Wednesday, April 30, 2008

trash picking

Question: It is common practice in our area for people to dump unwanted furniture, toys, etc., on their curb for anyone to take. Are you comfortable taking someone elses' junk to use in your home? They say, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Does this hold true for you?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


My brother, Tyler, is visiting us from Boston this week. The kids love playing with Uncle Tyler and we all really enjoy having him around, but he is a little bit of a bad influence on me. Ok, more like I am easily pursuaded by his charisma and charm. Regardless, I have been talked into (forced into is more like it!) creating a facebook page. Heaven help us! I think the computer has taken over my life. Ok again, not really. But I am enjoying myself. Last night Ty and I were up past 11pm (which is super late for me since John usually tries to talk me into going to sleep around 9:30 because he knows how grumpy I am if I don't get enough sleep) sitting on the sofa next to each other, communicating via facebook. I even sent him an electronic poke in the ribs and he threw an electronic cake at me. Weird, but fun. I will remain faitful to my blog, but it is fun exploring this new network and getting in touch with old friends.

Friday, April 25, 2008

birthday memories

I turn 29 today. I thought in honor of the day I would do a little reminiscing.

10 years ago: I was enjoying my freshman year at Bryn Mawr. The guy I was dating at the time actually came and seranaded me from outside my dorm room window, then he blindfolded me and took me to a nearby park where he had set up a little table with birthday cake. It was incredibly sweet (the date not the cake... although the cake was good too). I haven't thought about that in ages! I was also looking forward to my summer in DC working as an intern for a congressman on Capital Hill.

5 years ago: I was married and very pregnant, anxiously awaiting Samuel's birth. We had a quiet party with John's family and a few friends from church. I was working at Carelift International trying to keep my Russian in good form. I was looking forward to quitting work and being a stay-at-home mom.

Last year: I spent the day with the boys. We went to institute at the Broomall chapel. While the kids were freaking out, I managed to gouge a chunk out of my wrist trying to catch them. On my way to meet John at his parents' house so we could go out to dinner with his office, I was rear ended by a car going about 40mph. I am hoping for better luck this year. This was my second accident (neither one my fault) within a month. I was shaken up but after the police came and made their report - wishing me a happy birthday - I met John and we went to dinner. The food was really good and John's office had gotten me balloons, a card, and a cake. So sweet. I love the people in his office.

Today: I took John to work, went grocery shopping, took a shower and dropped Sam off at school. Now I am enjoying some peace and quiet (James is napping) and looking forward to dinner and a movie with John tonight. For my birthday I was hoping for an offer on our house, but seeing as how we haven't had anyone go through the house for a month, I think it is a long shot. On the plus side, we have a showing tomorrow, so who knows?!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Come one! Come all!

We have found THE BEST water ice place in the Philadelphia region!! For you non-Philadelphians, water ice is neither water nor ice, it is a version of shaved ice but smooth like a slurpee, yet you eat it with a spoon. My description doesn't really do it justice, you just have to come out here and try it.
Anyway, the place is called George's Water Ice. It is on Marshall Road in Upper Darby just near Hampton Road. John drove past it awhile ago and wondered if it was any good so last week he took us all out for a taste. He said it is like the water ice from his childhood... AMAZINGLY GOOD! So good we went back again last night
So far we have tried grape, cherry, blueberry, strawberry lemonade, and rainbow. All of them have been incredible. The strawberry lemonade was a real hit! And yes, Jamie, they do have pina colada! It is even super cheap; $1.00 for a small and $1.50 for a medium. The only problem I have found with it so far is that it is so yummy you tend to eat it too fast and get major brain freeze. That happened to James last night, poor guy!
So everybody should go and try it as soon as you can. You'll probably see us there.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

