Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm Thankful for Elastic Waistbands

Today is a great day to spend in my pajama pants. I had a really hard time just trying to fit breakfast into my still stuffed was a great Thanksgiving! Branden and I hadn't had an actual Thanksgiving meal in 2 years, so it was wonderful to taste all of those wonderful foods again. Although, I will say that I really am a sad excuse for an American because normally Thanksgiving food does little to excite me. Turkey is not my favorite meat, I am not a fan of pumpkin pie, stuffing is really iffy, and cranberries just make me think of a UTI. This has actually been a good thing for me in the past because it meant that I was the only person not engorging themselves to the point of sickness. With all that said, my mom-in-law introduced me to fabulous twists on Thanksgiving food that had me unbuttoning my pants and heading for seconds! Last night's food was also amazing, and I happily did my part in eating like a true American.

We couldn't find butterscotch because it's not very popular over here so we had to make our sweet potatoes with brown sugar and cinnamon with marshmallows on the top...the Germans were baffled (as well as most of the other non-Americans at our feast). It was a hit though, and I don't think there was much, if any, left by the end of the night. It was actually my first time making sweet potatoes and my first time eating them like this because as I said above, it wasn't my kind of food...or so I thought.

We left the festivities a little early so that we could Skype my parents. My mom and dad were hosting Thanksgiving at their house so we got to see my grandparents, my aunt, a few cousins, and my cousin's almost 2 year old son. He is so cute! It was really nice to see everyone again and give a little catch up. I'm pretty sure my grandpa wasn't able to hear anything we said since he's so deaf, but he still sat in the room and smiled at us through the screen.

Now that Thanksgiving is done and dusted, I can officially hound you all with Christmas stuff!

Or for all you cat lovers out there:

Moral of the videos: Let your dog do your decorating and let your cat do the tear down!

I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving as well! Or for my non-American readers, I hope you had a good ole' regular Thursday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since most of you will be busy with Thanksgiving tomorrow, I'm posting my festive wishes today. Branden and I are going to a Thanksgiving dinner with friends so we will be busy as well. Hopefully we can make my mom-in-law's butterscotch sweet potato mash but I don't remember seeing butterscotch in most stores here. Fingers crossed, we find it and blow everyone's mind with this incredible mash!

My mom-in-law actually posted this on her Facebook page yesterday and so decided to share it today. I hope you all have a wonderful day of thanks. For as little as Branden and I seem to have, we sure do have bucket loads to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Working With an Old Fart

I'm digging back into my archives today and sharing another locksmith story with you all. Even though this happened to me about 7 years ago, I can still envision it perfectly in my mind!

First Service Call Alone:

My boss was gone on a job so I had to go unlock the house of a very small and very old man. I was nervous but confident; I knew how to pick locks. So pick kit in hand, I met him at his door. The picking began, and as I worked, I noticed a twelve year old boy's comical dream come true! The old man apparently had no control over his bodily noises and would squeak a few out every so often. Lucky for me, despite my close proximity to him, it didn't smell, but I was having quite a time not laughing. After a half an hour, resulting in a major blister on my finger, the lock would not pick! This isn't entirely uncommon, picking isn't all skill, its odds too. The old fart (pun intended) mentioned that he had problems with the front door and it didn't work right...NOW he tells me! I asked if he had any other doors and he said that there was a side door by his garage. I told him to lead the way, and then I noticed something even better than the simple 'gas leak' problem: Every step he took was accompanied by a very bubbly fart! I still have no idea how I didn't die of laughter!

We got to the side door (still no smell thank God), and I worked on that for a while. I still had no luck, and then he informed me that this lock wasn't working well either. Thanks Buddy! I had no idea what to do, and then he mentioned a sliding glass door on the OTHER side of the house. This is a good sized house, so I had to hold back my laughter as he let loose his bowels every step of the way! When we got to the slider, I noticed that there was no lock on it, thus I could not pick it! He pointed to the kitchen window next to it and said that it was always unlocked so I could crawl through (very professional). The only problem was that it was probably 10 feet off the ground. Captain Farts Alot said he had a the garage...on the OTHER side of the house!

So I followed him, farting every step, back around the house to the garage! My stomach was hurting from holding in laughter by now. He got the ladder and wouldn't let me carry it back to the window because he was trying to be a gentleman and not burden my feminine frame with heavy lifting. He was already crippled up and bent over, so I was afraid he was just going to break in half from the ladder. Nope, the added weight just put extra umph and strain to his gassy trudge back to the window! 

