Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - The Canals of Annecy

For more participants visit the Wordless Wednesday HQ or 5 Minutes for Mom!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Playing Catch-up!

Blogging for me has been such a fun thing. I have made many friends with strangers, and also been reconnected with old friends. It truly has opened a whole new world for me. Every so often there are those awards that float around, and also the different memes that you can get “tagged” by. It is always brings a smile to my face to visit a friend’s blog only to find out that they have awarded you or tagged you for something. I have to say that I feel so bad that I have been such a slacker, I have been tagged and awarded over the past couple of months and have failed to step up to the plate! So here I am crawling out of my hole to accept my award and fulfill my tags!
To show what a slacker I am….An Iowa Mom tagged me back on June 30 for a Restaurant Meme (yes, I suck...please forgive me!). So here are the rules:

1.Link to name of person that tagged you.
2.Include state and country you live in.
3.List top 5 favorite local restaurants
4.Tag 5 other people and let them know they've been tagged

So...I live in Arizona, and these restaurants can be found in the Phoenix Metro area. I have included links to the restaurants so you can look up locations.

1. Olive Garden: I know there are some connoisseur cooks out there that gag when they think of Olive Garden, but I have to say this is my favorite. I don’t think I have ever left there unsatisfied. I absolutely LOVE their salad and breadsticks. I could go there and eat just that and be happy. It is probably because I love their salad dressing so much!
2. Costa Vida: My cousin, Jenny, introduced this gem to me about a year ago. They have a sweet pork salad that is to die for. Everything is made fresh in front of you and is soooo YUMMY!
3. The Keg Steakhouse: We only go here twice a year (during Shawn’s birthday month & my birthday month) because we get a free dinner, but their food is awesome. It really is one of the best steaks I have ever tasted. They are pricey, but sign up for their birthday club and you will get a free meal!
4. Crackers and Co. Café: This restaurant only serves breakfast and lunch, but you would not want to miss out on them. They have some of the best cinnamon rolls, and French Toast that makes my mouth water just thinking about it! Their lunch menu is also very good.
5. Moki’s Hawaiian Grill: This is another restaurant that makes me drool. Again everything is made fresh to order, and is so good. I especially love their spinach salad, and homemade coconut ice cream!

So now I need to tag 5 people…hopefully they won’t be as bad as me and take almost 2 months to respond. But Hey…it is better late than never, right!

Kathleen of So Grateful to be Mormon
PJ of Wild Daisies
Kim of The Prince Family
Melanie of The Steyskal Family
April of The Bethea Bunch
So start thinking up your favorite restaurants, and let me know when you have posted them. I love to try new places!

Apparently even though I have been a slacker I still managed to be nominated for the Rockin’ Girl Blogger Award! In fact, Lucy from An Ordinary Mom and Lani from The Wooden Porch thought I was cool enough to receive it! Thank you so much! It really made my day to see that (even though it was last month!) If they hadn’t already received the award I would have been one to nominate them. They are both great bloggers that I have come to love over this past year. So now it is my turn to spread the love…

1. Babystepper of Babysteps: This woman really does rock. She lives out in OK and she and her husband just retired as Dorm parents. She always has fun stories to share about the small town that she lives in. She also has a daughter, Mim, that we think is Sydney’s long lost twin.
2. Amanda of The Skinner Scene: Amanda is actually the wife of an old high school friend. Her blog was brought to my attention when I wrote Cameron to get his address for our Christmas card. She is actually the one that made me really want to blog. I love reading her fun stories about her boys. She has a way of making me laugh, and draws me in with her writing. It has been nice to get to know her better through her blog.
3. Karyn of KARYN & My El Camino: Karyn is AWESOME! I know that she claims herself to be crazy, and actually deletes some of her posts so if you aren’t fast enough you will miss out on her quick wit and funny humor. She is my real life friend who keeps me sane by watching my kids from time to time. She has two blogs: one is about her family and the other is just her fun banter. I just love her!
4. Katie of WannabeCrafter: I have known Katie since I was in Elementary School, but over time we had lost touch. I came across her while blog hopping, and have really loved reading about her. She is really ‘crafty’ and has some step by step tutorials of some of the cutest ideas! She also has 3 of the cutest girls you have ever seen!
5. Rosie of My Little Corner of Chaos: Rosie is another blogger that I came across while blog hopping. She had posted a song called “Keeping Sheep” that brought me to tears, and I was hooked. She has 4 kids, and is always busy. She helps me feel better about the fact that I am not the only one that has a hard time keeping up with house work! She really is a Rockin’ Blogger!

