- McDonald's has the best Coke. If you happen to be out for a Big Mac and you're thirsty, definitely get the Coke. If your sole purpose in going out is to get a Coke, definitely go to Micky D's.
- Food tastes better if you don't have to cook it yourself. Most of the people I know cannot afford to eat out every night, so a crock pot almost works in a pinch. If you put the food in the night before and then remember to start it in the morning, it just about almost feels like you didn't cook. Kind of.
- Beauty really IS in the eye of the beholder. My husband thinks I'm stunning. Seriously. And I've had his eyes checked and everything. Go figure.
- Bath & Body Works' Japanese Cherry Blossom is MY scent. I smell fabulous when I wear it. Every woman should find her scent.
- Running is NOT the ONLY way to work out. Fastest, most efficient, most effective? Yes. Only? No.
- When you can only justify buying one pair of shoes on a given shopping trip always go for the hot pumps, not the sensible flats. You're welcome, men.
- As long as we're talking about shoes, every woman should own a pair of knee high boots. And it's OK to wear them every Sunday, with every dress you own from October through February. Though you may need brown AND black to pull that off. Successfully.
- When every fiber of your being is begging you to just go back to bed any opportunity you get, RESIST! The exhaustion is like a tidal wave that will completely consume you unless you stand firm and fight. Just because all my kids are in school all day doesn't mean I can sleep my life away. (The only exception to this is when you've recently given birth. In that case, SLEEP if you're ever lucky enough to find the opportunity.)
- Just because my kids are all in school all day doesn't mean I have to spend all day cleaning, either. Happy medium. Keeping busy doesn't always mean work.
- Pay your tithing. It's always worth it.
That's what was on my mind today. Welcome to the madness.
There is some major cuteness going on here . . . Cynthia went lime green with white polka dots, I was chocolate brown with an intricate flower, and Maren got the iridescent purple, no design. Very elegant. Then off to lunch at Benihana.
Notice the Red Hat Club in the background. Such cute old ladies. Hope that's us in 30 years. After lunch we shop a little. Cathy and I get shoes. Cathy and Cynthia get matching sweaters. We run home and hang out with my kids until Brent gets home from work. We check into the hotel that evening. It is . . . . adequate. Humble. Fine. What was I expecting for $160. Total. For 3 nights. We head out for dinner at a cheap little Mexican place then go walk the mall to kill time before the sing-along showing of Mama Mia at the movie theater. Decide to call it a night early and head back to the hotel instead. Smart Maren brought Loaded Question which we play and laugh and then talk and laugh and then laugh and laugh until bedtime. The conversation turns toward the risque. It's about time! To be continued . . .
This is the day designated for shopping. I get up early (not much of a sleeper-inner) and begin to get ready for the day. Everyone else gets up shortly and decide to go out walking. I stay behind -- I'm on vacation, folks. They come back before too long. We eat breakfast at the hotel then run over to the outlet mall. Maren finds a lovely maternity dress, we all shop for our kids and then convince Cynthia to get something spicy to surprise hubby when she gets home. Ooh la la. (She just had a baby -- what are friends for?!) We eat lunch at Olive Garden, which really hasn't changed a lick since we ate there in college. Thank goodness. We spend the afternoon laying around the hotel and laughing some more. Convince Cynthia to buy something really spicy for when she gets home and order one for Cathy while we're at it. Happy birthday. In the evening we head up to Scottsdale to the Jesterz Improv Comedy show. Poor Cynthia came away almost deaf in one ear thanks to a loud neighbor. We go to Applebees for half price appetizers then back to the hotel for more conversation and a little sleep.
I drag everyone to my ward's Super Saturday. We spend the morning crafting and talking and generally enjoying life, I think. Aren't the magnet boards cute??? Back at the hotel we watch a documentary. OK, Cathy and I watch The King of Kong and giggle like school girls while Cynthia and Maren drift in and out of sleep. We plan to meet Brent and John and Marla (other old BYU friends) for dinner at 6:00. At 5:15 we go for a swim. Or more of an awkward "stand" in the water, but at least we can say we took advantage of all the amenities. We make it to dinner on time and enjoy a lovely evening catching up.
The alarm rings bright and early. We get Cathy to the airport then get ready for church. We look a little like a polygamist family sitting in the pew with Brent, the kids, and three women. Except that we were shy about 20 kids. Good times. Cathy texts during Relief Society to say that she made it home. Happy and sad at the same time. We go back to my house. Cynthia and Maren play games with my children and then we eat dinner. All too soon it is time to take them back to the airport, too. Sydney comes with us this time as now she feels a part of this "club" of friendship as well. On the way home from the airport she comments on how she hopes she'll have friends like this someday. Me, too, Sydney. I want that for you, kiddo. Everyone should have friends like these. Especially a girl who doesn't have sisters.
