Friday, December 18, 2009

Farewell to the cowboy state!

I'm high on Sharpie fumes from all the packing, so this may be nothing but photos, but here is the last Wyoming blog. I know when speaking of Wyoming, I tend to get snarky, but I'll behave myself today and just show you some of my favorite parts of the last 18 months here in Cheyenne. It's a beautiful place, full of beautiful people, and we had a great time with our Wyoming Experiment!

This is Devil's Tower, and one of our favorite places and trips we took.

Old Faithful...thar she blows!

Yellowstone National Park. Uh, obviously. In case you can't read. But then you wouldn't be here.

This was in April...oh wait, I said no snarkiness. Maybe she's looking for Easter eggs?

Ok this dog lives on the roof here in Cheyenne. In all kinds of weather. He's up there.

Nothing really to do with Wyoming, but here is Gianni at the age of just barely two, after he made himself toast. Literally made it himself. 1. Took the bread out of the box. 2. Carried across the kitchen to the toaster. 3. Toasted it. 4. Buttered it with knife. 5. Got a plate. 6. Ate it. Don't forget this all involved being much shorter than the counter.

Our favorite neighbor in the history of neighbors: Lillie-Ann. We're sticking her in a box with airholes.

Close-up of doggy. Almost had Anna convinced it was a reindeer last year.

This is outside our church building.

Know what this is? Well, do you? Don't feel bad, neither did I. It's for hanging up your cowboy hats of course.

Again, not really anything to do with Wyoming, but here is Gianni potty training his stuffed gorilla.

The best part of being a girl is the sleep overs. The best part of the girls being of a certain age, is that Mommy and Daddy can go to bed at a decent hour and they can pop their own corn, take themselves to the bathroom, find their own sleeping space, work the tv by themselves, and generally stay up all night unsupervised. Unless their parents are reading this, in which case, they were never unsupervised.

Well, in a nutshell, and without photos of the cool windmill farms, uber cool thunder and lightening storms that you can see coming from miles and miles and miles away due to there being no pesky mountains in the way, and other great things about Wyoming, that was our year in the cowboy state. Thanks for reading, guys. I'll be back someday.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A week in the life of two two-year olds

Hey, Fat Luigi!

Hey, Skinny Vinny!

We're going...

....into the belly of the beast....

...there will be danger at every turn....

...I eat danger for breakfast...

Then ... are you hungry?


I now have an inkling of what having two-year old twin boys would be like. (Any readers out there who actually have two-year old twin boys, please don't write and tell me I don't have a clue. I admit it daily). The Quinnster was pretty much an angel and his best friend, Moose, was well, he was himself and you only need to look at the fact that he is the only one with red-eye to know that he was basically leading Quinn into sin at every turn. He doesn't have much hair but he has just enough to nicely cover his horns. Quinn's mommy and daddy hoped as an experienced mother of three that I would manage to teach their little darling how to speak three languages, read Dostoievsky, be potty trained, increase his culinary palate, help little old ladies across the street, memorize scripture, tie his shoes, discover the cure for cancer, institute world peace, and make a mean risotto. They're lucky however if he hasn't learned to smoke, swear, imbibe, gamble, womanize, and drive. He now wears tight jeans, white Ts with rolled up sleeves to hide the cigarettes, and greases his hair. And goes by the name Butch. At least they didn't sneak out for tattoos and piercings while my back was turned, huh? And really, that's all I promised. That, and that he will return with a new passion for Bon Jovi, Sandra Boynton board books, naked vacuuming (ask Gianni 'bout that one), jumping off the couch, finagling in and outta the Pack n Play, carrying a stool around at all times because it comes in handy for numerous naughtiness, removing couch cushions for optimum jumping and bouncing contests, the joy of dog food snacking, and hiding things in the potty seat. Not necessarily in that order. Gianni calls him "Ken" (no, not Butch), and it would have been cute and amusing to hear G. yelling through the bedroom door, 'Mommy! Daddy! Ken's awake!' Cute and amusing had it not been 4 am. But we're very grateful for our time with the little booger, and hope he doesn't forget about his Auntie Lyssy and Uncie Mike and the strange little boy who kept slamming doors in his face and taking all the toys, when he moves off to Ireland to become a leprechaun.
We begin the packing process now. Wish us luck, say a prayer or a hail Mary or anything that might help. I hate moving. And I really hate the nightmare of driving across frozen solid Wyoming in December twice. When we go rolling off the interstate, into the path of penguins, polar bears, and prehistoric ice age creatures, and run into the same iceberg that annihilated the Titanic, I will put in a good word for you at the pearly gates. You may divide my worldly possessions amongst yourselves: children, dog, fish, Kitchen Aid mixer, Samsung washer and dryer, and my Nancy Drew collection. Oh, and Die Hard 1-4 complete with extra bonus material. And bills. Some lucky devil is going to get lots and lots of bills. Unless of course, all those things are smashed flat by the ice berg. In which case there will be nothing to fight over at the funeral - and for your information, I like daisies.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Anniversary Hijack!!!

