Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stealing Opa's most excellent idea

My middle son, Chase, has a slight obsession with all things military. And when I say slight, I mean he would literally sign up and head off to war today, armed with his vast knowledge of weaponry and battle, if the armed forces would let him.

When we see soldiers anywhere in uniform, he immediately runs up to shake their hand, and almost tearfully thanks them for their service to our country. I've written before about how he wanted to donate all our money to the marine corp veterans outside the grocery store. And he gets giddy with excitement when he sees recruiting centers and it's all I can do to keep him from just asking if he can sign up.

Because, "You never know, Mom. They might have changed the age limit!"

Heaven help me.

So you can imagine what Pearl Harbor was for him, then.

When he saw this vintage poster in the gift shop, he knew he had to have it.

My problem was how to hang it once we got it home. I did not want the four-thumbtacks-in-the-corners-approach, as I knew within weeks it would be shredded and warped.

Also knowing how my boys play in their room at night, the last thing I would allow was a giant-sized piece of glass hanging over their beds, just waiting to be shattered with a football. A traditional frame would never work.

So, what to do?

Thankfully, I married into a resourceful family. Opa had the idea in years past and we successfully adopted it here. You get a piece of foam board about the size of your poster (or larger, and just cut it down with a t-square and box cutter). Mount your poster ever-so-carefully using spray-on adhesive. You need about six pairs of hands for this step, as you want to ensure it lays smooth and flat without any air bubbles or premature adhesion.

Once that is done, wrap the edges in black tape, and voila! A gorgeous piece of military history that makes my little soldier so very happy.

I think it actually looks pretty cool and am now wishing we had picked up a few more.

Wait! I will volunteer go back and get them. Yeah, that's it. Send me!

Oh, all right. I'll stop.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Last trip post, I promise

I know you are all probably so sick of this vacation that you saw the title and clicked off to hunt for free porn. Nothing like days and days of someone else's boring vacation pictures, right?


Well, too bad. At least for one more day anyway.

I end the Seattle/Hawaii Trip '09 with some stats and (of course) more pictures. To give you an idea of our endeavors over the last 13 days without writing down every detail, here is some data that is pretty representative of the fantastic experience we had:
  • Total number of flights: 7
  • Total number of bags checked on flights: Zero, thanks to my awesome packing
  • Total number of hotels we stayed at: 5
  • Estimated caloric intake per day by me alone: 9,678 thankyouverymuch
  • Pounds gained while on this vacation: I am sure at least 8.
  • Number of fish viewed while snorkeling: 756 or more
  • Number of bloody wounds received from jagged coral while snorkeling: 2 (both mine)
  • Bottles of sunscreen used: 4
  • Number of people in our family who took hula lessons: 2 (all female, naturally)
  • Number of people in our family who swam in a cage with sharks all around: 3 (all male, of course)
  • Total number of days before I adjusted to the time difference: 9
  • Number of days it will likely take me to adjust back: 14
  • Dollars spent shopping: Much, much less than it could have been, dear Husband. Remember that in the days to come when you look at the bank statement, mmkay?
  • Pounds of sand washed down our hotel shower drain per day: 3
  • Number of former KSL weathermen seen at the Hawaiian Temple: 1 (bonus if you guess who it was)
  • Number of times the natives called me 'Cousin': At least 27
  • Minutes until I am ready to go back again: I'd say less than one. It actually hurts a little bit to think that Hawaii is still out there in this world, existing, without me in it.
And finally, because my little i-phone picture posts were so tiny (a pet peeve of mine), here are a few of my favorites so far. I have yet to barely wade through the hundreds and hundreds of shots I took, so these will have to do.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Aloha and mahalo

I can hardly bear the thought of getting on a plane and leaving this place, but the time has come.

My face is puffy and swollen from all the sun, my skin is pruned from all the water, and my pants are pinchy and tight from all the food.

Oh, I could write for days about the gluttony alone.

Instead, I will pack our bags and head for home with the memory of a fabulous trip and the relief that no one got sick (except for those few unmentionable hours on the Road to Hell).

Aloha, Hawaii. Mahalo from the bottom of my heart.

--Kiliki (Christie in Hawaiian)

Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Note to self

When your children want to buy ukeleles for souvenirs, it is a good idea to make them wait until the last day of the trip.

Instead of when you have FOUR DAYS LEFT for them to pleasure you with their plinking and plucking.

Oh the joy.

Posted by ShoZu

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Giving up halfway to Hana

Let's just say the Road to Hana (or Road to Hell, as we are calling it) is now paved with something other than good intentions.

It is paved with the vomit of all three of my children.

It is a winding, one-lane recipe for car sickness with no room on either side to even stop and puke.

Solution? Let the poor babies hang their heads out the window and let loose on the side of the car.

Please don't tell the nice people at Hertz.

I am pretty sure I deserved this for going on about the blissful trip I was having.

That karma is such a beyotch.

Posted by ShoZu

Hate me yet?

Because I totally would if I were you.

We are here on Maui and cannot get enough of the beach that is right outside our room. The boys are snorkeling so much they have started to grow gills.

Hannah keeps picking flowers for me to tuck behind my ears. I'm pretty sure the hotel isn't liking that, but it makes her so happy that I am powerless to stop her.

The husband is totally off the grid and loving it.

I honestly do not think there could possibly be a more heavenly place on earth. Pinch me, please.

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Good morning, indeed

It's five a.m. here and for the first time in my life, I don't mind getting up to see the sun rise.

I may never come home.

Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Aloha, internets

And we are off...will be posting from the road via the wonderful people who invented the i-phone.

