Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How about them lemons!

Yes, this is the time of year when we really enjoy living in Arizona. While many of my friends and family are battling the ice and snow, I'm enjoying the warm, sunny weather.

I even have lemons ripening on my tree:


Earlier this week, I enjoyed a tall glass of Diet Coke with freshly squeezed lemon plucked right from my tree! How cool is that?

Here are a few lemons that are hanging low to the ground. They're HUGE!

Why did we plant a lemon tree in our backyard? Well, mainly just because WE CAN! I'm glad there are only a few lemons this year, because I can't imagine what we'd do with a whole bunch of them, other than start up our own lemonade stand.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A discussion with Zachary

For the past few days my kids have spent a ridiculous amount of time playing video games, and I'm okay with that. School starts up again on Monday, so I'm not really that concerned if they've managed to set a new video game playing record or anything.

But this afternoon while taking a little break, Zachary went out to the garage and saw my stash of cardboard that I'm collecting to take to the recycling drop off. He brought in a few pieces and asked me if he could use it to build a ramp to ride his scooter on. I told him that wouldn't work, he's going to need something sturdier. He went back out and brought in a few more larger pieces and persistently asked again. I explained that once again, it wouldn't work. When he started to defend his idea, I told him:

"Sorry, Honey, that's just not gonna fly."

And he replied in a very exasperated voice,

"Mom, I'm not trying to get it to FLY. I just want to ride my scooter on it!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Kennedys!

We're trying to start a new tradition of taking a family picture on Christmas Eve in front of the tree each year wearing our new pajamas. This was the best shot we could get, but here's a few more just for fun, so you can see just how hard this was:

Here, Nate and I are in focus, but the kids and Thelma were moving around too much.

This would have been a cute picture, but Noah decided to stick his tongue out.

I promised the kids that if we got one good picture, I'd take some pictures of them being silly.

And this, well, I'm not quite sure what this is, but both kids were dancing around. Christmas Eve is very exciting, you know.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Aww...I love this stuff!

Yesterday I was going grocery shopping and Zachary tucked this little 'shopping list' he'd written into my purse and told me not to look at it until I got to the store. I found it entertaining.


And tonight, the kids and I made cinnamon rolls. They were excited about eating them until I pointed out the fact that they were going to have to rise for an hour, and then bake for another half hour after that. Zachary kept coming into the kitchen and asking if they were done yet.

And then, because it was taking so long, he presented me with this note:

When I see stuff like this, I can't help but love that cute kid a little more.

Although he could have at least said "pleez"...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Behold...


It's magnificent, isn't it? From its candy speckled rooftop to it's sugar glazed corrugated base, it's truly a work of art.

You've always wanted to make a sweet little spiced cottage of your own, but who has the time?

Call now and you can own your very own Christmas candied abode.

Each one-of-a-kind gingerbread dwelling is unique and will be individually hand-crafted by the same 'mother and sons' team that created this gorgeous masterpiece. Because of the hand crafting process, no two houses will be exactly alike.

Your ginger infused home will include one or more 'personal touches' such as smeared icing, random gumdrop placement, previously "sucked on" candies, and the occasional white dog hair.

It's beautiful.

It's magical.

It's the perfect festive touch to match any home decor.

And it can be yours.

Don't wait - Christmas is right around the corner! Call now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

10 % off Retiring Stamps and FREE SHIPPING!


The Fall/Winter 2008 Retired Stamp Set List is here! What does that mean? All of the stamp sets listed below will no longer be available once they retire on January 18th.

If you place your order by December 23rd, you can get them at 10% off!

Retiring Stamp Sets Fall/Winter 2008 (alphabetical)
Retiring Stamps Sets Fall/Winter 2008 (by page number)

AND, when you place an order of $70 or more, you'll pay no shipping charges now through December 23rd.


Need a catalog? Contact me now to receive a free Fall/Winter Idea Book & Catalog with any order.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Do I have the word idiot stamped on my forehead?

No? Are you sure?

Look closer, because I should.

