Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I am a Bette

My friend Cara had this quiz on her blog and I decided to "pass it on" - it is only two questions, but they dig deep into your psyche. Okay, maybe not really deep, but as much as I hate to admit it, they got most of it right...

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz ...

You Are a Bette!



You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me
* Stand up for yourself... and me.
* Be confident, strong, and direct.
* Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.
* Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.
* Give me space to be alone.
* Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.
* I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.
* When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.

What I Like About Being a Bette
* being independent and self-reliant
* being able to take charge and meet challenges head on
* being courageous, straightforward, and honest
* getting all the enjoyment I can out of life
* supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me
* upholding just causes

What's Hard About Being a Bette
* overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to
* being restless and impatient with others' incompetence
* sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it
* never forgetting injuries or injustices
* putting too much pressure on myself
* getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

Bettes as Children Often
* are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit
* are sometimes loners
* seize control so they won't be controlled
* figure out others' weaknesses
* attack verbally or physically when provoked
* take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

Bettes as Parents
* are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted
* are sometimes overprotective
* can be demanding, controlling, and rigid

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What we eat in the Crosley household


I have been reading everyone else's blogs about their favorite holiday dishes. I say "holiday" only because I am lumping Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years' together - NOT because I am a Happy Holidays person. I am a Merry Christmas person, but I digress! Everyone's dishes look great and yummy!

We eat out on Thanksgiving (mostly on Christmas too unless we have company). New Years is mostly snackie foods. I am not sure we eat a real meal unless we eat out. There is a pattern to our lives and it involves restaurants. The reason for this is my picky family. I am not picky. I will try anything...at least once. Usually I like it. My husband eats meat and starch and doesn't really even like them cooked together, so casseroles are out. My daughter takes after her father. She usually will like something once she gets the nerve to try it, but that takes a long, long, long time. She does eat better for other people I am told. When we eat out, we all get what we want. I get variety and they get sameness.

We also love to have people over, but I am not one who likes to stay in the kitchen while everyone mingles. I don't like missing anything. All my friends know I am not fancy, but my food is very good. I like simple, easy, and recreatable foods.

Here are some of my standards (any of these can be made more difficult by making ingredients homemade, if you prefer!):

Frozen meatballs are a must - you can use them with brown gravy mix and rice for a hearty meal that brings comfort. It is also very easy to make for a crowd. My friend, Pete, calls this meal "Grandma's secret recipe". You can also just add some spaghetti sauce for meatball subs on hoagie rolls with cheese. Meatballs with the brown gravy mix is also great for an appetizer for a party.

I will also use Au Jus mix and buy deli roast beef for french dips with a little provolone - Yum and easy!

Monkey bread is the easiest - Take 4 tubes of refrigerator rolls (I use the cheap ones that already come in a 4 pack), cut the rolls into quarters (I use scissors) and drop them into a gallon size ziploc bag with sugar and cinnamon (no measuring, I use waaaay more cinnamon than any recipe I have ever read calls for). Mix as you drop coating each piece with sugar mixture. As bag fills empty into a greased bundt pan (I do pull them out individually or in groups, don't pour or you waste a lot of sugar). When finished, in a saucepan melt 1 stick butter and rest of sugar mixture (plus enough more sugar/cinnamon to make approx. 1 cup). Pour this over the bundt pan pieces and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Invert on a plate and serve with some caramel topping on the side. You could probably make it pretty by adding something in the middle of the cake to put the caramel topping in, but I don't. It usually gets eaten too fast to make it worth my while.

For a lot of bonus points and that "look like you spent a lot of time, but didn't" category - Easy Caprese Salad. I cut a tub of cherry tomatoes in half, cut 12 mozzarella string cheese into little circles (basically dice them), add some basil (I do use fresh and I do cut chiffonade style (but they now have some freeze dried basil which works as well). I just add a splash of extra virgin olive oil and more than a little balsamic vinegar. I have been tempted to try reducing the vinegar to make it thicker and sweeter, but haven't gotten that far yet. Again, it is usually gone fast in this house! It is Shane's favorite. It tastes better once it sits in the fridge for a few hours, but again, sometimes it doesn't make it that long.

Chili's makes a queso dip which is really quite tasty. I have broken it down into its basics and make it at home (another great party dip). I take half a brick of velveeta (or similar cheese food stuff) and a can of hormel chili no beans. Melt in the microwave or on the stovetop. YUMMY and you would be hardpressed to tell the difference between mine and Chili's.

A friend of mine used to bring a recipe to our potlucks. It was a side dish, but we use it for a main dish. It is a bean/meat dish. I used to have a recipe, now I just wing it. Hers is much better, but mine is pretty good. Take a pound of ground beef and brown/drain/etc (I add onion powder because I like the taste and my husband hates onions). Add 1 large can baked beans (any kind) and approx 3/4 cup barbecue sauce. Stir, cook for a few minutes on the stove then add to a baking dish. Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with shredded cheese. Makes a great meal or bring as a side and impress for less (time, that is).

