Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Good and the Bad...

So I guess I will start out with bad because it is always funner to save the best for last and leave on a high note! Yesterday, when I was out and about looking at some cars...Shawn called me. He had just finished a meeting with his boss, and the V.P. over his department. To make a long story short...they told him that he couldn't take the time off for our vacation!!!!!!!!!! The maximum time they would give him is 5 days!

Cancelling the trip kinda put us in a pickle because we almost lost all of our money. We were able to work something out with our agent so we will probably only lose about $200. I guess it is better than losing the full amount. It would have been fun to go on the cruise with my sister and her family, but we will just have to plan another one some time in the future. Even though I don't see it at the moment, it is probably for the best. Now we will be taking more little short trips instead of the long cruise.

On to happier news...

As I said earlier, I looked at a few cars yesterday that I had found through Craigslist and Auto Trader. I did have my heart set on a Sienna, but if we were buying from a private take what you can get. We mainly needed a car that would seat more than 5. I wanted something fairly new because we plan on having it for a long time, and the newer the better, right.

The first car I looked at was a 2007 Chevy Tahoe. This car was a beauty. It only had 3000. The owner only had it for 6 months. It was it great condition. It was kinda weird driving it around. I have never had a car that big, but it did drive really smooth. This is what Shawn would call the "manly" car. The thing that I couldn't look past was the gas mileage, and with prices these days...enough said.

We then drove over and looked at a 2006 Honda Pilot. Again, another nice car. This one was all decked out. It had a DVD entertainment system, leather, towing package. Like I said...nice. I would really like to have leather interior because it cleans up so much easier than cloth. This car was a little bit smaller than the Tahoe, but still large enough to fit a fair amount of people.

Last we looked at a 2006 Honda Odyssey. This one also was immaculate. It only has 7500 miles, and looks like it was just driven off the lot yesterday. It also had a DVD system, and an 8th seat. I fell in love. I just like the fact that it has automatic doors. It is so much easier for the kids to get in and out of. And it just seems to have so much more room.

I went home and showed Shawn all the pictures I had taken and we talked it out. Really we could have gone home with any of these cars. They were all so well taken care of, and it was hard to really choose. The more we talked about it...the more I just felt like the Odyssey was a better fit for me. So we called them up and negotiated a deal.

This afternoon we drove over and picked up our car!!! I still can't believe that we have a van...let alone an Odyssey. I had fallen for the Toyota Sienna because it was more affordable, but had always liked the Honda's. (My sister actually has an 2001) I am very happy! I can't wait to drive it some more! It all happened so quick, that I can almost not believe that it happened. Who would have thought we would find a car that we liked so soon! My hubby is so fantastic to go along with this for me. I know how hard it can be for him sometimes to spend, but I think this is a great deal, and a great car! I love you honey, Thank You!

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Chance to win a Dyson Slim Vacuum!

While going through my Bloglines I visited 5 Minutes for Mom only to discover they are holding yet another give-a-way. I normally don't participate because I don't have the time, and the chances of me actually winning are very slim. I just thought I would have to try this one in hopes that I would actually get it. They are giving away a Dyson Slim Vacuum! Go check it out! Add yourself to Mr. Linky and you might just have a chance too! Good Luck!
You can also find out more about the vacuum at Dyson's website!

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Car shopping

Early last week Shawn's mode of transportation took a nose dive. It is actually my car. I bought it back in 98. It was the first car I ever owned....a 97 Ford Escort. It is not the best car, but it worked for me. He has been a doll, and let me drive the nicer car. Unfortunately the AC went out, and in Arizona...that just won't cut it. When he went to have it checked on they said the whole thing would need to be replaced, and that the transmission was bad, etc. etc. etc. Then to make matters worse on the way home yesterday the brakes went out!!! Talk about bad luck!

Needless to say, it is not worth paying to get it fixed so we are now in the market for a new vehicle. We will eventually need a larger vehicle because we plan on having more we are looking to get a van. I have been on the computer alot of the day researching and trying to figure out how we can get the best deal on a car.

The vehicle I have my heart set on is the Toyota Sienna. Isn't it beautiful! I love Toyota's (I currently drive a Camry). The Sienna just seems like a great car. It is somewhat affordable, and I know it is reliable. Who would have thought that my dream car would be a mini-van! We have been searching Craigslist, and the Auto Trader trying to see if there is anything out there. I just want to get the best deal possible because we are not made of money!

