Monday, October 31, 2011

I will grin and be happy...I will grin and be happy

Friday is our annual retreat at work. I usually look forward to retreats. Getting paid to sit around and eat food and get to know coworkers better and eat more food. My kind of retreat. So, when I remembered it was on my calendar, I got excited. That is, until I got this email today:

"Just a reminder - Our annual BHS Retreat is this Friday, Nov 4th from 10 - 2 pm at Scott's Prairie. We will be outside for a significant amount of time so please dress appropriately for weather. I would wear shoes you don't mind getting dirty/muddy and be prepared for rain. Also, you won't regret bringing cameras - phones will work just fine."

All of a sudden, I feel a cold coming on. Or, at the very least, a bad attitude. Seriously? Outside? Wear appropriate shoes? Don't forget your camera?

Have I ever mentioned that I don't like 1. team building games, 2. things that might make me look foolish (that people would want to take a picture of), 3. Doing things because someone is making me?

But, now that I have vented...I will grin and be happy. I will have a good attitude. I will not complain to anyone at work. I will look forward to the food portion of the day. And if that's too much to ask, I will only exhibit slight stubbornness.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Saturday in 15 pictures or less :)

I'm back from vacation, but I thought I'd let you know how the rest of the weekend went. Saturday started with french toast for breakfast. And then the boys were stuck in the house for the morning because there were a bunch of volunteers doing work around the Acres. So, they suggested a pool tournament. I was all in, even though I knew I would quickly lose. These guys are serious about there tournaments. A bracket was created. Complete with choosing order of play using playing cards. I won the right to play the first game against Cru...

Lucky for my advancement in the tournament, he's the youngest in the house. Dad helped him a lot, but I still managed to win. Phew... While I waited for the next game, I played some Speed with Emerson and talked about life. I admit...I may have gone into therapy mode for 2.5 seconds. But I warned him ahead of time. And stopped as soon as I could :).

Another of the young kids, Douglas. So, I ended up coming in 3rd place. Pure luck. I played Joseph for 3rd place and he scratched the 8 ball. I kinda don't like winning that way, but I guess that's how the ball rolls (heehee...pun intended). Dad, of course, won the tournament.

Amy gave some haircuts.

Me and Douglas. He is a TALKER. I mean, seriously, could talk to a rock for an hour without realizing it never talked back! But he's cute too. :) And you quickly learn that you don't really have to listen to him while he's talking. He's just happy to be talking to you. I did listen sometimes, I promise!

Finally able to go outside. Skateboarding, rollerblading, biking. None of the kids seem to mind the 90 plus degrees outside. I, however, quickly took my pictures and then went back inside!

We then made caramel apples. Well, Amy and Emerson did. Daynah and I supervised and took pictures :)

Ready to be caramelled!

Yummy! They were good!

Saturday night some members in the community put on a fall festival. I didn't take any pictures of the kids dressed up or having fun. I was too busy holding a baby :) One of the relief couples had a baby a few months ago and he is super cute! Oh, and guarding all the prizes the kids won. That was the job of the evening. At the end of the night, Emerson wanted me to take some pictures of him jumping hay bales. Turns out my camera doesn't take good night pictures.

Kind of looks like it's snowing. As a matter of fact, when we had the blizzard last year, Emily and I took pictures at night and I thought the camera was taking pictures of all the snowflakes. Turns out, not so much.

Here is my second attempt. Emerson is in the right hand corner.. Kind of scary, but slightly cool too! :)

After the festival, one of the other houses came over for a bonfire. The boys played football. In the dark. In the rocks. They didn't seem to mind.

One of the many pictures I tried to take of the fire.

Sunday we went to church, a barbecue at the park, and then hung out at the house the rest of the day.

Monday, we picked up Josh early from school and went to Amy's parents house for me to see it. We went to Chickfila for lunch. I got on an airplane and came home. I forgot that I would be on Arizona time, so I stayed up way too late to have to get up early for work today. Luckily, I didn't have anything scheduled until the afternoon, so I slept until 8 and went into work at 10.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Grand Canyon Galore (Caution: Many pictures ahead!)