living with ghosts

Our ward is transitory- to say the least. Right now about 1/3 of the ward is made up of married students who have come to Philadelphia for anywhere from 1 year to 8 depending on their area of study. Since John and I have been in the 1st ward since 2001 we have seen a lot of people come and go. It is amazing how living in the east affects our relationships with the people we meet at church. So many of us are far from home so we are not only a congregation, they are our friends, our advisors, our substitute family, our childrens' friends, our preschool groups, our teachers, pretty much our everything. We have met many really incredible people in our ward and I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to meet them, but there is one major problem making all of these great friends: none of them stay. So every summer we say goodbye to more of our friends who have finished school and are off to start a job in the real world or to more schooling somewhere else. My heart breaks every year. This year Samuel's best friend is moving away and I fear his heart will break right along with mine.
The good news: although our friends leave, the lessons they have taught us and the examples they set for us remain. Most of the people in the ward now are too new to remember Michelle Burk, Chelise Pykles, Brooke Burgess, Christina Berg, Emily Gray, Erin Meeker, Kera Tucker, Kim Cook and Erin Knowles to name a few. But I remember them. Each one of them have made an irreversable difference in my life and who I am striving to be today.
We are still trying to sell our house and move to another, nearby suburb. This move will include a change of congregation. We will no longer be in the city ward. It has been a difficult decision and one over which John and I still agonize. However, we decided it will be the best for our family in the long run. We will miss the amazing people we leave behind. I don't know that we will ever be in a ward with this many high-caliber people again... hopefully I'm wrong, but I doubt it. But I will carry along with me the lessons that I learned from all of the friends who have left before us as well as the examples of Stephanie Smith, Christina Howden, Heather Wakefield, Heather Gull, Rebecca Sloan, Donna Judkins, Eryn Horton, Annalee Waddell, Adrienne Murray, Jennifer Clark, Kate Buxton and the many other sisters and friends who are leaving this year or staying behind to welcome the next group of students.

Disclaimer: When I mention the name of the wives, I am including their husbands in my thoughts would just take forever to list EVERYBODY. We really have had some exceptional husbands in the ward too!

Disclaimer II: Do not feel dejected if I did not list your name. I did not want the post to last forever AND my brain doesn't function so well these days. Consider the list to include all of you wonderful people I know from church. I truly believe I have learned something from each and every one of you!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

fun stories

Just a couple fun stories of the boys from the last week...

Last Friday we had Samuel's best friend and his little brother stay the night at our house. We took them to a fun fair at the Healthplex where they jumped on the moon bounce and raced through an obstacle course until they were so tired they could barely walk straight, then we took them home. The younger boys were asleep by nine but Sam and his friend stayed up talking until well after 10. When I went in to check on them later, they were both snuggled up on Sam's bed, sound asleep. It was so adorable! I'm so sad I didn't think to take a picture.

Tuesday night John went out to dinner with his partner and some drug reps. James, who had taken a four hour nap (woo-hoo!!) was wide awake at 9:30 when he got home. John took him upstairs and read James some stories for a while. James was holding onto a lightsaber and started playing around, "Look at my flashlight, Daddy!" John laughed, "That's not a flashlight, silly. That is a lightsaber." James looked at John and said, "But Dad, I am using my imagination!" I love it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

singing in the ...

My kids sing. All the time. It doesn't matter where we are or what song it is, they sing. So tonight for dinner we went out for pizza. As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant, James burst into a loud chorus of the Star Wars theme song... da dah da da da dah dah da da da dah dah da da da dah!!!!! He didn't just sing it once. He sang it over and over. The delivery guy was on his way out the door when he turned and looked at James and then at me. "Is he singing Star Wars?" I laughed, "Yep." He smiled, obviously a Star Wars fan himself, "Right on!"
Right on, indeed!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

to fix or not to fix...

I have a quazi-theorhetical question for you. If you find the right-sized house in the perfect location for a lot less money than the surrounding homes, do you buy it even if it will talk LOTS of work to make it habitable? At what point is the steal of a house not much of a steal? Is replacing the roof and some of the windows the cut off line? What about peeling wallpaper and pulling up carpet? Replacing the kitchen? Patching holes and repainting the entire house? Fixing a leak in the basement? Where do you draw the line?
Or is your dream home worth any amount of work?

This is not it, by the way.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Maasai team to run London Marathon

I heard the coolest story on BBC News today. It was about some members of the Maasai Tribe in Tanzania who went to London to run in the marathon as part of a fundraising effort to get a clean water supply for their village. How amazing is that?

The best part is that the tribe members will be running in their traditional robes, with shoes made out of used car tires AND carrying their shield and spear. These guys are amazing! During a practice run with the reporter the Massai tribe members were easily doing better than the UK runners and even leaving the reporter, a former marathon runner, behind. You go guys!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I decided to follow the lead of my friends and post a few things you may not know about me.

