Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why cats hate Thanksgiving, Plus... photo lessons, by Mikkena.

Ahh Thanksgiving....... good eats, and good time with the fam.... unless you're a cat, then Thanksgiving is pure hell.

First you get locked in a room for hours with no toilet eating dry crumbly kibbles while everyone else is pigging out on turkey, and the rest of the time you're getting beat up by small children. That's why Tally decided it was time to strike back, Ninja style.

I decided that my niece Erin needed some training.

Lesson number one involved a grapefruit, but in the end, despite extensive training, the score was:

Tally 1-Miniature people 0

Congratulations Tally! You've won a complementary de-clawing. What's that? You want to see what's behind the mystery door? Maybe it's some spam.

This is our lone family Thanksgiving photo. I don't know what I was doing. It was time to be silly and all I could think of was to pick up a stupid roll. I'm going back to "how to look cool in a photo" school. At least Amber got in bunny ears and Mikkena got a cute head tilt. Roll.........lame.

I think that we could all use some lessons on how to look our best while being photographed. And since we all know I am not qualified to teach this lesson, I will let Mikkena do it.

Lesson #1. Don't participate when other people are trying to ruin a good photo. The expression on Mikkena's face clearly states: "I don't know this moron behind me", or "it's hard being a moose".

Lesson #2. Commit! Go big or go home. Follow this rule or you'll end up picking up a roll.

Lesson # 3. Stay hydrated. As a side lesson, it's very important to properly locate your straw with your tongue before you drink. Straw inflicted stab wounds do not make for good photos.

Lesson complete!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The "Hangin with the Hills" costume of the year award

I showed up to my daughter's Halloween party to find out that either she was held back for a few years without my knowing, or I have inadvertently sent her to a school for Oompa Loompas (not that I have anything against Oompa Loompas). Apparently all of the mini people running up to hug her when I drop her off in the mornings are her classmates. I just thought she was really nice to kindergartners. Maybe we should scale back her morning dose of human growth hormone.

Now to highlight some interesting costumes!

First off, This guy!

This costume was so spot on and so common in Eagle Mountain, that it took me a second to realize that it was an actual costume. I think the giant pumpkin baby tipped me off. I also realized it was a costume because he was wearing a shirt under his ripped up wife-beater. Who does that?

My nephew Tagan. The only way to make this kid more squeezable and lovable is to put him in a furry Elmo suit and crocks.

Sherine's 30$ D.I. "find" was certainly creative. It got even better when her husband joined her in his D.I. tux. I am personally glad that the 'ol puffy sleeved dress got one last night on the town.

And the "I can't believe they had the guts to go out in public wearing that" award goes to this fine couple. I certainly thought "shotgun wedding" was going to get the Hanging with the Hills "costume of the year" award, but that was until I saw this little guy at Mikkena's school.

He's going for "eighties nerd". Kudos for the half-tucked-in shirt, high-water pants and mullet. This was genius in a sea of transformers and punk-cheerleaders.

Candy-wise, Mikkena had her most successful Halloween ever. We went to a neighborhood trunk-or-treat, a ward trunk-or-treat, and Halloween night we went trick-or-treating with Amber's brother and his family. The sheer amount a candy that we hauled in certainly tested our no-sugar resolve. I wanted to thank all of you commenters who supported me through this. Here is a snippet "you will never be able to completely give up sugar. I just thought I'd let you know so you won't be disappointed when you lose your will power". Thanks Mom.

I decided that because it was Halloween, I would take a break from my otherwise successful no-sugar goal. Let's just say I found out first hand how people OD. Even though my new tolerance was 5 pieces of candy, I ate 50. I paid for it today, but I got back on track by chewing three packs of sugar-free gum, drinking a 44 oz diet coke with lime, and chewing all of my fingernails off. We gave the rest of Mikkena's candy to charity.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Butt-kickings, detox, and angelic beans

I just had my butt kicked today. It might have been the worst butt-kicking I have ever received. It even beats the time I received two swirlies for showing up to school wearing my Leprechaun costume (mostly true story). Except this time it happened where it hurts, in something I care about..................................................... Scrabble.

Final Score: Amber 347 Jared 153

She beat me by 200 points. For those of you who don't play Scrabble, that is a BLOW OUT! It's like when (insert your favorite sports blow out story here).


We are trying to eat more healthily. The boys at my work are doing an addiction exercise where they give up something difficult for two weeks. Knowing my propensities for sugary deliciousness, I was roped into giving up sugar. Judging by the last couple of posts, this was well timed. Amber and Mikkena decided to join me, and we extended it to a month. I won't lie, not eating sugar is the hardest thing I have done in a long time. For a few days I got depressed, but now I'm back. Strange things happen when your body detoxes from high sugar levels. Fruit starts to taste good. Who knew fruit actually tasted good. I always looked at fruit as bad impostor low-budget candy, but I ate an apple the other day that was better than all of the bad impostor low-budget candy I have ever eaten! Also, I have officially adopted caffeine-free Diet Coke with lime (the lime takes away the disturbing after-taste shivers). It's definitely a tentative adoption, we haven't signed the papers.

