Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Big Guy

Yep, he's definitely older!  Can you believe it?  13 years ago I married this 21 year old stud muffin and now look and what happens. . . . we crank out a bunch of kids, he gets a REAL job, we build houses.
MAN life is crazy!
So, on this snowy winter morning, I can't help but be grateful that I have such a wonderful big guy!
Happy Birthday!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Birthday Party for the Monkey

Ok, so we FINALLY had Caroline's birthday party yesterday.  Her birthday was in September, but MAN that month flew by too quickly!  I was EXCITED!!!  I actually splurged and spent a LOT of money to have her birthday party at a place called "Color me Mine".   I have NEVER spent this much money on a birthday party, but my Caroline LOVES to do art and this place lets you paint pottery and then they fire it in their ovens and you get to keep your creation forever (or until a sibling breaks it).
The big day arrives and Caroline is on cloud nine ALL DAY.  From the moment she wakes up, the count-down to the big party begins. . . . . and then it is FINALLY time!  Otto and Lee went to Abby's basketball game, so it is going to be just me, 8 kids and Suzanne.
So, I arrive at Color me Mine with 3 of my kids and 1 of the other party-goers at the same time that Caroline's other friend arrives.  We are all smiles as we walk into the store with great anticipation of what is to come.  We are greeted by a staff member who asks us if we were here with the birthday party.  With eager smiles we all reply that we are. . . . . and then. . . . I am berated in front of the kids for arriving at the place TOO early.  After promptly sending the kids to the van to watch a movie so that this staff member doesn't completely ruin my daughter's day I proceed to explain to the staff member that I was actually asked to come 15 minutes early to help with the set up.  After not being able to calm this woman down I tell her that I will simply wait in the vehicle with the 6 eager children awaiting the begining of what is about to be the funnest birthday party EVER!!!
So at 4:00 ON THE DOT, we walk in (I am now nervous that I am going to be yelled at again) and we see ourselves to the birthday party spot.  A very nice girl takes the kids' names and then we go and pick out our pieces that we are going to paint.  By now it is 4:10 and we are still missing a girl and Suzanne.  I am kind of worried about Suzanne because I knew that she had a long way to drive, but I decide to suggest to the girl that we get started. . . . only. . . . where was she?  She had simply disappeared.  Don't worry, I have amazing tracking skills and I track her down and suggest that we get this party started.
Our hostess starts putting colors on the kids' painting palletts and then leaves.  Yep, that's it.  No explaination of what to do;  no explaination of how to layer the paints;  no explaination of how you need to paint lots of layers in the darker colors. . . . . what do you do when your little dot of paint runs out?  Good question, right?  So, I take over. . . . . since she is off helping any and all customers that are in the store, I figure she wouldn't mind.  There are lots of staff members in the store but they all seem to want to hang out in the back . . . . I mean why should they be on the floor?  There is only a birthday party (which is supposed to have it's own exclusive staff member) going on as well as a full store.
Wait. . . . .where the heck is Suzanne?
Also, I paid for 8 kids to come and one didn't show up. . . . .Abby didn't get to come, can I maybe take something for her to paint when she can come in at a different time?  So, I ask our hostess (who has graced us with her presence) and after making her do some investigations and me arguing that I have already paid for it, I am given permission to take a piece for Abby to paint.  (She is going to love it!!!)
Suzanne?  Where ARE you????  Wait. . . . is that my phone ringing?  YES!!!!  It's Suzanne!!!  What?  Suzanne had called the store and they denied that Caroline was having a birthday party there?  Huh?  They told you that they weren't just off of Beddington Trail?  What the *!@#&^%?????
Ok, so the kids are done painting, Suzanne and the girlies are here and the pizza man is standing around for someone to talk to.  Excuse me two randomly standing around staff members who are visiting with each other. . . . . can one of you please take care of the pizza since it is included in my party and I really don't want to pay for it twice?  Are you REALLY asking me if I want to serve the pizza or if I want you to?  Doesn't it clearly state on your website (where I booked the party) that YOU will serve the pizza that I bought?  Ummmm don't the kids get juice boxes, as well?  Oh they do?  Why didn't YOU think of that????
Geee. . . . . it's sure taking a long time for us to get our gourmet (and very expensive) cupcakes that I had ordered. . . . wait . . . . what's that I hear????  The two of you who are standing around talking in the back room are eyeballing some beautiful gourmet cupcakes?  NOW WHO COULD THOSE BE FOR, I WONDER??????  Oh. . . . wait. . . . WE ordered those cupcakes.   YES we would like to have them.   Hmmmmm there seems to be an extra cupcake because one of our kids didn't show up. . . . . maybe SUZANNE and I can have it instead of you guys getting it!  I mean, I only paid THROUGH THE NOSE for it.
What's that???  You want me to take care of the bill now?  Ok, not a problem!   Caroline can open her presents while I do it.  Whoa. . . . what do you mean the $100 deposit that it clearly states you charged me at the time of the booking hasn't been charged?  Ummmm. . . . it clearly states on you website that I am charged the deposit at the time of the booking. . . . NO, I don't want to talk to the owner, but you guys should definitely get that fixed. . . . What???  The phone is for me????  Who is it?  The OWNER????  Ummmmm ok, I guess I WILL talk to him.  Oh what's that?  You have the perogitive to charge me the deposit if I don't show up but you don't charge me it at the time of booking?  Maybe you should state THAT on your website.
I also thought that it said that the staff members would make Caroline a present. . . . maybe I just made that up. . . . I DO sometimes do that.  I will check on that when I get home.
FINALLY we are all packed up and ready to go!!!  I only have to drive 2 extra kids home.  What the . . . . ?  The van won't start????  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????????  DUSTIN QUIT THROWING BATTERIES AT THE GIRLS!!!!  Otto, can you PLEASE come boost me?
 . . .
10 minutes later and many choruses of Purple People Eater later the red headed staff member comes out. . . . what's that?  You forgot to get Caroline's handprint for her present????  BOY are you LUCKY that I am still stranded here.  She will have to climb out the front door though as my sliding doors are power doors and will not open with a dead battery.
And then HE arrives.  We are SAVED!
Driving home I ask Caroline, so what did you think of your birthday party. . . . her response????
So worth it.
(I will NEVER do another birthday party at Color Me Mine though)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I'm mad.  I can't hide it.  I am fuming right now!!!!
I have worked my butt off for the last month!!!!
It hasn't been easy.  It has made my life really busy, but I have persevered and kept on going to the gym 3 times a week during the mornings and 5 nights a week. . . . . has it paid off?????
I just had my fitness test today and I am either the same or worse on almost every aspect of my physical fitness.
I am FURIOUS!!!!
I have worked my butt off and the results are ZERO!!!!
Well, that's not true. . . . I am more hydrated and I burn more calories without doing anything. . . . . which, honestly, is what I feel like doing. . . . NOTHING!!
So, yeah, that's my life right now.
I'm mad
I plan to stay mad for the rest of the day.
I then plan to drag my butt to the gym tomorrow.
Something WILL change though.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Uncle Brant