We do eat vegetables, but mostly in salad form and we do like our salads with homemade dressing and predressed. This sounds difficult, but really isn't. I use the basic italian mix with the little cruet that comes with the mixes. If I want a more Asian feel, I use soy sauce or teriyaki sauce instead of all vinegar. If we want a more fruity taste, I use raspberry or red wine vinegar. For most of our salads we like balsamic vinegar. I have also used, with great success, Pampered Chef seasons instead of the mix. I use all sorts of vegetables and I always use Romaine lettuce - it is easy to cut!

I also like sauteing fresh green beans with some garlic (I say some, I mean a lot!) and lemons for a yummy side dish. I am the only one who eats this one, so I don't make it much.

Quesadillas are also a staple. I make them individually on the griddle to crisp both sides and I will add chicken, steak, or bacon to mix it up a bit! WHEE!

This is just a glimpse into the food portion of our very unorthodox life! If you have any easy dishes you make - send them my way!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Babysitter and the Real Deal


Shane and I have birthdays 4 days apart. We have almost always taken a day or two during the closest weekend to both birthdays. This year, we didn't have a sitter (or a friend or family member) who could watch Lauren. I did some research on the internet and apparently there is a market for babysitters! There are numerous sites who, for a small fee, will locate a sitter near you. I found one that had reviews of sitters, background checks, etc. Everything the good parent who is leaving their child in the hands of a stranger should know.

Lauren has always been wonderful about being left with strangers. For all her many, many, many fears about life in general, she is not afraid of people (who in my opinion are waaaay scarier than any roller coaster Disney can dream up!). I posted an ad on the site and got a response from my biggest nightmare. Basically, she "applied" for the job with no references, nothing about how long she has worked with children, nothing about anything - just "I can do it". Okay, the cheapest sitter we found was charging $10/hour. I have one child who is beyond needing anything really other than a companion. For $10/hour, I expect a full on resume with citations and referrals. I had signed up for the free trial to post a listing. However, to read the listing I had to pay for a membership to the site. After that response, I took matters into my own hands and went through the site looking specifically for what I wanted. I found someone who sounded wonderful (good reviews from previous clients, no criminal history...)!! I emailed her and thankfully, she had a cancellation for Saturday night and was willing to come over for $12/hour. I was a little skeptical, but Shane and I wanted to get out.

I told Lauren to keep her phone in my bedroom, so if Ms. Mina was weird (I didn't give specifics, but...) to call us and we would come right home. Ms. Mina came over and she was the cutest thing on the planet! She was 22 and just talked, talked, talked! She met Lauren and they decided to make cupcakes (yay, me! I hate doing that sort of stuff!) and got started even before Shane and I were out the door. We said we would be home somewhere between 9pm and midnight. (Keeps 'em guessing)


Shane and I decided to try out the Real Deal. It is a poker game show at the Venetian. Shane's buddy, Daniel, was hosting and Scotty Nguyen and Jennifer Harmon were the guest players. It really was a pretty fun show. There were lots of chances to win good prizes and lots of chances to win bad prizes. They chose 6 people from the audience to play up on stage with Jennifer and Scotty and the rest of us had little computers in front of us to "play along". It is very confusing to explain, but once there it was easy to grasp. Shane's big mistake from the get go was to actually treat it like poker. As an audience member, you pretty much have to see every flop regardless of start hand. It is entertainment, not poker. They really packed a lot into the hour and half allotted for the show and it didn't feel rushed. I ended up winning a prize package for randomly choosing a set (three of a kind), from a deck of 52 cards. A long sleeve Real Deal shirt - cool!

Since, we hadn't heard from Lauren we decided to eat and then play some poker at Treasure Island. No big wins or anything, but we had fun (playing at different tables, of course - Shane and I date differently than most...)

We went home around 11:00 - that's $84, for those of you keeping track! Lauren was almost asleep upstairs on the couch and Mina was playing Rock Band. Apparently, both were playing Rock Band, but Lauren got tired and just wanted to watch Mina play. She does that. There were tons of cupcakes on the counter ready to be frosted. They had a blast together! I will most likely be calling her again, budget permitting!

Principal's Award

Lauren had an award's assembly on Monday. She didn't know what she was getting an award for or even what the assembly was about. But, she knew she was getting something since her teacher asked her how to spell her last name. (Don't even get me started...) Sue and Big Chaz were here for the "big day".

The assembly turned out to be for academic success in the first trimester for her track. She is in a year round school and there are 5 tracks which alternate breaks throughout the year.

Lauren gave us strict instructions - we were not to scream when her name was called, we were not to embarrass her in any way, shape, or form. In fact, if it was possible for us to pretend we just happened by the school and thought we would stop to see what was going on, that would pretty much be ideal. Okay, so I am paraphrasing a tad, but not too much!

She has a "posse" of friends. There are 4 of them who hang out at school together and then one of them lives right near us. I will butcher the spellings of their names, but here goes - Raquel, Katora (pronounced Kay-tora), Bailey (near by neighbor), and Lauren. We were told to cheer for them when their names were called and if they liked it, we could cheer a little for Lauren when her name was called.

