Friday, February 29, 2008


This picture might be a little misleading because my hallelujah doesn't have to do with money. It has to do with WEIGHT. I have been on a weight plateau for FIVE weeks. I haven't lost a single pound despite working out several times a week and continuing weight watchers (although I wasn't as good at getting online to track my points, but I still tried to keep track mentally). And last week I worked my butt of doing weights, cardio, and even working with a trainer--5 days of the week! (the exercise, not the trainer. I'm not that rich!) But still no weight loss. I was about to slit my wrists after last week's weigh-in. Then today...finally....I lost 1 1/2 lbs!!! I'm so excited that I finally broke this stupid plateau! I was worried that doing the weights and working with a trainer would make me gain weight. But I guess it's true that muscle burns fat because I have finally gained some muscle and am finally burning some fat. I'm sore on every inch of my body most days. But it's good. As the fat disappears, hopefully some tone will appear. Wouldn't that be novel?

I also want to give props to my hubbie who has lost 19 lbs (or 20?) so far. He looks AWESOME. And he's down a whole pant size. And since he never reads my blog, he has no way to know that I'm going to post his before and after pictures for the whole world to see when we're all done with this contest. Tee hee hee.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Red Carpet Treatment

Ok, it's kind of an golden-tan carpet, not red. But it's done! It took 5 LONG days of listening to my very eccentric carpet installer, Monty, give me a play-by-play of everything he was doing, but the carpet is in. Let me tell you how the process went:

The first day Monty went to work, it was mostly prep stuff. He pulled up the old carpet in each room to reveal the magical world of antique floors beneath. Each room was a treasure of old materials and colors. Our front room was a combination of original 2" hardwood slats around the edge of the room with a different kind of crappy 3" wood slats going in a different direction in the center. These were a more recent addition. The bedroom was crappy wood slats (not hardwood) with the floor of our closet being just a cement slab (no carpet padding!) and the walkway between our bedroom and the bathroom being a crazy old art deco linoleum. And I don't mean vinyl--I mean REAL actual linoleum. And the stairs were a different kind of wood slats, painted. Very interesting stuff.

Next Monty spent the better part of each day removing the old tack strips which he claimed weren't good enough (they looked fine to me), nailing down any squeaky boards, fixing any holes in the wood slats, and in any other way he could think of, delaying putting the carpet down. Finally about 8pm the first night, he rolled out the first roll of carpet. The color freaked me out a little bit, I have to admit. It was night time, dark outside, and the carpet was very matted down from being rolled up. The first thought I had about the color when I saw it was that it reminded me of that sawdust the elementary school janitor puts on puke whenever someone throws up in the hall--you know the one, it's kind of orange-ish pink-brown and speckled with green? Ya, that. So you can imagine that I was a little disappointed. And I thought I was the victim of some horrible bait and switch joke. But as we walked on it, the knap came up and it got lighter. But I still feared that I had made a bad choice. How can you tell what 95 square yards of carpet will look like by looking at a 3 inch square swatch?? That night I had horrible dreams that my carpet was burnt orange and 70's shag. I tossed and turned all night fearing that I would feel like I was living on the set of Three's Company forever. But when I got up in the morning and looked at the carpet in the light of day, it turned out that the carpet was a nice tan color, not burnt orange and not puke-sawdust pink. Just a nice, peachy tan. (I'll put a before picture first, just for contrast...)

The next four, yes FOUR, days were about the same routine--me waking up early to greet Monty at the agreed-upon 8am, Monty arriving around 10:30am, Monty talking to me about polyurethane glue and carpet seaming tools until I grabbed the kids and hid out in the playroom for the rest of the day while he meticulously and painstakingly tried to fix every problem that having 113 year old floors can cause. And finally, around 7pm when we wanted some peace and quiet, Monty would roll out the carpet for that room, hall, or stairway and start putting it in. And finally, at 9pm on the 5th day, the carpet was finished.

