Monday, November 30, 2009

A blast from the past

Contrary to what Addison thinks, I haven’t always been married to Jay. I even had a boyfriend or three before marrying him. I have the scary pictures complete with braces and tight rolled jeans to prove it. I’m just glad we didn’t have digital photography back then.

A few weeks ago we were hanging out in the basement and I started digging through boxes. I found an old jewelry box of mine, filled with all kinds of fun things. Seriously, it was like a time capsule. Among the cheap gold earrings and unicorn pendants of the 80s were several yellow gold herringbone necklaces, bracelets and earrings from the 90s. I guess those looked good with my Air Jordans. Add in a few rings and necklaces from college and I had myself a little pot of gold.

I picked through all of it and kept stuff the kids might someday like to have. But I had no idea what to do with the rest of this stuff – it was definitely not anything I’d be wearing again, but throwing it away didn’t seem right. Then I found out that our jewelry store was buying gold and thought, why not?

I’ll admit I felt a little weird walking into the store. Not guilty, more like how I imagine I’d feel if I was pawning this stuff for beer money.

20 minutes later the guilt was gone. I had a $500 store credit in my hand and was happy as a pig in poo!

I cruised around the store, anxious to see what my money would buy me. I already have diamond earrings… I have plenty of necklaces… so I decided to browse the diamond engagement rings, just for fun!

I asked Bob the owner if he’d try to convince Jay to trade my current diamond in for a lovely cushion cut one… Price tag, a mere $25,000. Bob looked at me and said, “Steph, even Jesus himself couldn’t convince Jay to do that.”

I'm pretty sure Bob knows how cheap thrifty Jay is.

So, here’s to you, boyfriends of the past… Because of the kindness you bestowed on geeky teenage Steph, I walked away with a lovely new Pandora bracelet, complete with a monkey charm for Addi and a penguin charm for Sam. And a lot of money still left to spend at the jewelry store. Lucky me.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Back to reality

It’s been a long week and a half. And although many things, both funny and sad, have happened here at the Ralph house, I haven’t had the mental capacity to even begin to think about blogging about it all. Now, with one day left before going back to work after our holiday, I’m in some ways dreading going back but mostly excited to get back into our routine. The kids need it, our house needs it, and I certainly need it.

Since it’s been over a week since I last updated, here’s an overview of the highs and lows:

  • Sam bit two kids at daycare. LOW
  • My dad arrived last Saturday from North Dakota. HIGH
  • I showed Jay Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook and I got the higher score. HIGH
  • I got to mop our kitchen floor (and this is a high, believe me!) HIGH
  • I got the kids to wash our windows. HIGH
  • We gave our dog Smokey away and were majorly heartbroken. LOW
  • Addi and Sam had a great Thanksgiving feast at school. HIGH
  • I made Addi a fish tank on Facebook that’s super annoying. LOW
  • She was happy to have a replacement pet for her dog. HIGH

  • The cat pooped in our shower. LOW
  • We enjoyed (mostly) a great dinner the night before Thanksgiving with my mom, dad and uncle Phil, while the kids stayed home with a sitter. HIGH
  • We saved money by NOT going to the boat with my mom and instead, played Bejeweled Blitz at home. HIGH
  • Jay beat MY score. LOW
  • Jay managed to make a Thanksgiving meal for seven people and actually made food for ONLY seven people. No leftovers for 10 days! HIGH
  • Jay and I were in line at 4 a.m. at Sam’s Club on Friday. LOW (it was cold!)
  • We ran out of turkey by Friday afternoon. LOW
  • We scored a new laptop and a Wii! HIGH
  • The Wii was free! Thanks Uncle Phil! Great Christmas gift! HIGH
  • We got all of our Christmas shopping finished by 10 a.m. Friday. HIGH
  • Bejeweled Blitz zeroed out all scores and I got a higher one than Jay. HIGH
  • Addi played the Wii for a whopping 10 minutes before getting bored. LOW
  • Sam only dropped the Wii controller three times on the tile floor. HIGH
  • We all napped on Friday. HIGH
  • While Jay was playing a waterskiing game on the Wii, I commented on how realistic the picture was, then snuck up and sprayed him in the face with a water bottle. LOW (for Jay)
  • Jay did NOT punch me when I did that. HIGH
  • Jay got 180,000 on Bejeweled – only about 80,000 higher than any score I’ve ever gotten. LOW (for me)
  • Jay stopped playing after becoming convinced he has carpal tunnel from too much jem action. HIGH for me
  • My dad left this morning to go home. LOW
  • My dad took his hyper dog with him. HIGH
  • Jay hung Christmas lights while the girls and I napped. HIGH
  • We found out that the basement flood ruined our Christmas tree. LOW
  • We got a BETTER tree! HIGH

Tomorrow we should hopefully finish up our Christmas decorations, pick up the house, and relax. Then, back to reality.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

PKFTVJWA Parenting

It’s been an interesting week as a parent. Because Addison has pretty much not stopped talking since, I don’t know, AUGUST, she has said and done some VERY random things this week. It’s seriously to the point where one day last weekend Jay said, “I just have to get out of the house for a little bit. I can’t take her talking to me anymore.”