For a less verbose description of the weekend and to see where I lifted these fantastic photos from visit Cathy's blog. You'll be glad you did!
The fourth image from the fourth folder in My Photos on my computer.
There are several other pictures I would have rather shown the world today, but I'm game. (Aryn, how did you know I needed some blogging motivation this week?!) This is me and B in Ensenada, Mexico in March. We were away from the kids together for the first time, I think, in our entire marriage. It was good. Real good.
Cathy, Tammy, Kristen, Sarah . . . GO!!! You're IT!
My experience with girls this age (and now my vicarious experience through my daughter) is that they are pretty much divided into two groups: the jealous, conniving, back-stabbers and the naive innocents just trying to keep their head above water as they swim amongst the sharks every day. OK, maybe the lines are not so clearly drawn in the sand, but my heart breaks for my daughter when she gets mean little e-mails from her girl friends who want to "break up" with her. Why? No real reason. Jealous that she got a little attention for winning her election? Maybe. Heard from a friend who heard from a friend that Sydney wants to be BFF with someone else? Quite possible. Can't stand that she is friends with the boy this little girl likes? Also probable.
Sis and I spent the afternoon going through every possible scenario . . . Did you gossip about her? No. But if you did you need to apologize? I didn't. OK. I'm just saying IF. That's not it mom!!! OK. Have you been hanging out with other friends? Yes. Because M. won't talk to me. But why won't she talk to you? I DON"T KNOW!!!! Did you kiss her boyfriend? MOOOOOOOOMMMM!!!!! 'Cause girls don't like that you know. . . MOM! Stop! That is not why she is mad. Then why is she mad? I! DON"T! KNOW! Did T. tell her a lie about you to mess things up. Maybe. I wouldn't put it past her. Ugh! . . . . On and on and on for what seemed like forever.
Conclusion: One of three things is happening. 1. Sydney made a mistake, said something she shouldn't have and needs to apologize. Happens to the best of us. 2. M. (the mean friend) is being a brat to get attention and Sis just needs to hang out with her other friends until she gets over herself. That happened often when they were in bowling league together last summer. Or 3. T. (the super mean friend) has been stirring the pot and Sis just needs to hang out with her other friends and not look back. Ever. That's the scariest option because things always get worse before they get better with these kind of girls. Assuming they ever get better. Yikes.
That post about Girl's Weekend is still coming. My brain has been commandeered by this little tiff. I'm going to the library web site right now to find that book Queen Bees and Wannabes so I can maybe give my baby some more helpful advice. Right now "Keep hanging out with the boys" is the best I've got for her. Cathy, Cynthia, Maren: My kids have fallen in love with you. They speak of you fondly. And often.
I'm exhausted today and I didn't take any pictures with my own camera (Cathy and Cynthia were very prolific photographers). I can't even think straight enough to put together an interesting post about it. Here's a teaser: fancy feet, tons of food, painfully loud laughter, documentaries, Super Saturday, Matthew Fox and non-stop catching up. Good, good times. More to come . . .
9:45 -- Leave my house thinking I'm going to be WAY early and make a good impression. (On whom I would be making that impression, I'm not sure. Turns out I was simply one among the herd of cattle they had gathered in today. But it's nice to be prompt.)
10:15 -- Thanks to my lack of familiarity with the downtown area I pull into the parking lot just minutes before I am to report. Lots of anxiety. Can't see the shuttle I'm supposed to take so I decide to walk to the courthouse.
10:25 -- Going through security. Thank goodness I'm not late. Explain Brent's consecrated oil on the key chain to security x-ray lady.
10:30 -- Squeeze into what looks to be the only remaining seat and wait. Laugh silently at people coming in behind me who have to stand. Should have been as prompt as me.
10:40 -- Many names called and numbers handed out. Not mine. Feel a little inferior. If only I had left home earlier. Maybe then they would have wanted me for their stupid jury. Begin texting flirtatiously with Brent.
11:20 -- More names called and more numbers handed out. Still not my turn. What is wrong with me??? Anxiety heightens, but I get to move to a more comfortable seat. Small victories.
11:30 -- Released for lunch. Must be back by 1:00. Go outside and wander aimlessly with the rest of the herd.
11:45 -- Run into a lady I recognize from the gym. We eat salads together. Surprisingly, not as awkward as I anticipated.
12:45 -- Head back to juror assembly room. Explain Brent's consecrated oil to another security x-ray lady. Seriously, it's not a bomb, folks.
12:50 -- Oooh! Hitch is on. I lost my comfortable seat, but new one is almost as good.