When you see the amount of pictures, you have to remember that they are whittled down from almost 100. Just saying. And they are definitely mostly in reverse order. I didn't plan ahead.Can you spot the Colorado River in this picture? And the white line is a trail that many of the Acres kids and staff hiked.
I just wanted a picture of a bird soaring with the canyon in the background. This is the best I got. Daynah named him Vector. He was a little camera shy.
Just a pretty view :)
These trees were so cool! And soft. We climbed into a lot of them.
These were all along the path focusing on points of interest.
Another cool tree :) With me in it! Getting in was usually easier than getting out.
I like this shot because you can't see that I'm standing on anything, so it looks a lot like I'm floating in the canyon!
Every time I see this, it makes me laugh. The story behind the picture is too long to tell. Let's just say, Josh surprised Daynah and I by popping up like a gopher!
One of my artistic attempts. I love the contrast of close and far.
Sisters :)
My feet hanging over the canyon :) Even though I shouldn't have walked in flip flops, they make a better picture than if I had worn tennis shoes!
Maybe the best self portrait I have ever taken!
Out on a precipice.
Brother and sister. Yes, Josh is taller than me now. Yes, this picture makes it look like he is taller than he is. Yes, I'm okay with it.
Another cool tree!
Daynah doing what Daynah does. :)
Looking out at the canyon.
I almost fell in! They were pretty sharp.
Heehee. Josh was pointing out something from when they hiked the canyon. I don't think I was really listening because I was still taking it in. If you look really carefully, you can just barely see the river in this picture too.
My first glimpse of the GRAND CANYON. Well, not actually. But the first picture I took of the GRAND CANYON.

A Selection from the day on the lake

This is from our day on Lake Bartlett. I'll probably put most of my pictures on Facebook, but I thought I'd put a selection on here too. I can narrate better on my blog :).
Josh and I, obviously. He found that ball in the lake!
I couldn't resist more pictures of the cacti.
Lake plus mountains. An interesting combination. And so different than the lakes I have been on which are surrounded by houses.
Anchors away! :)
A picture of the dam.

Days Three and Four

Wednesday was more of the same...Lunch date with Dad because no one else wanted to go to the dining hall, television with the fam while we waited for everyone to get home from school, and hanging out with the kids after school. I played lots of pool and one once. I lost a game to my dad, which was a given. But the 8 and 9 year olds? Although, that is about the level I play at! Played Ticket to Ride with Daynah, Emerson, and Josh. Went with Dad to pick up Brandon from work. Watched the end of You've Got Mail. Went to bed. I have been going to be earlier here than I do at home. But I'm also waking up earlier than I would at home.

Thursday was a road trip to the Grand Canyon with Daynah and Josh. I've never been on a road trip with just the two of them, so I was a little nervous. They like to sleep and do their own thing in the car. I told Daynah she had to stay awake for me because I wasn't driving 8 hours in one day without someone to entertain me. She did a great job of entertaining me! :) Those of you who know my road trip records, I only had to stop once for a potty break/gas break/food break each way. I was kind of surprised. I think this was also my first experience driving in the mountains. It was all highway driving, so it wasn't difficult, but still new. And kind of weird in someone else's car.

The Grand Canyon was AMAZING! Your first glimpse is really weird. It looks fake and one dimensional. But as your eyes adjust, you begin to see the awesomeness of God's creation. There is a two mile path around the rim that we walked. The kids (although they should have expected it) were rolling their eyes at how many pictures I was taking. But this was also their 3rd trip, and Josh has hiked part of the canyon, so it was all routine to them. We laughed a lot. Josh almost had me crying at one point because I was laughing so hard. I got a huge blister on my foot because I decided it was a good idea to walk the 2 miles in flip flops. Oops...

I didn't bring my cord for pictures and I haven't tried Amy's computer with my card, but it didn't work in Daynah's computer, so eventually I will post some pictures.

