Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Fairy Tale from Paradise

Once upon a time, in the not so distant past... actually it was just last Monday, December 17th, my house was clean.

It was, it really was. Granted it was clean because we had our white glove inspection that day (we live in on-campus student housing at BYU-Hawaii, so we have these things), but as far as Cameron and I were both concerned it was a great reason to finally get the house in order. And it was - the kitchen was spotless, even the refrigerator, the bathtub had been scoured (by a dear, great friend), I had scrubbed the floor on my hands and knees, I actually put all my scrapbooking stuff away - not just hidden, actually organized. And I already mentioned the cleaning of all the screens and window slats. In fact the only room that wasn't totally spotless and organized was our master bedroom (and I'm beginning to think that is a lost cause - we just have too much junk). But even that was picked up and I could actually see the floor and even vacuum it.

But that is a thing of the past. You would think that you could keep a clean house clean, but it just hasn't happened. It's a disaster area again. Cameron told me to take pictures, but I didn't. I should have. Even if just for motivations sake.

Someday my house will be clean - though I'm sure it won't be any time soon. But it was nice for the less than 24 hours that it was. I will look back on that time fondly.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Santa's Little Helper

I think I finally got all the Christmas shopping done today. I've had a hard time - with stores about an hour away (no I'm not kidding) I don't have much time that I'm kid-less to do it in. It finally took 2 days this week of just shopping while the kids were at school - I leave at 8 am when I drop them off at school and have to be back to pick up Danielle at 11:30, so that means I have from 9-10:30 to actually shop, assuming it's only one store and there's no extra travel time. So much easier when I take the kids, even though they drive me crazy, but it gives me more time. Most of the time I'll take Danielle out of school so she can go with me, then I don't have to be back until 2pm to pick up the other kids, but that doesn't work when you're being Santa's little helper. That's actually what I did yesterday so I could hit a few stores in one morning, but it made some purchases a little tricky, luckily 3 yr olds have short memories and are easily distracted Oh, and it was Wednesday, so the other two kids actually got out at 12:45 pm (they do every Wed), cutting my shopping time short. Alas - we didn't make it to Walmart yesterday, so that's why I had to go again today.

Anyway - I think it's done. I hope it's done. Did I mention that presents Santa was planning on bringing are not longer available? I found Isaac's at another store today, but how was I supposed to know that the girl's present was going to be the hot item of the season? So I was just about in a panic over it last night - asking the kids what they really hoped Santa brought them the most, because of course he can't bring them everything that they want. But it all worked out today and I even made it back in time to pick the kids up - at 11 am mind you, because it was only a half day!

OK, I think I'm done ranting and raving. I should go to bed. I'm just waiting for Abby to drift off - the kids got to stay up tonight to watch a movie since it was the last day of school and they are now officially on Christmas Break. I don't know if I can take 3 weeks of them home everyday (we have year-round school, so breaks are LONG), but on the plus side I don't have to wake up early until my classes start (in 2 weeks, because life would be too easy if our schedules all matched) and they can play outside without having to put on a ton of snow gear - heck, they usually don't even wear shoes out there! Of course, since they don't HAVE to wake up they will - that's always how it works. On school days they don't want to get up at 7, but on Saturday (the only day we don't have to be somewhere before 8 am) they are up and at 'em at 6:30 all by themselves. Just one of those things.

Alright - she's been quiet for a while, I think I can go to sleep now. But first I have to hid Santa's unwrapped goodies - maybe they'll fit under the bed....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The lights are out to get me

I've finally finished all my final exams and all my papers, etc, (YEAH!) and today was my first free day - from school anyway. So how did I spend my well earned freedom you ask. I put up Christmas lights. Not my own mind you - lights on the house that we are rental managers for here in Laie.