So now the 5 of you are to keep the award going! Go Nominate 5 Ladies that you feel Rock & post the Rockin' Girl Blogger on your blog! Congratulations!

And as if this post isn’t already long enough here is another Meme that I was tagged for from my dear friend Cricket over at Sensational Six (aka Fantastic Five). This is the Fun Four Meme…

Four jobs I’ve had:

1. Bussed tables at Organ Stop Pizza
2. Cellular Consultant (aka salesperson) for a Wireless company
3. Employee at Deseret Book
4. Flight Attendant/ Mommy

Four places I have lived:

1. Arizona
2. Arizona
3. Arizona
4. I have actually only moved 3 times in my life, and always lived here…yeah I know it is crazy!

Four favorite T.V. Shows:

1. Heroes
2. Lost
3. Smallville
4.Grey’s Anatomy

Four favorite foods:

1. Salad: I know it may seem crazy, but I love salad. There really is nothing better than having a crisp green salad with all the fixins and Italian dressing.
2. Mexican: I love pretty much all Mexican food. It is so yummy. I especially love homemade salsa with chips.
3. Fruit: I think my favorites are peaches and nectarines, but I really love all fruits. I also like vegetables…my mom must have really liked me!
4. Ice Cream: I think I like this too much. When we have it in our freezer it doesn’t really last long. I like all kinds, but one of my favorites is Cherry Chocolate!

Four websites I visit:

1. Gmail
2. Bloglines
3. My F/A work site
4. Google

Four places I would rather be right now:

1. Sleeping undisturbed!
2. Shopping without kids
3. Hawaii
4. At a Day Spa getting the royal treatment!

Four movies I love:

1. 13 Going on 30
2. Lord of the Rings
3. Princess Bride
4. The Ultimate Gift (We just watched it last night…it is such a good movie!)

Now I am supposed to tag 4 people, but I think I have already tagged enough people within one post. If you haven’t done this meme yet and would like to, then consider yourself tagged…then let me know when you post it so I can learn more about you!

So if you have made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back, and thank you for sticking with me through this mega long post! I promise I will try not to slack again! Toodles!

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lake Annecy

Our trip to Lake Annecy was so much fun. We didn’t rent a car while we were here so we walked everywhere that we went. It obviously took us longer to get places, but we were able to enjoy so much along the way! The waiter at our hotel showed a great route to the lake. We walked down another street that had no vehicle access.

I love people watching it is always something that I have enjoyed doing. Walking all around town it was fun to observe the people around me. I always wonder if they live here or are they visiting like me.

We walked by so many cute shops, and I drooled over how cute the kids outfits were. I was so excited to find some time to go shopping for a cute outfit for the kids. They also had so many little restaurants on the way. Almost everyone ate outside….something unthinkable here in AZ.

After a little bit of a walk we made it to the Lake/Park. The first thing that Caden saw was this old Merry-go-round or should I say “Manege.” Caden just HAD to ride in it so we hopped on and he got to ride. Sydney had fallen asleep on our walk over so she just hung out in the stroller.

It just amazes me at how many people were out and about. I am sure that there are places in the states where people actually spend time outside, but I am sad to say that we aren’t one of them (atleast in the summertime). I think that was one of the things that I enjoyed most about this trip…the fact that we could go outside everyday, and enjoy the fresh air without dying of heat exhaustion.

We continued walking and found a little playground for Caden to play in. We stayed there for a little bit, and let Caden burn off some energy. He had fun, but I have to say that my heart hurt a little for him. He was trying to play with the other kids, but they just looked at him like he was crazy. The poor kid didn’t understand that they didn’t speak the same language.

We walked along the Lake for a while and took in the beauty of its surroundings. Everything from the mountains, to the water and the surrounding buildings just drew you in. I was in awe at how beautiful this place was. We came to another playground, and by this time Sydney was awake so we stopped again so they could play. Imagine if all of our parks had this kind of a view!

What you see in the backround is what they call the Imperial Palace. It is now a hotel/casino, and is absolutely stunning. It has an awesome view of the lake! We thought about how nice it would be to stay there! But alas this trip was being paid for by Shawn’s company. Oh well…

As we were leaving the playground Caden spotted this bird house. Talk about huge! It was pretty cool. Caden had to hop out of the stroller so that we could take this picture. Over the course of our trip we actually saw a few of these. Caden always got a kick out of how many birds could fit into one birdhouse.

After many pit stops we finally made it to the “beach” part of the lake. We changed into our swimsuits and had some fun playing in the water. The kids had a lot of fun jumping to Daddy. I managed to get a few shots of Shawn and the kids. (Don't you just love the enthusiasm oozing from Caden...he really wanted his picture taken...wink, wink.)