Tonight around 10:25 pm, my dear Uncle Brant was greeted by the other side.  He, no doubt, has been enveloped into the arms of his Mother and Father-in-law, my Great Grandma and Grandpa Bennion and my Nana. . . . I am also hoping that not too long after those joyous reunions, he will be seeking out and holding my little Robin for me.
Today has made me reflect.
I have spent all day at the hospital with my family and extended family and my Aunt Marilyn's family. 
Isn't this the way it should be?
Shouldn't we all be able to bid farewell at the closing of our lives (whether it be due to old age or something sudden as my Uncle's untimely passing) to all of our loved ones?
This is it.
This is part of the plan.
Reflecting on the relationship I have had with my Uncle throughout the years, I have been so blessed to be able to count myself lucky that I have known my Uncle Brant.  I have always thought of him as my sweet, super nerdy, Uncle with a will of iron.  You wouldn't know it by looking at him, but this man is a fighter.  From enduring and beating cancer on his mission, to enduring life with a weak heart, and then surviving being run over and dragged by a boat launcher and then having blood clots perforate his intestines and never complaining. . . . . this man had a will of iron.  He silently endured and fought to the bitter end.  He LOVED to tell jokes and could come up with a joke at the drop of a hat.
His pants may have been too high, and his shirt may have stayed perpetually untucked, but that's what made him so unique.  I loved listening to Uncle Brant's stories and listen to him tease people.  I admired that he was able to get his PhD in Engineering and travel all over the world to do consulting.  He had a brilliant engineering mind and I love that he was such good friends with my Otto.
My Uncle was there for everything that I would invite him to.  He stood in the circle as I blessed my first baby.  He played with all of my children and gave them piggy back rides and did Rocky Road with them.  He would always tell me how good my food was that I made for family gatherings.  I loved how he often spilled his drink at dinner or how he would light up whenever he talked about the cabin.
This year, the year after his big accident, Otto and I had the priviledge of playing with my Uncle Brant and Aunt Marilyn and Alex for a day at the cabin the first day they went out.  It was so much fun to tease Uncle Brant about his boat docking skills with the new boat and to watch him as he showed us all of the cool compartments in his new boat.  It was so much fun to be screaming for my lfe as my Uncle Brant took my cousin, Alex and I on one of the most scary tube rides of my life so that we could officially christen the boat.  I loved listening to Uncle Brant's grand plans for his projects at the cabin.  He would look almost giddy as he talked about all of the projects he wanted to complete on the cabin.    He loved that cabin so much and he loved being there with his friends and his family.  I can't think of a more perfect way for my Uncle Brant to spend his last month of his life than at the one place he loved most in this world. . . . the cabin.
I think that one of the best things that I have learned from my Uncle Brant was how a marriage should work.  Watching his relationship with my Aunt has taught me that soulmates really do exist.  She absolutely adores my Uncle and she is his best friend.  I know that the hardest part for him when he was passing away would have been leaving my Aunt Marilyn, but I also know that he will always be close by for her.  I truly believe that my Uncle Brant will be near to my Aunt Marilyn until the time that it is her turn to join him on the other side.  I think of what a joyous reunion it will be and it brings me comfort at this time.
So today, as I reflect on my sweet Uncle Brant (he would hate that I am calling him sweet) I think about how lucky I am to have had such a man in my life.  What better thing can you say about someone than that your life has improved because you knew them?  That is exactly what I think about my Uncle.
I do not mourn for my Uncle Brant.
I mourn for myself and for his family.
I know that my Uncle will no longer feel pain.
I cannot wait until I get to see him again.
I love you Uncle Brant.  I will do my best to make you proud of me.  Take care of my little Angel Baby until I get there ok?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Here you go Jenna!  I'm back and am writing on my blog again!!!
I have been thinking of the same question for a couple of days now and I just had to write it down!
Why does it always feel that as soon as school is out, the kids have to go back again???  I CAN'T believe that it's time to start getting them ready to go back to school!!!  We have had a fun summer playing in the sun (and rain) and it just depresses me that in a couple of weeks we are back to schedules and. . . . . brrrrrrr. . . . . COLD!!!
We have been cabining and boating pretty much the entire summer!  It drilled home to me that I am definitely a sun baby and that I need to find a way to make the sun and the heat last a little longer. . . . . hmmmmm. . . . . I wonder how I can do that?
Otto, get out your wallet!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