Must be professional, can't laugh; Must be professional, can't laugh!

I crawled through his window, got him in, went to my car, and DIED of laughter. I was there for an hour with the human fart machine, and I never laughed until I was in my car where he couldn't see...although I bet he and the whole town heard me laughing all the way back to work! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Golden Sky Blogfest

In honor of Elisa's book release The Golden Sky tomorrow, she has asked the blogging community to share a story of loss today.

EC Writes

 In my 27 years of life, I have been blessed. My grandparents are still alive, except for my mom's dad who died when I was only 6, and I haven't lost any aunts, uncles, or cousins. We have lost 2 of Branden's grandpas since we have been married, but those are his stories so I didn't feel right in sharing them. I did have a cat who lived to be 19 and I held her as she slipped from the world but that is for another day. Very recently, I experienced my first lost of someone who had been in my life from almost the beginning. Here's the story of my second grade teacher.

When I was very young, I had one big thing I was really looking forward to: second grade. My older sister told me the fabulous tales about how amazing it would be. What was so special about second grade? Mrs. Raycraft. Sure there were other second grade teachers, but there was nothing more exciting than knowing you got to be in Mrs. Raycraft's class. She went to the same church as us so I knew how much she loved hugs even before I stepped into her class.

When the blessed age came and the school year started, I excitedly started my year with Mrs. Raycraft. I gave her a hug every single day (probably twice if you include saying 'goodbye'), and when she hurt her arm and had it in a sling, I gave her 'half hugs' so I didn't bump her bad arm. She loved reading in her class, and two books I remember were Shilo and Where the Red Fern Grows. Shilo was about a platypus, and we had a stuffed animal Shilo that we took turns taking home for the weeknd. Now if you know anything about Where the Red Fern Grows, you would know it has a very sad ending. Even though Mrs. Raycraft read this every year to her class, she always ended up crying when she got near the end and had to have a student finish it for her. The highlight of the year though, was the month long study on Hawaii that ended with a big luau party. We learned how to spell Hawaii's state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa (I didn't even have to google that!), and enjoyed some tasty food, including a coconut that had been mailed whole with the address stamped on the husk.

It was a great year, but it wasn't a sad ending because I knew that Mrs. Raycraft didn't stop at just being a second grade teacher. She loved each and every one of her students, so when summer vacation came along, she would get sad and miss being with the kids. Keeping up with her students was important as well, so she went to every year's high school graduation to see her students on. Of course I got to still see her at church, until we changed churches when I was 13, but it's a small town so she was always in and out of my life. And each time I saw her, I always gave her a huge hug. She was at my sis's graduation and at my graduation, and when my sis got married, she and her wonderful husband were at the wedding. When my wedding finally came, I excitedly sent an invitation to her and her husband, knowing that she wouldn't miss this special moment of mine for the world. And she didn't miss it. Her and her husband sat smiling in the back as I cried my way through the ceremony.

Earlier this year when I was back in the States, I worked with my mom cleaning houses. Mrs. Raycraft was finishing her last ever school year before retiring this summer and her husband was very ill and unable to get around, so my mom was cleaning her house. I got to tag along and had such a good time catching up with her husband and giving a little company to their ever so sweet German Shepherd, Maddie. The first time I went to clean with my mom, I noticed she had a photo of my sis, bro-in-law, and nephew on her fridge. It was a wonderful reminder that she was so much more than our second grade teacher.

About a week before Branden and I moved to Ireland, Mrs. Raycraft's husband passed away and I was unable to go to the funeral. The entire trip to the States, I hadn't been able to see Mrs. Raycraft and I really wished I could have been at the funeral to just give her one more hug, but sadly, we weren't able to go. Branden and I moved soon after, Mrs. Raycraft retired, and then discovered she had cancer. My mom continued to clean for her and would give reports on how Branden and I were doing. Mom would also give reports to Branden and me on how she was doing. The treatment was very harsh and she wasn't taking it very well.

We send out a monthly newsletter to our family and friends back home that Mom would print out and take to her. I also wrote her a letter and emailed it to mom to take to her. Something I've never really mentioned in my posts before, is just how Branden and I survive financially over here. The only way we have been able to pay our bills and have food to eat is from the generosity of family and friends. Mrs. Raycraft didn't have much, so I remember the tears springing to my eyes when my mom told us that she was going to be contributing what little bit she could monthly. Living by donations is humbling enough, but I felt an extra tug on my heartstrings as this woman, who had lost so much recently, and who technically was 'just my 2nd grade teacher', had yet again made sure to be there through the biggest moments of my life.