That's right... Melyssa's tech savvy husband has siezed control of the blog(and changed the password) as a celebration of both my nearly limitless power, and our 11th wedding anniversary.

So let's all take a trip down memory lane shall we?...

I Love this one for three reasons. First she wore those coveralls everywhere!!! (Hillbilly).
Second, how secure does she look in her decision to go through with this?

Third, do you SEE the gun show going on in background...???

Play this if you LOVE Mariah as much as I do!!!

Now, who WOULDN'T want to be permanently attached to these women???

At this point, I was about to cry... so was Dave... Still looks scared... If she only knew!!!
Ok, this was ILLEGAL!!! She's only 20! We got kicked out of the casinos at Lake Tahoe on our honeymoon as well.

The whole Fam Damily!!! Hey it's uncle Vinny on the right, yeah be afraid...

So 11 years ago I got married. Me. Mike Williams. I still can't believe it, I'm sure most of those reading this can't believe it either!!! I can honestly tell all, that I am more in love today than ever before. I have all I could ever want, need, or desire with Lyssa by my side...

I love you forever Baby.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas trees

A mere 1.47 minutes on the road... didja know the wind blows in Wyoming?

"Hey, Andy, ya want me to lean on a shovel or something?"

Small men-children with sticks. What could possibly go wrong?

Uh-oh. Hansel realizes he forgot the bread crumbs.

Oops. Put this one in twice.

I cut up small, toddler sized pieces of turkey for the Moose. He hollered, "BIG CHICKEN!" cuz he wanted the drumstick. What baby wants, baby gets. Come to Papa, big chicken, come to Papa.

