Sunday, December 28, 2008

NOT a tradition

I have seen several people who's blogs I stalk, post pictures of their very cute gingerbread houses that their families have done. This has never been a tradition in my family, and I may have found out why today. Growing up with parents who are both artists, I have found a vast number of people who assume that talent was passed on to all their children. Sadly it was not, at least not to me. I am going to print out these photos and carry them in my wallet as prof.

Now this was a kit, and I'm pretty sure that is supposed to make it easier. Now granted the decorating was done by a 3 and 4 yr old, but the icing was done by an adult (you know who you are) and I'm a little worried.

Notice the trees that had to be used as braces to keep the roof from sliding off.

Now the kids had a lot of fun, which was the point, and the end result made it so that we didn't feel bad at all about eating the house. But I look at these pictures and it reminds me of going to the Christmas Chorus concerts when I was a kid. The concert is held in the chapel at the state mental hospital and when I was a kid there was a tree that had decorations made by the patients. I just remember always seeing candy cane reindeer that had 3 antlers and 5 eyes, things like that. Not that I'm saying my family is mentally handicapped, (although that is debatable), but I think we need some refining on our gingerbread house skills.

Here is an example of what gingerbread kits can actually look like. (I stole your picture Wade, hope you don't mind, it was for a good cause)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Unwrapped

Christmas has come and gone once again. I think this Christmas was probably a pretty typical toddler Christmas. Sheer elation along with complete meltdowns. I think my family got their first glimpse at just how loud Will can scream.

For Christmas Eve we had our traditional Craig family Swedish dinner. The party was at my grandpa's house, and I first have to say how much I love this wallpaper in the bathroom. I'm normally not a fan of any wallpaper, but I'm not sure if you can get more awesome than this.

There were lots of cousins for the kids to play with and the food was great as always. I had the assignment to attempt the rice pudding. After some suggestions from Britta, I think it turned out pretty good. Even if it was a little past it's prime by the time we got around to dessert. Maiken's water was salted by Katy, but I'm not sure if she drank any after the attack, so it may have gone unnoticed. Hey, if the prank is still going even though we are 30 yr olds, I don't see it stopping anytime soon. I attempted to get some pictures of the kids in front of the tree, it was an ordeal.

This was the result of me asking them to stand next to each other. Fine, then we will try them apart.

Christmas morning opening of presents. I took some videos of Will opening his presents, but I guess I had my camera turned sideways the whole time. So I need to figure out how to fix that. Will's big presents were a fire truck (thanks to special Santa who looks a lot like my boss), a fireman dress up and a food/cooking set. I was most excited about the fireman dress up because Will has been playing fireman a lot and using a rubber snake as his firehose. I specifically looked for a set with a fire hose and thought it would be a hit. I didn't think that he would throw a tantrum and shut himself in the bathroom because you can't put real water in the fire hose. A snake, that's fine to pretend with, but none of these fake hoses.

The highlight of the morning was being able to talk to Britta, Tom and Ella on video phone. Ella was very excited to be on the camera and it made it a little easier to not have them here. The present unwrapping ended with another meltdown from Will. What do you mean there aren't anymore presents? And how dare Lucia want to touch my presents!

Oven pancakes for breakfast and then home for a much needed break and nap. Back to mom and dad's for dinner. Stayed up late watching Wall-E. Decided I didn't want to brave the blizzard so we stayed over for one more night. This time I got to sleep in Alex's king size bed. Very comfy, and it's amazing that even though Will was sleeping in his usual horizontal position, I had more than 2 ft to spread out in.

Overall a good Christmas. I'm glad Keeley, Will and Alex were all able to come up, but still wished the whole fam could have been there. I missed seeing the Van Wagner clan, Will and I will have to come in the next week to see everyone. Hope everyone had a good Christmas, on to the next adventure.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Encouraging Words

Just now as I'm getting Will dressed for our Christmas Eve Party.