Last week, she lost her battle and joined her husband to continue her journey with her Lord. There are so many lost children in heaven and I know they now get to have Mrs. Raycraft.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rude Awakening

The world was warm and pleasantly hazy. I don't remember what I was dreaming but it was nice because it meant I was asleep. My whole body was in paralyzed slug mode and had no intention of becoming mobile anytime soon. The dream continued and flowed along with the wonderful slumber that I was so deeply engrossed in.

In an instant, the dream sharply disappeared, my body startled, and my brain was telling me "Someone is crying!" as my heart pumped heavily in my ears. I tried to compute, going over in my head that Branden was already gone for class so it was sometime in the 9 o'clock hour, our housemates typically were all gone by this time in the morning, and our thick windows were closed, so where would there be crying? My heart still pounded from my startled awakening as I strained for a sound...

Very, very faintly, and far off in some random neighbor's garden, I heard little kids giggling. Surely that's so soft, it couldn't have woken me up, plus they sounded like they were having fun and playing from the little bits I could strain to hear. But then I heard him. One little guy apparently wasn't having as much fun and let out a few wails in between giggles.

Dang internal mom instinct! I was sleeping! I've got years before I need this instinct so why won't it take advantage of sleeping while it can with the rest of me?!? Oh well, I suppose I should be happy that I even have this instinct...and can still sleep in past 9 almost every day.

On a side note, I decided to make 'fancy' coffee this morning. Brown sugar and cinnamon coffee sounded chic, but now that I have it, it kind of tastes like soap. Again, oh well, I need the caffeine!

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's a Marshmallow World

It's about halfway through November so I can't contain it any longer. I can't resist Christmas music anymore! My mom-in-law is an artist and she just had her huge Christmas sale at her art studio over the weekend so I've been looking at wonderful Christmas foofoo for weeks now (she's shared lots of fun photos with us). Normally around this time of the year, I start creating festive decor like a mad woman. I am a paper chain freak, although I use more than paper. I will make a garland out of almost anything as long as it is the right color scheme. This year is a bit different though. All of our Christmas decor is still in Edinburgh with our friends who also were our neighbors. Even if we did have the decorations they would be taped up in a box and crying for me to let them out. The sad thing is that we have no place to put anything. We had a mini tree and lots of mini decorations, but now we have everything we own in our one bedroom so space is just not available. All of our surface space is taken, and even though I make nice looking containers to hold all of our things, Branden and I still feel like things are cluttered and driving us crazy! It can't be a good sign when you feel like you need to purge your one room.

I have tons of Christmas creative urges rushing through my mind and not a thing I can do with them. I suppose that means that all of my Christmas spirit will need to be poured into Christmas music then. The song I'm sharing today is one that I actually had never heard until I met my mom-in-law. I love classic Christmas songs and don't know how this one slipped by because it's fabulous! My mom-in-law LOVES Christmas. She really decks the house out, and being an artist, she makes amazing holiday decor! 

My mom and dad-in law last Christmas at their home

For a number of years, Branden and his family would drive over to Leavenworth, a Bavarian styled town tucked away in the Cascade Mountain Range, and stay for a weekend before Christmas to get them in the spirt of things. Around Christmas time, the town turns into what my mom-in-law described to me as a festive snow globe. Our first "Married Christmas" together, Branden and I flew back from Scotland to be with family for almost a month. I got to join his family on their yearly trip to "snow globe city". It was absolutely breathtaking and Branden's mom got more and more like an excited child the closer we got. The first day of the trip, we just drove over to the Seattle side of the Puget Sound to do some Christmas shopping and get a night's sleep before heading into the mountains.

The second day, we arrived in Leavenworth and it was absolutely incredible. There were kids sledding, carolers on the streets, smells of gingerbread and spiced drinks, and adorable bundled up families taking it all in. 

Outside of our hotel that was right across the street from the above about a view!

My mom-in-law, who I call Momma Bean, was so excited to finally have another girl on the trip, so as we enjoyed snoop shopping, the boys could go enjoy some sledding. We also got to go up to a lodge for some sleigh riding and dinner. It was beautiful!

Bundled up on the sleigh ride

However, I did find thoughts of exploring the surrounding winter wonderland a bit terrifying after I found this in the entryway of the lodge.

