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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Big Eater At Our House

I seem to be having a lot of conversations lately with friends whose children have recently discovered their appetites. My cousin even recently had a post on her blog about how much her oldest daughter has started eating. I always listen to these stories of Jimmy's sudden love for Egos or Sarah's seven helpings of potatoes with interest, but have nothing to contribute to the topic of my own experience, being kid-less and all.

But then I got to thinking, there is one member of Trev and my's family who has an absolutely ferocious appetite. Anyone out there who has ever been suckered into dog-sitting for us can attest that Ripsi is one big eater.

Just to prove it to the world, here is a video clip of our nightly routine . We go for a walk or a bike ride and come back to the garage to feed the dog, who is absolutely crazy about her food. We pour it in a bowl and she stares intently, just waiting for the "go ahead." to dig in. I can't figure out how to flip the video the right way - and was a ding-bat and videoed it the wrong way - and while the dog would love a re-run and another bowl of food I am too lazy to try it again, so just tilt your head 90 degrees to the left for me. There you go....a little further...yes, that's it. Now push play.

Sure, she is a bit hairy, and not an actual child - but she is definitely the one with appetite in our family!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Silly, Strange Husband

Do you ever find yourself looking at your spouse and thinking, it is so odd that I live with this person? Indulge me in sharing such a moment from my morning.

Around 9:00 AM this morning Trevor was getting ready for school and I was up cleaning the bathrooms (I only teach a night class tonight, so my day is pretty free). I also decided this morning to windex and clean all the glass surfaces in our house, mirrors, picture frames, vases etc. So I am windexing my way around when Trevor stops what he is doing and reaches for the windex bottle.

"Where did you get that?" he asks.
"The windex?" I reply
"Yeah - that is old."

Trevor likes old things. His favorites clothes are shirts from his grandpa and my grandpa-great's old shirts. Not to mention how he loves his dad's old high school clothes. I have given up buying him new shirts because he only seems interested in wearing stuff that is at least 25 years old. The windex bottle I was using is old. It came with our house, I am not sure how old it is...old enough that it use to only cost $1.95 at K-Mart. But I have been trying to use all the old cleaning supplies that my family had stashed down here. They seem to work fine and they are free.

So then my husband says, "When you get finished with that bottle don't throw it away."
"Why?" I ask.
"You can give it to me."
"What are you going to do with it?"
He thinks for a moment, searching for a viable reason and comes back with, "I can put chemicals in it."
I burst out laughing, "chemicals? you have chemicals?"
"Yes." He replies, even more intent on being serious because I am finding the whole thing so funny. "I might have chemicals some day."
All I could say was, "You remind me of the Una bomber."
He shrugs, "Just save the bottle ok?"

So....if any of you out there are making your way through old bottles of windex, bleach or tide that look like they are from the early 80's, don't throw them out. Save them. You can wrap them up and mail them to my husband for Christmas, or for his birthday. He will treasure them forever and fill them with "chemicals."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Designer Deep-Cleaning

Just an update about my New Year's Resolution concerning my house: I am kicking butt at this! There are no more piles of clutter and it always feels shiny. We are loving it. Only, now that I am absolutely on top of the general cleaning and the clutter, I have a new problem. It only takes me maybe 30 minutes to pick up clutter and then to move onto the cleaning project of that day - ie "clean the bathrooms." On my cleaning list are the following chores that I cycle through. I originally had these scheduled for certain days of the week, but I have adjusted to cleaning whatever needs cleaned at any given time - the important thing for me is that I spend at least an hour each day cleaning, sometimes longer if I have more time.

  • Clean the kitchen
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Vacuum the top floor of house
  • Vacuum stairs & Basement
  • Dust & Polish Furniture
  • Mop Entryway
  • Laundry

This has worked pretty well until this week. Like I said, now that I am all caught up I find myself wandering around wondering what to clean. Granted, there are certain areas that need cleaned several times a week - but there have also been days where I think "nothing really needs cleaned." But because my life runs most smoothly when on a schedule and routine I need to still spend that time cleaning. My friend Michelle suggested I make a list of tasks that are more like "deep-cleaning chores" and I work on these whenever I don't feel like I need to re-clean anything else. Things like "cleaning out the refrigerator" and "washing the walls in the Kitchen."

