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So, based on our stats, it appears as if a TON of people have been stopping by for any updates on my brother.  I’ll attempt to briefly explain the last few days of events.

Wednesday at about 3pm Chris disappeared from some of my parents’ friends house.  My parents were in Seattle together, and had left Chris with their friends while they were gone.  My mom first tried to call us at about 8pm to let us know he was gone, and niether of us had our phones near us, and so we didnt hear until we got about 4 emails between the two of us to call them. 

At about 11:30 our time we called my mom and she let us know he was gone, along with a few vague details.  I asked what they’d done, and up to that point, they had searched all over, and filed a missing person’s report.  I guess the police up there are reluctant to do a whole lot if its a first time run away child.  Reluctant doesnt even begin to describe it I learned.

Immediately Dave and I tried to think of things that we could do.  I called every TV station up there to see if they could air his picture and get it out there.  They are reluctant to air run away stories because of the frequency.  A few people were very willing to help, and gave me emails for the stations as well as let me know they needed a missing persons case number.  I called the local police up there and got a case # and spoke with an officer.  I was floored at his response.  He was very blase about the whole thing and not only insensitive, but told me that his own son does marijuana and runs around with druggie kids and dealers.  That its not uncommon to have drug use up there, and even less uncommon for these kids to run away.  I about lost it.  I let him know he was the most pathetic excuse of a police officer I’d ever seen, and he sounded like a hick.  That drugs, even marijuana, are a huge deal, and maybe if they made a bigger deal out of it, they wouldn’t have such a problem.  Needless to say, this adds another reason to never live in Oregon, much less Clackamas County.  I know my parents have enjoyed it there, but the trade off I’d feel for the lack of safety, in no way makes me feel like the pro’s are worth it.

After speaking to this guy, we continued to do everything we could think of.  Dave pulled a picture off of Chris’s facebook page and made a missing poster of sorts to send out to the media.  Dave emailed everyone that had commented on Chris facebook in the last few weeks and asked if they had any idea where he was.  We did everything we could think of, and then finally went to bed around 4am. 

The next morning, Dave got up and went to work around 7am.  My husband is amazing.  Even more amazing, that morning when I called him, he came straight home so that he could watch the girls while I tried to think of anything and everything I could to give us clues as to where he went.  The girls were largely by themselves watching TV that morning.  My sweet father in law came home to watch the girls before Dave got home, so that I could be calling and doing other things.  From 3 states away, we were able to really learn a lot about where a run away child would go in the Portland area!

Dave watched the girls the remainder of Thursday and frequently came  in to see who I was talking to, or to give ideas of other things to try and do that my parents nor I had thought of.  When he put the girls down to bed, he came in and helped me.  Thursday night, we went to bed, again, around 4am.

Friday was another whirlwind.  I was in pretty much constant contact with my dad.  Anything that either of us could think of, that he would do if he was home, I did from the little office in  Dave’s parents house.   I seriously did not leave this office for about 10 hours straight every day that he was gone.   

I’m so grateful for modern technology because it allowed me to help out in ways I would not have been able to otherwise.  I’m so thankful for a sweet, supportive husband, who was as worried about Chris as I was.  But also for my father in law, Dale, who helped out by faxing posters to different places that did not have email addresses.  My in laws would come home every night, as well as call frequently through out the day, to see if there was anything they could do, or anything new that had happened.  In a lot of ways, its been such a blessing living here during this, because I’ve had the help I would not have had if we were living somewhere else. 

Chris was found at about 9pm local time on Friday night.  A reward had been put out, and that got the jaws wiggling of some of the delinquent kids that had helped hide him for 2 1/2 days.  He was found by a police officer and taken in, before being released to my parents a few hours later.  The police officer that found him was his Student Resource Officer, a guy who had really impressed me after talking to the first idiot.  This officer was completely concerned about Chris, and finding him and bringing him home.  I’m quite certain he probably was not on duty when he found him.

I’m just so glad he’s safe.  I hope now, he realizes that so many people love him.  That now, he should not be worrying about apologies to everyone, but getting the help he needs to get his life back together, and that getting it together would be the biggest apology and say more than anything he could portray in words.  So many people love him and want to see him succeed.