It was a magical little weekend and really put the Christmas spirit in us! This year will be different with not much of a chance to decorate and with us staying in Ireland. Next Monday I'll have to share the wonders of Christmas in Edinburgh! It was incredibly beautiful and festive at Christmas time which we ache to be missing out on this year. But this year is a new adventure, so I am excited to see what Christmas will bring. Either way, Branden and I are just so happy that we get to be with each other for the holidays.

So without further ado, and without Thanksgiving to hold me back, here's the fabulous Dean and Frankie to wet your Christmas appetites. They are having way too much fun singing this! I love it!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Casual Comment Chat Day...and some plotting

Thanks for stopping in today and wasting some of your Saturday with me! If you haven't heard what's going on and my basic rules for this Chat Day, then just take a peek at yesterday's post.

I mentioned a prank of freezing mentos in ice and then putting them in diet coke. I decided to see if anyone has done this so I turned to my good friend youtube. Unfortunately I was highly disappointed to find that it didn't work! I checked some other videos too but still no luck.

This did give me an idea though. Even though the mentos didn't explode, they still would make the coke taste horrible. So what about freezing other discrete nasty flavors in ice and then placing them in unsuspecting drinks!

On to a more entertaining to watch prank. Elisa may be nicer on her brother and not go for this type of prank but I found it extremely funny to watch! Thank goodness I didn't know how to do this when I was a kid!

So any ideas? Comments? Further youtube videos? Or if you have any random questions you have for me then I'm open to that as well. where's my coffee???

Friday, November 11, 2011

Week Review

Happy Friday everyone. The week started off a bit rocky and then I did get the news that my beloved family friend and 2nd grade teacher passed away on Wednesday. She's joining her husband who left this world only 8 months before her. They have 2 boys and grandchildren, so I know this can't be an easy time for their family. I am actually doing alright. I think having a few days of prepping for it helped me to put things into perspective.

Another thing that has really helped is that I'm finally going to get involved in some volunteer work here! I have been so excited these past couple of weeks that I can hardly contain it. Yesterday, while watching Oprah (yes, Ireland still thinks she's in her final season), I got the crazy idea that I need to start another blog. I'll be working on the basic set up over the weekend but it will be a completely different space than my Padded Cell. I debated just sharing my volunteer experiences here but I think it's best to separate them since they will be attracting different audiences and I can be more free in pouring out my heart's passion in something that's not a 'comedy blog'. I'm not telling you what I'm doing yet, but after I launch the new blog you can take a peek and see where I really come alive.

Since Branden now has a job, he will be working all day on Saturdays. I typically don't blog on the weekends but that doesn't mean a lot of you fabulous bloggers aren't out and about in blogland. So, starting tomorrow, I will be starting an open blog post on Saturdays where we can have open conversations through the comments. I definitely think I have the best commenters in blogland so I'm pretty confident we can come up with some pretty hilarious convos. If you happen to be out and about in blogland on Saturday, stop on by and I'll be open for any questions you may have or topics you may want to discuss. All I ask is that we keep it 'family friendly', fun, and no debating because this is not meant to be a serious place (that and I really know NOTHING about politics, economics, and all the big things that intelligent people like to scream at each other over).

So to summarize:
1. Please continue to keep my 2nd grade teacher's family in your thoughts and prayers as they handle her passing.
2. Be prepared for a whole new blog full of heart and passion (and maybe some laughs along the way).
3. Stop in on Saturdays and chat with me as I sit bored at home while Branden is gone.

I think we may need to kick off tomorrow's conversation with best prank ideas. Elisa over at Crazy Life of a Writing Mom is in a prank war with her brother and since her brother doesn't read my blog (or at least I'm pretty sure he doesn't), I'm sure we can brainstorm some great prank ideas! I saw something on Pinterest last night that said to freeze mentos in icecubes and then put them in your friend's diet coke. Then about 5 minutes later, their drink will explode on them!

Blog pranks work as well since he has a blog, so start thinking of ideas now. If you go to Elisa's site you will quickly see how the prank war has been going so far.

Hope to chat to you all tomorrow!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Ex....Hairdresser

This morning I looked at Branden and said, "I think it's time I shared about my crazy ex eyebrow waxer." This is another tale from my past days as a locksmith and was written back in January 2006. I read this and thought that maybe I was a bit harsh on the woman, but then I remembered how much I would shake like a nervous Chihuahua around her as I tried to brace myself for whatever piece of TMI would come from her mouth. 