My youngest son, Noah, who is 5, is obsessed with these new toys called Bakugan. They're kind of like a cross between Pokemon and Transformers. They start out like a ball, and when you put them on a magnetic game card, they flip open.

Even the adults we've shown Noah's collection to are a little fascinated by how they work.

Noah is always wanting to play on the Bakugan website and likes to see the new Bakugans available on the Toys R Us website.

But the place with the biggest collection of Bakugan to check out is eBay.

It started out innocently enough. We looked up Bakugan on eBay and let Noah browse through all the different varieties available. No big deal, right?

Wrong.

Because one day last week, after Noah and his friend had been playing on the computer together, I managed to squeeze in some time of my own to check my email and saw a message from eBay stating:

"Your eBay bid is confirmed: Bakugan Bakupearl B2 HAOS GREY PREYAS 350g Rare"


Still, I didn't panic because Nate and I had talked about doing most of our Christmas shopping online this year, and we are frequent eBay users. I assumed Nate was doing a little Christmas shopping at work.

The hysteria didn't hit me until I saw the words:

"Your maximum bid: $484.00."

What?!

And then I noticed the next email in my inbox said, "You won this item on eBay..."

I instantly opened the email and found that I was indeed the highest bidder. Lucky me.

Fortunately, the auction ended at $6 with free shipping, which isn't too bad, particularly because there are collections of Bakugan and individual rare Bakugans going for HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS. Had Noah been bidding on one of those items and we had won, I would have completely lost it!

Later, Noah told me there was a cool Bakugan on eBay he'd seen and wanted to know if maybe we could buy it? I didn't bother telling him we already did, thanks to him. I did however, tell him that he's no longer allowed to look at things on eBay because "they charge us money". He kind of gets it, I think.

And we get to check another Christmas gift off our list, right?

Merry Christmas, kiddo.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our Thanksgiving weekend

This year was the 'family year' for Thanksgiving, as Nate's family calls it, meaning the year that everyone has Thanksgiving in Mesquite, Nevada, with Nate's grandparents, the Wurstens, instead of staying home or visiting the in-laws.

We left Tuesday morning to drive the 400 or so miles to Mesquite. It should have taken about 7 hours. Instead, it took nine. One of the reasons it took so long was the traffic at Hoover Dam.

(No, I did NOT take this picture. That's what 'Yahoo Images' is for.)

It's always been a tradition of ours to make up as many 'dam' jokes as we can while traveling over Hoover Dam - you know, stuff about how the whole 'dam experience' wouldn't take so long if there weren't so many 'dam tourists' and so much 'dam traffic'. I never really thought the kids were listening or even understood what we were doing until we'd passed the dam this time and Zachary blurted out,

"Mom, you're a 'dam good driver'!

That's my boy.

Nate's extended family has gotten so large that they hold Thanksgiving dinner in the church cultural hall. 40 people were expected this year.

Nate walked around snapping photos of everyone, most of which turned out pretty crummy. He has a knack for taking pictures of people looking ticked off or having their eyes closed. This was the fourth or fifth picture of me, so I have a cheesy, strained smile going on.

Here's Zachary and Noah with Nate's grandparents. This was the second shot Nate took, so the kids started pulling faces.

Nate's grandparents had 12 great grandsons born in a row, and this is a picture of 3 of them that are fairly close in age - Corbin, in the red shirt, who turned 4 while we were up in Mesquite, Noah, who turned 5 in October, and Chase, who turned 5 in June. We found it amusing that Corbin is barely 4 and is so much taller than the other two. He is one tall kid!

Nate's family is very musically talented, so after Thanksgiving dinner, it's a tradition to have the family Christmas party where each family performs. Over the years we've heard many numbers from whichever children were having instrument or voice lessons, and for a while, there were even Wursten family band performances. The night always ends with Nate's grandfather, an award winning opera singer, performing 'O Holy Night' with his rich tenor voice.

Despite Nate's show choir experience, our family is never organized enough to have anything prepared, so this year, our boys got together with some of their cousins and sang the chorus to We Wish You a Merry Christmas. It was hard to get the four of them to stand still long enough to do it.

