Monday, February 10, 2014

Those Pesky Do-Gooders

For those of you who don't know, we live in a town home.  There are four homes in our building.  The buildings are grouped in threes and share a common front yard area.  So basically, up to twelve families can share the same yard around here.

With that said, we've got about twelve inches of ice-crusted snow all over our front yard and walkways right now.  Since it was snowing yesterday, maintenance still hasn't been by to clear the sidewalks.  Honestly, I'd do it myself if we owned a snow shovel.  I haven't taken James out in this mess since we ventured outside earlier last week and discovered that the poor kid wasn't even heavy enough to make a dent in the frozen snow while attempting to make a snow angel.  It was so tiring for him to walk back from the mailbox (which is just on the other side of the yard) that he had to sit down and rest in the snow three times before we made it back to the door.

This is James playing in the snow last week.  Notice the dent that he is NOT making (in that top picture) by laying on a foot of frozen snow?

If it looks like he made marks in the snow in the lower right photo, it's because he laid in an area where he'd just been walking.
* * *

At any rate, I just spotted a kid, who couldn't be older than about twelve years old, shoveling the walkways so that his family could get out of their home.

Although it was awesome of him to do that, I was wondering why our maintenance crew hasn't come to do that yet (which they are usually good about), so I called the office to ask about it.  I talked to the office manager and she said that their plan was to get to it today, but things were going slow because, not only could they not use their snowblowers because of the ice on the sidewalks, but a lot of people were having frozen pipe emergencies that they had to take care of first.  Understandable.  However, while we were talking, I briefly mentioned that there was an awesome young boy out there shoveling.  She reassured me that they'd try to get to our sidewalks today, but she added, "...but I can't make him stop shoveling."

Wait, what?

Are there actually people who call in to stop kids from shoveling their snowy, icy sidewalks?

I was kind of stunned for a second.  I let her know that I thought it was awesome that he was shoveling out there, but he just looked like he was struggling with it because of the ice and that it just prompted me to call and ask.

And, well, I guess it pays off to call because there are now three maintenance crew members out there shoveling our sidewalks.  That was fast.

Don't get me wrong; I think that shoveling snow is a rite of passage for every kid, but one lone preteen shouldn't have to do for free what three grown men are paid to do.  Am I right, or am I just being weird?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Just Too Cold

It is far too cold outside for us to live in such a small place.  Other than going grocery shopping, we have hardly left the house.  It's causing my child to become a crazy person.  I've tried doing all sorts of activities, we've watched Frozen about 4,000 times (since that's guaranteed to get him to settle down) and we've even rearranged parts of the house.  Nothing works for very long.  Well, nothing except watching Frozen.

The worst is days like today, where it is deceptively sunny and fabulous-looking outside -- apart from the snow on the ground -- but it is actually like this:

Why, Ohio?!  Why do you tempt me with your sunshine, only to punish me with your cold and piercing winds?!

And since James has taken to blowing his Weenie Whistle at full strength while running in circles around the living room, I think it's time to get off of here and possibly bust out Frozen again.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why I've Been a Horrible Blogger

It's been six months since I've blogged about anything.  If you care about the reasons why, then this is the post that you're looking for.

Basically, these past months have been some of the very hardest months in our little family's life.

For starters, back in June, David had a job interview at Amazon in Seattle.  As many of you know, we've been doing everything that we can to find David a suitable job in the Seattle area so that we can move there.  This interview went wonderfully and the interviewer indicated that David was well qualified for this position and sounded very positive about their interview.  Additionally, there was more than one of these positions available.  We also didn't hear back from Amazon for a while, which, according to a friend of David's who has a similar job at Amazon, that was a good thing; meaning that if they didn't want him, they would've told him no right away.  We felt very good about this position and possible move, until a couple of weeks later when David heard back from them about how he wasn't going to be hired.  It was a pretty big letdown, but we were able to deal with that.  After all, there were better jobs out there that he was more than qualified for, so we were trying to look on the bright side of things.

Then, a few months later, right after we got back from a relaxing anniversary weekend getaway, David lost his job at Time Warner.  I didn't blog about it because I didn't want to get into the personal details of it, and I still don't, but suffice it to say that there were some unscrupulous, less-than-legal happenings on their end that we were having to deal with.  David threw himself into job hunting - for jobs here and in Seattle - and two and a half months later, he finally found a filler position making significantly less and driving twice the distance to work each day.  Nevertheless, it was something, so he took it.

Amidst this mess, we've been dealing with secondary infertility for that past year and a half.  I haven't mentioned it to many people because I found that I was still feeling too bitter and angry to let people into that sensitive part of our lives.  I know that I've come a long way emotionally in dealing with this, so I can finally blog about it without seething pain or frustration into every word that I write.  And David's job loss meant a loss of our benefits as well, which meant that we couldn't get the tests and such that we needed.

However, on the bright side...

Things are starting to look up.

We're still looking for jobs in Seattle, but with a little less gusto than before, because David was just hired at Ohio State.  His first day of work there is actually tomorrow and we are both very excited.  He'll be doing technical support for the university, which is exactly what he did at BYU for four years, and he absolutely loved that job, so he's thrilled. With this job will also come even better benefits than he had at Time Warner, which means that we can finally go to the reproductive clinic and get some answers.