And it looks pretty good! Once I got over my initial shock on the color, and once we got all the furniture put in, the color really began to blend with our house. The other really great thing about the carpet is how it FEELS. It is so soft and plush. It's about an inch higher than our old carpet. It makes walking on it feel like we had been walking on hardwood before, that's how different it feels. Every morning when I step out of bed, my feet are embraced by plush softness. And then I look around and there are no stains, no spots, and no grey areas on my carpet. Just uni-color cushiness. Ahhhh.....

Fortunately, we just bought a new vacuum last week. A vacuum that ROCKS, by the way. It's called the Hoover Tempo Widepath. Although it's Cookie Monster blue and has bags, it's the best vacuum I've ever owned. Consumer Reports rated it higher than all the Dysons. And it only cost $60! How can you beat that? Well, our new vacuum has gotten a work-out on this new carpet. I guess new carpet produces a lot of little orphan strands that have to be vacuumed up. I've already filled 2 vacuum bags full of the stuff. But I think I've finally gotten most of it up. And between the gorgeous new carpet and the awesome new vacuum, I'm actually enjoying vacuuming the floor! Even the stairs were a joy to do. Can you imagine?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Secret Room...Revealed!

Does anyone remember that special by Geraldo where he opened Al Capone's safe on national TV and there was nothing in it? Well, I might have to refer to that show later.

First let me backtrack. We live in a house from 1895. That makes it 113 years old this year. There are a lot of things about this house that make it interesting. It's fun to look through each room and imagine the people that lived in it over a century ago. but there was a lot about this house I didn't know. So last summer when a lady knocked on my door saying she had grown up in this house and would I mind if she took some pictures, I was thrilled. Not only did I tell her that was OK, I begged her to come in and tell me everything she remembered about the house. And I found out a lot of cool stuff: this house used to be the mayoral house, the playroom was an attic when she lived here and didn't even have a door; you had to get in through a ladder that is where our master shower currently sits, the upstairs bathroom was her brother's bedroom, the master closet was her baby sister's nursury, and the crown molding in the two main living rooms used to be gold leaf instead of painted white. But the two things about this house that were most intriguing were 1) that there was a secret room under the dining room floor where the previous owners used to hide polygamist wives and 2) that there was an entrance to a root cellar in our back yard that went underneath our closet and master bathroom and that might contain hidden treasures from the original owners. Unfortunately, we buried the door to the root cellar by accident. When we moved in, there was a big 6' square depression in the soil about 12" deep behind our closet in the back yard. We thought there might have been a hot tub or something there at one point. So we had it filled in with top soil and planted sod on it. Well, that was where the entrance to the root cellar was. Oops! It was tempting to call over a back hoe right then and there to dig it up. But Kelly poo-poo'ed the idea. So that left me with the secret room under the dining room. This one seemed slightly more accessible. Again Kelly poo-poo'ed the idea of immediately pulling up the carpet to find the secret room. Kill-Joy. But he promised that if we ever replaced the carpet, we could pull it up and uncover the secret room. For now we could at least confirm the likelyhood of its existance because when you walked over the carpet in that area, you could feel a slight depression with edges and hear the boards sqeak.

Well, the day I had anticipated since last summer finally arrived yesterday. Our carpet guy was scheduled to arrive in the morning, so we decided to pull up the carpet and check out the secret room. I should point out that after some historical research, I did at least ascertain that it was very unlikely that polygamists were ever hidden there. That's a common rumor in Utah about root cellars and such. That and that they were used to hide booze during prohibition. But I still wanted to see it. I thought if nothing else we could use it for storage. So Kelly and I got all ready to pull up the carpet. I got my video camera out, we did a search for flashlights and discovered that not one of the 5 flashlights in our house worked, we got a floor lamp hooked up to an extention cord instead, and we began pulling up the carpet and padding. I had my camera poised and ready to capture the historic moment. I could see it in my head: Kelly would unscrew the trap door, open it, and down below would be a huge vault-like room, 6 feet deep and 15 feet square. It would have old hats, pictures, and candlesticks from the 1900's in it. Maybe even a few rare coins. Our footage would be huge on YouTube and then If These Walls Could Talk from HGTV would do an episode on it. It would be great. Now here is where that Geraldo show comes back into play. As Kelly opened the trap door, there was.....just an ordinary crawl space down there! 3 feet deep, dirt and rocks on the bottom, no treasures, and not even tall enough to stand up in. Poo! POOPOO! I turned the camera off and stuck my head down the hole to see what was down there. Hmmmm...a bunch of wires, cords, and an old porcelain fuse was all I saw. I did note that there was no foundation to my house. There were boards cemented onto small boulders. And the exterior walls were made of the same big rocks and boulders. But that was about it. LAME! All that anticipation for nothing.

