Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Every year I stress out so much about Halloween.  It happens right at month end, it takes some massive coordination to get to both kids parades, I have to take time off work and attempt to make that up, not to mention I normally procrastinate way too long and end up scrambling to get the kids costumes and don't plan enough time to get them ready in the morning.  This year seemed to go a little bit smoother, but it was still a little crazy.  I also  decided to challenge myself a bit, and actually carved some pumpkins.  I ended up loving it, and Lexie loved helping, and I think it may become a Halloween tradition. 

To begin the week, Cory's nephew Mat has been in town for training for his job, and this time he was able to bring his wife Kaitlyn with him.  They got in to town on Sunday, and since Kaitlyn had never been here before they spent some time downtown getting her familiar with the area so she could explore while Mat was in his all day trainings.  Kaitlyn loves Halloween, so we invited her to come out and go to the kids parades with us.  That brought up the issue of how to get her out here though.  We decided the best way was for Cory to go pick her up and bring her back out here, and then he would take her back to the hotel in his car while I headed straight to work after the parades.

The timing thing worked out pretty well.  Luckily Lexie's costume this year didn't require a bunch of makeup, so it was pretty easy to throw together.  She was supposed to be a dead bride, but her and her dad had tried to turn it in to a devil (kind of..  apparently if you add a pitchfork it becomes a devil).  At the last minute, she decided that there was a good chance a pitchfork could be considered a weapon, so she didn't take it to school, and decided she would just be a dead bride instead.  The makeup didn't really work with that, but she looked pretty dang cute anyway. 

Phillip's costume was a bit more challenging.  He is picky about what he will wear, so we normally end up just going with an outfit of some sort, not really getting in to the costume thing.  This year the only difference was he was given a theme by his teachers.  They were assigned a country (Australia) and were trying to do a theme around that, so all the teachers were crocodile hunters, and the kids were supposed to either be crocodile hunters, or crocodiles.  I had no idea how to pull off either of those in something he would wear.  He doesn't do hats, or anything on his head, and everything I found was kind of centered around the head gear.  Finally, Mae Mae found him a stuffed crocodile that went around his waist, and he just wore that.  He kept it on long enough for the parade, and then it pretty much went straight back in his backpack. 

After the parades we headed back to work, and I ended up working almost a full day after the parade before picking Mat and Kaitlyn up at the hotel to bring them back out for dinner and trick or treating.  Lexie had decided beforehand that she would not be trick or treating Halloween night, but would stay home and hand out the glow sticks we had gotten instead.  We have a deal that dates clear back to when her dad was a kid that if the kid doesn't go trick or treating, the great pumpkin brings them presents instead.  In her whole little life, I think she has only gone trick or treating once.  She put a lot of thought in to it, and even though she had the offer to go trick or treating with her dad, she opted to stay home and get presents instead.

Well, while I was working, Lexie worked really hard and got all her homework done, plus helped Cory clean up around the house, so he decided to reward her by taking her trick or treating to a few houses so she could see her friends and get out a bit.  He took them out and around, and they were already back home by the time I got home.  This caused massive issues with Delinquent Ex, however, because in his mind I was purposefully denying him time with his daughter when he had requested it so that she could go trick or treating here.  He told me that we had to share our time with her equally and it "wasn't fair for me to hog her all the time."  I had to very rudely remind him that if he would like to attempt to share the time with her equally, I would be more then happy to do that, but that means that we also have to share the cost, the discipline, and the responsibility of raising her also.  He apologized pretty quickly after that, but it was still unpleasant.  Lexie heard us fighting and was crying in bed when I went in to sing to her.  I try really hard to protect her, but not sugar coat things, so we had to have a very frank discussion about what I meant and that I wasn't being hurtful, just honest.  Frank discussions don't go well when it is over an hour past her bedtime. 

The night finally ended when we ran out of glow sticks and had to resort to handing out the candy Lexie had gotten trick or treating.  We turned out the lights, got both kids to bed, and sat around talking, laughing, and trying on Halloween costumes.  It was fun to have some time to just relax after the craziness of the day.  I think both kids had a good day for the majority of the day, and hopefully by next year I'll be able to get it down smoothly. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Time Out!

