Friday, December 19, 2008

A Day in the Life of our Holiday Extravaganza

Day 3: High(and low)lights

*Becoming a brunette. (That'd be lowlights, ha ha.)



*Losing my palm pilot (for the first time in six years).



*Narrowly avoiding a head-on collision with one of these during a fierce snowstorm (with no windshield wipers) on I-15.



*Watching Dad fume (and "not gonna pray!") when our 11-year-old Suburban completely died on University Parkway. (Papa Mike put $1000 into fixing that car the day before.)



*Pushing the 'Burb and towing the 'Burb (thanks complete stranger!) here where Papa Mike learned he would really start bleeding money if he wanted to fix it. Instead, we held a funeral, said our goodbyes, and wished the 'Burb to GM heaven. I think my Dad got $96 for her...



*which we promptly spend on lunch here while humiliating a certain employee with all our family antics and punchy debating...






*which included but was not limited to: the future of the boat (no car to pull it with now) and the future of Tom and his girlfriend.

*Ending up at a ring shop (no connection to the aforementioned debate) where I got the *bling* back in my ring!

*Hanging out in Lisa's apartment (also known as "Never Never Land") with six zoobies who never want to grow up and who walk around living one big inside joke. I miss college!!



*Finally getting six of us back to Sandy in two cars, including Harley's dead great grandma's 1983 Buick. (And Harley's not even here yet...)




How we're going to schlep 12 people and all our ish all over the Wasatch Front and up Big Cottonwood Canyon over the next week is TBD. But one thing is for sure: family time just doesn't get much better than this.



Have a very MERRY Papa Mike!


Monday, December 15, 2008

I'll Be Home for Christmas

41 Days

6 Flights

4 States

7 Cities

3 Time Zones

6 Cribs & Pack n Plays

Best Christmas Ever?

or

Worst Holiday Nightmare?

(starring an 8 month old who, for the first time in his life, is sick)


Wish us luck!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Three Things That Make My Life Easier: Chapter 1



1. BATH FITTER


Have you heard of these guys? They come into your home and put in a new bathtub/shower over your old bathtub/shower in one day. We didn't personally hire these people, but our landlord did right before we moved in. And let me tell, you it's been great! First of all, they install shelves. That's right, storage in the shower. This is great when you live in a small apartment with lots of stuff and not a lot of storage. No more shampoo and body wash bottles taking up precious linen closet space. It's all in the shower. Up high too, so it doesn't get wet. But the best part (yes, it can get better than storage in the shower): it's so easy to clean! Hands down, my most dreaded cleaning job is the shower. Bath Fitter uses this crazy genius high-gloss, non-porous surface. It's like plastic. There is no grout, no goop, no mold, no mildew, no fuss. You just spray it down with some shower cleaner after each use (sometime we don't even do that), use the squeegy if you're really motivated, and wah-lah, you're CLEAN. Once since we've lived here (four months) Harley got inside the tub and did a really good wipe down with cleaner and paper towels. He didn't have to. We just wanted it extra sparkling. It's like a self cleaning shower with storage. Love it!

Welcome to my shower. The spray bottle on the left is all we use to clean. See how much I'm storing on that shelf? Amazing! And that's not the only shelf...



2. GPS

Many of you have probably used and loved a Global Positioning System for years, but we just got our hands on one in August. Now that I have it, I can't remember how I lived without it. Kind of like the cell phone. I struggle in the car. Both with driving and with directions. Let me drive home the point: I'm almost as good on the road as I am in the kitchen. Yeah. So our Magellan, or Madge as we like to call her, is my new best friend. No more looking up stuff ahead of time. No more Mapquest. Just give me an address. Madge tells me where to turn, when to turn (yep, our unit includes the "ding" feature), how much further, how much longer and so much more! This has been especially helpful in a new town, just outside a major, very crowded and confusing big city. Pre-GPS, sure, I would get there eventually. But it wouldn't be pretty and gas and time (not to mention stress) would be seriously wasted. Not so with the GPS. It gets better. I recently programmed my favorite places into Madge. Now with a couple of quick touches, I am safely, correctly, and efficiently guided to Tysons Corner, Dulles Airport, or in tonight's case Casa Wickstrom, with complete confidence.


3. HULU


We're a little too poor for TiVo these days. In fact, we're even skimping on cable. We have an antenna, which only works about 75% of the time. It's free, so that's great, but it's unpredictability can ruin a good night of your favorite TV show. That's where hulu.com comes in. Hulu is a website offering free, clean, minimal ad-supported episodes of most TV shows. They even feature some that are no longer on air. (Hello, Arrested Development. I love you.) I can watch my favorite shows (which, right now are: The Office, 30 Rock, Prison Break and Lipstick Jungle) with little commercial interruption, anytime I want. It's like TiVo. But free! And in a way, better than TiVo because I don't have to program my computer to tape them ahead of time. (Yes, I realize in every other way TiVo is better.)


("Read My Lips" NBC: Why are you canceling this Sex and the City wanna-be gem?!! Where else will I covet such fashionable clothes I'll never be able to wear?)

A practically self-cleaning shower (and did I mention the storage?) + quick, accurate navigation around the city= more time to watch my shows, interruption free.

And what does that equation mean?


FABULOUS!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bad, Bad Chips: My Not So Fabulous Cooking Skills

I don't cook. We've established this. Here is a classic example of what happens when I try to cook.

