Monday, July 28, 2008

Exercise Makes Me Nice!

It is amazing how much more productive, energetic, nicer, etc., etc. I am when I get my exercise. I made it to the gym today. I ran 4 miles on the treadmill. I got it done. I feet great. Now I am going to go eat a big slice of white bread from my freshly baked breadmaker loaf I made today.

Hey, I deserve it!

On a side note, Eli came so close to rolling over today. I thought he would break through, but he didn't. Maybe tomorrow will be his big day.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Crazy-Busy Weekend

Yesterday was a crazy-busy day! I woke up early in the morning to go shopping for the things I would need for a baby shower for Melanie and Christina H. I had to make 2 salads and a trifle. When I got home I only had 45 minutes to put it all together. I quickly realized I was in trouble. So I summoned my husband and he came to my rescue. I gave him instructions on putting it together, and while he assembled I was rigorously chopping, dicing and slicing.

With a few minutes to spare, I went to the shower. I dropped off my stuff and then rushed to a baptism for Chad. I stayed for about 30 minutes and left early and then went back to the shower because I was the one hosting, with my friend Carolyn. After the shower I came home and then went to the store again to buy some ink cartridges so I could make a bulletin board for Primary. I was also hosting a couples night, in which only one couple came. It was actually a relief for me. They are my favorite couple anyways! Since we had more food than we needed, I called on Elaine and Rich to come over and it worked out perfectly because they hadn't eaten dinner.

After Elaine and Rich went home, Amy and Stan stayed to play "Apples to Apples" with us. I actually won a game. I swear that never happens!

By 11pm, I realized I had not done my bulletin board and I just could not put it off one more week. Therefore, I sucked it up and got it all made.

Rinar took it in the morning with him and put it up for me. He went to Bishopbric meeting and then came home and we went to St. George. We went to his parents ward and all the kids were there (except Lani) and we sang the Erickson classic, "Red, White, and Blue".

We stayed for dinner afterwards and came home before it was too late.

Like I said, it was a crazy-busy sort of weekend.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sylvia From Performance Solar

I called Performance Solar today and talked to Sylvia, because the solar heating is leaking on my roof.

I said to Sylvia, "Hi, I have a leak with my solar heating."

She looked up my account and then informed me that I had a past due balance on my account.

The last time we had ever dealt with this company was well over a year ago. We had had a problem with the installation of our unit. This was the problem: as soon as we turned it on the water started pouring off of the leak. Rinar called to have them fix it so that it would work for the first time. They came and fixed it and the promptly charged us $120. Rinar called and argued the point with Sylvia that we should obviously not be charged for the repair since it never worked in the first place. After much haggling and reluctance, they waived the fee. Then it wouldn't work again and they came out to look at it again and finally the solar heating was working. This was the last time we interacted with this company (December 2006).

So these things went through my mind when Sylvia told me that we owed them money. I got really ticked off. So I replied in an elevated (yet not yelling voice), "I called to say I have a leak and you tell me I owe you money."

Sylvia countered with, "Well, if you are going to be rude to me, I won't help you." (Grant it, I don't think that is exactly what she said, but she did accuse me of being rude. Then as she continued to look at our account, she conceded that they had waived the fee.

I don't remember all of the particulars that followed, but she continued to accuse me of being rude. I asked if I could please speak to somebody else. She told me no. I asked her if she was the only person that worked at the company. She emphatically told me that she was the only person at the company. I accused her of trying to be my mother. Then she told me that my mother obviously did not teach me any manners. I probably muttered something like, "This is unbelievable, you are supposed to be helping me!" And she countered me with, "When you can speak nicely to me and not be rude, then I will help you. I think you should call me back later when you can not be rude to me."

She also accused my husband of being rude. My husband! We are talking about Rinar, who has to be the nicest person on the planet. I don't think you could find anyone AT ALL that he works with or goes to church with or is a neighbor with who could say anything bad about him at all. This is the guy who is a compulsive waver and always smiles and never says anything mean about anyboday, anytime, not even in private when it is just me and him. You can imagine that this really got me angry.

I never, ever called her a name, besides accusing her of trying to be my mother. That is the only "mean" thing I said to her. Then she proceeded to hang up on me without resolving the call. I mean, she said goodbye, and then click!

So to sum it up, I needed my solar heating fixed, she accused us of having an unpaid balance (for which they had never sent us any kind of bill whatsoever!), even though she conceded that we did not have an unpaid balance, I got ticked off at the accusation, she condescendingly told me I was rude, did not help me, insulted me, and then hung up on me.