When it came time for her 5th grade class - Lauren was the first one called up. It was for the prestigious "Principal's Award". Basically, a citizenship award, but only one person in each class could get it. It is kind of a big deal, so I was told later. She also got a certificate for A Honor Roll - getting all A's on her report card. Which, let me tell you, these days, is very difficult to get! I remember when I was in grade school - it was pretty much a cake walk. You show up, you try, you get an "A". It is definitely not so easy now. The standards have been raised and I am hoping she doesn't feel the pressure! Straight A's through her elementary career may affect what college she gets into!

Anyway, I digress...here are some pictures...
Part of the posse (I really am not certain who is who)
Lauren's class
Lauren
Bailey

We didn't listen and cheered for everyone (possibly even loud enough for others to hear)! And, poor Lauren, when her name was called, she stood, stumbled, tried to take a step, stumbled, walked up, stumbled. Apparently, her foot fell asleep. I am grateful to have a child who can shake it off. Her teacher explained why she was stumbling to the crowd and, well, who hasn't had that happen to them.... She is definitely my child - full of grace!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving in Nevada

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Lauren left this message for us when we woke up on Thanksgiving. Alex may have helped her hang it...

We decided to go to Primm, NV for Thanksgiving dinner. There was an interactive log ride where you can shoot things as you ride. Sounded fun. Primm is about 35 minutes from our house. A really quick drive down I-15 South. We headed down around noonish, through the rain, to Buffalo Bill's casino. We saw a roller coaster when we got there which normally would have brought joy and excitement to some of us. But, if you remember, we drove through the rain. Bummer, no coaster. We went to see about tickets for the log ride, where the sign said "Log ride guns are temporarily not working". WHAT???? None of us wanted to do a Lazy river ride, which is what it would have amounted to without guns! So, we ate at the buffet.

It was okay. Lots of traditional Thanksgiving stuffs.

Afterwards, we hit the arcade. It wasn't too exciting for us - some of the games just ate quarters - FUN!! Shane played Galaga, a favorite of his from years back, and the fire button was stuck. We did race motorcycles and then hit the dance, dance revolution game. Shane and Lauren went first - Shane really kicks hiney at that game. Then, Alex and I did it. We each danced 3 songs. Shane and Lauren thought it would be really funny to have us go expert on the last dance. I think I worked off lunch - it was manic. I really do not know how kids do it!

We were going to hit the outlet mall right there, but Alex wanted to hit the outlets on Black Friday. The outlets in Vegas (and Primm) were going to start their sales at midnight. Alex said she hadn't been part of shopping on Black Friday, so I said Lauren and I would go with her. This was Lauren just before we left...

We left around 11:45 to get to the stores just north of us on I-15. There was a huge backup on the interstate. When we finally got to the off ramp, there were lines in every direction to the mall. We drove around the mall and it was absolutely packed! We decided to forgo shopping and go home as neither of us like people enough to want to shop with them. :-) It took us nearly 2 hours to get to the mall and back without stopping (normally, a 45 minute round trip at most). Bummer!

Eating contest...

Shane and Lauren had an eating contest the other night. The background on this "family tradition" goes back to Shane's cousin, Amanda's, wedding. Shane and his cousin, Sean (Alex's brother), decided to bring a little fun to our table at the rehearsal dinner. Another tradition in our family is that everyone in the family (regardless of whether or not they are in the wedding) get to come to the rehearsal dinner. I think Shane and I may have started it.... Anyway, Shane and Sean decided they each had to eat everything that was served - this included the vegetables (which neither was too excited about)! Sean is built like Shane (tall and slender - he hates being called skinny!). The prize for the winner was the loser had to be the winner's slave the next day as we all got to enjoy the sights of Houston before the evening wedding. It came down to the dessert (the "speed round") - shoving cheesecake down as fast as you could and swallowing. If any part of dinner came back to haunt, the game was lost. Shane ended up winning by a smidgen. Sean put up a good fight, but had to spend the next day with us at numerous museums (Children's and Natural History are two I remember).



So, back to Shane and Lauren. We went to IHOP for dinner with Alex on one of her last nights here in Vegas before she left for a 6 month Texas trip. Shane prefaced his order with "I am going to order a lot of food" to the waiter. He did - 3 egg omelet (bacon, tomatoes, cheese), side of hasbrowns, and not just the regular pancake side, but the NEW! Butterscotch Rocks Pancakes:

Four fluffy buttermilk pancakes filled with
pecans, granola and butterscotch chips,
then topped with whipped topping and
drizzled with caramel sauce

Lauren ordered a regular kids meal with chicken strips. Both are notoriously famous for not finishing their meals anyway. Somewhere in the middle of the meal, the gauntlet was thrown and both were made to finish their meals. Both of them actually did finish. Not wanting a tie, we were looking for a tie breaker. I had not eaten my eggs (over hard, so no runnyness or anything). Alex and I thought the only fair thing to do would be to split the egg 3/4 and 1/4 for the speed round since Lauren is roughly 1/4 Shane's weight. Shane cut his egg up into quarters and shoved them all in at once. Lauren went for the more delicate nibble. As Alex and I yelled at Lauren to shove the whole egg in, she became more into the race aspect! She lost by a little bit.


