Monday, March 31, 2014

1. Wake Up 2. Freak Out 3. Calm Down 4. Sleep

:Deep Breath:
It's the last day of March. 

Time to buckle up. Summer is coming. I'm not ready.  I stopped being "ready" for summer about 10 years ago.  Probably more than that. 

I'm feeling so overwhelmed.  We have to get this house ready for sale. We have to organize, clean, pre-pack (stuff we can pack now that we won't need even though we'll still be living here), have a yard sale this weekend, re-do the hallway flooring (it's THAT me), and other improvements. 

If that doesn't help, Chris is going into the crazy overtime period (this happens about twice a year) at work. Since he already works long hours and 90 miles away, this basically means anytime we do usually see him, we won't be seeing him. It makes more sense that  he crashes on a colleague's couch a couple of those nights. 

Don't get me wrong. I know all too well of the blessing  his job is. I thank my Heavenly Father for it daily. But it doesn't mean there aren't challenges to push through. 

I love the quote from President Monson that I put on yesterday's "Sunday Doodle". However, courage is only part of it. I have the courage. What I also need is motivation and energy.  

And I need patience. 

And to not freak out. 
No I'm Not

Here is a little funny from yesterday. Since Sundays generally are hard for me (no need to get into that can o' worms right now), this was awesome. It was about an hour before we left for Church. Chris sees a stuffed dog toy out in the hallway outside of Mikelle's room. It was actually originally wearing a graduation cap when we first got him as a gift when Chris graduated from college when Mikelle was still in utero. 

Chris picks up the toy, opens her door and asks if this is *still* hers (as she adopted it when she was little) or is it Alexander's now.

THIRTEEN year old Mikelle reluctantly and kind of pathetically goes, "'s mine...."
Chris: "Why was he out in the hall?"
Mikelle: "He was freaking me out last night."

That is funny enough, but then she continued: "...I had a hard time sleeping and I opened my eyes and I swear he was closer than a minute before that."
Chris: "So you put him out in the hall and closed your door?"
Mikelle: ".....yeah...."

LMAO! When he told me, I was dying. I sooooo needed that!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Flashback Friday - Alaska Memories

Almost 14 years ago, in May 2000, Chris graduated from ASU. Mikelle was on her way. We took off for Alaska.  These are just a few of the pictures. We had so many canisters of film! And then in Juneau, we found out one of the other tourists was going to the Costco there, so we gave him money to get us more film! So the fact there's only 4 pictures is really saying something. 

I found a map online that was pretty close to our route. It didn't include Valdez, so I modified it:

Ports of Calls: Ketchikan  May 16, 2000 Sunrise: 4:36am, 8:49pm
                      Juneau May 17, 2000
                      Sitka May 18, 2000
                      Glaciers; College Fjord: May 19, 2000 Sunrise: 4:32am, 8:57pm          
                      Valdez: May 20, 2000 Sunrise: 4:19am, 8:59pm

Ketchikan, Alaska. Yes, there's Mikelle in the oven....
It's May, it's Misty, it's Green! Ketchikan, Alaska
Outside "Dolly's" - the former Ketchikan brothel. Now a museum.

Snow on Thompson Pass, north of Valdez. Near the Worthington Glacier. And boom...after the pass, it was green and not even raining! Amazing transition.
We flew out of Anchorage on May 21, 2000. It was 50 degrees. 

We flew into Phoenix after 10pm that night. It was still above 100. No comment. It's supposed to be a PG rated blog. 

My heart is up in Alaska! (and British Columbia, and Washington, and Oregon....etc etc...)

Until next time....

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March Madness, Minecraft and In Memory...

"Mad Hatter" by Ben Heine
Don't get all excited about the March Madness title. It has nothing to do with basketball. However, it does have to do with madness and it is March.

The definition of madness that I found was:

noun: madness
the state of being mentally ill, esp. severely.

HA! Okay, not that kind of madness (see Ben Heine's funky Johnny Depp Mad Hatter art to the right). The madness I'm referring to is just the typical chaos and craziness in life. Alexander qualifies for that craziness.  