Will: Mommy, I think you have something on your eye
Me: Yeah, it's makeup
Will: No, I think your eye has an owie

Guess it's a good thing, or an obvious thing that I don't "dress up" that often.

Sad Day

My Pampered Chef cookie sheet just slid out of the drainer and shattered on the floor. I know in the realm of things it's just a possession and a thing, but man I'm bummed. Anyone who owns anything from Pampered Chef will understand when I say that my pan was black. It was well seasoned from years of use and was the best cookie sheet I have ever used. Even if I get a new one, which I will, it will take years to get it to that perfect state. Without hesitation I can say that it was my favorite cooking item I own, and I own a few. Stupid drainer. I was washing it so that I could use it to make some Armenian bread for our Christmas Eve party. I guess I will have to settle for just a plain old metal cookie sheet now...

Video Star

The other day Will and I were sitting on the couch and Will said he wanted to tell me stories. Of course they never repeat it as well when you bother to get out the camera. But here is Will telling me a story about his lost cars. I can't get over how he says "lost" right now, his pronunciation of "helicopter" is pretty cute too. (I swear I was holding the camera perfectly still)

Here is Will singing Hush Little Baby to me. I think he only remembers one line, and it's the one line he has always been most interested in.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Hope

So I think my new year's resolution is going to be more honest with myself. I'm going to try to not hide behind my fear that others won't like me if I say or do something that they don't agree with. I don't like having to pretend that I don't feel a certain way about something, or that my opinion has any less value. So with that, here it goes. I know that many people that will read this don't agree with me on this issue, but these are my feelings.

I purposely haven't delved into politics on my blog or brought up certain issues, but this is one that I just feel too strongly about to not mention. I can't tell you how hurt I was that Proposition 8 passed this last election. Not mad or angry, but hurt for what I think it says about our society. I came across this video and it really touched me because he brings up a lot of points that I happen to believe in very strongly. So I will leave the rest to him.

This topic also makes me think of my favorite song right now, I Hope by the Dixie Chicks. This is my favorite part:

Our children are watching us
They put their trust in us
They're gonna be like us
So let's learn from our history
And do it differently

Our children are watching us
They put their trust in us
They're gonna be like us
It's okay for us to disagree
We can work it out lovingly

(they didn't do a video for the song and this was the best I could find, although I think it is a little distracting for listening to the words which I love)

They have another song, More Love that I think hits on a lot of the same points. I know a lot of people would say this is naive, but I whole heartedly feel that we would have a lot less problems if everyone just had more love towards other people. The golden rule really is a great rule. I don't think very many people really live by it. I'll admit it's hard to do, it requires not always putting yourself above others. It requires being able to give up something of yourself for the good of someone else. And isn't that what love really is about? Not giving up who you are, but being able to sacrifice something because of the greater benefit it will be to someone else.

I'll admit I haven't been in the "Christmas Spirit" this year. But I do hope for better times.

I hope
For more love, for joy and laughter
I hope
We'll have more than we'll ever need
I hope
We'll have more happy ever afters
I hope
And we can all live more fearlessly
And we can lose all our pain and misery
I hope, I hope

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Very Helpful

Will's latest thing to ask me is "What I could do for you Mommy?" It is very sweet but usually followed by me saying something like, "You could go pick up your toys." Which is followed by Will tilting his head a little to the side, slightly shaking it and responding with, "No, what else I could do for you?"

Shoes and Snow

So anyone who knows me very well probably knows I have some issues with shoes. My sister Britta has the typical girl shoe fetish which I am lacking. Of course it helps that she has size 5 feet and so anything looks cute on her. I on the other hand have feet that nothing fits. Some of my worst memories as a kid involve trying to find shoes. It was never a one store or even one day process. I have wide feet but narrow heals, which they don't design shoes for. Plus I think I have claustrophobic toes, they don't like to be confined. This translates to other areas including the fact that I can't sleep in a sleeping bag if it is zipped up. My feet are also my thermostat and I need to be able to wiggle them out if I'm too hot and then pull them back in when my ideal temperature has been reached.

