Friday, June 29, 2007

Things we'll miss . . .

Honestly, I can't wait to move out of our apartment and into the house we will be renting. I think we all feel the same way. Yesterday Heath took Parker

with him to buy some bread from Panera just below us. The cashier said she forgot to take home the balloons her family got from the baseball game. She asked if Parker wanted it. So Heath had a mini loaf of bread, Parker, and this hat/helmet thing with a monkey on the side that was as tall as Parker while he went home in the elevator. The concierge opened the door or someone held it I don't remember because Heath obviously had his hands full! He was going to try my key but couldn't so we tried it later and it worked fine. The boys had fun with the balloons and while Heath popped them all last night while the boys slept we discovered about 10 little turtles inside (balloons). The boys had a blast playing with those this morning! I will miss people giving us weird things like this in the city.
Believe it or not, I will miss being so close to the ball park. I love watching the masses cross the street. Since we have moved to SF we have been caught in traffic (foot or car) for every baseball game. It has been an experience for sure.
I will miss the concierge. Our family's favorite concierge was the bald guy who was gay. He was such a sweetheart and loved our boys. He learned their names and said hi to them specifically every time we went by the front desk. He would offer the boys crackers on Fridays. Every Friday afternoon our building has a mix and mingle downstairs with crackers and wine. The concierge today looked like she was training someone. They offered the boys chocolate chip cookies. Every concierge says hi but I loved the bald guy because he was so genuine and nice. We don't run into the handyman very often but he always says hi to us too. He unlocked the door to the master bedroom that Parker locked as soon as we got into our apartment the first day. He even said hi to us when he saw us outside crossing the street.
I will miss Gavin pushing buttons for the elevator and to cross the street. Gavin also likes to use our magnetic key to open the door. I will miss the friendly people at the park and not worrying at all when Gavin would just start talking to any adult there who would listen. Today Gavin and Parker kept hanging around a man who looked like a young grandpa and sounded like an Aussie. The guy was really sweet to play with them. I will miss walking to dinner and even though I only did it once, I will miss walking to get my hair cut. Heath will miss walking to the grocery store although if we have our van we can buy more each time we go. I will miss being so close to the water. I will miss the city. This has been an incredible adventure and my memories will always be fond ones. I do look forward to moving back to the burbs though.





Thursday, June 28, 2007

Once a Day




Yes, at least once a day I laugh. Parker put his pirate pajama shorts on his head and I had to grab the camera. If you look closely you can see Lightning McQueen and Mater in the background. Gavin was playing with them earlier. Mater was towing Lightning McQueen.

Anticipation Anxiety

I washed my keys by accident. Normally I wouldn't care but I'm not sure how that has affected the little piece of magnetized plastic that allows me to open the front door of my building. Someone held the door open for me today when we came home from the park. My mom used to wash her drivers license and her credit card on a regular basis (though not intentionally) and everything worked just fine. So I'm assuming all is well - just really clean!

Speaking of laundry . . . who was the genius who decided that the air dry feature on the dryer should only last 20 minutes? Does this bother anyone else? I can dry my clothes with an intense heater for an hour or more but when I want to dry clothes that must air dry, I have to restart the dryer every 20 minutes. What's that all about???

Today is a tough mom day. Anyone who knows me knows that I take everything way too personally even if it has nothing to do with me. We left story time less than 10 minutes into it today. Parker only wanted to wander around playing with things he shouldn't be playing with. When I picked him up or tried to sit him on my lap he would scream and cry. Gavin kept telling me to be quiet while I was trying to sing because he was pretending to sleep. They did this to me last week but we were able to power through it. Today was different. There was no way I was ever going to get them to calm down and participate or at least sit quietly so we left. I feel like the worst mom ever because my kids don't know how to behave in public!!! Stupid I know but realistically, I think the anticipation of moving is getting to all of us. My boys need the rest of their toys, a house to run around in, and a backyard to play in. Going to the park should be a novelty and not a necessity. Lately when Gavin has had meltdowns I let him scream cry (like I did as a child) for a few minutes and then I go in to talk to him. I count on my fingers the days we have left here while explaining fun things we will do each day. Then I explain what will happen when we move. I describe his bed and his dragon sheets and some of his toys that have been in storage all this time. Then I ask if he can hang in there with me until we move. He seems encouraged and says yes. I think I may go cry for the first time since we moved to California and then remind myself that we only have 4 more days and 2 of those days Heath will be home.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Food, Glorious Food!

Last night we went to "the brown house" as Gavin affectionately calls it. We were meeting a guy there who was going to measure the windows for screens. With rush hour traffic we had barely enough time to order our food to go so we could eat at the house while the guy measured windows. It was a total deja vous moment while we were sitting on the kitchen floor eating picnic style with no blanket. My mom and sister will remember this - when we bought our house in Utah we didn't move in right away because it was so hammered we needed to fix it up a bit before we could move in. I remember many nights eating dinner on the kitchen floor with no blanket. We actually have video of us eating Subway on Heath's birthday. It made me smile last night to be sitting on the floor of another new house (to us) eating In and Out Burgers. I felt like the house had been properly christened.

Heath and I love food. I love that Heath has introduced me to many different foods. I'm fairly adventurous when it comes to food but I know what I like too. Heath laughs at me for some of my eccentricities with food. I have developed a love of ketchup. I don't usually ask for ketchup with my fries it's more like I order fries to go with my ketchup! Wendy's fries are best bathed in ketchup. In and Out fries are a unique flavor all on their own because they are made differently than any other fast food french fry out there. But they are great with and without ketchup. Burger King fries should never be tainted with ketchup. They are best left alone. One thing to keep in mind about ketchup on fries is that the ketchup has to come out of one of those little packets. Cold, refrigerated ketchup from home will not taste the same! Arctic Circle fries should be bathed in special fry sauce. (do you remember the commercial where the guy says, "And that special sauce . . . do you feel special? I do!)

You should all know about my Diet Coke love affair by now. Diet Coke goes with just about anything. The exception is pizza. Pizza is best with Diet Pepsi and a green salad of some kind. I have felt this way since I was a young girl and my family would eat at Mama Julene's Pizza. Every time I have pizza with Diet Pepsi and a salad I remember my childhood!

Diet Coke tastes best in this order: fountain drinks, bottled, canned, 2 liter bottle. Sometimes I crave fountain Diet Coke and nothing else will satisfy.

I don't usually like rootbeer. I think my distaste for it comes from a bad experience my family had one New Year's Eve when my aunt and uncle made homemade rootbeer with too much yeast. I did drink a lot of Barq's Rootbeer the summer before my junior year in high school. My friends and I would buy the big cases of canned Barq's to get the free removable tatoos. We ate a lot of Extreme Nachos from Taco Bell that summer too. Heath has introduced me to Thomas Kemper Rootbeer. That is good stuff! I love watching him come home after a long day at work and grab a bottle of Thomas Kemper. He looks like he's drinking beer! It makes me laugh because we don't drink. But the rootbeer is like heaven on earth it's so good.

The best taco salad I have ever eaten was at Durango Grill in Provo. Then the restaurant was no longer there. Cafe Rio was a close second with their taco salad but then Heath introduced me to Costa Vida. (I introduced my whole family to Cafe Rio because it used to only be in St. George and I lived in Cedar City for college.) Costa Vida's salad is by far my favorite. I love the tangy taste in it. I haven't figured out what it is yet.

The best pasta is Fettucini Alfredo from The Pizza and Pasta Factory in Cedar City. It doesn't taste quite the same at the same restaurant in St. George or Salt Lake City. But the breadsticks are the same at the Cedar City and Salt Lake City locations. The Cedar City Pizza and Pasta Factory has honey butter that literally is heaven on earth on the bread sticks! When I go there I love to get a Caesar salad with my pasta, a refillable Diet Coke, and a chocolate chip cookie on my way out. It reminds me of my mom dropping me off at my apartment for school and she asked for the biggest chocolate chip cookies they had. I was embarrased at the time because we had our food in to go boxes. That and I easily embarras over stupid things!

I'm not as big an ice-cream fan as Heath is. But Ben and Jerry's is good stuff. He usually buys a quart of French Vanilla ice-cream. That is both of our favorite flavor of ice-cream. But since we have been here in the city he buys Ben and Jerry's because it's easier - and tastier. My hips will agree!