If you're impressed at my sudden photography skillz, it was Mrs Kohler's camera.
Last week was our annual Christmas tree hunting, stalking, butchering, expedition to the North Pole. It just isn't Christmas until near death experiences have been lived, tempers have flared, marriage vows have been stretched and re-thought, small children have cried, and my Charlie Brown tree is safely kerplunked in my living room. For those of you who enjoy killing the spirit of Christmas and making Baby Jesus cry by purchasing a plastic tree, I will pray for you. But golly, you are missing out! Only a few things went wrong this year:
We nearly ran out of gas. Halfway to Mt Crumpit we have to make the decision: push forward, put in the last dollars out of our checking account, or turn back for the company car. Anna's oh-so helpful suggestion? Why doesn't Daddy just go back and get the other car? Yeah, Daddy! Why don't you just walk 30 miles and return in a speedy fashion? Maybe you could bring a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer while you're at it?
We nearly slid on ice to our deaths. Ok, not really. But it was hilarious when Mike pulled over and rolled down his window to talk to the Kohlers who were in their car and they kept driving right by us. "Hey! Stop driving!" my exasperated husband shouts. "We're not driving!" Genesis yells back as she hangs out the window, "We're sliding!"
I can't speak for anyone else, but I nearly got lost. There is a fine, thin line in the forest, between I-know-where-I-am, and I-am-fairly-certain-that-I-can-retrace-my-steps, and I-suddenly-hear-nothing-but-the-wind-in-the-trees, and if-I-go-one-more-step-I-will-officially-and-utterly-be-lost-and-on-the-five-o'clock-news. And I don't like being on camera. I freeze. I don't even like speaking when there's more than three people around. Even if all I have to say is my name and where I live, I panic. Those are easy questions. I should know the answers without getting all clammy. I really don't want to be interviewed about being dumb enough to get lost in the woods of Laramie while searching for a Christmas tree.
Afterwards we learned that there apparently is a small RedBull stand manned by Christmas elves in the forest. This is the only explanation for the two feminine youngsters who had absolutely NO energy for tree hunting and whined approximately, oh I don't know, THE WHOLE TIME, and yet were bouncing off the seats of the minivan like mexican jumping beans the whole drive home while their little brother was trying to nap. Actually, I'll give it up for Anna - she came wandering around the mountain side right as I was navigating that fine, thin line I was telling you about and quite possibly saved me from certain starvation, exposure, and being eaten by wild bears. Together we sawed down our tree and kept each other from back flipping and somersaulting and triple axle-ing down the hillsides. The only excuse I have for Cora is that she must be on the verge of teendom or something because that kid sleeps for like, 12 hours at a time, eats like a lumberjack, and still complains of being tired.
Now the tree is up and Christmas can begin. The cards are almost ready to be picked up at WalMart. The shopping is...not even started. Our eleventh anniversary is next week. I'm getting a taste of what it's like to have four children as I babysit the Quinnster for a whole week (stay tuned for what I hope is gonna be some Kodak moments this week). Jobs are being applied for and sent off into cyberspace where they're never heard from again. Holiday movies are organized by importance and order of viewing. Santa letters have brought unbelievably adorable joy to the small kids faces. School is on the back burner as we do crafty holiday things instead (who cares if my kids become adults who can't balance their checkbooks, they can thread a sewing machine and make chocolate truffles)! If you want a Christmas card of my cute offspring to stick to your fridge all year 'round, make sure you send me your address.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


When hubby-mine heard I was planning on posting photographic evidence of his gift of procrastination, he rushed out back and remedied the situation. Awww, the naivete. The shot had been captured minutes before.

I'm considering turning it into this year's Christmas card.

But let's focus on this week's holiday first. Happy Thanksgiving! I'm shamed by every one's Facebook statuses that only say what they're thankful for everyday this month, while mine focus on things less humble and contrite. So, here goes my "A thankful heart is a happy heart" list, all in one lump sum:

I'm thankful for my family. For my extended family, who are all crazy quacks and I love them for it. They're all quirky in their own special ways and contribute to the goodness of this world, sure enough. For my mom's Christmas traditions, my dad's patient humor, my sister's loyalty and all around dorkiness. My niece's abilities to make me laugh on the phone, especially Al. Kary tries not to talk to me. My brothers who I barely know, really, but I love them because it's good to know I have a couple of 6'4" hulks on my side should I ever need 'em. I'm grateful for my in-laws and their willingness to take us in in case of homelessness. For my brothers-in-laws and sisters-in-laws and their senses of humor; all unique and all...weird, just the way I like 'em.

I'm thankful for my own little family. Mine, mine, mine! I don't know why, but I felt the need to rub that in. They're so darn cute I could eat them alive. Because it's not the season for cannibalism however I will just nibble a neck whenever they least expect it. I'm thankful for my husband whom I never get tired of. Really! Not a lot of people married this long could say that. Well, ok, when I walk by last year's Christmas tree still attached to the base in November of the following year, I may roll my eyes. A little. But it's a loving eye roll.

I'm thankful for my friends. I have the best friends ever. Mariah's heart on her sleeve, Genesis' taste in movies, Tawni's nutty boys, Jennifer's ability to tune out the football game with me, Lorna's example in general life, Heather B. for all the memories we share of a crazy decade, Aerie for even more memories and the only one who knew me as a pigtailed whipper snapper. My Wyoming buddies have been great too: they stocked my freezer with antelope and elk, forced me into MOPS, watched my kids, and shared their government money with me (which we totally spent on beer and cigarettes! Ha, kidding).