In case you were wondering how the pre-trip diet went, I am happy to report that through a combination of near-starvation and strenuous exercise, I dropped four pounds in four days.

Which will probably be put back on at breakfast tomorrow morning.

Which I am totally fine with. Just don't tell my thighs. They will not be thrilled one bit.

Selfish, chubby thighs. Always thinking of themselves.

Don't have too much fun without me.

Posted by ShoZu

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Ugh, I think I can actually hear you getting fatter"

[Anyone know the classic movie where that line comes from? I do. And every time I watch it, it makes me laugh so hard a little pee comes out.]

To say the scale has not been my friend the last few days would be a bit of an understatement.

That damn thing hasn't been my friend for a good two weeks.

It really isn't shocking or unexpected. There have been more than a few rounds of cookie dough. There have been cakes and pans of brownies. There have been endless bowls of my fabulous homemade guacamole (a recipe which I really ought to share with you one of these days). And I'm not sure, but I think I may or may not have eaten 1,873 pounds of M&Ms.

I am feeling it and I am not happy with that feeling. To make matters worse, we leave in three days for a little vacay in Hawaii wherein I was planning on looking seductive and trampy on the beach. Not lumpy and fat on the beach.

But, I've not lost heart. I am going to give the next three days my best effort and see if I can drop a pound or two.

Failing that, I'll just drown my sorrows in a super-sized tub of cookie dough, buy a muu-muu, and tell my trainer it wasn't my fault when I get back.

Sound good?

Shut up.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Making peace with my freckles

The other day, I was driving somewhere with all three kids in the car. I listened quietly from the front seat to their happy banter,relishing the back-and-forth between them.

That is, until I heard these words said by Hannah:

"I hate my freckles. I have so many of them and they make me look so ugly."

McKay responded with this:

"I hate mine, too. They make me look like such a little kid. I wish I didn't have any freckles."

Horrified, I realized they were repeating VERBATIM things that have come from my own mouth.

I glanced in the rear view mirror, frowning slightly at my face full of them, and took a deep breath. I jumped in and told them how much I love their freckles and my freckles, and how cute they look on all of us. I told them their freckles were angel kisses from heaven, and that it meant we were special.

That brilliant plan worked well until the one child WITHOUT freckles piped up and asked if that meant he wasn't special.


Can't win here, can I?

Anyhoo, I have decided from here on out to publicly embrace my freckles, lest my children develop a complex and feel slightly unattractive all their lives thanks to me. I will stop complaining out loud about them. I will stop whining about them while flipping through People magazine. And I will try to stop comparing my skin to all the non-freckly skin out there.

We are what we are, and that's good, too. (Any one know which old musical that fabulous line comes from? It's a classic.)

It does not mean, however, that I will stop photoshopping them away every chance I get. Like this picture from last summer (when my hair was so gloriously long).


And after:

(Admit it, the after is so much better. Just don't admit it in front of my kids)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Psychological inkblots or fireworks? You decide

So. I have decided it was wise not to kill my boys over the basement flood, even though they might have deserved it. I also forgave them when, a mere day later, my boys were wrestling in the basement and my oldest child put a giant hole in the wall with his knee. (Yay, Dad! Another hole for you to fix on your next visit!)

I have not ruled out selling them to gypsies, however.

But for fun, I thought I'd show you some of my favorite fireworks pictures from this year and tell you how to make some of your own for next year.

I know, it might have been nice to have this information on, say, July 3rd. But what can I say? This is the best you can expect from me this week.

I love taking pictures of fireworks - it's like distorted, colorful works of art that come out gloriously different every time you click the shutter. You never know what you're going to get. Someday I may mount a few of these on canvas and find someplace cool to hang them.

First, your camera must be set to manual for this. For those of you who waste a perfectly good SLR camera by keeping it on the auto setting, turn the knob to the giant "M."

Also, if the previous paragraph applies to you, stop what you are doing immediately. Log on to Amazon, send away for this book, and pray I forgive you for your ignorance.

For those of you who actually know how to use your camera properly, you will be allowed to move on to step two.

Lower your shutter speed until it says "bulb." This is the slowest shutter speed setting and will allow you to manually hold the shutter open for as long as your little heart desires.

You can put your f-stop (or aperture) at whatever you'd like - I played around with mine and found that the wider apertures (or smaller f-stop numbers) worked better as it allowed more light in. I also had my ISO set to 100.

Then, just point at the fireworks and shoot, holding down on the shutter release for as long as you like.

I didn't take my tripod this year, and I wish I would have. Balancing the camera on my knees while shooting in the rain wasn't ideal.

But they turned out pretty cool - each one more different than the last.

And afterwards, it's totally fun to study each picture and find something in the lines, squiggles, and colors. Kind of like a homemade inkblot test of sorts. You can give them to your family for an enlightening night of psycho-analysis. (Get it, en-LIGHT-ening? Okay. Bad pun).

For the record, my children saw food in nearly every picture. What does that say about us?

Is it just me or does that last one look slightly like Daniel Craig? A little? No?

Fine. Party poopers.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A question on a summer Monday


What happens when your boys decide to build a fort in the unfinished part of the basement near the air conditioners, and they shove the condensation hoses away from the drain and point them towards the finished part of the house, where carpet, drywall, and other such things reside?


A freakin' flood, that's what.

Be back soon, I promise. Just as soon as I finish dealing with the water, the pulled up carpet, the soaking wet drywall, and general clean-up of the area. Oh, and as soon as I decide to let the boys out of their cage again.

They're only still alive because they didn't know what those hoses were for and I can't legally kill them for their ignorance.

Believe me, I wanted to.