Thursday, May 29, 2008

Laser Hair Removal

I have tried to embrace my ape ways, but no more!! I decided a couple years ago that I was going to do laser hair removal, but then I got pregnant with S, and then things got really crazy.

As the weather has warmed up though, my interest has been rekindled in getting rid of some excess hair. I called around to a few places, and finally decided to go with Vincent Surgical Arts in South Ogden. They were offering a fantastic package deal. I could buy one area, get one free, and then if I paid for four treatments, I could get the fifth free. So, I made arrangements to get laser removal done on my underarms and bikini line. The cost will be $600 for all that, which seems to be a screaming deal. The company has no complaints with the BBB, so I think that's a good sign.

Today was my first appointment. I'll admit to being a bit nervous. The pain was not the thing I was most nervous about. I was more concerned with the whole exposure/humiliation thing. You'd think after giving birth to four children that I would have no modesty left, but apparently there was some lurking.

The technician, Lisa, was very friendly and sweet, which immediately relaxed me a little bit. She assured me this machine is the latest and greatest, and is much less painful than older machines. Either she's right, or other descriptions I've heard about laser hair removal are exaggerated. It was virtually pain free. Every once in a while, I'd feel the slightest prick of sharp pain, almost like a bug bite, but it wasn't bad at all. After a few minutes the laser started to feel a bit warm on my skin, but not uncomfortably so. This office uses the Alma Soprano laser, which is supposed to be a million times better than other lasers out there.

I was in and out in less than 45 minutes. Here's to hoping I see a difference. Honestly, I don't expect to see anything dramatic until after the 3rd or 4th treatment.

No. There will not be pictures for this blog entry. LOL

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Job

Quite a long time ago, DH put his resume on, a job search company. Since then, he's been getting several phone calls a week in response to his resume. Most of them are headhunters, and a significant number of them were pretty incompetent and hadn't actually READ his resume, so their leads were worthless. People have been entranced by the fact that he has his BS in mechanical engineering and has some HVAC experience. His HVAC (heating, air conditioning and ventilation) experience is somewhat limited; he worked for my dad while in college.

DH has been playing tag with a company that is contracted to do work on Hill Air Force Base. Every time DH is available, the guy wasn't. And with his recent spurt of traveling, DH hasn't really been around much either. They finally had a lunch interview a couple weeks ago, and the guy was pretty impressed. He arranged for dh to have a second interview on site with the people who would be his managers so they could look at the units DH would be arranging to have replaced. Apparently, he made quite an impression, as they made him a formal job offer Friday afternoon. It's a bit of a raise. They are also willing to give him the training he'd need to be truly competent in this field. So, professionally, this will be a great growing experience for him.

Dh is excited for the opportunity, but he was absolutely dreading giving his two weeks' notice. He truly likes his two bosses, and has a lot of respect for them. He likes the customers he works with. Since his bosses have tried to make the changes J demanded, he has been much happier at work. It makes it tough to quit when in general, you are happy with your job. He's been a nervous wreck all weekend, worrying about quitting.

He finally gave notice yesterday morning, but they were pretty busy, and the two bosses want to have a more formal sit down to discuss it, but at least the news has been broken, so J can relax now.

I am a bit nervous about the change, just because change is scary. It will be closer to home, more money, and a better growth opportunity, but it is still nerve wracking. We'll have to change health insurance, and it appears our new coverage will be more expensive, and not nearly as good. But, as we're all generally healthy, and Z is out of the constant well-baby checks, it'll probably be ok.

Debbie Meyer Green Bags

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to watch infomercials. I am an absolute sucker for them. I rarely order anything off them, but I enjoy watching. My husband just does not get it. However, in the last couple weeks, I've been suckered into buying a couple things, so I thought I'd review them.

I bought Debbie Meyer Green Bags at Wal-Mart. I wasn't very convinced that it would make the dramatic difference they showed on tv, but my kids really felt like I should give it a try. I paid $10 for 20 bags total, and then came home and began my experiment.

Here's my test subjects on day 1:

Here they are day 10:

You'll notice that the bananas aren't in the second picture. While the bags worked startlingly well against rot, they do NOT have any effectiveness against hungry people. The bags only deterred people for one day.

Anyway, you can see that the bags really do work. They even work as well as the tv commercials say. Can you believe it?! I would definitely recommend them to anyone who can't keep up with their fresh fruits and veggies.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Policy for Policy's sake

This week, I had to take K in for a scout physical so she can go to scout camp in a couple of weeks. J's work has a new onsite clinic that they've been advertising heavily, trying to build up business. The neat thing about it is they offer $5 co-pays (as opposed to $30 if I go anywhere else). Since J raves about it, and I really liked the PA I met when they had their open house, I decided to take her there.

