Friday, February 29, 2008

Tagged: Seven Interesting Facts about Jessica's Feet

Can you believe how lucky you are?! That you happened on my blog today?! And that there's so much to learn about my feet?!

My feet are very big. 9 1/2 before kids, 10 after.
Fact #2
My toes make up for a good 25% of my feet length. I have one that is as long as my pinky finger (and I have long fingers). This is why I honestly did not wear sandals until I was in college, when I stopped caring about my witch toes.

Fact #3
My husband was seriously repulsed by my toes. I had warned him and he didn't believe me, thinking: "Everyone thinks their feet are ugly." He's actually the coiner of the witch phrase, as he tells me that that was what he thought when they were unveiled for him.

Fact #4
My feet are not covered by as cute of shoes as those of you with size 7 feet. Talk a walk down the Payless aisles one day. This is what you will say to yourself: "Here we are in the size 6 section and there are some really cute cheap shoes here. Size 7, still cute. Size 8, size 8 1/2, size 9, all cute. Hey! Wait a minute, here we are in the 10s. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THE CUTE SHOES ALL THOSE OTHER SIZES HAVE?"

Fact #5
Pointy shoes do not work well with my 3 inch toes. I wear them anyway (of course!) and my toes are permanently curled and calloused due to such sacrifices for fashion.
Fact #6
I had calcium deposits growing on the backs of my heels, when I was 16, because nature seems to think that my feet aren't long enough. I got them shaved off and scooted around on my bum for weeks while they healed. I ruined a very cute rayon short one piece from Express doing it.
Fact #7
Ryan's uncle is a podiatrist. (Coincidence? I think not.) When I complained of numbness in the 3 littlest toes on the left foot, he touched a spot on the pad underneath them and they went immediately numb. Apparently there is a benign tumor there, which goes numb and sometimes becomes painful. I should get it removed, but with 4 kids, how am I supposed to stay off my feet for 6 weeks as I recover? Please.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Story Hour, by Jessica

(We're giving Ryan a break today and I'm telling my own story).

Once upon a time, in a city in Northern California, a handsome young man was born, 33 years ago today. He was the 3rd child in his family and the first boy. His parents were good and wise and he was a blessing to all who knew him. He was blessed with much humor and intelligence and a desire to serve others.

He was the golden boy where he lived (and not only because he was white in an area that had mostly Latinos and African Americans). Teachers, leaders and girls loved him and he had school accolades, children named after him (really!) and kissed LOTS of frogs/girls in his youth.

He was called to serve in a land far away (the Baltic nations) and learned a difficult tongue. He had incredible experiences and made friendships with companions that have deepened and lasted to this day.

He met the girl of his dreams after returning home. They quickly moved from his homeland and really quickly began having kids. Due to his amazing abilities, he was able to complete a bachelor's and a master's degree while working full time, serving in demanding church callings and parenting four children.

He is truly a hero to his kids, with whom he is deeply involved. They learn to laugh, work and serve the Lord because of him. He is a prince to his wife, who truly doesn't know why God blessed her with an almost-perfect man, when she is so far from almost perfect.

And he, truly, lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Steep Learning Curve

I took Emma skiing on Saturday and had one of those days that you remember for the rest of your life. I am actually irritated trying to put it down in text because I can not capture how much fun it was to spend the day with her one-on-one, watching her excel at something new.

8:00 am – Emma’s 1st Ski Trip Ever
Pack up the ski gear and head off for Silver Mountain. Take world’s longest gondola to lodge at the top of the mountain.

10:00 am – Going to Ski School
Drop Emma off with beginning ski instructor. Hit the slopes w/ Jeff (ski-buddy, running-partner, friend, etc.)

12:00 pm – Ski School is out

Pick up Emma. Told by instructor that I have a “natural” skier on my hands (tip extra for unprovoked compliment … okay-- so we all know that I didn’t really tip him). Find out that she was bumped up to intermediate class to keep her from waiting around too much. Grab some burgers and fries in the lodge (mmmmm – that hot greasy stuff is even better after skiing all morning). Interrupted by 30-something fellow ski-schooler and told how good Emma was on the slopes. Apparently she was the 1st one at the bottom of the runs.

1:00 pm – First runs with Emma (GREEN CIRCLE)
Consciously try to exude confidence, despite nervousness about Emma slipping off the side of the mountain (She looks so dang small all of the sudden). Lots of falls (amazed how quick she bounces back up, smiling while professing “I’m okay”). We work our way through every green run on the mountain.