So, with the family on board we made some adjustments to Mikkena's birthday celebrations. Instead of birthday cake we went and had low fat (and I think sugar free, although I didn't check) frozen yogurt at Amber's new favorite trendy frozen yogurt place with a stupid name.

This was the real test of my commitment to not eat candy. There was a self-serve topping bar filled with candy and fruit. There they were...........................................not just jelly beans, but Jelly Bellys, and I was feeling snooty. Perfect, glowing, speckled little beauties like little angels from heaven. They were singing to me, "it's OK no one will ever know. We are delicious".

One death glare from Amber snapped me back to reality. I got fruit, and it was still good, but not Jelly Belly good.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Babies and Pumpkin Guts

I'm so excited about Halloween that I just put a dentist on retainer. But sadly, I am starting to realize that 28-year-old trick-or-treaters are kind of creepy. For the last couple of years I've been able piggyback on Mikkena, because 28-year-old guys taking their daughters trick-or-treating isn't creepy at all, it's adorable! Later I steal all of her candy. But today I realized that my window of opportunity is closing fast. This week Mikkena is turning 10. Pretty soon she will be too old to be my trick-or-treating excuse. I need another baby, and fast!

In addition to stockpiling black market insulin, we decided to prepare for Halloween with a good 'ol fashioned pumpkin carve.

Guess the movie.

My favorite part of carving pumpkins is having a big bowl of pumpkin guts to run my hands through and throw at people. Good times.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

severed limbs and electric chairs

I've got to thank Jack Skellington the next time I see him. Dressing up as John Travolta, going door to door begging for tasty morsels, screaming till you pass out.......man, I can't think of a better holiday. We started off this month's festivities by going to a haunted house. We went to the Scream Asylum in Provo. I give it 3 out of 5 dead clown heads (for those of you who don't know, that's the official haunted house rating system). It was cheaper than other houses, but it was shorter too.

Going to haunted houses is always a blast, especially when one member of the family screams at the top of her lungs for 15 minutes and then runs into a wall (I'll give you a hint, it's not the 9-year-old). Three years ago, Amber used her 10-year-old nephew Cody as a human shield to fend off evil clowns. He's still not over it. Really, ask him.

Each year the trip starts off with Mikkena teasing Amber about last year and bragging about how she "totally saw the guy with the chainsaw coming". That is until we actually get there.

"Daddy, I think this is a bad idea"

After being attacked by a headless man carrying a rack of dismembered body parts, Amber was awarded the quote of the day.

"Jared, hold me! Mikkena can fend for herself!"

Well we made it, and we got to keep the cool 3-D glasses. If you look closely you can see my ruptured right eardrum. It was a scream!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Prognosis Delectable

I have a problem. I knew I had a problem before I was officially diagnosed with an acute sugar addiction 10 years ago (true story). Now, don't worry about me, I'm fine. I can quit any time I want, but if you suspect that you or a loved one suffers from this horrible yet delicious disease here are some warning signs.

1. Day dreaming about candy while at work or in class.

2. Buying two barrels of Red Vines because you know one won't last the day.

3. Hiding at least three candy stashes "just in case".

4. Four root canals.

5. Caring more about the white-rabbit-melamine scare than the fact that your bank just went bankrupt.

6. Making a trash stop before coming home from work so your wife won't find the four Skittles and the two Three-Musketeers wrappers.

7. You consider peanut M&Ms "healthy" because they contain protein.

8. People ask "what's that fruity smell?" every time you open your mouth.

9. You carry around black licorice not because it's your favorite, but because you know no one will ask you to share.

10. You used to eat ice cream with friends, but now you just eat alone.

I know that there are health concerns for people that have high sugar diets, such as an increased risk for diabetes, obesity and tooth decay, but there are some hidden health benefits that most people are unaware of that I believe offset those risks. I have gathered a few of these gems during my 28 years researching the subject.

1. Cinnamon bears cure sore throats. That's right, move over Halls. Next time you have a sore throat reach for the Cinnamon bears, you'll be glad you did. I will warn you though, you'll need to eat a lot, but if you're anything like me that won't be a problem.

2. Jelly beans counter act almost all of the negative symptoms of vomiting. I discovered this on Easter morning 1989. I had the flu, but I didn't let that stop me from partying hard with my peeps! Trust me, it's almost as good coming up as going down.