Shane regretted the contest all night as he was very close to losing on a technicality of not keeping dinner down. Lauren spent all night right by his side trying to "help" him lose. We all also found out Lauren is a very bad loser. She didn't want to be his slave because she wanted to win and have him be her slave. She did a few things grudgingly, but all in all will not be asked to be part of any more contests until her attitude can change about losing....

Monday, December 1, 2008

JoBros!

We went to the Jonas Brothers concert on Saturday, November 29 as a surprise for Lauren (part of her Christmas present). It was fun, except for our seating. I was incredibly disappointed that we were in the nosebleeds. We belong to the fan club and they let fan club members get seats earlier than the general public. Shane was on getting seats the minute they opened the ticket sales and we still got nosebleed as "best available". We were willing to pay for "best available" knowing how much our dear daughter LOVES the JoBros! It wasn't as though the venue was packed either. There were a good many seats open (maybe they were MGM seats given to middle aged high rollers who had no intention of seeing Nick, Joe, and Kevin run around on stage). My opinion is if I am paying for a membership for a fan club, I should be treated a little better than someone who is just playing slots or whatnot at the casino. I don't know what part of this the Jonas Brothers themselves had in the decision, but from what they show on Disney Channel, these boys pretty much have their hand in everything.

Anyway, enough of my rant....

The concert was awesome!!! Honor Society (another boy band) opened up with 4 songs, I think and were really pretty good. We rated them after their performance and they averaged 3 stars out of 5. Demi Lovato was next. She got 3.5 stars - Lauren really likes her. I love her voice, but her delivery and stage presence is still a work in progress. I liked it most when she was sitting at the piano singing. Lauren liked when she was all over the place! Before the Jonas Brothers came out, Lauren said there was no need to even rate them after - she gives them 10 stars out of 5! Cute!


The boys really put on a great show! They include the audience, they play with stage toys, they really look as though they are having fun up there. Lauren is now more in love with Nick than before! She calls herself "the future Mrs. Nick Jonas".

Here is the Smilebox of the concert...

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cirque du Soleil - Ka






Last night we saw Ka. Oh my gosh - what a production! It was amazing - made even better by our seats. We were middle section about 11 rows up in the middle.

I wish I had read about it before I went so I would know the story and characters better, but it didn't matter. It pulled you in and you were there. It really was cool. Lauren loved it, although when asked by one of the ushers as we were going in if she was excited, my daughter replies, "I don't know yet." She is a "see it to believe it" person.

I really don't even know what else to say except you have to see it for yourselves. It is so worth the admission price. Shane and I have decided we need to see more shows here. There really is no other place on earth to have this much entertainment at our fingertips. I hope to have many more posts about what we have seen here in Vegas.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Threat Training Facility




Shane's cousin, Alex, is an intern with the DOD working out of Nellis. Her parents, her boyfriend, and Shane's parents are all here in Vegas this weekend. The visit was to watch the Wyoming Cowboys vs. UNLV Running Rebels. Enough said about the game.

Anyway, on Friday morning we all headed to Nellis AFB to see where Alex works. She gave us a tour of the "Petting Zoo", which is also officially called the Threat Training Facility. It is made up of enemy warfare equipment. We were allowed to play on, in, and over it. The boys had a blast and the girls had quite a bit of fun too! The purpose of the facility is to know the enemy in order to beat them. I am quite sure it is better spelled out in one of their manuals, but in a nutshell, I think I nailed it...

If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle. - Sun Tzu -

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I really should have paid better attention to the tour guide (Sorry, Alex), but there was soo much to see!

It was very cool - next time we have to take Lauren with us!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My little chef...

Lauren made breakfast this morning. My mom got her a kit from Sassafras to make french toast. It was one of those Grandma gifts Lauren gets every once in while for just being her granddaughter. She loves those little care packages and since we don't see them often, it is a great little gift of love.

It was definitely a gift for her since I am not known to want her help in the kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I try to be a good mom and do stuff with her. But anything that involves any kind of mess is truly not my thing. She didn't fingerpaint until preschool - that is the sort of thing you do in preschool for fun. If you do it at home, it takes the joy out of the experience at school, right?

Anyway, she has the next two days off from school, so I decided to let her give it a whirl. The kit came with a hat, a whisk, a mix for the french toast, some syrup, and some sprinkles. She did a great job mixing and dipping. The cooking part was more my job as she was more into deciding how to decorate the plate for dad.

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Next kit is cupcakes...maybe tomorrow...

Air shows, freedom, and afterburners

We LOVE air shows. Okay, Lauren is not too fond of the noise, but Shane and I think that is the best part. That rumble in your chest when the afterburners are going off. WOW!!! I think I am having a moment right now reliving it...