Well, that is just a taste (hee hee) of how weird I am when it comes to food. Now that Heath is home for a bit before heading out for a company dinner, I think I will hang out with him. I am making lasagna for dinner. MMMM.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ramblings of the Heart

Last night I got my hair cut. The plan was to have dinner at Quiznos and then I would walk to SuperCuts while Heath walked home with the boys. Gavin loves Quiznos because he says it makes him happy! When we walk by there on the way to the park, Gavin says, "That place makes me happy!" We ended up taking dinner home because Quiznos was so crowded with people trying to get dinner before heading to the baseball game. People were kind of rude. I was trying to maneuver a cheap umbrella stroller full of a toddler with a pre-schooler attached in the back helping me push. After hitting the first two sets of feet with the stubborn wheels that don't stay straight unless we have some momentum, I stopped apologizing because people stared at us and still wouldn't move! I didn't have enough hands to push the stroller over the threshold and hold the door very well. Heath was caught in the sea of people next to me trying to help me with the door while holding our food. He said, "I guess chivalry is dead!" He was hoping the rude teenage boys standing in the doorway would take the hint but I don't think they even heard. We had a good laugh over it. On the way home Heath saw someone wearing a Washington t-shirt so Heath said, "Go Huskies!" The man was taken by surprise by that since we weren't in Washington but he happily agreed. I love that about Heath. He always makes someone's day with little things like that or he makes me laugh in an otherwise stressful situation.

But anyway, back to my original point, I love my haircut. I love getting my hair cut because it always makes me want to fall asleep it's so relaxing. Raise your hand if you know what I am talking about. But I am always amazed by how good I feel after getting my hair cut. I didn't do anything crazy. Just trimmed it. The longest pieces of hair fell from the lady trimming my layers. The total length is pretty much the same. But I look awesome! I walked in the wind with my hair down and not in a ponytail (my standard style here in SF) and when I got home there was not a hair out of place. I know I'm addicted to hairspray but that had nothing to do with my hair looking great after the wind. (I don't have helmet head.) I shake my head and everything falls right where it should. I love that Carlee makes people feel as happy as me everyday by doing their hair. I love that that is one of the biggest reasons why she is a hairdresser. I wished the Muni went to Draper, UT! I missed having someone I know and trust do my hair.

Heath has a very busy day today. This whole week is busy actually. But I know he secretly loves it because he loves what he does. I was thinking of how I know so many people who just love their jobs. I may not understand everything my brother or my husband do but I know they are so passionate about their work. I love that. I love listening to my sister talk about her work because I feel like she speaks another language. I love that she's the one who taught me what a frenulum is. Cool word huh? I dare you to look it up if you don't already know what it is just so you can say you learned something new today.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I'd rather be camping!

This week I lose about half of my regular readers to camping. Heath's family is camping along the Oregon coast and we were supposed to go with until we decided to move out of state and start a new job instead. Sigh. My family is camping at Lake Mead later this week. I'm not as jealous about that trip since I've been there before and I'm pretty sure they are going to melt into little puddles. It's hot there in the spring and hotter in the fall, which is usually when we went to Lake Mead. Heath and I haven't been since the fall before Gavin was born. But I miss both my families and would really love to see them right now.

Gavin was telling me he wanted to go on a boat ride tomorrow morning (he says strange things like that since he has little concept of time!). I told him one day we could go back to Utah to visit and maybe Grandpa Swain would take us for a ride in his boat. The conversation turned from boat rides to grandparents. Gavin thought Grandpa Swain was my dad. I told him that Grandpa Swain was Grandma's dad. And that Grandma and Grandpa Westover were Dad's parents. Gavin wanted to know who my mommy was. I told him she was Grandma. He seemed impressed with his new knowledge.

I can't think of anything new or exciting to write about today. We're pretty much just counting down the days until we move. Gavin told me he didn't want to go to the playground today. He wanted to go to a new park today. He wanted me to get in the van and drive to a different park. Thank heavens walking to the van to get Parker's stroller out from this weekend's fun was enough of a distraction. Everyone reading this who thinks I'm a wuss for not driving, You're right! I promise I will when we move to Pleasanton which is about the same size as West Jordan. I can handle that. I got an e-mail today from a girl in our new ward with the play group schedule. They go to a different park every week. Some have some sort of water like sprinklers or fountains or something where the kids get drenched. So she advised me to be prepared with swim suits, etc. My boys are going to have so much fun when we move. I love that yesterday was the last time they will go to a new ward. The friends they made yesterday will actually be there next Sunday. My boys have been real troopers with all this chaos but I'm glad it's almost over. I still would rather be camping on the beach in Oregon, whale watching. But Heath and I haven't recovered from our sunburns we got as souvenirs from the zoo. So it's just as well we aren't camping.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Animal Party







Today my Uncle Chris, Aunt Darla, and my cousins - Caleb, Bryn, Zoe, and Logan went with us to the San Francisco Zoo. What a blast. I forgot that my uncle plays long and hard. I guess I was expecting at most a 3 hour trip to the zoo. Over 5 hours later we packed up our overly tired babies and drove home. Our kids had a lot of fun. We saw lots of cool animals. But I think all the adults would agree that the highlight of the day was the tunnel leading to the boardwalk to see the giraffes. Parker ran all over in that tunnel giggling. Soon my cousins joined in and Gavin was upset that he had buckled himself into the stroller! After we were done looking at the animals we let the kids blow off steam at the playground. Then we headed for the children's zoo but Gavin started losing his mind he was so tired and Parker fell asleep right after we said goodbye to my family and headed for the van. What a great day and what great pictures Heath took so we can remember. I feel like today was the first day of our summer vacation since we have a home to move into once the movers get there with our things in a little over a week. Today we took Apollinaire's advice - "Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy." We had no worries, just a day of fun.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Too Cute!

Parker cracks me up! He stripped down to his diaper, left his clothes at the gate, and fell asleep in Gavin's bed! Sounds like a comfortable nap to me!

All Boy

There have been some definite girl toys at the park that Gavin and Parker have played with. Today there was a pastel pink baby carriage with baby blue wheels. Parker may have been the first boy to start pushing it around. But it didn't take long for all the kids in the park to start taking turns pushing the baby carriage around. Gavin had it for the longest amount of time. He would pretend like it was a race car.

I have never been concerned or worried about my boys playing with girl toys. I think it's sweet when Parker picks up dolls and calls them babies and pushes them around in strollers. It's just a sign that my boys will be sensitive and gentle with a baby when that time comes. I took a Child Development course in college and my professor said that rather than worry about boys playing with girl toys, make sure the boys are well rounded. He gave the example of a boy who loved to play house with the girls inside but he played ball with the boys outside. My boys seem to be well rounded like that. My boys can sit and play quietly or they can run around and be rambunctious. They are all boy!

Maybe this is more of a non-issue than it is an issue. Maybe there aren't as many parents like Ross Gellar from Friends who can't stand the fact that their boy carries around a Barbie doll, but I have heard of kids telling kids of the opposite sex not to play with something because it was a gender specific toy. So I guess it does still happen. As for me, I don't worry about it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Most Creative Job in the World


I am one of the lucky few who actually enjoys their job. I am a mother. It comes with perks like being married to Heath, being able to do or not do whatever I want all day as long as I get my work done (like keeping the kids alive and generally happy), and there is no dress code. Some people wonder if professional homemakers' brains get soft watching young children, watching pre-school TV shows and movies, and reading books with less than 50 words including the title, author, and illustrator. If anything, my brain is stimulated constantly. I am learning baby talk and the different dialects, like Gavin and Parker, while teaching my native language of English. And I am actually becoming a great problem solver.


I have made things up for sanity's sake. Gavin was insisting on a drink of water instead of going to bed. He was crying like maybe he would die of a parched throat. But like all parents, Heath and I are hip to our kids' manipulations. So I told Gavin he needed to just go to sleep because the water was broken until morning and he could have a drink then! Is that terrible? I think I remember being white lied to when I was a kid although I don't remember any examples.


Yesterday I was enjoying a nice hot shower when I heard my precious boys screaming at each other! I heard Gavin yelling at Parker to stop doing something. While Gavin was asserting his authority over his younger brother I heard something banging on one of our luxury apartment's glass tables. When Gavin had finished yelling the noise on the table stopped. I assumed the problem had been solved! Of course I rushed through the rest of my shower in case of . . . whatever! So I get out of the shower and see Parker naked as the day he was born sitting at the table. My job may be fun but there are no breaks and certainly no dull moments.