This is a photo from the party two years ago when Noah, who was barely 3 at the time, was standing on the table blurting out his own rendition of Jingle Bells. (He's not shy, in case you wondered.) I love that his cousin Caitlin, who's standing behind Colin (the boy in the green and blue striped shirt) can clearly be seen covering her ears!

One of these years we're going to prepare our own nice little musical number. I promise.

And, because it just wouldn't be a traditional Wursten family Thanksgiving dinner without a big old platter of celery with peanut butter and processed cheese, I made sure to snap a photo during the festivities (and to have proof in case no one believes me!). Click here to read about the delightful tradition.

We had lots of fun this year and want to thank everyone for the great trip we had. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we know we are blessed!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The big BYU/Utah game

Okay, I can't even believe this is making an appearance on my blog, because I struggle to even pretend I care about this stuff.

I despise football. I really do.

But my husband Nate is quite possibly the world's biggest football fan, AND he loves BYU. He never attended the school, but loves it still the same. I, on the other hand, actually did attend the University of Utah, and have to do this just to tick my husband off:


I posted this photo I took of Thelma on Nate's Facebook just to irk him.

He later took these pictures:



He pointed out that Thelma looks much happier in the BYU gear than the U of U sweatshirt. I suppose she does, but I'd like to point out that the final score was Utah - 48, BYU - 24.

Nanny nanny boo boo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Um...what?

I was looking through the December/January issue of a magazine I get and I found this tasty looking recipe for homeade marshmallows.


They look pretty yummy with that toasted coconut, don't they?

Well, they did look yummy, until I read the recipe description, which I've cropped here so it can be seen better:


Don't you want to rush into the kitchen and start making these right away?

No?

Why ever not?

Friday, November 7, 2008

I've been tagged - for the first time EVER!!

And I'm actually a little excited! Somehow, I've never been tagged before. Maybe nobody really cared to hear what my answers would be?

Anyhow, here it goes:

8 shows I like to watch

1. The Office
2. Chuck
3. The New Adventures of Old Christine
4. Life
5. Lost (though I can't remember much of what's happened)
6. ER (though, after 14 seasons, I must admit my interest is waning...)
7. Project Runway
8. The Big Bang Theory

8 Restaurants where I like to eat

1. PF Chang's
2. Baja Fresh (black bean and cheese burrito)
3. Red Lobster
4. Nicolina's Italian Kitchen (a little 'mom and pop' restaurant here)
5. Sconecutter (when in Utah...)
6. The Olive Garden
7. Taco Bell
8. Coldstone (yes, I'm counting that)

8 Things that happened today

1. Was awakened by my son sticking a frozen Go-gurt on my face.
2. Shampooed dog poop out of my carpet.
3. Mopped my kitchen floor.
4. Found Thelma had eaten an entire block of cheese she got off the counter.
5. Cleaned up the bag of Tostitos Thelma had also gotten off the counter.
6. Drank waaaay too much Diet Coke.
7. Ate waaay too many pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
8. Spent $62.70 at the grocery store and saved $102.21.

8 Things I'm looking forward to

1. Thanksgiving
2. Christmas
3. Going back to school someday
4. Wearing my 'skinny' clothes again one of these days
5. The kids going to bed tonight
6. The kids going back to school tomorrow
7. Both kids being in school full time
8. Both kids growing up and moving away to college ;)

8 things on my wish list

1. A new floor in my kitchen
2. A hybrid vehicle
3. A weight bench, and a place to put it
4. A house with a basement
5. A functioning garage door
6. A nice grill
7. A jet tub in my bathroom
8. Kids who clean up after themselves

8 people I'm tagging

1. Tilleea A.
2. Jera F.
3. Alisha T.
4. Heather P.
5. Nancy T.
6. Matthew T.
7. Lance P.
8. Shanae A.

I guess the idea is to do it only if you want to, to post the answers on your blog, and then to post back here when it's done. Am I right?

And I'm a little confused. When it's "8 Things..." aren't there usually 8 questions? But that's just me being picky.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My first 5K

I'm not much of a runner, really.