Our appointment was for 4:15. As I was getting the kids ready to go, S cut her knee. Wailing and gnashing of teeth soon followed. She needed a bandaid to walk. So, I found a bandaid, and fixed her up. Then she needed to go potty. Well, that is the one free pass a recently potty-trained child has in our house. After she finished, I hustled the kids into the car and we drove over. Unfortunately afternoon traffic had hit, so we were later than planned.

I parked in front of the clinic at 4:25. We are the only car in the area, other than the two cars parked in the 'staff only' spots. I unload all four kids in full view of the receptionist. S & Z have fallen asleep, and are crying as we walk in because they didn't want to wake up. At this point, it's about 4:28. I apologized to the receptionist for being late, but tell her we had a 4:15 appointment. She says that because we are more than 15 minutes late, we have to reschedule the appointment. I asked her really nicely to make an exception, but she was adamant that it was policy. I looked at my watch and pointed out that it was only 4:28. She said that according to HER computer, it was currently 4:30.

So, I figure she either cancelled the appointment while she had us in view or was talking to us, or she cancelled it early. Either way, even by her computer, we were less than 30 seconds outside of their 15 minute late window.

She then says that a scout physical takes a FULL half hour to complete. Seriously? I've had doctors spend less time with me when I was delivering a baby. I really doubt a scout physical will take that long.

Anyway, even though there were no patients there, and we supposedly had the doctor's time until 4:45, we weren't allowed to see the PA. The receptionist (who seemed to be looking a bit smug and totally unsympathetic) offered to reschedule.

I replied while I understand their policy, MY policy is to go to doctors where the staff has some flexibility and understands when things come up. Yes, I was in the wrong when I was late. I understood that, and was sorry about it. But if there was no other appointments to mess up, what is the big deal about just cutting the appointment a little short? Honestly, if the receptionist had said that she was really sorry, but the PA was seeing another patient, and would be tied up with him/her until closing, I would've been a lot nicer about the whole thing. But the idea of being turned away, even when the PA was just sitting there, doing paperwork or whatever seems ridiculous to me.

I then told the kids we were going to go to a different doctor, and I'm ashamed to say I probably actually stomped out.

After that, I went to the Layton Kids Care Clinic. I love this place. It's in the white IHC building just off Antelope in Layton. The Kids' Clinic is open from 5pm to 10pm (?), and is a walk in clinic. No appointment necessary. And because evening hours are their regular operating hours, you pay the regular clinic co-pay, and not an instacare or after hours co-pay, so it's much cheaper than many other after hours places there. We walked in there about 5:20. Got our names on the list, and waited about 15 minutes. We then spent about 5 minutes with the assistant who did K's vitals, and then led us to the room. The doctor was very personable, sweet, and competent. He chatted with all of the kids, and gave K a good exam. Talked with us a little about her asthma. Then filled out the form and was on his way. I didn't feel like we were shorted at all in time. S decided she needed to potty then, so we went potty and were gone. We were loaded in the car and driving home before 6pm.

If that doctor could do all that in less than 15 minutes of face time, why couldn't that on-site clinic? I'm beginning to see why they are usually pretty deserted.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Senile or Spook?

For the last couple years, I've been thinking I've become really scatterbrained. Constantly losing stuff. Sometimes I blame my kids, most of the time I blame myself.

The last month or so, things have gotten a little weird, and I'm beginning to rethink my senility. About three weeks ago, we went camping. I did laundry in anticipation of the trip. I got my jeans out of the dryer, brought them upstairs, and put them on my bed. Then I went downstairs to get a duffle bag. When I came back up, the jeans were gone. I rolled my eyes and how scatterbrained I am, and started looking around. I couldn't find them anywhere! I finally gave up and packed different jeans. About two weeks later, I found the jeans. Sitting on my pillow. They weren't there when the kids left for school.

When I was interviewing real estate brokerages, I would get a packet of information from each broker. I was really interested in Keller Williams, and had a big packet from them. I put it under my nightstand one night, and went to sleep. Then, I couldn't find that packet anywhere. I completely cleaned our room from top to bottom, looking for it. It showed up under my nightstand again about a week ago.

I shrugged both of those off and blamed myself. Last week, I bought these passes to a girl scout carnival for the kids. They came in a sandwich sized ziploc bag. So I had three of these bags in my purse all week. On Saturday, we arrived at the carnival, and the bags were gone. My purse isn't that big, it would be impossible to lose them in the bag. I tore apart my car, just in case they'd slipped out. Searched the front room and the basement (the only two rooms in the house where the purse would be), and no sign of them. I didn't want to buy the passes again, so we just left. The next day, i cleaned out my purse. Not in there. Monday, I went to get my keys out of my purse, and there the passes were. I sat down and talked to the big kids about it. They both seemed genuinely surprised and innocent. Besides, I think if one of them HAD taken the passes, they would've come clean when it looked like they wouldn't get to go to the carnival.

