Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bucket List

Once Tom and I decided we were Texas bound we wrote out an "Oregon Bucket List". I kinda see it like this; you're either a native Oregonian or your from anywhere else. Because whether you're a NewYork: Hard-A or a Californian: nose-job-in-the-air or Texan: Go big or go home attitude they all kinda fit in the same box of proving they are the best whereas Oregonians...we're FINE letting everyone have their styles, attitudes, cultures, etc., because we don't TRY to be cool, we don't care and THAT'S what makes us the coolest. lol

And with that sassiness said its going to be hard leaving Oregon. I really like being an hour from the snowy mountains (not that I have EVER skied or been up to Timberline Lodge- you know where The Shining was filmed) and an hour to the coast (Where mermaids live). But I AM excited for a change. I can't promise I won't get me a pair of boots right away and wear button-up blouses with a jean jacket and always have straw hanging out my mouth ;) but I CAN promise I will NEVER switch to country music. SICK.

Oregonian Bucket List:

Visit OMSI
Visit Portland Zoo
Visit Silver Creek Falls
Visit Beach
Visit Mt. Hood
Visit Crater Lake

OMSI: On Friday night after Tom got off work from Apple we went to his RVKuhn's Christmas party. This marked our first time going out without Ben in 13 months. However, I do NOT count it as a date. Sitting with Tom's co-workers he barely even knows himself and trying to have conversation when all I really want is to have a quiet dinner with JUST my husband. So Friday was NOT a date! However, the Christmas party WAS at OMSI so we can count it towards our bucket list.

FYI: OMSI's exhibit is a Sherlock Holmes thing and was lame. I guess you would like it if you were completely not analytical which is EXTREMELY ironic! The whole thing is you are shown a crime scene and you have stations where you try and "solve" the case from absolutely non essential crime scenes clues or false clues more like. But me being such an analytical person I was asking a thousand questions to the OMSI guides and personal helper who had already gone through it and knew the answers. Why am I even bring this up? It really bothered me! EVERY question I asked HAD everything to do with the answers/motive and ZERO of the "clues" had anything to do with the actual crime thus it makes me mad that the whole scenario is set up to make people challenge their observation skills when the reality is the scenario is TRULY set up to make people feel stupid by tricking them that they could "solve" a fake crime with zero information.

Portland Zoo: Tuesday night was buy one get one at the zoo so we went as soon as Tom got off work. Like most of U.S. Oregon has been super cold, way colder than we normally experience: highs in the teens and lows in the single digits. So we bundled up as close to A Christmas Story younger brother bundled while still being able to move. Every year the zoo does a fantastic display of "Zoo Lights" and this was the first time we've ever gone, heck, first time any of us has been to a zoo is years and years. My skepticism about the experience was pretty spot on. The actual zoo lights? Impressive. Actually seeing animals AT NIGHT and out in super cold weather when they are suppose to be in tropical/desert climates....let down. Most animals were "put away" for the night so they wouldn't DIE. We thought we saw the polar bear asleep way off but other than a white blur I can't be could have been a ghost. The elephant exhibit (MY FAVORITE ANIMAL) was closed but we could put our faces against the glass doors and see where they were kept. They were turned away from us so all you could make out was the little legs of the baby elephant under the big momma and her cute big bum. Animals we DID see???...HUGE fish, a coiled up anaconda (barely), bats, and a very depressing looking monkey.

For the record, and this might be a SHOCKER to some. I'm not PRO-zoo's. Call it my liberal side or whatever but I don't like it! There is no way any of those animals are happy is a space so small and living in an environment nothing like their natural. It always reminds me of Jurassic Park when the T-Rex doesn't want to be fed, he/she wants to hunt!

By the time we hurried through the park it was late and Ben's hands were so red and cold even with wearing gloves. So he got a hot bath when we got home.