Enter my fondness for flip flops. In high school it started with my Kmart Birkenstock knockoffs. I'm pretty sure I wore them 98% of the time, even in the winter. And socks and any kind of sandals don't go together, just so you know. This did lead to some interesting experiences such as being at a dance at Springville High School and my friends and I all wanting to go home early. Of course this was before the days of cell phones and I don't remember if there wasn't a pay phone around, or if we just didn't have any money, but it was decided that we should walk up the hill behind the school to where my grandparents lived and call my dad to come pick us up early. For some reason we decided that it would be much quicker to walk across the football field even though there were a couple of inches of snow on it. And of course I was wearing my Birknocks, but trudging away we went.

I have matured since high school and now break out my one pair of closed toe shoes when there is fresh snow on the ground, but that is the only time I venture from the flip flops. I do have a few theories about sticking with the flip flops, besides the comfort of them. When it's raining flip flops are by far the best thing to be wearing, unless you want to wear rubber boots all day. Yes your feet get wet, but they dry much faster than shoes would. So you don't have to spend the rest of the day with wet shoes and socks. Same goes for it being cold outside. I feel like my shoes get cold and take a really long time to warm up, meaning my feet stay cold. Unlike wearing flip flops were my feet are cold if I’m outside for an extended period of time, but warm up very fast once going inside. Of course both of these points could have something to do with the fact that the one pair of shoes I own have several holes and cracks in them. I've been looking, trust me, but I just can't find a suitable replacement for the Super Girl shoes.

It seems that Will has followed in my fondness for being shoeless. I'm lucky if we get to the store before he has taken his shoes off in the car. And the first thing he does when we get home is take off his shoes. Of course he follows that immediately with his pants, which did not come from me. When my sisters and I were growing up we used to run around outside on the road to toughen up our feet at the beginning of the summer so we didn't have to wear shoes outside. Of course the down side to only wearing flip flops is that my feet are definitely not touchable soft, and usually look like I have been walking around without shoes on.

So I finally had to break out the Super Girls this week because of the snow, another reason I hate snow. On Tuesday I was dropping off Will at Pat's apartment. As we were walking up the steps he looked down at my feet and said, "Mommy, whose shoes are those? Are you wearing aunt Alex's shoes?" I guess he has noticed my preference too. On Wednesday my quirk also made an appearance at the work Christmas Party Jeopardy game. Sadly, because of the snow I was not holding very true to the statement and was not wearing my flip flops even though it was winter. It’s probably the one thing I get the most comments on, even from strangers. I don’t foresee this changing anytime soon, so here’s looking forward to more flip flop wearable days.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Megan and Scott put up a Cuteness Throwdown on their blog. Now being the kind of person who wishes that everything could end in a tie, I'm just going to post some pictures that I think are pretty damn cute. And after the Art City Days Baby Contest experience, I swore I would never enter Will in an official contest again. And Scott is very talented, so I consider this official. Unfortunately all of our videos of Will are still stuck on the tapes they were recorded on, and I don't really know how to get them on the computer. Maybe someday. For now, just some random cuteness.

I will mention though that Target thought this last picture was cute enough to be added to their display book. He ended up having the pictures from his Easter photo shoot added to the book too. After that it's gone down hill. Toddlers who won't sit still for photo's usually don't get added to the book.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I’m taking inspiration from Wade’s short stories, which I love to read. Although I’ve never been very good at the “short” story. So I’m basing my format off of This American Life which is by far my favorite thing to listen to on the radio. Each week they pick a theme and then present three acts on that theme. Think of each act as a chapter you can stop at in case you get bored. I'm sure most of my installments will be stories the majority of you have heard before, I like to tell my stories. I’m thinking of this more as my online diary documentation of them.

Here it goes,

Ramblings Installment 1:

Charity Chauffeur

This week’s theme is based off of my last post. Another instance that I feel I am a charity target is the “ride” somewhere.

