Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thanks Jim!

Last night we were out on our deck, coloring with sidewalk chalk. Tralee picked up a piece and acted like she wanted to color on herself. I've been trying really hard to teach Tralee that we only color on certain things (paper, sidewalk, her cardboard box, etc) NOT on ourselves! Just as I was about to remind Tralee, "We don't color on ourselves!" Jim picked up a piece of chalk and made a mark on Tralee's arm. Tralee followed suite and colored on her arm as well. Then Jim held out his arm and said, "color on me!"

"JIM! Don't teach Tralee it's okay to color on herself!" I begged. Jim just laughed and reminded me that it was "only chalk!" and that it "cleans off easily." I reminded Jim that, yes, it was only chalk, however now he set a precedent that it's okay to color on our bodies. He argued it didn't, and so I gave up and let Jim and Tralee draw on themselves with chalk. I hoped that everything I taught Tralee about NOT coloring on ourselves stuck in her head. It didn't.

This morning I found Tralee under our computer table with a marker we got from some bank scribbling all over her body. She's been so good about not coloring on herself up to this point!
All I can say is, Jim, you're in TROUBLE!!! I'm going to go give Tralee a bath now.


Hooray for Little Miss Smartypants!

Some of you may know, I've been just a little concerned with Tralee's lack of speech. She just isn't really talking yet. Well, she talks ALL THE TIME, I just don't understand any of it. However, this morning she came up to me, put a ball in my lap and said, "ball." Actually is sounded more like, "baa." Usually when she does this I try to get her to repeat the word or sound, because I'm not sure if she really said it, or if it was just my imagination. Most of the time I can't EVER get her to repeat herself. So I said, "Yes Tralee, good girl, this is a ball! Can you say ball?" Then she said it again!! I was so excited I clapped my hands, jumped for joy, and screamed, "YAY! Yes, ball!!!" Then I gave Tralee lots of kisses and asked her to say ball again. She did. This erupted another round of applause from me, more kisses, more delight from both of us, and more of Tralee saying, "baa, baa" while pointing to the ball. I then asked her to find another ball, and she's been bringing me different balls all morning, each time she hands one over she says, "ball!" HOORAY!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Another Kitchen Jim Completed Recently

If you know anyone who needs cabinets, I just so happen to know a guy!! :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tralee's Idea of Fun

I went visiting teaching this morning and came home to find Corky in a tie. The night before Jim went to mutual and taught the young men how to tie ties. So, we still had ten or so ties downstairs. While I was gone, Tralee became obsessed with trying to dress Corky in Daddy's ties. Jim stepped in and helped Tralee dress her dog. Doesn't Corky look nice?

Tralee sure loved it. She loved it so much, when I got back she was still placing ties all over her doggy. Corky is so good, she just sat there patiently while Tralee draped ties all over her. What a sweet little dog! She's so patient with Tralee, and we sure appreciate that since Tralee absolutely ADORES Corky. Tralee's face lights up whenever doggy walks into the room. We joke that Tralee's priorities go like this:

Corky WAAAAAYYYY on top

Mommy somewhere a little below Corky
Daddy a tiny bit below Mommy

Everyone else down here.

We're hoping Daddy and Mommy are tied pretty soon, or that we're higher on the pedestal than our dog. Either way, Tralee loves us and we love her. She's the light of our lives. So, life is pretty great!

I know somebody who LOVES corn on the cob

Actually, doesn't everybody love corn on the cob?

I think you officially can't be considered normal if you don't like it. That's just my ever-so-humble opinion.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Are ya kidding me?

What's with dogs in this neck-of-the-woods? Seriously! Tonight we had another dog incident while on a walk.

Our first dog incident happened when Tralee was three months old and three pit bulls surrounded us while on a walk.

The next one happened a few months ago when a black dog attacked Corky. It was a territorial thing. We walked by its house.

A few weeks later this same dog ran up to us (we were nowhere near its house) and attacked Corky again. I could hear its owners yelling, "here puppy!" Puppy? Are ya kidding me? It might have been a bit of an over reaction but I yelled at the owners, "Keep your dog away from my dog! Your dog attacks mine!" No more incidents happened since then . . . .until tonight.