I started to gather up Parker's clothes and diaper he had casually strewn across the living room floor. I told him to go to his room so I could get a diaper for him and some clothes. When I walked into the bedroom I saw that he had pooped on the floor. I got him dressed in his Bob the Builder outfit. Why that outfit? Because it is the only shirt he has that has loops on the shoulders for the straps of the overalls to go in. It is the only outfit he can't take off by himself. It is the same outfit we used to put Gavin in for his naps when he went through a phase of goofing off in his room instead of going to sleep (he was out of a crib at this point). He would take off all of his clothes and fall asleep naked. Luckily we were able to take action before he woke up in a puddle. It took him longer and longer to fall asleep (like more than 2 hours). After a short while we stopped making Gavin take naps even though he was only 2 years 4 months.


Anyway, back to Parker. I decided that the trusty Bob the Builder outfit would be what he wore every morning while I was in the shower. It worked like a charm today. I can't wait until we move because the first box I am unpacking is the one that has the potty training chair in it and the one that has his booster seat in it so we can keep him at the table for meals. Parker shows so many signs of being ready to be potty trained plus he asks all the time. Sometimes when he asks I tell him to just go. So he pulls his pants down while running to the bathroom. After the one year drama we endured trying to teach Gavin I swore I would never even think of potty training a child until they were 3 years old. I didn't care if I had 2 kids in diapers ever again because honestly, it's not that bad. But here's Parker about a month away from turning 2 wanting to be potty trained. Let's hope it takes much less than a year!
The picture is Gavin age 2 years 4 months on the last day he was made to take a nap.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Meant to Be

After blogging in such detail about the houses we saw our first weekend in California and not getting chosen for the house we wanted, I told myself I would never blog about our house search like that until we got one. Being somewhat superstitious I thought maybe I jinxed us by blogging in that much detail! I knew it would be a pretty incredible story wherever we ended up because like I have mentioned before, the Lord wanted us somewhere specific. The story is really cool.

We originally started looking in the Concord and Walnut Creek area but after very little success in finding houses we would even be comfortable in we thought maybe we should look somewhere else altogether. We chose Dublin and found a really nice home in a really nice community called Dublin Ranch. The family was super nice and we were excited to see their kids were about the same age as our kids. This house felt like our last chance at renting a home before we would start looking for apartments. We thought we had a good shot at it too.

We went to church in the ward that home was in. Of course everyone in the ward was very nice. I spent Sunday School in the Nursery with Heath and Parker so I was a little early for Relief Society. The Relief Society presidency were talking to me and asking me about our situation. They told me they would have me introduce myself when it was time. A lady had come in and heard me talking about wanting to rent a house. She told me that there was a house for rent on her street. I was an idiot and only said, "I'll keep that in mind in case this other house doesn't work out." Duh! I should have asked her to write down the address. I realized that about halfway through the lesson. So when it was over I armed myself with paper and a pen and waited for this lady to finish her conversation.

As I waited and tried to think of a polite way to interrupt her, another woman came up to me and introduced herself. She asked about the house renting I had mentioned in my introduction to the Relief Society. I told her we were waiting to hear that day or the next day about the house in Dublin Ranch. She told me she had a rental. She and her husband wanted to sell the house but then her husband recently decided he would rather rent it out. She started describing the house - 3 car garage, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. My heart sunk a little thinking there was no way we could afford something so spacious. She asked what we wanted to pay in rent. I tried to tell her $2500 but I was afraid I would mess it up and say $25,000 or something else ridiculous! So I said less than $3000. She said she didn't know the exact rent but she knew it was less than $3000. She started explaining where it was and Heath walked in with the boys trying to find me. I told him she was talking about a house for rent. She drew a map so we could find it and we told her we would drive by on our way back to San Francisco.

Heath was excited that I had found a lead on another house. We found the house and thought it was huge and gorgeous. Heath looked in the window and saw it was empty. The Dublin Ranch house wouldn't be available until the beginning of July and we were supposed to be out of our apartment by June 25. We were thinking of staying in a hotel since it would be cheaper than the daily rate we would have to start paying to extend our stay in the apartment. So we kind of hoped this new house would work out. We were still concerned about the monthly rent because we didn't believe we could afford that nice of a house. So I planned on calling the lady the next morning. She had given us her phone number.

Monday morning I tried to keep myself occupied until 10:00 am so I wasn't calling too early. I called and told Vicki (I may as well use her name!) we had seen her house and we were very interested. She was really excited and because she was talking so much about the house and us wanting to see it I didn't get a chance to ask about rent until after we had set up an appointment for that evening at 7 pm to see the house. She told me her husband told her that rent was $2700. Heath said it was higher than he wanted to pay but it was still worth looking at that house.

We got there and they let us lead the way through the house. Most viewings were very formal with the homeowner directing us. They had part of their family there. Their son looked to be about 10 years old. He kept asking us if we liked the house and what we thought about different things. He was a little salesman in training and I was cracking up thinking, "Oh honey, it's not a matter of us liking the house or not. We fell in love from the street. It's a matter of whether or not your parents let us rent it." After seeing the inside we stepped outside to see the spacious back yard and talk. Paul said the rental company they were working with had told him there were people interested in seeing the house. Paul told them that his wife had a family that she really wanted to see the house so nobody was allowed to see it until we had seen it first! That's when Vicki told me that she felt so strongly that she needed to tell me about this house after I had introduced myself in RS on Sunday. She was talking to a new girl who had just moved into the Dublin Ranch but Vicki was so afraid I would leave before she had a chance to talk to me. I had the chills the whole time she was talking! It was becoming very obvious the Lord wanted us in this house.

A few minutes after we got back to our apartment, Heath got a call from the real estate agent representing the Dublin Ranch home. He said that we didn't get it. He said that our credit wasn't as good as they were expecting but it wasn't bad especially since it was clear that we had paid off most of our bills. He said that Dorris, the homeowner felt really bad and didn't know how to tell us she chose another family. She felt bad because she really liked us. I wasn't surprised or sad or anything. I just hoped this other house would work out because it seemed like the Lord had led us there.

Heath and I finished filling out the application and Heath faxed it Tuesday morning. He heard from the rental company early in the afternoon that our credit seemed fine and they left Heath believing they would recommend us as good tenants. Things seemed to be falling into place and we figured we would know for sure on Wednesday.

Tuesday evening I had talked to my Uncle Chris about going to the SF Zoo on Saturday. When I was finished talking to him I left my phone in my room. I wasn't expecting any phone calls. I was watching TV with the boys while Heath talked to his mom on the phone. I thought maybe I heard my phone ringing. But by the time I got there I had missed the call. I recognized the number as Vicki's number. I quickly called her back. She said that she had talked to the rental company and the only concern they had was the debt we had with our house in Utah. I couldn't help but think "Concern? Debt? Everything seemed fine a couple of hours ago!" She told me the company left it up to her and her husband's discretion. So she asked if we felt like we could afford rent while still paying a mortgage on our house. I told her we were very confident that we could handle the rent payments. I then told her that our house was supposed to close at the end of June but the buyers had requested an extension. It was really only 3 business days so we should be closing the beginning of July which meant we would only have June's mortgage to pay. She seemed satisfied and started talking to me about setting up utilities and gave me phone numbers to do so. She never said the words that we had the house but it was clear that we did! She talked about maybe giving us the keys on Saturday and other "housekeeping" items like that!

We couldn't believe it. It was finally happening. I felt like the biggest weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Heath and I laughed and skipped and played with the boys the whole way to the park. Their tiredness and crankiness was easier to deal with after hearing such good news. The new development to the story while I have been typing this is that we will sign the lease on Friday and get the keys then. The movers will deliver our things on July 3rd. We have been given a 2 week extension to our stay at the Avalon and Publicis Modem will continue to pay.