As the the rest of the bucket list, we will hit what we can when we can. And as for a REAL DATE- that is coming next Thursday when its my birthday and you better believe Lacey will be watching Benny-Boop and we're going out!

In other news: Things are going well here. Tom changed to full time on November 25th and because he rarely used his vacation days he had over 3 weeks built up so technically he's on vacation with RVK since November 23rd and then he'll go back on Monday for one day and it will be his last. Tom is liking working at Apple full though he hasn't gotten use to working retail and being on his feet all day. It was kinda funny during Thanksgiving dinner we went around saying what we were thankful for and Tom said he was thankful to be going down to just full time. lol. Here, here.

I wish I had REMEMBERED to take photos at Thanksgiving! ahhh Well here's a week before at Baskin Robbins! Ya they still exist! 

This is his "Ben, smile!" face.

We went down town PDX last week and this was Ben's first time on a train! He loved it!


Yep, that's a leash.

Tom laid on the floor and Ben went right over and this is how he wanted to snuggle =)

Ben was kinda weary about the bear

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright...

It's official, we will be moving to Fort Worth, Texas!

It's crazy even typing it like what??? really??? I'm such a damp Oregonian and though my politics are way closer to Texans than this blue state I like being an out spoken Tea Party-er in a sea of bleeding hearts than preaching to the choir but it will be fine.

When we announced our plans to my family the first thing Lacey said was, "umm do you know Jessica can't handle heat? She gets diarrhea!" Which is very true. My temperature tolerance is weak at best but I'll be fine. I'm kinda hoping the heat will sweat out the toxins and clean my system- totally NOT logical at all but I can still hope heat and humidity has powers beyond unclogging pores and causing diarrhea! Plus, when we went to South Dakota last year I learned first hand how windy it is on the plains and Arlington area is apparently no different. It's encouraging. I'm not so afraid of heat and humidity when there is plenty of wind. When I was in Houston in July though it was outrageously humid and hot there was plenty of wind and I will admit it was pleasant. =)

I'm also excited to experience a "real rain storm" since I've been told I don't know what a "real down pour looks like"....please BUT I am still excited and yes I will have zero reservations with running out into the street like a mad woman to let it soak into my skin. Man just thinking about it sounds so good. I'm not so excited that Fort Worth is on the tail of Tornado alley, close to the gulf i.e. hurricane stuff but I'm not afraid.

MOSTLY, I'm thrilled for Tom to be in a program he REALLY wants -mechanical/aero-space dual bachelors degree! I'm excited to get him through school faster, how fast? That has yet to be determined as I still have student loans that I believe can not be deferred and we do NOT want to take out student loans for Tom to pay mine- that's just STUPID! I will be working at least part time somewhere doing something. I'll let my merchandising job know I am still available to cover any summer installs or even stores within the area if needs be too.

Tom got promoted to "expert" at Apple last week. Basically, it means they like his leadership and work ethic and the whole position is to help others to follow his example. It doesn't sound like a big deal but they interviewed several people and just like when he was first applying he went through FOUR interviews (pretty excessive). He will be quitting his full time job in the middle of December and will be full time at Apple. It will be the first time in our entire marriage he'll only be working one job and fingers crossed he'll be home more often! It if its only for a few months until he starts school in Texas and it goes back he him gone 15+ hours a day and only having Sundays off.

In other news we are super excited to be paying off department of education by the end of the year! It's been a year long goal to do it and not without a lot of Heavenly Father's help and us sacrificing a ton!!! We are very happy. Believe me I want to get snooty every time I see photos of peoples' fun trips all over the world while we haven't had a real date out since well last November actually but its okay, really. I know there will be a day we will get to do the same and without getting into debt to do so and coming home without debt waiting for us either. Oh what a happy day it will be. But I have to say its a happy day now. I mean it. I know I've said this before, debt sucks BIG TIME but I'm thankful that we have had this time to rely on each other more than ever but mostly rely on the Lord and see first hand the out pouring in blessings that come from working towards being self sufficient and working as a team AND being grateful for what we have now!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Put a Leash on it

I just realized today is my favorite day of the year! Like, Thursdays are my favorite day of the week and my favorite time of the day is ohhh 11ish AM but October 23rd is my favorite! It's fall but the leaves are still turning, its cool but not chilly, the smell in the air is so fresh and fragrant of harvest, dang I love it!