I was on our usual walking route when I passed a property that has been vacant all summer. A family just moved in, and with them came a large brown dog. As we walked by their dog ran right up to their fence and started barking. "Well, at least there's a fence" I thought. On our way back the dog ran up to the fence again, only this time it managed to squeeze its way between the fence's door. Then it barred its teeth while growling menacingly, and went in to bite Corky. My instincts took over, and I yelled at the dog. "HEY!! GO HOME!!" I made myself as big as possible, and the dog retreated -- tail between legs. I can be tough when it comes to my family -- dog included!

Anyways, back to my question: What's with the dogs around here? I never came across menacing dogs where I grew up. Maybe that's because I grew up with a German Shepard, and no other dogs wanted to take their chance attacking her. But Shasta NEVER attacked anyone or their dogs -- she was VERY well trained! Corky, our pug, probably looks like a yummy meal to all these big dogs around here. But still, shouldn't dog owners take a little more time teaching their dogs manners i.e. don't attack other dogs. Shouldn't owners take pride in their additional family member and get them tagged, trained, vaccinated, and spayed and neutered? It seems like a lot of people around here don't care about these things. Maybe I'm weird, but I just believe when you take on the responsibly of a family pet you should do just that: Be Responsible.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Some Recent Events

For those of you missing pictures of Tralee (Mom and Grandma) here are a few taken recently. I have a budding artist on my hands, Tralee's really been into coloring. I have a little craft table set up in her room, and whenever she wants to color, she climbs up into the chair, grabs the box of crayons, and waits patiently for me to set up some paper for her to color on. She usually colors so vigorously that if I don't tape the paper down she scribbles it right off the table. We also have a huge cardboard box that we bring out for Tralee to climb around in and color on. She loves it when I bring it out, and can color on it for quite some time. We dealt with coloring on walls and the carpet for a while, but I think she finally understands that she's only allowed to color on paper or in her coloring books, or serious consequences will follow.

Tralee has also discovered the letter "A." Whenever she sees an A she'll point it out and say, "A! A! A!" When we go for car rides she looks out the window at all the letters around her and all I hear coming from the backseat is, "A! A! A!" She also knows that T makes a "Tuh tuh" sound and every once in a while she'll point out a T and make the sound. It's the same for S, if she see's an S she'll say "Sssss." Usually Jim and I have to start her off on T's and S's, but she does A's all by herself! Tralee also "reads" to herself from her books. She points to all the words on the page and babbles the story to herself. Jim and I watch her do this in amazement. We sure don't understand what she's saying, but Tralee sure does.

Jim said that when I left to get something out of the car yesterday Tralee waved at the door I went out of and said, "Bye. Mom. Bye." He's sure of it, but we haven't been able to get her to repeat this. I think I've walked out the door a hundred times waving like a crazy person saying "Bye Tralee. Bye Bye!" Nothing. Oh well, hopefully she'll say it again.

Tralee has been going to bed so good! Usually Jim will put her down, because she sometimes fusses with me. We get Tralee ready for bed, say a family prayer (Tralee's been doing so much better folding her arms and being reverent for most of the prayer), then Jim will take her up to bed, read her a story, sing her a song, say a personal prayer for Tralee, lay her down, give her kisses, give her a stuffy to snuggle, say "Night night," turn out the light, and she's down for the count!! I sneaked into her room the other night and took this picture of her. What a gorgeous little angel! Tralee has a cold right now, so Jim thought he should make her sleep a little upright. He put one of her baby quilts in her crib before he put her down for the night. What a smart daddy!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Suggestions Anyone?

I finished reading Breaking Dawn (for those of you who didn't like it, you're CRAZY, I LOVED it!! Sure there were a few typos and contradictions, but the overall story was GREAT!) for the second time now, and I'm currently looking for something else to read. A woman I visit teach made some suggestions to me, but I forgot what they were already. I'll have to ask her again, but until I do what have you read lately that's been good? I'm looking for something I can get lost in, and something I don't have to think too terribly hard about while I'm reading it. I would appreciate some help here. I guess I should get on Goodreads and see what my friends on there have been reading.


