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Birthday recap episode 31


warning: the following post is a little lengthy... and very self-indulgent. I won't deny it.

Yesterday marked another year gone by and one step further away from my 20's and closer to let's not talk about it.

The festivities started Sunday afternoon when my best friend Jana showed up at my parents house where I was visiting with a bouquet of flowers and the announcement that she was stealing me for the evening. I was so surprised I think I just stared at her dumbfounded for a moment before squealing and jumping up from my seat and clapping excitedly. My normal reaction to anything fun. 

Apparently she had to show up early after an urgent text from my sister (who was also at my folks) alerted her to the fact that I was trying to leave to finish my kid's back to school shopping and that my mother had been ordered to show a slide show of my parents recent cruise and take as long as possible to explain every.single.picture to delay me. They were in a bit of a panic.

After laughing at the lengths they had gone to to make sure the surprise worked I said goodbye to my family and Jana followed me home to drop off my kids with their "surprise" babysitter - their other Grandma! Thanks again Teri :)

Then we left to head into town except Jana drove the wrong direction and I was confused until she pulled into our church parking lot and sitting there waiting were my sister (who had raced home to change after I left our parents and then raced back down to the church, bless her heart) and both my sister-in-laws who were all invited on a fun girls night out! I may have clapped and squealed quite a bit more. 

I LOVE surprises!
Gotta love girlfriends! Me, Cara, Tricia, Kelly and Jana piled in the car.
They took me to Washington Square mall and The Cheesecake Factory for dinner and shopping and it was the bomb! Here's a few more pics from the night...

Thai Chicken Pasta - mmmmm.
I won't lie, when the waiters and waitresses all surrounded our table and sang happy birthday and brought me my cheesecake with a candle glowing in it, it was the pinnacle of the night :) Tricia laughed at me across the table because while she was completely embarrassed and it wasn't even for her, I was basking in the attention. 

After such a fun evening I couldn't wait for my husband to get home the next afternoon from a hunting trip to tell him all about it. Except he already knew all about it (had been in on Jana's planning in fact) and came home a day early to surprise me, pulling in around 1:30 am Monday morning. After a near heart attack at hearing a vehicle come down my driveway in the middle of the night, I realized it was him and then was so relieved (and pumped up from adrenalin) that I talked his ear off for the next half an hour at least poor guy. 

Monday I enjoyed a relaxing day home with my family, receiving presents from my husband and children, and watching The Last Song on dvd with my husband who had no idea what he was getting into. Mwaahahaha :)

Russell's present to me was very personal and would take a long time to fully explain so I'll summarize by saying that he wrote me a long and wonderful love letter that was incredibly moving and he reworked our entire budget, allotting me the entirety of his recent raise that he had kept a big secret. And it's a lot. And it will keep on giving over and over, every single paycheck, all year long!  

Also... he told me that he knows I sometimes sneak money here and there from different categories (groceries, etc.) to make things work and squeeze in a little something extra and he likes that I do that and doesn't want me to change any of it, this is all on top of that. Which is what leads me to believe for perhaps the one millionth time in my life that I married the absolutely best and perfect man for me. 

We ended the day with dinner out at Claim Jumper's with more family, Ben and Jerry's for ice-cream afterwards, and a quick trip turned a little bit longer to Old Navy. It was a great evening. Except for the part where I started to tell my mother-in-law all about my surprise night out the evening before, completely forgetting that she had not only been in on the surprise, babysitting my children, but had stayed up to hear all about it when I got home. *embarrassing!*
Mike, Linley, Teri & Gary, Blake, Jay, Russ & I, Aunt Wenda, Kendall and Cooper.
presents from Russ's folks. What's that in the middle? A microplane zester - yes!!
To everyone who helped me celebrate my birthday, thank you so very much, I feel loved, and I love you all!



Today has been splendid. Simply splendid.

Tomorrow I will write a full birthday review (mostly for my mother and sister, who will enjoy it) but tonight I'm all partied out, besides being so stuffed that I think I'm going to roll right down the hall and into bed.