So two weeks ago I threw-out my back AHHHGEN! I had moved around some furniture the day before but nothing major at all. My back never NOT feels good, it almost always feels like I have to be careful. Kinda like... 60% of the time it hurts/sore 30% of the time it feels like its on the verge of going out again which can last hours of days and 10% of the time my back is out. "Out" is such a weird world. It's not a light bulb that can be replaced, unless anyone of you knows of a spin replacement surgeon? And its not "out" as in gay and proud. And its not "Out-back" where I immediately want steak now! I was told a several years ago I don't heal very well, how would I know any different, its what I've known. But within the last year its become very front and center in my realization just how poorly I am "healing".

I back went out two weeks ago, I'm walking but stiff, still hurting every moment of the day and night, I've gone back to taking tylenol and advil, etc just about everyday, still wearing my back brace every day, all day long and only for church do I take it off but most of the time I regret it and DEFINITELY regret wearing my heals too; dang you fashion! I AM very happy it didn't go out so bad I needed injections, in fact this was VERY mild comparatively, truly!

I saw a rheumatologist last week to rule out fibromyalgia which was was ruled out but not myofascial pain. Its all extremely overlapping in symptoms and even more difficult to fully diagnose and really I don't care WHAT it is (per se) I just know I was unimpressed with that appointment and think seeing a bone and nerve doctor OR finding a new chiropractor. More than anything I am 30 NOT 85. I AM a pusher and I DO do a ton of hard labor crap but not enough that I should be crippled up so often like I am.

Okay I'm done with my complaining! Now for MORE complaining! ;) LONG story short I went and got shoes at Macy's while my back was out but it was cold and dang it my feet were freezing. Ben took off and in a blink-LITERALLY I saw him and then didn't. I attempted to walk fast looking down isles and watching for peoples heads turning to see a kid and I was listening for running and Ben's laugh....nothing. It's hard to say how long it really was that I had ZERO idea where he was but every moment was scary. I think the only thing keeping me from bursting into tears was I knew I would find him and the chances of a predator RIGHT there waiting for him to run off to snatch him up was low (at least I was HOPING it was low!) After 45 seconds of looking and watching I saw him clear on the other side of Macy's -running and by the time I got to the spot there was no sign on him other than me asking ppl, did you see a little 2 yr old blonde boy running? Until I had a line up of women pointing in his direction. I finally caught up to him whilst in a hobbling trot...I must have looked horrible...and a grandma looking woman had to stop him for me. I wanted to spank his butt raw but I didn't. I held him tight and was so glad he was safe! Ben thought it was all funny as heck, I knew he wouldn't understand even if I did spank him so I didn't. I ended up holding him most of the rest of the time so he wouldn't run off as he resisted and I thought I was gonna cry just from the pain let alone from the frustration but I didn't. I ended up buying the first shoes that they had in my size AND the sad story is I had to take them back today because they fell apart almost immediately like I had ran a marathon in them or something, it was weird. BUTttt this time when I went back I had Ben in his brand new kid leash "harness" is how its marketed. I wish I could say it was easier...not really.

Ben learned immediately that he couldn't run away and when I yanked in the direction he didn't want to go he'd throw himself down and did just that on our way out banging his head/ear into the corner of the glass door. I thought for sure someone was going to see it wrong like I yanked him into the door and I'd be on the news as the next most wanted horrible mom! I took little Ben to the car and gave him a sucker trying to explain how he can't throw his head back because its ouchy and going to hurt and how I loved him and want him to be safe and stay with me like a big boy. I'm not sure how much sank in after the sucker was handed over but I can hope those days are numbered.