I’m so impressed by the friends and family we have.  Dave and I sent out emails to everyone we knew, and got so many responses back offering prayers and thoughts, and even people who had forwarded his picture on to anyone they knew in the area.  The response that we got to a simple email, was so overwhelming, and comforting as well.  Strangers that I spoke to in OR were willing to go past protocal and help in anyway they could.  Attendants at Greyhound bus stations were giving me their personal email addresses to send a missing flyer to so they could print it out and post it.  It was amazing, and kept me going.

Sometimes I think we underestimate the value of people.  I think we underestimate the need to have solid, healthy relationships in life.  Before I met Dave I really believed that I only could rely on myself and that I could make it through life on my own.  Dave and I fought a LOT when we were first together.  A lot of it was about family, but the things that only had to do with the two of us, were because I would not let him in.  Dave stood next to me and never left, no matter how many times I tried to push him away.  Believe you me, there were plenty.  He never left, and taught me that being able to count on someone, no matter what, is one of the best things a person can have.  I love being married to Dave, because I know that no matter what, we can face anything together and still come out on top. 

I’m so grateful for him and our relationship.  I’m so thankful for the Dad he is.  Last night when I came into bed, he and Charli were snuggled up together and the song “Butterfly Kisses” was playing on the iPod.  Tears came to my eyes as I realized how short everything in life is.  I love where we’re at right now.  Where our girls are still so young and the problems are relatively small.  I hope as they continue to grow they’ll always know that they can come to us for anything.  I hope home is a place they want to be, and want to come home to.  I know it won’t always be that way, but that when things get tough, they come there, and to us, not anyone or anything else.  Growing up is so hard, and I only hope that we ease that transition and facilitate the growth.

Lastly, I’d like to wish Chris a Happy Birthday.  Today my baby brother is 15.  I remember the first time time I held him in my arms.  I remember sharing a room with him when I was a kid, and waking up to his chubby little face and giggles.  I remember staying home to babysit him when he was little.  He’s such a funny kid with so many things going for him. 

Chris, we love you, Dave and I, and your nieces.  We hope that today is a good day and that you find something fun to do.  Please know that we’re always here for you and only want you to be happy and the best you can be.  Don’t forget all your plans and aspirations.  Have a Happy Birthday, and we hope this next year brings lots of smiles and good things.

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Today was a little more eventful than planned.

 

It started out like every other busy day.  (except for the snow, and the half hour late we left)  We all got up early to take Dave to work, and then had an appointment right after.  After the appointment we came home and played for a couple hours before Charli’s nap.  Nap time again, started out like every other day.  Tori watches Dora, or whatever else is on while Mommy puts Charli down.  I can normally get an hour nap or so and then Charli keeps napping for another couple hours.  Not today.

 

I put Charli down at 12:07 on our alarm clock. Everyday we go through a routine- before I go up I tell Tori,

 

“Tori, mommy’s going to put Charli down don’t answer the ?” 

 

“PHONE!”

 

“Or the the?”

 

“DOOR!”

 

She knows that if she ever has a problem to come up and get me.  I leave our bedroom door open, and seldom she’ll come in and lay down, but most of the time she’ll come in to ask for help, or enjoy some quiet, sister-free time by herself. 

 

Today, the only thing I heard was screaming, at 12:41.  Tori is a very vocal child, but not normally without reason.  Today was a combination of a hurt scream and a fear scream.  She would scream like she was scared, then alternate with shrills of pain.  It was not pleasant.  I thought she cut her finger on something and it was bleeding.  So while trying to figure out how to try and keep Charli asleep, and find out why Tori was so upset, she kept up the screaming and scrambled into our bedroom.  At this point, there was no keeping Charli asleep now. 