We are also debating on whether or not to buy new or used. There are just so many different options! I kinda like the idea of getting a new car just because I can get exactly what I want. The only problem is that it will cost more, of course. I have gone to different websites to see what I can do so that if we do decide to buy from a dealer...we won't get ripped off. One of the most insightful sites I found was Consumer Guide Automotive. Their site is great! They have reviews on all the vehicles. Plus they have a comparison chart of what the Retail MSRP versus the invoice price is for each car. They also list any rebates or incentives that are currently being offered for either the customer or the dealer. It was very interesting to see.

My sister also pointed me to Car which gave some more pointers on things that can help you when you are buying a new car. Within that website they had a link to a website called Fighting Chance. This service actually costs money, and I am not ready to pay it yet, but it looks like it can provide alot of good information. If we do decide to purchase new, I may seriously consider investing in their services.

Do you have any hints, helps, suggestions on what you or someone you know has done when they are shopping for cars? Help me out! I don't know how much longer the Escort will last!

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My Poor Little Baby!

When Caden woke up this morning he came in a little groggy. I figured that he was still tired, and just needed to cuddle for a little bit. I picked him up and put him in my lap. For some reason Sydney thinks that she has exclusive claim to my lap. She feels the need to scream, fall to the ground and cry incessantly whenever someone else has landed there. As I am trying to comfort her, yet still have Caden in my lap...Caden proceeds to throw up all over me! I run quickly to the bathroom to try to get some of what is left into the toilet.

Luckily the boy didn't have much in there. Last night I made the DELICIOUS Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry recipe that I stole from An Ordinary Mom. Caden has always had this thing with rice...he doesn't like it. Whenever I make anything that has it in it he either doesn't eat it at all or eats very little. Last night he didn't really eat it. We have a rule at our house...I don't make special meals just because you don't like what is served. (Yes, I am such a nice Mommy) So when Caden threw up, it was pretty much water.

The poor kid was having such a hard time. He has never really thrown up a whole lot before, and he was miserable. He, of course, didn't want breakfast, and just looked utterly exhausted. He curled up and fell asleep on the couch! When he woke up he was drenched in sweat. He doesn't seem to have a temp, but we are keeping our eye out for it. I finally got some food in him, and now I am crossing my fingers that he is able to keep it down.

I have no idea what could have made him throw up. I hope that it doesn't last long, and also hope that it is not contagious! I don't want to be throwing up, and I don't want to deal with Sydney being sick either! Wish me Luck!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday -- Playing in the Leaves

For More participants check out the Wordless Wednesday H.Q.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday - The Laundry Room

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I did get this done yesterday, but didn't have time to post it. But I worked hard on it so here it is! The laundry room has gotten way out of control! I hate to iron so the pile kept getting larger. I hadn't swept in there in who knows how long. Dust had accumulated everywhere!Things that should have been somewhere else somehow found a room in here. I am pretty embarrassed to show this, but oh well. I dove in and did all the ironing, mended a shirt, swept, and cleaned off all the surfaces on the machines! At least it is clean now!



To check out other 'tackles' visit 5 Minutes For Mom!

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Whirlwind of a week!

Okay, okay, I know I have been slacking yet again! I have really wanted to post stuff, but just haven't had the time. Last week was CRAZY! I finally feel like I can breathe again. Forgive the long post, but I need to get this all down so I don't forget!

On Monday, it was my turn to have the kids for the kid swap. It turned out pretty well. Caden, Kent, Mallory, Sydney and Eldon had a lot of fun together. Six hours wasn't really that bad, but I didn't have a second to do anything but play with them. This is one thing that I like about the kid swapping. For once, I really have to focus just on the children. I don't do anything for me...I just spend time with them. We play, we laugh, and we have a good time. It does come with some craziness also.

The three older kids are on the road to diaperless days. They are all doing really well, but this day was a doozy! To top it off in the morning I had Syd in underwear in the morning because she had a yeast infection and I was trying to "air" her out. Right before Karyn showed up with her kids, Sydney pooped in the underwear -- that was #1 of cleaning poop out of pants. Shortly after the kids were there...Kent pooped in his pants (#2)! Then later that day Caden decided he wanted take a turn so he did his business in his pants *joy* (#3). Kent was so excited to be here today he had multiple accidents... So by the time Karyn got here he had gone through all his changes of clothes, and only had a shirt and underwear! Like I said...whew! Overall they are doing lots better, and I will have them again this Friday.

It does sound like alot of work, and some people may think that I have absolutely insane for wanting to do this, but it really is working out. Karyn is an absolute doll to work with. It is so refreshing to get a "no strings attached" break every other week. And as time goes by we will get a better grip on doing more constructive, and imaginative things with the kids.