As I read this story back to myself, I realized that it had a great moral to it:

"Don't go around life as a spineless jellyfish who has to please everyone or else you too could end up feeling like you are trapped in a trailer park soap opera and can't get out".

Thank goodness I am a stronger person now!

My Ex Hairdresser

I had a hairdresser from the bad side of the trailer park...oh yes, there's a bad side. I went to a nice salon to get my eyebrows waxed (plucking made me sneeze) and a trim (my hair, not my eyebrows!). Anyhoo, I got this wacky haired hairdresser who we will call Flonaise (because I think she likes nose candy). So Flo did my eyebrows and they were really good...actually perfect! Then she started on my trim. We talked, and at that time I was teaching youth group, which she got really interested in. She had two middle school aged boys and wanted them to start getting involved in church stuff. Then she noticed that my tongue was pierced (it's not anymore) and got all excited! She asked me the usual 'did it hurt?' 'how do I like it?', stuff like that. She then proceeded to tell me that her and her girlfriend almost got their "coochies" pierced (excuse the spelling but this word is not part of my vocabulary!). Less than 5 minutes ago we were talking about church but now I get to hear all about her 'candy land'!

Thankfully, I got out of there with amazing eyebrows and a so-so trim. As disturbed as I was by this woman, I went back because I am a people pleaser who can't say no it is tough to find a good eyebrow waxer. If they get the wax too hot they can burn and blister your skin, but if it's too cold they can rip skin off! Since blisters and scabs really weren't a popular trend, I went back numerous times.
One day God smiled on me! Flo told me she was leaving the salon and opening her own hair place. I thought 'Sweet! I'll never have to see her again and I'll finally get another lady here to do my eyebrows!' I left smiling just thinking about never having to hear about that crack-head's coochie again! It was about a few weeks later, I was at work, and suddenly Flo drove up to my office! I dove behind the counter, crawled back to the workshop, and spied on her. She was moving in to the office space next to mine!

God laughed at me. I managed to avoid her for a while but was starting to get desperate since I didn't have the courage to try out another waxer, so I had become a wanna be plucker (and it wasn't working). Finally, she came into my office, saw me behind the counter, and asked why I hadn't been over. I of course lied and said that I had been busy. I scheduled a waxing appointment that day people pleaser, people pleaser, people pleaser!! It was kind of nice to have my waxer just next door, even though I learned all about her unhappy relationship and how often her boyfriend took his daily #2 deposit!

But then her ex husband started coming around. No biggie, he wasn't in my shop, right? Considering he was above the age of 40, his "old man pervert who has to hit on Maggie" radar went off. He came in to my shop, even had a job for me to do...a house call! Luckily I didn't do house calls. HE was exactly the reason why I didn't do them, so I threw him to my boss. Of course he had to stay in my office and make friendly chatter about random things. 

Somehow my car was brought up and I said something about how I wanted to take off the tinting. He got all excited because he used to do tinting and knew exactly how to remove it. He said he could have it off for me in 30 minutes and wanted my phone number so he could call me and arrange a time to do it. Um, No. I told him to give the office a call if he wanted to get ahold of me, but I could do it on my own. Well, he was insistent and really wanted to do it, but luckily for me, he had to leave to meet my boss at his house call. As soon as he left, I called my boss and told him that if Dirty Old Man asked about me, I was married! 

When my boss came back from the job, he cracked up and told me that as he worked on this guy's car, the guy talked all about how nice I was and bla bla bla, so my boss piped up with, "Yeah, she's great! I thought I was gonna lose her after she got married, but luckily she's still working for me!" The guy got really quiet and asked, "Oh, she's married?" My boss just said, 'Yep', and the guy never spoke of me again. The guy came in to pay his bill but never even looked at me! No friendly chit chat, no offer to take my tinting off, nothing! It was great!

Eventually Flo moved out and never reopened a shop (her ex never came back), and I found a new eyebrow waxer that was not meth enhanced! (and she gave good hair cuts too!)

*Of course, since this time, I have worked in an actual drug clinic and have discovered that I really get on with most drug addicts. I look back and laugh at my reaction to this poor hairdresser. I hope you all enjoyed laughing at my naiveness as much as I did! Oh, and I of course don't think people in their 40's are old but when I was in my early 20's, any man who was 20 years older than me and hitting on me, was "old"!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Some people just aren't cut out for advertising

Of course since I am now 'retired', I am put in the position to criticize the working's a tough job but somebody has to do it! Now before you get your hackles up, I'm pretty sure all of you hard working people will be taking my side at the end of this.

