Sunday, March 22, 2009

Party Girls
Who said you're ever too old to dress up and sing and dance like maniacs? Thanks girls for a fun night, happy birthday Angie!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Enterprise and The Easter Bunny Cave

After spending a couple of days in northern Utah, Jason had to fly to LA for work so we dropped him off in Salt Lake then headed south to our favorite place, aunt Angel's house. This place is just as good as Disneyland in my kids' eyes, with horses to ride, fields to explore, cats to chase, cousins to play with, a trampoline to jump on, forts to build, goodies to eat and four wheelers to drive. This trip was especially fun because I got to take my kids to one of my favorite childhood places: the Easter bunny cave. I have such fun memories of visiting my grandparent's when I was younger and my aunt Angel and Felisha would take us kids to this big cave in the mountain where the Easter Bunny lives. After exploring the cave we would find candy left by the Easter Bunny on the other side (what are the odds!?) It was so fun to carry on the tradition with my own kids and see them get so excited the same way that I used to.

the caves were much longer and more confining than I remember (not good for my claustrophobia!). There used to be a pipe that went through the mountain, but now it's just this really long cave.

collecting candy on the other side

exploring the dam

After spending a couple of days in Enterprise, we drove to St. George and had a fun day shopping and going to lunch before I headed down to Vegas to pick Jason up. It was a great ending to an amazing vacation!

Maddox loved his great grandpa, especially when he would take him for walks outside. Grandpa had the special touch!

Maddox was so curious about little Elsie (my aunt Angel's 2 month old baby)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's not a clothes rack.

Today I set out Jayden's church clothes for him to get dressed. A couple of minutes later I hear him scream and cry. I run in and find Jayden standing in the middle of the room, buck naked with this: hanging from his man parts. (The poor kid! I'm sure that had to hurt so bad, but I'm a horrible mom because I had to bite my cheeks to keep from laughing). I just wonder what was going on in his little mind that made him think for even a split second that this would be a good idea.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
(yes, I know Easter has already come and gone, but for some reason life won't slow down while I get caught up on blogs)
St. Patrick's is one holiday that I'm not a big advocate of. Giving my kids an excuse to pinch people just has "disaster" written all over it. Yes, I am a buzz kill. But this year, thanks to our friends Dave and Candice, I jumped on the St. Patty's bandwagon and I think I liked it. We stayed with them for a night while in Utah and it just so happened to be the eve of St. Patrick's Day. The girls went shopping for some green candy, while the boys played ping pong. The girls put the kids to bed, while the boys played ping pong. The girls played leprachauns, while the boys played ping pong (you get the point). The kids were all excited to hear that leprachauns would come if they went to bed good, but Kylie was a little skeptical of miniature green men running around the house and I had a hard time convincing her that they were real. I let her play leprachauns with us and she thought she was so big to be in on the secret. When they woke up they were thrilled to find a trail of leprachaun poop leading to their shoes filled with green candy. They even found leprachaun footprints across their foreheads, arms and legs. Candice then made a yummy and fun green breakfast. With all the excitement they even forgot to get into pinching wars, now that's my kind of St. Patrick's Day! Thanks Candice for the fun new traditions, now I won't have to be a St. Patty's day party pooper anymore!
Three More Reasons...

why I love this boy.....

1) If I do something right he clicks his tounge and says, "yep, that's my girl!"
2) He got very excited to see that I had hair in my armpits because he thinks it means that I've been eating my vegetables.
3) He said I'm the "bestest mom in all the whole United States of America" (I was aspiring to be the best mom in the whole world, but I'll settle for the US).
Are You Smarter Than a First Grader?

I'm a little nervous that I won't be able to help Kylie with her homework once she's in highschool, but I never thought I would struggle with her first grade homework! Maybe it's just me, but see if you can find the predicate in these sentences ("the predicate tells what the naming part does"):

1. Sam and I play ball together.
2. Dogs run fast.
3. This is a good book about dogs.
4. I read for a while.
5. We are good pals.