2:00 pm – Going to the top (BLUE SQUARE)

We stumble across a blue run that Emma’s instructor suggested I take her down, it’s a bit steep. Emma tackles it with vigor. It tackles her back a few times. Her instructor said that after going down that run she would be ready to ride Chair 2 (duh duh duh – suspense inducing music) to the top of the mountain – so we’re off. Emma is so tough. She cuts her way back and forth all the way down the mountain. Welling with pride at her work ethic and “No Fear” attitude. Reward her efforts with some hot chocolate in the lodge.

3:00 pm – It's Showtime (BLACK DIAMOND)

After getting a little rest we head back out. Emma wants to see how she will do now on the green runs she started the day with. She blows through them with ease, falling only a couple times. She even tries a rail slide. While telling her to stay off the ski park she hits and lands a small jump! Start laughing because watching her ski is so much fun. On a cat track, I show her how tucking makes her go a bit faster. We hit the blue run she battled earlier. This time she speeds down it and starts tucking because apparently she isn’t getting enough speed. She no longer cuts across the run, just barrels straight down. The run is short enough that, as I start to get nervous for her, it is pretty much over. I laugh and tell her she is a mad-woman. We now go back up Chair 2. After getting off the lift, Emma makes a beeline STRAIGHT down the mountain. I start yelling for her to cut across the face of the run to slow down. She continues to plunge. I throw myself down after her. I can’t catch her because she is not cutting at all and her skis are actually waxed. I finally catch up with her at the bottom. I scold her and tell her it isn’t safe to just go straight down. She argues that “its easier if you don’t cut.” I am seriously impressed, but I persist to avoid future hospital visits. She agrees to comply next time.

4:00 pm – Joining the Snow Patrol

We take some more runs down the mountain. We unwittingly go down a run that has been shut down for the night. We realize this as we get to the immobile lift at the bottom. Snap some pics while we wait for ski patrol to rescue us. Get a stern reprimand and a free ride back to the lodge. What a fantastic day.

While spending the day skiing and joking and playing with Emma, I got this glimpse of her and I on the slopes over the next ten years or so. The whole day just made me excited for the many ski days with her to come.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Food for Thought

Due to my appropriateness problem of yesterday, I'm sending you over to Gabi's blog where you can see I do more than just comment and then post about my comments:

Bon Appetit!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Open Comments, Insert Foot

Whoops. Made a "Comment Boo-boo" last night. A fabulous relative of mine had a funny blog about her kids and I made a comment joking about their intelligence.

In case you were wondering: I don't think her kids are in any way lacking in brain-power. Quite the opposite. Which she, of course, knew.

Apparently, she had friends and relatives who were not "getting" me and, after a flurry of emails/texts, she deleted the comment. I quickly made a public apology in her comments and vowed to watch my sarcastic-ness in the future.

I have to admit, I paused a minute before I pushed the GO button in the comments section. But I figured she (and anyone else) would know it was a joke and that I would never insult her children in public--or private. They're darling and sweet and funny and, yep, smart.

It's so hard to know.

In January, I posted a snarky, hopefully funny, comment on Paige's blog. And then completely stressed out about it for the next day. I read it to Ryan and he said, "oh, I don't was a little harsh." So then I stressed more and apologized profusely, deleted the comment and worried she would be bugged at me at our upcoming weekend in California. Like it was 8th grade again.

Paige's reaction: "Are you kidding? I thought it was funny. In fact, I thought 'Wow, Jessica knows me well.' You could never offend me."

It's so hard in the world of black and white words...with no inflection, or eye contact, or a good-natured nudge-to-the-side to know if people understand what you mean as you type. My relative did, because we lived near each other and she knows who I am. Paige got it, for the same reason (plus she's also the Queen of Snarky)...but what about all the other people that I expose myself to, every day, in (let's be honest) way too lurid detail.

Do I sacrifice funny for safe? What is my measuring stick? Do you ever wonder if there's a whole multitude of readers that just don't get you? Yikes.

I'm nice. I promise. (Said with soulful, sincere eyes and a genuine smile, body language in every way reflecting honesty).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Summary