The following phone conversation took place between me and Mindy Friday afternoon. I was preparing an incredibly easy recipe I got from Krysta. Harley and I had a first date with new friends that night, and we'd invited them over to our place afterwards for hot chocolate and treats. I can prepare hot chocolate and treats, right?

Mindy: Hey, what's up?

Wendy: Can you melt chocolate chips in the microwave?

M: Yes, but you have to be careful. Chocolate chips are tricky. They melt fast, so use small intervals.

W: I did! I started at just :20 seconds, then stirred, then :30, stir, :60, stir. It started bubbling in the middle but the sides weren't melting so I took it out and now I'm back on the stove. And just so you know, I started on the stove, but had the same results: bubble in the middle, chunky and unmelted on the sides.

M: I think you went to far. You may have burned them.

W: My kitchen smells like S'mores.

M: You went too far.

W: I was watching them and doing small intervals! How did I miss it? This looks all grainy, like really really ground up beef.

M: It's okay. I mess up chocolate chips all the time.

W: Maybe it's because my chips were expired?

M: How old are they?

W: Oh, I don't know. We've had them since our wedding.

M: What?! Five YEARS?

W: Well, I think so. I just know I've never bought chocolate chips.

M: How have you never bought chocolate chips? What do you do when you want cookies?

W: Scoop a chunk off my Pillsbury cookie dough. If I'm really motivated, I put it in the oven.

M: Yeah, okay, I forget who I'm talking to.

W: Come to think of it... this was for sure a wedding gift that came with a cookie recipe. We've definitely moved this bag four times. It's some fancy brand: Guittard?

M: That's a really good brand. I love Guittard.

W: Well why didn't the person just give us the cash?! I made these last week with Tollhouse chips. Those worked fine. They weren't expired. Come to think of it, maybe I did buy that bag of chocolate chips. I knew I had these Guittard ones but the fancy packaging stressed me out. It was foreign. I felt I'd deal with them later with some fancy recipe. So I bought the name I knew: Tollhouse.

M: What are you making?

W: Scotcheroos

M: I love scotcheroos. Make them all the time.

W: Will they be good without the topping?

M: No.

W: Oh, wait, it's kind of starting to melt on the bottom. Maybe if I just keep stirring... Okay, now it looks like Marzipan's (Mindy's dog) poop. Mindy, I've got dog crap on my stove!!!

M: Yeah, you've gone too far.

W: Well, how do you know if they are expired? Does it say on the bag?

M: Chocolate definitely goes bad. It gets white stuff on it.

W: Oh yeah, these chips were covered in white stuff. I just thought it was like fancy powdered sugar because they were fancy chips.

M: Oh my gosh.

W: They were bad?

M (laughing): Um, yeah, they were bad.

W: Well, what am I going to do? It's our first date!

M: Can't Harley stop and get some new chips on the way home?

W: I have the car. We're all meeting at the metro in 1 hour! I gotta come up with Plan B. I gotta go!

M (laughing harder): You are funny. Bye.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How Do You Like Me Now?

I have a love hate relationship with my blog. I love how it keeps me in touch with friends and family. I love how it serves as a great family history. I love that it can be an outlet for writing. But since the day I created it, I've hated the way mine looked. It's been a year and a half. Today, I finally sat down and did something about it.

Silently hating my blog every time I use it, yet never taking the time to fix it is so like me. I wait and wait and not deal with it because A) It overwhelms me B) I don't have the time C) I don't have the skills D) I feel serious creative pressure. (That's right, I simply can't keep up with all of you.)

So here's my wanna-be-more-creative stab at a new look and some new features. I'd like to draw your attention to the left side (who knew it would be so difficult to get blogger to do a 3 column format!?!?!) where I will feature "Fabulous Right Now." This will include new discoveries, loves, purchases, wish list items, renewed old favorites or just plain fabulous-ness of the moment. Right now fabulous equals Christmas cards, stunning little flower earrings I recently picked up at Nordstrom Rack (that look almost like this picture) and Adele (thanks Becky!). I love these three things right now. I'm also going to start a regular post: Three Things that Make My Life Easier. (Because easier is fabulous.) There. I promised. Now I'm committed.

DISCLAIMER: Life is not ALWAYS fabulous. I'll still write about things that aren't so fabulous. But for now I want a more Oprah-ish outlook. While the woman can definitely bug, no one says the word "fabulous" quite like she does.




FABULOUS!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Are You Ungrateful If You Don't Blog About Thanksgiving?

Have I ever told you how much we love having visitors?

We were blessed with TWO sets of our FAVORITE people over Thanksgiving.

First came Joe, Emily, Ruby and Joseph Maximus (can I just say his name gets even better once you meet him?) from Ohio.




Then came Brooks and Cristi all the way from Idaho. After catching up, enjoying great conversation and laughing hard for two nights in a row Harley and I concluded: BYU friends are the BEST!


(even Anderson agrees, Brooks is HUH-larious!)


Before these peeps (and they really are "peeps"... especially Joe. I think he's the first peep I ever had. He's so peep, we once peeped his car... but that's another post.) graced our home, WE got to be VISITORS at Cheryl's amazing Thanksgiving FEAST. Our favorite part was feeding Anderson "real" food. He loved it!

He didn't so much love the pack n play and preferred to nap with Harley.

This year I am thankful for close family, great friends, and Anderson's crib.