(Try not to look so surprised, will you?)

In fact, one day, when I was in 9th grade, our gym teacher promised an "A" for the day to anyone who ran the entire mile and a half. Apparently, I really needed that "A", because I did it. I hyperventilated afterward, and practically threw up, but I did it.

And in the years since, I've dabbled a little in running. Although, what I do probably can't be considered 'running' exactly.

I shuffle.

Very, very slowly.

In fact, I prefer to 'run' at night or in the privacy of my home so I can't be seen and mocked by others. When I run during the day, I get a lot of strange looks.

And offers for help - because I must really look like I need it. I can practically see people in their cars dialing 911 to report a disoriented looking purple-faced woman lumbering around the neighborhood.

But, I set a goal to run a 5K, and today, in celebration of my 36th birthday, I did it.

My goal was to run the entire time, which I accomplished. Part of the way into it, just when I feeling wiped out and thinking I must be nearing the end, I saw the sign:

"Mile 1".

I actually turned to someone else and blurted out, "You gotta be KIDDING me!"

After that, I kept anticipating the Mile 2 and Mile 3 signs, but I never saw them which made the race feel like it was going to go on forever.

Finally, I rounded a corner and saw Nate and the kids cheering me on.

My finish time was 33:51.

Told you I was slow.

I swear, people with babies in strollers were passing me while chatting on their cell phones.

Okay, that may have been a bit of an exaggeration...but just about the cell phones.

The proceeds from today's race benefited the TGen Foundation for pancreatic cancer research.

And for your enjoyment, here is one of my favorite Seinfeld clips. It's the episode where Kramer is harassed for choosing not to wear a ribbon while participating in an AIDS benefit walk:





And I wore the ribbon.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

(and a gentle reminder not to eat too much candy!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Noah!

Today, our sweet little Noah is 5 years old!

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Noah may be small, but he has a BIG personality and has always been such a character. He makes funny faces and does great impersonations and quotes from his favorite shows. He has an amazing sense of comic timing and loves to be the center of attention, (sometimes a little too much!). His preschool teachers are always telling us how all the other kids in his class like him so much and want to sit next to him.

Some of Noah's Favorite Things

Favorite Color: Green



Favorite Television Shows: Baby Looney Tunes, Bakugan, SpongeBob Squarepants.

Favorite Foods: Ikea meatballs, Honey Nut Cheerios, milk, and cupcakes with sprinkles.



Favorite Movies: Underdog and Cars.

Favorite Song: Miley Cyrus's "See You Again"
(Seriously. He sings along and does actions!)

When Noah grows up, he wants to be "a Dad" and "a Policeman" and "live at Kimber's house".

(Hmm...THAT'S interesting!)

We love you so much, Noah, and are so happy you're part of our family!

Happy Birthday from Mommy, Daddy, Zachary, and Thelma!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A conversation with Noah


Noah started out by saying,
"There's something weird about the Wonder Pets I have to tell you,"
"Okay, what is it?"
I ask.

"Well," he goes on, "Every time they complete a mission...

(yes, those were his words, not mine)

...they have celery."


"Uh huh, and...?"

"Well, how do they EAT that stuff?" he asks with a disgusted look on his face.


So, anyone can deduce from this conversation that Noah:

a) likes the Wonder Pets



and,

b) dislikes celery.

And while I don't mind a little celery now and then, I agree, something yummy and chocolate sounds like a much better way to celebrate a hard earned victory.

But then, I'm not a guinea pig.

And my use of chocolate as a reward has definitely contributed to my long and expensive history with Weight Watchers.

Now, the celery thing kind of reminds me of Thanksgiving with Nate's family. For some reason, it's a tradition to have a platter of celery with peanut butter available.

On Thanksgiving.

Like the roasted turkey, real mashed potatoes with gravy, homeade stuffing and rolls, and pies made from scratch aren't enough.