Well, there's still the root cellar to dig up and uncover. I'm starting in June. Who wants to help??

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Awesome poo poo!

You never thought you could be so excited about poo until the first time your child does it in the potty. Then you smile and jump for joy and pat them on the back and give them some Whoppers. Isn't life strange?

On a whim the other day, I bought a little kid potty for Daphne. She has had zero interest in potty training. She never tells me when she is about to go, when she is going, and rarely after she's gone. Most of the time when I ask her if she's poopy, she runs away. So I'm not sure why I thought a little potty would be a good idea. But I guess I wanted to get the idea in her head. She has no older siblings to watch and copy, so potty stuff just isn't something she thinks about. But I let her help me pick out a potty at the store. And today I set it up. After changing her diaper, I asked her if she wanted to sit on it. I wasn't going to force it on her because I want this to be something she wants to do and feels ready for. So when she said yes, I was pretty stoked. I sat her down on it and pulled her onesie up so she could see down. And about 5 seconds later, she pooped in it! I hadn't even said anything to her or suggested she try. She just did it! It was only a litle squirt since she'd just had a poopy diaper. But it was totally unsolicited and without any cajoling, so you can imagine my delight! (See, there it is again--delight about poo!) Ok, so step 1 is a success--getting her to understand that she can control her bodily functions on command. Step 2 is a success--getting her to feel excitement about the potty (she kept sitting on it for 10 minutes after I cleaned it up. She didn't want to get off.) Now for step 3: Getting her to recognize the urge to go and ask to go potty BEFORE she goes in her diaper. But I'm in no rush. Frankly, changing diapers sounds way better to me than cleaning out that little toilet several times a day, changing soiled clothes once she asks for panties, and being limited to locations with a 30 second running distance to the potty. But at least the potty is there, in her mind, and it's something she finds novel and fun.

Changing topics completely, today is my 6th anniversary! Kelly and I got married on February 16, 2002. It's hard to believe that it was 6 years ago. Even harder to believe that we've known each other 11 years and been together as a couple for 8 1/2. My, how time flies. Most of you know we don't celebrate our anniversary today. Because of Valentine's Day 2 days before (and because I always wanted to be a June bride--see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), we wanted to give our anniversary its own time to shine. So we celebrate our "Fantaversary" (Fantasy Anniversary) on June 16th instead. But we did go out for dinner tonight--Sundance's Foundary Grill. It was super good. And I kept pretty well within my diet. I did eat panna cotta for dessert, but that was my only splurge.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Wii Would Like to Play