On Tuesday and Thursday's Caden has Joy School. Joy School is a pre-school co-op that is taught by different mothers. The curriculum is based on different Joy's ie. Joy of the Body, Earth, Honesty & Communication etc. We also teach a little Kindergarten preparedness. I really like the program, and Caden absolutely loves it! I am in it with about 5 other mothers. So that means that I teach the kids once every 5 weeks. This was my week!

It is always fun when we have Joy School at our house, but by the time they leave our house is a wreck! It is amazing what 6 little 3 & 4 year olds can do in just 2 hours! To top it off it was raining on one of the days so they were confined to the inside. Usually they do the majority of the playing outside, and it keeps my house somewhat manageable, but lets just say that I am glad that my week is over and I won't have to teach again for another 5 weeks!

Some other fun news is our upcoming Family vacation. Now before you think that we vacation all the time, and have lots of money...we do not. It just happens that we just got back from our Anniversary trip, and this deal feel into our laps.

My sister, Nancy, is also a flight attendant. After our trip we were over at their house for dinner. We were talking about how fun it would be to go on a trip together. We really wanted to go on a Disney Cruise. We chatted about it for a while, but just kinda dismissed it because we figured it wouldn't happen for a while. A couple of days later we got an email from Perx (the interline travel agency) that had a screaming deal for a Disney 11 night Mediterranean Cruise in May! She called me immediately and said that they were going to book it. Shawn had to talk to his boss to see if he could get the time off, but we really wanted to go!

In the mean time we needed to get all of our passport stuff in order. Shawn's passport is expiring in May. Mine wasn't going to expire, but it was still in my Maiden that needed to be changed. Our kids didn't have that is when the adventure began. I went to the file to get the kids birth certificates. I have a file for each one of us that has all of our "important" papers. I found Sydney's, but when I went for Caden's both his birth certificate and social security card were missing! I racked my brain trying to figure out where it could be! It was so frustrating! If I couldn't find them I would have to drive down to vital records, and wait in line to get a new one! For days this past week I looked everywhere. With all the kids around this week...yes my house was a mess, but not that messy! I searched and searched, and finally conceded that on Friday morning I would wake up and drive down there to get a new one.

That night before I went to bed, I got down on my knees and prayed. I asked Heavenly Father to help open my mind so that I could remember where I had put the documents. When I got up in the morning, I got the kids their breakfast and thought I would look in the files one last time before we headed off for vital records. I sat at the desk, and thought I would go through all the files just in case they got stuffed in the wrong file folder. I started at the front and went one by one. Half way through it dawned on me! A few months ago I had to use his birth certificate and social security card to register him for something and I had put it in a different folder to bring it there! I ran to the pantry, and lo and behold it was stuffed there in the back. I hadn't even thought to look there because I had organized it recently! Heavenly Father is an amazing person! He really does answer our prayers! Even it is for the simplest thing of finding a birth certificate!

On Friday the Elder's Quorum (group of men in church) and their families came over to our house for a shin-dig. It was an "Incredible" Movie night. They brought a projector and then taped up a sheet to our back wall and we watched Incredibles and had popcorn, candy, and licorice! It was a blast, and I can't wait to do it again!

On Saturday we got to make the trek to the post office to process, and submit our passports. It was to open at 7:30. I wanted to be down there by 7 so we wouldn't have to wait too long, but with never seem to get there when you want to. We did get there before 7:30, but there was already a line formed. Those are the times when I would just love to say...excuse me, but I have 2 children that aren't going to last very long...could we cut :) Instead we were polite, and waited. In the mean time, Caden said he needed to go potty...there was no bathroom. So I told him to wait. Sydney proceeded to scream whenever Caden got near her or cry whenever I walked away for a second even though Shawn was standing right next to her! When we finally got up there we were told that we would have to expedite them because it is taking 10 weeks instead of the usual 6 weeks to process! That meant that we had to pay $60 additional for each passport!!!! That was frustrating, but I guess it is better to be safe than to be sorry! We need them by May 25. So two hours and a whole lot of money later we were finally done! Now we will just have to wait to get them in the mail!

We did actually book the cruise, and are really looking forward to it. It will be the only family vacation that we will take this year. I am excited to be able to spend time with Nancy and her family. I hear that Disney Cruises are the best, and who could beat the ports that we will be going into! The only place in Europe that I have been to is Madrid, Spain (we went there for our husband served a mission there.) The cruise starts in Barcelona and then goes to several places throughout Italy and France!!!!! This will be an unforgettable experience!