Yeah, it wears you down. To combat it Jay and I have stretched our parenting skills to include the “PKFTVJWA” method. More commonly know as, Put the Kid in Front of the TV and Just Walk Away.

Here’s a VERY brief synapses of the past week or so. Just the highlights, don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable or anything.

  • Daddy said if I am good I can have a pet fish. OR a baby brother.
  • I’m getting a baby brother next week! YES I AM!
  • I am going to name my baby brother Vulva! NO, NOT VOLVO, MOMMY! VULVA!
  • I don’t like you and daddy. You are both crazy. And I don’t like crazy people.
  • I like Sam today. I won’t give her away now.
  • I went to time out today for saying the F word.
  • Is “What the” a bad word?
  • Is “and” a bad word?
  • Is “car” a bad word?
  • Is “bad” a bad word?
  • Come look right now at what Sam is doing!
  • Seriously, come look!
  • Mommy, come look now! She’s throwing hair clips on the bathroom floor.
  • See, I told you she was doing that.
  • Oh, yeah, I peed on the bathroom floor.
  • Those hair clips have pee on them!
  • I don’t want to go to bed.
  • Because my room scares me.
  • Because the color purple scares me.
  • Night mommy.
  • Can I leave my room if I have to go potty?
  • Can I cry for you?
  • Can I come downstairs to throw my Kleenex away?
  • Can I come in your room in the middle of the night and hug you?
  • Can I bring my pillow?
  • Move mommy, you are in my spot.
  • I dreamed of bad words last night.
  • Fisher is my best friend. He doesn’t say bad words.
  • Look, there are my boyfriends, Kiki and Oodie!
  • Mommy, I taught Sam to say Kiki!
  • Where’s my brother you said I could have?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

100 Jennifers

Growing up, I was constantly called Jennifer. Teachers, my first boyfriend's dad, college TAs... There was even a billboard in high school proudly touting "Jennifer" as a graduate.

Now that I'm a grownup, it's been years since anyone called me that. But, I still hear the name daily, because I am lucky to have a friend named Jenny. We met through a mutual friend several years ago and slowly but surely have become great friends. Our kids are the same age, we have a lot of the same interests (ahem: Twilight), and we just have a great time together, either scrapbooking, body pumping or drinking margaritas. I don't know what I would do without her, and I am so lucky to call her one of my best friends.

I am also lucky because she's extremely talented. And she lets ME use her talents to my advantage!

The fantastic pictures on my blog header? And all the ones of Sam? Jenny took them. Aren't they great??? Thanks to her, I have some amazing family pictures to look at for years to come.

And some wonderful pictures of Addison:

Her and her daddy:
The diva pose (either that or she thought she was a lizard sunning on a rock):
More Daddy fun:
The only thing that would make her more beautiful in this picture would be if she wasn't holding beef jerky:
Thanks Jenny. You are the best!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

18 months and counting

Eighteen months ago today, Jay and I were beyond excited to welcome 7 pounds and 13 ounces of cuteness to our family. It's hard to believe but she's even cuter today.
She's also bigger and a lot more independent.
But sometimes still needs a hand to hold.
She gives fantastic hugs.

And totally rocks the pigtails.

And has two of the biggest, bluest eyes this side of the Mississippi.

Happy 18 month birthday Sam! We can't imagine life without you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Moving on up

For two hours last night, Addison packed her stuff. Where is she going? I have no idea. But the good news is, it's all by the door, ready to go into the car.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

As seen on the fridge

Our daycare sends home Incident/Accident Forms every time something happens at school. Sam bonks her head - we get a form. Addi falls down and gets a boo boo - we get a form. Every time Sam has gotten bit by some SOB* at school, we got a form (*Sweet Ol' Baby). We've received several of these throughout the year and mostly, we read them and then throw them in the recycle bin.

Yesterday, we got our first form that made the fridge. Sandwiched in between a cat Sam colored and the monthly newsletter is our newest Incident Report.

Apparently, Sam bit a friend at school for no good reason. It even says that: "unprovoked biting."

I didn't feel ashamed for posting it on the fridge. Really, after she got bit four times this year, I kind of felt proud that she's finally standing up for herself.

Then, last night, she bit ME. Karma is such a bitch.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Too beautiful for words

This weekend was possibly the most beautiful November weather I have ever seen. Warm, sunny, not a cloud in the sky.

It was a great day to take in some fresh air. The kids and I spent some time at the neighbors, playing in the rocks and going down the slide.
Then, as the girls and I went into the house for lunch, Addi accidentally let Smokey outside.
Three hours, one visit from Animal Control and one dog trap later, Smokey was home.

After the excitement of chasing and bathing the sewage covered dog, Jay and I headed to my good friend Melissa's wedding. And as hard as it was for me to believe, the beautiful weather didn't hold a candle to the gorgeous bride.
We had a blast dancing and partying with the band and friends.

Congratulations, Melissa and Ryan!