I hope this didn't sound too much like a downer post, and I promise to be much more uplifting in the future, but I wanted to put this out there so that our friends and family know why we've been so bad about sharing our life with you recently.  Now that things are looking up a bit, it's a lot easier to write about it.

And I am making it my goal to post more.  So, if you don't see something for a couple of weeks, come smack me.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Learning to Spell

As you may or may not have picked up on, James is pretty enthralled by letters.  He'll spell just about anything he sees, make up songs about letters on a whim and run around telling people that "the letter B makes a buh-buh sound!" (or whatever his letter of choice is at that moment).  We try to limit our TV intake, but two of his favorite shows are Super Why! and Word World.  I actually don't feel bad about letting him watch those because he's picked up a lot from those shows.  Recently, he's started remembering how to spell specific words.  I decided to take a video of him attempting to spell some words.  He does a pretty decent job for a 2.5-year-old.

(You'll have to forgive my loud voice and breathing sounds again.  I really need to learn to hold my phone farther away from my mouth!)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Birthday Fun

I love my birthday.  But really, who doesn't?  Mostly, I think it's because you have permission to feel totally special and most of your family and friends take the time to make you feel awesome, at least for this one day.  I always wake up with this excitement in my chest, just knowing that it's my birthday and that I can pretty much do whatever I want.  I am such a kid.  :)

My mom was able to get the day off of work for my birthday and she graciously kept James overnight last night.  David's regular day off has been Wednesday up until this week (go figure) because he's in training for a new position.  The upside, however, was that he got off of work by 5pm all week, so we were able to go out to dinner last night while my mom had James and also spend the evening together today.

First of all, I got to sleep in.  Sort of.  It was storming on and off all day, so I was awakened at 7am by a thunderclap so loud that it set off a car alarm twice.  I stayed up for about an hour and a half, which let me see David off to work.  He gave me his gift before leaving for work, which was the book The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.  I was so excited to start reading it!  I knew that I would finish my current book very soon, so I started reading in order to finish it, and coincidently, fell asleep.  I didn't get up again until about 10am.  (What!)

Soon after I woke up, my mom came over with James and we ran a couple of errands.  Afterward, she treated us to a birthday lunch for me at Mark Pi's, which is an awesome Chinese buffet nearby.  Later on, we went over to my brother's house to celebrate with an ice cream cake.

I also got a couple of well-timed birthday cards in the mail, too.  One from my aunt and one from my in-laws.  A completely relaxing, fantastic day.

Monday, July 1, 2013


My child is a hoot.

So, a while ago (maybe eight months or more?...), James noticed the numbers on our house.  There's a placard by our front door, as well as one on the little wooden fence surrounding our tiny townhouse back patio.  We generally park in the parking space directly behind our fence.  One day, while getting in the car, James noticed the house numbers on the fence and began to recite them to us.  It went something like this:

James:  "I see numbers!  Four, ninety-five and seven!"
Either me or David:  "Good job!  That's our house number, 4-9-5-7."

This went on for some time, with James always throwing "ninety-five" in the middle.  (It's important to note that it's "ninety-five", rather than just nine and five because Lightning McQueen is number 95 in Cars.  We're pretty sure that this is why he says it that way.)  Eventually, the four got dropped off completely and the five turned into "fivey".  (Probably because of the "ninety" part preceding it.  This is also just our guess.)  Since then, James doesn't usually refer to it as our house or home, but rather as "ninety-fivey-seven".

So, back to present day.

Yesterday was Sunday and I woke up with a stomach bug.  I could kind of feel it coming on Saturday, so I was afraid that I'd caught something.  Since I teach in Primary, I didn't want to go to church and give it to anyone's kids, so I stayed home while David and James went to church.

When it was time for them to go downstairs and leave, I was standing at the top of the stairs while James was slowly climbing down them backwards (so that he could look at me while going down).  In the cheeriest voice I could muster under my current discomfort, I said to him, "Bye, James!  Have fun at nursery!", to which he replied, mimicking my tone with eerie exactness, "Bye, Mom!  Have fun at ninety-fivey-seven!"

We about died from laughter.  Maybe it's just funny to us because he's our crazy child, but it still makes me wonder, where did we find this kid?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Baby Emmy

Last Friday, on June 21st, my sister-in-law had a baby!  Her name is Amelia Brynn Atwell, but everyone has been calling her Emmy.  I was fortunate enough to be able to take some pictures of her today, along with a couple pictures of James.  I thought I would share those with you now.

Pretty stinkin' cute, right?  She's a doll, and so mellow.  Tony and Jen are one lucky set of parents!

In addition to baby Emmy, another sister-in-law, Heidi, who is married to David's brother, Chris, also had a baby girl last week on Tuesday.  Her name is Tallulah and we can't wait to meet her.  Chris and Heidi live in Las Vegas, so we've only seen pictures of her so far.  We went from having only one nephew (and no nieces) to getting two nieces both in the same week!  How fun is that?