 

Tori continued to scream, “MY PANTS ARE HURTING ME!!!!  MY PANTS ARE GIVING ME OWIES!!!!!!”  All I got at first was her pants- so I just screamed back, “WELL THEN TAKE THEM OFF AND QUIT SCREAMING AT ME!!!!”  As she stripped down, she heaved sighs of relief and ran to the bathroom.  I ran after her and let her know I was upset that she’d woken Charli up.  In the bathroom, she still whimpered and cried and begged me to put lotion on her leg.  As I bent down to put some lotion on her leg, while still getting upset that she’d woken up Charli, I realized why the screaming and I started panicking!  There were welts ALL over her little thigh!  (Inset terrible feelings of guilt here). I asked her if there had been a spider in her pants and she replied negative.  I immediately told her to stay there and went to check her pants.  She’d left them in the middle of the floor between our bed and the door.  I stood at the door scanning the floor for a spider or something on the floor but saw nothing.  I picked her pants up and shook them, and nothing. 

 

As I dropped the pants, a bee came crawling out right where my hand had been!  For those of you who know me, I am not a bug person.  Not an animal person.  Not a reptile person.  Besides human beings, anything living I’m pretty much not a fan of.  I am allergic to the vast majority of things, and the rest- just not an enthusiast.  AT. ALL.  I’d rather run, make that BOLT, for the hills then get near anything.  Seriously… no joke here.

 

When that bee crawled out, I just about screamed myself.  There was Charli sitting on the bed, dazed because she’d just been woken up, completely unaware of this pissed off bee that I was sure was going to fly up and sting either one of us at any second.  I grabbed a towel, threw it on top of the bee, and jumped.  ALL. OVER. THAT. DAMNED. THING.  And just to be sure- I put our laundry basket on top of the towel, which was on top of the pants, and started jumping again.  I grabbed Charli, and closed the door and called Dave.

 

When I called Dave, I was panicked.  I assume if someone is allergic to bee stings they swell up like a blueberry within minutes, which thankfully, wasn’t happening.  Allergies run in my family, more specifically, through me, and so I had no idea other than what happens to me.  Thankfully it seemed Tori was alright, just really scared. 

 

From the few first aid classes I’ve taken, I remembered a baking soda paste that is supposed to help.  I took the girls downstairs, Tori still crying and her little leg all puffy, and she talked to Dave while I applied goo all over her leg.  We let it dry up a bit, and it peeled right off- amazingly enough, it seemed to peel away all the swelling!  The welts were about the size of peanuts, a couple being about twice that size, I’m assuming because there were two bites there.  As Tori was talking to Dave, he was relaying information he’d found on WebMD.  Apparently, wasps can also bite, not just sting, which I thought explained a lot considering there was about 5 welts total from the top of her knee, all the way up her thigh.  When we’d peeled off the baking soda, the biggest welt was now only about the size of a pencil tip.  (see picture… this was taken maybe an hour after the baking soda, you can BARELY see anything!)

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At this point, thankfully, Tori seemed to be no worse for the wear.  However, that stupid bee/wasp/devil creature was still upstairs looming under my one empty laundry basket.  It made a good excuse for not having laundry done though!  I had called Dave’s dad and told him and he said he’d come home to help me tape the door(more on that later), so I told Dave I’d just wait for his dad to come home and he could take care of the bee. Well, an hour passed by(its tax season people) and Dave mentioned that I should just go do it. 

 

Predictions of tonight ran through my head… in a bemused state I’d wake up wondering what was crawling all over me, only to realize that it was the bee I let go and didn’t kill and just as I’d come to the realization, the thing would crawl up my clothes and repeatedly bite and sting me, sending me flying out of bed in only my nighty all whilst scaring the bejeebies out of Dave and Charli, as well as waking up the rest of the house with my shrieks.  Ahhh, what a good pre-nightmare won’t do to a person.

 

I asked Dave what to do and he told me to catch it.  The thought of putting the bee through pain and suffering thrilled me at this point.  All the stress and anxiety from the afternoon, coupled with the fact my little girl hurt REALLY bad, yeah… it was enough.  So, I went upstairs and to my shock, the stupid thing was still alive!  I caught it in a jar, sealed it up and gave the thing a good shaking.  We kept the bee, and when it came time to go get Daddy I asked her if she wanted to take our new “friend” with us and show daddy.  I offered her the jar to which she replied with hands completely out to the sides, edging away, “I’m not touching that bee, YOU put it in your bag and take it to Daddy.”  Ah, like mother like daughter.  We agreed that he’d be better sitting on the counter.  After we finally got home I was sure the thing was dead.  It was on its back!  I gave it a good shake when all the sudden the wings went NUTS!  It was still alive after almost 12 hours in that jar!  Needless to say, his home is still in the jar on the counter, and I’m still having nightmares about this dead bee coming back to life and getting out, only to attack us midway through the night.