So here's a preview:

That envelope was from my husband, cute picture decorations and all, and it packed a mighty punch I'll tell you!

Monday confessional

I'm a little afraid of the dark. 

Just a tad, nothing out of control

Except when I'm all by myself and have to go outside at night on our property which is out in the country. Then I'm A LOT afraid. As in, highly improbable scenarios flash through my brain and torture me. Scenarios involving cougars!

Last night's problem: Russell was away for the weekend and I had to take the garbage down to the end of our driveway for it's 5 am pick up. Our LONG UNLIT driveway. Like 50 or 70 yards long, at least. Actually that's a complete guess and I could be way off. In fact, I'm not sure what 50 yards really looks like but if it gives you a visual at all that's what I'm going for here. It's long. Especially when you're all alone and in the dark.

It was dark because I went out for the evening and didn't think ahead to do it before I left, drat it all. Granted, I went out without much notice because the best friend a girl could ever ask for showed up as a surprise to take my out for my birthday! But still, it was unfortunate that it never crossed my mind.

Solution: make my best friend go with me like back in Junior High when we all traveled in groups to go to the bathroom! Not only did Jana arrange a fun girls night out, inviting my friends, arranging a sitter, and picking me up and dropping me off, she also got to stand around in the dark and escort me and my garbage bin out into the dark night. 

I bet she didn't see that in the evenings plans! 

Thank you dear, dear Jana, for being such an understanding friend. 
And not laughing your head off at my fears.  
Oh wait, you totally laughed at my cougar phobia.  
But you still walked out there with me so I forgive you. 
And love you for my wonderful evening out :)

And the award goes to... Kelly!


Yesterday, while I grocery and back-to-school shopped with my two oldest children, I left Blake with my sister and his cousin Hayden. For SEVEN hours. Let me remind you that the boys are the same age: two. This is the email I received from Kelly last night, with photographic evidence attached...

Highlights of the boys and all their evil glory today:
11:20am.  Blake arrives at our house to a very excited Hayden.
11:22am.  Hayden has already hit Blake over the head with a wooden gun and must say sorry.

11:45am.  Boys go outside to play in the backyard. Boys get SPECIFIC instructions to not touch any plants or flowers.
11:50am.  Boys touch plants and pick off several grape tomatoes before I catch them. I discipline them both and they lose the freedom to be outside.

Fight during lunch
Fight over toys
Hayden cries... a lot!
Blake tattles... a lot!
Hayden touches computer - Blake tells me - Hayden gets a discipline - Blake gets smug.

1:00pm.  Boys go down for naps - ahhhhhhh, blessed silence.

4:00pm.  Boys up from naps. Me feeding baby. Boys get second chance at outside. Once again we explain VERY SPECIFICALLY they are not to touch ANY plants with threats of consequences.
4:05pm. Boys pick almost every single tomato and both jalapenos off the plants and throw them all in the yard.
I cry.
I yell.
I discipline!

5:00pm.  Boys playing happily in Hayden's room.  I go to cook dinner.
5:05pm.  Boys are found in the bathroom where they have got into cabinets and decorated their heads, hands, feet and my bathroom rug with lotion, vaseline and stool softeners (a nice pop of color). Hopefully none were ingested.

5:06pm.  Both boys in bath tub.

And this is the point where Kelly called to ask if I was on my way home yet FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY!

Oh dear.
Blake, even in trouble, is always up for a goofy "cheese" for the camera. Hayden, a little wiser, knows what's coming!

And so even though I had a looooonngg day out with Kendall and Cooper, and my patience was sorely tried by Cooper's pea-sized bladder that required FIVE potty stops throughout the afternoon, I think Kelly definitely gets the Mommy Endurance award of the day.

In other news, our little family birthday party for Russ went just swell last night. Dinner was late, but delicious. As were the homemade raspberry/mango/banana smoothies. And the gifts were A HIT.

But do you see Blake's spiked hair? Yeah it's been washed 6 times now and still feels as if he has an entire bottle of hair gel in it. Gotta love vaseline. Or hate it.

p.s. I am happy to report there have been no stool softener side-effects yet so hopefully we bypassed that catastrophe.