Most of them were easy, but I'll be the first to admit that #3 gave me a run for my money. (Maybe it's a good thing after all that I didn't end up teaching after graduation and becoming an educator for the future generation.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Adopted Family

They put on this really cute play that they had been working on all week, complete with a program, props and costumes. Totally cute. Doesn't it look like my kids fit perfectly into their family?

We finally got back to Provo around midnight and I couldn't wait to see the kids. I was trying to be so quiet and not wake anybody up as I snuck into the girl's room first. That didn't go over too well since their dog sleeps in there and went crazy because he thought we were intruders. I took advantage of Kylie being awake and begged her to come snuggle with me in bed, but she wasn't interested, she would rather sleep with her cousins, oh well. I spied on Jayden and Maddox and couldn't wait to hold them and smother them with hugs the next morning. Even though we weren't gone that long, I swear they all grew. Atleast their heads did. Their heads always seem bigger when I haven't seen them in a while. And Maddox got more hair. After having so many miles between us, it was a good feeling to have our family back together again (unfortunately that good feeling ended 5 minutes after we got in the car the next day and everyone was fighting and crying, but it was nice while it lasted). I seriously can not thank Jason's sister, Andrea and her family enough for watching our kids while we were gone. We thought it would be fun to do a swap so we watched their kids last year for like 5 days while they went on a cruise and then they watched our kids this time. For like two weeks. With a newborn. We are so mean. The kids had so much fun playing with their cousins and Andrea was nice to entertain them while her kids were still in school by going to the library, doing crafts, going to lunch, playing outside and all sorts of other fun things. The good news is that they were finally able to get Jayden to eat all his food (and he's still keeping it up, yay!) and the bad news is that now my kids have realized what things "real families" are supposed to do and are constantly pointing out everything we are doing wrong. Thanks Andrea for setting the bar extremely high! Apparently Jason needs to cook breakfast every morning (no more cold cereal), we need to hold hands during family prayer, we need to wake up at 6 AM to do family scripture and prayer, we need to have a reverent couch during FHE, they need to have quiet time everyday, Jason needs to work from home so that he can help me out, if they don't eat all their dinner then they have to eat it for breakfast the next morning, we need to give them a weekly allowance and keep a chart with smiley faces if they do all their chores, they need to have more chores....and the list goes on. They really are a great family and I don't think I could keep up, but thanks for being such great examples and temporarily adopting our kids! Maybe you'll be recovered enough in another 5 years so we can do it again :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Big Easy

When I woke up this morning it felt like Christmas because I was so excited that I would finally get to see my kids! I hadn't seen them in 11 days and I had to wait until midnight that night before I would see them again. Our flight didn't leave until that evening so we were able to spend the day exploring New Orleans with our newly adpoted friends. I must say, New Orleans is one of those places you go to once to say you've been there but would never return. It is a dirty, dirty city in more ways than one, but it was also cool to see first hand all these places you hear about and see on tv. The garden district was a breath of fresh air, though. After being in AZ and seeing stucco and cinder block walls for as far as the eye can see, it was nice to see some beautiful homes with so much history. Our first stop was the Lower Ninth Ward which had been completely demolished by Hurricane Katrina. It was pretty surprising and sad to see that after about 3 years it still looked untouched. It was like a ghost town. All of the houses had different numbers painted on them to tell the date that they had gone in to assess it, how many people were found dead or alive, etc. It was a little eerie and so sad to think about what these people went through. There were some houses that had been rebuilt, but it would be depressing to be the only one living on a street that was filled with rotting houses knowing that your neighbors would never return. I don't think I would want to live there again and have the daily reminder of what they went through. The infamous convention center was right by the port and we couldn't help but remember all the things we had heard about that place on the news, with people dying in the hallways, rapes, gang fights, human feces everywhere, etc. It was hard to believe that all those things had happened there. We did find a ray of sunshine when we found the street with the houses that Brad Pitt designed. I was keeping my fingers crossed that he might be roaming around admiring his work, but we had no such luck. I'm sure the people that live there are probably so sick of tourists taking pictures, but I think it's only fair that if they get a free house designed by none other than Brad Pitt then they should have the patience to put up with annoying on lookers. But maybe that's just me.
Next we ate lunch at a cool little corner street Italian cafe then headed over to Bourbon street. I really wasn't a fan. I know I'm a little niave living in my Gilbert bubble, but the things I saw there put Vegas to shame. Jason had strict instructions to keep his eyes looking straight ahead. Once again, it was cool to see the French Quarter and hear all of the great jazz music, but I think I could have done without all the boobies.

