Friday, September 21, 2012

Asking for Your Help

How do you thank someone for taking an interest in you after your mom passes away from cancer when you are nine years old? How do you thank someone for taking you shopping and spending time with you when you have a huge gaping hole in your heart? How do you thank someone for helping you through those awkward pre-teen and teenage years and for doing things for you that you yearned for your mom to help with? How do you thank someone for loving and caring about your kids when you you want so much for your mom to be here loving them?

Then how do you watch this same friend who is now a mom with three young kids fight her own cancer battle? And how do you cope when she tells you the doctors tell her she is down to only weeks left to live? How can I stand by now and watch this family of little means and not try to do something for them?

Please help me thank my dear friend in the only way I know how by making this the best month of her life full of happiness and creating lasting memories with her family!

Click on the link below to see how you can help.

Please also help by blogging, facebooking, emailing and sharing the link any way you can!

Your help is truly appreciated. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Christmas in August

As in...I am just getting around to blogging about Christmas--in  August. :) It was so wonderful to celebrate Christmas in our new house!

Soon after we moved here I became a room mom for Caleb's new classroom. So fun. I was in charge of a craft for the winter party.  I decided to have them make these marshmallow snowmen. Thanks for the idea, Sue!

I probably looked like a fool because I was literally laughing out loud on my walk to his classroom. They have all the room parents meet in one area and at exactly 1:30pm they open the doors for only those that have the official room parent green badge. It seemed like Black Friday when they open the store doors with people running and grabbing their carts and wagons full of stuff and taking off for their child's classroom. Hard core stuff, I'm telling you!! :) It gave me a serious case of the giggles. I wish I would have pulled out my phone to take a video. But it felt like a rite of passage--I think I am now officially a real mom. :)

During the holiday season we also made a plethora of treats and goodies including sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies with some friends. Somehow...I have pictures of one cookie. None of the kids rolling them out, using the cookie cutters, decorating the cookies--just a picture of one cookie. I'm cool like that.

We also did a gingerbread house as a family--see a previous post.

We had several encounters with Santa this year. One at Chick-fil-a

One at our awesome new neighbor's wonderful party

And another encounter at our church Christmas party. Look closely. Does this Santa look familiar?

Somebody at our house was moonlighting as Santa again this year. I may or may not find it hilarious.

So fun decorating a new house for Christmas. I really really really wish I would have taken some video of our Dial Adventures in Christmas Decorating 2012. Chris especially had some crazy contortionist moves putting up different lights and trees and such. Hilarious. That's all I can say. will have to settle for the one picture I took. Carson's turn to put the star on top this year.

Christmas Eve--we unwrapped Christmas pajamas, read the nativity and had a really good discussion, and the boys put out reindeer food from Caleb's awesome teacher at school

They also put out cookies for Santa

Just a little excited.

Once the boys were in bed, Chris and I embarked on yet another hilarious adventure. Growing up, we always had a blanket hanging in the doorway to our family room where all our presents from Santa were hiding. We would wake up and eat a big yummy breakfast and the anticipation would build and build as the blanket kept our presents hidden and we would wonder if Santa came. We have kept that tradition. However, we ran into a bit of a dilemma with our new house. It has a nice open floor plan--which we love. But how do we cover up that room with a blanket. I'll tell you how--with mad engineering and sewing skills! Chris and I just laughed and laughed and giggled as we were trying to rig this thing. But alas--we eventually conquered. And quite nicely I might add.

And oh the anticipation on Christmas morning--it is something I will always remember. It is just unbelievably fun for me to see my boys running in circles and squealing. I just love it. Here are a few pictures that I could find from Christmas morning:

And oh that Santa is so awesome! This year he again wrapped up a clue for one of Caleb's presents. But this year Caleb first had to decipher a code and figure out the clue. It was so fun watching Caleb be so giddy and Carson be giddy with him--even if he didn't know why he should be giddy with him. :)

And well, since it's almost Christmas again...we will call it good for now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One of "Those" Days

 Usually when I say it's been one of "those" days, I mean it in a bad way.  But today was one of "those" days that just fell into place.  Things were just plain good.  I'm ok.  The kids are ok.  We're all ok.