Act 1:

It’s 1997. I’ve been living on my own in Ogden for about six months going to Weber State. I stop at my bank just off campus in my newly acquired purple VW Bug. (Thanks dad!) As I’m getting money out of the walk-up ATM four teenagers all with skateboards come walking up to me. Not exactly the place you want groups of people approaching you, but they didn’t put off any scary vibes. They just came right out with their request and asked if I could give them a ride home. As someone with some social anxieties, I have no idea how someone could just walk up to a stranger and ask them for a ride. I think I tried to come up with some excuse and the kids could sense that and started into their pleading. I don’t really remember how the exchange went, but soon enough they were all piling into my car, skateboards in hand. I ended up driving them about two miles till we arrived at the entrance of a very high-end gated community. I couldn’t enter, so I left them at the gate. They all piled out gave a sort of half-hearted thanks and rode off on their skateboards.

The first thing that entered my mind was that if all these kids live in this upscale community, I’m pretty sure they could have found one of their parents that could have given them a ride. Maybe it’s a stereotype but I figured most of them probably had stay at home moms. Of course those were the days before cell phones, and maybe none of them had a quarter to spare. So not really anything exciting with the experience I just thought it was sort of weird that they just came and asked me for a ride. Maybe because it was such an uneventful ride, it set me up to be more vulnerable in the future.

Act II:

Jump ahead to sometime between 2001-2003, don’t really remember exactly. Pat and I have moved to Payson because of a new job he got in Provo. I’m working at my current job and while on my way home noticed that one of my tires was a little flat. I know that Chevron’s have free air, so I pull in. As I’m filling my tires a guy probably in his 40’s approaches me from the payphone. He has a thick Middle Eastern accent so I assume right away that he is not from around here. He asks me if I know how he can catch a cab, definitely not from around here. I tell him that you can’t just catch a cab you actually have to call and make a reservation. He tells me that he called a company in the phone book but they said they wouldn’t take him as far as where he needs to go. He asks if there is any chance that I am going south and could give him and his brother a ride. Again, I lack the ability to lie so I tell them I am going south and ask where they are going. He tells me that they need to pick up their car that was just fixed and it is in Payson. Damnit! I tell him that I am going to Payson and will give them a ride. Oh, yeah, well they have a rental car and they need to return it before 6 p.m. so can I follow them in the rental, let them drop it off, and then take them to Payson? Sure, what the hell. Of course the rental place ends up being in North Orem, so let’s just add to the wonderful time we are going to spend together.

I follow them to the rental place and then they tell me that they have a few things they need to put in my trunk. I’m not exactly sure what the deal is with me and the trunk, other than I just seem to feel the need to hang onto all the crap in my life, but if something gets put in the trunk, it ends up staying there for a very, very long time. And it just so happens that on that day I am taking home a mannequin torso that my little sister Keeley let me borrow to display some new soccer uniforms at work. Why my sister has a mannequin torso is another story, unless you know Keeley. So I have even less room in my car than usual. It ends up that they have about 100 cell phone boxes along with all sorts of accessories for about that many phones. We put as much stuff as we can in the trunk, not much, try shoving stuff around the mannequin, but the one brother sitting in the back seat ended up holding piles of cell phone boxes that covered almost his entire body. I don’t think he said a word the entire trip. I’m not sure if it was because he was shy, didn’t speak English, or just couldn’t breathe. The brother sitting up front with me had no problems talking.

He did first say that I needed to call someone and let them know that I was giving someone a ride and that I would be late so that they wouldn’t worry. He then asked about the Evil Eye I had hanging from my rear-view mirror. I told them that my father-in-law had brought it back from Turkey where he was stationed in the Air Force. I started to tell them the significance of the Evil Eye when he went off on a tale about it. He proceeded to tell me that he was from Bulgaria and why Bulgarians hate Turkey and what an evil place it is along with anyone from there. He also told me how he and his brother had come to America to try and make some money for their families. They were on a road trip from California selling cell phone supplies to different businesses when their car broke down in Payson. He started asking me about all different kinds of cell phone accessories and if I owned them. I assumed that he was going to try and sell me something so I kept telling him I already had one of those. I later found out he just wanted to give me something for the ride.