Dear Russell:

Today in honor of your 33rd birthday I'm making you scrumptious chicken enchiladas for dinner tonight. With fruit smoothies for dessert. Even though I have a busy day ahead and will be gone for most of it and hate to cook when I've been out all day. 

Now you know how much I love you! 

Also I'm going shopping for you and even though you begged to give me a detailed list of items you would appreciate (all hunting related - shocking) I am still going to try to surprise you. Be prepared to fake excitement, new clothing may be involved.

And be ready to tell your birth story to the kids because it's a good one. They'll love to hear how 33 years ago today you were born in your parents truck, delivered by your Dad into your older brother's coat while he and your older sister stood outside in the gas station parking lot, only half way to the hospital. Everyone thought you had a birth mark on your forehead until it thankfully wiped off and they realized it was just engine grease.

I do believe that exciting start to your life was just a sign of the kind of guy you'd be; always in an adventure, with a great story to tell. That's because you love life and live it to the fullest. You're charismatic and energetic and optimistic, and nothing gets you down. You are also generous to a fault, compassionate, and ever-forgiving, which is a good thing because who knows just how much money I may spend on you today?

Did you know I like you a lot? I do, and I can't wait to see you tonight and celebrate 33 years of YOU!

Love Jodi

p.s. Just a reminder of what to do after you get your presents tonight...

Russ's 30th birthday after I super-surprised him with his dream gift.
This dream gift.

What I wore Wednesday - week "boring"


Preparing for a large garage sale + running a garage sale = sad and boring outfits. Hence the lack of a full week's worth of pictures. And makeup. 

You've been warned. 

Wednesday (and Thursday which was pretty similar so you can imagine): Garage sale prep
tee: Old Navy
shorts: Nike from Fred Meyers
flip flops: Adidas from Macy's

Friday morning: Garage sale day #1
striped top: Kmart
black cami: Diviine Modestee
jeans: Old Navy

Friday afternoon: the sun came out!
black cami: Diviine Modestee
skirt: Liz Claiborne outlet
sandals: Payless

Saturday: here's another math equation for you... 2 days of prep + 2 days of sale = no brain left to remember to take your outfit pic. But to see my awesome hair styled by my nine year old, see yesterday's post here.

Sunday: Church
dress: Dress Barn
sandals: rummage sale
jewelry: Claires & Walmart

Monday: prayer group, errands
tee: Shade
skirt: Goodwill
sandals: Old Navy
necklace: Plato's Closet

Tuesday: also MIA. And I have no excuse.

And there you have it. Possibly my most boring week yet. But I don't despair, this next week contains TWO birthdays and some back-to-school shopping for my kids, which I'm sure will bring me a little somethin', somethin' as well ;)

Check out other What I Wore posts at The Pleated Poppy.

Weekend recap


When all was said and done our yard sale last weekend went great. Awesome in fact. We made more than we were hoping for and got rid of tons of our junk great stuff! 

The downside: we were going to go out on a date Friday night after the first day of the sale but were so dang tired that I suggested we order Chinese take-out instead and go to bed early. This may be the first time in history that I've turned down a date night. Russell was shocked... relieved, but shocked.

However, it was a wise choice as we were up early the next morning and busy all day long, not cleaning up till dark. 

Also, this happened:
 And Kendall convinced me to keep it in for the rest of the day. Only my love for a daughter would lead me to wear my hair like this in front of strangers. Do I get brownie points? Or maybe just brownies?

Then Russ left to drive 9 hours through the night to go on a 2 night backpacking trip (crazy, I know) and I downed a Tylanol PM and slept for more hours than might be considered necessary. Enough to make me half an hour late to church on Sunday. Which is exactly what my sister predicted when she heard Russ would not be home to hustle me out of the house on time and so I would just like to say, nobody likes a know-it-all, Kelly!

The only other thing worth mentioning from over the weekend happened Sunday afternoon when I heard the sound of water pouring on the kitchen floor and Blake saying "uh oh" and running away. I went to investigate, found a giant puddle on the floor and called his name while I started cleaning it up. He returned all innocent and said "what happened?" over and over, as if he had no idea. "Water? On da fwoor? What happened Mama?"