I was so upset that I was shaking, I cried, I called my husband. Raef cried because I was upset and Zach went and got me some dandelion flowers for my hair and gave me a big hug.

The Moral to the Story: I cannot recommend this company to anyone.

But if you ever want to have a lovely conversation with a sweet lady named Sylvia, from Performance Solar...you go right ahead.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Click Click Click

Raef likes to click everything, especially his Suzuki songs. Take a look...

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A Parade and a Wedding

Thanks for all of you who played my little game. You can still join in on the fun if you want too...



Rinar took the kids to visit my parents in Tucson on Friday and then he came back Saturday night. So while he was gone I put together a float for the Pioneer Day Parade. It is a multi-stake gathering and is alot of fun, except for the sweltering heat and being out in the sun and basically melting. We had our Primary kids do a float last year and we MELTED, so I decided this year, no matter what, our float would involve water somehow. Therefore the theme for our float was "Build Your House Upon a Rock". If you are familiar with the song...


The wise man built his house upon a rock
And the rains came tumbling down...
And the house upon the rock stood still.




Our float represented the rain. The kids brought water guns and we filled up a zillion water balloons the night before. We also decorated the float Friday night and as I drove it to the parade very slowly, it almost completely fell apart. As soon as I got there, I had the parents make a mad dash to make the necessary repairs. Everything turned out perfectly in the end. We got wet, and hence stayed cool, and we were able to get a lot of unsuspecting parade observers wet as well. When the parade was done I felt pretty cooled off and it didn't bother me that it was well over 1oo degrees by 9:30am. It was no problem.

We also ran into an old friend after the parade...



After the parade and festivities, I made all the necessary preparations for Eli and me and then we headed up to St. George. We went to visit my Grandma Carpenter for about an hour and then we went to Aunt Karey's wedding. She got remarried because a few years ago my Uncle John (her husband) passed away quite suddenly. He had been sick and had someone else's heart, as he had received a heart transplant about 15 years before.


It was a happy occasion. Eric is one of 11 kids. There were about 12 of us, from our side of the family that made it to her wedding. I think all the rest of them were from his side of the family. Eric has 5 girls and Karey has 2 boys.


Karey's moms: Wilma and Vi



Eric's Family

Eric


Karey, with major picture-taking fatigue...

Ross is a Grandpa...with his super-cute granddaughter Teagan.

And here is the rest of our family...pretty much.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Memories

Here is a fun little game...Leave a comment on my blog of a memory that you and I have had together. It doesn't matter if you've known me for a short time, or a long time, anything you remember! Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. On your mark...get set...blog your memories!!

Bananas Do the Trick

Yesterday I tried feeding Eli rice cereal with bananas and he liked it much more. He did really well eating it and kept most bites in his mouth. He is transitioning now to the next phase of baby. You can see it in his eyes and the looks he gives you. He is soaking everything in and learning tons of things every minute he is awake. It is a marvelous thing to watch a baby grow. I just need to remind myself to stop each day and watch him so that I don't miss it.

I decided to register Raef and Zach for soccer in the fall. I did it on a whim after talking to my friend about an hour ago. She registered her son too. I have been thinking about putting them in some sort of organized physical activity and I finally took the plunge. They get a uniform and everything. I think this will be fun. Hopefully it will be a positive experience for both of them.

I went to the gym today to workout. I weighed myself and was pleasantly surprised to see that I have lost another 3 pounds. I am getting closer to losing the 20 pounds I put on from having a baby. I am not going to think of it in a total amount of 20 pounds. Instead of saying that I have 20 lbs. to lose, I am telling myself I only have 2 more pounds to lose. Then I start over with my next 5 pounds. Before I know it, all the weight will be gone. Plus, I really want to start running more intensely and competing in road races, but I am hesitant to do too much because of the extra weight I will be lugging around. By the end of the summer I should be able to start training for a half marathon in St. George in December. Then all of the weight should most assuredly come off.

Anyways, when we got home from the gym, I wanted to make some pizza dough. Eli was really hungry and I didn't want to feed him right away until I could get the dough going. Hence, I put him in his highchair and asked Raef to feed him. Raef did a great job! He fed him banana rice cereal while I made dough. Then Zach took a turn and fed Eli as well. It was great and I was able to get a lot more done in less time.

Don't I have great kids?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rice Cereal, Yum, Yum!