Today is more hanging with the kids. I need to get some pictures with the boys. Then they have a carnival tonight.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day Two

One of the reasons I wanted to come to Arizona was to see how a typical week for Dad and Amy goes. I picked a typically crazy week, apparently :). The younger kids are on early release all week for parent-teacher conferences. There are several doctor's appointments and general running kids to and fro. I was able to meet the four kids that I haven't been able to meet in the past because they have moved in since I visited last. They currently have 8 boys living with them. I rode along this morning while Amy took one of the younger boys to the doctor, then we took him to school. I had lunch with Dad and Daynah and watched Gilmore Girls with Daynah and Judging Amy with Amy. Then I rode with Amy to pick up Brandon from school and hung out until dinner time. After dinner I played Ticket to Ride with Daynah and Emerson. Then I taught Douglas (who apparently loves to talk and will talk to just about anyone. Daynah said she'll be glad for a break this week while he talks my ear off!) how to play Skip-bo and then Cru joined us for a game as well. That about sums up the day, not counting some other odds and ends stuff that I did, but I don't want to completely overwhelm you with details.

And, even though no one in Illinois wants to hear this, it was 97 degrees today. I don't care what anyone says, 97 is hot, dry heat or not. Don't get me wrong, I'm kind of glad I missed the 45 with wind and rain that I heard you guys had today. But I don't think 97 is a good alternative either. Just sayin'. :) I was going to get some pictures up today, but never got around to it. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day One: Success

Day one of vacation was spent on Lake Bartlett Dam. A fun time was had by all. It was a little surreal tooling around on the lake with the mountains stretching above us. Josh was the only one who got in the water, but I think he had fun doing it. The rest of us enjoyed the shade of the pontoon boat. Pictures to follow later. The day on the lake was followed by Tom's for dinner and a trip to Walmart for dessert. Where I found the best thing since finding out there is Chick-fil-a in Arizona: Blue Bell ice cream. Everyone else got a personal serving size of Ben and Jerry's and I got a half gallon of mint chocolate chip. Blue I have missed you! :) THEN (emphasis added for someone's entertainment and approval) it was on to watching NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles with Dad and Josh while the girls (minus me of course) watched The Biggest Loser. Watching NCIS without Emily was just not the same, but we did send a few texts back and forth because we were watching it at the same time!

Tomorrow starts the craziness of the next few days. Amy shared their work schedule with me this morning and it involves a lot of here, there, and everywhere. But, life as they usually know it is what I wanted for this vacation, so I say: Bring it on.

And I'll let you in on a little secret...I think Daynah, Josh, and I are going to take a road trip to the Grand Canyon on Friday. That makes me pretty excited because I didn't think I was going to get to do that this trip. Daynah and Josh don't really care what we do as long as they get to get out of school to do it! :)

And a late night last night + an early morning this morning + a day spent in the sun = me VERY tired!

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm rich!

This was the payment from my roommate for saving her from extreme embarrassment at the Sprint store. At this rate, if I continue to give her excellent advice, I could retire in, well...a whole lot of years!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Update on my update

Earlier today my Facebook status update said " bathroom...making coffee"

Here is the update:
laundry--check (it's even put away, which is a slight miracle!)
paperwork--check--it was the first thing I did to get it out of the way and only took me about an hour.
cleaning bathroom--check--I got slightly derailed by really not wanting to do it. Emily and I watched two episodes of Bones. Than I was way too hungry to clean. Than I had to get my suitcase down. Than I remembered that I had get the idea! But it did get done. Not the best job ever, but I did use cleaning products and cleaned all the essentials.
making coffee cake--it's in the oven and has 25 minutes left to bake.
packing--most of the clothes are in the suitcase, minus some stuff that is still drying. My list of everything else that needs to be thrown into the suitcase is made.

And it's only 7:51.
I am Arizona bound in just over 24 hours! Hooray!

PS. Emily and I can't figure out why our bathrooms can't learn to clean themselves. I mean, they've seen us do it often enough, shouldn't they know how to do it by now?!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall Foliage

Blogging is great for procrastinating! :) I'm trying to go through my pictures and transfer them to my computer before vacation and I forgot I had taken these.