I'm thankful for cars that run, jobs (boy, I'd love the chance to be thankful for that one again here any second now), homeschooling so I don't miss a second of anything in my kid's lives, expensive coffee and cheap wine (because I homeschool...see how that comes full circle?), date nights, snuggles, a roof over our heads, books, holiday movies, parents who taught me the love of Christ so that I in turn could teach my children, online book clubs (see? my great friends strike again!), a full fridge even if it's only full for a second before ravenous ankle biters rip the door off the hinges and go all grizzly bear on the contents, a nibble of dark chocolate every now and again, Bon Jovi in February - squeal! - walks to the park, Sadie's recovery, all of our health, NOT being a Radio Shack widow on Black Friday and every other blessed day of the year, and hundreds of other things. And comments on the blog. I'm thankful for those of you who leave 'em. As for the rest of you slugs...

Happy Thanksgiving, my peeps!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

These are my attempts at photography.

Luckily I have cute kids, because my skills are sadly lacking.

Anna, try to look up in a contemplative way!

Cora, ignore the wetness of the leaves and look adorable!

Moose, just stand still for a half a bloomin' second, would ya?

He looks like he's about ready to tell me where I can stick my camera.
So here's the news you've all been waiting for!
We're moving back to Boise!
Unless we aren't.
You're welcome for the update.
Nah really, we are moving ahead with the very, very likely assumption that we'll back in Idaho before the new year. Unless we won't be. Now comes the getting rid of everything we don't want to pack. I'm going to have to start wearing disguises at the Goodwill drop off center because they're beginning to look at me with very tired eyes and an air of dislike when I pull up in my minivan. I don't know why. I'm sure someone will be thrilled beyond belief to purchase my junk. There are some lovely size 4 jeans that mysteriously shrunk in my closet over the summer that some skinny girl will be glad to find, along with some tops that I can only assume react with the wood of my armoire resulting in a strange and unexplainable shrinking reaction.
The second generation of homeschooling is really going well. There are two stories to support my claim:
The first: while watching the film, Bolt, Anna asked if the scene in the humane society with the woman and her pepper spray was "practiced and rehearsed with just water, or was it really pepper spray that they used?"
Umm, Anna, darling, love of my life, my little punkin, it's an animated cartoon.
The second: while unloading groceries, yours truly, homeschool graduate, had bought a new canister of oatmeal. It was a smaller one that the last one purchased. The older one, the bigger one, still had a cup or so left in the bottom. I try to shake it down and consolidate so as to save me some precious pantry space, but rats, it won't quite fit. "Hey, brainless," says homeschool graduate's public schooled husband, "Try putting it all in the bigger canister."
I'm pretty sure we will be getting the cover of Homeschooling Digest soon.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Revenge of the Mommies

I've been thinking. When my kids are grown and move out I'm going to visit them. A lot. Probably for 2-3 weeks at a time. You know, so they have time to miss me. Here are my plans for when I come a'callin':

1. I will demand a certain spread for dinner, practically faint from the hunger I feel when they take too long to prepare it, and then refuse to partake when it is on the table.

2. I will promise to be good when they need to run errands. But I will lie.

3. I will want to eat lots of bananas, but when my kids peel it wrong or it breaks in half, I will cry and flop onto the kitchen floor in despair. Same goes for tacos.

4. I will eat so much yogurt at their friend's house that they will rush out and buy a case of the same brand and flavor of yogurt for me at home. But I won't eat it.

5. I will never, never, ever flush the toilet.

6. I will use each and every public restroom in town, even if I went right before leaving the house. And when they wait outside the door, I will fling it open and shout victoriously, "I pooped!" to everyone within a square mile.

7. I will take all the pieces out of their board games and playing cards and spread them all over the house. Oh, they'll find them eventually and sort them out. But they will never find one piece from each game.

8. In my efforts to hang up my coat I will knock down every other one in the closet.

9. I will keep them up at night and then cheerfully enjoy my nap that afternoon while they wash my laundry.

10. I will eat a lot of graham crackers and then hug and kiss them. They'll be wearing a white cashmere sweater at the time.

11. I will use up every drop of their salon conditioner in one bath time.

12. I will crush up a bag of cheerios and distribute evenly in the couch cushions.

13. I will ride my bike in their house. Preferably right after they mop.

14. I will climb a tree and get stuck. I will wail and scream for help until they climb up and carry me down.

15. I will say embarrassing and questionable things when they invite the family minister over for tea.

16. I will forget everything they say so that they have to repeat it over and over again.

17. I will shout for them from across the house all day. Even if they're right beside me, I will go downstairs or upstairs purposefully so that I can shout something.