You are going to be starting up an online greeting card business. When it comes down to naming your company, you want something fabulous, catchy, cleaver, and obviously something to do with greeting cards.

Brainstorm ideas:
Cards for Cares
Snail Mail is for Losers

(I think you get the idea)

My brainstorm may not have provided a winning name but it makes me wonder how bad a brainstorm would have to be to settle on this name??

They say "Funky, fun, and free delivery" so I get the "funky" part but where does the pigeon come in??? I supposed they at least tried by having half of their name apply to their business UNLIKE this next greeting card company:

I'm all for being unique and having a catchy new angle on things but this is a bit of a puzzle to me. Do any of you get it?? What does a moon or a pig have to do with greeting cards?!

I have some guesses:
Either their brainstorm meeting took place in Amsterdam and they were all partaking of the local drug cuisine.
 They are all a bunch of new parents and came up with a name based on the children's toys they pulled out of the couch one day.

Although, who has a toy pigeon for their kid?

*Side note: Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers. I don't have any further information since my last post so I'm just in a waiting game. Hopefully I'll be making my blog rounds today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Difficult Monday

I received some hard news last night. My 2nd grade teacher, who is one of the most loving women I have known over my short life and has been a great family friend, is losing her life to cancer. I don't have a lot of details, but I have been told it's not going to be long. We'll see how it goes but I may not be visiting blogs or even blogging for a bit. I don't know what your beliefs are and I'm not one to shove my beliefs on anyone, but I'm sharing a favorite hymn of mine that I think is fitting.

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
When my way grows drear
Precious Lord linger near
When my life is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
When the darkness appears
And the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

Saturday, November 5, 2011

P.S. for the Weekend

I know I don't post on weekends (and I also know how odd that must seem since I don't have a job) but I completely forgot to mention in my posts this week that I made a small appearance in a couple of other blogs this week.

My good bloggy buddy Bodacious Boomer occasionally posts photos for her 'Bizzarometer'. I happened to come across a photo that I thought would be a perfect submission! Go rate it, give it your best caption, and wish Boomer well as she is recovering from surgery from having kidney stones! Poor thing!

Scope-Tech posted his breast cancer charity photo post and I am in it since I submitted a photo. It may be a photo of me in my wedding dress, but normally I'm a very modest woman who doesn't feel comfortable showing cleavage. Since I was drugged up on my wedding day (read My Love Story), I didn't notice or care that I was practically popping out of the top of my dress! It wasn't until we got photos back that I saw how bad it was. I asked Branden, "Why on earth didn't you tell me that I was showing that much cleavage!?!". He just responded with, "I thought you looked great!". Oh well, I ended up getting to use it for a good cause! Go check it out!

And finally, take a hop over to Elisa at Crazy Life of a Writing Mom. I was excited when she told me that I'm her featured blogger of the month! She has the ability to make you go through every emotion while reading just one of her blog posts. The stories about her kids are incredible and I can only hope and pray that mine end up half as creative as hers! Thanks for featuring me this month Elisa. I can't wait for your BOOK LAUNCH coming up this month!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

One Big Sensitive Dog

After sharing some stories about my parents yesterday, I had ever intention of blogging about my in-laws today...not an easy thing to do. Branden and I have been sitting on the bed brainstorming about how on earth we can even begin to introduce his parents. I mean this is a good way. His parents are wonderful and I love them to bits, it's just they are some of the most random 'characters' I have ever met. After throwing around some sasquatch, pirate, and alien invasion stories, we couldn't decide where to start, so we changed our focus.

I don't know why his dad is making this face but I love this photo! If you look in the background you can see lots of hats hanging on the wall. This is one of our favorite restaurants because you get to wear random hats through your dinner! This was last Valentine's Day. We were with them and had a blast!

Today you all get to meet Beauford instead. He's their 210lb. purebred St. Bernard. After you hear about his character, it will put into perspective how his owners must be even more complex!

He is the biggest baby of a dog I have ever met! Despite how huge he is (he has walked past me and hit me in between the shoulder blades with his tail!) he is absolutely petrified of Chihuahuas and ducks, and he used to have a fear of puddles but thankfully he got over that one! There are some Chihuahuas who live next door and when they started coming up to Beauford's driveway to bark at him, Beau didn't want to leave the porch for a week! He will start whining and shaking if he hears them barking.

He was such a cute puppy! I wish I knew him at this time!