We have been so blessed to live in cities with Air Force bases. We have so many AF friends, we feel we are at least somewhat honorary members of their private club. And, I come from a Navy family. While the military isn't in our destiny (unless Lauren really, really surprises us), it is in our blood and we love it. Without trying to sound gooby I want to say we are so incredibly proud to be Americans. I have never really cared about the flybys over our house in Tucson ("The sound of freedom, baby") by the A-10s or the B2s at Mom and Dad's (now the train rumbling I can do without!). I am so honored my friends are willing to go to other countries to fight in wars and battles and skirmishes so they don't happen here anywhere near where I live and my child plays.

Shane's cousin, Alex, is a civilian intern at Nellis AFB. She took us to the air show this weekend (we love the perks of being able to get on base for these and many other events!).

I am going to make another Smilebox, but one of our favorite new planes is the F22 ("Raptor") - WOW.


Why did we make this plane - Oh yeah - AIR DOMINANCE!! LOVE THAT!

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GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What kind of dog....

Now the election is over, we have to decide on what dog the new President-elect should get. To be honest, to me this is a truly bipartisan decision. Maybe this is the first issue to really bring this country back together. While I may sound a little flippant, I really am not (mostly, anyway).

Shane's cousin, Alex, who lives with us thinks he should get a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier like hers.
The pros:
1. Hypoallergenic for his daughter, Malia, who has asthma
2. Smallish, but not too small
3. Dignified looking
4. Handle being alone nicely
(and many, many more--too many to list)

The cons (well, in Alex's opinion - none):
1. Must be groomed - hair does not shed, but needs to be brushed
2. Ok, there aren't a whole lot of cons in my opinion, either...

Other ideas? Let me know...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Consistent Parenting...yeah, right...

Last night, Lauren, Alex, and I were planning to go see Madagascar 2

Lauren completely lost her mind and was really talking back and being mouthy in general. Which really isn't too new, but she was not to be dissuaded. I gave her a few warnings and even gave her a little longer to get herself under control. No dice. I finally told her she was not going to go to the movies with us if she said one more word in that tone...she did. I told her she just lost her movie privilege. That inspired a complete meltdown. Lauren holds her emotions in quite a bit and when she lets loose, she lets loose with everything that has been bothering her since the last meltdown. It has to be exhausting - I know it is for me! So, we discussed why she would not be accompanying us to the movies and cuddled and talked about her "rough" life! :-)

In the car, Alex said she would not be a good parent because she would have caved and let her child come after an apology. There have been many times where I would have caved too. Those of you who know Lauren know she is a good kid overall and not at all bratty (at least 95% of the time). It would have been easy to tell her she could come - she truly was sorry.

Not being consistent makes you human not a bad parent. This moment, while I truly wish I had more of them, was one of my good ones. At least, in the matter of true and effective discipline. And, I am proud of myself and proud of Lauren for "womanning up" and taking the punishment responsibly.

WHEW! Alex and I did go to the movies at the Southpoint Casino, since it is the closest theater to us. We ended up deciding to see Role Models
A little different choice than Madagascar. Since it didn't start for 45 minutes we went into the casino and played penny slots. We were both able to play for 1/2 hour on $1 - nice entertainment value! The movie was vulgar, but very funny. Some of the lines are just hilarious (and some are just nasty). I don't know that it was worth the $10.50 price tag, but is probably worth a $4 rental. Honestly, I probably would have enjoyed Madagascar just as much and would have laughed just as hard... We shall see when I do get to take Lauren to see it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

WHAT???



I was reading one of the blogs of my friend, Kim, where she mentioned the craziness being passed along to our children.

Obama, according to 5th graders (here and in Tucson and probably elsewhere as well), is going to:
1. Change the American flag
2. Make kids go to school on Saturdays (and maybe even Sundays, depending on who you listen to)
3. Take their fun away by making them have longer school days
4. AND...he likes black children better than white children

What are we telling our kids that they are feeling this way?

Lauren got some homework from her teacher about the election - percentages of votes, who won, etc. One of the questions was "Will the new president be good or bad for the country?" WHAT??? Shane and I were both separately and together appalled by this question. Don't get me wrong, we are not Obama fans in this family, but he is the new President-elect and with that comes a patriotic respect for the post if not the person himself. And we would not be more happy with the question had McCain won. We told Lauren to tell the teacher she would answer the question in 4 years when we had a better idea of whether promises were kept or broken.

I hope, as Americans, and more importantly as parents we are teaching Lauren we can disagree with people. And that is not a bad thing - it's called democracy and freedom and we are incredibly blessed to have that right without fear of punishment. BUT, especially as a child, she needs to show respect for all adults, whether we agree or disagree with them.

I feel as though I am rambling and not quite getting across the point I am trying to make, but I am also deep cleaning the house and I have a head full of fumes... :-)

I think overall, we, as adults need to be very cognizant of what we are telling our children. They repeat it all (and sometimes even repeat it wrong) and believe it. I want Lauren to have her own opinions and do worry they will differ from mine, but she is entitled to have them as long as the information she received in order to make up her mind is accurate.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pahrump, Nevada

I totally forgot about this little jaunt we took the other night for dinner...we went to Pahrump, NV. It is a town about an hour drive straight west from our house.

The plan was to find something to do and somewhere to eat. We drove the 8 hour drive to Pahrump. Okay, it was only an hour, but we had a whiny kid in the backseat...