18. Every time they need to talk on the phone I will suddenly need something RIGHT NOW, even if I have completely ignored them prior to the phone call.

19. I will hide their jewelry and their car keys often.

20. I will dress myself in orange stripes and purple paisley and moon boots and I will cut my own bangs without a mirror right before we go for family pictures.

21. When they take me grocery shopping I will want to ride in the car shaped cart. But whenever they are in a tight squeeze in an aisle or trying to pay and can't get to the front of the car to get me out, I will suddenly sustain an earsplitting and horrible injury.

22. When they are loading up their groceries, I will always disappear around the wrong side of the car.

23. I will wake them up extra early on weekends.

24. I will be on my worst behavior on the Lord's Day so that they feel the need to curse all the way to church and then pretend to be super happy and holy when they get there.

25. I will eat their deodorant.

26. They will be so proud of my accomplishments for my age that they will want to show me off to their friends whose parents aren't as smart as me. But I will just pick my nose.

27. I will scribble in their books. Probably just the library books though.

28. When they try to take a picture of me I will screw up my face and stick out my tongue and put bunny ears on the person next to me. Every. Single. Time.

29. I will eat lots of pickles and ranch dressing and fish sticks and garlic sauce, and then want to cuddle.

30. It will be sweet.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This is my fifth child: Milo. He's a cocker spaniel mix. Or a crocker spaniel mixed-up, as Anna would say. He's a good doggy. He keeps my feet warm at all times, eats all the toddler messes off the floor, cleans out my car better than a shop vac, allows Gianni to torment him, never lets a ball go unplayed with, and looks at you with those yummy puppy eyes. He also has the worst gas EVER but that's another story for another time.

The crash after the Halloween sugar high. See the six inches of bed space there? That's where I sleep when Mike's on the road. Less like sleeping and more like fighting for my life. Remember the scene in Mission: Impossible 2 where Tom Cruise is hanging off the cliff by his fingernails? Like that. Bonding is precarious work, but on the plus side, they protect me from the bogey man.

Trick or treating with the Pops. One cherry sucker was all this dude needed. The small dude. The larger dude needed a beer.

Want a piece of candy, little kid?

Typical of my children: a masquerade ball princess and a zombie. Just call em Night and Day. They got enough candy to last until Easter, which is of course, the goal of any self-respecting ghoul. Ghouls have goals, don't they? They even got uber cool stuff like microwave popcorn and glow necklaces and organic juice boxes. Me, I don't give out the good stuff. In fact, I forgot to buy candy and ended up sneaking it out of what the girls collected to give to the door knockers. Shhhh! Sort of like taking money out of their allowances in order to be the Tooth Fairy. Not that I would ever do that. Right.

Birthday candles....mmmmm, a pyromaniac's dream! And the dairy free, egg free cupcakes weren't half bad. I'd include the recipe, but something tells me no one wants it...

How'd y'all survive the piggy flu epidemic? We had mild-ish cases ourselves, but it's nice to feel oh so healthy again. Gianni and I were sick on both his birthday and Mike's birthday, Mike had it for several days and the girls got fevers and one night of tossing their cookies. Hopefully, our immune systems will be so strong now that if it comes back, wham bam, thank you ma'am, we'll not even feel it. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. I try to throw up no more than once a decade, so I'm good till 2019 now.

Other than that, life goes on as normal. I'm starting to get just a tad, just a smidge, just a hair, stressed out about our living/working/surviving situation. In lieu of flowers, please send gifts. Or a large farmhouse with a porch and a happy little tire swing and a nicely paying job for Mr Williams.

In other news, the evil and short one put my cell phone in a glass of ice water for approximately .03 seconds and that was long enough to turn it into toast. Yup. Stick a fork in it. In lieu of phone calls, please send letters.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My fourth child

This is Kevin James. Not Mike. But when Kevin James is on tv, Gianni shouts, "daddy!" and points at the screen. And this is Kevin James' wife, I think her name is Stephania. Also not me. But I can pretend.

