other people were also walking across the floor, and because we just didn't feel like good parents disciplining her when she really wasn't doing anything wrong. Plus I wasn't quite sure if they really expected a Y, made of flower petals, in the middle of a dance floor, in the middle of a crowded room, to stay intact all night. Even if that wasn't the intent, I still felt guilty that my child had a hand, well a foot, in destroying the decor.


So, I ask all of you who might ever plan a reception to avoid this situation, not for the sake of the reception's ambiance, but for the sake of the mother's emotional state of the child that destroys said ambiance. I felt guilty and embarrassed and powerless for the better part of an hour, which is generally not how I like to spend an evening - although this isn't the first time I've spent my evening that way and probably won't be the last. To Karissa and Mark - I am so sorry my child wreaked havoc among your beautiful flower petals. First impressions just don't seem to be her strong suit.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

MINE!!

We own our car! Hooray! James just got back from using a significant portion of our tax return to pay off the last bit of the Pilot. So we are technically debt free (besides deferred student loans). And we plan on staying that way for about 3 more weeks, when we will have to start paying on our house. At least that is more of an investment than an SUV (although we love love love love everything about our car). One thing we didn't love was not owning the car. James and I both owned our cars before we bought the Pilot so it felt weird to not have the title and to send money to the bank each month for it. Today we are giving ourselves a big pat on the back for paying off the family car of our dreams in less than two years. It was really worth all the sacrifice and now we are totally prepared to start making house payments. Hooray Financial Security!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where the heck have you guys been?

Short answer: None of your business.

More tactful short answer: On vacation.

Long answer: My oldest nephew Bryson got back from his mission in Argentina last week so we drove out to Colorado to see him. We left Friday morning and arrived in Vail in the afternoon, just in time for Dillon (another nephew) to get finished up in the emergency room - he cracked his wrist shortly before our arrival. We settled in and hung out for a while, then took a gondola ride up to the top of the mountain to go tubing. It got pretty late and since Zoe had only slept 1 hour in the car the whole day she had a huge meltdown before finally giving in and falling asleep in my arms.

Saturday we went snowboarding. And when I say "we" I really mean that James went with my brother, 3 of his kids, and Bryson's girlfriend, while my sister-in-law and I hit the outlet mall with the injured nephew. We packed up and left just in time to miss a storm but we still arrived pretty late at my brother's house in Parker.

Sunday was a typical day at church. Actually it was fairly a-typical for us since no one had to wake up early to go to extra meetings or be responsible for ANYTHING all day. It was great. We came home, lounged, and watched movies in the downstairs theater. Yeah, we're spoiled. By this time, Zoe was getting pretty tired. She hadn't had a decent nap for a couple days and we had been keeping her out late. Most Sundays she doesn't nap for more than 45 minutes so I was prepared to skip the nap and put her down early for bed. Just before 4:00 she was getting unbearably grumpy so I decided to try a nap, thinking she'd be up before 5. She slept for 15 hours straight (waking up at 7 the next morning). I kid you not. Poor thing.

Monday we headed to the Denver Aquarium with the injured nephew and his girlfriend. Tons of fun was had by all. Of course that is the only time we actually took pictures. Zoe loved all the fish and there was a tiger which enthralled her. Tuesday was MY day. My sister-in-law treated me to a facial and when I came home she took Zoe out for a walk. That night James and I hit the hot tub and then slept peacefully until 5 am when we pulled up stakes and headed back to Orem.

video


Zoe tolerated the time in the car fairly well, but was mostly grumpy the whole time we were with my family. She freaked out each time I gave her a bath, which she hasn't done since she fell into the tub fully clothed. The only pleasures she found were in playing with a helium balloon, following the dog around, and sneaking away from mom and dad to climb up and down the hardwood stairs. It freaked me out a little, but I was glad she got some practice in since we are buying and, consequently, moving into a two-story townhouse in Payson at the end of March. WHAT? Stay tuned for more details!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Flashback Friday: Sweetheart's Edition

Hope you all had a great Valentine's Day. It was fairly uneventful here. This year I thought about Valentine's as an anniversary of sorts. It has been one year since I started contributing to this blog. James started blogging a long time ago, but it was one year ago that I commandeered this space. Anyway, James had class until late at night so it was just me and the Nuggler for most of the day. Which left me plenty of time to sort and scan old pictures. Here's what I found:

I bet none of you knew James went for taller women.


If you look closely, you can see James' hair gradually getting longer.


Ah, James and April. How sweet. We miss you guys!


My senior prom with Casey.


A group picture - me with my date, Travis - not the one who has recently appeared on this blog- Paige with her date (so sorry your eyes are closed in this shot), and Erin with hers. Travis was a blind date that turned out...um...really good.