The little rascal! I only forgave him because he likes to come cuddle me out of the blue and says "I wuv you Mama" all day long. So I'm keeping him.

Monday confessional


After our garage sale ended on Saturday Russ left to go on a short two night scouting trip with a buddy in Eastern Oregon. In the meantime, this is what I've fed my children...

Saturday dinner: mac 'n cheese
Sunday breakfast: it was every man for himself (ok, I made Blake toast)
Lunch: McDonald's
Dinner: pizza

And here is today's menu...

breakfast: cereal
Lunch: kid's choice of leftover mac 'n cheese, leftover pizza, or make your own sandwich.
dinner: clam chowder, homemade by Progresso.

As you can see I'm all about good nutrition over here. 

Actually, I'm all about not having to cook when I can get away with it.

The day that just keeps going


I'm taking a break from pricing garage sale items and thought if I'm going to blog tonight it better be now before my brain gets any more zapped because it's going to be a late one folks! 

You'd think that with me being a stay at home mom and having plenty of time to prepare I would be all set up by now. Well you'd think wrong. For the following reasons...

#1: I'm a procrastinator. Like Big Time. So when my sister calls to tell me she made an awesome dessert that contains coconut milk and mangoes (both faves) and she has an extra plate of it just for me, I decide that takes definite priority over setting up for my sale and drop everything to head over there. And I'll tell you something. IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. SWEET NECTAR OF LIFE! 
Kelly's Thai mango sticky rice. Please pretend I could also make something this fancy if I tried.

#2: I have children. Three of them. Children who do things like set up two 10 ft. wide tents in your living room to play "jungle orphans" while you're busy outside. And then load every single blanket available in the house into them. Oh no, that's not in my way AT ALL.

#3: Visitors! I love visitors! Today my parents and Granddad from NZ stopped by to give Russ an early birthday present because they'll be out of town on his birthday and they're thoughtful like that. Unlike me who still hasn't bought a gift for my brother-in-law who's birthday was 21 days (and counting) ago. I'm a procrastinator with guilt!
Dad, Mum, Russ with his new hunting shirt and Granddad
Can we please take a moment to acknowledge how cute my husband is? I just love his smile. And his face. Oh, Mum, Dad and Granddad you all look wonderful too of course :)

#4: I'm a little addicted to the "what I wore wednesday" posts over at The Pleated Poppy and checked out ALL FORTY EIGHT of them throughout the day today. This may tie into reason #1 somehow.

And there you have the reason why it is now midnight and I am still working away. Because the truth is that when I said at the beginning of this post that I was taking a break from pricing, what I really meant was I was putting off starting pricing. 

I need help!!

Prep work


We're in full-on prep mode for a big yard sale this weekend.

Let me start off by saying that I am soooo tired, and it's not even the sale yet! This does not bode well. 

I was against doing a yard sale initially because all I could think of was our sale last year when Russell (who loves lives to wheel and deal) got a little carried away and started selling off our possessions that we had no intention of getting rid of and in fact found quite useful and necessary.

So I thought that since it had only been a year from the last one, and we couldn't possibly have accumulated that much more to get rid of, I might now be in imminent danger of losing something important. Like my couch or bed. However, Russell convinced me that he had plenty of "man" items from his shop to sell and encouraged me to look through the house anyways. 

Which I have been doing for a solid week now and I am still coming up with additions to the pile. How did we get it all? Where the heck did it come from? Why on earth would someone give us a 2 ft long extremely noisy fire engine truck with lights and whistles and no "off" switch? did we keep so many toys?

My prep work also includes monitoring Russ's prep work... to make sure we don't have any "incidents". Like last year when he wanted to clean a large 3-wick candle that had never been used but was covered in sticky dust, so he ran it through THE DISHWASHER. No, the candle didn't make it. But the wax lived on for weeks and weeks, my friends.