I have always known that the Lord loves his children but if anyone ever doubts, remember this story. Who are we to have such miracles happen to us? We are Mr and Mrs Joe Flo like everyone else in the world, only we're not. We're children of God and and He loves us all equally. If miracles can happen to us then they can happen to anyone. And I have no doubt that they do and they will continue to happen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

IQ


I love the differences in my two boys. It's so interesting to watch them problem solve (even if it means throwing a fit because they don't know what else to do) and deal with different situations. For example, this is a picture of Gavin and Grandma Westover at Aunt Candi and Uncle Ed's wedding reception. It's hard to tell but Gavin is covered in chocolate and strawberry. It took multiple wipes to clean him up. Parker is the complete opposite when it comes to eating. Sure he gets a little messy but nothing compared to Gavin! Gavin uses both hands to eat the tiniest morsel of food. He shoves the food into his face Cookie Monster style so there is food carnage everywhere! Hardly a day goes by when Gavin doesn't have dried food caked to his shirt and pants. Parker eats with utensils better than Gavin does. Parker's taste buds are all in his mouth and not on his cheeks and up his arms like Gavin's must be. Neither one of them are tall enough to reach the table without boosters. Gavin kneels on the chair, sitting on his feet. Parker kneels up to the table not sitting on anything. Today they had their favorite, macaroni and cheese. Gavin had it everywhere. Parker didn't even spill on the table. Parker's face needed to be cleaned up but not his hands. Gavin's hands needed to be sandblasted off and surprisingly there was nothing on his face. Parker seemed to be thinking of the consequences of his actions and adjusting accordingly. Gavin had his elbow in his bowl of mac and cheese, his glass of milk tipping precariously at the edge of the table, and his face on the table while he licked the grapes off the stems!!! I told Gavin to pay attention. He repeated the words like he was learning a foreign language and of course, nothing changed. I started to wonder what must be going through his head. After rescuing the carpet from imminant disaster again we discussed what paying attention means. I asked him what would happen if he did things a certain way and for probably the first time ever, Gavin realized how he could affect the outcome by changing his behavior.
Parker doesn't have as much vocabulary as Gavin does. So Parker points in a general direction and says something in his own language that I don't understand. I try to pick up different things only to have him get more frustrated each time he shakes his head and says no. Sometimes I really wonder what my kids think about. How does the world look through their eyes? What do they think when the rules they think they understand don't apply to every situation? Like today when Gavin screamed through his entire bath. When he got out he was sobbing that he told me no and that he didn't want to take a bath. I wonder if he thinks just saying the words will make me stop as if he was deciding which movie to watch or something! Kids are great and I don't mean that sarcastically.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Up in the Air

Honestly I am having a hard time keeping up with this blog. I feel like I say the same thing everyday or at least we do the same things everyday. Admitedly, I am also afraid of sharing too much. I guess I want people to believe that our path in life is paved with roses. I also don't want to share too much becuase I don't want to have to explain the real outcome when my dream outcome crashed and burned. It's kind of like a person finding out they are pregnant. It's great news but what if she miscarries? If anyone misunderstood that metaphor, I am NOT pregnant! I just don't think the story is close enough to being finished yet so I don't want to say too much.

I will say this: The Lord has something in mind for us. I have known that all along this journey that has led us to California. The bumps in the road feel like the end of the world at the time but they all iron themselves out in the end and it becomes even more clear that the Lord loves His children. He loves and knows us each personally. He wants my family somewhere specific and we are probably not being as patient as we should. My life has been up in the air in one way or another for months now. Years really when I think about it. So what's a couple more weeks or even days of not knowing where home will be? The Lord didn't send us to California to fail so something will work out. When it does I will share the incredible story.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Break Dancer in Training

Last night we got home around 9:00 pm from looking at another house in Dublin. Even though it was past the boys' bedtime we all needed to veg in front of the TV for a minute to unwind. Heath had it on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance. Parker was hysterical. He would try to do the same dance moves he saw on TV. There was a guy who was break dancing. He was actually really good at it and it was impressive to watch. He took his shirt off while he was spinning on the floor! Parker had his head on the floor with his bottom in the air trying to spin like the guy was! Very cute stuff.

We just got home from the playground trying to give the maid time to clean our apartment. She either came and left because we weren't home or she hasn't come yet. Anyway, the boys were so cute at the park. They would both spin the "Merry Go Round" as Gavin calls it. They were running around as fast as they could. Then Parker would get on and stand there holding the bars while Gavin spun him around. They were scream giggling they were having so much fun. Parker kept asking for drinks. There is a drinking fountain just outside the playground area. Parker was draining the ocean he was drinking so much! Gavin would take two sips and say he was done. It was so hot and the more Parker drank the less he wanted to go back to playing. So we headed for home the back way. I was glad because I found a restroom behind the ball park. No more walking to Borders if Gavin has to go. Yeah! Borders is halfway home from the park.

Parker is like his mama and hates to wear shoes. He takes them off in the van and he takes them off on the way home from the park to get the sand off his sweaty feet. When I brush his feet off he laughs and says tickle. Even though we brushed off his feet, Parker still took his shoes off again. So I strapped them to the stroller. I do that when he refuses to wear them. I figured he was too hot. No, just too tired. Poor baby! He fell asleep almost immediately after I strapped them to the stroller. People were staring at him I'm sure because they were jealous nobody was pushing them around while they napped! We were walking one night and Heath didn't want to deal with walking with Gavin across the street. So he picked him up and carried him. Gavin laughed and laughed. Some guy was cracking up watching Gavin laugh so hard. I said, "Who knew being carried was so fun!" The guy laughed and said he misses being carried around like that. Oh to be a kid again! Happy weekend everybody.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Evil Plan?

As much as we love San Francisco it feels like the city is out to get us! Maybe it's some evil plot of the government or something. We made up the story that the governor, Arnold Schwartzenegger (I hope that's spelled right) outlawed all monsters in California so Gavin would sleep at night. My guess is Arnold got wind of the story and is now asking for a payback. We can't seem to get out of here!!!

For all the difficulty and expense of getting into the city we seem to be stuck here. For some reason finding a place to rent has been a lot harder than we expected. It's not like we are picky about it but the homeowners renting their property are and we haven't been lucky enough to be chosen yet. Plus, last night we had appointments to look at places to rent in Livermore and Dublin. These cities are not real close to SF so we figured it would take some time to get there. We just didn't count on it taking 45 minutes to get from our parking garage to the freeway! The freeway is not far from where we live at all. We have never seen traffic so bad. It kind of felt like we were trying to create our own destiny and get out of the city but it kept sucking us back in like a really good vacuum cleaner!

The novelty of all of this adventure is completely gone for our sweet boys. They have turned from sweetness to bitter, sour, not fun to be around kids. Parker is so naughty in the apartment trying to destroy all property whether it is ours or not and he just smiles that cute smile of his and laughs. Gavin whines and cries from the time he wakes up in the morning to about an hour past the time we shut off the light and close the door for the boys to go to bed. I love my children so much but they are so exhausting!

We went to the library for story time which was fun once it started. Gavin whined and complained even after I told him if we left early he would sit in time out. He calmed down as soon as the librarian got started. Parker did the actions to the songs and clapped emphatically. The boys had fun even though we were somehow skipped when the librarian was passing out the percussion instruments for the last couple of songs. I was proud of how well they handled that. Unfortunately both parks we go to close by were closed for various reasons. Looking on the bright side, at least we were out walking around getting exercise and sunshine. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day or maybe even today will get better. After all, I made a phone call for Heath today. I hate using the phone unless I know who I'm talking to but this had to be done so we could find out about more rental properties. I did it. Yeah me! The evil plan won't stop us, I know it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Crazy Man Story

I thought of blogging about this story yesterday after it happened but I thought I was making too big a deal out of it. Of course I told Heath the story when he got home from work. Later Deanna called and she must have said something about weird people because Heath told her I would blog about my crazy man in the park story. He told me it was a great idea! So here goes.

Yesterday I altered our schedule a bit to add variety. I indulged myself by talking to my friend Becky for an hour and a half in the morning. We had lunch and then went to the park. There aren't many kids there right after lunch because that is traditional nap time. Parker had fallen asleep on the way back to the park after a short bathroom run to Borders for Gavin. We had the place to ourselves for a little while which was nice while I held Parker on my lap trying to shade him from the sun with my body.

Then a man came with his son. I remembered this man from last week. My friend Linda babysits a baby girl and a 2 year old boy. The boy is very agressive and old school when it comes to getting what he wants. He was pulling on the shirt of this man's 12 month old son trying to get him off of his big tricyle. The man was rightfully upset and since Linda was busy with the baby and didn't notice I went to take care of the situation. He was asking if the boy was my son. I told him no but he was giving me a run down of the situation anyway. I found the man intimidating even though he wasn't yelling or doing anything to be intimidating. I think I was used to soft spoken women.

So here was the man and son again. I would not say he was evil or anything but again I felt somewhat intimidated by his boldness. Since we were the only ones in the park he was talking to me incessantly. We talked about the unusually warm weather (yesterday was in the low 70's while today has hit 82 degrees), kids wearing sunscreen, the fact that the playground has no shade while the rest of the park has been designed to keep the dogs happy (his thoughts not mine!), and then he started talking about time shares.