We finally got a Wii! After we got back our sweet tax return, Big Daddy and I decided to spend it wisely towards paying off bills and such. But we wanted to do one splurge. So we voted to get a Wii (having had such fun playing it at Tib’s that one time). Easier said than done! Who knew they were still in such high demand that it would become a huge ordeal trying to get one? I didn’t. But as it turns out, even though Christmas is months gone, there are still not enough Wii’s to go around. Getting one is kind of like getting a Cabbage Patch Doll was in 1985. But I was determined, so I got a plan of action. First, I found 13 stores within a 10 mile radius of my house that carry or have recently carried Wii’s, all of whom were currently out of stock, of course. None of them have a set schedule for getting Wiis. The Nintendo company has a mystical, top secret method to deciding who gets Wii’s and when. No one knows ahead of time—the Wii's just show up. So I got the same advice at every place I called: “Your best bet is just to camp out every day from 9-11am, just in case we get Wii's on the morning truck.” Yeah right. I’m going to get up, get showered and dressed, eat breakfast, get my kids showered, dressed and breakfasted, all by 8:45am, and then proceed to hang out with them at 13 different stores simultaneously while I wait to see IF Wii’s show up. So I decided my time would be better served spending ½ hour every morning calling all the stores and hoping I could get to one in time if Wii’s showed up there. I made a list: GameStop in American Fork, Wal-mart in American Fork, Wal-mart in Pleasant Grove, Wal-mart in Orem, Target in American Fork, Target in Orem,GameStop in Orem, GameStop in Springville, Best Buy in A.F., Best Buy in Orem, Circuit City in Orem, Costco in Lehi,…you get the picture. But after several days, no luck. No one had any Wii’s and no one had any clue when, or if, they would get any. Big Daddy proclaimed pessimistically that we would never ever get a Wii…it was impossible. But I didn’t give up. I knew that GameStop got regular shipments, more so than any of the other stores. So I kept up calling them. I even showed up on Valentine’s Day just as the UPS truck was arriving to see if any would be in it. No luck. Then today, just as I was about to join Big Daddy in throwing in the towel, I made my way down the list to the GameStop in Springville. When the tech-nerd answered the phone, I asked if his shipment had arrived. He said in the now familiar monotone voice that one acquires when they spend 600x more time with machines than humans , “Um…ya.” I then inquired, “Are there any Wii’s?” “There WERE Wii’s.” “Were?” “Yes, they’re all sold out.” “But it’s only 10:15!” “Um, ya. There was a line of people here to get them at 10am.” Shoot! (That’s me talking). I thought I had missed out again. But then the thought occurred to me that if the GameStop in Springville had gotten Wii’s today, maybe the one in A.F. had too. I had called them 15 minutes earlier, but the shipment had not arrived yet. So I called them again and, low and behold, they actually had received Wii’s and they actually still had some! I offered the tech-nerd $10 to hold one for me. He declined. I offered him $20, but he still declined. I was about to offer him sexual favors, but--working at GameStop like he did--I figured that wouldn't mean much to him either. So I threw the kids in the car, Daphne still in her Pajamas, Beck with no coat, me with no make-up, and drove like a bat out of hell to the GameStop. The parking lot looked pretty busy for 10:30am. I started to panic. When I walked in, there were 3 other people already in line ahead of me. But to my surprise, all three of them paid and left without a Wii. Was I already too late? I approached the clerk with apprehension, almost afraid to ask…”Do you still have Wii’s?” He looked at me with the superior snootiness that all tech-savvy geeks use when speaking to average lay people and informed me in a purposely bored voice that he hadn’t even cut open the crate yet. ARGH!!! I mean, Woohoo! So what if he was making light of my anxiety. I had a Wii!

$400 later, I walked proudly out of the store with my Wii, an extra nun-chuck, Wii Play with the extra controller, and Raging Rabbids 2. Victory! And the kids were still alive in the car when I got back. Bonus! Now to figure out how to hook this dang thing up.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What a Man...

I love that my husband knows me. He knows I don't want trite red roses. He knows I would cry if the bouquet had baby's breath. There are no stupid teddy bears or cheap heart shaped chocolates around here. Just a perfect bouquet of multi-colored tulips. They're exactly what I wanted. He's awesome. In the world of En Vogue "What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man (background : a mighty mighty good man). That just dated me, huh?

We're doing our usual non-romantic Valentine's Day evening tonight: our Annual Anti-Valentine's Day Party. I think this is our 4th or 5th one. This year, however, we got smart and rented a place to do it. One of the biggest headaches about having a party is spending days trying to get Hurricane Daphne and Typhoon Beck's messes under control as well as the daily messes of Mommy and Daddy. Then there's the mess to clean up afterward. So this year we decided to spare ourselves the biggest source of stress, and we got a room at Noah's. You just show up with your food, party, and leave. They clean up after you. The room has a huge plasma TV, couches, chairs, a mini-kitchen, and a pool table. And plenty of parking. It should be awesome. It's going to break my diet, but I can splurge for a night, right?

And here's this for Valentine's Day...

My Candy Heart Says "First Kiss"

You're a true romantic who brings an innocent hope to each new relationship.