Yesterday, my mom babysat the littles so I could go to an all day real estate thing. When I came home, she expressed concern because a penny she'd left on a place mat was gone. She'd searched the room well, but couldn't find it. She was worried that one of them had swallowed it. I looked around as well, but couldn't find it either.

This morning, I came home from the gym and found a penny sitting on the place mat.

I've never really believed much in ghosts, at least ghosts in my personal life. Even now, I seem like a boring target. I just think if I were a ghost, I'd be doing something more interesting than toying with the mind of a busy mom. It could take YEARS before they caught on.

But this is just weird.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Caramel Chocolate Brownies

Out of all of the desserts I make, this one is by far the most requested at our family get togethers. Many thanks to Jason's high school friend (girlfriend?) who gave me this recipe. My mother in law asked for this for dessert for our Mother's Day dinner, and of course I complied! Without further ado, here it is.

Caramel Chocolate Brownies

1 chocolate cake mix (dry)
1 can evaporated milk, divided
1 c. butter or margarine, melted

14 oz. caramels
12 oz. bag of semisweet chocolate chips

Mix dry cake mix, melted butter, and 2/3 c. of evaporated milk together. Spread half of the mixture into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for about 8-10 minutes, or until set.

While that's baking, melt caramels in a saucepan with 2/3 c. evaporated milk over medium heat, stirring constantly. When melted, immediately remove from heat.

Pull pan out of oven, and pour bag of chocolate chips over the brownie layer. Put back in oven for a minute or two, just until the chocolate is melted. Remove from oven and spread the chocolate chips smooth with a knife.

Pour caramel mixture slowly and gently over the top.

On top of that, add the remaining brownie batter. I find it works best if I put little globs all over the top, then smooth them together. I then use a silicone scraper to kind of gently spread the blobs together

Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until set. Kind of wiggle the pan in the oven. If it really jiggles, it needs more cooking time.

Here's a picture of the globs of the cake mix batter on top of the caramel mixture:
Here's the raw batter once all layers are in place:The baked brownies:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The biggest cheerleader for potty training

Our whole family has been trying to be supportive of S potty training. Everyone has been really sweet. Her biggest supporter was a bit of a surprise. M has been very, very enthusiastic about her going in the potty. At the surface, it would seem weird that an 8 year old boy would be so excited at her potty success. But, consider this. M has a gumball machine filled with m&ms. Every time S goes in the potty successfully, I give her a nickel, dime, or quarter to put in the machine to get the M&Ms. M is beyond thrilled at how well she's doing with the potty.

Cub Scouts

I am a den mother for cub scouts. I am a Bear leader, to be more specific. Bears are 9 year old boys. I have to admit that is one of my very favorite ages. The kids are old enough to be fairly well behaved and self sufficient, but not hormonal and full of teen angst just yet. I have been a bear leader off and on for several years now.

Recently, I bumped into one of my first cub scouts. He literally towered over me. He was very handsome, and very, very old. I think he'd have to be at least 16 or so by now. There's nothing that makes you feel old like running into someone when they were little, and they're suddenly big. My mom was telling me about the first time she really felt old was when a boy she used to babysit as a small child became a medical doctor. Yipes!

My annual mother's day project has always been a hit. I buy small (4") pots, and a couple pony packs of flowers. I have the boys paint the pot, which passes off an art elective. While the pot is drying, I have them write a letter of thanks to their mom, which passes off a requirement in the "jot it down" section. Then, they plant the flower. Unfortunately, to pass anything off, they have to do a lot more gardening than just one flower, so that in and of itself won't pass anything off.

This year, I bought my flower pony packs from J&J Nursery, the largest nursery in Utah, and conveniently located within 20 minutes of my house. They had some beautiful dahlias that I just loved, so we got those. It was called the "Harlequin Mix".

One boy rode his bike over, so bringing his mother's day gift home wasn't possible. He is supposed to come back with his parents and come pick it up, but if he doesn't, I'll drop it by his house this afternoon. So here's his beautiful project:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On the donor list!

For a long time, I've wanted to sign up to be a bone marrow donor. Unfortunately, in the past, they've expected the potential donor to pay for all of the tissue typing tests. I've not wanted to have to pay for that, so never bothered joining.

However, for a short time, they are waiving the fee for the first 10,000 people to sign up for the list. So, I signed up tonight.