We got there and found this little mom and pop place to eat which was packed to the gills. Looked great, but busy. Shane and Lauren were not into waiting so we drove up the road to one of the casinos there (WHEE!). We went in and lo and behold it looked like every other casino we have ever eaten/hung out in. The cafe and buffet were both very small and not a lot of choices, so I suggested we go back to SeeMoore's 2 and eat. My kids reluctantly agreed.

Turns out they were having a Pop Warner 5-6 year old football season ending party with trophies and awards and speeches.

We ended up getting a table when one of the families was trying to head out the door. It was a very long awards ceremony - too long for 5 and 6 year old boys and their many younger siblings. It was kind of fun (read - kind of creepy) in a very small town sort of way to watch all these people supporting their little ones.

The food was definitely from a "greasy spoon" type establishment which to us was pretty darn yummy. They also had an ice cream shop, but my "little ones" were just not as into this adventure as I was and we left without trying any of the dairy refreshments.

Maybe next time, I will go back by myself...

Twilight (there may be spoilers if you have not read the series and actually care...)



Okay, Twilight got me hooked (at first). I listened to Book 1 on CD in my car on a 12 hour round trip to and from Tucson. I was reluctant to even read the books, but needed something to pass the drive time. Alex, Shane's cousin, had book 1 on CD and said it was okay. For those of you who know me, I will read pretty much anything. I downloaded Books 1, 2, and 3 onto my ebook which is how I read most books. I read Book 2, New Moon, and WAAAH, WAAAH, WAAAH - cry baby Bella whined about how her life would never be the same again. I chalked this up to the fact these are teenie bopper books and I have not been in teen angst for quite some time.

You see, Bella has got to be the most boring person on the face of the fiction planet. She has no interests, no hobbies, nothing to occupy her time until she meets Edward and then he takes the role of interest, hobbies, etc. He is somehow incredibly attracted to her. He says her blood smells irresistible to him. Her blood must smell really, really good (and I am talking rich hot chocolate with some butterscotch schnapps and whipped cream with little chocolate chips sprinkled on it!). There really is no other explanation given. Same with Jacob's attraction to her - she is mopey when hangs out with him - attractive, no?

The end of New Moon was back to the vampires after a pretty cool diversion into werewolves (who, btw, are mortal enemies). It was an okay end to the book, except for the "I will love you forever and ever and if you will just bite me I can live with you forever and ever...blah, blah, blah"

Book 3, Eclipse, is a blend of the vampires and the werewolves and trying to coexist against more brutal vampires who are out to get their "beloved" Bella. It isn't too bad, really, except again for any Bella parts (who is the tie between the Sharks and the Jets, but is pretty much just annoying). She wants to be a vampire, but wants to make love to Edward first, he wants to be married before this happens (good for him), she doesn't want to wait, more blah, blah, blah...

I have yet to read Book 4 and it has been a month since I read Eclipse. In my world - that is unheard of. I like series and love to see what happens with each character to the end. I have read some of the reviews of Book 4, Breaking Dawn, and am afraid it has veered from somewhat innocent teenage love into full blown erotica. Not what I would want my daughter to read (not that she would - whole 'nother story).

I have been hinting I want an Amazon Kindle

for my birthday/Christmas present. I may download Breaking Dawn if I get one.

I am excited about book 5. From what I have heard it will be Book 1 from Edward's perspective - maybe that will shed some light on the attraction. Stephenie Meyers is working on it after saying she wouldn't work on it anymore - more drama and this from the author (a good mormon girl from Utah, I think).

So, for all of you who I may have misled when first extolling the virtues of Twilight, I apologize. It is an okay series if you don't take it too seriously and probably more so if you are a 14 or 15 year old girl.

I will probably go see the movie, but am already disappointed with how the characters look (except for Jacob, who is pretty much exactly how I pictured him and how do you not love Sharkboy?). The movies in my mind are always way better and the characters also.

I'll try to keep y'all posted if I do read Breaking Dawn and watch the movie.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dinner at Hofbrauhaus with family

After my whirlwind trip to Tucson, I flew back just in time for dinner at the Hofbrauhaus in Las Vegas. It is a Bavarian beer fest. The food was good and plentiful and the band was fun, if you are into polka music and other music played by a polka band! We met Shane's Uncle Bob (I know you know him - everybody does!), Aunt Cathy, cousin Tammi, cousin Justin, and some of their friends. In all 11 of us. We danced, drank, and ate.
video







Click to play hofbrauhaus
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Fun times were had by all...

The braces came off...



Finally, I through with braces for the last time! I had them put on when Lauren was 1 and when she was 3 she lost the ever important retainer. My teeth did not move great amounts, but did move. I didn't go to back to my orthodontist because she was mean and not very personal (and really scared me!). The thought of having to tell her my toddler lost my retainer was unbearable! SO.... 6 years later I did it again. My braces were on for less than a year ... YAY!! They picked up the pain (oh, I mean pace) to get my done so I wouldn't have to keep commuting to Tucson to finish up.