Me and Brian. This boy had the bluest eyes I had ever seen(though you can't tell in the picture). Windex blue. And look at that tan. He lived in Idaho for goodness sakes. He was also a cowboy...


Ben and LaDonna all gussied up.


Travis - yes, that Travis - with Kelly. This is from Senior Ball June 1995.


Fern and Steve. When James saw this picture he said, "Two of my favorite people."

Just so you know, I asked permission for some of these photos to be posted. If your picture is up here and you want me to take it down, let me know, unless you:
  1. Are a Guy
  2. Are related to us (sorry, Fern, your veto power is negated since you are family)
  3. Don't have a blog of your own (let he who is without a blog cast NO stones)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. Biggs

If any of you happen to see this man today:


Give him a big hug from me and Zoe. And a pinch on the butt from James. Then kindly escort him home and show him how to view our blog. We KNOW he has internet now. Also, while you're at his house please snap a picture of his family and send it to us so we can see how adorable his kids are.

If you can't find him, look closely. He is often found masquerading as garlic.


He is also known to hang out on bridges.


And for all your flooring needs, remember to visit Abbey Carpet in Auburn! I know we do.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Time For a New Do!

Just in case any of you were starting to think that this blog was turning into a 3-act show (Flashback Friday, Music Snobs Anonymous, Zoe Watch) I want to assure you that James and I do actually have lives and, from time to time, do interesting things. Like last night. After months of meaning to, wanting to, and downright NEEDING TO, I finally got my hair cut. And colored. I really do like my hair short, but it just grows so dang fast it's hard for me to justify spending so much money to keep it that way. And the good people at Supercuts just really aren't that, well, super. Or even good for that matter. So with the last of my babysitting money (Garth's grandma is now living with the family) I splurged and got my hair done (along with a few other material extravagances like clothing). I think this style will suit me for the next few months (which is about how long it will take to grow to an unrecognizable length). Check out these self-portraits:



I actually wrote this last night, but because I got home so late I couldn't take any pictures. And then today Zoe refused to take a nap so I haven't really been able to get anything done. This is what I wish she was doing right now:


A special thanks to Kayla for 1) Calling me out for not blogging for 3 whole days and 2) Using the word "hecka" in her comment. That has to be my favorite non-word word.

And coming up this week - Flashback Friday: Sweetheart's Edition. It's gonna be big. And that's just the hair...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Flashback Friday: Survivor Favorites

Finally, a legitimate excuse to write all I want about Survivor. Here is the root of my survivor obsession. I watched season 1 casually before I left for college, and there, with the help of my roommates, it became a full-blown affair. Here my roomie Paige and I route for Ethan to win Africa (season 3, January 10, 2002). We came in full costume and made up a few challenges of our own. We even voted. And Ethan won. We were ecstatic. Who wouldn't be? Just look at those knock-out legs. Ah to be young and have no shame!






















Well, for about three seasons I have been saying that we were due for another All Stars edition of Survivor. Finally I get it. The "Fans" aspect is interesting, but I think I would have preferred an all-out All Stars. I heard that they decided to change it up since Amazing Race also did an All Stars episode and of course they have to be different. I'm happy with the choices, but wish that there were a few players from Palau and Guatemala. Off the top of my head, I would have also liked to see Ian and Coby from Palau, Judd and Rafe from Guatemala, Tina, Misty, Terry and Austin from Panama (Exile), Boo from Fiji, and Aaron from China.

I could go on, there are so many players who I love, or think didn't really get a chance to show us what they have, but that would be my other 10 for a straight All Stars game. If I were to reach way back, I'd also include Alex from Amazon. I do like that there aren't any winners here. Although I heard that they tried to get Tom from Palau but he didn't want to. So I guess you could say I'm excited for this season, although the first episode threw me (don't worry, no spoilers here for anyone a little bit behind). Here's to another great season!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Music Snobs Anonymous: Don't You Evah (Updated)

I triple-dog-dare all y'all NOT to get this song stuck in your head. More than that, not to get it stuck in your sinews - it is that awesomely addictive. Zoe and I just love to dance to this one. See for yourself. This is "Don't You Evah" by Spoon, off their album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. This appeared on James' Top 10 in 2007 list.

OK, so the punks that have this video disabled embedding after I put this up. Here is the link to the video and here is just the song:



Another song I personally enjoy is The Underdog. See? We like "normal" stuff too.