In surfing the internet I have found some helpful sites, and some fabulous vintage art on the subject - but all it seems to inspire is to scrub my pots and pans with steel wool and press my aprons.

So - I am turning to all you cleaning gurus out there. Will you help me pad my list? What are things I can clean in-between my regular cleaning activities?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Martin Luther King Day and Mike

A week or so ago we got a text message that read something like:

"I am coming to St. George next over Martin Luther King. I have to get out of Heber. See you soon."

The sender was Michael, one of Trev's USU college buddies who now lives and works in Heber City, Utah.Mike is a great guy. He and Trevor took many of the same classes together and worked on tons of school projects. Trev has a unique group of friends because of this. There are about 6 or 7 of them and they could not be more different from one another, yet the created some strong bonds through school and have turned into life-long friends. Mike is probably the best at keeping in touch with everyone, and he kind of holds the group together. He visits everyone and keeps us all updated on each others' lives. Michael is one of the most fun folks I know. We joke that he is more my friend now than Trevor's. He is a great guy and we were excited to spend the weekend with him. He arrived Friday night and was so touched that we actually have a spare room for him to use now - he used to just crash on our couch!

We had to save our budget money all through the last couple of weeks to prepare for the weekend, becuase, as Trevor says, "Mike makes us appreciate the finer things in life." That means going out to eat and shopping.

We had some wonderful meals, made a spectacular bean dip that we munched on the enitre weekend, shopped way too much, stocked up (and ate) tons of candy and junk, and watched countless episodes of Law & Order SVU (sort of a thing we always do when Mike comes to visit us). Oh - we had one healthy moment when we went for a bike ride.

So, today, my last day off before going back to work on Monday - I am cleaning the house, trying to burn off some of those calories, and missing Mike. We had a great weekend. Thanks so much for coming to visit!

Friday, January 16, 2009

I have a problem...

I have Spring Fever. It is only January. The weather is so nice here! Normally this time of year I am still slugging through snow and bundling up to go outside. But in sunny St. George, the weather is extremely pleasant, and well...spring-like one could say. Especially one from Idaho, one who has lived all the years of her life in the frigid north. So my biological calendar has kicked in and repeats to me often throughout the day, "You are outside and the sun is so sunny, It must be Spring!!!"

Logically, I know it is still January. But I seem to think it is Spring. And aside from just feeling like I can finally wear white again and should be dying Easter Eggs, my larger concern is the effect this is having on my job. See, in all previous years Spring happened simultaneously with the letting out of school and the end of the semester. Not so, here, in my January-Spring world I am only just beginning a semester. Only two weeks in my old habits are telling me we should be wrapping up and letting out. And the sensation oozes into my classroom. I constantly feel that I don't have enough time to cover all my material and get through all I want to address, when, in fact, I have oodles of times. Fourteen more weeks to be exact.

And, as the weather continues to get nicer and nicer that translates into fourteen more weeks of this seasonally confused sensation...which is oh so awful.

Mark Twain sums it up nicely, "It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"

Anyone out there have any cures?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I {heart} Choclate Cake

I have developed a deep fondness for chocolate cake out of a box with home-made fudge frosting.
The only good thing about this is that Chocolate cake mixes often go on sale for a ridiculously low price at the grocery store.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons...

...Make Lemonade!

I figured this was a good sentiment to follow up the previous post. Trevor's Grandma Linderman in California gave us a huge bag of lemons, so we have been enjoying fresh-squeezed lemonade with dinner every night. It is soooooooo good. Thanks so much Grandma Thelma!

5 Reasons It Should Not Snow in St. George

1. Because it is the desert...hello....
2. Palm Trees just look ridiculous when they are covered with snow.
3. Nobody knows how to drive in the "snow and ice" (as a Rexburg original I use those terms here loosely).
4. The whole town freaks out.
5.This is a hole in our living room ceiling. About a week before Christmas St. George got around three inches of snow, and apparently our roof is not made for snow. As the snow began to melt the next day I was walking through the living room when suddenly a heard a distinct dripping noise. I spun around, looked up and the southern corner of my living room ceiling looked like it was pregnant. There was a big bubble beneath the paint. I grabbed a bucket, a ladder and shimmied up to stick a knife through the bubble.