Really it wasn't a big deal. The lights needed to to up and I had a free morning with children off at school. There was a decent breeze blowing, so it wasn't too hot, just really sunny. I headed over about 9am this morning - I walked, it's close and it was a nice morning. I got everything out of the garage that I needed and headed up to the deck on the second floor. From here I would just use a ladder to hang the lights on the eaves of the roof. It wasn't far up and I wasn't in any danger of falling, but I'm sure I got a few weird looks from cars and people passing by. it's not everyday that one sees a woman, 7 month pregnant, on a ladder hanging Christmas lights. The landloard, who is a distant relative, definately gave me a look as she pulled out of the driveway - I instantly wondered what my dear mother-in-law would say if she say me. She'd make me get down. But she isn't here, and I was determined to get those lights finished today.

Anyway - I ended up needing more hooks and couldn't find any in the garage, so I hoofed it home to get the car and drive to the hardware store (luckily we have one of those in Laie, we don't have much), only to be greeted by the ring of my cell phone. It's the elem. school - Isaac has a stomachache and would like to go home, when could I come pick him up? It's only 9:30, come on. I wanted to tell the lady I was all the way in Honolulu and I wouldn't be back for a couple of hours at least, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I drove over and got him on the way to the store. He certainly wasn't acting sick, but I wasn't going to argue, I just wanted to get back to the lights so I could enjoy the rest of my day of freedom.

After painstakingly checking each strand of lights and replacing the bad bulbs (we failed to do this when hanging the lights on the deck last week - I had to take them down and start over) I started stringing them up on the roof. I had one minor mishap with a plug completely crumbling when I added a new strand of lights, but that was easily fixable. So I'm about 10 feet from the end of the roof, my cell phone alarm goes off saying it's time to pick up Danielle. Amazingly enough Isaac has actually been helpful and listening to me (if only they could all do that when they are together), so I'm actually in a pretty good mood. We get ready to leave, I step off the ladder and all the lights go off!

They just came unplugged, right? It wasn't secured very well, I just had them plugged in to make sure they were working. So I walk over to the plug - oh no - they're still plugged in. And not only that, but the first of at least 10 strands (I'm not exaggerating) is still lit, but the rest are only glittering in the sunlight - not going to help so much when the sun goes down.

Now I know that you're thinking - that's not so bad, at least you can logically deduce that it's the second strand that it having the problems. Well, that's exactly the thought I had. Only the second stand is on the highest part of the roof - at the scariest part. Not that you would fall off the ladder, but you have to lean around the edge of the eaves a little and it feels like you might fall - you know the feeling, the one you have in your dreams when you think you're falling, but you know that you're not. OK, maybe that's just me.

I gave up. I'm done. And when I drove by the house tonight, no one had bothered to plug in the lights on the deck railing that are all done anyway, so way am I bothering? I don't know.

Oh, and did I mention that I have a white-glove inspection on Monday? This is a good thing - my house really needs to be cleaned. I'm glad I have a reason that I can't put off until another more convenient time, but guess how I spent the rest of my day of freedom? You bet - washing windows and screens. Which is actually quite the experience here. The windows are just a bunch of glass slats that can be opened or closed, kind of like blinds. And since the windows are open 24 hours a day, the screens are SO dirty and dusty. I was afraid if I started cleaning them earlier this week that they would get dirty all over again. But at least I got the kids to help. They washed all their beautiful artwork off the walls with magic erasers (love those things). Someday they won't think that's fun, so I figured I'd better take advantage of it.

Well, I should go off to bed now. I actually did all the dishes tonight, so my pruny fingers are now getting numb from typing and I have much more cleaning to do over the next couple of days. I need my sleep.

I hope you all had a more enjoyable day than I - but I do have to say, at least I was productive.
And maybe when the house is clean I'll actually take a few pictures so you can see all the glory of our 500 square foot palace!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An Unfortunate Run-in with Scissors

I've had a few requests for this story, so I figured it would be easier to post. If you've already read it then you'll just have to wait for my next fabulous post....until then!