It was Nate's uncle Darren who married into the family over 20 years ago who first pointed out the absurdity of the tradition by stating, "Celery with peanut butter has no place in a Thanksgiving dinner, and it's not even a good combination anyhow."

And I tend to agree.

But, like I said, I'm not a guinea pig.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Phoenix Zoo

Remember those Diamondbacks family tickets we got back in May that included passes to the Phoenix Zoo? Those were going to expire soon, so we used them today.

Zachary and Noah ready to ride the paddle boat

Noah, Nate, and Zachary

There weren't any seat belts on the boat,
so this is Noah sitting in the back holding on
for dear life.


The boys imitating the flamingos.

Getting our cotton candy fix.


And surprisingly, the trip was pretty uneventful. A good time was had by all and no one fell in the lake like our last visit to the zoo.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Today we went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson with Noah's preschool class. Here are a few of the photos I took:

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Ooops!

So Vickie and I were talking about this 'frog' that Zachary brought home last night, and we both started researching it online. Turns out it may actually have been a Sonoran Desert toad, also known as a Colorado River toad.

You can read more about it here.

I got this picture from the Arizona-Desert Sonora Museum website. And interestingly enough, Noah and I are visiting this museum tomorrow with his preschool class.

Oh, and if this truly was a Desert Sonoran toad, it can be toxic enough to kill a full grown dog! Yikes!

I think we're done collecting desert wildlife for a while, and I must say, I'm quite relieved...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Wow! Again?!

We took another evening walk tonight and Zachary found this:

It's HUGE!! I can't believe these things even live in our neighborhood. The only water around is the fake lake on a nearby golf course, and our house isn't anywhere near it.

And, I'm surprised by how quickly Zachary just scooped this thing up and carried it a block back to our house. Normally, he's pretty squeamish about stuff.

But I guess boys will be boys, right?

It was super dark out, so I'm shocked he could even see this thing, or tell what it was. When he came walking back to me clutching it, I was a little freaked out and asked him if it was real, thinking maybe it was a plastic toy or someone's Halloween decoration.

"Oh, it's real, you're not dreaming," he told me with a huge grin on his face.

Ewwww.

This frog actually makes that last one look cute!

He proudly named this guy 'Jumbo'.

But don't worry, we let him go in the dry wash behind our house, so no frogs were actually harmed in the making of this post...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Who's your daddy?

Well, apparently, it's Nate. He's grown quite attached to Thelma and thinks it's funny to cradle her like a baby. A giant 70 lb. baby.

And Thelma's pretty happy to be cradled too.

Crazy dog.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Is it irony, or something else?

When discussing with friends the problems we've had with Thelma since her arrival at our house a month ago, I've had several people suggest I read Josh Grogan's book, Marley & Me - Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog.


Marley, like Thelma, is a rambunctious yellow lab, and the book humorously details the true account of the dog's wild antics. The book went on to be a New York Times #1 Bestseller and there is a movie currently in production starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston based upon it.

While visiting Vickie Lee last week during a playgroup, she pulled her copy of Marley & Me from the shelf and handed it to me to read. A self-proclaimed dog person, she recommended the book highly and shared some stories of crazy things the dogs she's knows have done.

I started reading, and snickered and empathized with parts of the book, wondering if perhaps Thelma is somehow a distant relative of Marley. (The resemblance in both appearance and behavior is remarkable!)

I was sitting outside on the back porch reading the book this afternoon (I'm only on page 83) , when Noah came out and asked for a drink. I wasn't gone long, but I left the book on the porch swing and forgot about it until I came back later to read more, and found this:


I then had to call my friend and explain that I now owe her a new copy of a book about a crazy, destructive dog, thanks to my own crazy, destructive dog.

Is that irony? I'm not sure. There's probably a better description of it.

Besides STUPIDITY.

(My own, for thinking we were even remotely 'ready' for a dog. How can anyone truly be ready for this?!) And why didn't I read Marley & Me before getting a dog in the first place?

I think Thelma may have claim to the title of 'The World's Worst Dog'. I'm not sure how we go about applying for that, or what kind of evidence is necessary, although the details and photos on this blog may just suffice.