If you are interested in becoming a donor, here is a link to check for eligibility:

Dandelion Bouquets

Really, does it get any better than getting a bouquet of dandelions from your three year old? S has been giving me a lot of dandelions lately. At least one or two a day. I love it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Potty Training

I will come right out and say that potty training has been one of the worst part of being parent. I dread it with a white hot passion. My older two trained (or "learned", as I guess the current PC term is) fairly easily. But it was still a very unpleasant experience. There was the occasional accident, which is just beyond gross. But to keep it from being traumatic, you must keep a smile on your face as you assure said sobbing child that it's ok. Gagging or vomiting is not allowed.

There's also complicated choices. Do you have them use the small potty or the big toilet? If you use the big toilet, do you use the special seat adapter or not? Using the little potty is definitely less scary to the kids. Problem is, you then have to teach them again on the big toilet. Even bigger problem (in my mind) is that once a child is successful, one must clean out the little potty seat. Going out in public is another complicated thing. Do you put a diaper on them and undo a bit of the progress made? Risk going out in underwear and hoping they don't have an accident? Once they become the least bit proficient, my kids began the world potty tour. Every single store's bathroom facilities must be visited. The public toilets are much scarier than home toilets, so it was a weird, scary fascination for them. Luckily for the toddler with sudden, extreme urges for the potty, I remembered the location of all toilets in the local area, as I was on the world potty tour myself when I was pregnant.

Then there's the matter of undergarments. Do you use regular underwear or pullups? Underwear makes them feel bigger, but there's also the cleanup involved. Pullups are expensive, and the child often views them as diapers.

So, as you can see, I really do have teaching my kids how to use the potty. The process is much grosser and messier than just dealing with diapers. That's probably why I haven't suggested the potty much at all with S. She turned 3 recently, and I had to pay another $35 for a box of diapers at Costco this week. Something in me snapped, and I decided to teach her. She's been showing signs of readiness for months, but I was too lazy. It's actually been going really well. In the 3 days she's been in panties, she's had two accidents. One of which was not her fault. She needed to use the potty NOW, and it was in use. We couldn't get her to another one in time.

We were out with friends recently, and they were in the process of potty training their child. They expressed frustration over how difficult the process was. My husband replied that he thought potty training was a really simple, easy process. If looks could kill, he would be dead three times over. I think the sharpest looks came from me. I replied that it's definitely easy to potty train a child when you go to work all day and make your wife do all the work. I love the man dearly, but sometimes I wonder if he resides in an alternate universe.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Now, THIS is romance

A couple weeks ago, dh borrowed a tiller from his parents and tilled up our huge garden.

This morning, he put down a weed barrier. We're hoping that this will stop the out-of-control-unpullable-unpickable-mutant weeds.

Then, he picked up a huge load of compost and spread it over the entire garden. It looks so beautiful and black now. We started a compost heap last year, but there was nowhere near enough to cover the entire garden. With leftover materials, I put barrier down over my herb garden, and cut small holes for my three surviving herb plants, and then put compost.

I'd take this over chocolates and poetry any day.

Yes, I know the shed is ugly. We're in the process of re-sheathing it. When we get it finished, I'll post a picture of the beautiful new looking shed.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Our newest pets!

The butterfly hut

For easter, our family got a butterfly house and a mail in certificate for five painted lady caterpillars. I mailed in the certificate, and within a week, five tiny caterpillars were mailed to us in a little cup. They were approximately a 1/2" long. The cup had nutrients in the bottom, so we only had to stay out of their way and keep the cup out of the sun.

A week later, the caterpillars were almost 3" long. It was crazy how quickly they grew. About a week and a half ago, the caterpillars all went into chrysalises. Once they were all safely sleeping, we carefully opened the lid and pinned the special paper with the caterpillars inside our butterfly hut.

We've been waiting patiently, and the first butterfly came out this morning while nobody was home. The big kids are going to be so excited when they come home from school!

The first butterfly to hatch

The whole bunch of them

A favorite family dinner

One of our family's favorite dinners is homemade pizza. I make the dough in my breadmaker (thanks mom!) and then we get to make the pizza just how we like. I preheat the oven with our pizza stone (thanks Jai and Jody!) in it. Once it's up to temperature, I take the stone out of the oven, sprinkle some cornmeal on it, and then put the pizza dough on it.

If my husband is out of town, we usually eat the pizza in the family room while watching a movie together. He tends to twitch a little when the kids don't eat meals at the table, so he's usually not around when we do that. If I remember, I even buy rootbeer to eat with the pizza.

He had to work late last night, so the pizza in the picture is customized to the remaining family. M likes ham and pineapple. S like ham, pineapple, and olives. K likes ham, pineapple, olives and pepperoni. I just like pepperoni and olives. J thinks the more toppings, the better.