Sunday, was a little quieter. We went to church as usual. In the morning I got a call from the music leader in Primary (class for the little ones). She was ill and wanted to know if I could fill in for her. I was happy to do it...this was my previous calling (job) at church. Every thing went okay at first. Caden just started going to primary this year, and had never been there when I was teaching. I have to say that I was disappointed when I first got released from my calling, but I now know it is for the best. Caden was terrible! He didn't want to sit in his seat because he wanted to be by me. When I made him go sit down he began to cry. Then through out the whole time I was teaching the music he cried off and on. They had to take him out of the class several times so that he would not distract the other children! Why does our children act so differently when we are around!?

It truly was the week of having visitors at our house! It was fun, but had me completely and utterly exhausted! This Monday I got to drop my kids off at Karyn's, and get some things done, and I finally feel like I am accomplishing something! I think that I will actually be able to post a Tackle it Tuesday today...I am hoping to do my laundry check back later!

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Kid Swapping

About a month ago, our family got together with The O. Family for dinner at the park. Justin and Shawn are good friends from high school, and we have always tried to continue to nourish the friendship. They had Kent a few weeks before Caden was born and we were determined to make them be friends. :) Every time we would get together we would plop them next to each other and take photos. The Boys always seem to have fun together, but we wondered if they actually remembered each other between our visits. Over the years, the Olson's have moved around. They were gone for a while to Virginia, but they recently moved into a house close by.

As Karyn and I were chatting away at the park we some how got on the subject about how hard it is do get anything done while we have the kids. I joked around about how nice it would be to have a robot that I could have around when I wanted to make a quick errand without the kids. That is when she offerred to do a kid swap. She would watch my kids for 3 hours at a time, and then I would watch hers. She had been trying to do the same thing with her sister, but it wasn't quite working out. So she said to call her if I was interested, and we would go from there.

I went home and looked at my calendar...lo and behold I had an appointment that I needed to go to the following week. So I called up Karyn and took her up on it! Let me tell you it was wonderful! I was able to go to my doctors appointment and then do some shopping --- ALL BY MYSELF!! It was very refreshing! When I was all done it was so nice to go and see our children playing together. Karyn also has Mallory (2) and Eldon (will be 1 in August).

When we got back from our vacation I was able to return the favor for her...and we have agreed this is the best thing ever!!! After a few tweeks we have decided to take a plunge. Only instead of watching each others kids once a week(which equates to 2 times together--once for each of us) for 3 hours at time we will switch back and forth on Mondays and watch them for 6 hours! I know it sounds crazy, but Karyn did it on Monday for me! (THANK YOU!) It was fabulous! There is alot that you can get done in 3 hours, but 6 was even better.

Our theory was this...sometimes it takes a little bit to get going. With having 6 hours you really can get alot done, and the kids only are going 1 place a week. We really hope that it will work out. I have to tell you it has been great to have this opportunity. It has been something that I have always wanted, but hadn't found someone that it would work out so well with. If you can find it! It is such a blessing!

The great thing about it is that Caden and Kent are really starting to develop a deeper friendship than the "plop me down and take a photo" induced friendship of their parents. Hopefully when they get older they can look at all the photos from when they were babies, and see that they truly have been friends for life! We hope that Syd and Mallory will be able to say the same. Here is a slide show of all the fun that these kids have had together through the years!

So on that note, I am asking for your expertise. I will have the kids from 8am-2pm. Breakfast and Lunch will take up some of the time, but I need some ideas of other creative things that we can all do together. I want to make this time a memorable thing for them. I want them to explore, and I want them to have fun. What are things that you do with your children to pass the time? Also do you have any creative ideas for breakfast or lunch meals? Get your minds brewing...then clue me in! Toodles!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - The Napali Coast

For more Wordless Wednesday Participants go to W.W. Headquarters!

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It is hard to describe how I have been feeling lately. I feel like I have been at a standstill. There are so many things that I want to do, to accomplish, but for some reason none of it is happening. At times I feel like I am stuck in a glass box, watching everyone around me go places...but I am stuck inside. For those of you who are regular readers you probably have noticed the lack of posting. I am sick of the rut that I have been in and there are many changes that I need to make....but with takes time. I have had many things on my mind, but haven't had the time to get them all down.