Our day was a lot of fun. It was so nice to not have any timetable. We were so relaxed, and could do everything at our leisure. It sure was a great way to start our trip since, I knew that we were going to miss Shawn when he had to go to work the following Monday!
You can read more about our trip HERE or HERE.

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Weekend Get-a-way!

Last month when Shawn and I went to the Snow Patrol Concert we had stopped at a booth on our way in and signed up to go to one of those lame presentations for a timeshare. We knew that we weren't really interested in purchasing one, but who would say no to a free night stay at the local resort, a $25 gift certificate for dining, a $50 Visa card, and a Free 4 nights stay in Hawaii!

So this past weekend was our chance to get away, and enjoy some time alone. It was rather nice since our vacation/work trip in France. My parents were nice enough to take care of the kids, and we were off. We really didn't do much except go out to dinner and then went back to the resort to watch a movie, and just relax. It was just what the doctor ordered. I really needed a break from the kids.

The next morning we woke up, got dressed and then headed to our wonderful presentation. I kinda felt sorry for wasting the guys time, but what can you do, right? I actually think that the place is really nice, but with the different discounts that I get through the airlines it just isn't really practical for us. So we had to decline.

Afterward we headed home, and made Homemade Snickerdoodle Ice Cream for our Ward Ice Cream social. It is sooo yummy. We even ended up winning 2nd place! We all had alot of fun. Unfortunately I didn't have my no fun pictures....sorry!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #4 - My past week

When I got home from our trip I was exhausted. It was all that I could do to peel myself from my bed each morning when my kids woke up. As it is with everything, life has to go on, and I have to jump in. Slowly but surely things are making their way back to normality. Here is some of the things that I did the week that I got home.

1. Family Gathering: The Sunday after we returned my family had a ‘party’ for all of our August birthdays. We all met at my sister Cathy’s house for some yummy food, and good company. The nice thing about this was that it forced us to stay up longer than we would have if we had just went home after church.
2. Went absolutely Nowhere!: I think that I had been traveled out because I managed to not even leave the house until Thursday (besides going to church)! Even though we had almost no food, and I hadn’t been to the gym…I couldn’t bring myself, and the kids to get in the car and go somewhere!
3. Unpacked: Is it just me or am I the only one that hates doing this. It took me a while, but I did finally take everything out and sort all the dirty laundry. I don’t know why but I loathe this part of coming home.
4. Laundry: This is a never ending saga of my life. One day I will master the art of doing laundry, but I have yet to come to that. I never seem to be able to be fully caught up. I don’t really mind doing the laundry, or even folding the laundry. It is the putting away part that I fall short of. Sometimes I will have baskets of folded clothes that sit there for a week before they get put away!
5. Cleaning: Like I have said before, when I leave for a vacation I like to have a clean house. It is so much better to come home to a clean house than a dirty one. This time unfortunately I did not have the time to clean the house like I would have liked…so it has taken me twice as long to get the house back to normal. I feel like I need to clean non-stop, but with my energy levels…that is not happening!
6. Sleeping: Did I mention how tired I have been? I think with the combination of jet lag and being pregnant…all I have wanted to do was sleep. I swear it seemed to take me half the day to actually feel like I could do anything! I felt so lazy, but really, I couldn’t help myself!
7. Went Grocery Shopping: Before we had left we had pretty much depleted our fridge to condiments. So when we came home…we didn’t have much to eat. Shawn luckily had purchased a frozen lasagna that tied us over for a while, but I eventually had to get out and get us some food.
8. Pedicure: That sure was a treat! Julie had promised me one for my birthday, but with our trip and the opening of their new frame shop…we hadn’t been able to settle on a time that would work for us. We finally went out and got ours together, and had a great time. I have only had one other pedicure in my life, but I honestly think I need to do it more often!
9. Went to the Gym: I feel like it has been forever since I had been there, but I finally made it back. I have always enjoyed going to the gym, and so do the kids. I even was able to go to yoga today…that was really refreshing!
10. My first Doctor’s visit: When I am pregnant, I don’t ever get the usual symptoms of morning sickness. I know that I don’t really want to vomit everyday, but atleast that is a sign that you are still pregnant. I am always so anxious to make sure that everything is okay because until I can actually feel the baby moving…I don’t really “feel” pregnant. It was great because I was able to hear the babies heart beat, and they even did an ultrasound. They told me that my due date is March 7th which is a week ahead of what I thought…I wasn’t going to argue that one! It turned out to be a great experience considering I had to change OB’s because mine had retired. I was a little worried, but that is for another post.
11. Went swimming: The weather here in AZ is so much hotter than France, but the kids didn’t seem to understand. They were so used to going outside everyday that they wanted to play outside all day! There is no way that I could let them do that so we decided to go and hang out with my sister Nancy, and swim in their nice pool.
12. Blog Reading: I say reading because I obviously didn’t post anything for almost a week, but I tried to catch up on all the things that I missed while I was away. I had a lot to catch up on so I didn’t have time to comment on your blogs, but hopefully will be able to be better at that soon!
13. Relax: Even though I love blogging, and I was plenty busy this past week, it was nice to just relax. I don’t think that I ever feel obligated to post something, but sometimes I can make it more of a chore than a hobby. It was nice not to have to think about what I wanted to post about that day. I think that my husband sorta liked it too.