Friday, November 6, 2009

My girly girl

I am not what you'd call super girly. Yes, I'm a girl, but the whole makeup/hair/clothes thing really isn't my cup of tea. I put effort into looking nice but I'd much rather spend my day in yoga pants and a t-shirt.

This could be why my kids pretty much ONLY have graphic tees and yoga pants. Seriously, they live in those things. And at this point I don't consider either of them extremely girly either - they love cars, being dirty, picking their nose, and not having their hair brushed. Dresses? They'll wear them if they have to but to be honest, they'd just as well be naked.

But my girls both love makeup. Addi LOVES for her nails to be painted and actually had a melt down last night because my toes were painted and hers weren't. And many Saturdays before bath time I let them go to town with makeup and make huge messes. And they love it. And I love that they love it and that it's cheap makeup I could care less about. Smear it on your head, I don't care!

They also love my nice, expensive makeup. Which I love a whole lot less.

Most mornings I try to get ready before waking up the kids. It's just so much easier, especially since Sam is in a clingy faze. Meaning, if I am standing, so is she. If I'm sitting, so is she. Kinda like a kangaroo. HANGING on me.

This morning I apparently wasn't quick enough and Sam woke up before I was totally ready for work. So after a few minutes attempting to get ready while holding Sam, I gave in and let her sit on the sink. First, she went after the Q-tips.

My makeup was the next victim.

She REALLY got into this part.

And just when my nerves started to unravel, she saw me taking pictures, looked up, and said "Teeeez."

Best morning ever.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sabrina and Addi

Jay is from a pretty big family - six kids, tons of aunts, uncles, cousins, and now nieces and nephews. There are plenty of perks that come from growing up "Brady".... He's great at sharing, great at pitching in to help in times of need, and if you ever need biscuits and gravy made on the fly for 25 people, he's your guy.

Growing up with a pretty small extended family, I absolutely adore having the big brood for my kids to grow up with. Although holidays are pretty hectic and there are people everywhere, I definitely wouldn't change a thing. And the kids LOVE their aunts, uncles and cousins.

Even though my side of the family is much smaller, the kids still love everyone. And Addi definitely has a favorite - Sabrina. Granted she only has two cousins to choose from and Lorelai is just a year old, but Sabrina is Addi's idol.

I'm pretty sure if Sabrina told Addi to jump, not only would she respond, "How high?" but she'd also offer to shine Sabrina's shoes mid air. She LOVES that girl.

Well, this spring my brother and family moved back to California after living in Indiana for a few years. And although we tried to make sure Addi understood that her favorite would not be around, I don't think she really GOT it.

Now, she understands that she can't see Sabrina every weekend. But that doesn't stop her from missing her. She is constantly asking when we can go on a plane to see "'Brina" and starts off many stories with "remember when 'Brina and I did xyz?"

Monday night I came in from volleyball to the family eating dinner. And this is what I saw:

Addi, eating dinner, with a picture of Sabrina in front of her. Her little three year old way of seeing her cousin.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Caught in the act

He is so not allowed on the furniture.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Found on the phone

Since I know most people have lost sleep over my new phone, I'd like to say once and for all that me and my phone are friends again! Woo HOO!

OK now that we can all breathe again, here are some pictures I forgot I took last week at Addi's school class party. She asked if Sam could join us and so I went to get her. And you can tell, she's ready to be in the Blue Room too!

OK maybe she's just happy to be anywhere there is food. Your call.

In addition to candy and cookies, the kids also got scary teeth. Spooky!

Our little ritual

I hadn't realized the "let's lay in bed and watch cartoons until we get sleepy" thing was a ritual until Sunday night.

That's when I laid Sam on my bed to get her jammies on and she crawled up to my pillow, climbed under the covers, pointed at the TV, and said, "Ugh! Ugh!" For those of you who don't speak Sam, I'm sure she meant, "Mommy can I please watch cartoons? Thank you so much Mommy. I love you and boy you are pretty."

Two minutes later Addi realized Sam had me all to herself and she joined us. As did a pink flip flop.

What a great ritual. I simply love it.

Now, the screaming bloody murder when I turned OFF the TV for bed... That part wasn't so fun.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What I love about Sundays...

Sleeping in, yummy breakfast, watching movies, playing with the kids…. These all make Sundays one of my favorite days of the week. And of course napping… most weekends I nap when the kids do and it makes me dread the time when they are too old for that sort of thing.

What I DON’T like about Sundays: coming home from a quick trip to the mall to find Addison in time out. For chewing a hole in the kitchen wall.

Yes. That really happened.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Scaring up some candy

The kids were ready for Halloween this year. Their bags were on the table weeks in advance.

And Addi realized that her costume would look much scarier if she was a major grump and refused to smile for pictures.
And Sam got to wear her REAL costume - she was a yard gnome.
Tell me you don't want one of these hanging out in your garden!
And while Sam played in the garage, Addi kept up the 'tude.
At least until her friends Jill and Ryan showed up to trick or treat. Then, all was right in the world.
We collected some candy then headed back to our neighbors for some food, friends and fun. All in all, it was a GREAT Halloween!

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