Monday was an important day in the Romney house. Celebration of great Presidents? Nah. Parties due to a day off from school. Boring. Mom getting out the play-doh? Oh was that big.
Tuesday also an important day: Jane's kindergarten shots. She was seriously so brave. She kept mentioning all morning, "I'm a little scared, but it will be fast, wight, Mom?" When we got there and she was trying so hard to lay still on the exam table, I held her hands and told her it would be done by the time I was done singing the alphabet song. Except I couldn't sing the alphabet song, because I was crying. She was such a brave girl and those shots seriously suck. We NEVER buy our kids toys except on birthdays, Christmas...and when they get those sucky kindergarten shots:
On Wednesday after teaching a bunch of Cub Scouts how to cook Fried Rice and Wontons, I was a little over the whole cooking dinner thing. So we had leftover night. Sometimes we have FUN leftover night, when I make a menu:
and let the kids pick three options. We had lots of leftovers (because I love to cook and Ryan loves to eat old, moldy food):
and the kids LOVE when we do Restaurant Style leftovers (especially when it includes your choice of dessert, as this one did).
On Thursday I woke up WAY too early to work out, as was evidenced by me running into the garage as I was backing out and wrecking our side mirror. Apparently there were some important wires connected to this mirror, because as I shut the door (at 6:30am) after my workout, the hazard horn-beeping started going off. "Huh, " I thought, "must have brushed the hazard button on my key chain." And turned it off. Gabe had a 7:00 am cavity filling appointment, so after a quick shower, we jumped back in the car...and discovered that if I wanted to drive the car...I would have to do it with the horn blaring loudly wherever I went. It would NOT shut off! So we drove through the streets of my town, horn a-honking, all the way to the gym, where we stole Ryan's car (he was still there) and switched him out. And this is going to shock you: it TOTALLY STOPPED when he got in the car. Why does that always happen?
Also, while we were at the dentist, they found an extra cavity. It was 7:30 am and we'd already spent $263. And woke up the whole town. Awesome.
Friday, Emma got a 100% on her spelling test and my toe hurt.
Saturday, we found out Emma will be in the Olympics in 2016. More on that tomorrow.

Friday, February 22, 2008

11 Things that happen when your wierd toe tumor acts up and makes it impossible to walk without pain

1. You have to skip your morning run which makes you feel extremely grumpy and fat.

2. You don't want to get out of bed and put (all that!) weight on your toe, so you find husband-related reasons to stay in bed.
3. You still don't want to get out of bed, so you watch the new Paula Abdul video.
4. When you finally decide to brave the foot pain, you come down and find your two year old picking through the Lucky Charms (doorbell ditched goodwill gift...more on that later) for all the marshmallows...because he's so hungry.

5. You skip your Friday morning weigh in, because you can't possibly weigh in without a hard-sweating run to help you out--and decide to eat pancakes, instead.
6. You realize that you can only walk on your foot, when it's in these shoes:
and Emma asks you if "dad is going to be mad at you for walking on the carpet in your shoes".
7. You can only wear these shoes with your too-tight brown pants and so have to wear this outfit (which you've worn to other blogfriend meetings) when you go to the mall to meet your blog friend Andrea.

8. Your 4 year old keeps running around like a crazy child with Andrea's 4 year old, because your feet hurt too much to stop them.

9. You spend a lot of time on the computer fixing your links (which Ryan says you shouldn't do , because what if you leave someone out?) and editing your Blog book.
10. You certainly do not take care of any of these areas:

11. You try to decide if you will fake more foot pain tomorrow, because today's been pretty darn relaxing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Weekly Story Corner - Week 2

Chapter 2: Stepping Back

(Jessica -and Adrianne and Tammy-and Ryan, right around the time the dating commenced...can anyone tell me why she wouldn't be head-over-heels for this specimen of manhood?! <--- pictures posted by jessica w/o any form of either verbal or written consent. I should sue.)

(What the @#$&??? - I am 16 in this picture!!! ... I don't know why my wife posts her at 22 and me at 16. She is falsely representing "the way we were")

If there is one thing that my marriage has taught me, it is that Jessica is not one to change her mind readily. Once it is set on something, a nearly unearthly effort is required to convince her to change her mind. My schooling in this lesson began from the very start of our relationship. After our first date, I could tell that while Jessica genuinely enjoyed me, she wasn’t really interested. However, since I am someone who embraces life’s challenges head on, I decided that the only appropriate course of action would be to find another girl just like Jessica with the exception that she was more easily smitten by me. Surely there must be boatloads of such girls out there.

It only took me the three months between our first date and Jessica’s final return home as a BYU alumni for me to realize my mistake. There just weren’t any other girls like her out there. I decided to stake my claim and change her mind. So I told my good “friend” that Jessica was mine. I clearly explained that when she got back from college that I was going to date her. Despite the fact that he appeared to be fluent in English, there must have been some sort of miscommunication, because I came to find out AFTER Jessica and I were married, that he happened to be in the Sherrill neighborhood quite often, and that he even went so far as to invite himself over for Sunday dinner and tried to make all nicey-nice with mom and dad.