1. I come from a large family. I am the youngest of 5 kids but I have 5 step siblings (one deceased) from my step dad and 3 from my step mom.
2. I am obsessed with all things Russian.
3. I idolize my older sisters.
4. I love performing on stage but I still get nervous every time!
5. I hated living in Utah and swore I would never live there again... now I really wouldn't mind.
6. I think my husband is way too good for me.
7. I love to travel. So far I have only been to Russia, Italy, Bermuda, Jamaica, and all over the US and Canada.
8. I miss living in Russia. It was bleak and cold and miserable but absolutely fascinating and I loved it!
9. I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and now I can hardly imagine being anything else.
10. I believe I have the most amazing mom on the planet and hope I can be like her.
11. Contrary to how it is in most fairy tales, I have a step father and a step mother and I adore them both.
12. I used to believe I could do anything, now I'm a realist.
13. My hands shake when I am nervous. ( I actually tried to learn how to play the cello but had an intimidating teacher and the set up of the class included lots of solo performances in front of him. My hands shook so bad that no matter how much I practiced I always played horribly in class because I couldn't keep my hands from shaking.)
14. I talk to myself... frequently.
15. I love dogs and hate cats but I'm allergic to both.
16. I actually do miss high school - or at least some aspects of it.
17. I miss pretty much everything about college!
18. I was waiting for a missionary when I got engaged to John. I still feel bad about that.
19. I am a sucker for Mustangs (the car not the horse). It is a long standing joke that I married John for his's not true by the way.
20. I had a love/hate relationship with dating. I am very glad to be married.
21. I love my kids even though they drive me batty.
22. I have a monster of a temper.
23. I am a voracious reader.
24. I love Thai food but if we're talking comfort food than it is Taco Time all the way. My dad owned a Taco Time when I was a kid.
25. I wish I had lived in England in the late 1800s-early 1900's or in the middle ages.
26. I really miss singing with my a'capella group in college. I end up arranging songs in my head when I listen to the radio.
27. I love watching football.
28. I hate cooking and am not great at it, but I love baking.
29. I love to dance. I grew up taking modern dance with a little ballet and tap. I learned to swing dance in high school and college and that is my favorite.
30. I hate being cold and would rather be in 120 degree heat than in the snow.
31. I do not have that decorating gene that so many Mormon women seem to have. All of the rooms in my house have been painstakingly done and redone until I felt like they were adequate.
32. I love details. I notice specific details about a room or an outfit or a person before I take in the whole thing.
33. I think my little James has the cutest smile ever!
34. My favorite thing about Samuel is that he has an incredible imagination and he is not afraid to be himself.
35. My most favorite thing in the world is snuggling with my husband and our two sweet boys.

So there you are! 35 things you never knew (or never wanted to know) about me. How about you?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Star Wars at the Franklin Institute

John took the week off to spend time with me and the boys. Yesterday we went to the Star Wars exhibit at the Franklin Institute. It was really cool! I can't believe how much of a Star Wars dork I am.
The exhibit had costumes, props, droids and even a landspeeder from all of the movies. In addition they had hands-on displays where you could build your own settlement, see what it feels like to drive a landspeeder, create and even program your own droid. The boys lasted about an hour - which is good considering James was starving and it was way past dinner time. I think the gift shop was the boys' favorite part. For any of you Star Wars fanatics out there, go see it, before it goes to another galaxy far, far away!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"Free at Last" or "The End of an Era"... I'm not really sure

John was released from the bishopric on Sunday. It was kind of expected since Bishop was called into the stake presidency and our house is up for sale. However, it was more sad than I had anticipated. John had formed strong working relationships with Bishop and Nate and is disappointed that he doesn't get to work with them anymore. I think he also really enjoyed the work he got to do. He loved being part of the YM and primary organizations and he felt like he was using and developing all sort of skills. For my part it was fun to see how much he has grown spiritually and emotionally and how much more smoothly our family life runs - a direct blessing from the calling, I am sure.
That being said, John was called into the bishopric when Sam was 3 months old. It will be so nice to have him sit with us during sacrament meeting. Let him wrestle with the kids for an hour! I will be happy to get my kids to bed on Tuesday nights at 8:00pm rather than 10:00pm due to a YM activity. I will not miss having an exhausted husband on Sunday afternoon and I will be extra glad that his alarm will not be going off next Sunday at the unholy hour of 5:00am!
Of course, after the meeting on Sunday the stake president shook my hand and said, "So are you glad to get your husband back?" I smiled my response. "Don't get too used to it," he replied.
So I guess for the next week or two I will thank my lucky stars I get to see John more and let him change a poopy diaper or two because I am sure (sooner rather than later) another calling is on its way!