It Makes Scents!

Do smells trigger memories for you?  They DEFINITELY do for me. 
Whenever I smell coconut, I think of being on a beach in Mexico with my Aunt Christie's family on our cruise.  Whenever I smell the Eau de Parfume "Exclamation" or "Sunflowers" I am whisked back to my teenage years and I remember going to the dances and flirting with boys.
Today I was surprised by the memories that came to me as I heated up my new Scentsy warmer.  The scented wax that I put in it is called "Thunderstorm" and I was amazed by where that smell took me.  I was sitting in my family room when all of a sudden I smelled flowers after a thunderstorm.  This scent is beautiful in and of itself, but for me, all of a sudden I could see my Great Grandmother whom I called Nana.
That scent whisked me away to my own little daydream where I was a child and I would have sleepovers with her.  I remembered visiting her and taking my numerous boyfriends to meet my Nana.  I remembered visiting her every week after my doctor's appointments when I was pregnant with Abby.  I remembered the look of concern on her face as I endured labour pains during one of our visits.  I remembered watching her with tears in my eyes as she held my firstborn in her arms and asking her who she thought Abby looked liked.  I remembered giggling when she replied that she looked like a baby and that I shouldn't expect her to look like anyone but herself.  I remembered looking out Nana's windows and seeing some sort of squirrel, bird or chipmunk that she had adopted (or that had adopted her) and watching her enjoy the various noises that they would make.
The reason I think that this scent reminds me so much of my Nana is because it really does smell like flowers after a thunderstorm.  The smell is so vibrantly rich and fragrant that it smells like the many flowers that my Nana always had around.  I can never remember a time when my Nana wasn't surrounded by plants and flowers.  I have always tried to grow flowers in my yard as a tribute to her, but somehow, having this scent in my house, I feel as though she is here.
And so I love it.  I am very glad that the girlies and I chose to have this scent around.  Hopefully as they get used to the smell it will give them many memories of their own, and I will secretly feel as though my Nana has a hand in their lives.
I am so glad that I bought so many packages of this scent!  It will be nice to feel as though my Nana is around again.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My World