Case in point: Tuesday morning, I bribed him with my iPod all through Target. I didn't need that many things, but he has proven that going out in public for the smallest and mundane task can be daunting. 

I made it clear that he could keep playing with it as long as he kept his butt sitting in the cart and didn't stand up. (I swear that kid was born with a spring in his posterior area)

I was checking out and he climbed out of the cart and did some circus move from the cart to the check out thing and just hung there. 


 I put him back in the cart and took the iPod and he pitched a fit. As we were leaving, someone actually went, "awwww!" at his crying begging for the iPod. He has everyone snowed. Really, when he's crying, he attracts sympathy from all corners of the world. He can work people over like the mafia. 

And then people wonder why I'm not quite right in the head.

I mean, just look at this picture Chris found on his phone. It was taken that sole rainy winter day (day of the Cultural Celebration) when we were in Wickenburg. Look at his face. 

"I have them all fooled...." Alexander
He makes me crazy, but I love him.
Taken last Sunday, 3/23/14

Minecraft Madness
Two weeks ago, the Saturday before Christian's 10th birthday, Christian had his Minecraft birthday party. I didn't post about it at the time, because I was rather tapped out with "Minecraft Madness". 

But I can post them now. 

Chocolate "rocks" for Bedrock!
Large Creeper I made
Creeper Cake! So cool! No, I didn't make this... I have my limits! lol
10 Candles! Hard to believe!
Creeper Juice!
Christian made this dude...
Mikelle made this pig!

Jelly-bellies for "slime", marshmallows for "snow"...etc etc...
Chocolate rice krispy treats!
You wouldn't know it, but they're partying hard!
Treat Bags

Yeah, Chris and I are old. We crashed right at the end of the party and checked out! We looked like two crash-test dummies in our bed at 4pm! 

But around 8pm that night, I informed him I needed to go for a run (night run - no sun!) and he was going to meet me up at the clubhouse. Haha I wish I could get him on board with the running, but he has let me know it's not going to happen. Now if I can get him on the exercise bike and weights, then we're good.

In Memory

No Sunday doodle last Sunday. Instead, I drew this for my friend Marian who lost her precious boxer Autumn (she had a large cancer mass). I met Autumn a couple times and she was such a sweet dog. I feel so helpless in situations like this, so I felt the best thing was just to draw! I gave it to Marian Sunday night. 

I have also been commissioned to do this large Panda artwork from a customer who passed away from cancer last year. He loved Pandas. Circled in the belly are the lyrics to the Smiths "There is a Light that Never Goes Out"

I wasn't too sure about the eyes, but the customer said they were perfect, so I didn't do anything further with them.

I am honored to be a part of this special memory for her.

Flashback Friday post tomorrow!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Tangled Ball of Yarn

There was no Way-Back Wednesday, Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday posts this week, due to computer issues. Then when it got resolved, there was too much catching up to do. I have a lot of projects going on (two custom projects plus some others) and it's exciting! I also made my 100th official sale on Etsy! Sure, technically, I have more than that (from some off-Etsy sales such as with local friends, etc), but it's exciting to see those three digits on my Etsy shop. And so far, all the customer reviews have been 5 stars!

I had to laugh at Christian, my techie, on Thursday when he was trying to resolve the computer issue. I had to run some errands, and when I returned, there were these notes from him on the screen. Keep in mind, he barely turned 10 on St. Patrick's Day. 
As for life in general, it's described as a tangled ball of yarn. Each thread represents specific emotions or stress (good or bad) and they're all balled up in there. 

It's almost impossible to pull on just one thread and have that single thread come out because of how tangled it i because it's knotted up with others.  Some of the threads are typical - such as kids, life, jobs, responsibilities, etc. 

Others are more complicated such as the transition between this house and moving 100 miles away and trying to make that all work. And when you have a teenage girl in the house WITH a techie genius little brother who has a fighting spirit WITH a toddler 3 year old boy who is tenacious, willful and too smart for his own good, and that's a level of crazy I cannot find the words to describe. 

My friend Charlie said to me this week:

"Wow, when your circus comes to town, all the acts show up, don't they?"