This is a tree at the end of my apartment building. One day when I was getting home from work, the sun was hitting the yellow leaves in such a magnificent way, that I had to go in and get my camera. The camera did not even begin to capture the brilliance of the sun on the leaves, but I wanted to share it anyway! I always say the yellow leaves are my favorite, until I see the orange ones! :) Really, I can never decide.


This is the building that has to be knocked down in order for them to build Chickfila and Chipotle. The torn out side is a fun reminder for me of what is to come! :)

You probably have better things to do than to read this

I am about to wow you with the mundane! I got my haircut yesterday and Brooke (my hairdresser and friend) and I were talking about all the things people put on Facebook that no one really cares about, but we feel the need to share. I am just as guilty as the next person, especially when I am bored or have nothing pressing to do. So, instead of putting all my boring goings-on on Facebook, I will put them on my blog. And than I can put more than one! :) So, here goes! You can stop reading now if you really want to. I promise, it won't offend me.

1. I have been craving Wing Stop for about a week now. I have a coupon but I kept forgetting to put it in my purse, so all the times I was going to get it, I decided I could not justify going home to get the coupon and than going back out to get the wings. And I couldn't justify paying for the fries knowing I had a coupon for free fries. So, I went out the door prepared to fulfill my craving. It was everything I had hoped for!
2. I am having two Dr. Peppers today. I know I will regret it, but the first one went down way too fast!
3. I feel the need to do lots of unproductive things today and I feel no need to do the productive things that I have to get done (like paperwork and cleaning my bathroom and at least making a packing list).
4. I am going on vacation in 2.2 days. I don't really know if the .2 is accurate, but it was more fun to write than just 2 days. I only have one more work appointment on Monday before said vacation! Yipee Skippee!
5. I have a strong urge to do a puzzle, but I know if I start one, I will not get anything else done today. Responsibility is STUPID! :)
6. Blogger spell check does not recognize Facebook as a valid word. Man are they behind the times!

Okay, boringness is officially over. For those of you who hung in there, you must like to procrastinate as much as I do! Or you love me a lot and think I am the greatest writer ever, even when it is about boring stuff! Either way, I appreciate you! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Another client story

I opened a new client last week and met with her individually for the first time today. She is fourteen. I was gathering all kinds of information for my assessment. Here is the conversation that made me say, "Okay then..." (in my head, not out loud!)

Me: What is your mother's main form of discipline?
Her: Taking me cell phone away.
Me: Before you had a cell phone, what would she do?
Her: I've always had a cell phone. Well, since I was about 6, so I don't remember.
Me: Oh...

And than I went on to the next question! Did anyone else catch that? 6? Really? Did I even know how to dial a phone when I was 6? Who would I have called? Well, maybe China accidentally, but no one on purpose!

Oy with the poodles already! (A Gilmore Girl expression of dismay!)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm getting too old for this

Game nights are fun. Learning new games is fun. Hanging out with friends is fun. But when a 32 1/2 year old does this until 2:00am, it's fun at the time. I've never been drunk before, but what I felt this morning has to be something like a hangover! :)I slept until 9:30 which was good because I thought I would still wake up at 8. And I had some pretty weird dreams (which I can't really remember right now) but I think at least part of them had to do with Dominion cards. Really it hasn't been too rough. Once I got into the shower, I felt human and haven't been tired at all yet today.

I did also learn that you can easily get through most of the lights in Peoria at 2am without having to stop at! But, when you do have to stop, they seem a whole lot longer because there are no other cars around and it feels a little senseless to sit there and wait.

Thanks Kari for a fun evening...and for talking me into just one more game...and than just one more game after that! And thank you Saturday for nothing urgent on the agenda so I could take it easy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I shall never leave Peoria again!

In the spring of 2012, I will no longer have any need to leave Peoria. So, I should get all my visiting in before than!

This is the official story that was announced yesterday: "You're going to see a few changes around Northwoods Mall. The former Regions Bank building is being torn down on Scenic Drive. Two new additions are coming to the area. Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle will join the mall area by Spring of 2012."