This last weekend, we took the kiddies up to visit my Biological Father, Jeff and his family.  It was a fun weekend seeing their house and where they live and spending time with them.  I enjoyed watching my girlies cut out paper doll clothes with Jeff's wife.  I loved watching them wrestle on the ground with Jeff and his son.  I loved listening to Otto tease their family and ruffle their feathers a bit.  I especially loved being there with them and visiting with them.
It has been quite a few years since we have been able to go and visit them for a weekend and this past weekend made me realize how much I missed that.  I always have a hard time leaving them because I have so many different emotions and lots to think about whenever I am leaving.  I get very quiet on the car ride home because I just sit there and think the whole way home.
Growing up I have been extremely blessed to have a family who loves me.  My dad adopted me when I was 3 years old and has raised me as his own daughter.  Most people don't know that I am not his biological daughter and he has always made me feel as though I am.  I grew up being best friends with my cousin from that side and being surrounded by tons of cousins on that side.  I have always felt as though I was completely loved and accepted.  I have never lacked for affection or guidance from any of my family members and I have never been made to feel as though I was not a part of the family.
I can only imagine what my Grandma and Grandpa Lee thought when they heard that my dad was dating someone who was divorced and had a daughter, but they have always welcomed me with open arms and have never made me feel as though I was different.
However, I am a little different.  I consider myself to be extra lucky.
You see, I have an extra parent who has loved me for my whole life even though we didn't have any contact with each other from the time I was 3 until I was 18.  It is a really strange feeling to know that there is someone out there whom you don't really remember who loves you too.  I have often wondered, growing up, what Jeff was like.  I wondered who he was and if he missed me and if he ever wondered about me.
I consider myself to be very lucky that he did wonder about me and love me and that we have been able to establish a relationship.  I feel lucky that he is there because he seems to be one of the few people who can actually understand why I think a certain way and my entire thought process.  It is a strange connection, this biological one.  It is one that I have struggled with for many years.  In the past couple of years, I have come to terms with who I am and my unique position of having a family who loves me with my 3 sisters and my brother and another, kind of more extended family whom I also love.  I have been blessed to have the opportunity to get to know Jeff's family better.  They don't replace my own family.  They are different from my own family, but they are a part of my life. 
I can only explain it as being the same as when you have children. When you have your first child, your whole world is that child.  You wonder how you could love anything else as much as that first child. . . until you have another child.  Your love for that first child never diminishes, but somehow your heart is able to grow and you are able to love the other child(ren) just as much as you love that first child.  Even though they are not the same person, you are able to love them for their differences.  You are able to love their strengths and their weaknesses.
I never chose to be in the position I am in, but I am happy that everything has turned out to be for the best.  I love having my siblings and watching them grow up, get married, have children (which I spoil A LOT), go on missions and have good relationships with them.  But I also love watching Jeff's family as they have grown up and are now facing adulthood.  I love having one of my half-sisters live in Calgary so that I have someone to play with and help out when she needs it.  I love developing a different relationship with her as we are getting to know one another better.  I like having a friend in Jeff's wife.  I know that having me around can't be the easiest thing for her, but I feel lucky that she has taken the time to become my friend and she always treats my kids so well.  She is a quiet person so I know that having us around is really going out of her comfort zone and she has no idea how much I appreciate all of the work that she does when we are around.
This is a post I have been wanting to write for a long time so that maybe my friends and family can get a little glimpse into my little world.  Being a child of divorce is not unusual in this day and age, it definitely affects the children who come from that marriage, however, I believe that I am one of the fortunate ones who has been blessed by my circumstance.  I hope that one day my children can know how lucky they are to have so many people who love them.  I hope that because of my circumstances that they can grow up and be understanding of all children who come from all different types of families and I hope that they can understand how lucky they are to have the family that they have.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Love Affair

Last weekend. . . . or maybe two weekends ago (I can't really remember). . . . I had the opportunity to go to the Calgary Home and Garden show.  My cousin's husband gave me 2 free tickets and so I wanted to use them to see him in action and to check out all of the cool booths that were there.
For those of you who don't know, I am currently trying to design my family room and even though it is almost done, I am just needing a couple of finishing touches. . . . you know. . . . small things like blinds, curtains, statues, candles and stuff!
So, I grabbed a friend and we went.  It was a fun evening, and Weston (my cousin's husband) did a great job talking about perennials. 
However. . .
That was the night my love affair began.  You see, at one of the booths was this sleek, hot, steamy worker..  He was there showing off his abilities to clean floors with non pressurized steam.  I fell in love, and I fell hard.
He was a dream come true.
I immediately gave him my number and everything else that he needed and I went home.
I felt a little guilty as I walked in the door of my home because of my strong feelings, but they were short lived because as soon as Otto met my new guy, he kind of fell in love too!
I've named him McSteamy because he gets really hot and steamy all over my floors.
He really gets around at my house, but he doesn't seem to mind and neither do we.
He is my new Steam Mop, and I am completely having a love affair with him and will never go back to regular mopping again!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Baby

3 years ago I wasn't feeling well and decided to go into the hospital.  3 years ago, my doctor made a decision that has completely and forever impacted my life.  3 years ago, I almost lost one of the most important people in my life.  3 years ago, I had a miracle and my life has been better ever since.
Lee was born 3 years ago!
It was the scariest moment of my life, and finding out from the doctor that he almost died has always stayed with me.  I truly believe that Lee has a guardian angel and that he is destined for something great.
However. . . .
Until that happens, he is my baby!  I know that to look at him you wouldn't think of him as a baby, but he is.  Lee is the only one of my children who has always loved to cuddle up with me.  He is the only one who asks for a nap with me so that we can lay down, sing songs (his favorite being "When Somebody Loves You" from Toy Story of course) and read books.  Lee is very smart and lives in his own imaginary world.  Sometimes when he is off in La La Land, I will sit and just marvel on how vivid and real his little imagination is to him.  He creates the most interesting stories and interactions in his head and is perfectly happy to just sit down with a couple of toys and play.
My Lee is a gentle soul.  He will fight when provoked, but he is a sharer.  I have never had a child who actually shares this well at this age.  Lee loves his siblings, but especially Abby and watching the way the two of them interact reminds me of how I used to be with my youngest sister.
So, as I look at this incredibly HUGE toddler and watch him grow up, I can't help but think to myself. . . . "You're still my baby".