If you would like to read more participants just head over to the Thursday Thirteen HQ!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The streets of Annecy

As we stepped out of the hotel for our stroll it was so refreshing to not feel like we were instantly baking in the sun. It was so nice to be able to walk around and take the beauty of this little town. We had no real destination, and didn’t really know where anything was so we just wandered a bit. We were immediately aware that this was nothing like home.

It was somewhat fun exploring the streets for a short while. There were tons of shops along the way. We passed by a small grocery store, and when I say small it was probably smaller than your local gas station convenience store. As we continued on our way we saw a Laundromat that I took note of because I would be needing to do laundry sometime during our stay. We were hungry, and we needed to eat.

We happened to come along a quaint little road that was full of different cafes, ice cream stands, restaurants and all sorts of little shops. We later found out that it is what they call the "St. Claire Gate". We had happened upon what is referred to as the "old town". This is part of the city that has no vehicle access. The 'gate' that we passed through is famous for it's old clock and bell that has been regulating the life of the area for centuries. The history of this town was remarkable! We walked up and down the cobblestone road, stopping to look at menus. It was then that I realized how much I wished that I spoke French. I had NO idea what half of these things were. We finally decided to go back to this Gyro shop that was next to the Laundromat. They had pictures on their menu so at least we had some idea of what we were going to be served.

After we ate, we headed back out and decided to go back to the grocery store that we had seen earlier. We stepped in and grabbed some fruit, and other kinds of snacks that would be good to have around for the kids. We needed to find a place to purchase diapers because I only packed enough to last a few days. They didn’t have ones that were Sydney’s size so we would have to find another place to purchase them.

We asked the cashier if she knew of any parks nearby. Again we hit a communication barrier. She had no idea what we were asking. I whipped out a French translation book that I had checked out from the library and pointed to the word “parc” …she then knew what I meant, but had no idea where one was. We figured we would just ask the front desk when we returned back to the hotel.

As we walked back to the hotel, I was still so amazed at the beauty of this town. They had potted flowers everywhere. Their streets were lined with canals...which leads them to be known as the Venice of France. Everything so far was just so beautiful, and so much different from the desert of Arizona. I couldn’t wait to explore and see more of what it held for us. We got back and surrendered to our beds, only to wake up around 2 or 3 in the morning because we still weren't on the right time. We finally got everyone settled again, and slept for a few more hours before the next day.

The following morning we woke up and got ready to see the sights. Annecy is located at the bottom of the French Alps, and one of the main focal parts of the town is the lake. Apparently, it is one of the cleanest lakes in all of France. So we decided to pack our swimsuits and head to Lake Annecy.

To be continued….
Part One Here

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Wordless Wednesday - Lac d'Annecy

This is a view of Lake Annecy from the top of a mountain on a rainy day. Still beautiful despite the weather!
For more participants visit the Wordless Wednesday H.Q or 5 Minutes for Mom!

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Monday, August 20, 2007

And the Story Begins...

I have spent this past week trying to catch up on sleep, doing laundry, and just trying to get things back to normal. I still feel like I am swimming in a mess, but hopefully will be able to have things under control soon.

I want to start off by saying that our trip to Annecy, France OVERALL was a lot of fun. I am saying this because many crazy things happened, and weren’t exactly ideal, but we definitely made some memories. So as I relay my story to you, keep in mind that I did have a good time. I figured I would start at the beginning, and post our trip in parts because we were there for such a long time it would be impossible to write about it all in one post! Hopefully I won’t bore you with too much detail, but in reality this is more for me to remember our trip…so if it isn’t too interesting. Sorry.

Getting ready for the trip was a whirlwind. I had heard of spontaneous vacations, and this was right up there. When I leave for a vacation, I like to have my house clean. There is nothing better than coming home to a clean house. I wish that I could say that I accomplished that, but I didn’t. The few days before we left was spent doing laundry, and running errands. I was able to get all of our laundry done, but half of it wasn’t put away. I got the dishes done, but the kitchen was still in disarray. Oh well. What I did accomplish was a miracle in itself.