My answer to that is something along the lines of, "It's more than just all the acts showing up at once. I'm where the circus holds their yearly convention."

Back to the ball of yarn (or circus acts having their convention), as far as getting ready to move and (please please please) start building this house, that's more like 5 or 6 different threads all in one.  And it's also best that I not get into it. It's true what they say how building a house can really test people and relationships. Let's just say I'm failing the test.

At about 5am this morning, I heard the shower running and it confused me because it wasn't a work day for Chris. Then he informed me he was going to the temple. The tangled threads about the house and this big move prompted him in that direction. 

He came home with some upbeat thoughts and answers that I know he was able to receive because he went to the temple. I am so grateful he is that "in tune". 

Me? It's so much harder. I am glad I can rely on him for some spiritual insight. Sure, I have my soul searching, and I need to be in that Celestial Room just as much as he does. However, when it comes to specific problems and pondering, he knows when he is receiving the answers he is. Maybe it's the scientist/engineer part of his brain that is clicked on. 

Me? Just confusion.

Despite how grateful I was to see him go to the temple this morning and receive the help he needed, it is hard to see him stay up late two nights in a row, and then leave super early. He did the same thing with going to work Friday morning after I know he didn't get to bed until after midnight. The house plans and trying to make everything work is consuming him as well.

Wow...this post is turning out more somber or "bummed out" than I expected. Therefore, I'll end with the humor to help muddle through bad and/or tough and/or stressful situations (you know, "life"):

See a theme here? 

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pick Your Grouchy Battles

Because life isn't complete until you  have a giant metal chicken.
I had been meaning to promote "The Bloggess" for quite some time. She is absolutely hilarious and completely inappropriate! Therefore, if you need a good laugh and don't have a problem with salty strong language (or if you do have a problem with it, but can tolerate it from time to time in order to have a good laugh), her entries are priceless.

This metal chicken entry of hers from 2011 is probably the most popular and most well known. Of course one of my favorites as well is the creepy bear head (from a 2013 entry) she purchased (on a separate shopping trip than the infamous metal chicken pictured at right).

Her entry that introduced the giant metal chicken (which is all sorts of awesome!) is about picking your battles. It's also about causing new ones with your spouse. It's also about humor. If you ask me, that's how you keep the love alive. That is, if your spouse can handle it. I find that I am a lot like The Bloggess, but Chris, while plenty humorous, isn't as "tolerant" of such antics as the Bloggess's poor husband, Victor.

Still, we manage.

Case in point: The stupid Oscar the Grouch T-shirt.
The infamous Oscar the Grouch T-shirt

We were in Target a couple of years ago (we've been to Target about 150 times since then...this was just the time that is pertinent to the story) and he saw this particular Oscar the Grouch T-shirt (pictured at left). 

Chris said he was going to buy it for me. Oh, did I not mention that I was being particularly "grouchy" at the time? Well, I was.

I said I didn't want it.

Now first, allow me to preface that I have NO PROBLEM wearing an Oscar the Grouch T-shirt. I would wear it proudly. I was not offended nor upset that Chris desired to get me an Oscar the Grouch T-shirt. In fact, I've been meaning to get an Oscar the Grouch decal to balance my Grumpy decal on the back of the car.

The problem with the stupid T-shirt was a few things. First, the obvious problem was the T-shirt was a "male cut" T-shirt, and I don't like bulky shirts like that. 
Second, I didn't like the design. There were other pleasing ways to showcase Oscar the Grouch.  I didn't like the design of this one.
I like this design, but it's the male cut. Do they have it in a female cut?

Three, the material was too thick. Where do we live? We certainly don't live  somewhere nice where thick cotton can be comfortable and practical.
I know this is Christmas specific, but this is a female cut Oscar Tshirt...

Chris ignored me, assuming that the only reason I said I didn't want it was because I was "grouchy" and therefore it was all the more reason for him to buy it for me. 

I understand that logic, but no, the grouchiness was not the reason.

If any men are reading this, let me tell you something. If you want to buy an item of clothing, shoes, jewelry or accessory for your woman, and she says she doesn't want it or won't wear it, I can guarantee you she doesn't want it or won't wear it!