I attempted to feed Eli some rice cereal. What do you think? Do you think he enjoyed it or what?
(His bib says "Hi, I'm new here")


I think that he spit every bit of it out of his mouth. I promised him that he would like bananas better than rice cereal. He will just have to wait until next week to see if I am right.

New England -- Days 7,8,9 & 10

On Wednesday we went to the Public Gardens and rode the swan boats. You can read all about this in Robert McCloskey's famous children's book, Make Way For Ducklings. The Public Gardens are very beautiful and there is a different vibe from them and the Boston Common. It is probably because you aren't allowed to play ball on the grass and stuff like that. There is a higher expectation of decorum.


I set the kids free with the camera to take pictures of whatever they wanted at the park while I fed Eli. There is a statue of the duck story and it looks just like the book. Zach took a picture of every single duck. I think this one's name is Quack, but it could be Lack. Who can really say for sure?

After our jaunt at the gardens, we headed over to the subway and went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It is a beautiful museum and I was able to see many of the works of artists I greatly admire: Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, El Greco, Velasquez, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Gainsborough, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, and Gilbert Stuart. These are just the ones that come to my right now, but there was so much more. I wish I could have spent all day there, but with three kids I lasted about 90 minutes or so. Zach and Raef were pretty good, actually. It was Eli that sent us packing early. Crying baby and hoity-toity museum do not mix well.

I ran out of gas on Thursday and I really did not want to walk anywhere. So we decided to go to the Commons and swim in the Frog Pond. However, it was closed for cleaning so we killed time in the park throwing a frisbee and chasing pigeons. The kids really enjoy that activity for some reason. Then it was time to go see Kung Fu Panda again. It took up the entire afternoon so it was great. We ended the day with a dinner at Fanueil Hall.


I got my second wind of Friday so I braved the subway again to take the kids on a tour of Fenway Park. It was really more for me than them. I love visiting baseball stadiums, and this is a historic landmark. There was a game later that night so everyone was getting ramped up for the evening. When we finished our tour we went to the Frog Pond finally and then in the evening we took Dad to the Children's Museum again. They had a lot of fun showing all the stuff they knew. But all that walking produces two very tired 6-year old boys.

We arranged for a ride to the airport because our flight departed out of New Hampshire. After thinking of all possible options, we opted for hiring a driver to take us. Take a look at our ride...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New England -- Day 6 Boston Freedom Trail

Raef, Zach, Eli and I walked 95% of the Freedom Trail today. Yes...I made my kids walk almost the whole darn thing. They did pretty darn good, actually. I was really surprised. They had fun following the path because they knew just where to go.

There is a lot to see on the trail and I was surprised at how much of it I knew pretty well. This first one is of the kids in front of the grave marker for James Otis, the father of the Revolution.



Raef is posing for a picture in front of the podium at Fanueil Hall. Zach is not pictured because I put him in time-out for excessive kissing of Eli. Sometimes it can be a real problem. He just loves to kiss Eli...all the time...in the wrong places...and when it really gets on my nerves.

After Fanueil Hall, we found a lovely park along the way that had water. So we stopped for about 20 minutes and the kids got soaked. Even Eli got in on the action a little bit, and he really enjoyed the cool water. The city has built all of these new parks where the freeway used to be before the Big Dig.

After the water park, we made our way past Paul Revere's house. It looked too small to navigate with a stroller, so I just opted for a picture with my boys. It is a very small house in the cutest part of town, the North End.




This is the Old North Church...you know, "One if by land, two if by sea." The plaque above the door actually says that.

I really wanted to go on the U.S.S. Constitution, but by the time we got there Eli was sound asleep in his stroller and I didn't want to wake him up. The only way we could go on the ship was if I carried him. If I did that, he most certainly would have awoken and I think I would have been miserable because it was a long ways back to the hotel.

Complaining was minimized with strategic stops for candy and ice cream. I think I spaced it out well. The only thing that was a drag was that we had to walk back over a hot bridge to get to the subway. The kids loved the subway so it was a nice change of pace, plus I didn't have to listen to them complain about how they didn't want to walk anymore. Carrying them was not an option.

When we got back to the hotel, Raef decided he wanted to do a backflip and he actually did one. I couldn't believe it. What an amazing kid. I filmed him doing his 2nd backflip ever.



video

Monday, July 7, 2008

New England -- Day 5 Kid's Museum & Ducks

Rinar headed off to work today and we went to the Boston Children's Museum. This museum is seriously cool and that is all there is to it. The kids had a ball and we stayed there for 5 hours. There are three floors packed with things for kids to do. It is nothing complicated or overly ornate, but intriguing and loads of fun. I enjoyed playing with a few of the displays myself.