Now granted, this man is Arabic and I don't know how long he has been in the country but in this day and age who hasn't heard of time shares and the ripoff they are??? He went on and on about all the exorbitant costs and hidden fees. Then he started telling me about the actual time share and how it's only 3 star quality (the same as a Motel 6 is what he said). When he got to the 3 star quality part I don't know what happened. It felt like I needed to acknowledge somehow so rather than more head nodding and uh-huhing I thought it was a wow moment and said the word wow. He freaked out! He looked me right in the eye for the first time and said why are you saying why? Then he immediately caught his mistake and said why are you saying wow? As I frantically stumbled over my words to find something to say he said, "It's a bad deal right?" I quickly agreed.

He went on about the time shares for a few more minutes and then told me that he doesn't get mad at his wife about the time share anymore. He summed up the monologue time share tirade with a statement about how it's cheating to charge people like that! I was starting to wish Gavin and I had learned to speak telepathically to one another. I was screaming into his brain to say he was too hot so we could go home! It didn't work though. Then the man brought up an earlier topic we had discussed. We had talked about the fact that my family had just moved from Salt Lake City. I don't go around announcing this to people! He had asked where I lived and I was incredibly vague by telling him I lived up the street. He told me the name of his building and said he was moving at the end of the month. I said I was too and vaguely told him the story.

So later he said, "You just moved from Utah right?" I told him yes and he said, "So are you Mormon?" I said yes. He said, "Is it true that the men can have 4 wives?" I said no and he seemed surprised and said really? I felt like saying, "Would I lie about that?" but instead I said, "No, not since the 1800's." Then he told me he was Muslim and they used to have a lot of wives but it's too expensive to buy houses for each wife so only the rich men have multiple wives. I thought well, that's nice that economics won out on that principle. Then he said, "So do you still pay 10% to the church?" I thought, why? because I don't live where Church Headquarters are anymore so I won't pay my tithing? But I just said yes. He asked something or said something that I don't remember but it seemed like I should clarify so I said, "Yes, 10% of everything we earn." He said, "And what do you get in return?" I smiled and said, "God gives us blessings!" He smiled and seemed to understand obeying for blessings and said, "Ahh yes, God should bless all of us." Then he left to bother the girl who had come in with her baby.

I don't know what he said to her but she seemed bothered by him too. She came by me while he was talking to a nanny of twins. She said, "He talks a lot huh?" I said, "Yes he does. Thank you for saving me!" She said, "Well, that lady saved me!" He left a couple of minutes after that. None of the three of us women talked to each other. The nanny left with the twins first. Parker had woken up in the middle of the uncomfortable conversation with the bold man. Later, Gavin and Parker both decided they had had enough of the heat so we left next.

What an experience to live here with such diverse people. Today I made sure to stay on our predictable schedule to avoid the strange people who go to the park during naptime. We went in the morning to be with the familiar and friendly faces we see every morning. Parker went to sleep quickly so we may go back and take our chances with the bold man.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Child Safety or Parent Sanity?

Last night we bought child safety locks for our kitchen cabinets. Parker is literally into everything! We can't do anything permanent in this apartment so 5 locks will have to be enough. This morning Parker realized something in his "fun house" was different. He tried to open the cabinets with no luck so he did the next best thing, he opened the dishwasher. Heath asked Parker if he was opening the dishwasher because everything else is locked. Parker answered by nodding his head and saying yes. We laughed.

I tell Heath that I laugh at least once a day. And it's true. Even on the tough days I laugh at least once. Sometimes I think it's because if I didn't laugh I would cry and as Sister Hinckley put it, "I would rather laugh than cry because crying gives me a headache!" My kids are so funny. I know I am biased as their mother but if you haven't met my kids you should because they are really funny.

Later this morning Parker opened the dishwasher door and was sitting on it while playing with the clean dishes. Why? Because he's almost two and that was all he could open today. Parker takes his clothes off when he has a messy diaper and puts his own pants on after he's been changed. Gavin thinks the apartment doorbell will magically open the door! I shouldn't laugh because it really shows how observant he is. Everything else in our building needs a button to be pushed first. If Parker is not in his stroller he races Gavin to push the button for the elevator. We put a little tear shaped piece of plastic up to a metal bump with a light in the center and the building's front door magically opens if the concierge didn't open it first. So why not assume that pushing the doorbell will help dad open the door easier? I think it's a genius idea. I love how Parker is pretty smart too. Last night he got me to go into the boys room when they should have been asleep. He had thrown his cup outside the baby gate and taken his shirt off. When I picked up the cup it was empty. He has learned not to cry for water when the cup is empty because I tell him he has water and I walk away. But if he throws it where he can't get to it I realize he drank it all. My kids make me laugh.

I love hearing the funny things my friends' kids do too. Today I was talking to my friend Becky. She was telling me that it's hard for her to e-mail because she's missing several keys from her laptop keyboard. Her son Kaleb, who is 2 1/2, popped them off one day while watching a movie on the laptop. I hope she laughs about it because I do. I can just see him do it.

Kids are great and I believe that safety locks, gates, and doorknob covers were only invented for parent sanity, not necessarily to keep our kids safe.

Monday, June 11, 2007

What would you pay for pizza?

You have the opportunity to eat a pizza. A hot, juicy, slice of pizza with cheese dripping and stretching with each bite. Sounds good right? Would it change your mind at all if the pizza was only a medium sized pie? Maybe just 10 or 12"? You are going to share this pizza with your spouse and two small children. What if there weren't many choices of topping combinations and you wanted to mix and match pizza orders? Do you like Supreme style with every topping choice possible lovingly showered on? Well, that's not an option! How much would you pay for this pizza complete with a stuffy, fancy restaurant feel? Does about $30 including tip sound reasonable to you? That's what we paid at Amici's on Saturday.

I'm not really a pizza fan. Most of the time I would rather not eat it. But every once in a while it sounds good. We were all a little disappointed in our experience. I asked Heath if San Francisco has regular pizza like Dominos or Pizza Hut. He said yes and that we may even be able to find a Papa John's Pizza. When I feel like pizza again maybe we can skip the gourmet stuff and go for something greasy and real! In the meantime, we will enjoy these unique experiences for what they are. We may never have the chance to live in the city like this again.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Back by Popular Demand!




Gavin and Parker enjoying the hills at the Mission Creek Park near our apartment.




I have been sitting here for 45 minutes trying to figure out how to put on multiple pics and write captions by them. This is the best I can do! Sorry I am not computer savy at all. Dawn, the first picture is for you. You wanted to see my tan lines. The picture doesn't really even show how dramatic the lines are but there you go, that's my foot without flip flops on.

The Mission Creek Park has two sides. One side has benches and lookouts onto the water and the other side has walking trails and hills of grass. People bring their dogs here to play. We bring our kids! We have seen people with canoes on the water.

This is a rare moment of pure childhood joy on Gavin's face. He has been kind of a pill this whole weekend. I can't wait to move and give my kids a more predictable routine and funner things to do on the weekend than look for houses to rent, get to know the neighborhood, and go to church.


I know there are lots of family members who enjoy my daily blogging so I hope these pictures satisfy. More adventures will follow tomorrow I am sure.























Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday in the Air





Just a couple of my favorite pics of the boys.

Fridays always feel different to me. They feel like party days or something. I want to put on my cutest outfit, even if we don't have plans to go anywhere, and look my best because it's Friday baby!

Today I feel like I have been playing beat the clock with the maid service. Last week she came and we didn't think she would. Our paperwork told us that we would enjoy maid service every other week for the duration of our stay here. Well, since we're only here for a month that should be maid service twice. We hadn't even been here a full week yet and the maid was knocking on the door. I was just glad the place wasn't a mess. I was talking to my friend Sharon at the park yesterday. She was jealous that we get maid service. I told her I didn't really like it because I enjoy cleaning and I think I'm pretty good at it. Plus, I feel like I have to have the place clean before she comes so she doesn't judge me! Sharon said, "Who likes to clean???" I know it was a rhetorical question asked for humor's sake but I said, "I do!" Heath calls me Danny Tanner. I guess I am in a way.