1:30 -- Four more groups called in quick succession. Nobody wants me. Mope and try to read.
1:40 -- They send a bunch of people home, including my new friend from lunch. Sadly, I remain. Not good enough to make the cut, Not lucky enough to get sent home.
1:50 -- Consider laying on the floor for a nap, but decide the "tacky factor" is too high for me. Look around the room and marvel at the many and varied interpretations of the business casual dress code.
2:05 -- Finally my name is called!!!!! To go home!!! Yeah!!!!!
2:30 -- Waiting in line for shuttle, I decide to just walk back to parking lot since I made it OK before.
2:35 -- Realize I parked in the wrong lot (maybe that's why there wasn't a shuttle in the a.m.) and the lot I have chosen has a 2-hour limit. Sprint to car praying that I haven't got a ticket on my windshield.
2:36 -- Sigh of relief . . . no ticket. Drive home.
End of story for 18 months. It was an interesting day. Hope yours was fun, too.
My own little hurricane has been on house arrest all weekend. He seemed somewhat remorseful when he was writing his letters of apology tonight, but I don't know if I'm thoroughly convinced. I want to believe the best about my son, but I do know him pretty well . . . He definitely wants to avoid suspension (the next step, as the school has warned me) so maybe tomorrow will be a better day.
I have jury duty Tuesday. I don't even want to talk about that. I am soooooooo ready for GIRLS WEEKEND starting Wednesday. Seriously!
to make landfall. To say it's troublesome is an understatement, but what can you do? Sit and wait and pray. And brace myself for another storm that has been brewing closer to home. That is how I spent my day. You see, Dylan has been sent to the Principal's office again. And again. And yet again. Twice yesterday and once today. He has been caught with those stupid Bakugan toys at school (they don't belong to him and he "doesn't remember" where they came from) and he lied to his teacher, the assistant principal, and the principal about it. Nice. He needed to be grounded. He needed to spend some serious time in his room. I knew it. I think he knew it. And history told me that he wasn't going quietly into that good night. So, he had a few hours to prepare to give me his worst and I also had a few hours to make sure our home would weather this storm. FEMA would be proud.
Turns out it was mostly unnecessary. He was very humble and went straight up to the room without a word when I told him to. Humble, but not very remorseful from what I can tell. Arrrrrrgh!!! What is a mom to do? I was a good student. I don't even understand what is going through his mind at all. I keep thinking of something my mom always says: You have to laugh otherwise you'd cry. That helps a little. Anyway . . . Mom, Dad, if you have power tomorrow morning and you can read this, I love you!!! Good luck and be safe. Come to Phoenix if you need.
Anyway . . . I got to thinking . . . there is only one kid running for President. The "crazy popular" kid who so intimidated Sydney must have also scared other children away. There are 4 kids running for VP. Count 'em, 4!!! The popular kid is a shoo-in for Pres because he is running uncontested, right? He's also a friend of Sydney's. They are supposed to make commercials for the morning announcements. Hmmmmm . . . (that's the sound of me scheming). I (innocently) thought that maybe Sydney and Lukas could do their commercials together and essentially endorse one another. Just for fun. Brilliant, huh? Now all she has to do is convince him. Is it wrong that I care so much about this? Does that make me one of those sad, kinda' creepy stage moms who live vicariously through their children? Whatever. Shut up.
Fender bender. Totally my fault. Totally sucks. So many ways this could have been avoided. So many promptings ignored. Ah, well. No injuries. No sense beating myself up over it.
If I had done any of those things I maybe could have avoided this accident, but I may have also missed the super fun field trip I went on with Riley. Or the great food and conversation with friends at the Mongolian BBQ place for lunch. Or the smile on my son's face when we finally found those elusive Bakugan balls at the third store we visited. Would I have traded any of that? I don't know.
Life is a series of little oppositions. The highs and the lows. The good and the bad. The joyful family reunions and the crappy car wrecks. You can never know what the day's going to bring. But you can know (as I now do) not to answer your phone while driving. What a loser!
[PS: This wreck may have been karma because I did a really mean thing this afternoon. This not-so-nice little girl named Makenna is also running for VP at Syd's school. She hung her posters up yesterday. Today we walked through the school and hung one of Sydney's posters next to every one of hers. And I maybe might have made sure that Sydney's posters were more prominent than hers. Every time. See, mean! I didn't say that plan out loud to my child who was just carrying the stapler and putting up whatever I handed her wherever I suggested. But it was definitely my plan. My evil, evil, terrible plan. Don't judge me!]
Here's proof that almost anything is more fun in my man's company. OK, maybe not a trip to the "lady doctor" or the fabric store (I know from sad experience), but certainly a cruise. Enjoy! (After about 3 minutes it's all just more of the same -- feel free to turn it off early.)
