Friday, November 28, 2008

My First 'Real' Black Friday Experience

Today, for the first time in my illustrious shopping career, I truly participated in Black Friday. I have been shopping the day after Thanksgiving before, but not until late in the morning when the crowds have died down.

This morning, in the freezing cold pitch black, Jen and I made our way to Wal-Mart at 4:30 am. We were on a mission. Al has been wanting a laptop forever and we found a fabulous deal in a Wal-Mart ad. The nice Wal-Mart employees in Minnesota let us wait inside for the madness to start, instead of freezing in a line outside. Wal-Mart was already wall to wall people and Jen and I grabbed a cart and sped back to electronics. We quickly ditched the cart when we saw how impossible it was going to be to maneuver our way around. There were towers, row after row, of electronics wrapped in black plastic, stacked on palettes, waiting for the 5 o'clock go-ahead to reveal what was inside. Jen and I elbowed our way through the crowds, trying to spot where the laptops were hidden. We decided to divide and conquer, keeping in touch over our cell phones. Jen finally got the 'in' on the laptops and discovered that they were being handed out only at the electronics register. They were being safely kept behind the counter. So she held a spot in the chaos that was considered to be the 'line' and I waded through carts and people and finally spotted Jen. It was very close quarters there and I found myself sandwiched between a guy reeking of B.O. and a family emitting some kind of cabbage/B.O. combo scent. It was a little much for me at 4:45 in the morning and I tried super hard not to gag. You girls who are pregnant, or who have been pregnant, know what that heightened sense of smell is like...

5 am finally rolled around and the electronics were flying off the shelf. The mass of people closed in and I fought to hold my ground. Jen could see that I was capable of handling the situation and so she ran off to get her V-smile travel/gameboy type things. It was finally my turn at the register and I was able to get the laptop for Al!! They asked if I wanted the 2-year warranty thingy and I buckled and said okay. I wasn't prepared for that question and so Al and I hadn't discussed whether it was a good thing or not. I blame the decision purely on waking up at 4 and having to inhale cabbage B.O. Luckily it didn't add very much to the total.

I took off with the laptop and found Jen and we headed to the mile-long line. We grabbed a few things as we went (tupperware for Jen, a crock-pot for me for my birthday) and reached the end of the line. Al texted me at this point, wanting to know if I had gotten his laptop. I replied that I had, but that he owed me huge! There I was, almost 4 months pregnant, elbowing my way through in my sweats and no make-up, in the middle of thei night, chomping on pretzels trying to stave off hunger. But it was all so exciting!! I love getting good deals. Happy Med-school graduation to Al!!

The person in front of me in line got a text message from her friend that said, "Black Friday! Yes we can!!" I got a good laugh out of that one.

The line to check out was ridiculous, but Jen is a wonderful partner in crime and she scouted out a great spot for us in a different part of the store and we were able to make it out pretty quickly. We jumped in the car and headed to Target to get some more cheap stuff. Then we were off to Jo-Ann fabrics. Jo-Ann fabrics was insanely busy as well. No joke, people had 30+ bolts of fabric in their cart, some people taking up two carts with all of their bolts. And they weren't just buying a yard here and a yard there. We are talking 5-10 yards of each flannel and fleece that was in their cart. Jen was just going along for the ride at Jo-Anns as I ran around gathering the flannels I needed to make two baby blankets. I needed 12 different fabrics, but just 1 yard of each fabric. We could tell that the wait was going to be insane. My number was H 17 and when we got there they were on G 17. We had to wait for all the way through G 99 before they even got to the H's. We knew we were in trouble when we had been there an hour and they had only gone through about 20 numbers. I found myself multiple times wishing they would just let me cut the fabric myself at one of the free stations and I heard lots of other women muttering the same sentiment. Jen decided to leave me in line so she could head to Gymboree to get in on their early bird special. We played phone tag so we could update each other. Jen got me an amazing deal on a fleece outfit for Avery while I plodded along in my line.