You see the good in every person you date, and you relish each step of falling in love.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: a romantic dinner your sweetie cooks for you

Your flirting style: friendly and sweet

What turns you off: cynics who don't believe in romance

Why you're hot: you always keep the romance alive

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Face Lift

So what do you think of my new blog? Gorgeous, isn't it? Thanks to the talents of my friend Tiburon (you are awesome, Tib!), my blog looks way cuter and more professional. If you'll recall back to my first blog post, I wan't sure if I was going to keep this blog thing going. But as it turns out, I like doing it. It's a nice outlet for me and it's an easy way for my friends and family to keep track of what's going on with us. I'm not sure how many people check my blog, but I like doing it regardless. I had to make it public, though, because it was a big pain for people w/o a gmail account to view it. So now I'm exposed to all the nutjobs out there in the world. Kind of scary.

If you're wondering about the blog title, Little Pink Houses, it's twofold: One is in honor of our little pink-brick house. We love this house. Although I complain a lot about wanting to move (and for a few really good reasons like a/c and heat and a garage and a nicer neighborhood), I really do love this house. It has so much charm. And it's the first house Big Daddy and I lived in together and the house where both of my kids were born (not literally, of course. They were born in a hospital like normal). The second is in honor of John Mellencamp, my husband's favorite singer/band. He's been a fan since he was a scrawny 90 lb, acne faced, mullet-wearing pre-teen. So I thought it an appropriate homage to the real Big Daddy (that being Mellencamp, not my husband).

Back to my blog, I guess I've now joined the ranks of thousands of other housewives whose only real connection to the world is their internet face. Well, now my face has a lovely face lift. Eat your heart out, Joan Rivers!

The Carpet Barn

Thank goodness for tax refunds. Otherwise we'd never get to do any of the big projects we always dream about. We have an old house. It needs fixing up. And one of the things that weighs on me most is our carpets. They're cream colored! That's one problem. Another problem is that the front room is different color from the adjacent master bedroom, which is different from the adjacent stairs. They're all a shade of cream or beige, but not exactly alike. The biggest problem is that we have two mobile kids, each of whom drools, spills, drags toys around, tracks food from the kitchen through, and in every other way possible create a track of grey from the kitchen, through the front room, and in a horseshoe shape around our bed. No matter what we do, we can't seem to keep it clean. We even get it professionally steam and chem-cleaned, but it only lasts a few days and then the drips and streaks and grey tracks are back. So we have finally decided it's time to replace the carpet with something more durable (and less beige).

My friend Krissy, may blessings rain down on her head forever, referred us to a discount carpet warehouse in West Valley called The Carpet Barn. I sent Kelly by to check it out since it is right by one of his clients. He called me as he drove past saying it looked like a dive. But I made him go in anyway. And I'm so glad I did. He called me right away raving about the amazing prices. New, nice, good quality carpets for about 1/4 the price you could find anywhere else. He brought home several swatches for me to examine. And they seemed pretty good! So today we went to the Carpet Barn together so I could see the possibilities for myself.

Let me first say that the name Carpet Barn is a misnomer. Even Carpet Shack might be a stretch. This scary looking warehouse in the seedy party of West Valley (is there any other part?) gave me doubts when I first pulled up. But once inside, I could see what Kelly (and Krissy) were raving about. Sure, there were a few $3.99/ yard pieces that wouldn't suit a dog house floor, but most of it was decent to excellent carpet and at fantastic prices. We found an additional 6 carpet choices to consider. We got swatches of all but one (it was a remnant so you couldn't cut into it) and brought them home. Then we laid them out, cocked our heads, squinted, moved them around, laid them against the wall, moved them to the center of the room, and tried desperately to use these 3 inch squares to imagine what the front room and bedroom would look like with those colors. Kelly even photoshopped the floor in our two favorite colors to see how they would look. But it's still hard to imagine it until you see it. Right now we're leaning towards a milk chocolate brown that is fairly soft, good quality and affordable. It's got a medium pile. The other option is a tan colored, longer pile. It would show more traffic (matting, not dirt), but the color is more neutral and the quality is even better. Same price. Tough choices! We also think we'll get the remnant, our favorite choice, for our bedroom. Tune in next week or the week after for the final result!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Man of the Year