When Shawn first told me about the trip, I was really excited. The next few words that fell out of his mouth had me flabbergasted. He wanted me to pack ALL 4 OF OUR BELONGINGS into 2 (yes just 2) standard size rollerbags. I understood his logic. We were flying standby, and you never know what is going to happen. Instead of having to check baggage we would have it with us, and it wouldn’t end up going to someplace if we couldn’t get on the flight. I thought he was crazy and there was no way that I could do it, but I told him that I would try.

I am proud to say that I was actually able to accomplish this feat! I thought that it would be impossible. I don’t think that we have ever been on a vacation where I have been able to do that. In fact I KNOW that we haven’t, but somehow I did it! In the end…I have to admit that it was a good idea.

Despite the fact that we were flying standby, we were very fortunate to get on every flight that we wanted. There was no waiting for the next flight or getting bumped over and over again. We were very lucky. All we had to do was wait for the actual flights, which time was passed by easily with a good ole pudding snack cup. I do have to say that I was surprised at the condition of the terminal. I had never been to the international terminal before, and boy was that a shocker. I was amazed at how run down it was. In some ways it already felt like I had left the country.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed the flight over. I was a little worried because it was nearly 11 hours from LA to Frankfurt. Luckily the flight left in the afternoon…and ran right into their bedtimes. They slept the majority of the flight, but also had fun exploring a bit.

I don’t know why, but Caden is fascinated with bathrooms. It doesn’t matter where he is…if he sees a bathroom he has to go inside. There have been many times where he says he “has to go”, but he really just wants to see. Unfortunately, he was also fascinated with the Lav on the airplane. Being a flight attendant it grosses me out, and I hated the fact that he thought it was “so cool.” He was a little afraid at how loud it was inside when you flushed, but got over that by covering his ears. I sure hope that he grows out of his love of airplane lavs…they are probably the mecca of all things disgusting!

When we arrived in Frankfurt, we had to change planes and take another flight to Geneva, Switzerland. I find it strange that even though we had already been through security that we had to go through it yet again! We then had to get on a tram that took us out to our airplane that was somewhere in the middle of the tarmac.

We hopped on the plane flew for about an hour and then arrived in Geneva. You would think after all that we would be there, but we weren’t. We met up with the driver that Shawn’s work had arranged to pick us up and then we drove about an hour west to Annecy, France. By then we were burnt toast! I think that we all crashed on the drive over. Talk about jet lag! We arrived at our hotel, and even though we were exhausted decided to take a little stroll around town before we sank into our beds.

More to come soon…
In the meantime, scroll down and check out the contest that 5 Minutes for Mom is having for KooKoo CaChoo Baby Blankets, and the opening of my friends new frame shop!

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A Few things that I wanted to mention...

A while back I did a post about my cousin Karma's new business, KooKoo CaChoo Blankets. I still think that they are the cutest and best blankets out there. Janice and Susan over at 5 Minutes for Mom did a review on her blankets and will be giving one away! All you need to do is go over and leave a comment on this post, and you may be the winner! The contest ends on the 28th so hurry and leave a the don't need a blog, just an e-mail where they can contact you! Good luck!

Also for those of you that live in best friend Rob Brinton aka Robbie aka Julie's husband (yes I was lucky enough to have my guy best friend, and girl best friend marry each other) finally took the plunge and opened up a custom frame shop of his very own! I can't begin to say how proud I am of him and his family. His shop looks amazing, and I really hope he can get his business off the ground. So let everyone you know if they are looking to get something framed head on over to Matage Custom Framing. It is located on the southwest corner of Gilbert and Southern...right next door to Mesa's Frozen Yogurt (which is close to Deseret Book). You can also check out his website here. They are going to be having a drawing for a painting so stop in, enter, and you can win!

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Home Sweet Home!

We arrived home on Saturday early evening. I have to say that it is good to be home. It is so nice to be connected again. I missed having the internet, cell phones, and my car! Oh the small things in life! We are still recovering from jet lag, but hopefully by tomorrow we will be back on track. I have many fun stories to tell about our adventure in France, but I need to get my house in order before I delve in. So keep checking back for our full report! This is just a sneak peak of the beautiful scenery that we were able to enjoy during our stay in Annecy, France! If you are dying to see more, Shawn also uploaded all our pictures into "Our Family Pictures" so you can click on that in the sidebar, and see more photos of our trip. I am off to do laundry, and try to get things back to normal. See you soon!

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