Zach decided to play a game of checkers. He soundly beat me. I mean he pounced on me. I am really bad at checkers. So then he played another kid and he did pretty well even though he lost.

While he was playing checkers, Raef was in a mock neighborhood market cleaning up the store and organizing everything. It was very cute.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a little park that had water and the kids got wet. It was a good thing to be able to cool off. We liked that a lot until Raef had to go to the bathroom so bad. They were both dripping wet and I brazenly stormed into a Fidelity office on the corner so that they could both go. While Zach was waiting I was wiping up all the drip he was leaving on the floor.

In the evening, Rinar and I took the kids to go on a duck tour. It is an amphibious boat that does a tour of the city from land and sea. Raef and Zach both got to drive the boat while it was in the Charles River.

Here are all the passengers "scared" by the novice pilots. This was a good experience. We had a lot of fun as a family on this little excursion.

Now we are at our hotel and the water is turned off. That's right. We have no water. There is construction on this block and they must have hit a water line, because our pipes are dry. DRY! The city has turned off the entire block and they told us that it will be back on at either 12 tonight or noon tomorrow. Well, that really stinks...literally. I am glad I got a shower in this morning, but poor Rinar has business meeting tomorrow and he would really like to take a shower in the morning. What an adventurous day today.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New England -- Day 4 Getting Lost in Boston

We went to church this morning and then went back to the hotel to get everything packed. We got on our way and took several wrong turns before we found the hotel. Oh well, I guess that is what happens when you set out on a journey with no map.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

New England -- Day Three Cape Cod

Well, this morning we were going to wake up around 8:30 or 9 but when it hit 10am we finally roused ourselves from bed. The morning really got away from us. But we finally got going and headed out on our day of adventure.

We decided to drive to Cape Cod. It was a lot farther than we first thought, but we made the best of the day and time we had. We stopped at a little at festival in a park in Dennis and there was a windmill. Rinar got some cute pictures of the boys.
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Zach has been obsessed with giving me dandelion flowers. I get a bouquet everday while we are walking about.

Our next stop was for lunch and we found a roadside restaurant stand called The Friendly Fisherman. It was really busy and the food was great, but probably not the healthiest fare. Oh well...I guess we are on vacation, right? Rinar had fish'n'chips and I got scallops. The kids had an exotic fare of chicken strips and fries.

We finally got to the beach: Nauset Light Beach. It was a pretty beach and I thought the kids could just get their feet wet. In about five minutes they were almost completely wet. I felt kind of dumb because we had swimming suits in the car. What was I thinking? Wet and sand are a deadly combination. But the kids had a lot of fun. Raef kept building a fort/wall of protection and the waves would knock it over. Yet he was relentless and kept fixing it and making it bigger. He had a ball.



While he was doing that, Zach was orchestrating the waves. He would hold his hands up and then bring them down when the wave would roll in. It was cute to see them both doing their thing.


They are so different from each other.
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As I promised earlier, here are a few pictures of our two-bedroom hotel suite...


Friday, July 4, 2008

New England -- Day Two at Bristol & Newport

Today was a great day and we had a lot of fun. After a semi-early breakfast, we headed to Bristol, RI to enjoy the oldest continuously run parade in the country. This thing was huge for such a small town. It was quite a show and the atmosphere was electric.

Here is what the road looked like as the parade was getting ready to start. We were lucky to find a little space on the curb.



Here are the boys waiting for the big show.



This was the Boston Red Sox float, and those are the actual World Series Championship trophies.




I got this picture with the governor of Rhode Island, Donald Carcieri.

There were a whole bunch of marching bands and patriotic bands in this parade. Almost all of the bands were out-of-state. I think I only saw two from Rhode Island. I think I saw 5 bands just from Minnesota.


The military entries were definitely the most inspiring. I just loved it. Here is a picture of the Navy marching in three groups. They were awe-inspiring.

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This video is of a very loud cannon. When they discharged it near us, I could feel a rush of air. Eli was asleep and it didn't affect him at all. He just kept on sleeping.


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After the parade we went to Newport and had lunch at a little gourmet place. It was yummy. Zach had an interesting way of eating his chips and hamburger. He just kept pouring salt on it.

We did a little hike called the Cliff Walk and it was so beautiful. The water is Narangasett Bay. The day was spectacularly beautiful and the view was memorable.

The end of our hike: a mansion with a view.

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