This last weekend was a MAJOR weekend for us.  It seems like Cory and I had almost literally every second of it planned.  It all started with Time Out For Women, which has become kind of a tradition with my sisters.  This is the second year that we've gone, and I have loved it both times.  It is CRAZY busy, they say that their weekend in Salt Lake is always their biggest one, and it shows.  There were tons of people everywhere you looked.  The speakers and musical guests were phenomenal, and it was nice to have some time away to just refocus and enjoy.  Anyway, I've been planning on going to that for a few months now. 

Of course, as luck would have it, this weekend just happened to be the first game of Cory's nephew Anthony's high school football championship that Cory really wanted to go see.  I really wanted to go with him, but I figured it just wasn't going to work.  I had made a commitment to my sisters, and I was going to stick with it.  For a little bit, it looked like Cory wasn't even going to be able to go because he needed to watch the kids, but at the last minute Mae Mae stepped in and said that she would watch them so Cory was able to go.  He sent me texts all throughout the game to let me know how they were doing. 

Then, Friday at work, Cory's coworker told him that he had two extra tickets to the Utah football game Saturday night and asked if we wanted to go.  We talked about it and decided that if Cory left Pocatello as soon as Anthony's football game was over and I met him downtown we would make it to the game just barely in time.  It was amazing the way it worked out.  He made it on to the trax station to meet me just before the Trax pulled in.  We had been apart all day, and I was amazed at how much I missed him. 

We rode Trax from the last park and ride station downtown up to the stadium, and it was PACKED.  I really don't think they could have fit one more person on that train.  We made it to the stadium, got inside, found our seats.. or so we thought.  We ended up in the wrong section and had to move about ten minutes in to the game.  We decided we didn't want to have to climb over everyone to get to our seats we were supposed to be in, so we waited up at the top in the standing room section until the first quarter was over, where we enjoyed some fairly expensive marginally acceptable stadium food.  But, since I had stupidly skipped dinner, it tasted pretty dang amazing to me.

We made it down to our seats at the end of the first quarter, and really enjoyed the rest of the game.  It was pretty much a blowout, with the Utes winning, and it was a completely different experience actually being there.  I love football, and being there with the crowd was amazing.  You really get in to the games, and you can shout and yell and cheer, and your husband doesn't look at you like you're crazy (at least not as much as he does when you are home in bed).

We caught the train down to our car as soon as the game was over, and got off at the station where Cory had parked.  I had left my car at the station by our house and ridden the train out to meet him, so he was going to drive me back to where I had left my car and then I would follow him home.  By now, it was about one in the morning.  And his car wouldn't start.  We've had issues with it in the past, but not in quite a while.  Apparently, driving it up to Pocatello and back in one day was too much for it, and it decided it'd had too much.  But, Cory knows how to work his car, and with a little manipulation and creative banging he got the car started. 

By the time we made it home, I was EXHAUSTED.  I think between last weekend and this weekend, I am realizing more and more that I am NOT young anymore.  I think I need to schedule some down time to recouperate.  I'm not sure I can handle another weekend like this. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jazz Game and Unexpected Sleepover

Cory and I got invited to go to a Jazz game by one of his friends from back home.  She was in town with her husband, and her husband's work had given them four tickets to the Jazz game for while they were down here.  She invited us to go, which involved some last minute scrambling to get a babysitter for Phillip, but Mae Mae said she could do it, and our quiet weekend at home with nothing to do turned in to quite the wild weekend. 

We had been out running errands when we got the message from Amber saying they had extra tickets, and had dinner reservations for P.F. Chang's downtown that they could turn in to a reservation for four.  We hadn't showered or anything, so we ran home and got ready quickly, then drove the car to the Trax station so we didn't have to deal with parking down at the game.  Cory had only ever ridden Trax before when he and Lovely Ex were married and they used to take Michael downtown to ride around the free zone.  It's a little different experience when you're riding with a purpose.  We caught the Trax, made it downtown, and walked the few blocks to the restaurant where Amber and her husband Will were waiting for us.  We made introductions, sat down to order, and many many minutes later we finally got around to ordering.  We did a lot more talking then actually looking at the menus.  We joked around, talked, and got to know each other during dinner, and in the process learned that Amber and Will were here to celebrate their anniversary, and it was their first night out since their little boy was born back in August.  We felt a little dumb crashing their anniversary celebration, but Amber swore it wasn't an inconvenience.  I think if you asked her now, she might change her mind about that statement.