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Back to normal

I know that it seems as though I have been talking about being disorganized a lot lately, but I think,  my friends, that it is coming to an end!
As many of you know, I am a HUGE fan of meal planning.  I write up a menu for 2 weeks and go grocery shopping only twice a month.  When Otto lost his job in November, I never knew when money was coming in or how much money would be coming in and so I didn't want to spend all of our money on groceries in case we needed it for something else.  It was hard on me because I felt as though my life was in a state of chaos because I never knew what was going to be made for dinner.
Once Otto got his new job things still kind of were up in the air for awhile. . . . .
and then on Tuesday I did it!
I did my meal plan and went grocery shopping!  It was probably the coldest day of the year, but I bundled up the boys and braved the cold weather and did it!!!
Let me tell you, making that grocery trip has made all of the difference!  I now feel more relaxed and in control. 
Yes, my house is still in slight chaos. . . .
Yes, there is still mountainS of laundry all over the place . . . .
Yes, my table is covered in scrapbooking supplies from my class development that I have to get done by the end of the week. . . .
Yes, my ear is sore from all of the phone calls I have been making. . .
. . . but I feel in control and relaxed because I now have groceries!
Life is back to normal!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Every time I work at my mom's store, I dream about all of the things I could do with the flowers in the Prima section.  Today, I took the afternoon and actually did some of them.  Check it out:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

I can't even tell you how many times I have heard that Valentine's Day is a completely commercial day made up by card companies, chocolate companies, and florists.  I HATE it when people say that because to me, because to me, Valentine's Day is so much more.
How can you hate a day that is set aside just to celebrate love?
It doesn't have to be love for a lover or a spouse, but just LOVE in general.
I always spend Valentine's Day trying to show the people that I love most how much I love them.  It is truly my mission on Valentine's Day to have my kids go to bed feeling as though they are the most loved people in the world and to show my Big Guy how much I love him. 
I sometimes think that the world is becoming too cynical and that people are starting to get too busy to stop and celebrate the small, every day wonders and joys of life.  Why not spend a day to stop and smell the roses?  Why not show the people that you love most how much you love them?  Why not celebrate Valentine's Day?
I don't know. . . . . what are your thoughts???

Thursday, February 10, 2011


All of my life I have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  This past week I have discovered why.
When Otto had his old job, he used to drive Abby and her friend to school because it was on the way to his office and it is an hour long bus ride for Abby if she has to take the bus.  That would mean that she would have to get on the bus before 7 am, and Otto and I are just not ready for that yet.  When Otto got this new job it didn't become possible for him to drive her to school, so myself and the mother of the other girl decided that we would switch weeks and carpool the girls to school.
Because this means that I now have to wake up earlier to get everyone ready for school earlier and take Abby to school and the other kids to the bus, I decided that it might be a good idea to eat breakfast together and I would make them breakfast every day.  This week we have had hot breakfasts (because it is so cold outside) every day, but that won't always be the case.
I have to say that I am LOVING this family breakfast thing!  I get the chance to sit down and visit with the kiddies before we have to get ready for school.  We talk about our plans for the day and what we hope to accomplish.  I know that if we keep doing this that it will help strengthen our family relationships.  I think that this will especially be important as the girls become teenagers and we get busier and busier in the evenings.
To me, that makes breakfast the most important meal of the day!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mars and Venus

Sometimes it is really apparent to me that men must come from Mars and women must come from Venus!  The way that we communicate is very different. . . . at least it is with Otto and I.  Let me give you an example. . .
I just got my hair done and I told Otto via text:
OTTO:  How's the hair appointment going?
ME:  It was great
ME: (Sent him a picture)
OTTO:  Awesome

Life went on that day and we chatted a couple of times.  Usually Otto comments on my hair right away and I was getting kind of nervous that I hadn't heard anything from him. . . . so I mentioned it.  As soon as I mentioned that Otto hadn't said anything about my hair, his eyes got really wide and he got really defensive telling me that he had already told me how much he liked my hair.  When I told him that he hadn't, he whipped out his cell phone and showed me the above conversation.
I saw that conversation as him saying that he was glad that I liked my hair and he thought that he had completely complimented me on my hair without ever seeing it.  Even though it was just a cute, little miscommunication, it really reopened my eyes on how different the two of us are in our communicating and how I just need to remember his way and that it is so different from my own.
Sometimes it really does seem like we are on two different planets :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dealing with it