**Okay, so I just went on Goodreads and I meant to invite one of my friends to become my friend on Goodreads, and I accidentally sent an invite to everyone in my mailbox on Gmail. I HATE it when I do stupid things like that. There are some people in my Gmail mailbox that I've only e-mailed once or twice through Craigslist. Now they're thinking, "Who's this Leslie chick?" I'll get over it.**

Thursday, August 21, 2008


When we woke up this morning Jim turned to me and said, "Thank you for being so sweet last night."

"What are you talking about?" I inquired.

"Last night, at like 3:00 in the morning you started giving me sweet little kisses on my face and you said in a sweet little voice, 'I haven't kissed you enough lately.'"

I have absolutely no recollection of this. At first I thought it must have been a dream Jim had, but he insists that he was wide awake. Then I thought he was just making it up, but he still insists that this kissing event was a complete reality. Isn't that weird?

Some people are sleep walkers, and I'm a sleep kisser! You better not try to sleep next to me, or I might get you too!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rock Climbing -- Kind Of.

The YMCA Jim and I go to has a pretty decent rock climbing wall. Jim and I have never used it until recently because Tralee didn't do well at the kid watch. Now Tralee is doing so much better that Jim and I have been dropping her off and taking advantage of the rock climbing wall. I love it! I've never really climbed anything before (except for trees when I was little), and I was really nervous at first. However, I'm getting a little better every time we go. There's about ten different climbing ropes, each one in front of a different level of difficulty on the wall. I've climbed to the top of most of the easier ones, but there's quite a few I've only gotten 1/2 way up.

I was also scarred to belay Jim. I had never done it before and I didn't want to mess up and accidentally kill him. Turns out, belaying isn't that complicated as long as you're paying attention. I can't imagine what REAL rock climbing is like. Probably a bit more of a rush than climbing a rock wall, but I'm pretty satisfied with the experience we're having at the Y. It's a blast. I'm glad Jim and I found something we both love to do together.

On our way home from the Y tonight we noticed a Greek restaurant opened up near our house, so we stopped for dinner and ate some Gyros. Tralee even had a few bites of mine. They were good! It was a great night!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Picture Search Tag

Here's how it works:

For each question, look up the answer in a Google Image search. Then choose your favorite image from the first page of results only and post them on your blog. You get some fun and often CRYPTIC answers. If you need clarification on any of them leave a comment.

Here's mine:

What is your first name?

What's your middle name?
Last Name?

Nick Name?
What is your current age?

What's your favorite color?

Favorite Animal?

Favorite Food?
Favorite Object?
What was/is your college degree?

What are you doing right now?

What's your grandmother's name?
What was your first real job?

Name a bad habit you have.

What was your first pet's name?

What city were you born in?
(I wish this were really the place I was born!)

Where do you live now?

Where's your favorite place to be?

Name a place you'd like to visit someday.

I tag whoever wants to do this.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Opposites Attract

I often find myself wondering how Jim and I ended up together. Most everyone who reads my blog knows our story, but besides the actual physicality of meeting and falling in love, I wonder why we decided we should end up together forever. Of course there's the whole fact that back in the day we found each other -- to quote Zoolander -- ridiculously good-looking. So there was that. We were drawn to each other. But past the looks we really don't have much in common!!! Let me elaborate.

Well to start, Jim's Canadian and I'm American. To most people that's not much of a difference since America and Canada make up most of North America. These people must not be from Canada. To a Canadian, Canada is VERY different from the US. Very different indeed!

Jim's a country boy, I'm a city girl. I'm talking blink-and-you-miss-the-town country. His closest neighbors were cows. Jim spent his childhood outside, playing in the woods, playing in the river, shooting things with his BB gun, and helping nearby farmers brand their cattle.

I grew up in the suburbs right outside a large city. I spent my childhood shopping at the mall, swimming at the public pool, biking to my friend's houses a few block aways, going to movies, and taking an occasional weekend trip to my grandparent's cabin in the woods. The country was a novelty.