I'm not quite sure why bead necklaces weren't being hurled our way

We saw some cool street performers before it started pouring rain then we, along with the entire state of Louisianna, ducked into the famous Cafe Du Monde to devour their french donuts with powdered sugar piled a foot high....mmmmm. It's a good thing we stopped at the trusty "family dollar" for all our umbrella needs before getting on the ship, especially since we forgot to bring it with us the two times it rained. We walked through a gorgeous cathedral where I decided that was where I would have wanted to get married if I were catholic. Then we dropped our friends off at their hotel and headed to the airport so that I could get there like 5 hours early. Jason hates sitting around the airport waiting and I hate rushing and barely making the plane, so traveling is sometimes a source of contention in our relationship. I won this time because I was not about to miss our flight and wait another day to see our kids. Besides, who knows when we'll ever get another chance to sit in peace and quiet for 5 long uninterrupted hours with nothing to do (okay, so maybe it really was only an hour). It was sad to see our amazing week come to an end, I loved every minute of it, but I was also so excited to go home and see my babies!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 6: The Ship Part II

Call us crazy, but after spending 24/7 together for the past week we sort of ran out of things to talk about. There is only so many times that you can plan your hopes and dreams for the future and gaze lovingly into each other's eyes over dinner. So we were excited when we met our new friends, Justin and Holly (we still missed you, Joe and Alisa!).
It seems like 49% of our ship were the drunk spring breakers, 49% were from the geriatric ward and the remaining 2% were just normal young couples like us. I did have to laugh when one of the spring breakers hit on me. If he wasn't so drunk he would have realized that it's really not that hot to hit on a mom of 3 who is like 10 years older than you and is stricken with a temporary case of leperacy on her chin. Alot of people would ask if we were on our honeymoon and I finally started telling them we were because I got tired of the comments we got after telling them it was our 10 year anniversary. First they would ask how old we were then do the math to see how young I was when we got married. Then they would ask the ages of our kids then do the math to see if it was a shotgun wedding. So we were glad to meet a nice normal couple to hang out with the last day on the ship. I was really self-conscious of all the poor ailments on my face, but they were nice to say, "it doesn't look too bad, you can hardly tell". Yeah, then I went and looked in the bathroom mirror and half my face was falling off. I know my chin has been a topic of conversation in every post so far, but it kept getting progressively worse and the only thing I had to put on it was the cheap hotel lotion they had in the room. If I was smart, I would have stuffed my pockets with leaves from the ancient Mayan medicine trees then appliqued them to my face. Instead I would wake up in the middle of the night and put a cold cloth on it because it burned so bad. Speaking of waking up in the middle of the maybe I've had a history of sleep walking on occasion (the worst was when I was younger and walked out the front door and climbed into the car. I woke up scared and went to the back door, which was locked, so I began ringing the door bell and pounding on the door. My poor parents woke up to find the front door wide open and somebody banging on the back door. Just a tad bit FREAKY.) Anyways, so we had an inside room where the only window was the one painted on the wall. It was pitch black, like you can't even see your hand in front of your face, black. On the last night Jason wakes up to me standing in the middle of the room totally freaking out and screaming for help. I was having this dream where we were trapped inside one of the caves in Guatemala. Being the claustrophobic one that I am, I was grabbing the plastic light sconces on the wall thinking that they were door handles (because all caves have door handles). So there we were, both delirious and freaking out because we couldn't see anything and had no clue what was going on. When I finally woke up enough to realize that we weren't in a cave, I laid back down covered in a cold sweat with my heart pounding out of my chest. Good times. So we spent the last day on the boat doing pretty much the same thing as the first day (minus getting fried in the sun), but this time we had friends to join us in our Yahtzee tournaments and five trips to the buffet. That night we saw a couple of shows then our friends convinced us to do this game show with them. We were in teams and somebody from each team had to go up to do different challenges. I really wasn't too keen on the idea of performing in front of everybody, but somehow got sucked into doing the macarena dance. Everyone else from the other teams got to sit down, but not Jamie. I was stuck up there performing a solo (with one other girl) for all the spring breakers. I was not happy about it. Jason did the Can-Can in high heels and attempted "the worm" before calling it a night. We were sad the trip was coming to an end, but this vacation was exactly what we needed. We rarely see each other at home. Between meetings, YW, the gym, basketball, girls nights, enrichment, etc. it seems like there's never an evening that we're home together and the weekends are always busy with errands, yard work and all that fun stuff. To be able to spend almost 8 days alone together was something we hadn't done since our trip to New York 5 years ago, and saying that it was fun is a definite understatement. We of course missed the kids tons. During the day we stayed busy, but at night when I would lay in bed I just ached to hold them and snuggle up with them. We spent one evening watching home videos of the kids on our camera and it's amazing how much cuter and funnier they are after not seeing them for so long. Thanks so much, Jason for an amazing trip, love you!