 

Who knows where the stupid thing came from?  Here’s my guess.  Dave’s parents’ back door is older.  From years of hell-frozen-over-Utah-winters and Death Valley hot summers, it has warped some, so that it’s fairly drafty and a small bug could crawl through to the inside.  Up until last week, there was tape covering the door, so the draft (and bugs) wouldn’t come through.  Why up until last week? 

 

Dave’s parents’ vacuum seems to have a thing for me.  Every time he and I get together, its chaos.  I swear. I only turn it on and off and run it along the floor to pick up cheerios, little crumbs, the odd booger… you know, normal stuff.  But I tell you, EVERYTIME I use that vacuum, the thing blows a gasket- literally.  The bag flies off the vacuum and spews crap everywhere.  Last week was a DOOZY.  I didn’t have my contacts in, and so when the bag flew off, I couldn’t find the switch to turn it off.  Well, it spewed and spewed and spewed till I swear it had to have been empty.  It was a nice day (finally) and all the crap in the air was making it hard for me to breath.  So, I conceded and opened the taped door and turned the fan on.  Big mistake, repercussions to come this week…

 

I really think that the bees started coming out of hibernation, or whatever they do for 6 months when it freezes over here.  It got fairly warm(50’s) for the last couple of weeks, only with the odd cold day.  The past few days have been windy and freezing!  We’ve had snow, and freezing rain and yuckness all around.  So, my theory is this bee got really miffed and came for a visit inside… Not sure how he chose Tori’s pant leg, but whatever.  Thankfully, grandpa came home, taped up the door again, and even measured and said something about replacing the door! 

 

The only other possible thing it could be, would be an egg from last summer.  Why last summer?  Rose had an eerily similar situation with some of Dave’s nephews… They threw rocks at a nest, and REALLY pissed off a lot of the bees.  They all had stings all over them, and even managed to bring some of them inside, underneath some clothing.  So, either those bees laid eggs that have amazingly long shelf (couch) lives, or else, the bees remember the house that pissed them off.  Either one, not likely, but the only other explanation for a bee in the house!

 

So, that’s the story of the bee, as witnessed by the Payne’s… at least Tori’s not allergic to bee stings (the same sentiment echoed last summer, though the boys provoked the little beggars… Tori did not!).  She was one tough little chick and only complained when I wanted her to put pants on.  She was sure there was another bee in her pants, poor girl!  After turning them inside out, she was alright, but has been on the bee lookout all night.  My favorite part was when she said, “MOM!  The bee was trying to eat my leg!  MY LEG IS NOT FOOD!  I need it to walk!!!!”  I assured her no bee was going to take her leg, and certainly he found out it was not food!  Here are some more pics!

 

(dead bee, or so we thought…)

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(three seconds later, with its butt in the air ready to sting!)

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Sweet Tori!  And Charli… charli was extremely concerned and kept clinging to Tori!  So SWEET!

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And one last one tonight… this is one of the American Idols from this season… can anyone guess who it is!?  We were at Target and Dave saw this doll and said, “Look who it is!”  Tammy and Emily can appreciate this! =)  G’night all!

 

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So, I have some fun times looking at our blog stats.  It gives me the names of other sites that link our page to theirs and how many times someone from that site views our blog.  It also gives me search engine results that have led people to our blog.  Today it was, “vicente fernandez impersonator”.  REALLY?  really?  I was pretty sure we’d made no mention of Mexico’s idol, but apparently something in our text leads google to think this blog is a fabulous reference point for him.  Must be Dave’s singing in the shower. 