This whole presidential thing is getting interesting. I don't know if I've been this interested in who becomes president the whole time I've been able to vote. I'm unaffiliated. Personally, I don't believe in 2-party politics. First of all, I don't think any one party can represent all of my opinions. Secondly, I think it's far more important to choose an honest, intelligent, down-to-earth person to hold an office than to choose a person just because of the party he is in. I voted for Clinton the first time I voted. I didn't vote for anyone the second time because I was digusted with the choices. I voted for Bush the next time and I voted for Ralph Nadar last time. And when it comes to local politics, I vote Democrat as often (or more) than I vote Republican. I'm pro-life, I'm neutral on the gay issue (as far as politics is concerned. I'm fine with monogomous couples having rights to health care no matter what their sexual preference. I'm not their bishop or God--those are the only people I think need to be concerned about their sex life), and I'm anti-gun. I think it's the federal government's job to set some rules and take care of some social programs, but it's also the government's job to get out of the way and let the people govern themselves on a local level as much as possible. So that explains why I can't choose one of the two main party options.

I think our government has gone horribly astray. I believe that the Constitution was an inspired document and that the government should be guided by it in all it does. I think many presidents and others have taken too many liberties with their position and made laws that they are not given any right to make by the Consitution. I beleive our taxes are more grievious than the ones the Nephites had in the Book of Mormon. I believe big fat-cat corporations run a lot more of the goverment than we'd like to believe. I'm almost to the point of believing in conspiracy theories and secret combinations. I could give you some intersting stuff to read on the subject. Let's just say I've taken the blue pill. But I also don't want to be some hysterial, suspcious, anarchist radical. I do believe government, righteous government, has its place. And that's why I think chosing a canditate with integrity, who honors his promises, who stays in touch with what the people want--not what he wants--is key. And so far, I believe the man for that job (and yes, it's a man) is Barack Obama. I've watched him on debates, interviews, even Oprah. And I really feel like he's sincere, honest, hardworking, very in touch with the people, and overall the best candidate there is. It might surprise some that I am not leaning towards Romney. Yeah, he's Mormon and maybe that makes him more honest than some of the others. But he is the opposite of in touch with the people. He's so plastic, so rehearsed. He's all politician. And he's a republican in a time when I want OUT of the war. So unless Hillary gets the democratic vote, you won't see me considering Romney. And you sure as heck won't see me supporting McCain. That's all we need--a military guy in office during a war-gone-wrong. There's no way he'll withdraw troops until they're all dead. So it looks like Obama's the man for me.
You might find this interesting, though...

Well, I guess we'll know in a few months how this will all play out. You may just see me changing my tune depending on who gets the democratic nomination. Check in after the November elections for the final vote!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Party Girl

Daphne went to her first real birthday party this week! It was her friend Josh's 3rd birthday. Technically Daphne barely knows Josh, but his mom Kristine and I are friends so that makes our kids friends by default. Back to the story....Josh turned 3 on the 31st. Kristine had a cute little party for all the little kids. I'm not sure how much older they all are than Daphne--she's only 4 months younger than Josh--but she looks like a midget next to them. Still, she had a blast. First the kids all got balloons that they could shake and wave around to music. They loved that. Then it was time to decorate their treat bags. Daphne was all over that--she loves to draw. She also go to put stickers on her bag and had her first encounter with stamps, which thrilled her. Next the kids got to sing Happy Birthday and watch Josh blow out the candles on his cupcake cake with the Cars theme. Daphne made a total mess out of her cupcake (trying to eat off all the frosting w/o eating any cake, of course). Then Josh opened presents. The last game was a box full of instruments that the kids got to pound, shake, whistle, clap, and blow to their heart's delight. It was pretty chaotic in there for a while, but they were all loving it. Finally we had to go. As we were leaving, an entire swat team was arriving about 3 houses down. It turned into a full-on stand-off with one of Kristine's neighbors, a veteran with PTSD. I've never seen so many rifles and AK47's in one place! Or at all, for that matter. ( Anyway, it was a fun party. Daphne still has a little trouble focusing and following directions, but she had a great time. Hopefully if we can keep taking her to parties like this, she'll be conditioned to handle her own in about 4 months.