Back story:  This has caught my attention for quite awhile: "And ye will not suffer your children that they...fight and quarrel one with another...." (Mosiah 4:14)  And I always thought, "Yeah! But how?!? Can't do it1 Don't know how!"  "They just fight sometimes and there is nothing to be done." It was discouraging.  Then one day I noticed this right after the previous verse, "But ye will teach love one another, and serve one another."  (Mosiah 4:15) Part of my answer was right there all along.  And so that is what I have been trying so hard to teach my boys.  To love each other and to serve each other.  But you know what? It is harder then you think.  Because that means that I have to go out of my way to love and serve everyone around me...but especially them.  If I want them to learn it, I have to model it.  Darn it.  "Hey mom, will you go get me a glass of milk?" My natural response really wants to be, "You have legs.  Go get it yourself."  But each time that is my answer, I think it teaches them how to respond when I ask them the same type of question.  When their rooms are messy, I want to tell them to go clean it.  That I shouldn't have to help.  I didn't make the mess.  Etc.  Instead, I have tried to surprise them and clean it for them instead.  Or to clean it with them.  But it is HARD to fight the GO DO IT YOURSELF and leave me alone attitude!  I'm lazy at times.  And I'm tired at times.  And a lot of times...I just DON'T WANT TO!  It is an internal fight each and every day.  Sometimes I win.  Sometimes I lose.

So back to today.  At lunchtime, Caleb left the table when he was finished eating.  He left his plate, bowl, spoon and cup at the table.  Not usual.  I let it slide.  When Carson was finished, he quietly put his things in the sink and came back and put Caleb's in the sink too.  I was struck by how thoughtful that was.  But what I soon found out was why Caleb had left the lunch table so quietly.  He had gone upstairs and folded both his and Carson's laundry (which was the plan after lunch).  And Caleb had put the laundry away for both of them.  Later this afternoon, I took the boys bowling.  Caleb was so eager to help Carson bowl and cheer him on that it just melted my heart.  Carson was just so happy to be with his brother and cheer him on that it melted my heart even more.  It was one of those happy moments I will always remember fondly.  Then again this evening, I said it was time to clean the playroom.  I came upstairs and found that Caleb had cleaned it all (and it was a big mess!) by himself as a surprise for me and Carson. Once again--awestruck!  I do not write these experiences to brag or make you think that my boys are always angels.  That's just not the case.  But it was just a good day. It was a day that gave me hope that they just might be learning to love and serve each other.  A day of hope that I'm not totally screwing up those two cute little boys!

Here's the thing.  We are surrounded by people, articles, facebook posts, blog posts, etc that tell us that parents these days are screwing things up.  Everywhere I turn, I hear and read things about how people cannot believe that parents let their kids do this or that.  About how a parent was acting at the store.  How a kid is acting at school.  How parents of this or that generation NEVER would have allowed certain behavior.  Etc etc etc.  Am I so bad because I let my kid watch a netflix show in the grocery store on a bad day? Do I spend too much time cleaning? Or not enough?  Do I teach them to work? Respect others? Do I give them too much or too little time to play video games?  Did I let them watch too many shows today? Why was I so impatient? Was only stopping long enough today to read one book and play a game with them enough?  Am I too permissive? Am I too strict? Do I smother and hover? Am I not involved enough?  It sometimes feels overwhelming to me.  I drive myself crazy.  I don't need other people's commentary and opinions in that department.

Every morning I start my day on my knees and end my day on my knees--praying and begging that I just won't mess up my kids *too* bad.  But really! I think we are all trying.  It's easy to judge the mom who is losing it in the store.  The dad who barks too loud at their kid.  The parents that are not involved enough.  The working mom.  The stay at home mom.  But what I do know--you just can't ever judge.  You just never know what burdens and weights a person is carrying.  What they are dealing with. That perhaps those burdens have made it so they just have zero emotional and/or physical energy left.  Perhaps you should be high fiving them because they are 1000 times better than their parents were to them.  Your little (or big) snapshot of their life is not enough to judge them.  You don't know what it's like to live their life, to work their job, to be in their relationships, to parent those kids in this time and place.  If you did--you probably wouldn't judge them in a harsh way, but would probably just be full of compassion.