The only problem is going to be when I pull into the parking lot. Which restaurant should I eat at?

One of my coworkers sent me a message about the announcement. I told her that I choose Chick-fil-a for my birthday lunch next year! :)

So, after next spring, people will have to start visiting me! :)

Monday, October 3, 2011


I am babysitting for Joe and Ginger tonight, which basically consisted of coming over and putting Taylor to bed and than hanging out by myself. Joe was putting Hudson to bed when I got to the house, so Taylor let me in. She pretty much didn't stop talking until I left her room so she could go to sleep.

"Hudson is Daddy's son."
"When Daddy comes I'm going to ask for more juice. He might give me juice. But he will say I have to drink milk." (funny happened just like that after he came up!)
"My mom is Ginger. My dad is Joe."
"Where's Emily. I can't see her." As I responded to a text from Emily and told her what I was doing.
And than she asked if Emily was big or little. I didn't know how to answer her, so I went with a safe, "She's big like me!" :)
"Do you have a little girl at home?" Me: "No. I don't have any kids." Taylor: "I have a kid." Me: "Who is your kid?" Taylor: "Hudson." Me: "No, Hudson is your brother. He is Mommy and Daddy's kid."
"I'll have to look at my parade candy. I think I'm out of suckers. But if you don't want a tootsie roll, I'll look."
"Why are you reading that book?" As I looked at one of the kids books while I waited for her to go potty before bed.
Me: "Taylor, did you color this picture?" Taylor: "Yes. For Mommy. Maybe she will take it to Cal. i. fornnnn. ia." She added several syllables to an already long word!
And lots of giggles. That girl sure likes to giggle. And talk. And talk! :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

You know the seasons are changing when...

...these are the shoes you see on my floor instead of flip flops! :) Oh, and when the leaves on the trees start to change...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Two aunts and a mom

Last weekend I was blessed to have two of my aunts and my mom come visit me in Peoria! This trip has been a while in the making. Last year, Aunt Teresa and Mom were supposed to come visit but the week before, my grandma fell and broke her hip. In anticipation for this weekend, I was going to write my grandma a letter that said, "Dear Grandma, please do not engage in any daredevil stunts this week. Love, Teresa" If you knew my grandmother, you would know how funny this really is. So, when Teresa, Tricia, and Mom arrived on Saturday, we did a whirlwind tour of Peoria. Starting with lunch at Avanti's. Than we went out to Tanners Orchard. I really don't know what I would do with family or friends that came to visit other than in the fall, because I always take guests to Tanners! It was kind of overcast, but the rain held off until we got into the store. We even did part of the corn maze! And than we all spent too much money on all things apple related. Except I didn't get the apple salsa that I had my eye on and I'm still regretting it. Here are some pictures from Tanners: Teresa, Mom, Tricia

Aunt Teresa was intrigued by the barrel rides. I think she wishes she was a kid so she could ride in one!
The green pumpkin in front of us is Aunt Teresa's one regret. She really wanted to buy it but didn't. But than she talked about it the rest of the weekend!
They were also fascinated by the windmills, which you can barely see in the background.

After Tanners I took them on a tour of Peoria. And by tour, I definitely mean an as-seen-through-Teresa's-eyes tour. I mean, we did the major things like Grand View Drive and the Riverfront and Downtown. But they also got. "And this is where I work." "And this is where I used to work." "And this is where I sometimes go to the gym." "And this is my favorite Chinese restaurant." (which we ordered for dinner!) "And this is the area where some of my clients live." "And this is one of our two malls." "And this is where I grocery shop most of the time." "And this is where Kari lives." "And this is one of my favorite houses in this area." "And this is where I used to live."

After the tour we went back to my apartment, went back out to get Chinese, ate dinner, went back out to get a movie, and watched a movie. We weren't great planners, but that's okay.

Sunday morning Mom went to church with me and than we went out for brunch at Le Peep. Than we hung out for a little longer before they left.

All in all, it was a great visit! I hope it's not another 5 1/2 years before they visit again!