Jim's the middle child, I'm the youngest. Jim grew up in a family of six kids. He was the third -- smack dab in the middle. He was your typical middle child. All the connotations that go along with being in the middle apply to Jim. I was the youngest of three and only girl. I was spoiled. I usually got whatever my heart desired. Jim's go-with-the-flow-I'll-take-whatever-I can-get attitude often clashes with my I-have-to-have-that-right-now-because-I-want-it outlook. I've actually learned quite a bit from Jim in this aspect. I've learned that I don't have to have the best of everything. I've learned that quality items purchased second hand can work just as well as buying items brand new, and If they don't, I've learned that I have a capable husband that can fix it. I've learned humility and gratitude. So, in this aspect I'm glad Jim and I are different.

Jim's athletic and my athletic ability leaves something to be desired. Jim LOVES sports. ANY sport. He loves playing sports, watching sports, reading about sports. He gets a thrill out of competition, and there's a drive in him where he must be the best, and usually he is. I on the other hand, hate the pressure of competition. I shy away from playing group sports because I don't want to let down my teammates with my awkwardness. I'm just not good at group sports and don't enjoy the pressure. Sometimes I'll play something if it's "just for fun" but to Jim it's not fun unless someone is winning.

Jim is adventurous and I'm wary. I mean jumping from cliff to cliff adventurous. I tend to not do things unless I feel absolutely certain that it's safe. My wariness grew a hundred fold after we had Tralee. I'm always telling Jim to be careful, and he's always telling me to take a few risks. It makes for an interesting situation when we're doing something like four wheeling. I usually don't go very fast, and stay on the safest trails while Jim flies above my head soaring off of jumps.

I love doing cultural things Jim doesn't. I love museums, concerts, ballet, theater. Jim despises these things! Our first fight happened when I took him to an art museum. We had only been dating seriously for a few weeks when I took him to the art museum on the USU campus. I was excited to show Jim my favorite painting there. He took one look at it, told me he hated it, and I got furiously mad. I couldn't understand how he hated something I adored, so I did the most immature thing I could think of at the moment; I called him a name and stormed off. I meant to call him a buffoon, and ended up calling him a bassoon by mistake. To this day when I get mad Jim asks if I'm going to name-call him a woodwind instrument. I usually end up laughing at that point. I've come to realize -- in the eight years I've known Jim -- that he's just not a cultural guy. If I'm REALLY lucky I can drag him along to a museum, usually with a bribe. I keep hoping he'll connect with something and enjoy the experience. Usually he complains about being bored, and I tell him to stop acting like a bassoon. I can usually get him to smile at that.

Jim loves the great outdoors. I do too -- to an extent. Jim goes on week long hiking or kayaking trips and is totally in love with the experience. I miss my bed and shower after a day or two. Usually we compromise and stay at a cabin in the wilderness. That way I can spend the day outside hiking, fishing, swimming, and playing outside, but find comfort in a warm shower and comfy bed at night.

So you see, in many aspects Jim and I are polar opposites. I can only assume the old cliche "opposites attract" really is true. It has to be! Jim and I recognize this fact often when we're butting heads. 

One thing we DO have in common is we both have a knack for being incredibly cheesy goofballs. When we realize how many differences we share, we often break out singing Paula Abdul's song "Opposites Attract".  Often it's in the car, and that's not the only song we bust out.  I can only imagine what passersby must think when they see us singing at the top of our lungs to the top 40.  Speaking of singing in the car, we also improvise our own numbers for time to time. One of us will usually start by singing something completely random like, "Oh, we're going to go buy some eggs at the store!" then the other person adds to that with something like, "We need some eggs cause we don't have any more!" We go back and forth, sometimes joining in together. It's really quite dorky, but we enjoy it.

We are also GREAT at pushing each other's buttons. . . in a good way (and bad way too sometimes). I can't tell you how many times we've gotten into food fights, wrestling matches, water fights, etc. We're good at getting what we want from each other. It's not that hard since we want to make each other happy. I know Jim often sacrifices something he wants to do, to do something that makes me happy. I've done the same for him. So, I guess that's what keeps us together.  We don't agree on much, but we make up for that with our intense desire to bring a smile to each other's faces.