Oh honey, I love you and your (thankfully) rare airheaded ways! They make me feel better about all of my own. And they're less embarrassing to tell :)

Anyway, we're in the home-stretch now. T-minus 24 hrs till the sale starts and Wish me luck, and cross your fingers that we don't accidentally sell the home. 

What I Wore Wednesday - week 5


Welcome to another exciting week of looking at my wardrobe! Oh the fun never ends around this place does it? ;)

Wednesday: scrapbooking at my sister-in-law's (we're having weird weather here this week).
track jacket: Nike outlet
tank: Shade
sweats: Nike - Costco
flip lops: old - ?

Thursday: grocery shopping - twice! 
sweater: Ross
cami: Diviine Modestee
skirt: Maurices (50% off clearance!)
sandals: rummage sale

necklace: Claires clearance - $3.00!

Friday: back to my sister-in-law's for MORE scrapbooking. Oh and look the heat's back!
brown tank: Target
white cami: Diviine Modestee
skirt: Target
flip flops: Fred Meyers
bracelet: Maurices

Saturday morning: group leader's meeting at church then garage saleing with my hubby. 
cream tee: Shade
vest: Maurices
capri's: Unionbay - Fred Meyers
sandals: Target
bracelet: Walmart

Saturday night: friend's wedding
dress: The Dress Barn
wedges: Walmart
necklace Walmart (also $3.00!)
bracelet: Mexico
short legs: I blame the camera angle. 

Sunday: church
tank: Shade
skirt (with pockets!): Maurices
sandals: Target
bracelet: Goodwill
flower pin: ripped off a headband (from Maurices) that was too tight on my head

Monday: prayer group and errands
tee: Shade
skirt: Maurices
sandals: Payless
red necklaces and bracelet: Target

Tuesday: keeping it real.  
tank: Shade
sweat capri's: Old Navy
See that large pile on the hope chest behind me? That's about 1/3 of what I cleaned out of my closet and dresser for our upcoming garage sale. Who knew I was such a clothes hoard?? Okay so I knew very well. Hey it just makes me extra proud to be getting rid of it all!

For the record:
No I swear Maurices is not the only place I shop, in fact I've actually only shopped there three times in my life! I just happen to be a bit of a maniac when I step inside the doors.

Linking to other WIWW posts at The Pleated Poppy.

The little ring bearer


This past weekend the Blakester was in a wedding. A beautiful wedding. 

I was really nervous about how he would do, being as that he's only two years old and all, but I'm proud to announce that with the help of an entire bag of gummy bears he did AWESOME!

And now for the proof (and general showing off of cuteness)...

Practicing our "say cheese and you get a candy!" maneuver.
Good friends and beautiful couple Isaac and Noelle.
Sharing a hug with "Auntie" Sarah - bridesmaid, hostess with mostest, and all around gorgeous lady.

Once the picture taking was over it was time for the true test, the ceremony...
Here he comes, whatever you do don't make eye contact - he Must. Keep. Going!
ohhh - he sees Aunt Cara...
and thankfully misses his parents right behind him...
and makes it past us and keeps going! Phew!
Once up the front he stayed in his spot by the groomsmen for the entire ceremony (surreptitiously fed by gummy bears from the best man's tuxedo pocket). And then he walked all the way back down the isle at the end. It was a miracle people. A MIRACLE! I celebrated his success by eating two plates of dessert. It's what proud Moms do.

Ok so it's what I do, and would have done anyway, but this night it was done in the name of a successful ring-bearing event!
Now, to figure out how to keep him two forever :)

Monday confessional


When our family moved to the States and my siblings and I started school we were a bit of an oddity. We talked funny, called things by different names, and were at a loss when it came to US History or standard measurements (an inch, yard, mile, what???). We were instantly popular in a "look at that kid with two heads!" kind of way but I just wanted to be liked and accepted... to fit in.

Because we enrolled part way through the school year I was asked to the front of one of my junior high classes to tell everyone a little about myself. I gave my background and then shared some personal facts... favorite things, what I liked to do for fun, and ended by telling the class proudly that I kept an eraser collection and had brought it with me to the States. 