Things have been really busy here.  My mom came out for 6 days and left yesterday.  It was a great visit with her, and its funny how much things have changed.  She still thinks she’s a mom per se, not only to me, but now to my kids.  Ahh the cycles of life.  It was pretty funny.  We had a GREAT time at the hotel she booked for the weekend.  Tori even taught Daddy how to swim!!!!!!!!  We took the girls to the pool the first night.  Tori was apprehensive to get in because there were six, yes SIX, obnoxious children whose mother was not paying attention to anything; gotta love Utah.   They were “just being kids” but there is a point when it gets out of control.  They had some pool toys that were airborn more than a few times at other people heads, furniture and fixtures etc…   Charli was so scared she screamed when we put her in the pool, so my mom walked around with her for most of the time.  The second night Dave went and got Tori some floatie wings and she swam around the whole pool!  Thankfully, we were the only ones there.  Both girls loved it!  Niether of them wanted to leave when we said it was time for dinner.  We had a picnic with Nana that night and both nights Tori got to sleep with Nana!  She was in heaven. 

Saturday afternoon we went outlet shopping in Park City.  IF we stay in Utah, I’ve told Dave thats where I’d like to live.  Salt Lake can just be so disgusting sometimes.  The people, the environment, the culture… all of it.  So, hopefully Dave will get in to the Master’s, and we’ll be out of Salt Lake in the next 5 years.

Speaking of the Master’s!  Dave put in his application about 4-5 weeks ago.  He finished his application, but unfortunately its not considered “complete” until your references email in their letter of recommendation.  One of his references took about a week before submitting the letter, so its only been about 4 weeks since completion.  They tell you you’ll have a reply in 4-6 weeks, in the mean time I’m going to go nuts waiting!  We’re hoping to hear back any day now!  I’m so excited and proud of Dave.  He’s such a great guy.  He tries his best in everything he does, and excels in so many areas of life.  He’s a great dad, a great husband, an excellant student, a “valuable asset” to his department at work, and the list could go on and on. 

Dave tries so hard every year for my birthday.  This year was no different.  I told him all I wanted was to be out of his parents house.  Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but not because he and I both havent been trying.  Since we’ve lived here, we have looked at over 100 places.  YEAH… thats a LOT.  There is always something that we can’t budge on, and the 3 that we’ve applied for have just not worked out.  We’re waiting to hear back on another one sometime this weekend, but there are also 3 applicants ahead of us.  While its frustrating, I know that there is something in store for us.  We just have to be patient.  Its really hard, especially when we do things differently than his family.  However, every single time an incident arises, Dave is always incredibly supportive of me and our family and our decisions. 

For my birthday, he went and got a cake, made me dinner, and gave me the piano bench he bought for the piano that is in the garage.  There was also a very obnoxious, but cute card that had to do with coconuts…  Unfortunately I’m not able to use the piano bench right now, but its really nice and hopefully when we get out of here, we won’t have to replace the piano.  Its been sitting in the garage all winter, where its been freezing, and water has come through from the outside.  I’m so frustrated with it being out there because I was so proud when we bought that piano!  It played well considering the age and condition it was in, and I miss being able to play.  Dave’s parents have a piano, but its more aesthetically pleasing than the music that comes out of it.  Dave’s dad refinished it, and its beautiful, but some of the keys don’t work and its out of tune. 

I feel like a chump for not writing a post about Dave for his birthday.  We were pretty busy that day and I have neglected the blog quite a bit.  Dave turned 28 on the 6th.  While he feels like an old man, I keep telling him and attempting to convince him that he’s not.  Considering the years that we’ve been together, he’s accomplished much and achieved a lot of goals in a short amount of time.  I’m so proud of him as a person.  When we met, he didnt have an opinion on most things, and never really took the time to care about himself.  He was always serving other people and making sure others were happy, at the expense of his own feelings.  It was frustrating to watch how his family treated him and the lack of consideration they had for his opinions and desires.  Its admirable to me how he’s able to always put himself second, but he has since learned that standing up for yourself and what you believe in, even if others don’t agree, is not selfish, but being true to who you are.  He is insanely generous and thoughtful, and takes great care of me and the girls.  He loves spending time with us and helping me teach the girls about life.  I’m so amazed at the balance he’s able to strike between work, school, family, and our marriage.  He supports me in everything and its refreshing to hear his view on life, our girls, and things in general, especially since I’m about the only one who ever gets to hear it.  We are so different, but so much the same as well.  I could not ask for someone better to buoy me up when things get crappy.  He’s amazing.  So, babe, Happy Belated Birthday.  When we get the heck out of here, we’ll really party down k?!  😉   I love you so much.