So, my life is still going at 100 miles an hour, but I am finally able to start dealing with things.  I have been able to help my friends who had the baby who died and that has really helped me deal with my own issues regarding Robin.  I was able to edit some photos for their baby's funeral and that was a very healing process for me.  I think that because I was finally able to confront my issues, I have been able to heal a bit more and move on.  This has made it easier for me to interact with people and to start to get my life in order.  Another thing that has helped is that Otto is working at a fantastic job now and so it takes a lot of the financial burden off of me.  I don't have to stress about money anymore and I have been able to cut back on my hours at the Store and insert some more FUN things into my life.
As some of you know, my little family has a weekly ritual of Family Fun Night and Family Home Evening.  These two things are different from each other as our Family Home Evening usually consists of a Family Meeting with some sort of teaching Incorporated into it.  We do everything from plan for emergency situations to talking about issues that our family is dealing with.  For Family Fun Night, we just go out once a week and do something fun as a family!  This week we did it last night.  We took the kiddies to this cute little restaurant called Diner Deluxe.  The kiddies all ordered Cream Soda floats for their drinks and we were able to have some FUN and modern diner food.  It is probably the only time that my kiddies will be able to eat breakfast foods for dinner while I am around because I am totally against that!  It was fun and the food was good and it made me so happy that I finally have the time to just play with my kiddies.  I have really missed being their mom over the past couple of months and it feels so good to be back!
So, I am dealing with things. . . . I am starting to find some sort of order to my chaos. . . . things aren't perfect yet, but they are coming along!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Go Back

I wanna go back on my cruise!!!  I just want to escape!!!  I am feeling really overwhelmed and very emotional right now.  It seems as though when I landed in Calgary that my life became really complicated, very busy and I just can't keep up and I can't get control over my emotions.  I feel as though I am failing in everything and I don't know how to fix it.
- My kids are all really sick
- Some friends of mine gave birth to a baby girl who passed away that same day
- Because of this baby, I have been thrown back into all of my emotions surrounding Robin's birth
- I forced Abby to take her cello exam even though she has been really sick and I am quite sure that she won't get a good score because she was still so sick
- I came home to a house that I haven't been able to clean since Otto lost his job
- I have had several scheduling conflicts which have resulted in me not living up to my responsibilities which is a really hard thing for me to deal with
- I just want to cry all of the time and I can't handle any conflict because I am just so overwhelmed
- I am getting pressure to get things done that are beyond my control and I can't do anything until someone else does their part

So, that's me.  If I look terrible, this is why.  I feel like I just want to escape back to Mexico. . . good thing Otto is working again so that if I decide to go, we will at least have the money!!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Last Day

What do you do on the last day of your cruise????
Well, I don't know what your answer to this question is, but this is what I did today:
- Slept In (VERY IMPORTANT!!!)
- Went to disembarkation briefing
- Missed breakfast (because of sleeping in)
- Went to Mexican Fiesta cooking demonstration
- Went to try and sun tan but it was too cold so
- ate lunch
- sun tanned (braved the cold wind and everything!!!  We are diehards!!!)
- watched traditional Indonesian dance (HILARIOUS!!)
- Watched towel folding demonstration and got a book
- Ate dinner (with a special performance from our servers)
- toured the boat one last time
- watched farewell variety show
- visited piano bar
- visited dance club (tried to get mom to dance but she didn't like the music because there was no ABBA)
- chatted with my honey on facebook
- wrote this post
There was packing done in there somewhere too, but I don't really count that as an activity. . . . more a necessity.
So, it's back to the cold white north tomorrow!  I am dreading the snow, but I am so excited to see my Big Guy and our 5 babies!!!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mexican Outback