Anyway, I was running around cleaning this morning (well, more tidying up than cleaning) so we could go do something before lunch. The sun was just starting to shine through the fog when we were leaving. Gavin complained the entire way to the park saying he was too cold and we should go back home to get his coat. He had dressed himself in sweat pants so really things could have been worse. The park was warm if not downright hot with the sun blazing down on us. Very pleasant. We had fun for about an hour. At noon I was trying to decide what to do. Heath suggested I take the boys out for lunch if I was worried about the maid. We went home and I quickly made lunch. We finished around the same time that I know we were at the park last week allowing her to clean. She hadn't come yet. It's now 1:30 and Parker is supposed to be napping and I doubt she will come. Which is fine because the apartment is clean. I don't need her.

Last night we walked to Chavos for dinner. Heath's co-workers said it was the best Mexican food ever. I had my doubts. La Pinata is the best Mexican, better than Aztecca! I told Heath, "Didn't they read my blog?" It was one of those hole in the wall type restaurants and I admit I was a little more nervous to walk by the homeless people on the way there than I am on King Street. Two cops were in line behind us so we were safe! Just kidding. There really were only burritos on the menu. It looked like the lunch specials included a couple more items like tacos and rellenos. Heath and I chose super burritos because they came with guacamole, sour cream, and cheese. No need to pay extra. The food was good. I'd say better than adequate but I wouldn't call it the best I've ever had. I had the leftovers from my incredibly large burrito today. A day later and warmed up I'd say it tasted better than last night. It had a tangy full bodied flavor that I could see possibly craving but I still wouldn't say it beats even the Mayan. Fun experience though and that's what it's all about.

After dinner we went to Best Buy to celebrate Heath's happy birthday. . . almost a month later! Poor Heath. We never seem to do anything fun for his birthday or Father's day. Bad timing I guess. He bought a Zen to listen to things on the way to and from work. He can even watch TV on it if he wants to. We decided before his birthday that he could get one but we just haven't had the time or money yet. He walked to work this morning with earbuds in like all the other cool people. My baby is getting what he needs to be popular! I'm kidding of course.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

More Musings on the Weather

This is a picture of us at Coit Tower yesterday. Gavin is being very sad and mad because it was so cold and windy (every day we hear multiple times a day, "That makes me really mad." or "I being really sad.") Yesterday was sunny but I thought maybe it would be cold so Parker and I were in long pants to go to the park while Gavin dressed himself in shorts. It was so sunny and hot at the park that when we got home I changed Parker and myself to shorts. Then Parker slept until 4:30 so we couldn't go back to the park before I had to start dinner. (yes, every once in a while I cook, don't be so surprised!) Anyway, we decided to go do something touristy because after all, we live in San Francisco! People take vacations here. The sun was still up so I figured it was still warm. No, it wasn't warm at all as the sun was starting to set. I told Heath that I will figure out the weather by the time we move! Parker's skin was all mottled and blue and he was shuddering with the cold. Gavin was disagreeable and kept asking to go home. Neither one of them were impressed with the boats on the water and they certainly didn't care about the amazing view of the city. Gavin cracked a smile when Heath let him take a picture with the camera. Of course Parker had to have a turn after Gavin. They are certainly Heath's boys since they love gadgets and buttons and technology so much.

Today is a gorgeous day. Since it's Thursday we had the choice of going to the library or the park or both. I was secretly hoping Gavin would choose just the park. I wanted as much time as possible to work on my tan! But he chose to do both which was probably the perfect choice. The regular children's librarian was on vacation this week so she had invited someone else to come and perform for the kids. I felt bad for the performer because even though she was talented and sang really cute songs the entire room was restless the whole half hour we were in there. I think part of the problem was the kids didn't really recognize anything she was singing and she had different variations of the songs they did know. Gavin couldn't see so he was bored and Parker has never learned how to sit still and he kept asking to go. I couldn't wait for it to be 11:00. Since we were standing by the door we were the first ones out.

After the library we headed for the park to soak up all the sun and just be alive. I can't believe how solar I am. I feel lighter on sunny days and almost skip when I walk I'm so happy. We sang songs and played while I was making lunch and we sang the Peanut Butter and Jelly song at the top of our lungs while we ate! We weren't at the park for long before Parker needed his diaper changed. But we had fun. I love watching my boys play. Gavin is more the silent observer type. He prefers to play in the sand. Today he was sharing toys with other kids in the sand. We never take any toys but I'm glad that my boys are so good at sharing and playing well with other kids. There was a toy that had wheels that would turn as the sand poured over them. Gavin loved that one. Parker was busy pushing cars around in a dump truck all over the playground. Parker is a lot more physical than Gavin. I wished, as I have almost every day since we got here, that I had brought the camera to the playground. Yesterday a lady was taking pictures of Gavin and Parker with her baby on the merry go round. I thought that was cute. People are so nice. A lady at the library recognized us from a couple of days ago at the park. She said, "Hi friends from the park. Hi Bruce the Shark." and she touseled Gavin's hair. She remembered that they were sailing the boat to the ocean where Nemo lives and Gavin was doing his Bruce the Shark impression. I love the people here.

I love that today is so nice. I am sporting quite the farmer's tan and I love it. I told a lady at the park today that I believe tan lines show how much fun you have had. She agreed. I can't wait to move to Concord because I heard that the summers there are hot, hot, hot. I love hot summers. Enjoy whatever weather you have today. I know I will.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

People Watching

I love people watching. When I was in high school my friends and I would go to the SLC airport just to watch people coming and going. I expected the people in San Francisco to be fashion forward and I thought I would feel frumpy in my non-designer Target clothes. But I was surprised to see that people here dress really eclectically. Every morning I look out the window to see how people are dressed so I can tell what the temperature is like. And everyday I see the same thing - people bundled up for a winter storm, people in shorts with jackets on, people in t-shirts and jeans, women in tank tops and long pants. It's so random. I have been to the park a couple of times when it was sunny and warm (I found out today that the park is one of the warmest places in SF according to the two women I was talking to) and there are women and babies wearing more layers, jackets and hats than I ever wear in 20 degree temps in Utah! Don't look at people to judge temperature!

It's fun to people watch at the park. We saw a French family the other night at the park. You could tell the parents loved their kids so much and spent a lot of time with them. The dad was making music on the siding of a shed. His kids loved it. I thought he was actually pretty talented but he just laughed thinking he was goofy for even trying that.

It's pretty obvious which kids are being babysat at the park. Some babysitters sit and play with the kids in the sand and some babysitters sit on the benches staring off into space oblivious to anything the kids are doing. One little girl is babysat by different people. One babysitter was playing with her son and the little girl who is only about 10-12 months old. I saw the same girl another morning with a different babysitter and the little girl was left to climb on the ropes by herself or trip and fall over strollers. I took care of her when she got tangled in a stroller and when I was almost finished the babysitter came by to comfort the girl.

Some women seem very comfortable with young children while some have a look on their face like please don't talk to me or touch my child's toys. This week we have been around a lot of women who are so good with kids. They include Gavin and Parker with whatever their kids are doing and ask their names. They even say goodbye when they leave.

We also see a lot of dog owners walking their dogs. I am a dog lover and a cat hater (sorry Becca, although Buchi is a nice cat) but I never want to own a pet. If I ever were to lose my mind and decide to get a dog I would want to be like the dog owners I see here in the city. You can tell they love their dogs so much. And the dogs are so well behaved. The boys and I have walked by countless dogs near the playground not on leashes and they stay right with their owners or the dogs see us coming and they obey by walking to their owners. It's incredible. Daxton is pretty well trained but I see him forgetting every lesson he ever learned if he were to be here in the city! Sorry Mom but I bet you agree. I love taking the elevator with dogs and their owners. The people are so nice. They talk to the boys while the boys gawk at their dog. A couple took their dog out for a walk and they decided to get something to eat at Quiznos. We were there eating with our animals, our boys! They took the dog inside the restaurant with them. It was definitely not a service dog and it actually looked like a black lab puppy. That dog was so well behaved I hardly knew they even brought it in with them.

Dawn was right, living in California would be a culture shock. But I love it. My only complaint is all the wrong numbers and today there was even someone at my door who had the wrong apartment or expected me to be someone else, I don't know. That was fun! I had just stepped out of the shower when I heard the doorbell ring. I got dressed faster than I thought was possible thinking it was maintenance or someone like that who would open the door if I never answered! Then she rang the doorbell again so I answered to see this Asian woman who didn't speak English very well asking if I was Anna or some name that sounded like that. when I told her no she asked if my cell phone number was the one written on her paper. I told her no and that I was sorry. She seemed so confused. I felt bad and the adrenaline didn't stop for another 20 minutes after she left! We just roll with the punches because this apartment is temporary, furnished by a company called Oakwood which is not associated with every apartment in this building. We figure there is a lot of turnover here.