After dinner, we walked to the Jazz game, and realized that there was security and metal detectors in all the doors.  That wasn't going to work for any of us, so we made a little detour back to the hotel to drop off our various weaponry we were carrying that evening, and then went back to the game.  We got inside, found our seats, and watched an awesome game.  It was close the whole time, everyone played great, and the Jazz ended up winning.  When the game was over, we decided we wanted ice cream, so we googled where the closest ice cream place was, and set off walking to get there.  We walked through some pretty questionable neighborhoods (sans weaponry since we had dropped it off) and finally made it to the ice cream shop where we sat around talking some more, and enjoying ice cream and french fries.

When we were done there we headed back to the hotel, talking and laughing the whole time.  It was late at night, and we were all parents up way past our bedtime.  It was fun to be out with adults, and know that there was nothing we had to hurry home for.  Oh, but wait.. there was something.  Remember how we had taken Trax down to the game so we didn't have to deal with parking?  Well, Trax doesn't run all night.  The last train from downtown that went to our stop left at 10:52.  Cory and I both realized this at.. 11:15.  We were stuck. 

Will offered to drive us back to our car and then come back downtown, but we figured we'd already imposed on their anniversary weekend enough.  We weren't quite sure what to do, but after some talking and figuring things, we decided why not just stay downtown and get a hotel room?  And what better place to stay then in the same hotel where Amber and Will were staying?  We walked in to the hotel to see how much a room was, and discovered that we could get a lower price online.  We went over by the fire and I brought it up on my phone and booked the room.  Somehow, that didn't work so well.  The hotel didn't get our reservation and we had to sit down there and wait for almost an hour and a half while they tried to straighten things out with the site I had booked on.  Apparently not too many customer service people work at 11:30 on a Saturday night. 

Amber sat downstairs with us for quite a while until finally Cory told her to go to bed.  I felt horrible.  Not only had we turned their anniversary weekend in to an event for four, but now we were interrupting their last night that they could sleep without having to get up with their baby.  She didn't need to be asked twice.  Cory promised he'd text her as soon as we got a room, and she headed upstairs.  We got some complimentary toiletries from the hotel, and that was all we had.  Nothing to sleep in, nothing to take my makeup off with, that was it.  We went upstairs and Cory and I both laughed when we walked in our room and saw this picture on our headboard behind our bed.  How ironic...  We texted Amber to let her know where we were, and we made plans to meet for breakfast later that morning, in about six hours..  So we got a little sleep, got up and attempted to pull ourselves back together again, and went and met them for breakfast in the hotel's cafe. 

After all that was done, Will and Amber did end up giving us a ride back to our car while they were on their way to a store before heading out.  I think they were both pretty done with us by that time.  We'll see if they ever invite us out with them again.  Apparently, my knack for ruining special occasions has expanded from just Cory to everyone.  Look out people, you never know where I'm going to strike next. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Romantic Getaway (Involving a Gun)

Cory and I got the chance to go away for a weekend without the kids, something that doesn't happen a whole heck of a lot lately.  Cory's nephew Mat and his cute wife Kaitlyn were coming down from Washington to spend some time with the family, and we decided we wanted to try to get up there and see them while they were so close.  Normally it's quite a few hours (like 13 maybe?) for us to get to go see them, and we knew there was not a good chance we were ever going to make it there. 

We were able to take Friday off work, and arranged for Mae Mae to pick up the kids from my parents' house after school, so as soon as we got the kids off to school we headed up.  It was nice to just get to relax on the drive up there.  Normally we are leaving after work so we have to hurry and drive before it gets too late, or we have the kids with us and there is that internal clock that says we have to hurry and get there before Phillip completely loses it.  We definitely took our time getting up there.  We did all the things we think about doing, or say someday we should do, because this time we had time.  We stopped and got snacks for the trip up there, stopped at Reed's Dairy in Idaho Falls for some awesome ice cream, stopped at the falls, and stopped at a few lookout points just to see the pretty view. 