Monday, February 4, 2008

On the Origin of Nuggle

Wow, I haven't posted for a while. Mostly because our life has been downright boring lately. Which is fine by me. It's nice that February is starting out relatively calm because pretty soon it is going to get rip-roaring crazy. You'll see. I guess the only thing to update everyone on is that I was released from my calling. I have been the first counselor in the Relief Society for almost exactly a year and a half (which is a long time for our ward) and I got to serve under two fantastic presidents. I'm pretty sure my freedom won't last long. The Young Women's president tracked me down to let me know she was "excited" that I was released. Which is right up my alley. I'd still be going to Young Women's if I had any say-so in the matter.

Other than that, Zoe isn't feeling so great and has a pretty yucky cough. I'm just hoping it blows over. If that wasn't enough, I finally got to the exciting part of Jane Eyre, where things actually start to happen so for the last two and a half days I've really been no good to anyone. Just ask James.

To make up to our families, specifically the grandmas, for excluding Zoe's little nuggle face from so many (6 straight) recent posts, I present the following:

On the Origin of Nuggle

Some of you may have noticed (and some of you have commented) about the usage of the term "Nuggle." Today I intend to address the origins and proper usage of the term.

James and I do not belong to the school of thought that says you should wait to choose your child's name until after they are born (for me this is one of those no-brainers right up there with finding out the sex at 20 weeks, no offense to anyone not of my opinion, but really you are crazy and wrong). When they come out they are swollen, red, and covered in goo. And I am in a drug/labor of love-induced stupor. No condition for making far-reaching decisions in my child's life. So before we even got married we knew what names we wanted to use for our children.

One thing we couldn't predict was the role of nicknames. During the pregnancy we went through various ones, including Zowen before we knew the gender (Zoe + Owen). Then Zoe came into the world and every nickname we ever called her went out the window. After months of toying around with new nicknames, we realized that the only word/name that fit her was "Nuggle." It started out as us just saying snuggle, then we dropped the "s" and it became a noun. Other incarnations we use include: Nuggles, Nuggle Bear, Nuggles T. Bear, Nuggle-Faced Bear, Nugglesome Bear, and Nuggly B (used exclusively by James). Sometimes she is a Nuggle, sometimes she is The Nuggle (a la The Cheat) but she is always nuggly.

How long will she be a Nuggle? Who knows. We will probably embarrass her in front of her friends in high school.

So maybe it's a half-made up word that means nothing to anybody else. To us it sums up everything about this wonderful little girl we get to hang out with every day.

Now aren't you all glad we didn't name her when we saw her?

video

All the snow pictures/footage is from one miraculous outing where Zoe decided it was about time to actually touch the snow she talks about endlessly. She went all along one side of the walkway sticking her right foot into the snow. I guess this is what you would call a step in the right direction? The video gets a little bit of it. Something must have gone terribly wrong the last time she stuck her foot in because she a had a total meltdown.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Flashback Friday: Algodones in Black and White

No, I didn't forget about this, I just got busy today and put it off. Then I was going to put a certain set of James' pictures up, but in going through some of my own, things started to take a different turn (I promise, I will get to the other pictures at a later time).

I had this great blast from the past this week when I came across a man who served his mission in my "home" ward about 10 years ago (give or take a few years). He was the first, and nearly last, missionary that my dad tolerated to have over for dinner because he was from South Africa and had a great accent and lots of interesting stories to share.

The whole encounter got me thinking about where I grew up. It's a little town called Algodones that is nestled right between Santa Fe and Albuquerque NM. Though the bigger towns around it change so drastically, this little place seems to stay the same. In high school I got to document a lot of the town, especially around my parent's property, on film (ie black and white pictures). All of these pictures are scans of my original hand-developed, darkroom photos from my junior year (1999-2000). I've got some more from my parents' house that I'll share at a later time, but I just wanted to let you all in on New Mexico's best kept secret.

The rest of the building burned right down to the ground years ago, but this little jewel hung on.


Miscellanous Creepy Ruins


The tracks that run by our house
Many a penny (and nickel and dime) were squashed - and still more lost in the attempt - on these tracks. I don't know how many days we spent walking up and down this stretch. On summer nights, when the windows in the house were open, the roar of the trains was deafening. I loved it. But what is that weird place the tracks are headed towards? Keep scrolling.

To this day I have no idea what was ever manufactured or processed in this place, but it just fascinates me. The railroad tracks split off and went into it for loading/unloading purposes, but I don't think it ever functioned in my lifetime.

This place is a huge part of my life. I spent 18 years in the same house in this little blip on the map. I'm so glad I have these pictures that perfectly capture the essence of this place (to me at least). Thanks for indulging me. Next week Flashback Friday will resume it's juvenile, slightly embarrassing persona which we have all grown to love.