Unfortunately, we probably won't be people watching at the park again this afternoon since Parker didn't go to sleep for his nap until after 2:00 pm. We have not been able to go to the park in the afternoons this week since Parker has been waking up after 4:30 everyday.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

On the News

My street corner was on the news! Growing up in Magna and West Valley City, UT if you saw a local news truck you could assume they were reporting domestic abuse, drug busts, or something like that. If you saw a news truck somewhere else in Utah they were probably reporting a car accident like the semi rollover we saw on our way to Vernal a couple weeks ago. But today I saw a news truck around the intersection outside my window. I saw it a few times throughout the day and could never figure out what it was there for. Then I turned on the 5:00 news for the channel advertised on the side of the news truck. They were just talking about changes they are making with Muni routes. The Caltrain Muni stops right in front of our building. So I guess they just wanted ambiance shots. I saw the short story on the news and recognized the buildings in the background and saw in the upper left hand corner of the screen the LIVE sign. So when the story was done I looked out the window and saw the lady I just saw on my TV getting into the truck and all the crew cleaning up and getting in the truck. Things like that make me love this experience of living in the city!

My Sweet Boys

It can be annoying when my kids want so much attention at bedtime and naptime. But I look into their eyes and I can see that they just want to know that their parents love them. I think I take for granted the fact that my boys are so young. I figure that they are ok with everything that has changed recently. And why not? For young, curious boys there is so much to explore. But their apprehensions show up when it's time to sleep. I have to find the right balance between letting them deal with it on their own and comforting them.

I think I successfully found that balance today with Parker. He was so tired but he kept opening the door and calling out to me. The last time I went in he walked to his bed and said "help." So I picked him up and held him. His eyes were so heavy so I laid him down. He needed his mom too much though. So I kept my face close to his and sang him a song. It was obvious he wanted to fall asleep but he would open his eyes to see if I was still there. Soon he was completely asleep.

It was one of those moments where even though he was right there I missed him. I looked at the crayon smudged on his shirt and all crusty in his hair and I could see him running around getting into everything like he does. That kid does not sit still for more than two minutes ever! He's so precious I just wanted to hold him for his whole nap. The crayon thing is funny because we didn't bring crayons with us. They are in storage. But somehow he found a crayon in this apartment and ate it and got it all over himself! When I set aside my mom eyes and see my kids for who they are I can't help but just laugh. They do the goofiest things and I love it.

I have a little window on my desktop that cycles through all of the digital pictures we have stored on the computer. I can see the pictures while I work on other things I want to cry I love my boys so much! I am looking at the pictures of them and remembering the circumstances that made us take the picture in the first place. I admit I feel a little sad because I can see our house in the pictures - different rooms in the background and my boys the focus of each shot. We have been terrible at taking pictures since we got here. We must get better. It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words. I can hear my boys giggling as I look at these pictures. Time to go hang out with Gavin who doesn't nap. He's playing with his toys and I love how he tells me all about what he's doing. I wonder what adventures await me now with the boy who wanted to be called Captain Gavin the Pirate just a couple of hours ago.

Monday, June 4, 2007

A few of my favorite things . . .

The sun came out today! SF is cold by my standards year round but a little sunshine on my face and I feel like nature is giving me a hug. I was feeling sad that my flip flop tan lines were fading in the cool, foggy, cloudy weather last week. They're back today. We played at the playground near our home and Parker and I were appropriately dressed for warm sunshine. Gavin dresses himself every day but today he looked like he's three years old and dresses himself! I love how in the winter he wears shorts and t-shirts and in the summer he chooses sweat pants and long sleeved shirts. That's what he chose to wear today. I didn't say anything. Some fights are not worth having with him. My poor kids only have sandals and dress shoes. The rest of their shoes are in storage. At least today was a sandal day.

I love how Parker talks. He has this cute little boy voice that just melts my heart. I love how Becca blogged about her baby Cameron learning to say Mama. Parker is a year older than Cameron and is just now starting to say Mom and Dad on a more regular basis. It's pretty adorable. I love how last week at the park my friend Linda brought bubbles for the kids she babysits. She let me blow the bubbles with Parker. Parker tries to blow bubbles but he puts the wand on his mouth. After a few turns he had so much soap on his mouth that bubbles were forming as he talked! It was a really windy day too so sometimes the wind took care of the bubbles in the wand. Between the wind and the extra soap on Parker's mouth, Parker was able to successfully blow bubbles out of the wand. My heart melted when his face lit up and he said, "Wow! I did it!"

I love when Gavin and Parker play together. They fight of course but for the most part they play really well. I love hearing their happy squeals and their infectious giggles. I love that Parker clears all of the kids' books from the cupboard under the TV. Then he climbs in and shuts the doors. Gavin stands outside and says, "Open Sesame!" Parker opens the doors and then Gavin says, "Close Sesame!" and Parker closes the doors. This little game goes on for quite a while. They love to play with their bedroom door. One closes the door and the other knocks on it. The first one opens it and they laugh and laugh and repeat for hours.

I love that Gavin can do so much. He loves to push the buttons for the elevator and push the buttons for the walk signal. He tells me when things are wrong and we can fix it. He tells me when Parker is doing naughty things. That's also a problem though because he uses it as a reason to get me to go into their room a million times when they should be sleeping. I love the creative ways Gavin plays and the creative things he says. The other day he told me I was a princess and that he was going to marry the princess. I thought that was sweet. If he was 10 years older I would be disturbed but he's 3.

I love that Heath reads my mind. I love that when I was blogging about comfort food and thinking I always "need" comfort food, Heath went grocery shopping and brought home candy bars for the fun of it. He had no idea what I was blogging about before he bought the candy bars. I love how he makes me laugh all the time, especially when I'm in a bad mood. He does it so subtly that I find myself laughing and then pretending to be mad that he would make me get out of my bad mood. I love how we argue about dumb things and days later we realize we both meant the same thing. For example, we were arguing about which windows on our building were our apartment windows. We argued for two days until we realized that we meant the same set of windows! That was funny and we both laughed.

I love that these blogs will be used in my scrapbooks later and that I am actually journaling everyday. And I love that our friends and family can stay updated on our lives because I do this. I love technology. I love that my loving Heath taught me everything I know about technology . . . and sports. I love that we are going to eat dinner now. My 7th grade math teacher, Mrs Pianezza, said that she may not be hungry but she's always ready to eat. That's how I feel right now.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Not so spoiled?

Today's blog is a bunch of thoughts I have had lately hopefully typed in a way that makes sense. Good luck to me! So yesterday we looked at houses to rent in the Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek area. The first house we looked at was in Pleasant Hill. Of the four houses we looked at this first house was the most expensive to rent. It was a sad, sad house. The street was nice - very hilly but nice and all the yards were kept up well. The houses looked nice and respectable. Then there was the house we had an appointment to see. The yard was dilapidated, the house looked old and tired, and the inside reminded me so much of when my mom bought the Pincock house in West Valley (we moved in several weeks after she closed because it was pretty unlivable). There were two guys who had partnered up to buy the house to flip and rent for a profit. They seemed so proud of all the "upgrades" they had made. I wanted to say, "What did you actually do to make this look better?" It left a lot to be desired! Heath didn't know what to say to the owners other than it was the first place we had looked at so we didn't know how to compare it to anything.

The next house felt right from the street. Then we went in. The kitchen was completely remodeled and gorgeous. It has a man garage - lots of space to work on things, cabinets, and it's even wired for TV if someone wanted to watch out there. It has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (1 is a master bath). It has a great yard. The park is just down the street and right next to a pool. Pool membership is part of the rent. Even though it was small it seemed perfect. I'm not necessarily a sign seeker but I thought it was a good omen when we found La Pinata practically around the corner. I have been wanting to eat at La Pinata again since I visited my Uncle Chris and Aunt Darla in Alameda when I was 16 or 17 years old. Best Mexican food I have ever eaten hands down! (family in Seattle: it's even better than Aztecca!)