Except we don't call them erasers in New Zealand. Because back there you don't erase things, you rub them out. With rubbers. 

That's right. I startled every single student in the room and the poor teacher to complete silence with my announcement that I COLLECTED RUBBERS.

Oh yes, I was going to fit right in...

How to shop till you drop


Yesterday was a little crazy. Well, I should say I was a little crazy. Or a lot.

It started out innocently enough... grocery shopping and errands with my three children with a departure time planned for 9:30 am. That didn't actually happen until 11:30 am. Which meant I couldn't complete my shopping (although I did make it to six stops) before coming back home to lay my youngest down for a nap. Which was a necessity because he had to be in a wedding rehearsal that evening. Which meant I couldn't complete my shopping until after that was over. Which I wanted to do because I have IMPORTANT SCRAPBOOKING PLANS TOMORROW.

This all led to me asking my Mum and Aunt (visiting from New Zealand) at 10:00 pm last night if they would like to "go on a little adventure"... a trip to the 24 hour Walmart super-center. My mother is always game for a trip to Walmart (I found out once we were there that she'd already been there just 2 days previously) and my Aunt Wenda decided that since she's on vacation she might as well live it up a little. 

And that is how it came about that I arrived back home at 2:15 am last night. Followed part of the way by a cop who I'm sure pulled out behind me betting that he was going to bag a drunk driver. No Officer, not drunk, just shopping.

Walmart sucks you in I tell you. Don't ask me what kept us there for almost 3 hours, it's a black hole of time in that place. Although I can allot a good 5-7 minutes spent loitering in the health and beauty section waiting for a man to move on so that I could pick up some feminine products because, have I mentioned that I embarrass easily? 

Photographic evidence of the day's shopping escapades: 
We love you Costco and your sample tables that keep young children occupied!
blurry photo courtesy of the innocent door greeter that we waylaid on the way out.
Aunt Wenda and Mum after we'd passed the tired stage and were on to giddy.
well maybe Aunt Wenda never made it past the tired stage.
And that is how you shop till you drop folks. Literally.

What I Wore Wednesday - week 4


This may be a new record people... I've stuck to something new for almost a whole month now!

Thursday: Mom & kids play day at Cara's.
pink tank: Aeropostale
white tank: Shade
skirt: Target
flip flops: Fred Meyers

Friday: leaving for the Coast for the weekend... woo hoo!
top: Maurices
cami: Diviine Modestee
capri's: Calvin Klein - Costco
flip flops: Fred Meyers
orange bracelet: Goodwill for .99 cents
necklace & earrings: Claires

Saturday: on vacation
Note: I do not like this mirror. It doesn't make me look skinnier than I really am!
gray tank: Old Navy
black tank: Shade
jeans: Old Navy
slippers: shearling slip-ons from Costco

Sunday: shopping at the Lincoln City outlet mall.
That's right... I'm in an Old Navy changing room! Before trying stuff on I figured anything would be better than the mirror in our beach house...
purple top: Ross
black tee: Shade
jeans: Gap - Goodwill
silver sandals: rummage sale
bracelets: Walmart

Monday: aaand back to the painfully revealing vacation home mirror.
tee: Roxy - Costco
blue cami: Old Navy
capri's: Plato's Closet
sandals: Addidas - Costco

Tuesday: back home from vacation.
Confession: I stayed home all day doing laundry except for a late night run to Blockbuster. Yep, I put this outfit on just so I could wear my new vest I bought at the coast to the VIDEO STORE.
striped top: Kmart
green vest: Maurices
jeans: Goodwill
flip flops: Fred Meyers
bracelet: Maurices

 Concluding thoughts...

- I love Costco. Where else can you go grocery shopping and conveniently slip a few clothing purchases into the food budget?
- I do not love Fred Meyers, it's just okay to me. Yet it's the closest clothing store to me so I own a surprising amount of items (specifically shoes) from it due to emergency runs to find something to complete an outfit. Not that I do that now of course ;) I'm totally loving Financial Peace Babe!
- This is fun :)

Linking to other WIWW posts at The Pleated Poppy