A few days after I got back I received a phone call from a woman in my ward (church). I called her back and was floored when she asked if I would be able to substitute teach for Relief Society (class for women). I have never done this before and was absolutely terrified, but said I would do it. Little did I know that the lesson that was assigned would be the thing that I needed most. The topic was "Prayer, the Passport to Spiritual Power"

As I read through the lesson, I felt so inadequate to even give this lesson. To tell the truth...I am really bad at saying my prayers. I don't know why, but I am. I know how important it is to pray, yet night after night I will go to bed without dropping to my knees. This lesson humbled me, and helped me realize that there are many things that need prioritizing. I love my Heavenly Father...I would be nothing without him, and I feel terrible that I haven't turned to him more.

I feel like a hypocrite at times. I go to church faithfully every week. I take the sacrament. I will talk about how important the gospel is to me. How I can't live without. Deep down it is true...I know, but my actions are half spent. I know prayer is important - vital! I know that I am a stronger person when I pray regularly. So why do I struggle with it so much!? I need to do better.

I think that is why my life has been so crazy lately. I have failed to acknowledge His hand in all that I do. Since last week I have made a commitment to take more time. To reflect, to ponder, and thank the Lord for everything that I have. I can already see a difference, and I am making a goal to do better. It is funny how well He knows us. He knows exactly what we need, and this lesson was the swift kick in a butt that was long overdue.

Anyway, Sorry for the pity party...on to other things. I had a blast on our vacation, but was kinda bummed that I was gone for the majority of the Ultimate Blog Party. I feel like I will never be able to catch up with all the people that are on that Mr. Linky. I will try to get through some each day, but I think I will be trying to get through the list for weeks. I hope to get a post up about some of the blogs I have already found, that I have bookmarked. There are some fun ladies out there.

Things are finally starting to get back to normal, and I am looking forward to the next few weeks. It is good to be back...and hopefully I will get out of this rut!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Beautiful Hawaii

We are finally back from our week long get-a-way! It was so much fun, and a great refresher from the kids. I loved being able to spend time with the one man that I love most. Shawn is wonderful, and I could not have asked for better. It was a great anniversary. Now I am just trying to get back into the swing of things. I have so much to catch up with. I just thought I would post this little slide show to give you an insight of the things that we were able to do!

I also had to add this because we heard this song everywhere we went in Hawaii, and we just loved it! So enjoy!

I hope to catch up with all the party goers, and can't wait to meet new people! Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, March 2, 2007

Welcome to The Ultimate Blog Party!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I am posting this early because I will be on our cruise when the party starts. Scroll down to see newer posts! I will be back by the 5th to check in on your party! Can't wait to "meet" you!

Hello! Come on in...take a seat, get comfortable, and allow me to introduce myself. People here know me as Crissybug. I am the little girl who was known for being so cute that was given that nickname as a child. I now am grown and sophisticated *wink, wink* and my family calls me Crystal (I guess I grew out of the "cute as a bug" phase). I have been married for seven years to the love of my life, Shawn. We have two beautiful children, Caden & Sydney. We reside in Arizona where both my husband and I were born and raised! Besides being a Mommy, I am also a Flight Attendant. I worked alot before my children were born, but have since worked as little as possible so that I could stay home with them...but still have the benefit of flying for free! It has been a joy, blessing, and a pleasure to be able to take care of my children.

Blogging has become my new found hobby. We have a friend that started a blog sometime last year. I thought it was so cool, but never thought it would be something that I enjoy as much as I do. At the beginning of the year I decided to take the plunge. I wanted to have something to record the different events of my family and this seemed like the best fit. I began, and haven't been able to look back.

I am not a the best writer. In fact, I wouldn't say am a good one either. The one thing I do love about blogging is being able to get things out of my mind. I used to be an avid journal writer. I would religiously write every evening before I went bed. Over the years, I have written less and less. Blogging has helped to revive the joy that I would get from writing down my thoughts. Over the short period that I have been blogging I have "met" some wonderful people. It has been such a reassuring thing to know there are so many people out there that are going through the same things that I am. I am excited to meet more of you, and hope to build friendships that will last a lifetime.

Feel free to roam around...I don't have much, but hopefully you will find something of interest, or will touch your heart. Please leave comments! I love comments!

I just wanted to thank 5 Minutes for Mom for hosting this party. I think this has been the best idea! You guys are truly amazing women.

BTW - Also check out Beauty Queen Boutique. My cousin, Amber, submitted a baby bracelet for a prize! She has great, unique products! After you are done here, head over there and take a look at the beautiful things that she makes! You won't be disappointed!

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