On a VERY VERY happy note! Ben has slept through the night 3 times in the last couple weeks! It's a MIRACLE!!! I've been giving him that "Calm Kids" stuff every night, I've been taking him to the park in the afternoon just about every day, and I've moved his bed time from 7:30 to 8:30pm so whether its one of these or all of these its made a huge difference. IF he wakes up with pain or thrashing its now short lived and usually only once instead of an average of 3+ times.

I've been forcing myself to take naps and I've felt a difference. Some days I let Ben fall asleep in our bed and then I'll go in after I've had a little zone-out time and sleep too or I do what I did today and snatch him from his bed and bring him into our bed so we can nap together =) It's one of my favorite times together. He'll sometimes grab my hand and want to hold it while he sleeps and/or cuddle up with his arm over me; I eat it up!!! And boy can he snore.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Birthday Boy

I've been meaning to blog about Ben turning 2 for a month but holy cow was September insanely fast for anyone else? Not just fast but it actually doesn't make any sense. I think the summer as a whole was intense. There were a few days that seemed to last forever but the rest was a wink in the dark.

We celebrated Ben's birthday with my family on Labor Day and then did a small thing on his actual birthday. He got some much needed clothes from Grandma and Grandpa White, Thomas the Train coloring book and trains from his cousins, money from Great Grandpa & Grandma Tronier, Grandma & Grandpa Clark, and Tom and I decided to cash in our coin jar we'd been saving for the past three years (~$68) and used it on Ben's presents: Babies R us clearance clothes for next summer including a pair of sandals for $2.88! Plus we got him some more Brio trains for his impressive track collection and a bag of Mega Bloks. He loves them ALL!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Whine with My Fish

Okay so I've been meaning to blog about this as a reminder to future me and a learning experience for everyone else.

Due to our wedding anniversary landing while I was in Houston and us being too cheap to take time off work to go on a date, we waited until Tom had a Saturday shift where he would be off early enough to go out when more than bars are open!

I had plenty of time to find a sitter but Lacey was busy and dang it I didn't want to pay what happened? Well obviously when you make dumb decisions BAD consequences result.

Tom got off at 6:30pm and I made sure to have Ben as ready as possible when Tom arrived, not wanting to delay a moment of Ben being in his somewhat "manageable stage of the night". Earlier I had made a spontaneous trip to Old Navy to get some much needy clothes with the money I DID have budgeted for a sitter.

SIDE NOTE: I have become a clearance rack shopper. When I was younger clearance racks were way beneath me. Now I've gotten over myself and I'm happy when I can get a brand new shirt without issues for $2.50, I mean you can't find that at a thrift store. I was able to find a pair of MUCH needed jeans and five shirts for 45 bucks. not bad =)

I know I tried on at least 15 different combinations (not exaggerating) from my findings and what I already had and could not feel awesome. I so wanted to look and feel the way I did when we were dating when I knew I looked great and hot for my guy, granted Tom DID think I looked hot that night even if I didn't feel it.

For a good month now I have been craving seafood. GOOD SEAFOOD. The best I've ever had was from a restaurant downtown Portland at a ritzy place (funny enough I had spent a first date there with another boyfriend). It was SUCH great food and there's no way he walked away paying less than $150 for our meals! Gosh it was sooo good. Anyway, that was my first choice but me being me and us being us that wasn't where we went THOUGH if I really wanted to I know Tom would have been fine, I really am the cheaper of the two of us. So we chose to go to our favorite restaurant, Cheesecake Factory with its ridiculously large menu, I mean half the menu would still be too many options but its awesome is it not!? PLUSSSS its our tradition to get crab cakes for our appetizer so that would help with my fish craving.