A reason to sit back and say to yourself that you don't have to try to be better? To change for the good? No.  But.  Cut yourself a break. Pat yourself on the back for those little successes.   Hang on to those moments that give you hope.  Encourage those around you.  Pat them on the back on the good days.  Hug them on the bad.

Bottom line:  I am so grateful for days like today where I feel like I'm ok, my kids are ok, and life is good.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Manila Sunday (like a Vanilla Sundae)

It's funny...I've been working 18-20 hour work days, ending each one with less energy than Rosanne Barr after a push up contest, and somehow I find myself with too much awake time on Sunday evening in Manila. Risking Sal's retort that I could stand to loosen up on my Sunday regimen (after all, I am traveling internationally), somewhere between boredom and dinner, I catch myself hoping that Krista magically found some time to update the blog with news from home when it hits me...I have the Blogger app on my phone. Suddenly, Sunday afternoon became slightly more chocolate than vanilla.

With no shortage of culture, I'm amazed at the experiences that encompass me and yet, I'm eager to wrap it up and go home. Maybe it's because I risk my life with each ride I take away from the hotel. Or maybe it's because Nicolas Cage is the face for Mont Blanc...I don't know. All I know is that Thursday is in no hurry to get here, and that bugs me.

Once Thursday comes and I'm on my way to find a Coco's restaurant in the Tokyo airport, I'm sure I'll already miss my hotel, room service, fresh coconut (which tastes nothing like the sweet stuff in the bag at the grocery store, which is 100 times better...on second thought, I won't miss the coconut. No milk, just water, and it WASN'T sweet.)

I am guilty, though. I will miss all the little people. Literally...I tower most of them by a head. These are some of the friendliest people I have met. When it's all said and done, I will be plotting my return trip. PADI SCUBA certification for $60, which includes armed guards to protect you from local pirates and general wrong-doers, real pearls that cost just a few pesos, vendors who express their undying loyalty to their client (until they find someone who pays better, of course), and amazing food, live music, and lots of things to see that are not as common in the US. Like McDonald's sticky rice, Jeepnies (local inexpensive transportation), and guys who relieve themselves in public. I'm told that's the fastest way to become an honorary Filipino, by the way. If you got business to do, you don't wait for the luxury of indoor just get your business done. The bar is set low here, folks. In fact, I need to renew my membership at this very moment.

See you Thursday, US of A, in all your indoor plumbing glory!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Public Service Announcement

Public Service Announcement

Please use extreme caution when you are untangling strands of lights.

If you're not careful, the plug, as seen here:

...can suddenly take on a life of it's own and fly up and take a chunk out of your eye.

You may then be sick to your wimpy stomach when you closely examine your eye in the mirror. You might feel slight panic when your husband tells you that it looks like you have a piece of glass in your eye. Because you know it's not glass. It's actually several layers of your eye somehow pealed back.

Then you would have to ignore your important and long to-do list that you just made for the day and instead spend 4 hours in the ER. Because of course this can only happen on a Saturday of a three day weekend.

And you would feel kind of dumb sitting in the ER with all those people who have crazy serious injuries. And want to randomly tell someone, " I have a little scratch. Just thought I'd come get it checked out."

But then you're glad you got it checked out when you may finally hear the doctor say, "Oh wow. You really took a chunk out of your eye. All things're really lucky...if that had been just even slightly to the left and hit your pupil instead...."

Oh, and it would hurt. Like...a lot. But luckily your little boys are so sweet and can say a prayer for you and it could suddenly not hurt so much.

But luckily, if this did happen--apparently eyes heal amazingly fast. The human body is truly amazing. So life goes on.

But there may be lasting negative side effects--like the fear that strikes your heart when you see Christmas lights or even just plugs thereafter.