Even with squinty eyes, we're pretty cute. Dontcha see the resemblance? Well, dontcha? From now on I will only answer to Stephania.

Getting a christmas tree last year. Well, of course it was last year, even I won't get one as early as the end of October! Only because it's illegal though.

This is the consequence, oh manly men, of having daughters.

This was Daddy with Cora. Obviously several years ago. Sniff. Snort. Uncontrollable weeping.

Reading to his girls. Blubber. Sob. Bawl.

Easter with Anna like, a million years ago.

Home improving: Up next - how to hold open windows with everyday household objects!

To be fair now, he was the one who suggested I name this post what I did.
Mike came galloping in on his white steed close to a dozen years ago now. Yikes, how did so much time go by?! Most of you know this story, but humor me while I tell it anyway. The first time he asked me out was kind of an accident. I was 19. He was...ahem, older than 19. I was standing talking to a friend and he came sauntering up, all casual like, and asked HER to go out with him that Saturday. She said no. She walked away. We were left standing there in awkward silence. A tumble weed tumbled by. Crickets chirped. He cleared his throat and proceeded to confirm my paranoid suspicions that I am every one's second choice in life (a disease that happens when you are Laryssa's Sister) by asking me if I was busy on Saturday night. Now I remembered him from a barbq we both went to earlier that year and I thought he was nice and good to his niece who he had brought (good with children is always sexy), but I also was of the opinion that he was a bit loud and ornery for my tastes. But what do we know about me, readers? I am incapable of the word no. Besides, who wants to see a grown man get shot down twice in two minutes? So I said yes. And we went out.
The First Date: homemade pizza, Easter basket assemblies for church kids, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It was fun. Monty is always fun. But no love at first date for either of us.
The Second Date: tennis and a picnic. Also fun. More fun than The First Date. I am athletically challenged and playing any form of a sport in front of any form of a human is very stressful for me. I would rather chew off my own eyebrows. Luckily for me, my date was also disastrous at tennis and we spent the whole time dodging each other's tennis balls (and fly away rackets) and laughing and generally annoying the other couple we were playing with, who actually were interested in the game. I remember thinking when he was untangling the racket from my hair, "This guy is kind."
The Third Date: was actually a phone call. See, he worked with The Boy Scouts of America (let's hear it for culottes!!) and had taken a bunch of miniature men up to the mountains for several weeks to do whatever it is miniature men do in the mountains for several weeks. And he called me to ask if he could take me to the upcoming fair. We talked for two hours. I think 1 and 3/4 hours was flirting.
The Fourth Date: the fair. He says he held my hand but I don't remember this. Isn't he sweet and old fashioned? I do remember going out for frozen yogurt afterwards and he sang something in German while we were ordering. I was thinking it was a bit embarrassing until the waitress winked at me and said, "You better keep him." Little did I know how much public singing that man would put me through.
I don't remember all the dates after that, just know that we were joined at the hip. He used to leave me notes at the coffee shop where I worked and do all sorts of mooshy romantic things, which are mostly wasted on me. I either don't notice (unless it's public singing) or I confess to rather having something more practical than roses and a handwritten poem, like a blender. So a perfectly romantic chivalrous man is wasted on me, I know.
Since then, he has given me three curtain climbers, two doggies, several homes, lotsa memories. We've been through less hard times than most, and more than some. He is always and forever there for me, faithful and funny and dorky and romantic. He stills sings publicly and he still enjoys embarrassing me. I wish I could remove his love for football and replace it with a love for home improvement, mad scientist style. He lets me hog the bed. He watches dancing programs with me. He has musicals on his Ipod. Whoops, how did that get in there? He is currently looking for a job. I'm considering pasting this blog post into his resume... would that be a little too like the Doris Roberts character from Everybody Loves Raymond? I think employers would understand and be grateful. He could do Kevin James impressions at the water cooler - very important for moral. He lets me drag him on idealistic family outings where it's all fun and games until someone gets an eye poked out. He thinks I'm Super Woman. This is great until I get really tired and have to smack him and say, "I am not Super Woman!" and then he babies me until I get over it.
Love you, my jungle stud!
Kisses, Stephania.