Friday, October 31, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Happy Halloween! Thought we'd bring you up-to-speed on our Halloween fun thus far (we still have tonight to go!)

October 17th we met up with a bunch of Jack's buddies at Gardner Village. They do a witch-theme every October and had fun witchy things all over the shopping village. The kids' favorite part? Going to McDonald's playland afterwards. The didn't want to leave McD's! I spent the week before working frantically on Jack and Sheridan's costumes, but didn't get all of Jack's details finished in time (probably because I decided to use a different material the day before and started over on Thursday!).

On Monday the 27th, we went to the Halloween Party at the Bean Museum on BYU campus. The kids LOVE all the animals there and had a great time dressing up. I worked on Jack's costume during the day, since I hadn't touched it except to move it since the 17th! Still wasn't 100% finished, but people knew what he was! As a note, Sheridan's costume was WAY easier. I don't know why the boy wanted to be the Tin Man, but who REALLY understands the mind of a nearly-four-year-old?

Wednesday the 29th we had a cousin party up in Sandy. Unfortunately, the AF cousins couldn't come, but we had SO MUCH FUN with those who were there. I think it may have to become an annual event. I don't have a pict of all the cousins together in their costumes, but they looked ADORABLE! Tyler's Grampa Larry and Gramma Diane were able to come and they had the funkiest masks--they are so much fun! Gramma Di made an eyeball cake that had strawberry puree injected into the white cake...eeewwww! It was a ton of fun for everybody!

Last night we carved pumpkins (or, in Sheridan's case, colored them). The kids had so much fun.
Tonight we're planning on trick-or-treating and other Halloween fun! We'll update you...soon!

You can call him MASTER TYLER!

Tyler has been working on his Masters of Public Administration for 3 years (Fall of 05) through the University of Nebraska at Omaha's distance learning program. The man has been amazing. Up until this last year, he got up at like 5 am M-F. I think one of those days he went to play basketball, but otherwise he did 2 + hours of schoolwork every morning! Very self-motivated. I couldn't have done it! All of his courses, lectures, tests, etc were online. It was a tough but good experience for him.

This last year has been tough. I've been pregnant, so I struggle to get up with the kids in the morning (I can't believe how exhausted this 3rd pregnancy keeps me!) and Tyler has let me sleep in. He's done a lot of his schoolwork from home, but with 2 early-rising kids, he hasn't always gotten everything done that he wants to. As a side note, it's also killed his basketballing. Poor T.

Well, the final step in becoming a true Master of Administerating the Public was to take a day-long exam. It had 3 questions and was HOURS long. He could either pass with distinction, pass, or fail. After the first 2 questions (which took 3 or 4 hours in the morning) he thought he could probably pass with distinction. After the last question (another 3 or 4 hours!) he just hoped to pass! The test was in June.

Jack made Daddy this congrats sign with only a little spelling help from me. (Good Job, I {heart} you Dad. MnMn) when he finished the test.
At the end of June we received the good news that he'd PASSED!!!

The official graduation at UNO was August 18th. We were not going to be in Nebraska on the 18th of August (Tyler thought it wasn't worth it to wear a cap and gown and walk across a stage). We decided to go to New Jersey instead.
So, sneaky me, I coordinated with Tyler's mom to put on our own graduation ceremony the night of the real graduation! We lured him out of the house with family pictures (it was with his sister taking the picts, so it was more alluring than it sounds!). His mom and younger sister pulled together a niece and nephew Kazoo band to perform "Pomp and Circumstance". There was a cap and gown (man, my Mother in Law has the BEST dress up/costume closet EVER), a mock diploma, cake, and sparklers!
Tyler was completely surprised and touched. One of the few times he's gotten misty-eyed in recent years.
He received his diploma in September. We received pictures from his party in October.
Thank you, family and Congratulations, Baby!

Mission: Door

We have a very large "to do" list for our house, as you may have gathered from previous posts. Some of the things on there have been making us crazy for a year. The door is one of those things. You can't really tell in this picture, but...
When it was last painted, the painters used a roller and probably slapped on a thick coat of paint in the HOT sun. Paint bubbles dried onto the door immediately, leaving behind a texture not unlike a fine popcorn ceiling. Over the years, dirt has collected in and around each tiny pustule-like bubble. Nasty, nasty, nasty!