3. Candy stops violence. I've never been beat up after giving someone a snickers.

4. Candy may be bad for your body, but it is good for your soul.

By the way, my favorite is Dots.

or Jelly Belly's when I'm feeling snooty.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The blue-eyed 9-going-on-16-year-old-cutie

I call her pants. I think its short for Miss Mikkena pants, or sass-pants, I can't remember anymore. I used to call her pinky, but I have been informed that she is officially out of her pink period. That's right, its time for the top 10 quirky things I love about Mikkena!

10. She is a squirmer. She can't control her little body. She readjusts positions every 30 seconds or so. She claims that it's because she "gets too comfortable". She's also a phone walker. She can't talk on the phone without pacing around the house touching everything. It's a good thing she wasn't born 20 years ago and had to drag a phone cord across the whole house like I did in my phone walking days.

9. She is very fashion conscious. She already has an elaborate list of do's and dont's. She is also beginning to be embarrassed of her parents. I realize that there's plenty to be embarrassed about (I'm speaking about myself, Amber), but she's not quite old enough to figure out what those things are. I showed up to pick her up from school on my scooter. I reached into my pocket to give her her sun glasses. A horrified look spread across her face. "I can't wear those now, Dad!" she whispered to me. Look chick, I picked you up on my scooter wearing my Star Trek outfit, sunglasses are the least of your worries.

8. She is extremely claustrophobic. Occasionally we wrestle, but it always ends in, "I can't breath! I can't breath! I can't Breath! I can't Breath!"

7. She gives the best hugs. She gives the kind of hugs where I need a Tylenol and a masseuse afterwards.

6. She learns songs by singing them, even if she's never heard the song before. Occasionally I'll look in the rear-view mirror and see her singing along to a song with her mouth never quite matching the words. Yet, the next day she's got it down like a pro.

5. She loves holidays. She gets it from her Grandma Sandee (she gets a lot from her Grandma Sandee). Amber doesn't really like any holidays, yet every holiday Mikkena comes out of her room with an outfit perfect for the occasion.

4. She has perfected the art of stalling. She can turn any 9:00 bed time into 9:30 without even breaking a sweat. Most of the time I don't even realize it's happening.

3. She's a blue fish in a red pond. Poor girl. Amber and I are both stubborn, passionate, and bossy. Mikkena just wants to be loved and accepted (with a twinge of bossiness). I don't know how she survives putting up with two parents with the exact opposite personality from her.

2. She is becoming very sure of herself. She states things as facts. Most of the time I just accept what she says, because she is very smart. One day we were looking at a house we had never seen before with a realtor. The house was right across from a school. "I can't remember if that school is 4th and 5th grades or 5th and 6th" stated the realtor. "That school is 4th and 5th grades" Mikkena explained. The realtor nodded, convinced by Mikkena's matter of fact tone. "Have you ever seen this school before?" I asked. "No", she responded, " it just looks like 4th grade to me".

1. She thinks that she is all grown up. She asked me the other day if I would teach her how to drive. Sure Mikkena............in seven years................in your mom's car.

Monday, September 15, 2008

She never compromises, loves babies and surprises

This is the first of a two part series. I realized that it's the small quirky things that make me love my ladies so much. This post is devoted to my top ten favorite little quirky things about Amber.

Here we go..........

10. She can flip me off with her feet. It takes a lot of concentration, and I can't always tell right away what she's doing, but when it finally happens it's amazing.

9. She has a thing for nerdy guys. Right after we got married she told me that she was a sucker for both bad-boys and nerds.
Me: "I don't get it, I'm not really a bad-boy".
Amber: "Exactly".
8. She sleeps with one eye open. She denied it for years. Then I managed to get this juicy gem. Enjoy, this photo may cost me my life.

7. She pinches, slaps and kicks when she gets excited. I wear protection when I bring home gifts. A few years ago we were sitting on the couch watching American Idol. Amber yells, "Hey Jared, check this out!" I lazily turn just in time to watch her kick me square in the face. "What was that about!?" I yell at Amber, who was looking just as confused as I was. "I don't know, it worked out differently in my head."
6. Amber is Julianne Moore's younger clone.
5. Amber is a bit of a food snob. She refuses to buy bargain brands, and hates (and she means it) buffets of any kind. Yet she loves cafeteria and hospital food. We have been on several family trips to the BYU cafeteria. Here's the scene, 250 BYU freshmen wishing they were anywhere else, and Amber going for seconds. My head hurts when I think about this conundrum.
4. Amber can't lie. I know the second I've gained some weight, cooked bad food, or have a boogey. There are no secrets in our house. Amber is an open book. I find it refreshing. Who doesn't want to know when they have boogers?
3. Number three is a secret.
2. Amber has a psychic connection with her cats. They come when she calls, and they sleep the whole night curled up by her side. They don't come close to me...............anymore. Last week Amber was eating a tortilla and she decided to tear a piece off for Gretchen. "Don't waste your time," I said, "cats don't eat tortillas". Not two seconds after Amber put the tortilla down it was devoured by a hungry cat. "She wanted it" Amber said calmly, "She told me".