Please note Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Now do you see why the birth of the "hand on the hip" pose came about? (And yes, that is the same dress I wore at the wedding and every fancy dinner night. I had to cram 3 weeks worth of winter and summer clothes into 2 suitcases, so there were slim pickens.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 5: Cozumel, Mexico

(Yes, the hand is on the hip and it ain't leaving anytime soon. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Just another day in paradise...that may be a tad bit cliche, but each day (besides when I was dying in Belize) was pretty darn close to paradise. Except of course my kids would be with us in paradise, but now we're just getting off the point. We spent the morning tracking down my friend's sister that lives here (yeah, it must be rough living in paradise) so that we could deliver a package to her. We rented a little scooter and cruised around until we were finally able to find her.

She was nice to give us the inside scoop on where to eat and what to do and then she was even so nice to let us use her phone to call our kids. We hadn't been able to talk to them all week and I got a little teary eyed hearing their cute little voices again. I was worried that they would be so sad and cry every night because they missed us, but apparently that wasn't the case since Jayden was too busy playing to talk to me for longer than 5 seconds and Kylie said that she didn't want us to come home because she was having too much fun playing with her cousins. I know deep down they really missed us, though (right??). It was so nice knowing they were in good hands and I can't thank Jason's sister, Andrea and her family enough! After that we cruised around and found a great snorkeling spot. I was amazed at how many cool fish we saw right off the shore. Jelly fish, anemone, sea urchins, some needle nose fish thingy and just tons of bright colored fish. We lasted for about a half hour before my poor diseased chin was on fire from the salt water.

(There are few things in life that rival the sexiness of a good pair of goggles. Although the hand on the hip pose is a close runner-up)

We explored the city, ate lunch (back to the refried bean burrito, no more fish corpse for me) and counted how many kids some families would pile onto one scooter. Then we found this road that circled around the entire island, it was like a mini PCH, but ten times more awesomer. I had one of those "pinch me" moments as we were cruising down the road, watching the beautiful blue waves crash on the white sandy beaches, holding tight to my man with the wind blowing in my extensions and the sun glistening off my sunscreen lathered skin. Everything was so perfect at that moment. I found my new happy place. They had the most beautiful secluded beaches that I wish we could have stopped at, but my dream of relaxing all day on the beach was crushed since I'm convinced that the sun pretty much hates me. Besides, we were worried that we wouldn't make it back to the ship in time. We did make a couple of quick stops to check out this cool blow hole, collect some sea shells for the kids and Jason was tempted to stop at a nude beach but unfortunately we didn't have enough time. The day flew by and we were sad when it was time to board the ship. I was sad that this was our last stop, but I was getting pretty anxious to see the kids again.