When we finally reached their car in Payson the guy offered me $40. After hearing the story about trying to make a living to send back to his family I felt too guilty to take any money. I told him that I was fine and had been going that way anyways. He asked if I like sunflower seeds. I thought that was weird but told him that my husband loved sunflower seeds. He proceeded to open the trunk of his car and pulled out an entire grocery bag full of unsalted sunflower seeds and handed the bag over. Not exactly what I had in mind, but if it made him feel like he paid me back, I’ll take it. He then pulled out another grocery bag full of homemade trail mix. Ok, not sure what I’m going to do with this, but alright. I felt bad because it seemed like they gave me their entire trips worth of road snacks, but I could tell the guy felt better about leaving me with something. I helped unbury the brother from the backseat and load up their cell phone haul and off they went.

Act III:

Jump back to early 1999. Not sure how Act II even happened after experiencing this next chapter. And if this instance didn’t stop me from giving random strangers rides against my better judgment, I don’t know if anything will. It was the first year Pat and I were married and we were living in Roy. I was the department manager of fabrics at Walmart in Riverdale, exciting I know. It was our yearly inventory which meant a 20 hour day at work the night before followed by three hours to go home, and then back at work at 6 a.m.

I go out to my car to find that a horrible ice storm had hit. There was about a ½ inch of ice plastered to my car. After about ½ hour of the defrost and chipping away at the ice I was able to see out of enough patches to feel that I could make it home. It’s 3:00 a.m. and luckily the roads are empty. The sheets of ice covering everything would have been bad enough, except now there is a wind that is blowing up snow and blowing it horizontally across the road making it almost impossible to drive. About half way home I notice a car pulled over to the side of the road with it’s flashers on. About a block ahead I notice someone walking along the road. There is a gas station about another block ahead and I figure the person broke down and was walking to the gas station. I figure that I might as well offer the person a ride assuming it will be a very short one, but no one should have been out walking in that weather.

Before I can even start to pull over to see if the person wants a ride, the lady walks out into the middle of the road flailing her arms to make sure I stop. I feel a little safer when I realize it’s a woman. I pull up next to her, unroll my window and ask if I can help. She asks for a ride and I tell her to get in. I start driving towards the gas station assuming that is where she is going and then the whiff of alcohol drifts over. I don’t think I had ever smelled someone that had reeked that bad, at least not since the bums that hung around the bar outside the reservation in Nevada. She tells me that she is lost.

It ends up that was not her car a ways back. Her friend had dropped her off at the gas station because they got in a fight and now she couldn’t figure out how to get home. I asked where she lived and she told me she didn’t know but she knew it was a trailer park. There is only one trailer park in the area so I figured I knew where she was talking about. I described it a little and she said that yes that was where she lived. I drove the very slow drive back the other direction and to the other side of town. I was trying to breath through my mouth because I could not handle the smell. The lady alternated between crying and yelling about this fight she and her friend had and how upset she was that they left her at the gas station. We finally made it to the trailer park and drove slowly around until she found a trailer that she said looked familiar.

As soon as she got out I had the very strong desire to drive off as fast as I could, but I waited to see if she was able to get inside. She came back to the car and said that it was locked and she couldn't find her key. Again I felt the need to just drive off and forget about her, but I couldn’t. She asked if I could help open a window in the back so she could climb in that way. Holy Crap NO I did not want to help her! But instead of saying that, I found myself trudging through the drifting snow to the back of the trailer.

I help her take a screen off and then tried sliding open the window. I told her that it felt like there was something blocking the window. She said that she forgot there was a large dresser blocking the window. I figured that was a result of the alcohol and asked if there was someone I could go call for her. She said no, but that if I could help her move this ladder to the front of the trailer she might be able to get in the kitchen window. Again, I resisted the urge to run to my warm car and leave her to fend for herself and picked up an end of the ladder and helped her around to the front. When I saw the window she was going to try I knew immediately that this was not going to work. First it was high, second it was small, third it had metal louvers on it.