And yet, the side effects may not be all negative. It might make you wonder in the future why that to-do list seems so critical all the time, yet when a little injury happens, it can suddenly all be put on hold. No longer a priority. It might make you wonder how often those "critical" to-do items could be put on hold to do things that really matter. Like sitting down to play with your kids more or just playing more Mad Gab with your son (see next post).

End Public Service Announcement

(Please note--The images pictured above are not the actual items referred to in the public service announcement--but do carry a certain likeness that will assist you in recognizing the items in question.)

Mad Gab

Have you ever played that game called Mad Gab? This one?

They give you things to read from a card to your team and your team has to try to figure out what the phrase or word is? Like here's an example on their website:


You just keep saying it fast and trying to figure out what the phrase is. In this case--the answer is:

Do I know you?

It's hilarious because if you're the one reading it--you know the answer and you keep trying to say it in different ways trying to change your inflection and help them guess it. Over and over. And it sounds SOO obvious as you say it...but it is hard for everyone who is guessing. You wonder how on earth they cannot be getting it and it's really funny. Because they're saying it too. But just don't realize it.


Caleb is a good reader and absolutely loves reading and spelling! But have you ever noticed how helping your kids learn how to read is just like playing Mad Gab? As I listen to him sound out words--it seems SO OBVIOUS what the word is! And it's funny because sometimes I say, "Yeah! Good job!" when he sounds it out. Only to realize that he hasn't figured it out yet--even though it sounded like he had just said the word.

A real life example of Caleb learning to read?


ahh rrrr ow unnnn duh

He says it over and over again.

It totally sounds like he is saying the word "around". Over and over. He just doesn't realize it. I can't help but giggle. Maybe more than I should.

It's fun playing mad gab with my kindergartener each day as he learns to read. :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Perfect Storm

Ugh. How can you move less than 10 miles away and have it disrupt your life so much? Crazy.

Our move. It was crazy busy. But you already know that. Next!

Chris's work schedule. He hadn't traveled for work for a couple years. But all the sudden--we moved and then he was out of town three out of four weeks for work. Which normally--wouldn't really be an issue. He loves to travel for work, gets to do fun things that he loves doing for work and sees people he loves to work with that he doesn't usually get to see. So that's not the issue.

So we move--then Chris travels for 3 out of 4 weeks.

Caleb starts a new school. First day--total success! Phew! That was easy! Second day--hmmm...we seem to be missing our old school, teacher, and friends. Third day...Not so good. His new teacher (who is totally awesome by the way) is out for a day or two that first week. The next week, Caleb gets croup. Like a really bad version of croup. He had fevers for 9 days. Kid was mIsErAbLe. And hAtEs taking medicine. Fight. Every. Time.

So we have a house full of boxes, the boys are sleeping in new rooms, Chris is traveling, Caleb is not liking his new school, and then he gets croup and he will not take his medicine without a big struggle.

Then Carson gets croup. Sigh.

But at least he loves to take medicine. :)

So we have a house full of boxes, the boys want their old house back, the boys just want their dad, I just want their dad, Caleb is not liking his new school, and then he gets croup and fights me several times a day when it's time to take medicine and then Carson gets croup (but at least he likes to take his medicine).

We miss our old neighbors and friends. The new neighbors are awesome and have all come over to introduce themselves and they all seem great. But it just takes awhile to make friends.

So...we have a house full of boxes, Chris is gone, Caleb is not excited about the new school--not that it matters because both boys are sick and we miss our friends.

But we also miss our friends at church. In our church--the congregation we attend is based on geographic boundaries. So we changed congregations. Again--everyone has been so incredibly nice and welcoming!! It has been so awesome and I have been so grateful. Heck! We had two dinners delivered from friends at church within 48 hours of moving in! Seriously! Everyone is so nice. But it takes awhile to make good friends. And...we miss our really good old friends.

So...we have a house full of boxes, Chris is gone, Caleb doesn't like school, and is missing a lot of school, both boys are sick, we miss our friends in our neighborhood, and we miss our friends at church.

Usually--my boys are the best of buddies. They have their moments where they're not...but not really. But after we moved? Wow. It was awful.