Well, in September (you know, before the cold weather), we started sanding down the door to put on a fresh coat of bubble-free paint. Sanding wasn't very effective. We tried paint stripper (unfortunately, I bought eco-friendly stuff that even a pregnant woman could use, since I didn't want Tyler to have to do my dirty work). Not very effective, either, although it did get the rest of the nasty tan texture off. We ended up using a heat gun, which allowed us to scrape off the other layers of white primer and green paint (but Jack really really wanted us to keep the green paint--it's his favorite). Lest you think this was a one day project, the various sanding, stripping, and scraping activities lasted until 2 weekends ago! Part of the problem was lousy weather over several weekends, the other part was a frustration with the project in general. I was really annoyed at the beginning of the month when our door was bare metal in some places and peeling green and white in others. One lady from church got so confused when she was coming to my house but saw the horrible door that she wandered around the neighborhood, looking for my house. She knew that the horrible door wasn't mine!
Nearly finished looked way worse than this for a few weeks!

So, 2 weekends ago, we finished sanding and primed that sucker. Ah, the sweet odor of spray primer lingered in our garage, but it was the right choice for even, SMOOTH coverage. We tried to paint the door with our choice of "Cranberry Zing" but decided that we weren't really going for major brush marks or bubbles. Project went on hold for ANOTHER week until I could borrow a paint sprayer from my friend.

Hooray, Halellujah, Rejoice!

The paint sprayer was the perfect tool, although it did take MANY coats to get complete coverage. In the end, while the door is not perfect, the texture is relatively smooth and even. It's my favorite color, too, which doesn't hurt!
And now, behold, our door in all its glory!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mercy Me!

Or should I say...MRSA Jack?
Last week, we discovered that what looked like an infected bug bite under Jack's arm was really MRSA (pronounced like "mercy", but with an "Uh" ending). AHHHHH! My son was infected by a virulent strain of Staph which is resistant to all but 3 antibiotics. It was a little scary. We watched a dime-sized, slightly red sore turn into what looked like a 3rd nipple. A large one. Perhaps that's not the most polite thing to say, but seriously...Ugh. Fortunately, we caught it before it had even developed a pustule, so it wasn't very advanced. It didn't spread to his blood or anywhere else, which is VERY good news--MRSA is deadly. The doc recognized it immediately and started him on the antibiotic right away (the culture came back 2 days later and confirmed diagnosis).
So, I guess I just wanted y'all to be aware! I had no idea MRSA was so fast-acting and prevelant. If you or your kid has a sore that is getting larger instead of healing, check it out (but don't try to drain it yourself, cuz apparently that can get the infection into the blood very easily--fortunately I learned that, too!). It's crazy how potent this little germ is, so the faster it gets treated, the better!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm IT, twice!

TAG 1: 6 Weird Things

So, list 6 weird things about yourself and tag 6 others.

1. I can touch my elbows behind my back.  It has become more difficult in recent years, but I can still pull it off. 

2. I had never really watched musicals before I married Tyler. His family is WAY into musicals (once, while listening to a best of broadway CD with his 2 sisters, his little sister was SHOCKED that I only knew 2 of the songs. "No, tell me you know this one, you've got to know this one!). I had only sat through Mary Poppins, The King and I, and Wizard of Oz before marrying T. I didn't enjoy them AT ALL, but now my favorite has got to be Thoroughly Modern Millie. 

3. While I enjoy cooking, I get kinda stressed about it. I don't know why. I get stressed about what to cook, how much to cook, and if it will even taste decent (even with dishes I make often, it takes years to feel confident in consistent results). I haven't really made any terrible meals, but the stress persists. I get bored with food easily, too, so what I make now is not what I was generally making 2 years ago. However, I LOVE cooking thanksgiving dinner. I love eating it even more.

4. I am a reading addict. I can't let myself read too often anymore because I neglect both husband and children. Seriously, I get sucked into the imaginary world and cannot extract I really have to limit my intake.

5.  Whenever Tyler goes out of town for any extended time (beyond 36 hours) I try to tackle a home improvement project. For some reason, I find it easier to tackle the painting jobs, the sheetrocking, the random stuff while he's gone and the kids are in bed. This doesn't really help my need for sleep, but it keeps me from getting too lonely while he's gone. Plus, our house needs so much work...