Turns out we have a leak in the flashing of our chimney. The water seeps through, runs down a truss and pools in this spot. Luckily the repairs won't be too expensive, and we made a new friend out of it all. The roofer and contractor who will help us fix it actually lives in our same complex, just one street over. In fact, his house is the exact floor plan of ours. We feel so comfortable knowing he is familiar with these homes and will do a good job. He was really kind and later even came back over to give Ripsi some great big bones from the elk he shot this year. He also brought over his cute little Jack Russel Terrier, Zoey, and we all went across the street to play some fetch in the common area.

So...the roof thing stinks...but it is nice to know we have a helpful, kind neighbor.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A New Year and A New Me

That is comes the obligatory resolution post. This time of year I often find myself asking "The road to where is paved with what-kind of intentions?" As a society and a culture we are notoriously good at making and consequently breaking our New Year's Resolutions, but it still seems to be something we buy into every year. My cousin Kelesey has a deliciously witty post about just this subject on her blog, and while I envy those who can just continually work for self improvement regardless of a superimposed culture start and end date, I am just to dang lazy.

So I set resolutions....and to keep those resolutions I bribe myself. Yes. You just read that correctly. And yes, it is pathetic. But it seems to work. So each year I set small, manageable resolutions and then pick a reward for myself if I keep them. My great, and very analytically minded girlfriend Jessica, pointed out that this is a beautiful system, because ultimately it allows me to get something I would have gotten myself anyway, but just makes me work a bit harder for it, thus making the entire experience seem more satisfying (and less shallow and selfish) overall. So in this sense I am actually double-tricking myself. Trick A comes in bribing myself to fulfill my goals, Trick B comes in the fact, that, let's be honest, I probably would have gotten myself the reward eventually without all the work and self-improvement involved....It is best for me not to think about this point to deeply and instead to just happily fool myself into becoming a new and improved me.
So here they are, the 2009 resolutions:

1. Keep a Better House: Now, let's get one thing straight. I am a pretty good housekeeper to begin with. I like things clean. Our house never gets dirty or grimey, rather clutter tends to build up. The clutter drives my husband NUTS! After some serious self-analysis and an enlightening conversation with my mother and Trevor over Christmas I have come to some understanding about my cleaning habits and have been able to adjust my approach. I am so excited about this that I am sharing my system with you all, because it works so well for me. My mother's house has been spotless for my entire life. I mean we are talking every room looks like a page out of Better Homes & Gardens Spotless. My entire life my mother would wake us up, usually on a saturday morning and tell each child what room they were assigned to clean. We would then clean those rooms, and we would really clean them - wash the baseboards, the walls, polish everything etc. This is the way I learned to clean. However, when I grew up I suddenly had not only one room, but many rooms. I still appraoched cleaning with my room to room system. But as our houses have gotten bigger things get more spread out, and after working all day I come home with the intention to clean and only make it through one or two rooms before calling it quits and collapsing in exhaustion. As I explained this to my mom she told me that while we deep-cleaned once a week, she was constantly surface cleaning all of the time. She suggested I write out all my house-work tasks and spread them over the days of the week. So on Tuesdays I clean the mirrors, Wednesdays I vacuum everwhere etc. It is AMAZING! Each day I deal with all of the clutter throughout the house instead of just thinking, "I will get to that pile when I clean in that room." Then I do one general cleaning task. Our house feels so nice!

2. Stay On A Budget:
For Christmas I asked for and received the book Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover . I married a man who is a miser. And I say that with love and adoration, because I realize how lucky I am. Trevor lives very frugally, and it has been a journey for me to emulate him. We do pretty well with money, but I know I can do goal this year is to not ever break my budget. In the past I find myself saying things like, "well, it is just fifty dollars over, and I know we have the money to cover it." when confronted with a pair of shoes I just have to have, or when craving pork pot roast at the grocery store instead of the freezer full of meat we have at home. This will be my hardest resolution to keep. To help myself, I have given Trev my credit cards and am just using cash...because it is harder for me to part with cold, hard green cash than swipe that little piece of plastic. One of my favorite quotes from my new book is: "Living right is not complicated, but it is difficult, the same is true of finances, living on a budget is not complicated, but it is difficult."

3. Study for the GRE Subject Test 3 days a week - for at least two hour periods. I am actually enjoying this so far. I am reading The Iliad...the story of a very angry man.