I also spent the night with our old neighbors and, while it was a quick trip, it was a fun one. After a few delays with my flight, I got to Keith and Amy's around 11pm Sunday night. Amy and I stayed up until 3 am talking and catching up. Back up at 7am to start the day. I got a couple pictures of the girls. It was Maddy's birthday. She is a big 4 year old now. My appointment was at 9 and round one ended at 11. I was to come back for the retainer (think an invisilign tray). Amy, Maddy, and I had a nice lunch at Buddy's grill. Maddy was sooo cute! She loved being the center of attention.

Click to play Fisher girls
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Booooooo!

Happy Halloween (or Happy Nevada Day, as it was here)! It was a very strange Halloween. I don't know if it was a new location or what, but Shane and I just couldn't get into it at all. In Arizona, we would set up our fire pit outside and would roast hotdogs for dinner and smores for dessert all while passing out candy to passers by. Our neighbors would join us for the party and kids could hit 3 houses with one stop. AND...others in our neighborhood would also sit outside with their fires going. It was very cool! My mother-in-law, Sue, started making a point of being in Arizona for Halloween - it was that fun! Our neighborhood was the one where kids would get dropped off to trick or treat. We would go through, usually, at least 6 large bags of candy.

Anyway, reminiscing...

This Halloween was very different - for one, no one came by and I truly mean 0 kids! Lauren went out with her friend Bailey and her dad and brother and they hit a lot of our subdivision houses and got a decent haul (Lauren's bag even fell apart from the weight). There were no other kids out. Alex and I took Clea to the dog park in her costume and we saw no kids. The dog park was a different story. By the time we got there, a little later and darker than usual, there were 5 or 6 dogs there. All either in costume or just recently out of costume with owners holding them. Yep. Alex was afraid Clea would be the only one and would get "teased". One lady handed out goodie bags with treats in them.

Click to play Halloween 08
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Lauren came home at 8pm after spending an hour at Bailey's, so we went to dinner using one of our restaurant coupons. That is such a great deal - $10 for a $25 coupon to local restaurants. We also got a ganga deal on them. We got them for 80% off, so $2 for a $25 coupon. The place we went to last night with tip cost us $25 for 4 of us to eat. Not too shabby. We were a little nervous the waitress would look at our coupon and laugh, but they didn't even flinch. We can't wait to try some of the other ones we got. I will try to keep you posted on if they do another 80% off sale on them, although we thought even $10 was a pretty good deal.

Looking ahead to Thanksgiving now...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fright Dome

I mentioned Lauren would be spending Saturday evening at her new gym for some Halloween party...

Shane, Alex, and I decided to go to FrightDome at Circus Circus. We started our evening dropping Lauren off at the gym then going to the strip to eat. We chose Margaritaville and had a nice little dinner. Then off to the FrightDome. The tickets were $33.95 for the regular entrance and $48.95 for the fast pass. We chose fast pass because none of us are too patient at waiting in lines that are not for Disney (and even then, I prefer fast passes). We entered a dark, strobe light extravaganza...the first of the 5 haunted houses we came upon was Chainsaw Massacre. There was a guy outside of chainsaw massacre chasing people with a chainsaw. It may not have been real, but it smelled and sounded very real! While we were in the line to go in - I completely freaked when I heard the "monster" coming back revving up his machine. I left Shane and Alex and went to wait for them outside.

They finished up a couple of hours later. As I was waiting for them, one of the ushers asked if I was waiting for my kids. Nope, my husband. That got a good laugh from all the ushers standing at the exit. Shane and Alex had a good time rating and laughing about their misadventures - Shane got an entire tour lost in one of the houses!

Needless to say, Shane, not happy about my wasting his $48.95 by sitting outside like a big wuss. He plans to take his money back in "trade", which I really think he prefers...typical.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

5K

Lauren joined one of the clubs at her school. Shane and I call it the "Do gooder club" or her "Save the World club". She isn't too fond of either nickname for the "Give Back Club". They sent a flyer out mid last week about a 5K fun run today (October 25) for charity. We all decided to participate. Alex did the most training (man, what I wouldn't give for a 24 year old body and mind!) with one week of running every night. Shane ran once, but it was an overdone run where he ran way too long and too far for someone who hasn't run in years! I ran once and really did okay. However, my good intentions to run every night were thwarted by gymnastics (see previous post) and other such nonsense. Lauren ran the one time with me.

So....Alex finished first with a time of 33 minutes; Shane with 35 minutes; Lauren at 45 minutes; and I finished! ;-) Lauren stuck with Shane and Alex for the first half mile, then her shoe laces came undone and she came back with me. I was on a pretty good little pace for myself (run 5 cones and walk 2-3 cones place about 1/10 of a mile apart). She is a great sprinter, but when the rest times came she was more into those. My even pace was thrown for a loop. She is also a clinger wanting to hold my hand or arm while we were walking which slowed me down even more. When we were within 1/4 mile of the finish I let her race on ahead. Shane and Alex cheered her on. Both of them missed seeing me right behind Lauren since they were so excited to see her!!