6. I am extremely clumsy. I trip over my own feet, hit my limbs and hips on doors and corners, and generally do something injury when I try to participate in sports. I have been this way since childhood (my parents were worried about it, although they never told me so...I could just tell in the significant looks they shared whenever I knocked myself over by running into a doorframe). Whenever one of our kids walks into a door or wall corner, Tyler just looks at me and acknowledges that the kids get it from my side (as opposed to their good looks and passion for drama and music, which seems to come more strongly from the Vigue!).

TAG 2: All about Me!

I am-30. Finally, something that lends me maturity!

I want-chocolate. All of the time. 

I have-a belly with more wiggles and jiggles than Santa Claus

I wish-I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller.

I hate-spiders and raw onions. Let's be honest, here.

I fear- the death of a loved one. Seriously, very paranoid about it!

I hear-that Jack has just turned on the TV. Again. Excuse me as I lay down the law...

I search-for my keys. Often. Why don't they ever stay where I've put them?

I wonder-how long it will be until I get a good night's sleep. I doubt it'll happen anytime in the next 7 months!

I always-underestimate how long home improvement projects will take. 

I usually-am late. I try, but, as with home improvement projects, usually underestimate how long it takes to get me and 2 kids out the door. I'm sure this will just get worse!

I am not-very patient...with my kids, my spouse, and especially myself.

I dance-but not often enough. Can't wait until the kids are into something other than "Itsy bitsy spider", it doesn't have the best beat!

I sing-all the time. Marrying a Vigue has only reinforced that!

I never-enjoy doing the dishes. Or mopping. 

I rarely-do the dishes (thanks to the most fabulous husband in the world!)

I cry-far too easily. Always have. Pregnancy just makes it worse!

I am not always-careful about how I say things. I think I offend people easily because my edit button doesn't work appropriately and I forget to make sure that what I say is what I really mean.

I lose-track of days very easily.

I am confused-by why my son thinks that it is effective to whine. 

I need-a good massage. 

I should-be better at keeping in touch with friends.

I dream-very vividly. 

I tag Jenni. I would tag more people, but I know how bad I am at doing tags, soooo....if you're reading this, "Just do it"!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

In search of the Zucchini

Well, what with our large yard and all, we decided in June (once the dreaded, evil, grasping morning glory had been sufficiently tamed) to plant a garden. It was the end of June, just entering the unbearably hot summer season here. Great time to garden! Apparently, everyone in our area isn't of that mindset, as most of the veggies were gone at Home Depot by the time we got there. We were lucky to pick up a watermelon vine (which didn't really grow at all), 2 pepper plants (one of which grew, but neither of which produced more than a pretty white flower!), a purple basil plant (which has done decently, but is a little scrawny still) and a zucchini. I figured, if nothing else, the zucchini would do...something. It did. We recently harvested the fruit of our labors. One zucchini.

We made 2 lovely batches of zucchini brownies with the one zucchini. It actually looks like we might harvest 2 more before it frosts over!

So, the moral is, if you like zucchini but not too much, plant one in late June! It might just give you the little somethin' somethin' you crave without having to offload a million squashes on your neighbors.
Oh, and now it turns out that the morning glory isn't really under control after all. It had just gotten a little lazy whilst it was 100,000 degrees here. Sigh. I guess me and Roundup will have to resume our relationship.

It's a ZOO!!

Ok, so we went to the zoo recently. There we met our good friends Dani, Cameron, and Mayes...and they had found our other friends, Alicia, Xavier, and Quinn! One of those things where Alicia had come to hang out with her sister in law, but she just couldn't pass up hanging out with our rad selves. Yeah, we're that rad.

Here's Cameron, Xavi, and Jack (who, I guess, was really proud of his cool New Zealand hat and wanted to show that off instead of his face!).

Ok, so the kids' favorite thing was the giant ball/sculpture in front with water around it. Sure, those animals are cool enough, but, COME ON!!! They have a giant ball with WATER! Oh Joy, Oh Bliss! They did also enjoy jumping and climbing on some rocks (I'm sure this little area has a real name but I don't know it, so I'll call it the rocky climby place). Sheridan was really proud of herself for climbing up the big rock.

This picture is like Where's Waldo, try to find one of our 6 kids in it. I'm sure there's at least one in there :)