What did we do in Cabo San Lucas today????  Well we went on a "Mexican Outback Adventure".
What does that entail????  Well, you get to ride in an open air vehicle, take a walk through the desert forest (it has an official name which I couldn't understand), ride on camels, make your own tortillas for a mexican feast and then get dropped off in the middle of Cabo San Lucas.
That's what a Mexian outback adventure basically is!  It was fun, it was windy and Kristin thinks that it was the best excursion that we went on.  My favorite excursion was the whale watching and snorkeling, but they have all been great excursions!
Tonight was also our last formal night on the ship and so after getting our afternoon nap squeezed in, we got all fancied up to go out for a night of eating, show watching, live game shows, dessert buffet extravaganzas, daring camera shots and dancing.  It was fun!  We made lots of memories!!!  I now have some GREAT blackmail photos of Kristin, and it was a good way to spend our second last evening on board the ship.
I do miss my family at home, and I can't wait to see them in 2 more sleeps, but I am also really enjoying being here with my mom and sister!!!
Viva La Mexico!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Today was our excursion to Mazatlan.  It was an educational tour.  We started off on a bus ride through "Old Town Mazatlan" (read the slums) and it didn't leave that good of an impression to us on the cleanliness and beauty of the city.  After we left "Old Town", we stopped at a traditional Adobe brick makers place to see how the handmade Adobe bricks are done the old fashioned way.  The adobe bricks were neat and it was cool learning how they are made (by slinging mud into a mould and drying them in the sun for 10 days) but sad because we saw children running around there all covered in dirt.
Our next stop was to a pottery and furniture "factory".  I put factory into quotations because they were all being made by hand.  Let me just say that the carvings in the furniture were AMAZING!!!!  It is too bad that they don't export their furniture because it is BEAUTIFUL!!!!  And the detail work in the carvings were unbelieveable!!!
We then stopped at a town called Concordia which was this small town of about 12,000 people and it had a beautiful church that was built in the 1700's!!!  The carvings on the church were AMAZING!!!  The only thing that I didn't like was that the town had a really creepy vibe to it and it was really hard to get past that!  I wasn't sad to leave that place.
After Concordia was a town called Cada and it was a beautiful little town of 3,000 people and it was in the Sierra Modre mountains and it was SO Beautiful!!!  I really enjoyed the town and it had these cobblestone type streets and it was just beautiful!  Our lunch was held there at a restaurant and the food was actually quite good!
Finally we took the long bus trip back to the port and we went shopping!  My favorite part was that I was able to buy all sorts of great presents for my kiddies!!!  They are going to be so excited by what I got for them!  I got a little something something for myself too (not just vanilla, though I certainly got some of that too!!!).
So it was a good day, an educational day and I will sleep well tonight!!!
On to Cabo San Lucas tomorrow!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Have you ever wondered?

Have you ever wondered if the Manta Rays that they show you at Sea World are REALLY found in the wild????  I have.  And today, I got my answer!  The answer is YES!!!  Oh my goodness!!!  We saw the HUGEST (is that a word??) Manta Ray swimming along side our boat on our shore excursion today!!!  It was almost as wide as our boat and it was right at the surface of the water just long enough that we could see it, but not long enough for us to take a picture of it. . . . so, I am probably sure that the size of it will increase the more times I tell this story!
Have you ever wondered if you would actually need a sweater in Mexico???  Well, today we had to wear them as we were on the catamaran that took us to this island that reminded me of the pictures that I have seen of the Galapogus (sp??) Islands.  It was quite cold this morning and I was glad that we brought those sweaters!!
Our shore excursion was called Whales, Dolphins and Snorkeling.  When Kristin and I were talking about the excursion earlier on our trip she told me that whenever they say that you will see those kinds of wildlife, she usually doesn't and it was really good of her to say that to me because I didn't really expect to see anything.  But I always wondered. . . . why do they say that you will see these animals then???  Well, I got my answer today!  I saw 3 whales!!!  The first two were on our way to the island and they were feeding, so we would see them about every 7 - 10 minutes or so.  Our tour guide was great and he told us a lot about the whales.  The ones that we saw were humpback whales and it was cool to be close enough to actually see the humpback on them. . . . Suzanne, you would have DIED!!!!
Then, we arrived at the island that has been declaired a bird sanctuary and there where HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of birds on it.  We saw this really cool rare bird that is usually only spotted on the Galapogus Islands and it has blue feet!  My mom got some pretty cool pictures of it (which I downloaded, of course)!  We then went snorkeling around the island where the coral grows, and the water wasn't really clear, but we saw some cool florescent blue and yellow zebra looking fish, a school of yellow tailed fish that swam all around me, purple coral, the brain looking coral, some vibrant blue fish, a sand fish, we got to touch a puffer fish and we saw all sorts of cool fish there.
We then got to spend about 45 minutes at a beach before we had lunch.  It was great and relaxing and the perfect little rest from the swimming.  Then we headed back to the city. . . .
. . .. and that is when the highlight of the tour happened!!!
Have you ever wondered if the whales at Sea World really act the same in the wild with the tails flipping and them jumping and clapping and stuff????  Well today there was this male whale and he was having a grand old time out in the ocean.  He kept clapping his tail, jumping, bridging and even rolled on his back and was clapping his fins and it looked as though he was waving at us.  The bad news is that my mom's water camera had a dead battery, so we couldn't use it to take pictures. . . .. . but Kristin's camera was working perfectly and I got some AMAZING shots of that whale!!!!  I'll have to get her permission to post those when I get home!
So it was a day of wondering and of getting answers!  It was fun!  It was beautiful (about 29 degrees) and it was a day that I will never forget!!!
Tomorrow we are on an educational tour into the mountains!  I'll fill you in tomorrow night!
I love you all!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fun in the Sun

So, what do you get when you get three Lee girls together under the sun????
Well. . . . a day FULL of suntanning!!!
Yep, other than watch a gorgeous sunrise, some flower arranging, eat, and watch a gorgeous sunset, we pretty much spent the day suntanning!
We didn't JUST suntan though, we read books, drank pina coladas, saw some whales, ate ice cream cones and suntanned some more. . . .there was just nothing else that we wanted to do!
So, tomorrow we are in Puerto Vallarta and we will be snorkling and seeing dolphins and whales.
Until then!
Good night!