I finally decided to just drop the whole thing and just go to the express line, which was still an hour wait, and where you are limited to two fabrics. I decided I would just pick my favorite two and leave the rest behind. I was in that line for about 45 minutes, just one person ahead of me, when a manager came and informed me that I was in the wrong line. I told her my plan and she nodded and said that I could take my two fabrics back to another counter that they had opened up. I pushed my cart to the back corner of the store, which was pleasently empty. A nice looking older lady was waiting for me. I picked my two fabrics and placed my order. The lady eyed my full cart and asked if I wanted my other fabrics cut. I asked her if she would get in trouble and she said maybe, but she didn't care. I felt kinda guilty that I had somehow scammed the system, but was elated at the same time. I quickly handed the lady each bolt as she finished her cutting, waiting to get caught, but we didn't! When I was just down to two fabrics the manager ambled back to check on things. I have no doubt that she saw my mounting pile of fabrics, but she did not say a word. My new friend finished cutting my last two fabrics and I was off to wait in the check-out line. Before I left I thanked her profusely for her help. She was a life-saver! By the time I got in the check-out line I had been waiting for over 2 hours to have my number called and they were still just on G 63. It would have been another 2 hours if I had had to wait in the other line. It was all worth it when I found out that I had saved over $52 in fabric. I would have never been able to afford the blankets otherwise. Now I will be able to make two baby quilt/blankets for under $10 each.

After Jo-Ann Jen and I hit the Burger King drive-thru to finally get some breakfast. Then we headed to the mall to check out Ann Taylor Loft. After a little shopping there we headed home to show the boys our treasures. Al had tunnel-vision for the lap-top, as did Derek, and I don't think they came near to reaching the level of excitement that Jen and I did over our successes. I am still smiling over it all. Jen and I took some much needed naps and I now I am taking my turn on our new laptop, typing up this blog. What a day!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Avery has something she wants to say...

We are so excited to announce that we will have another addition to our family!! I am just a couple of days from finishing the first trimester. Today I had my second doctor's appointment and I got to hear our baby's heartbeat! I had an ultrasound 4 weeks ago and was able to see the baby moving around and see the heartbeat at that time. Everything looks/sounds great!!

I am hoping to avoid the Cholestasis this time around. It made for a miserable last trimester. I felt awful and the worrying was off the charts. Not to mention that I got to know my way around the hospital super well with my 3 appointments a week. But only time will tell if I get it again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't!! The only good thing is that if I do get it than the baby gets delivered 2-3 weeks before the due date, and I'm all for shortening a pregnancy ;)

Anyway, as for now the due date is May 22nd!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween in Minnesota

Here is a picture of my niece and nephews in Minnesota, or Derek and Jen's kids. It's Allison, Dylan and Ethan.

Aren't these costumes great?!? Jen made them all. I just look at Ethan and have to laugh. What a riot.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween in STL

Avery had a great Halloween. She's been asking for the last couple of weeks if she could go trick or treating. Anytime we would see some Halloween decorations on somebody's porch Avery would say, "Mom, can we go trick or treating?" I think it was a long wait for her :)

She absolutely loved her costume. I think she would wear it every day if I let her. And she loved getting to wear a little bit of make-up on her face. We had a ward trunk-or-treat on Thursday night. There weren't too many cars there, but Avery still had a great time. The ward had a table set up with hot chocolate, cider, and donuts. Al and I took Avery around to the cars and then she spent the rest of the night either chasing or being chased by Spiderman. Spiderman is her friend Kaysen.

Al took the day off from work on Friday (ha ha ha) and so we got to spend the whole day together. We ran some errands and just enjoyed being together. That night we had Melissia, Finn, and Mike (Melissia's dad. He's in our ward and Diana was out of town)over for dinner and then we all set out to go get some candy.

The kids loved trick or treating. Avery had a blast. She got so much candy I don't know what we are going to do with it. Not to mention that we bought too much for the trick-or-treaters and still had two unopened bags of candy when the night was over. Avery's little pumpkin full of candy got so heavy, but she was determined to carry it on her own until the very end. Then I finally convinced her to let me hold it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How About...

Monday Avery said some pretty funny things that put a big smile on my face and I've been meaning to write about it.