The girls are great too, if anyone is wondering!  Charli is such a climber and my mom was astonished at how fast she is!  The girl has no fear and loves to try and keep up with Tori.  Tori is growing by leaps and bounds.  Her eye condition has not changed at all, though her eyes thankfully have straightened out some on their own.  We are due for another checkup in a few months with her.  She has an extensive vocabulary and constantly amuses us with what she comes up with.  She’s a great big sister and takes care of Charli. 

Lastly, we are considering making this blog private.  It was originally set up just for my family and friends, but has since grown some, and while we have spam blockers on the comments, it still doesnt stop whackos from viewing our sweet family.  If you would like to be added to the list you’ll need to send me an email.  If you don’t have my email, leave a comment with the email that you can be contacted through.  Or find me or Dave on Facebook and email that way. (My FB uses both my maiden and married name, so make sure to search for at least my maiden)

We hope everyone is well and appreciate all the thoughts, prayers, emails, comments, and wishes for our birthdays, as well as Dave’s application for the Master’s and our ongoing search to find our own place.  Au Revoir!

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updates…

hello there everyone!  Thanks for stopping by… man, there are so many of you I can barely keep up! (kidding there…)

So a ton of people (ok like 5) have wished Dave luck on the GMAT and have subsequently asked how it went.  Well, the “unofficial” results are good!  Dave wishes he would have done better, but for not taking math in 10 years, I am impressed.  He had to make a 50 or above in the “quantitative” section and he made a 55 on the unofficial report.  I am proud of him that he’s actually finished it and applied for the Master’s.  Its funny cause there were once so many people who told him that if he quit school, he’d never go back and finish.  They were adament we were somehow screwing our lives up and “ruining” Dave’s future.  (and by we here, I really mean most of these hate-weilding people really meant ME)

 I’m sure that some of those people read this blog.  And you know what I say to them!?   Ok, so no one really wants to know what I say to them, but if you know me well enough then you can *probably* guess what I’d like to shout from the rooftops.  So, here’s to those people- guess what suckers- HE DID IT AND HE’S COMING BACK FOR MORE!  crack-a-lack-a-ding-dongs…   Pending Dave’s acception to the program, he will hold the highest degree in his family AND mine.  I guess to me, its kinda like all those people who are like, “I’m the first college graduate in my family”  Yeah well, Dave will be the first graduate school graduate in his and mine.  I’m extremely proud of him and really, its a little surreal, considering just last year I was still trying to convince him this was a good idea. 

Updates on the girls!!!  Charli is now walking, and has 4 teeth!  Her favorite things to say are “Whats/Who’s that!?” and “Mama mama”  I’d like to pretend that its cause she loves her mommy soooo much she just can’t get me off her mind, but really, she says it when we tell her “No no no no”  She thinks we’re saying “Mama mama ”  She’s pretty funny.  She loves Tori and tries to keep up to her in whatever they’re doing. 

Tori still thinks she’s 2.  We try to tell her, “No!  You’re THREE now!!!!!”  as excitedly as possible- but she says, “Nope, I was 3 on my birthday and now I’m two again”  Its pretty funny.  But, when you ask her to show you how many fingers she is, she’s got that down almost pat- 3 little fingers pop right up!  Recently, she decided that she like the taste of her tongue- OK, really, she fell off her stool in the bathroom and chomped right down on it.  It bled all over the place(I’ll spare those with weak stomachs any pictures) and it still looks like hamburger.  Tori is obsessed with touching it, which freaks me out cause who knows where that “super-virus” is lurking that kills kids in two days. 

Thats about all our updates.  I still miss Oklahoma and the (mostly) sincere, down to earth people that reside there.  I have a lot of people who still mean the world to me and I miss every day.  I know one day we’ll be rich though and I’ll be able to go home whenever I want!  AND I’ll be able to fly my family down too- family that I’ve never been able to get to know cause my parents always moved us around the country.   I miss you Carissa! (and Cam, Steff, Brooke, etc etc!)

Anyway, hopefully you and yours are doing well!  Check back later for updates on Dave’s application status!