I told Chris, "You're wasting your money." 

Granted, it was probably around $12 or less. However, this is the same Chris that gets up in my grill because I buy the more expensive leanest ground turkey and ground beef.  (Get it? Meat? Grill? Never mind...)

So the T-shirt made it home and the battle ensued. He would lay it out for me and ask me to wear it. I refused, stating the reasons above. 

I then would open my dresser drawer from time to time and find the T-shirt in there. I would simply transfer it to his dresser drawer. Then it would make it to mine, and so on. 

Well, I had to up the ante. Chris's temple bag. 

For those that do not know what that is, when we go to the temple, we change into white clothing when we arrive. Chris has a bag (as do I) that is specific for that clothing. I had no problem with something unorthodox and maybe even slightly blasphemous (depending on how uppity one is about such things involving temple bags) by stuffing the T-shirt in his temple bag. I hold the same principle by texting him messages with bad words in it when I know he's in a church leadership meeting or attending the General Priesthood session.  

I might be grouchy, but I love to have my fun.

I do not remember how much time had passed between my placing Oscar in his bag and when he went to the temple next and discovered it there, but I do remember that when he made the discovery in the men's locker room, it was one of those times he went to the temple alone. Therefore, he wasn't going to see me in just a few minutes with my grouchy surprise fresh in his mind. And of course Chris wasn't about to just leave the T-shirt in the locker room (some guys might have! lol). 

Therefore, he had forgotten all about it by the time he got home. I even forgot I had put it in there.  It was some weeks later that something caused him to remember, and he professed how much of a brat I was and how annoying it was for him in the locker room to open his temple bag containing his nice white clothing to also find the Oscar the Grouch T-shirt in there.  I smiled proudly. Chris then proceeded to again go through the whole tirade of why I should wear the T-shirt. Therefore, I went through my whole tirade of why I wouldn't (cut, design, thickness = no bueno). 

It was no surprise to me that after that I found the T-shirt in my temple bag. 

Chris then found it in his temple bag. 

That is where I found the shirt this morning, as it was in his bag when we went to the Gilbert Temple last week. He didn't even say anything to me this time. It was just placed back in my bag for me to find it this morning because I needed to the take the above snapshot of it. Where is it now? Back in his bag of course.

Now I'm a little tired of the Grouch T-shirt battle. It's become boring.  I need to think of another obnoxious place to stash it for Chris to find it. I'm thinking I'll give it to one of his co-workers, and he can put it in Chris's desk. It's impossible for me to stash it in his desk on my own (not only does Chris work 90 miles away, but you need all kinds of security clearance to make it in the place).

The trick is to get it to this co-worker and make the exchange on the down low.

Until next time...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Double Digits

Yesterday's Sunday Doodle obviously has special personal meaning, as my St. Patrick's Day Baby, Christian turns 10 today.

It's so hard to believe it's been 10 years. My 4-leaf clover, Christian is my only baby of my three that I went into labor on my own. He was also my earliest baby (not quite 38 weeks), but biggest baby (8 lbs!). His pregnancy was such a trial (to put it mildly, as I've mentioned before), that I maintain I was a Muggle carrying a Wizard. He amazes me with his wizardry every day. Happy Birthday Christian!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Baah Baah Black Sheep...

I never added last Sunday's doodle, so there it is! (left) How's that for an introduction?

Hopefully, if things progress the way I'm requesting, every Sunday will allow for a "Sunday Doodle". I am my own worst enemy and I do love my church calling teaching the 10-11 year old girls. However, I've requested to be released, so my Sundays can be spent listening to more lessons. It's just reason #5,897 of why I'm a pain in the butt Mormon. I don't accept callings willy-nilly. I've even turned some down! And when I was released from a calling I LOVED, I wasn't happy about it and I made sure the bishop knew it. Yet, our bishop still smiles every Sunday and I haven't seemed to drive him into the grave yet. I will miss my ward terribly. I am actually scared to start brand new come July. But that's for another posting.