By the time we got up there, the boys and Kaitlyn were all out shooting guns.  Cory immediately set out to find them, and I (being the chicken that I am) stayed in the house.  They came back about fifteen minutes later because it had started to rain, and we all sat around the living room comparing guns.  I grew up being scared of guns.  We didn't have them around growing up, and all I knew about them was they were dangerous and they could kill people.  Cory has been working very hard on me to get me more comfortable with them, and learning how to safely handle them, and a couple weeks ago he actually got me to touch ours.  Just touch it.  And then I promptly cried.  It's such a fear of mine. 

I was very uncomfortable with all the guns being out and around, and I think it was kind of obvious to the boys.  Mat took apart his gun so I could see there was no way that it could shoot, and handed the remaining skeleton of the gun to me.  It took a lot to get me to hold it, but I did, and I think Cory was proud.  Mat and Cory showed me how everything inside the gun worked, and all the different safetys that are on it to keep it from being fired when you aren't ready, and then he put it back together and had me hold the complete gun.  I held it for a few minutes, it was a lot heavier than I imagined, and then said "I'm done" and gave it to Cory.  We went outside and had dinner around the fire, went inside and watched Jon Reep (hilarious!) and then came home and went to bed.  I knew the plan for the next day was to go shooting.

I woke up with the intention of not going shooting.  I didn't want to be a chicken and stay home by myself, but I really wasn't comfortable going with everyone and all the guns.  Cory's sister Jana came to play with us (the awesome badass that she is, she's seriously my idol) and something inside me clicked.  I wanted to maybe try to shoot our gun.  I talked to Cory about it, talked privately to Jana about it, and talked to Cory's brother Troy a little about it.  We decided for everyone's safety to go over all the rules before we set out.  Then we all got in the van and headed out.  The first few places we tried were all too busy for us to shoot, and for a second I got hopeful that I wouldn't have to actually do it.  Then we found a place.  I got nervous, and almost knocked myself out getting out of the car. 

We got everything set up, and Jana pulled me aside with our gun to do a little play shooting, no bullets, just getting used to the process and how to hold the gun.  She had me do a few air shots, and then Troy took me over to show me how to load the gun.  We got it all loaded up, and just knowing the time was now made me start to get nervous.  Troy took me up to the shooting line, and everything crashed down on me.  He was standing there giving me instructions, and my head went all cloudy.  I took a step back and immediately started to cry.  I felt like such a wimp.  Not only is Cory's family all gun enthusiasts and grew up around guns, but Kaitlyn (the little thing that she is) was handling the guns like a pro.

They got me all calmed down, told me I didn't have to do it if I didn't want to, and Cory told me he was proud of me for how far I had already come this weekend, and I didn't have to shoot it if I didn't want to.  I told them I was so close, I wanted to just shoot it once.  I took the gun, came up to the line, went through all my pre-shot stuff, and slowly squeezed the trigger.  It surprised the heck out of me when I saw the smoke come out of the back and felt it jump in my hand.  Honestly, I don't remember the few seconds after that.  Looking back, I remember Cory taking the gun away from me, and I'm so glad he did because I was not even aware of it at that point I was shaking so bad.  I got hugs from everyone and was so proud of myself, and then realized, not one single person had gotten a picture of it.   So of course I had to do it again.

I decided I wanted to try Troy's little .22 that he has, so he took me back to the truck and watched me load it up, took me up to the line, and I fired off all six shots.  I anticipate way bad, and I'm a horrible shot, but I did it.  Getting over that fear was one of the greatest feelings in the world.  Cory is already talking about taking me shooting again, and I definitely do need to get more comfortable with our gun.  If I'm going to be capable of using it to defend myself and my family, I need to know what I'm doing and be able to do it under pressure.  I definitely feel safer now, and it just goes to prove it's never too late to conquer your fears.