4. Write for 2 hours each Saturday Morning and Send material to Publishers the Last Saturday of every month. My entire life I have been told that I have the ability to write and create lovely things. I have been told that I have the potential to be published and be successful. I have been told that I need to be more disciplined if I ever want to do anything with me talent, so here it goes.

And if I keep all of my noble aspirations, what do I get in return? Something I desperately want to do. I ask all of you as loyal blog readers and friends to check in with me periodically, keep me on track and headed toward a year of actualized self-improvement. So is hoping that my goals and good intentions pave the road to Baja...and not to...well, you know where.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Word About My Husband

Have I told anyone how amazing my husband is lately? For those that don't know, or ever doubted, Trevor is INCREDIBLE!

Trev started school again this Monday. He is going through the accounting program at DSC and will be finished in three more semesters with his second bachelor's degree. Trev already has a great degree in Public Relations & Corporate Communications from USU...he was an amazing student there, was the "Outstanding Graduating Senor" from his class, and was married to a problem.

That is right - he was married to me.

See, with PR jobs you generally have to look across the entire country for a good job offer and then you pretty much move there and work. Most often these job offers come in the way of large cities...which I love to visit...but really don't want to live in.

Trevor is amazingly supportive, and has always put my happiness and my goals ahead of his own. He agreed to move to St. George really for my benefit and my career. And, to be totally honest, there just are not a lot of PR jobs here.

Trev has never once complained about this situation, even though I know it has taken him a while to be happy here. I know it is hard for him to have people look at our family and say, "Well, what is Trevor doing?" What he is doing is sacrificing his possible career options & the approval of a lot of family and friends for mine instead. Being the man in the equation and the head of our household, I imagine this has not always been an easy image for him to be paired with. He has never complained, only simply said that if he wants to work in PR we would likely have to move further away from friends and family, something that right now, we just don't want to do.

So, he has bitten the bullet and returned to school. With the economy the way it is and tuition benefits he gets from my job we figured this was a good option. He is enrolled in the accounting program and since Monday has been going full-speed ahead. It is really inspiring to me.

He is taking 19 credits of classes like statistics, microeconomics, business law, and accounting. Not easy subjects. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday he goes to school at 7:30 in the morning and takes classes until 4:00 PM - then he goes to work at 5:00 PM until 10:00 PM. On Tuesdays and Thursdays he is in class from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM and then he either goes to BestBuy to work or comes home and studies for hours. It is intense, and his effort and dedication has made me pour more effort into studying for PHD programs. Like I said, he is truly inspiring.

I don't think I tell him often enough how GRATEFUL I am for his love and support, how AMAZING and INCREDIBLE he really is, and how much I APPRECIATE his efforts for our family and future. Like my Grandma Gwen once said, "Trevor gives me wings." I love you dear.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Having a fight with Blogger

Anyone know why the text is all screwy in my last post? I have fought with blogger on it for the last couple of hours. And am officially frustrated. It looks just like normal text in my typing window - I have tried to edit the post like a million times...anyone know what is going on? Is it because of the video inclusion?

Catching up through the longest post in blogging history

...or at least the history of my blog. I think that 13 days is the longest I have ever gone without posting, and I have become so used to pouring all my thoughts and pictures and updates out into the vast blogosphere that falling so far behind leaves me wondering just how much catching up I have to do. I could sum up our vacation with a simple, "It was great." But, if my dear readers are anything like me, it is the details that all you people are interested in. I cannot believe how much has happened in all of your lives over the past two weeks, I kept exclaiming, "no way" and "listen to this' as I caught up on my blog reading yesterday. It is so funny how I have gone years without speaking to some of you in the past, but how much I miss knowing about you since reconnecting through these web-logs.