Not knowing what else to do, I held the bottom of the ladder while she climbed up. She tried adjusting the louvers to try and open the window inside. It was pretty easy to tell that only a small child would have fit though them, but I let her try. The next thing I know I hear breaking glass and the metal louvers bend in half from her weight. Great. The lady climbs down and starts getting hysterical about how Susie is going to kill her. She couldn’t believe that she broke Susie’s window, and now she was going to kill her. Who’s window? Wait, this isn’t your house! I just helped some crazy lady try to break into someone else’s house! And this is the girl that can’t go in the exit doors at Walmart and now I'm an accomplice to a crime! I’m holding the ladder for someone who just broke Susie’s window.

I try to plead with the lady to just let me take her to the police station, they will be able to help find her friends and give her a warm place to stay. She is very adamant about not going to the police. She says she will just wait on the porch till her friends get home. Not knowing what else I can do I finally go to leave. I get in my car but know that if I leave this lady here she is going to freeze to death. I start looking around in the car for something to give her and find a blanket I keep in the trunk for emergencies. I go back to the lady sitting on the porch, give her my blanket and gloves. I drive off feeling a mix of emotions. Guilt for feeling like I wish I could have done more, Fear that she is going to die waiting on that porch, Guilt for being a conspirator to home robbery, Regret for just not being able to drive past her or say no. I get home and call the police. I tell them that I had given a drunk lady a ride to a trailer home, I couldn’t remember the number, but that she was locked out and I was afraid she was going to freeze to death. I figured the whole attempted breaking and entering details could be sorted out later.

To this day when ever there is a bad winter storm I think about that lady. I wonder what happened to her. And as much as she is the reason I wish I could say no to people, she is also the reason I don’t say no.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Charity Guilt

I just got back from Walmart. While loading my stuff into my car a girl who looked to be in her early 20's came over and said that she had to drive down here from American Fork to pick up a prescription, and now was out of gas. She said she needed $12 to get home. For some reason I think I am the perfect target for people on this kind of thing. I have yet to go a year where at Christmas time someone approaches me in a parking lot and gives me the same kind of story. The problem I have is that for some reason I lack the ability to lie to someone face to face. Sometimes I think that is a good thing, but in cases like this I feel that it leaves me vulnerable. I rarely carry cash and so I always say I'll check but I'm not sure if I have anything, always hoping that I will open my wallet and see it empty. For some reason, they always catch me on the rare occasion that I do have cash. So when I opened my wallet today and saw a $10 bill I gave it to her. She did ask for my phone number so that she could try and pay me back, but if it is a scam the last thing I want her to have is my phone number. So I just told her Merry Christmas.

The problem is that as soon as I got in my car, that is when I start replaying it in my mind. $12 to get back to American Fork? Pretty sure you could get there on $2 in gas. I then noticed that the first thing she did was go back to her truck and call someone. She didn't really seemed stressed or bothered the way I would be if I was in that situation. And she didn't seem in any hurry to leave. I drove away slowly watching her and I had the feeling she was waiting for me to leave and then was going to go ask someone else the same thing.

Two years ago I had the same type of situation in Provo. I actually really did believe the guy until I saw him approach someone else even after I have given him more than enough money to get where he said he was going. I watched several episodes of Intervention where drug addicts have used the same type of story on people to get drug money. So maybe now I'm just jaded. Although not enough that I feel I can say no to someone in person. So do I feel jipped that they talked me out of $10 or do I just figure that no matter what the reason was, they needed the money more than I do.


While running errands today Will and I stopped by our landlords to pay rent. When I told Will what I was doing he said, "I want to pay some rent too Mommy." I am documenting this and will print it out and give it to him on his 18th birthday.