We really do enjoy spending time together, and we love each other a lot. It's just that I'm surprised that we do, considering how different we are. The ever-so-wise Paula Abdul and M.C. Kat (insert sarcastic undertone) sure were onto something when they sang,

"I take--2 steps forward
I take--2 steps back
We come together
Cuz opposites attract
And you know--it ain't fiction
Just a natural fact
We come together
Cuz opposites attract . . .

". . . Things in common
Just ain't a one
But when we get together
We have nothin' but fun."

Haha!! Love you Jim!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Old Photos and Memories

**I don't expect anyone to read all the way through this. I started typing and my words kind of got away from me **

I'm mostly just putting off cleaning my house. So I sat on the computer while Tralee was napping and found this old photograph. I love this picture because it brings back very fond memories from my childhood. My Mom, my two brothers, and me are all in Grandma and Grandpa Steinke's boat with them.

We used to drive up to Park Falls, Wisconsin on the weekends when I was a little girl and stay with my Great Grandma and Grandpa Steinke. Our activities included fishing on the Flambou Flowage, playing card games, riding on the back of Grandpa Norman's old dirt bike, helping in Grandma's enormous garden, and enjoying the vast wilderness that surrounded their property.

Some of my favorite things to do, besides the above mentioned, was play with Buttons-and-Bows, a fabric doll Grandma Josie made. There was a little sewing room in the back of their cabin. In the room was a hamper that had different out-dated toys -- some of them probably considered antiques now. I loved each one of them. There was an old Teddy Bear that belonged to my Great Grandpa when he was a little boy. I wonder were it is now? But, my favorite toy -- hands down -- was Buttons-and-Bows. She didn't leave my side the duration of our trip to Park Falls. I used to sit with her in my Dad's boat and play pretend. She was my daughter, and we were running away. I would sit at the steering wheel of the boat and pretend like the vehical I was driving could transform from a car, into a boat, and into an airplane. Buttons-and-Bows and I saw the world!

In Grandma's sewing room were various little crafts she did, including a rock that she painted this on: "In case of a fire, turn rock over." When you turned the rock over it said, "Stupid! It said in case of a fire!" I thought it was hilarious when I was little. I also liked the book drawer in the guest room, where my Mom and Dad always slept. There were old children's books, and a few more games in the drawer. I always found a book to read, and climbed up on the bed adorned with one of Grandma's old quilts and read.

I also was fascinated with Grandpa's Girly Pen. Grandma and Grandpa didn't share our LDS faith, and Grandpa had an old pen (from the 50's or 60's is my guess) that when held one way showed women from the 50's or 60's in their swimsuits. When you tipped the pen the other way the ladies swimsuits melted away to show them in their birthday suits. I wasn't so fascinated with the actual ladies, just the magic the pen's effect had on them. I remember wondering "how do their swimsuits just disappear like that?" I think I must have tipped that pen back and forth a thousand times trying to figure it out.

Jimmy's favorite activities included shooting things with his BB gun. One time he shot Grandma's decorative glass bulb in her garden. She wasn't too happy about that. I think he also shot a window out of one of their sheds. Every time we were there Jimmy would catch a snake, and make it his pet for the duration of our visit. He claimed he had "tamed it" by the end of our stay. I also remember my parents explaining to him why we couldn't take his new pet home. Everytime we left, Jimmy had to say goodbye to his new found friend.

Sometimes Jimmy and I would play store together. Jimmy would be the store keeper and pick different flowers and plants from around Grandma's garden -- there were plenty to choose from. He would lay them out on the ladder attached to the side of Grandpa's shed. I would pick leaves from a tree, and wrap them up in my purse (it was just a rag from Grandma's kitchen). Then I would visit Jimmy's store and buy various items from him with my leaves as cash. I remember one time Jimmy said, "Let me check in the back" and then took me down the stone stairs leading to Grandma's Garden. I decided the item I wanted was, in fact, in the back, and Jimmy picked a new flower for me to wrap up in my purse. We could play store for hours.