Don’t worry – no one was bodily harmed! And hair is technically already dead, right?

I guess I’ve been lucky all these years that it hasn’t happened sooner; but lately the children have been very into drawing and cutting and gluing. So they all have their little pencil box with their crayons, pencils, erasers, and scissors. The glue I keep to myself until it is called for, as I’ve already had to clean up a few sticky messes. And the scissors have been taken away a time or two due to cutting of objects other than paper, but no major offenses, and no body parts had been previously involved.

So last night the kids were all sitting up at the table working on their Christmas wish lists; it was time for bed for the 2 youngest because of an earlier refusal to take a nap. They weren’t very happy to leave their lists, but I promised I would leave everything out so they could work on them as soon as they got up in the morning (which, as a side note, made my life easier since I didn’t have to pick everything up before I went to bed).

Fast forward through sleepy time to this morning. All seems to be well. The kids get up and color, etc… watch a little TV, have a little breakfast. I finally decide to do something useful with my Saturday so Abby and I set out to organize the mountains of baby clothes that my sister-in-law (amongst other contributors and hand-me-downs from the other girls) has sent my way over the last month or so. So we’re ohh-ing and ahh-ing over the mounds of cute and adorable outfits, sorting them out by size to our hearts content. I go in the living room to check on the other 2 and a couple of the neighbor kids that are watching TV and coloring and what do I find….

…a pile of beautiful blond hair strewn about the couch and living room floor!

Luckily I had had the forethought to actually do her hair this morning, so it was in a ponytail at the time of the incident. This made for an unfortunate chop near her cowlick, but it saved the vast majority of her hair from being cut off so short. The hair on her head really didn’t look all that bad, but I just about cried over the 3 inch chunks of hair that lay no longer attached to my “yellow” haired 3 year old.

Then I thought – who else has been cutting their hair? The 2 neighbor kids over are Samoan and hair is a BIG deal – boys do not get their hair cut until they are at least 8 years old and the girls really don’t ever get their hair cut. The 2 kids were both girls. Luckily it seemed that neither had participated, nor even noticed that anything had happened. I quickly sent them home before any further involvement on their part.

After the initial shock and recovery, I took Danielle out to the porch and began damage control. Her hair was just really starting to get long. It was finally all one length and had passed her shoulders. And did I mention that it’s a beautiful blond color? That’s very uncommon here in Hawaii and she gets comments on it all the time – especially from the Asians. They always want to take her picture.

I took a deep breath and chopped it all off at her chin (the back was the only part that was still long - talk about a horrible mullet!) and worked from there. I’m actually kind of pleased with how it turned out, though it still sort of sticks up at the shortest part – right in the middle of her head. Oh, and I can definitely take hair accessories off her Christmas list!

Needless to say, it’s been an interesting day here at the Peterson house and this all happened before lunch! Hopefully that will be all the excitement for a while, I really don’t think I can handle anymore, at least not today. I did finally got to sorting through the rest of the baby clothes – let me tell you, this will be the best-dressed baby that I’ve ever had and I haven’t even bought any of the clothes! Though the whole process wasn’t quite as fun as it started out being. Oh well.

OK, I should get back to doing…something… I’m sure there’s laundry or dishes or whatever that needs to be done, not to mention end of the semester homework (only 4 more days of class!) that I’m procrastinating getting done.

I didn’t have the sense to take one while I was in a state of shock, before I did the “damage control” but you’ll still get the idea. I did attatch 4 after shots of Miss Danielle for you viewing pleasure – because she is too stinkin’ cute – even with short hair. But keep in mind that this is right after I cut it and blew it dry to see if it looked OK – it looks NOTHING like this now that she’s been playing outside all afternoon!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I saw Mommy kissin' Santa Claus....

OK, I promised a good family pic when I emailed everyone tonight, so I will post as promised.

This is from the BYU-Hawaii Christmas Tree lighting ceremony a couple of weeks ago. You may think a member of the family is missing, but looking closer!