My friend Mindy gave me this link the other day with this message: I think this is why we've been such good pals from the beginning. We are REAL! Most of these describe me exactly, except for the bearing children part..haha!!  The title of the blog post is "Being a Mormon Misfit and Why it's Totally Okay!" by Kayla Lemmon on her blog, 

The first part of the posting reads as:

When I went to school in Idaho I loved a certain spot in the Rexburg temple in the waiting area of the baptistry. Each time I went there I sat right there–in that same spot– just because of a certain picture.

It was a painting of the Savior holding a little black sheep, right beside the pew in the back. I would stare at it and think about everything that it meant to me. Essentially, it seemed that I was actually the one in the Savior’s arms in that picture.

The misfit.

Now I want to go to the Rexburg Temple to specifically do baptisms and sit in that spot. I also want to acquire that picture for the new house. I'm also planning to incorporate Christ with the black sheep into another religiously themed circle motif. 

More on that Mormon Misfit theme in a second, but since the Rexburg Temple was mentioned, and it is technically Throwback Thursday, here are two pictures of us from 2009 at the Rexburg Temple. Well, most of us. Alexander did not arrive for another 51 weeks (almost a year later).
12/29/09 Rexburg Temple  Rexburg, Idaho

Mikelle age 9...Christian age 6 1/2+ (Mikelle is wearing her Grammy's gloves...that's why her hands look so big)
Getting back to the Mormon Misfit theme, Kayla's blog post lists the items that personally make her a misfit. I can certainly relate. They include her having tattoos (more on that in a minute), working long hours while her husband goes to school (I've done that too...I was working and going to school while Chris was finishing school, then I quit work and went to school full time and bookended my full time scholastic period with having two children), she doesn't have any kids (our first came 3 months shy of not our first anniversary, but our sixth...almost unheard of in the LDS culture...), she can't sew (yeah, my sewing skills stop at sewing on buttons), she questions pretty much everything (guilty! And then guilty again!), and she says she never really fit into Relief Society.

I can relate with that too. Oh, there are times I feel comfortable there and then other times comments from others make my skin crawl. Just a couple of weeks ago, they were asking about problems in the world that destroy the "family". Some obvious answers were given. Then someone said "Piercings and Tattoos". I sighed loudly and my eyes rolled so far back into my head, I probably saw my over-thinking worn-out brain. 

Seriously? Piercings and Tattoos destroy the family? 

Let's put it this way. My parents were your run-of-the-mill Arizona "married in the temple" Mormons, and my dad was a narcissistic physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive BULLY. Not to mention, adulterer. He had nary a tattoo. I'm rather confident that if he had a plethora of tattoos BUT chose NOT to be an abusive narcissistic jackass and actually honor his priesthood and NOT commit adultery and blame everyone else for his own bad choices, our family would have been much closer and not so "destroyed".

Just saying. 

What was that about not fitting in at Relief Society? lol

Yeah, that was one of those times that I didn't feel like I fit in. But I usually don't have a problem speaking up. I just have to hold back sometimes to figure out the best way to do so, but generally, I speak up. Therefore, at least I feel I fit in enough where I feel I can  have a voice.  

Again, I'm afraid to start over when we move. :sigh:

I had a similar discussion earlier this week with a friend who feels judged by those at church. I pointed out a few examples of people in my ward who have come from less than typical straight and narrow paths behind them but have brought so much love and light of Christ into the lives around them.  I said, "You can bring that same light to those around you - with the tattoos."

Kayla Lemmon's blog post ends with the comforting reminder:

As President Monson so sweetly said, the Lord has a specific love for you. Unique, different, beautiful, misfit you.  So, fellow Mormon misfit, come along this journey with me, because we all belong here on this path. Bring your dinners that you often burn to a crisp, bring your lack of love for skirts, bring along your battle scars and wear them as a badge of how far the Lord has brought you, and bring questions and different perspectives that no one has acknowledged before. Come along this journey, black sheep, and find comfort in the arms of the Savior of the world–the original misfit himself.

I couldn't have said it better myself.  Thanks Kayla and Mindy! And thanks to all the other misfits in my life! You know who you are.