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perfection

So, most of our days lately have been spent at home.  The air here is disgustingly filled with smog, so much so that it looks like you are driving through fog everywhere you go.  Its gross.  Its hard on my asthma, so we stay home a lot. 

At the mention of running errands Tori gets REALLY excited.  This morning I ran up to check an email that Dave sent me and all the sudden I hear, “MOM!!!! Charli and I are going to run errands ok!?”  She had asked and asked and asked me to go, but I told her we needed to get a few things done before we left.  I heard the familiar shrieks of glee from Charli so I came down to see what was going on.  They had both ran down the child gate we have up, and were BOTH on their way up the stairs.  I asked Tori who pushed the gate over(it takes a great deal of force, and Charli cannot do it by herself) and Tori proudly answered, “ME AND CHARLI MOM!”  Yeah right… you and Charli?   Victoria is a smart girl and has figured out that if it has “Charli” attached to it, she’s a heck of a lot less likely to be in trouble.  Smart kid.

Also this morning… breakfast is always hilarious around this joint.  For some reason Tori wakes up ready to go at full speed from the moment she opens her eyelids.  During the course of the day, she loses steam, but often the funniest things she says are in the morning hours.  The other day she came up to me and said, “Mom!  See this car!  Its Charli’s and it’s name is Putsy the Buttcracker!”   WHAT?!  Its name is WHAT?!  She comes up with the funniest things and today was no different.  On the yogurt we buy, there are little kids doing things.  One is skateboarding, another is doing heaven knows what, but they both looked like boys to her this morning.  She’s suddenly learned the difference between the two sexes… “MOM!  That is a boy!  I’m not a boy!  I’m a girl!  What is that boy doing on MY YOGURT?!”  (as if she’s never seen this yogurt before and has just had an epiphany of what this all means….)  “MOM!  I AM A GIRL!  BUT, my daddy- he’s a big boy!  My daddy, he’s a BIG BIG BOY!  He’s taller than that boy.”    And that was it.  I responded with “Yeah?”  and she said, “Yep!”, finished her yogurt and asked to watch “Yo GABBA GABBA!”  Pretty funny.

I love staying home with my girls.  Last night I couldn’t sleep and layed in bed thinking.  Sometimes I wish things would be less complicated.  It seems like our housing situation always has to be complicated, that Dave’s work and school always has to be intricately planned out and much effort is put into it all.  Sometimes, I just feel like its all too complicated and I wish it were simpler.  Last night I had a revelation of sorts.  Tori was pretty cranky cause we were out late doing some grocery shopping.  Most of the time, it makes me cranky too.  But last night I realized just how short it all is.  Its no big deal if she’s cranky once in a while, and I need to have more patience.  Its my fault for keeping her out later and not on her schedule.  So, when we went to brush her teeth, she let me do it, which never happens.  And while I was sitting there brushing her teeth, I realized how much I enjoy the monotany of it all.  I enjoy doing these small simple things that I don’t think twice about normally.  Believe it or not, I love changing Charli’s diaper-even if it is poopy.  Why?  Because it gives me some time to serve her and do something she is not able to do for herself.  I love helping Tori brush her teeth, and not just because I can have the satisfaction of knowing that all the “monsters” are really all gone.  I love doing all the small and simple things because it gives me a chance to really appreciate my two sweet girls and to recognize how lucky I am to be their mommy.  I realized that life is only as complicated as I make it.  It comes down to two simple things that are really one in the same:  service and love.  I serve my children because I love them, but love motivates pretty much everything we do in life.  I try and get the house looking as decent as possible, even though I fail miserably some days, because I love my in laws for letting us live here with them, and I know their house would not be messy if it werent for us.  I cook dinner, and a myriad of other things, because I love the people who enjoy the finished product.  I kiss bumps and bruises, and put the occassional band aid on because I love my girls and don’t ever want them to hurt.  I make up crazy songs in the car while one(or both) of them is screaming bloody murder because I love myself(and lets face it, them…. see previous post) enough to not lose my mind. 