1. Amber does what Amber does. She is the most passionate and head strong person I know, and I love every second I'm with her. There are quite a few songs that remind me of Amber. It seems like rock stars are always falling in love with quirky, free spirits like my Amber. Two of my favorites are Meet Virginia by Train and Mercury by Counting Crows. Tune in next time for the top ten funny little things I love about Mikkena.

Monday, September 8, 2008

There's real nature out there

The family decided to go camping. Even Amber. Because this was Amber's bi-lifetime camping extravaganza, I think it deserves to be fully documented. We ate tinfoil dinners and then we had smores.

After noticing Mikkena's sugar-rushed facial expressions, I decided to limit the smore intake to 15 (at least that's how many I had). Notice how Amber is eating her smore with her pinkie up.

Amber presented a delicious and unique style of smore-making. First she would melt the chocolate and smear it onto the gram cracker, then she would de-skin a roasted marshmallow to avoid contaminating the smore with excessive gooiness, but there is often a price to pay for rogue smore making.


On the way up to the campsite, Amber phoned a friend to let her know where we were going and how long we planned on being gone. Amber told her friend, "If we are not back by dark tomorrow send help, because I am without food and luxuries". I thought to my self, "this is going to be a long trip". I could not have been more wrong. My ladies were troopers. It was much colder than I had expected, and we forgot a ground pad. Yet everyone enjoyed themselves. Amber volunteered to sleep on the ground and let me have the only pad. Also, Mikkena had her first unassisted outdoor pee (I usually build her a rock toilet). Sometimes it's good to be a man.

And as you can see, the cats missed us terribly.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Week in review: ADHD style.

This post is going to be a wild ride. Be prepared to switch subjects frequently, with little or no warning. If you get sick on roller coasters, I recommend logging off now.

You'd think after living with a cat for five years we would know everything there is to know about her. We have long known that she has interests in eating, pooping, and sleeping, but we have recently discovered that she also likes Miles Davis. And by "she also likes Miles Davis" I mean "You don't want to know what she does when I put on Miles Davis". Let's just say that after we listened to a Miles Davis CD last week, there's been weirdness between Tally and Me. I have a hard time looking her in the eye, and I feel uncomfortable when she comes waddling into a room. Tally, why can't you just listen to Bob Marley like our other cat Gretchen?
The moment I have been waiting 15 years for finally arrived. Mikkena told me that she had a project due in school where she had to design a container that would protect an egg from breaking after being thrown off of the roof of the school. This was a chance to redeem myself from the 1993 egg splatter fiasco.
I should have realized something was wrong when Mikkena asked me, "Dad, can I help work on my project?" Of course you can Mikkena, you can hold the camera.

The project required rigorous testing. Finally a pay off for moving to the third floor! Lucky for us all of the neighbor children were faster then a falling box of eggs.

The spikes were designed not only to soften the impact, but to roll the box and spread the impact over a larger surface area (I've been thinking about this for a while). Mikkena told me that after seeing the finished project her classmates all wrote that they expected her project to fail. But.................

Success! Take that 9-year-olds.

Every now and then Amber and I run into something that is so amazing and enriches our lives so much that we can't imagine how we ever lived life with out it. The following is a short list of some of those things.

1. Uncooked tortillas: Until a visit to my Sister-in-law's house on Pioneer Day, I have always purchased pre-cooked tortillas. I never realized that there was a difference. My friends, there is a difference. I have one thing to say to pre-cooked tortillas, you're dead to me.

2. Totos: The people that know what I'm talking about are nodding right now.

3. Big Brother 10: If you have ever sat in a closet for two hours trying to get a better signal from your neighbor's wireless internet just so you can catch the latest internet feed, the show is good. Not that we have ever done that.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Simpler Times

It happened sooner than I expected. I hit the blog wall. I used to be full of ideas. I used to pace myself so that I wouldn't post every day. Now I'm judging every life event as blog-worthy or not. Yeah that birthday party was cool, but was it blog-cool? I decided that I need to just think less and blog more. It's not always the big events that I want to remember, sometimes I want to remember those funny little moments. Like this one.

Who needs TV when you've got this hot plasma? I think this show is called "take me to your leader" expect to see it soon on Fox.

Anyway, I had the day off, but you wouldn't know it from the 12 work calls I received. We decided that it was time to just turn my cell phone off.

Now that we've transported ourselves back to a simpler time, we can enjoy summer fun the way we used to.

By riding lawn mowers (although this is a luxury I never had. I mowed uphill both-ways in the snow with a push-mower).

We also had time to blow dandy-lions.

And look cute while squishing our cats. What are your favorite things to do in the summertime?