The dating pool in the San Joaquin valley wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. But the silver lining around that cloud was that for as bad as it was in the female end of the pool, the male end was far more shallow. I had it all planned out in advance. In fact I even explained my strategy to my comprehension challenged "friend." I would simply wait her out. I would continue to be my fun-loving, charismatic self while allowing Jessica the opportunity to get a good look around. I wanted her to have ample time to weigh out her options. I figured that once her eyes adjusted to her new surroundings, she would begin to see things my way a little bit more.

So after her arrival home, our little dance began. I would ask her out relatively frequently and she would come up with increasingly less plausible excuses for not accepting. It became a joke for me and my friends. Whenever we planned any sort of group date I would jokingly inquire … “should I ask Jessica?”

“Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah! Ask her out again,” they would laugh as bets began to be placed on how long her rejection would take or what excuse would be used. I would then call her with all of them sitting around me as I tried to be as charming as possible. I would bat away their muffled snickering as Jessica would tell me how sorry she was that she wouldn’t be available “that night.” In fact, we kind of made it a ritual of sorts. Jessica always got a call before, I asked out whoever my real date was. They loved watching the anticipated rejection come.

My favorite excuse came one night as I called Jessica around 8:00 p.m. to see if she was up for some activity. She told me that she was really tired and that she was just about to go to bed. As she said this I checked the clock in disbelief. The A-Team was our family’s favorite show the last time I had gone to bed that early. It was then and there that I realized that she was never going to come around. I decided that it would be more humane for the both of us if I didn’t keep pressing the issue. I had called her for the last time.

That decision marked a turning point in our relationship.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Boring Recipe Post

There are some people who do very funny and well-written recipe posts that other people read even if they don't like to cook.

This isn't a post like that.

Here's the link to the Macaroni and Cheese I made for Emma's birthday (and every other kid birthday we have). It's super healthy.

And this is how you make those super yummy, super easy, super Pretty Parfaits:

1. Make 1 box of white cake mix. Stir in pink/red food coloring and bake as directed. Cool.

2. Using the rim of one of your tall, clear glasses, cut circles in the cake.

3. Layer:
  • cake
  • thawed frozen raspberries (1-2 bags)

  • raspberry sherbet

  • vanilla ice cream

4. Repeat layers twice.

5. Top with whipped cream and red sprinkles.

This makes, probably, 6-8 tall parfaits. I have used this at girl baby showers and birthdays and people die over them.

(Again, I would LOVE to know if you've tried any of my recipes and if you liked them. It's good for my ego.)

Quick Quote #19

The kids and I were discussing my college years and Jane asked me if I'd had a bike a college. I said, "No" and Gabe said: "Yeah, Jane, bikes weren't even invented yet."

And he was serious.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Everything is bigger at Monster Jam.

Big Idea:
George (my brother-in-law's brother-in-law) came up with the idea of taking the boys out for some wicked thrills. So George, Kevin (my brother-in-law) and I got tickets for us and our sons. (Seth was unwittingly omitted from the fun so that it might actually be fun).

Big Disappointment:
My 12-year-old nephew Austin lost the privilege of attending Monster Jam (MJ) due to an "energy draining" (see Love and Logic for definition) fight that he had with his brother. So his seat was passed onto his sister Mallory who did her best to fit in with the all male crew by sporting pink camo's.

Big Questions:
On the way over to meet up with everyone, Gabe had some intriguing questions that required deep thought, "Dad ... would you rather be able to 1.) control the weather, 2.) have a BB gun (thoughtful pause) that you can take anywhere you want, or 3.) be able to turn into anyone or anything?" I was a little suprised that owning a BB gun ranked up there with X-men/Heroes powers. I guess a seven year old doesn't realize that if you had either of the other powers, you could probably procure a BB gun as well.

Big Noise:
Having never been to a MJ before, I wasn't prepared for the amount of noise these trucks could make. I got worried when we sat down behind these two 10-year-olds who obviously knew their way around monster trucks a lot better than I did.

This is how Gabe and I enjoyed MJ.

Big Tricks:
Our favorite part of MJ were the big tricks. We loved the Evel Knievel stunts.

