Monday, August 30, 2010

I'll Know I'm a Native When...

...I can wear dark wash jeans in triple digit temperatures.

...I don't keep circling the parking lot, looking for nonexistent shade.

...I get the hang of using all my major appliances during "energy saving" hours.

...I can pronounce Spanish words other than salsa and guacamole.

...I can actually find a location after people say things like "It's on the SE corner of Alma School and Baseline."

...I don't get overexcited about spotting hummingbirds, quail and lizards.

...I can squeeze myself a glass of grapefruit juice from a tree in my own backyard.

We've survived our first August! Maybe I'm a native already...

Friday, August 20, 2010

China Anniversary

Jumping from one family tree...
into another!

Pretty good yield, huh?
Traditionally, the 20th anniversary is the China Anniversary. You either buy yourself a new set of china or go on a trip to China. We chose instead to buy a leather sectional and have a spa weekend in Scottsdale. Tradition, be hanged.
I feel like I should write something sappy, but if you look through the archives, I've said it all before. All I can say is that I can't believe it's been 20 years. There are lots of things in life that have been hard for me, but marriage has not been one of them. I'm lucky.
**Current photo by Christie...wish she'd been around for the original shots. Early '90s wedding photography should be a federal crime.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Blogging, right now, is kind of like the pretty round bronzed mirror that looked so good in the entry of our old house but is now sitting dustily on a stack of cardboard boxes. I love it. I miss it. But I'm just not quite sure where it fits in the new place.

I have many blog-able thoughts and moments during the course of my day, but I haven't quite figured out when and how to get them all down.

My days are so busy right now. I don't know why. So many of the things that used to take up my time--half-day kindergarten, early morning Seminary, driving along winding, country roads to get anywhere--are no longer part of my routine. I've found a handful of new friends, but my social calendar is still pretty empty.

I guess it's the four kid thing that keeps me hopping. When they're around, they need food and help with homework and (unfortunately) a whole lot of sibling refereeing. When they aren't around, I'm buying their food, washing their clothes and making copies on the Riso machine for their teachers.

And what's taking up the rest of my time? As Dr. Seuss might put it... "Oh the house. Oh the house. Oh the house, house, house, house. That's the one thing she's doing. The house, house, house, house."

New houses are a lot of work. I have to keep reminding myself that Rome wasn't built in a day and that it took years before I was happy with all the paint colors and window treatments in our old place. We went ages without a finished basement and eons before Brad built the back patio. In fact, it was not the house of my dreams at all until we put it on the market last spring.

But, in my old age, I'm a lot less patient. I know how I want things to look. And I want them to look that way. Now. I drive myself a little crazy. Hanging things up, taking things down. Buying things. Returning things. And I'm still learning my way around town, so usually each errand takes twice as long as it should. See? Low-stress and inexpensive and eco-friendly!

Brad has been extremely patient with this whole nesting process. I mean, let's face it. The guy, if left to his own devices, would live in a house with one MASSIVE tv and a lone, comfortable (but hideous) black leather chair. A bed with a mattress so firm it'd need a medical prescription with no designer throw pillows. The walls would all be white without a single nail hole or picture hook to be found. There would be no toile in his world.

So, Babe, this post is dedicated to you and your generosity of spirit (and checkbook). I promise once all the drawer pulls are installed and the curtains hung, I will return to my former low-key, easy-going self. Yes, really.

Also, I promise, more blogging. More often. I miss it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Take

On exercise at age 40:
I am DONE with exercise I do not enjoy. Life is too short to spend any more time with you, Mr. Stairmaster. Same to you Dr. Elliptical. We are through.

Because what's the point of exercising for longevity if you keep looking at the Minutes Remaining and wishing you could die?

Hello, Zumba. Hello, Body Pump. Hello, Spin. Hello, Early Morning Walks in the Gorgeous Desert Sunshine. You make me happy.

On having all four kids in school all day:
I will not lie. I have mixed feelings. Some days I love it and feel like I'm getting away with something almost criminal. The mall? By myself? And I don't have to bribe anyone with a free balloon or an extra spin on the escalator? Other days I miss having little buddies around. I miss being needed in that non-stop little kid way.

People, of course, have asked, But what do you do all day? Well. Same things I used to do all day: Clean the kitchen. Go to the gym. Grocery shop. Pile after pile of dirty laundry. Errands and phone calls. Help at school. The difference now is I get to listen to whatever I want in the car and I have no excuse to stop for an ice cream cone.