We were getting ready for the day and after I had gotten Avery ready I told her that I just needed to get dressed and then we could go. Avery said, "How about you wear that Mickey Mouse shirt mom?" The Micky Mouse shirt is this ratty old t-shirt that I have had for years...I'm thinking it is probably 8-10 years old. I got it when my family and I went to Disneyland years ago. So I kind of said, "Well, how about I wear something else..." I headed to the closet and started looking for something and Avery piped up again, "How about that Mickey Mouse shirt mom?" I kind of put her off again and got dressed in something else. We left for the day to run our errands. When we got home Avery took a nap and after she woke up I went and changed into the Mickey Mouse shirt. Avery said, "Mom! It's your Mickey Mouse shirt!" I guess it's her favorite shirt of mine. She commented on it for the rest of the day.

Later that night I turned on the TV to watch Dancing With the Stars. I am a junkie. It's at that time every week that Al disappears upstairs and Avery and I snuggle up together to watch. This week when I turned on the TV Avery exclaimed, "Mom! It's time for Dancing with the Stars!!" then she went to her dress up clothes and got herself decked out in her purple tutu that Grandma Louona gave her for Christmas last year so that she could watch the show in style. Sometimes she will do her own dance, or try to mimic the other dancers. It's pretty cute.

On this same day when we got home from running our errands I had to park in front of our townhouse. Usually there are other cars there and I have to parallel park. But that day there were no other cars around and so I just pulled up to the curb. I put the car in park and turned it off. I was getting ready to hop out when Avery called from the back, "Now, how about you go backwards a little bit!" I thought, sure, why not. So I started the car up again and threw the car into reverse and backed up a few feet. I looked back at Avery and she was grinning from ear to ear.

I guess the thing I learned from Monday is that it is definitely the little things that count. Avery got so much enjoyment out of these little events. And it was fun for me to see her so happy over such everyday things. She really enjoys life. She's just such a sweet girl.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Little Ladybug

Avery had her picture taken today in her Halloween costume. I LOVE her costume this year. Avery absolutely loves it too. She was downright giddy when I put it on her. These are just a few shots I took before we went into the studio. I am excited to get the professional pictures back :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Do

When we were in Utah I bought a pack of spongy rollers because I wasn't quite sure what to do with Avery's hair for the wedding. I didn't have time to experiment before the big event and so I ended up using a curling iron.

Well, Avery has been asking for weeks to use these rollers. I kind of forget about them until she brings it up again. And so last night I got them out and I put them in Avery's hair. She was so excited to have the rollers in and kept running to look in the mirror.

Avery and I were both looking forward to seeing the results this morning. I couldn't wait to take the rollers off to see some pretty little ringlets. As soon as I started unrolling I could see that Avery's hair took very well to the rollers. I could not stop laughing at how tight the curls were. I finally got all of the rollers out and told Avery to run look in the mirror again. I watched her run off, the curls bouncing behind her. She just grinned and said, "I have curly hair Mommy! It's so curly!"

I kind of tried to comb through it a little bit, to loosen things up, but they just sprung right back to her head. We went to Target today and some lady goes, "Oh, just look at those beautiful curls!!" I had to try really hard not to start laughing again. It's not that I necessarily think it looks's just so much more curly than I expected. So next time I think I will use the much bigger rollers and see what happens.

P.S. Several hours after taking the rollers out the curls are still as springy as ever.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pumpkin Donuts

After dinner tonight we made pumpkin donuts. They were super easy and a lot of fun. I mixed and melted the orange icing and poured it over the donuts. Then after they cooled Avery told Al what faces she wanted on the pumpkins and Al put the finishing touches on. I think Avery's favorite one is the pirate pumpkin. AARGH!

Ready to Run

Here's Avery in her sweatsuit. It's in this season's hottest color-plum. I think Avery's more on top of things than I am. She loves the soft 'fuzzy' outfit and I think she'd wear it everyday if I'd let her. I love the ruffles on the front and the velvet trim on the hood. So cute!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Little Bi-Lingual Child

So today Avery was trying to open a bag that was holding her foam alphabet and numbers. I had tied it up pretty well because I hate when they spill out everywhere. Avery was giving it a few good tugs and then she called out "Help me! Help me!" And then a couple of seconds later, "Ayuda me! Ayuda me!" (forgive me if my spelling is off...I don't remember a whole lot of my high school Spanish).