One important lesson I learned while up at the Steinke's was when my mom took Jimmy and I fishing at Sister Lake. We were catching tiny little fish, too tiny to eat, but also too tiny to survive swallowing our hook. When my mom threw them back into the lake, they just floated back to the top. She explained to us that we must respect the animals we kill, because they're giving us food. She told us we couldn't fish anymore, because we were killing these fish, without using them for our benefit. So we left the lake that day.

One day after a fishing trip to Flambou Flowage there was a large bucket outside that had our catch of the day in it. We were going to eat the fish for dinner that night. I listened to Grandma prepare the kitchen table for filleting the fish as I stood above the bucket watching them swim in circles. For some reason I wanted to see what would happen if I dropped a stone on one of the fish's head. I picked up a stone from Grandma and Grandpa's drive way, and dropped the stone directly on a fish's head. It knocked the poor guy out. I felt horrible, and was afraid to tell anyone because I was sure this didn't fall under the category of "respecting the animals we kill for our benefit."

I was always terrified that I would come face-to-face with a bear while we were on the Steinke's property because they always told us stories of bear encounters over the years. I never did see one though. That's a good thing.

I found this old photo as well. I never noticed before, but it looks like Great Grandpa and I ` are sharing an inside joke. I do remember laughing at the silly things Grandpa Norman would do to make me laugh.

Years after these photos were taken, and after both of my Great Grandparents had passed, I was lucky enough to be baptized in the Chicago temple for Grandma Josephine. I also witnessed a young man in my ward get baptized for Grandpa Norman. I know my Grandparents had a very difficult time accepting the church in this life. In fact, we were told we couldn't tell Grandpa that we belonged to the church we did, because Grandma was afraid it would kill him -- literally, he had a bad heart. However, I can only hope that on the other side they were able to open their hearts and accept the gospel into their lives. They're wonderful people who have blessed my life with fond memories. I can't wait to see them again!

This turned into a much longer post than I anticipated. The memories just kept coming, so I kept typing. I don't expect many people to read all this, but I just wanted to write down these memories so they're documented somewhere.

I had a pretty great childhood!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Museum Day

Tralee and I left home this morning and headed towards downtown Boise. As I've mentioned before the first Wednesday of every month is Toddler Wednesday at the Boise Art Museum, so we went to that. I was able to see some old colleagues at the museum as well, which is always fun.

There were some GREAT exhibitions happening right now. One of which was:

I've only seen Remington's art in books and on the internet, so to see the originals close up was exciting!! I purchased a little kid's book about Remington at BAM's store. Hopefully Tralee will enjoy it when she's a little older.

The Toddler Art experience was based on the MK Guth exhibit titled Ties of Protection and Safe Keeping.

When you walk through BAM's doors you see 1,500 feet of interactive braided sculpture. Woven into the braid are hundreds of ribbons on which people have written responses to the question “What is worth protecting?” There were words like dreams, children, life, the world, all in different people's handwriting tied into the braid.

Tralee worked with fabric and ribbon in the art studio. I don't think she was too into it, but she managed to pick out some fabric to place on a sticky sheet of paper, and then she colored on that with markers. I'll have to post a picture of the finished product later.

My FAVORITE exhibition of the day was Catherine Chalmers: American Cockroach
Here's a blurb about the exhibit found on BAM's web page: "Chalmers explores the question of what it is to be human and what is man's relationship to the insect world, examining preconceived notions about insects and specimens." Furthermore, "American Cockroach offers up an ecosystem where the laws of roach life and survival become strange and distorted human manifestations, not so much a biology but a mythology of the common house roach." There were photographs much like the one above, videos, artwork done using cockroach body parts, and a giant resin and rubber cockroach hanging from a nuse in the middle of a gallary. I loved it!

When we were done at BAM we walked over to the

where we saw the infamous two-headed cow we've heard so much about. I'm not sure if these hats are always on the cow's head, but the museum had an exhibit about the Free Masons, so I think they must have put these hats on the cow. The Free Mason exhibit was very interesting. I didn't get to read very much about it, as it was getting close to lunch time and Tralee was getting fussy.

This is the last picture I took of our Museum Day.

We went out to lunch afterwards, came home, and Tralee took a nice long nap!

We had a fun day!