Beauford may have some odd fears, but for the most part he is a happy dog who takes 2 hardcore naps a day and loves peanut butter sandwiches. Branden's parents have a big projector screen in their basement that is like a mini theater. Beauford loves to watch movies and gets very involved sometimes. I remember one time we watched "Wall-e" and Beauford started chasing the cockroach around the screen. He has his own movie that is basically some random footage at a dog park. Beau will go nuts jumping up after sticks, barking at the yappy dogs, and seeing how many butts he can try and sniff. There is one part though that we have to fast forward because he gets really upset over it. It's a scene of a male dog that is standing over a submissive female and barking like crazy at her to keep her laying down. Some other males come over and bark at the poor female too and this drives Beau nuts! He tries to bark the males away, and when they don't go away he goes up to each of us and tries to make us go stop them. He'll either nudge us, bark at us, or even softly take our hand in his mouth to 'lead us' to where the poor female is. Since he gets so upset, we just end up fast forwarding to keep him from stressing out.

In the snow, he goes into "rescue dog" mode!

Beauford and I quickly became buddies. He likes women anyway, but he has lots of fun dragging me around in my socks across the floor when we play tug of war. When we Skype Branden's parents, sometimes Beau gets really frustrated because he can hear my voice but he can't get to me. He will bark and bark at the screen and grab Branden's mom's hand in attempt to make her go get me. The other day when we were talking to Branden's mom, she put her laptop on the couch (facing towards the room) so she could go get something in another part of the house. When she left the room, I saw Beauford just laying on the floor, attempting to snooze. I started calling him and he soon got up and started groggily looking around. His first reaction to my voice was to go directly to his toys. When I didn't just grab a toy and start playing with him, he walked to the door to go see if maybe I was in another room. I called him again, so he turned around towards the computer, saw my face on the screen, and walked over to sniff my face. Obviously not smelling me (despite being able to see me), he walked away to go get Branden's mom to get me out. Branden and I were cracking up but also felt a bit bad for him since we got him a bit excited.

He loves it when I crawl on the floor with him!

So that's my intro to Beauford Clarence (he has a middle name!). My big hairy buddy. I'll start on how to introduce my in-laws on Monday!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Parental Unit

As a lot of you saw yesterday, Branden and I went 'all out' to make a fun video for our nephew's 5th birthday. He absolutely loved it! Poor Chrissy has had to watch it 8 times (until the battery finally died in her computer) because her nephews have become hooked as well. My mom sent an email to us yesterday that had us cracking up (that woman is fabulous!). She did her own movie review and I can't resist sharing it:

Once again i was not disappointed in the creativity of this *our last name* classic.  This couple never ceases to outdo themselves in their expanse of imaginational musings.  I can truly say this is one of their best yet; blowing such others as "Little Bunny Foo Foo" and "Happy Birthday Ma" completely out of the water in epic proportions.  To include a few bloopers gives it a rare twist and the creation of the moving backdrop was ingenious to say the least.  I'd definately give this one 5 out of 5 stars----this film is a must see!
siskel and epert

ps.  while trying to type this out, i managed to make 625 spelling errors, fall off my chair, and finally finish my first cup of coffee.  I think I'm awake now.

I felt the need to share her email because maybe then my kind readers can start to understand where my humor comes from.

Then I ran across this old memory that I posted on my old blog back in July 2006:

My parents have been married for almost 26 years and would be absolutely lost without eachother. With that said, I have to tell on my dad. I'm sorry dad. You know I'm your little girl, but these are just too good to pass up!

About a year and a half ago, dad bought an airsoft assult rifle at some garage sale and wondered if those little plastic bb's actual hurt. Now a normal airsoft gun can leave a welt and sometimes a bruise when you're shot but the assult rifle is a bit worse! Dad first considered shooting the dog to see what kind of reaction he would get, but since that would be mean, he looked around for something more 'humane' to shoot. His eyes soon landed on my mom, who was all peaceful and content sitting in the he shot her in the back! Mom screamed and jumped up! She ended up with a pretty good welt and dad learned that yes, those plastic bb's really do hurt!

About a month ago, my parents were finally settled in bed when dad realized that he left his shop unlocked. It's down a hill and through some trees from the house and since he was tired, he decided that he was going to just leave it. The next thing he knew, mom was getting out of bed to go do it for him, in the dark! He was too tired to stop her, but a bit after she left he went out there to go with her. By this time she was already headed the dad got the "bright idea" to hide since she hadn't seen him. He crouched down, and when she walked by he let out a very low growel noise and grabbed her ankle! Mom fliped out and started crying because she was so scared. They live in a place with cougars and bears so I would have pissed my pants too! Dad felt so bad; he is still trying to make it up to her!