We went to the Concord 1st ward today, the ward we would be in if we lived in that house we loved. The ward was so friendly. The Bishop gave us his cell phone number! Gavin loved Primary and had no issues with me leaving him there. Parker didn't even care that we left him in Nursery. He had no problems at all. This is a big thing for him since he has been going to Nursery practically his whole life with Dad. Our last ward had the Nursery split between older and younger kids. Heath was on the older side. Parker never lasted long on the younger side because he knew his Dad was on the other side of the partition. I consider all of that good omens as well.

After church we looked at one last house that we didn't get a chance to see yesterday. The Bishop had told Heath that given the choice of the house we loved on Reva Street and the house we would go see on Meadow Lane we should choose the house on Reva. The house we would see on Meadow Lane was in a bad part of town and in a lower income area so it attracted more rifraff. We took that all into consideration. The house is a year old and incredibly beautiful. It seemed large and spacious too. But it felt like it was in an apartment complex and not a neighborhood. The park was a small square of grass with about 5 picnic tables. I would have to buy a gun to protect myself to walk anywhere. There was nowhere to go with the kids unless I drove. The newness of the house tempted us a bit but in the end we decided to go with the first house we loved on Reva Street.

Yesterday as we were driving from Concord back to SF I was thinking about a conversation I had with my friend Becca. She was telling me that her parents taught her to sacrifice little things to save money. She said they never ordered soda with dinner in order to save a little more money. She says that her parents are really enjoying life now because of those choices they made earlier. I was raised to use my money wisely as well. But yesterday when I was comparing the two houses we had seen I was thinking that the Pleasant Hill house was asking me to sacrifice too much. I was starting to think maybe I had a really spoiled attitude about things. One thing I love so much about Heath is that he is frugal but he believes that life was meant to be enjoyed too. So we order drinks when we go out to eat. We eat out a lot compared to a lot of people I know. I was thinking maybe I'm too worldly. Maybe I'm a spoiled brat.

In Relief Society today the lesson was on Self Reliance and Being Prepared (the stay out of debt and live within your means lesson). I was starting to think that the Lord was trying to tell me I was being a spoiled brat thinking I always have to drink my Diet Coke and have the nicest things. But then we were faced with the decision of which house to rent. It was not an easy choice. In fact, it reminded me of when we had to choose between living in Memphis, San Francisco, or Austin. Soon Austin was out of the running so it was between Memphis and San Francisco. I have never had a harder time making a choice. Then it became quite clear that in Memphis I could have a big, beautiful house but Heath wouldn't be as happy working there as he would in SF. So we gave up our house to double our mortgage payment in rent for a place half the size of our house. We did it because we would be happy there. So now we are choosing the house that is older, a little smaller, but in a location that would make us happy. Maybe I'm not as spoiled as I thought. Maybe I have learned how to be wise with my money but still enjoy life. I love that Heath helped teach me that lesson.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Drama Queen

I admit that I am a bit of a drama queen. I like to make my life sound so much harder than it really is. I like to think the world revolves around me and that nobody else exists unless I care about them and even then my day is more important! I emotionally drink Diet Coke and enjoy the euphoria I feel from the caffeine. I have recently started eating fast food as a way to cope. When Heath asks if I want to eat out I wholeheartedly agree because I need a burger and fries (a bodonckadonck butt and thunder thighs) before I really lose it! It's a good thing that our scale is packed away because I would need another Diet Coke to cope with the fact that I have gained 5-7 pounds in the last month trying to sell our house and move to another state.

Of course I love it here but just because I moved doesn't mean the drama moved out of the queen. I am a terrible back seat driver. The floormat is wearing through on my side of the van from me putting on my imaginary brakes. We decided to do the tourist thing today. I thought my feet would come through the bottom of the van and I could literally stop it Flintstone style! I will never drive in downtown San Francisco because being a passenger gives me heartfailure. We were attempting to find Lombard Street as best we could with all the one way streets and random no left turns when we needed to turn left. Eventually we found it. I know about Lombard Street. And I admit that I have been intrigued by it. I didn't think I would have quite the reaction I did. I didn't know whether to cry, scream, or wet my pants as we were turning onto Lombard. I know! What is wrong with me??? We inched our way through the first intersection. I couldn't actually see much until we finally made it to the stop sign. And there it was. I don't know what happened to my heart - it was either in my throat or bouncing around with the butterflies in my stomach, I don't know which. Maybe it was just gone altogether. Gavin and Parker were in the backseat yelling, "Whee!" and giggling. Heath was laughing and asking if I was ok and I . . . frankly wanted to die. Along with being a drama queen I am also incredibly vain and care way too much about what other people think of me. So I was trying to contain my terror and not cry because the streets were lined with people taking pictures.

I had not completely recovered as Heath tried to find a parking garage around Ghiradelli Square. Yes, I am also weary of parking garages! As he pulled into the space I was talking about how each space said something about head in only, meaning no backing into parking spaces. We realized that there was space to drive the nose of the car under the overhang of the level above each space. For some reason that freaked me out too! In that moment I didn't want to live in SF anymore. I missed the wide, easy to understand streets of Salt Lake City along with the warm weather (SF made it to the upper 50's today).

We walked around Ghiradelli Square that was 20% under construction. The boys were getting hungry and cranky making me feel like I needed to be cranky too. I enjoyed the heck out of my Diet Coke, blue cheese burger (Training Table's version is better though) and fries. Gavin enjoyed the heck out of our pickle spears and licking the sauce off of his popcorn chicken and licking the ketchup off of his fries. He really doesn't eat the food when it can be dipped in something! The comfort food had calmed my nerves enough for me to enjoy the drive through the labyrinth of streets trying to find our way home from the Golden Gate Bridge. And once I relieved myself of the two large glasses 0f Diet Coke I had, I was happy to be home.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Not a normal day


I guess a week is long enough for me to finally start really missing people. So far I've been kept busy enough with Gavin and Parker. But they are both asleep right now. It's rare for them both to take a nap. Today was not a normal day. Gavin and Parker decided that they wanted to wake up at 6:30 am. I don't think anyone should be alive that early in the morning! As I was going through my long morning ritual of vanity I found myself rushing as I had every morning this week. I kept thinking why am I doing this? We have no plans today, I can take my time. I still got finished the same time I had every morning. When I emerged from my hairsprayed cloud of a bathroom and bedroom, I saw that Parker had fallen asleep on the floor in the great room and Gavin was still watching Playhouse Disney. I was already thinking I wanted to have a movie morning and then we'd go to the park in the afternoon. When Gavin asked for a movie I was happy to watch with him. I let Parker sleep for an hour and then we all played together while we finished the movie. As we finished up lunch the doorbell rang. I forgot the maid was coming today to clean the apartment. Of course the boys about drove her crazy following her around and talking incessantly while I quickly grabbed shoes and jackets for a trip to the park. We played at the park for about an hour when Parker started asking to go home. I could tell he was really tired and ready for his nap. Gavin screamed the whole way home because he didn't think it was fair we had to leave (his words!). I guess I didn't know what else to say to his protests to go home and to stay with me as we walked along busy King Street so I said, "The way you are screaming tells me you need a nap too." I wasn't going to make him take a nap. How can I enforce that when they share a room? But Gavin did need a nap which is why he has crashed in a chair in front of the movie Cars. Normally I would rejoice to have all this freedom but I have nothing to do! My apartment is clean thanks to maid service and all my scrapbooking stuff is in a storage unit. I miss everyone so much right now. Oh well, Heath should be home in a couple of hours and it's the weekend! Yeah!

Japanese Style

We brought our computer to our temporary apartment because we can't live without the Internet! There are several different places to connect to the Internet throughout the apartment. At first we thought the best choice was to use the glass coffee table in the livingroom that everyone kept bumping into. We moved it out of the way along a wall. Since it's a coffee table we would sit on the floor Japanese style (the chairs were higher than the table). It seemed to be working fine until we got so tired of Gavin and Parker playing with the computer constantly. Gavin was always begging to play his computer games and Parker would get up in the middle of meals to go bang on the keyboard some more. Parker was smart enough to figure out how to click on the switch user button and click on Gavin's name, the only name not locked with a password. The boys thought they were pretty smart! But ha ha, Mom decided the computer had to be moved into the master bedroom. The master bedroom is completely off limits to kids with a baby gate in the doorway. So now I'm blogging Japanese style in my bedroom. It just makes me smile thinking about how Nate and Becca either sat on their front porch to use our Internet or they would have to hold their laptop high above their heads in their front room to get a connection when we moved our computer to the back of our house in the basement. I miss my friends and family! Now that my feet are asleep I think I will go.