Big-Time Patriotism:
As we walked into the arena, the booming anouncer voice bellowed ... "Do you love America?" "Well, yeah" I thought to myself "I do."
(Booming Announcer Voice) "Lets hear it for the men and women of our Emergency Services!"
(**Crowd cheers wildly**)
(Booming Announcer Voice) "Lets hear it for the men and women of the Fire Department!"
(**Crowd cheers wildly**)
(Booming Announcer Voice) "Lets hear it for the men and women of the Police Department!"
(**Crowd cheers wildly**)
(Booming Announcer Voice) "Lets hear it for the men and women of the Armed Services!"
(**Crowd cheers wildly**)
(Booming Announcer Voice) "Lets hear it for the men and women of the ARMY!"
(**Crowd cheers wildly**)
(Booming Announcer Voice) "Lets hear it for the men and women of the NAVY!"
(**Crowd cheers wildly**)
(Booming Announcer Voice) "Lets hear it for the men and women of the AIR FORCE!"
(**Crowd cheers wildly**)
(Low Manly Announcer Voice) "Lets hear it for the men and women of the MARINES!"
(**Crowd cheers wildly**)

Honestly, I am grateful for all these public servants, but about halfway through our armed services I was feeling guilty because I couldn't muster any more enthusiasm. Sorry Marine dudes ... I just got tired. I guess that is why I am an engineer and not a Marine.

(Here are "The Patriot" and "Captain USA" making serious tracks around the arena - Note how even the smash-em-up cars are spray painted Red, White and Blue)
Big Ending:
Okay, there is none. I've lost all typing enthusiasm, too.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Summary

We'll start with the birthday girl this week: Emma.

Her birthday started off with a birthday breakfast: cinnamon brown sugar crepes, bacon and orange julius. She got a Lunchable (thrilling!) for her lunch, along with donuts for her class. For her birthday dinner, she had Mom's homemade Four Cheese Macaroni and enjoyed not doing any of her regular jobs all day. No birthday would be complete without a million Daines cousins coming over for a family party and she got some great crafty ( blech! says her un-crafty mom) presents and an I-Dog that has become like a member of our family. She requested the Valentine's Parfaits for her birthday "cake". Here are some pictures of the day:

Gabe's class had a wax museum. This is where the kids sit as still as wax figures at their desks and then the visitors come and press the ink-drawn "button" on their thumbs and they recite every fact they have gleaned over the last 2 months about Arctic animals. Gabe's was the Arctic Wolf (or fox...don't tell him I'm not sure) and we would have a picture, if the mom who took the picture hadn't left on a Bahamas cruise yesterday. Rude.

Speaking of rude, Ryan and Gabe attended a Monster Truck Jam (say this in your best LOUD gravelly car-salesman voice, please) yesterday. Ryan has a post all planned, so I won't spoil his fun.

Jane is my resident play-group "Cruise" director. Basically, when it's our turn to host Seth's play group, I smile at the door when the mom drops the 2 year old off and remove their coats, and then turn them over to Jane's capable hands. Every once in a while, a line of kids (following Jane like ducklings) traipses through the main area, but that's about all I have to do with it. Apparently she decided they needed "Picture Taking Time" because I had quite a few shots like this:
on my camera. I basically am around as Bouncer and Waitress. Jane leads them in rousing games of "Jump from the couch to the ottoman" and My Little Ponies. She's the best. (The following picture has nothing to do with this's just cool).

Seth is in the super fun "I do it" phase. You know, the one where if you shut the bedroom door to sing him bedtime songs, he begins crying hysterically that he didn't get to shut the door, so you have to let him walk back over to the door so he can open it and then shut it himself? The one where he will cry like a mad-man if he can't shut the van door, which is only a huge problem because he can only shut the van door if he's OUT of the car seat, which then makes YOUR placing and buckling him in the carseat an impossibility?

Yeah, that super-fun phase.

He also has this really dysfunctional relationship with the neighborhood dog, Mocha. Mocha is the nicest (if LEAST supervised and kept-in-her-yard) dog ever. She must have severly traumatized Seth last summer because he is terrified of her. The thing is, he will repeat, maniacally and on the verge of tears, how NICE Mocha is. It's disturbing. Example: the other day, the kids were all playing outside and he was standing by the upstairs window watching them. I asked if he wanted to play outside and he replied, "No, cause Mocha's so nice." The child is messed-up. (don't tell Seth Mocha's following him in these pictures...)

Ryan is continuing as husband/father of the year as he 1) attended Monster Truck Jam and 2)orchestrated the best Valentine's Day ever. (I know you're all shocked). He started with this candlelight breakfast:

and then met me and Seth for a haircut/lunch date: (note the red Valentines day attire)
and then had envelopes that looked like this:

instructing the kids on how to have a proper Valentines date that included dinner:

and games:

It was so fun and he did a great job.

We also had a FUN FUN Saturday night, with our kids at the family dance. It was 50s (Ryan says every family church activity is 50s) and so this is what we looked like:

On a lame, but necessary, note: Ryan's division at work is being shut-down in the next month. It was a complete shock and not good news, but we have a few leads here in Spokane and are feeling very okay about the whole thing. So add us to your prayers and we'll keep you updated.