Now married for 31 years!

Since I posted a funny photo of my mom, it's only fair that I share one of dad as well. Luckily his airsoft gun can't reach me 4500 miles away!!

 This gem of a photo was taken on their honeymoon to Disney World. Look at those short shorts!!

I love and miss my parents so much. It's hard to be away from them at this time of the year but looking back on memories like these make it just a little easier.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Very Proud Auntie Moo

Our oldest nephew turns 5 today. I've posted about him before and if you need a refresher you can read it here:

He is the first baby that I have ever fallen in love with. It's hard to imagine that your heart can expand so much but then my sis had another one (who just turned a year old) and he made our hearts grow once again. I love my nephews to bits and I wish I had more stories to share with the younger one, but sadly we haven't had as much time together.

Since it is Hunter's birthday, I figured I'd share some more fun memories. When he was first born, I was dubbed "Auntie Bed" because that baby would fall asleep on me almost instantly. He was not much of a sleeper, so during his first year we had to find ways of getting him to fall asleep, since placing him in a crib and letting him cry himself to sleep was not possible...that kid just got angry and would spitefully cry for hours and hours with no hint of being worn out (I think it actually gave him a kick of adrenaline!). My poor sis tried so many techniques including some natural plan that came with a workbook and guarantee that the creator only had 2 cases of failure in 20 some years. After a week from hell, Katie sent the book back with a not so happy note that the lady needed to make it 3 cases...

Blissfully sleeping on "Auntie Bed"

At some point, someone discovered dancing him to sleep. I think it was mom, but anyway, we had a certain CD that we started playing and one of us would hold him close to us as we slowly swayed and danced to the music. I loved doing this with him. It was so sweet to watch his little eyelids finally flutter shut. Then I could quietly take him to his room and gently rest him in his crib. Just before he turned one, his time with us in Washington was over and he and Katie went back to California because my bro-in-law's deployment was finally over. 

I did get to fly down and visit them, which was fun, as Hunter was starting to talk and become quite the character. He loved the Spongebob Squarepants theme song and being the cool Auntie I am, I would sing it to him (because yes, I just so happen to know it). Since his vocabulary was limited, whenever he wanted someone to sing it to him, he would all of a sudden bust out in his best pirate grumble, "Oooooooooh....." and wait for us to burst into, "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" to which he would chime in "Ponbob Warebans" or something like that. However, singing this would get a bit old for us adults and the situation would usually end up like this:

*My sis and I chatting about who knows what in the car*

1 year old pirate voice from the back seat, "Ooooooooh..."

*Sis and I continue talking in hopes that he will just get occupied with whatever we were listening to on the radio."

1 year old pirate voice in slightly higher pitch in case we didn't hear the last one, "Oooooooh...."

*Sis and I crack up a bit while I turn around to indulge the cute face that's smiling in anticipation for that crazy song*

The next time they came back up to Washington while my bro-in-law was deployed again, Hunter was just over 2 years old and one of the first things I wanted to do was dance him to sleep. I had missed my baby so I wanted to have that feeling of his small little body snuggled into mine as he drifted to sleep. My mom and sis looked at me a bit weird since he was quite a bit bigger now, but I turned the same CD on and gently danced and swayed.

Soon my arms started to burn and the sweat started to cover me as that toddler turned into a sweltering sack of concrete! I prayed he would fall asleep fast because I had no idea how long I could manage holding him as he magically grew heavier and heavier. My mind started wondering if it really would be possible for my arms to just fall off from sheer exhaustion, but he finally dozed off and I painfully slipped back into his room to gently place him in his crib...but I found another hurdle. Since he was bigger now, the bottom of the crib had been lowered. I am by no means tall, and soon found that I was hovering on my tiptoes trying to get the slumbering babe as close to the bottom as I could. I couldn't quite reach, so I just had to drop him in and pray that he didn't wake up on impact. Thankfully I was close enough and he stayed blissfully sleeping. I felt like such a bad Auntie! Thankfully though, he's a brilliant kid so I know no harm was done!

Well, I'm off to work on his birthday video. I've already made a paper towel roll boat, Branden's working on the moving scenery, and I've got moveable ocean waves to finish! We may actually put this video on youtube...