By the time we got to the VERY popular restaurant ON A SATURDAY night that doesn't take reservations no less...we had a 50 minute wait. It was 7:15pm. That meant normally Ben would be going down in 15 minutes. It meant every minute of reasonable 2 year old was ticking away. It meant we had to find another place to eat and fast! We found a Red Lobster on the TomTom super close by and it took driving up and down the street a few times until we saw a small sign saying the place was being remodeled and wouldn't be reopening for a few months! Then we were like CRAP, now what? Our last choice. A VERY distant 3rd place choice was Portland Seafood Company that's is located on the other side of the mall from Cheesecake Factory. By the time we were seated it was after 8pm, we SHOULD have just stuck with our place in line at C.F.!

There were hardly any customers (our first clue) and the menu was pricey (ugh) but he sat down and pretty much immediately asked for an appetizer asap. Very surprisingly Ben was all over the calamari. He loved it! This from a kid who eats the same 10 items day after day and mostly CRAP. Of course by the time we got our entrees Ben had gotten a piece of calamari in the back of his tongue, gagged, and then barfed all over. The nice waitress brought damp cloths and wipes, etc. Ben was fine after a moment but didn't want to eat anymore, of course, though his belly was now NOT full again. Tom and I ate FAST as Ben was getting restless and we were fighting to keep him quite and from running around. We barely had any dinner conversation as husband and wife. I think I asked, "So what are you most proud of that we've done in the past 3 years?" and "What goals do we want to set for the next year or even next couple months?" I may have ASKED the questions but the interruptions were too many to remember we even had a conversation going at all.

Ben cried/screamed most of the ride home and only stopped for moments when I would contort my body to face him and engage in peek-a-boo. When we got home we still had to try to get some food in his stomach because for several, several, SEVERAL weeks/months he's been getting up numerous times a night needing refills of his sippy (milk) -BECAUSE he WON'T eat enough before bed so he's been getting filled up on milk! AHHHH KNOCK ON WOOD- that refilling has stopped the last 3 nights this week though him getting up and needing help going back to bed has NOT. A GOOD night I only get up twice, a BAD night (like last night) I get up 5+ times.

Overall, I wish I would have listened to my brother Rex's advice earlier that eventful Saturday, "Don't take your kids with you on your anniversary dates. They weren't there when you got married, they shouldn't be there when you celebrate it each year either."

In closing, Tom and I didn't get each other gifts this year. But I did ask for a card! Since I can't have a whole lot of his time so I definitely want his words! So he made me a card in iPhoto and had it sent to me. I don't think he would mind me sharing his words...

My Dearest Love

I don't know what I'd do without you.
All I know is that I'll never let you out of my sight;
for these last three years have been the happiest of my life.
May you forever be by my side, and may you always know how
deeply and passionately I love and adore you darling.

Happy Anniversary My Love.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gentle, Kind, and Peaceful

I read yet another birth story this morning. I love birth stories but maybe not THIS kind. It was all about how it was this woman's fourth birth and how the first two were "traumatic" with "unnecessary interventions". And after baby two this person looked into hypno-birthing and other such stuff. For the record, I'm not ANTI pain management in all its forms, please I'm very PRO. But when it comes to having a baby there is SUCH an arrogance not there that laboring and birthing without meds is wise, healthy, and even heroic. GAG.

I've blabbed about all this before so I'll just get to the point. In this particular story the writer said how after reading "natural" birthing methods she learned birthing is SUPPOSE to be "Gentle, kind, and peaceful." Yep. I must have read that sentence like 10 times, like, wait did I skip a line? 

Here's my point. These kinds of birth stories usual start with "with my first kid(s) I didn't know what to expect and in turn had a terrible birthing experience so then I educated myself and got a doula and/or midwife and then life was amazing!" It kinda makes me want to slap someone. BECAUSE it implies being educated and ready makes all the difference between having a labor that goes how you want as apposed to not. It simply isn't true. Of course I think reading and preparing and choosing the best birthing method you THINK is best for you is fantastic; I'm simply saying I know people who did just that with preparing FIRST and still had horrific birthing experiences. 