A Yummy Sunday Dinner

So I promised myself that I wouldn't write on here very often, and quite frankly I don't have much to say today. And really I don't know how many people are actually reading this yet. But we just had a really yummy, really easy dinner, so I thought I would share.

I actually got this recipe from my sister-in-law and my whole family loves it:

Easy Alfredo Sauce

1/2 butter
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
2 tsp garlic powder (I use fresh garlic in most of my cooking, but for this the powder tastes better - trust me on this)
2 cups milk
6 oz grated Parmesan cheese (NOT the put on spaghetti type)
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until melted. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan, salt, pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

There is also an adult addition to this meal. Cameron loves the Blackened Chicken Alfredo from TGIFridays. We happened to have this very meal at a friends house before we moved out here to Hawaii. He LOVED it almost as much as the TGI version, so we of course got the recipe. It was a marinade mix that made the chicken so tasty and of course it was a brand that I can't find anywhere here on Oahu - not that I've checked EVERY store on the island, but each of the maybe 4 chains of stores here pretty much carry the same stuff at each location.

Anyhoo... I found a substitute that he likes just a much. It's McCormick brand Grill Mates Peppercorn & Garlic marinade. It's a packet of dry mix, usually found with the taco seasoning and stuff. It's good and easy. So I make up some chicken for the adults to add to their noodles (& sauce) while the kids just eat theirs plain.

OK, have to get the wild children to bed before I go insane, I didn't get my usually Sunday nap today as I went Visiting Teaching instead. Being spiritually uplifted is a good trade-off, but I miss my nap.

And I have 2 finals to take tomorrow, so wish me luck! Maybe I should study....

Friday, December 7, 2007

I've finally given in...

So I've been considering the idea of a blog for a while, but just haven't gotten around to it. I can't imagine way - it's not like I have anything else going on in my life right now, right?

But my precious Aunt Lynne has finally inspired me to get going after I shared an amusing story of my 3 yr old involving a pair of scissors and her beautiful blond hair. Since most of you probably already received the story in your inbox I won't put it up here now, but if for some reason you haven't read it and want to let me know.

I will however share a few musing thoughts that occurred to me as I was typing up a paper for school yesterday. See we have a black wireless keyboard. I love that it's wireless so that I can type on my lap since we don't have a desk for the computer - it's on a small TV stand with just enough room for the monitor and the keyboard, but it's not at a good height for typing.
Anyway... totally of the subject. Because the keyboard is black the letters are white and apparently weren't printed on with the highest quality of ink, because most of the key had been rubbed blank. This made for interesting typing and creative spelling for a while, but it still worked.

So flash ahead a few weeks - someone we know what getting rid of a keyboard, so we grabbed it thinking we could be thrifty and switch out some of the keys that we can't read anymore. Of course it spent a good week or so in the car before we finally got around to thinking about it again, and then it inadvertently ended up in the dumpster - but that's a story for another day.

We get inside and Cameron starts flipping the keys off the black keyboard so we can put the new keys on. I finally pry one key off the new keyboard and try to fit it on the right place on the old one - and it doesn't fit! Not something we ever considered! Not that it was a big deal, but now there were black keys flipped all over the living room as they were not coming off easily and since we were just going to throw them away it didn't matter if a few went behind the couch or under the table for now. Only I needed them back so I could have a working keyboard!

Well, that was a long story to get to the point. I no longer have a ? key. Well, I do have one, but I ended up without a 'c' key, but thought I would use the 'v' key for the c since I don't use that letter as often while typing. Only that got old after a while so I moved the ? key over. Now I don't have a ? and I have to use a pencil to type it. Why I don't move a less used key there I'm not sure, but that would be too easy.

As was the remedy for our black keyboard - I just used a permanent silver marker to write the letters back on. And while they may still eventually wear off I can always write the letters back on again. Now why didn't we think of that from the start?