Anyway - where have we been? Ever heard the saying, "I've gone to look for myself, if I should return before I get back please tell myself to wait for me?" This is how a lot of our vacation felt, like we were constantly on the move. Since moving to Southern Utah we have not been able to travel home as much, and all of our family was eager to see us. We are so lucky to have so many people who love us. But sometimes it is hard to have three families all within a 20 minute radius of each other. We sort of end up being everywhere and nowhere at once. We arrived in Idaho on the 23 - after a hairy drive. It stormed the entire way - such miserable roads. But we made it. leaving St. George the mountains were incredible, there was no snow down low, so the red rock buttes are clear and visible, but were backed by solid whit mountains - really stunning.We spent the next 6 days bouncing from one family event to another. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at my Mother's house with Lacy & Hank, Gpa-Gma Ivie and Kris and Ted. It was fun. We played Dominoes and had lots of laughs. My mom always does an incredible job decorating her home and making dinner. Everything looks like a page out of a magazine or a storybook. Her attention to detail and care for each element makes me realize just how spoiled and blessed we are. Thanks Mom and Dan for a great Christmas Even and Morning.

On December 30th we packed up and drove to Salt Lake City where Trevor had a check up. I am happy to report that the Doctor said his MRI scan looks PERFECT! We are happy with this good news and will go back to the doctor for another check-up again in February.

After we finished Trevor's appointment we made our way over to the
Salt Lake Airport where we caught a flight to San Diego. For Christmas my father gave all of the family a trip to San Diego over New Years. My family and Lacy & Hank had flown out earlier, but we were coming in later.

Complications: Somewhere in the air our plane hit a bird and it broke the plane windshield. Around the same time thick fog started to set into San make a long story short, we landed in Las Vegas and our flight was canceled for the night. I have never seen so many angry people. There were four other flights to San Diego also canceled in our terminal and everyone was freaking out. Being nearly New Year's in vegas all the hotels were booked, and people were paying up to 500 bucks for a crappy room for the night. I looked at Trevor and we decided to call Nate & Jamie, dear friends we had recently reconnected with. (I lived with Jamie in Russia and we just got back in touch via blogging). They were so AMAZING. Jamie came a picked us up and they graciously put us up for the rest of the night. Their kindness meant the world to us - especially when Nate got up at the crack of dawn to take us back to the airport. Thanks so much you guys!(Nate & Jamie are not really vampires, this is just a pic I stole from their blog!)

We were back to the Vegas airport and through security at 7:00 AM, our new flight was scheduled to leave around 8:30, but as we walked through the terminal we heard the following announcement, "There is a flight leaving to San Diego right now with open seats. Anyone who wants to run can get on. You have two minutes." Trev and I looked at each other, grabbed our stuff and TOOK OFF. We made it, Trevor was literally the last person on the flight. We arrived in San Diego later that morning and took a cab to the hotel an
d met my family. We then went to Sea World.Our second day in San Diego my family went Whale watching...crazy thing though, we saw no whales. It was really unusual. they say the normally see whales 90% of the time. We still really enjoyed the boat ride though. I loved watching the pelicans and the sea lions. My little brother, Clark, fell asleep in a chair on the lower deck and he was so cute. He was absolutely zonked out. I miss the days of being able to sleep anywhere like that. We made the following video to tease him...because as a sister that is simply something you do.

My family left the next morning. Thanks Again Suttons for the Great Time.
Trevor's parents were in Covina, CA, with his grandmother Linderman, and they drove down that morning to pick us up. We had whale watching vouchers from the day before and so Trevor's parents, his grandma, and Trev & I went whale watching again...and this time we saw the whales. It is amazing how big those animals are. You really just can't comprehend it.

We then drove from San Diego back to Covina, to Trevor's grandmother's house. Some of you may have heard about the Christmas Eve Masacre in Covina, the house where this sad thing took place is only 3 houses down from Trevor's grandmother's home. Her street feels very sad and somber right now. It is a dead-end street and there was a continual flow of traffic, both pedestrian and auto, down to the sight. The police are still stationed there around the clack. Trevor's grandma still has tons of ash in her yard and on her house. Sad thing.

We flew home from Covina via the Ontario airport on Sunday night. We flew back to vegas and cuaght a shuttle home. We arrived around 11:00 PM. We had great friends and neighbors who picked us up from the shuttle and watched our dog. Thank You Boulters & Shurtliff's. We hit the hay and woke up bright and early yesterday for our first day of school at 8:00 am. We had a wonderful time, and want all of our family to know how much we LOVE and APPRECIATE you and all that you do. Thanks for making the holiday wonderful. We had a great time, but it is nice to sit quietly in our home now. We needed a vaccation from our vacation.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Where Have I Been?

I will tell you later! Just know that I am back and will be blogging soon!