I also got injured which really has slowed me down for most of the race (not that I would have broken any land speed records with no injury or child holding me back, but...). Here are some pictures, especially for those of you whining you haven't seen any pictures of me (I am in the middle picture, that is Alex, Shane's cousin on the bottom with Shane and Lauren for those of you who might mistake me for a hot, young 24 year old!)!






I hope to keep up on the running and possibly get back into it. I ran years ago, developed shin splints training for a marathon and stopped training and gained all my weight back. I really do sort of miss it, okay maybe not really, but it was a necessary evil that let me eat lots more dessert than I eat now. I will keep you posted....probably....maybe....we'll see...

Gymastics - finally

We finally got Lauren back into gymnastics after a 3 month respite. We were a little afraid she had lost some skills. We went in to do a trial class. They were going to put her into a beginner class, but was able to have one of the instructors test her right away. They put her into the Blue group. As she was practicing with the blue group the owner saw her and pulled her to test her further and moved her up into the Bronze group which is a competitive group. It is about the equivalent of an Arizona Level 3A (advanced). It is a lower level competition - most states don't even let their level 3's compete. It will be a great experience and Lauren is thrilled with the fact she is learning routines along with new skills. She is currently going to be attending twice per week (one day down from Tucson) and we will see how that goes. Competitions are supposed to start at the beginning of the year, so we will try to keep up on updates.

Click to play Lauren in gymnastics
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The pictures aren't the best. It is hard to take pictures through plexi. Tonight she is going to a Parent's Night Out which the gym does every month (are we loving this gym or what!!!). She will be there from 6pm-12am. Shane, Alex, and I are going to Circus Circus to check out the multiple haunted houses they advertise. Should be fun!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bite of Las Vegas

We went to the Bite of Las Vegas this past weekend. Although I really, really, really meant to get some pictures, I did not. Except this one...

Click to play Shane
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I really need to get better. I do carry my camera around all the time. I just can't seem to bring it out until someone reminds me.

Children's Museum

Last weekend (seems I stay about a week behind here...hmmmm)...anyway, last weekend Lauren, Alex, and I went to the Children's Museum here in Vegas. I am on a quest to find the best children's museum out there. So far, Boston is the best, but Albuquerque isn't too shabby. This one ranks in the middle of the pack somewhere.

Click to play Children's Museum
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Let me know if you have a good children's museum in your area. We really love checking them out!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A visit, an addiction, braces, and a bookcase

I woke up last Sunday with a feeling of "What am I forgetting?" I woke Shane up and told him I thought I had to go to Tucson that day for my orthodontist appointment the next day. We looked through the last of the boxes in the garage (about 15 - 20 of them with books in them) and found my appointment book in the last one we looked in. Typical! Sure enough, I had an ortho appointment in Tucson tomorrow. I packed a quick bag and Shane's cousin, Alex, who is staying with us let me borrow the first 5 disks of the Twilight book (yes, of the Twilight series). And, I was on my way...

On my way I had to call Nicole (she was at church when I left the house), to beg a bed for the night. She said there was a bed ready! By the time I got to Tucson, I was through the first 5 disks of the book. By this point, I was fully addicted and had to find out why Edward was so attracted to the boring Bella and had more questions. So, I stopped at Borders to get the first book, so I could finish reading it that night, and Book 2 on CD, so I could listen to it on the way home. I have yet to find out why boring Bella has attracted the Adonis like Edward's attention, but am now through book 3. I will probably go get book 4 today while we are out.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Adelyn and Luke.
Click to play Visiting the Jensens
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I also got good news - my braces come off (for the second time) next month! Yay!! This time I do not have a toddler to lose my retainer - this one will all be on me. I think Shane is done paying for braces for me - it is Lauren's turn now! That should be fun! NOT! Her pain tolerance runs in the negative numbers and not that braces are real painful, but they aren't real comfortable all the time either. I will keep everyone posted and may be begging to ship her off for a couple of years until her braces come off!

That leaves the bookcase. I had 5 cheap, small, 2 shelf bookcases we bought years ago. In Tucson, they were used in the laundry room, under the desk in the kitchen, and various other places that were somewhat hidden. They have the faux wood veneer - yes, I should have taken a before picture, but I didn't, so you have to use your imagination. Anyway, I was ready to toss them and go get a nicer, bigger bookcase for the living room downstairs. It is about the only place I can put one and I really need book space! As I was pricing the bookcases I liked, I was getting discouraged - bookcases are not cheap! Sooo, I was reading through my friend Cara's blog and saw her refinishing how-tos. I told Shane we were going to build a bookcase out of the bookcases we had. The excitement oozed from every pore of his - yeah, right! He was game to save a few hundred dollars though. I sanded, primed, and painted the bookshelves (not with spray paint, sorry Cara! I am horrendously not good at spray painting - no patience). Then we attached them and cut some pine planks on all the connection areas and some decorative trim pieces. Here is the finished product - I LOVE IT! It isn't the sturdiest on the planet, but it works and really looks good when you aren't right up next to it! :-) Shane loves it because it only cost about $30 to do - probably even a little less than that - we had some wood planks leftover.