I just looked at her like, what?!? And then I asked her to repeat what she said and she proudly said, "Ayuda me!" again. She's only watched Dora a handful of times, but apparantly that is enough to learn some Spanish.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Princess Avery

For the last several weeks Avery has been really into her dress-up clothes. She loves the sparkly tiaras, fancy dresses, high heels, wands, etc. So every day she gets dressed-up at least once, in some variation of her accessories, and prances around the house, fancying herself a princess or a fairy. She will even announce herself with a trumpet sound that she makes through her cheerleading megaphone and then will call out "Princess Avery!" She told me that she wants a trumpet...but I can only imagine the joyful sounds that would provide in our house.

When her friend Em comes over to play it is for certain that they will spend the whole time decked out. Avery is really good about taking turns and sharing the favorite items (a certain pair of shoes, the butterfly wings).

Another favorite ensemble is the pirate hat that my mom bought her while we were in Utah and her foam pirate sword. Al dresses up as a pirate too (ties a t-shirt on his head) and he and Avery take a ride on the pirate ship (our bed) and watch out for whales. Yesterday Avery told the librarian that she was a pirate (she wasn't wearing her pirate get-up) and then followed through with a hearty, "AARGH!!" She also likes to break into "Yo-ho Yo-ho a pirate's life for me!"

I love the dress-up clothes and am excited to add on to them over the years. I think they are a great source of creativity and entertainment. Plus it makes Al do stuff like tie a t-shirt on his head.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pouty Avery

Mostly for Uncle Jubie...but I think the picture is pretty dang cute.

Alice the Fairy

There is a book called Alice The Fairy, by David Shannon, and it is one of Avery's favorites. We have checked it out from the library 3 or 4 times now and it is one that we just need to make part of our home library. It is a book about a little girl that pretends she is a fairy and all of the neat tricks she can do. Actually it's really cute.

So the other night we made a crown like Alice the Fairy's. Avery wanted a green crown because green is her favorite color. And then I got out some of our crafty supplies and let Avery create her own crown. I did the cutting and stapling but Avery did everything else on her own. Well, I also applied glue to the pom poms and whatever else she was using but then she did all of the placement. I think she did a great job!!

And today she put on her butterfly wings and was waving her wand around, running back and forth across the family room saying, "I'm flying! I'm a fairy! I'm flying!" Very cute. Very imaginative.

Another Cake

I got hired to make a cake for a baby shower for someone in the ward. They wanted something simple. Here is the end result. I think it turned out pretty cute.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Morning After the Wedding

I had to include the pics of the morning after the wedding. Look how tired Al looks! I think that fatigue is from before the wedding though. The wedding was probably a break in pace from his usual grind. And then there's Avery eating some chocolate wedding cake for breakfast. We had SO much cake leftover. We brought home all of the Market Street cake and then the cake I made. My parents still had a ton when we left.

The Reception

I am mad at myself for not taking hardly any pictures at the reception! It was so beautiful. There were pictures and candles, limes, etc. everywhere! And I didn't get any pictures of us in our reception outfits, tuxes, or the kids all dolled up in their gowns and suits. The kids almost stole the show they were just so cute!

I thought the reception at Market Street was great. I didn't know they had that big courtyard in the back with the awning and all of the greenery. It was a really good atmosphere. The food was super too. We had a sit-down dinner at the beginning for all of the wedding guests and the food was fabulous. Then we had different food brought out for the reception and it was so pretty and really good too.

Al had a lot of fun hanging out with his friend and mission companion, Craig. And then he spent most of the night hanging out with his dad and his sister, Sarah. I was glad that they were able to catch up since Al was in SLC for less than 48 hours.

Cookies, Cake, and Jen

Well, here is a sample pic of the cookies that were out for favors. At the formal dinner we put a cookie at each place setting. Then for the reception we had a table set up and it was just a sea of cookies.

Speaking of sea of cookies...our house was a sea of cookies the couple of days before the wedding. We completely converted our dining room into the cookie room and Jen sealed it off from all possible access of the kids. I had been baking off and on for several days before the wedding and freezing them until the Monday before. That Monday we girls enforced a no make-up/no showering day and we sat around in our pajamas frosting all 288 of those. We listened to the Mama Mia soundtrack a few times and got in some good talking. Then in the afternoon we showered (still enforced no make-up) and treated ourselves to giant cheeseburgers and fries with fry sauce from Carl's Jr. It was fabulous.