Anyway, I think labor is just like pregnancy. It's hard. There are GREAT moments! i.e. Feeling baby move, when everyone else can finally feel baby move too, the excitement from everyone around you, the stronger bond between you and your spouse, going into labor and knowing he/she is coming soon, being in labor and having FANTASTIC support from your spouse and family/friends, working so hard to push that beautiful life into this world, etc. 

I also think labor is like pregnancy. It's hard. It's painful, most of your ouchies are about your girl parts or your exits on your body so talking about them isn't pleasant, having someone IN them isn't pleasant; you're quite uncomfortable most of the time no matter what pillow you use, position you're in, what foods you try to eat to help your nausea, and other than your mom and girlfriends you feel quite alone in your pain and it can be scary. So.... birthing being "gentle, kind, and peaceful"??? I say WOW her epidural must have been AWESOME! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Enchanted Forest 2013

Growing up Enchanted Forest was like Salem's DISNEYLAND. Going every few years was a BIG deal and I remember loving it. When I was really young my family including some cousins went together and while in the "haunted house" and there's a corner where a mechanical monster (triggered in your steps approaching) comes toward you. Well somehow Brian and I got left behind right before that corner and we were paralyzed for what seemed like a year, every time the monster would retreat back into darkness I'd take Brian's hand and we would try again but sure enough that monster would pop out and we would whimper away. I'm pretty sure we were even crying too. So sad, right? Anyway, the last time I went to Enchanted Forest I was 8 and my mom was like 7 months pregnant with Lacey. So this year my mom and dad were ready to take their kids back through that haunted house! Just kidding. They wanted to take their grandkids to the theme park. 

When you're young everything seems so much longer than it really is. I was reminiscing with my mom a few weeks ago and I asked her how long we kids would stay at parks and mom was like oh 45 mins and I was like WHAT? I totally thought we would stay for hours! haha Going to Enchanted Forest as a kid was no different; it was a blast and the only sad part was leaving. Going back as a parent is NO different and ABSOLUTELY different! 

It only took seconds upon entering the park to feel so impressed with my parents! I have one kid. ONE. They have/had five kids to chase down, clean up, take to the bathroom, put in time-out, give dead threats to (I'll take you home right now if you don't stop!) etc etc etc. AND they did it willingly all those times growing up. WOW. So now they must not have learned their lesson because they were doing it all again but with six grandchildren (Seth was at camp). Of course Rex, Aleece, and I came along but even with five adults we were each exhausted by the end.

This is Ben hanging out on my parents dash board. He was so tired and while waiting for me to get everything together and go home he found the unlikeliest of comfy-zones. 

How many times did he get snapped in only to be taken out moments later? I stopped counting at 15

This trip marked the FIRST time I got the triplets down...well I FINALLY memorized which color is which! Rex & Aleece have color-coded their kids and for more than FOUR years I couldn't even remember THREE colors! But this trip I succeeded! Alex is blue, Riley is Red, and Zach is green! Baby Josh I call Squashy-Joshy WHO, for the record IS the best, easiest baby EVER! I'm not even messing. Maybe it was from the c-section and he's perma-calm but I'm telling ya IF he cries its more like a little on-off whimper and the rest of the time ALWAYS smiling and happy and he can sleep through decimal levels only known from front row rock concerts and the White House.

Because Ben is so comfortable with water I had to keep my eye on him and yes he DID try to get out of the boat a couple times but I was barking at him and ready to just the fence to get him if necessary.

I think I'm the worst parent because I'm already dreading the next visit to a theme park BUT remembering how much I LOVED it as a kid myself is the only motivation to give that experience to my kids and then grandkids! Ben and his cousins are truly so spoiled and loved by their grandma and grandpa! =)