And so I realized last night, in the dark of our bedroom, while I listened to my sweet baby cuddled up next to me snoring(ok, really, the duet of snores between Dave and Charli), that my life is perfect.  Its not perfect in the sense that I have everything I want, or that our bills are all paid and we don’t owe a soul a dime.   Its not perfect that we’re living with my inlaws, or that there is the occassional scuffle between Dave and I, or that I really can’t ever leave the house without my clothes smeared up one side and down the other with boogers, food, or slobber, and sometimes a combination of all of those.  But everything in my life is perfect in the sense that all of the little imperfections cannot over shadow the fact that I have everything I absolutely need.  I have two beautiful girls-that have somehow made it past the gate AGAIN and are each dying for my attention at this very moment- I have a great husband and some pretty spectacular people I count as friends, and even a few I’d claim as family.  It really is perfection.

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Charli in the bathtub, her favorite hangout!

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Daddy reading bedtime stories.

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Daddy and Tori enjoying Daddy’s day off on Monday!

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Tori sporting her “name cookie”, one of our projects to keep us from being bored to death.

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Charli with said, “Putsy the Buttcracker” car…and part of Tori in her PJ’s

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It’s Christmas!

Oh man, I am so excited!

You know, I’m really not a huge fan of Christmas.  I find it entirely over commercialized and occasionally, you find scrooges, who instead of making it a joyful time of year, really ruin the magic of it all. 

However, I think the experience of Christmas becomes completely different once you have your own kids.  Tori is hysterical!  One day she LOVES Santa and talks about what he’s going to bring her, the next she says she hates him.  Last night she said, “I don’t want Santa to come, I don’t want him to bring me a ChouChou dolly, and he can’t come”  Its hilarious!  But, I know she’s getting antsy.  All the presents are wrapped upstairs in our room and she thinks she needs to peek all the time!  She doesn’t quite get the secrecy thing yet either!  The girls and Dave bought me something yesterday while I was taking my dear friend Megan to the airport.  On the way home, Tori called me.  She told me they got me a present and so I asked, “WHAT IS IT!!!!???”  I know she’ll tell me, and even though I’m alright keeping it a secret its HILARIOUS watching Dave freak out.  And by freak out, I mean make our two year old daughter start sobbing because he’s yelling at her to not tell cause ITS A SECRET!!!!!  It was soooooo funny.   Tori is no worse for the wear, but she just couldn’t figure out why Daddy was having a spaz attack!  Pretty funny. 

Charli is probably most excited for Christmas because it means her favorite meal: PAPER!!!!  The child is obsessed with paper- and most specifically eating it.  ALL the time.  She will find whatever she can and just chomp away on it.  Its gross, but really funny.  And if you attempt to release the death grip she’s got on it, be prepared for shrieking screams.  Seriously, we could buy her a large package of paper and she’d be tickled pink.  Its SO funny!

I apologize for the lack of pictures lately.  Our computer does not hook up to the internet here, and so we just use my in laws.  Dave, to his credit finally pulled all the pictures off the video camera and digital camera! 

Speaking of Dave, he finished all his finals this past week! YAY!!!!!!!!!  He has a statistics class that he had to make a B in.  Since we’ve moved to Rose and Dale’s its a commute almost 3 times as long as before, so its been difficult to make it to class on time, especially when we drive him because we need the car.  BUT, he pulled it off and got a B+!!!!!!  YAY DAVE!  I am so proud of him and our next big hurdle is the MBA application as well as the GMAT.  Dave is incredibly intelligent, so I’m sure he’ll do wonderful, but none the less, they are all still stressful!

That’s pretty much it for us.  This year is our year with the Payne side, so we’ll be staying here and not travelling, which is great because this past week we’ve been pounded with storm after storm and have had about 12 inches of snow!

We hope everyone is doing well and received our Christmas cards.  Have a Merry Christmas!

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So, there’s a better post coming soon, but I just thought I’d share a few things I’m thankful for(of course this isnt all of them, but just lately.)  :

Baby giggles(namely Charli)

My beautiful girls

Curly hair(on dave and tori)

Charli’s duck fuzz

my sister Jessica who doesnt mind incessant phone calls from Tori and talks to her like she’s a real person.

my cousin Savanna (who called this week just to check up on me cause its been a while)

My in-laws who, on Saturday, took Tori and Charli for us while we regained our sanity after Friday night…

the feeling that fall is almost here!

What are you thankful for!?

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