The cake was a lot of fun to make. I did the baking on that Monday and then all of the frosting and decorating on Tuesday. We set up fans around the kitchen to make everything cool and it really helped the icing set.

A shout-out to Jen: Jen was amazing! My mom called her superwoman and I really think she might be. For the record, my own mom has never called me superwoman before. Jen was a huge help from day 1. I, without asking her, kind of took her on as a very valuable assistant in the cookie process. And when I was baking she was Avery's babysitter without my even asking her. We couldn't have done it all without Jen. I didn't get hardly any pictures of Jen! At the temple we were in all of the same pics and so I couldn't take any and then at the reception I was too busy to take hardly any pictures. So this is one of Jen and little Ethan in his cute brown suit.


These are pictures of me and my brothers, my dad and most of his brothers and sisters, and my mom with 4 of her 5 sisters and without her 1 brother.

Some things about these pictures: I love how in the one with my mom and her sisters there is a diet coke on the floor in the background. We love diet coke so much, almost like a sibling, so it's kind of fitting.

I'm not sure what I am doing in the picture of me and my brothers with Jessie. I am leaning in so close to Jessie. I'm hoping that the photographer was making me do that and that I wasn't just smothering Jessie. It was super windy all of a sudden at that point and my hair was in my face and my skirt kept doing a Marilyn Monroe and was blowing up in the air. Maybe I am just trying to control everything. I hope the professional photographer gets a better picture of me than this one :)

And although you can't see Daren's face in the picture of my dad with his siblings I have no doubt that the professional got them all in. It was just the angle I was at.


Here is Jessie and her mom, Jon and my mom, and both with each set of parents. Everybody looked really fantastic!

At The Temple

I apologize for the layout...our computer doesn't let you see the images you upload until you view it on the blog.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite pics from the wedding. I love how everybody is so happy and huggy (real word?) after a wedding. It was a great day! I don't think I've ever been so busy in my life, literally. Not even for my own wedding. This was a real whirlwind trip for me. As soon as we got to Utah it was straight shopping for a few days. My mom was trying to buy my outfit for the temple still and many of our other outfits needed finishing touches. We hit a snag when Allison and Avery got really sick for a couple of days. That meant staying at home and getting everybody better. Grandma 'Nette' stayed home and watched the kids fairly often while Jen and I ran out to do some of the errands. Then Derek called from Minnesota saying he was sick and we begged him not to bring any bugs with him...we already had enough!

About a week before the wedding Jessie got sick too. Then Jon. I don't think the rest of us have washed our hands so much, ever. I still have some OCD from the whole experience. In between all of this illness we threw a bridal shower for Jessie, went to the temple and hosted a dinner afterwards, had a birthday dinner for Jon, I made a wedding cake, I baked nearly 300 cookies to hand out as favors and my mom and Jen helped ice and bag, tie knots, etc. Thank-you to my mother-in-law, Louona, for the perfect labels!! We also ordered the the tuxes for the guys, got all of our hair done, manicures, pedicures,etc. We also managed to have a girl's night out and we all went and saw Mama Mia (it was a blast!).

I forgot that I was making a cookbook for Jon and Jessie for their wedding present. Well, I had typed up all of my recipes before I left for Utah, but then I forgot to print it out and put it all together. Luckily I was able to finish it while they were on their honeymoon.

Derek showed up still sick. By that time Dylan also had part of the illness and Ethan had been having symptoms off and on the whole trip. Jessie got better quick but Jon finally went to the doctor with Derek the day before the wedding and got on some antibiotics. I think we were all desperately praying that we would feel good for the big day.

The ceremony was beautiful and I remember way more from theirs than I do from my own (I sadly remember nothing of my own). It was very emotional. The sealer talked a lot about still dating your spouse after you are married, about how important it is to the relationship. The sealer said to have a date night at least once a week. I have reminded Al of that a few times since ;)

Jessie looked just gorgeous in her wedding dress. She really did. And I loved Jon's tux.

Anyway, I know this is a long post but I tried to condense it all down a lot. Jon and Jessie left a couple of days after the wedding for Puerto Rico and avoided all hurricanes. They are back now and all of my family is back to their homes. It's funny how your whole lives revolve around that one big day for so long and then it's over and you are back to 'real' life again.