Together time.(Nimmy...this living room shot is for YOU. Don't worry, I got new lamps.)
The downside of having everyone gone at once, is that everyone is home at once. There is no one-on-one (or two-on-one, in our case) time together and I DO miss that. Everyone is home and at their hungriest and neediest. And, of course, I am usually hungry and needy too.

My kids still need me. Just in a different way. It's just gonna take some getting used to.

On living in Arizona at this historic moment in time:
I feel like I should have a stronger opinion. But, the truth is, I can really see a lot of different sides to the issue. My goal is to get more educated.

In the short time we've lived here, though, I have found the population to be very friendly and welcoming. There are all shades and varieties of people coexisting nicely and acting like grown-ups. That seems like a good sign.

On settling into a new house:
We have cleared away most of the moving-in mess. Which is good. Because now we have all of the regular everyday living-in mess. And I can only handle so much mess.

Moving into a new place means re-evaluating every "system" in your life and re-ordering each one. The laundry system. Where will the dirty clothes go? What's the best place for the dryer sheets? The homework system. How many private study places do we need? Where are they? Why do the kids need to sharpen brand new pencils down to nothing? I find it enjoyable and exhausting.

Here is one of our study areas. In its former life, it was a family room wet-bar. But I learned in our old house that I don't like "wet" and "family" in the same room, if you know what I mean. So the sink is out. New countertops, drawers and pencils are in. A+ for Effort, right?!

The thing about this house is that it is going to take some living-in to get really comfortable. New sheets, new jeans, new houses may look great right out of the package, but to feel great, they need a little wear. (Remind me of this fact after someone lets a pen leak on the new slipcovers or the carpet meets a root beer float, ok?)

On Axe deodorant and shampoo:
I am glad products exist that make my eleven-year-old excited about personal hygiene. I like the instructions on the bottle that say Wash. Attract. Repeat. Along with a cartoon picture of a guy meeting a girl.

However, all four men in the household have been using Axe for a week now and, to date, no women have been attracted. As far as I can tell.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Books in my Life

Is anyone else out there a reading two-timer?

I HAVE to have more than one book going, mostly so I don't have to run up and downstairs more than necessary.

Usually I really like one and only sorta like the other...but right now I'm in the middle of THREE amazing reads. I feel it is my duty to recommend.

Here they are:

This is the audible book I am listening to while I clean the kitchen and fold laundry. I will confess it is SO good, I've actually been finding excuses to mop. Along the same vein as The Thirteenth Tale or Possession, the plot jumps from past to present with stops in Brisbane, London and Cornwall. Absolute heaven.

This is my pool-bag book. I've read it before, but I could read it 100 times. Haven Kimmel is in my Top Ten list of favorite authors. Her descriptions are so funny, you find yourself actually giggling. Out loud. I recommend sitting some distance from other pool-moms as you read due to the possibility of audible snorting. Potentially embarrassing.

This is my nightstand book. 1943, Chicago. Three Irish-Catholic sisters writing to their soldiers. Need I say more? Why is WWII so romantic, anyway? Very nostalgic and full of homefront details. I want to go read some right now.

What are you guys reading?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Storms and Calm

Last week, Mother Nature officially welcomed us to the Valley of the Sun.

We had been prepared for triple-digit temps, sunburns, parched lips. We hadn't, however, realized we were moving in during the heart of Monsoon Season.

The grill was blowing around the back patio like an old roller skate. I took this photo while hollering at Brad to get out there and DO SOMETHING! Also, our cabinet guys were at my side, laughing hysterically, and saying "Welcome to Arizona." Nice.

I'd heard about Monsoons before and was skeptical. But now? I believe.

Monsoons are like huge Nor'easters in the desert. They come out of nowhere and turn the sky all kinds of crazy colors. The winds are so strong they snap trees, frightening small children and their 40-year-old mothers.

There was so much water that our street became the after-storm swimming hole. It was a good ice-breaker. My kids met a whole gang of new friends as they paddled along in the rainwater.

In other, less stormy, news...
the kids started school last Monday!
It felt sick and wrong to drop them all off at school in the middle of July.
But only one of us

The children have adjusted beautifully.

I was very concerned about the quality of schools here. I mean, that's what the East Coast is known for, right? Italian restaurants and great schools. How could anything measure up?

However, we've been very pleasantly surprised. Schools are definitely more casual here. (Teachers in flip flops and tank tops? Cool.) But the curriculum is challenging, similar to our old school district. The teachers have been very friendly and well-organized. All the kids are happy.
Jake is being mainstreamed all day into a regular sixth-grade classroom and it's going so well I could just cry. I wish I had known, way back during his blustery kindergarten days, that there really would be so many sunny moments in his future.

But I really, truly do appreciate the calm all the more after a storm.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...