(Mom, Ann, Kennedy, avert your eyes for a moment when he removes the microphone from the stand. You can thank me later.)
My little boy's all grown up and accountable for his own sins now. Ha ha. It was really fun to have both sides of the family, friends both older (John Arnold) and newer (the Arizona gang), and coworkers in attendance. What a blessing to be surrounded by family and friends on such a special day. We almost didn't all fit in the primary room for the confirmation. I loved it.
We all had lunch back at the house after. Riley wanted a cupcake buffet -- actually those are my words, not his. He said something more along the lines of, " . . . a table full of cupcakes -- more than one kind". Got it. I made 4 kinds -- chocolate mousse, cream cheese spice, peanut butter and jelly, and ice cream cone. 18 dozen mini cupcakes to be exact. (Thanks for frosting them all, Ann!) And two huge salads. Yummy.
It was a near perfect day. I only regret that there is just one of me and so many people I wanted to talk to in such a limited amount of time. And that I forgot to put on the perfectly beautiful bracelet I had planned my whole outfit around. Ugh! I also hope that the sheer quantity of my family members in this tiny house didn't scare Don and Ann (Brent's parents) away for good. It was probably a little overwhelming. Anyway . . . Riley is a pretty special kid. He's been given some heavy burdens to bear and I know that he has already felt the comforting influence of the Holy Ghost. It'll be fun to watch him grow and progress as he prepares to serve his mission. What a great little guy.
You know I don't wish ill on anyone. Certainly New Orleans needs a break. I guess I don't really know what I'm asking of you, but I feel I must tell you that if my parents can't fly out of Houston Friday to come visit me, your fury will be no match for mine. Hear me now and hear me good. Not Houston. Not Friday. After I have them in my possession here in Arizona, you may have your way with the Gulf. (Minimal damage to their home would be a bonus -- I'll put that out there.) I will gladly keep them here for as long as you need. Just get them here. Thanks a million! Have a great day, now.
These are some of the people I remember most fondly and with whom I have kept in touch. (Another near-miraculous feat for a phoneaphobe like me.) In fact this photo was taken two years ago at a Girl's Weekend in Vegas. Sooo fun. And they're coming here to Phoenix in three weeks for round two. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I'll introduce you:
Aryn was sort-of the ringleader for all our wildest adventures freshman and sophomore year (before her mission and law school when she got all smart on us. . . ) She is one of the funniest, most enjoyable people you could ever hope to spend time with. She is also extremely smart and just altogether "with it". She (probably unintentionally) reminds me that I need to be a better citizen and inspires me to do so. She can't come to the Girls Weekend this time and I will miss her dearly. (OK, we all will, but this happens to be MY blog.)
Cynthia went from total stranger to life-long friend in the space of about 5 minutes when, first week of school at BYU, she came into the dorm room Cathy and I shared, laid down on the bed and cried out her homesickness. That's just how she rolls and I admire it. Emotional honesty is something I'm barely familiar with. She is fun and generous and creative. Can't wait to see her . .
Cathy . . . I could go on forever about Cathy. She is my oldest friend --and I'm not talking age because she's obviously the same age as me which is young, people. We met when I was an awkward, unattractive twelve year old and we moved to Minnesota. I lived on the wrong side of the tracks --EWWW, Richfield -- and I had, literally, no friends at school. She was from Edina -- that name still makes me shrink in inferiority -- and she had more friends than she knew what to do with. Everyone has always liked Cathy. And for some reason, against all odds, she liked me. When we were twelve we made plans to room together at BYU. No one took it seriously. We were just kids. What did we know? Six years later there we were in 2120 Stover Hall unpacking our boxes while Cynthia cried on Cathy's bed. The rest was history. She is fantastic because I can always be myself with her. And as a result she has seen me at my worst. But also my best, I think, sometimes.
Maren is not in the above picture, but she will be coming to Girls weekend , too. I didn't really know her freshman year, although we were in the same ward. She lived on the third floor and I was the second. Those were hard stairs to travel, I guess. The boundaries of my world were pretty small back then. I remember Maren most from the Campus Plaza years. She made the best turkey sandwiches and knows everything about Russian literature. She was the voice of reason, but she was still soooo much fun to be with.
September is shaping up to be a pretty good month for me. Family comes this weekend for Riley's baptism and then . . . . GIRLS WEEKEND!!!! Super fun. End brag.
So, Riley asked me the other night how long I thought we would be friends with these families and I told him that when he got married these people would probably be there. "Wow," he said. "That's gonna' be a long time." Yes. Yes, it is.