these dudes were even bigger than the ones in Costa Maya

This guy was trying to convince us that he had the cheapest blankets on the island, only $5. A mile down the road we found the same blankets for $2.99. A mile farther down we found them for $1.99. But if I were to buy one I would definately go with the first guy, you've just gotta give him props for his creative marketing technique.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 4: Belize City, Belize

I thought we were going to die in Belize. For reals. We were excited to visit the Altun ha Mayan ruins, but our tour guide was a maniac. We were packed into a 15 passanger van with many large, hairy, sweaty men, a pregnant lady and zero air circulation. I got stuck in the back, which did not do wonders for my claustrophobia and even Jason was sweating. And chinamen don't sweat.
The road there is only wide enough for one vehicle and our tour guide informed us that it's sort of a "survival of the fittest" where the biggest vehicle gets the right of way. There were many times we were playing chicken when the vehicles were both the same size. Not only was it a tiny road, but it was covered with pot holes and sharp turns and I don't think our driver ever took his foot off the gas, even when we were flying over crocodile infested rivers on rickety bridges. I white knuckled it the whole way and I think Jason was emberassed because I kept screaming. We finally made it alive and it was gorgeous. It was pretty amazing standing on these structures that were built by hand thousands of years ago, especially knowing that this was during the Book of Mormon time period. I soaked up all the history and wanted to learn more. We learned about the different plants they used to cure sickness, the way they would gather in the courtyard to trade goods and the way that they would worship their gods and kings. It was all so fascinating. A baby crocodile that local kids had caught and used to earn money (everytime I make a kissing face it looks like a cross between an old lady, a sour lemon face and a fish face. I even practice in the mirror, no I'm not kidding, but I can never get that luscious lip look. Oh well.)

A 10 lb jade head was found in a tomb inside this pyramid. It's the largest single jade carving in the world. The view from the top is amazing as you look across all the surrounding jungles.

Carvings of the Sun God (top) and one of their kings (bottom)So as I'm looking through these pictures I'm realizing that I do the exact same pose in all the pictures. After realizing how flabby my arms look when they're down, I've adopted this new tradmark pose so get used to it. The tour promised a "jungle walk" which we found out consisted of stepping 2 feet into the jungle before our tour guide told us it was too dangerous to go farther because of the jaguars and boa constrictors.

So on our way back after the ruins I made sure to sit in the front of the van, which may not have been a better idea because now I had a front row view to our near death experiences. I even saw the look of death on a guy's face who we came within inches of running over. There were a group of guys on bikes in the road. Our driver layed on the horn but kept on accelerating to 60 mph then at the last minute one of the guys rode right in front of us and I still don't know how we avoided hitting him (and I have my doubts that the driver would have even stopped if we had). This time I wasn't the only one screaming and I thought the pregnant lady was going to go into labor. Our tour guide was so kind to then take us on a tour of his hood. He thought he was doing us a favor by giving us the "inside tour" and slummin' it in places beyond the safe zone that the government felt were too dangerous for tourists. He said it was comparable to Harlem or Compton, but worse. The police force there have adopted the slogan "shoot first, ask questions later". After all the news stories about how dangerous it is in Mexico with all the drug violence, I felt like we were driving around with a target painted on our van full of "rich" Americans. If you're interested, I now know where the Bloods, Crypts and Cartel all live. I thought about my kids alot that day and was a little relieved to get back on the tender boat headed safely to the ship. We have heard from so many people how gorgeous Belize is and how it's their favorite place. The ruins were cool, but I don't feel like we experienced the real beauty of the country. I would especially love to explore their world famous snorkeling sites or do the zipline tours through the jungle. I guess we've got a good excuse to go back now.