So...we have a house full of boxes, Chris is gone, Caleb doesn't like school, and is missing a lot of school, both boys are sick, we miss our friends in our neighborhood, and we miss our friends at church and my boys are suddenly mean and fighting with each other.

Are you starting to see our perfect little storm? ;)

The bottom line--I totally underestimated how much of an adjustment this would be. It really was the least of my worries. Because there were SO MANY other things to worry about. The move seemed like the end of the stress. But in reality--it was the beginning of a whole new level of stress! Each time I dropped Caleb off at school and saw those tears streaming down his cheeks, I just wanted to take him and run and never look back. SO NOT like him! It seriously felt like my heart was shredding into a million little pieces. Or when I watch him walk into his church class on Sunday and shyly sit there instead of making all kinds of mischief with his buddies from our old congregation...I just want to whisk him away and go back.

I expected that it would be a little adjustment for the boys. But really--I didn't even consider that it would be an adjustment for me. I like meeting new people. I thought it would just be fun. And it has. But it has also been strangely hard. I feel like I did when we first moved to San Antonio. Homesick and unsettled and just kind of blah. And I don't like that feeling. I'm not used to that feeling.

We have been so so blessed. We have a house that we totally love. Everyone in our new neighborhood has been so nice. Everyone in our new church congregation has been more than nice. Caleb's new school is heads and tales above his last one. Like really--night and day. And I just absolutely love his teacher. Chris gets to work from home a lot now which cuts out his 30-45 minute commute. So how can I feel blah? That's the part I don't get. It seems so ungrateful. Is this normal?!? Tips? Advice?

Scoot over Caleb. I feel like joining you. :)

I don't want to make it sound like we are all just here moping around and depressed. That's definitely not the case. I guess it has just taken me by surprise. I wasn't expecting to have so many moments where I felt like that. Heck--I didn't really expect to feel any moments like that. And I understand now that it is just going to take time. And things are definitely finally looking up. Caleb seems to be settling in at school finally. Carson actually adjusted the quickest. And the boys are mostly best buddies again. We are meeting people. And it has been fun to spend a lot of time together as a family and just refocus on what is really important in life.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Life Cycle Research

You know we like research at our house, right? Remember this among many others? We are just so researchy. It's a word. Research it.

I've always wondered what the average life cycle of a gingerbread house is. This year...I was bound and determined to find out.

Results show: the average life cycle of a gingerbread house is surprisingly short. 56.2 minutes. That is some mighty fine quality research right there--brought to you by Dial Researchers Inc. You're welcome. :)

Research also shows that camera phones are poor substitutes for an actual camera.

Additional research shows that on the second day in January of 2012, the average number of blog posts one can catch up on is 2.0 before the blogger decides it is bed time. Perhaps that average will go up in later days of January. Stay tuned.

Last Hurrah

I know. I know. It's so shocking. Krista actually has to play blog catch up. I am usually so on top of blogging. But happens even to the best of us. Ha!

Way back in 2011 (haha) our neighborhood homeowners association asked us to do one last hurrah just before we moved. (Or really--just before we THOUGHT we were moving. Before our move got extended.) Us Dials--we are always suckers for hurrahs. And definitely we are always up for throwing hurrahs. :)

And is a glimpse of some of the fun.

Of course there was lots of food, games, giveaways, and prizes. Even if I didn't take pictures of them. :)

Bounce house.

Obstacle course.

Police car to check out. And not 1--but 2 firetrucks.

Those firemen were so awesome! Letting the kids climb all over the trucks and showing them all the cool stuff.

They even brought equipment for relay races:

A local radio station came and broadcast live on site:

There was also an amazing telescope set up. I could NOT believe the views of the moon and stars that we were able to see! Incredible!! However...the view from the picture below? Not so amazing. But you get the idea.

And well...since the hurrah was so last year and because I am old and senile...that's all I remember. We are missing our friends and neighbors from the old neighborhood. But we also love our new neighbors and are already plotting some hurrahs in this neck of the woods. :)