Family Day

Today, being Sunday, made me think about my family!  I miss them. . . I miss my hubby, kids, dad, and brother and sisters!  All day I have thought about them and whenever I have seen or done something cool, I immediately have thought about my family.
This morning we started off the day with a walk around the prominade. . . . I thought about Suzanne because she is always giving us health tips and she would have loved to have the ocean breeze go through her hair as she did laps around the ship like we did.
After that, we got to take a tour of the kitchens on the ship. . . . ummm. . . . this will probably be one of the highlights of my trip, and the whole time I kept on thinking about my dad and how much he would have LOVED it!!!  My mom took TONS of pictures for him so that he can see what they are doing in there. . . . watch out dad. . . . she took TONS of pictures for you!!!
Then we saw a boring lecture/sales pitch for some detox stuff, and it made me think of Jason and reminded me of when we went to the Donald Trump seminar. . . . it was the same type of lecture.
After that, we went and saw a demonstration on how they make edible flowers.  I already knew how to make most of them, but there were a few new ones that I can't wait to try out at home!!!  This made me remember my time at the Silver Springs Golf Course when I used to have to make edible flowers every day and it reminded me of being a newly wed and I thought about my Big Guy alot!
After that, we laid in the sun and it made me think about how my sisters, Amanda and Jenna would have loved it. . . . there really is no better suntanning buddies than my sisters!  I missed you guys!  As I walked by the family pool and saw all of the families swimming and spashing around, I missed my kiddies!  I hope that they are having fun at home and I can't wait to see them again!!!
Kristin and I ended up playing a game of chess (I won!) and then we got ready and went for dinner.  It was a formal night, so we were all gussied up. . . . bling and all!
Dinner was fantastic and then we saw an amazing show!  Our show had songs from mostly the 50's to the 80's.  It was amazing!
Finally, we played some cards (I won) and then we looked at stars.  It just wouldn't be a vacation with Kristin if we didn't look at the stars at some point.  And then we finally made it to bed.
My internet is really sketchy here and it takes a really long time to post photos, so I will forgo that for tonight, but I will try and post some tomorrow.
I love you all!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day of Waiting

Today was the perfect vacation day!  We pretty much spent the day doing nothing!  Yep, that's right. . . . NOTHING!!  I enjoyed every minute of it!!
Today was load the boat day and so after we woke up and spent time at the hotel we waited for our bags to be picked up and for use to be taken to the port.  We had fun going on a little walk and just hanging out until it was time to leave.
As veteran cruisers, we knew to pack a swimming suit in our carry-ons and so once we boarded the ship, we spent the afternoon suntanning on the deck as we waited for our bags to arrive in our rooms.  It was a great afternoon!
That was followed by some eating, exploring, unpacking, eating and a show.
So. . . . what did I do today while I was waiting around???   ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!

And I loved every minute of it!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sunny San Diego

I know I haven't posted for a long time and there are many things that I SHOULD be writing about, but instead I am on vacation, and I promised my family that I would write every night so that they could take a peek at what I have been doing down here.
It all started with -23 degree weather in Calgary this morning. . . . . it made it really easy to board the plane and fly down to Sunny San Diego!  Seriously, it was about 24 degrees down here and BEAUTIFUL!!!
We landed around noon and got to our hotel at 1.  It is a beautiful hotel and after we got settled, my Great-Aunt Jolene picked my Mom, Kristin and I up and spent the day taking us to 3 of the places that we wanted to see the most!
First we became honorary members of the Mormon Battalion, learned about its history, panned for gold and pretty much introduced Kristin to every sister missionary we could see because she will be joining them in March.
The next stop was to the Mormon temple where we had so much fun hearing stories about how it was built from my Aunt Jolene and taking pictures of what I consider one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen!
Our last stop (before dinner) was La Jolla Cove where we gawked at the seals, gathered seashells for my babies, put our feet in the ocean and watched the sun set.  I have never seen the sun set so quickly and it was amazing to see that happen tonight.
We finished off the evening with some dinner at a fabulous seafood mexican restaurant and are now just getting ready to try and sleep before we embark on our cruise tomorrow!!!
So, we are here, we are safe, and we are excited to board the MS OOSTERDAM and cruise down the Mexican Riviera.
I wish you all the best in the freezing cold up north!  I will be thinking of you tomorrow as I suntan on the ship with a virgin pina colada in my hand whilst I laze by the pool!
Until tomorrow!!!