Our 2013 in pictures

Blogging the other day was so much fun I decided to do it again! I thought I’d make some kind of year in review thing. No weighty resolutions, nothing fancy – just a buttload of pictures of memorable things that happened in 2013. But some funny things first…

A friend sent this to me from this fun blog. I died. Because everyone loves grammarrrrtically correct pirates.

Don’t you hate it when Michael Buble messes with your presents?
And now. Lots of fun things happened this past year that I didn’t have my camera handy for, such as when we went to Lagoon and I decided to put my phone in a locker after it fell out of my pocket on a roller coaster (thank goodness it was picked up by a park employee). Most of the time, however, I obnoxiously have my phone on hand to get lots of embarrassing pictures.
Like when I had too many kids to fit on the church steps on Easter.
Or when the kids did weird things at a museum.
We found strange but friendly livestock in our neighborhood.
And snakes!
Someone finally got a job and made something of her life.
And someone got really weird outside the mall.
I turned the big 4-0…
And we had a couple other important birthdays. 🙂
The cats discovered they’re comfortable to sit on.
And I discovered a pretty (but uncomfortable) couch for $16 at Savers!
I lost weight (but not too much).
The girls freaked out over meeting this famous YouTuber in Salt Lake City (same time as the Lagoon trip), mostly known for his hilarious life stories.
We went on a midnight hike and picnic in the desert…
And brought home a cool pet!
Some of us suffered horrendous injuries.
And Emily kind of went insane or something.
We got lost in a lot of corn mazes. I mean A LOT. I didn’t know there was so much corn in Idaho, I thought it was supposed to be potatoes?
And we geeked out over some pretty awesome movies.
All in all, 2013 was a pretty good year, and I’m excited to see what 2014 will bring!
While I was looking up a good Olan Rogers video to link to, I found this new video he posted about his Eat A Slice With Me tour. Wow. He’s just an amazing guy. Apparently our part of the tour was a bit of a turning point for him, which he starts mentioning about four minutes in, and there are clips of the hours-long line we stood in. Worth every minute.
And now I’d better stop procrastinating on an assignment that’s due in the morning! Have a wonderful, happy new year, all you nice peeps. 🙂

Baby Steps

Oh, guess what! I finished editing that crazy montage video I was telling y’all about. It’s at the end of my post, along with another funny video, but read all this first because it is a writing blog after all and I like my peeps to read what I write. I’ll know if you don’t, and then I’ll break into your house and steal all your cookies.

So anyway, I don’t know if it’s PTSD, anxiety, or what, but ever since our big move, it doesn’t take much to completely shut me down. Just the simple acts of checking my email or replying to Facebook PMs exhaust me after maybe three or four messages. Same with phone calls and making appointments. I have to go grocery shopping every three or four days to get smaller amounts at at time, instead of once a week, or I’ll get overwhelmed by too many items in my cart. And forget about my writing and my blog. I’ve always been a bit of a flaky airhead, but the former me looks like a responsible adult in comparison. 😉

Well, after several months of learning to cope, and adjusting to a new life and routine, I’m finding myself able to handle a little more at a time each day. Well…kind of. I haven’t checked my email in almost two weeks – the thought of it makes my chest tight, for no good reason. But catching up on my email and setting up some important doctor appointments is on my list for next week. Baby steps.
This time last year, we were in a rough place, but I had no idea how challenging things were about to get. This challenge is far from over, but being in a safe, peaceful place makes all the difference. And thanks to my job, I’m writing about 2000 words almost every day, and even getting in a little fiction writing now and then. Each day I feel like I’m able to accomplish a little more. I’m excited to be blogging and writing again, and I’m even feeling up to catching up on my friends’ blogs. It’s been a long time.

Laughter really is the best medicine, and it’s something that has never left our lives. It seems like my family gives me no shortage of material to work with! The following is a video I took a couple days ago of Emily’s poor kitty Crybaby. He’s not used to a collar, but had to wear one because he was being treated for a rash and needed a cone (he’s doing fine now). Poor guy, the collar kinda broke his brain.

And now, finally, this video here that can just be summed up by saying a combination of any of the following scenes happen in my house on a daily basis. I should probably be immune to such weirdness by now, but the kids still make me cry tears of laughter all the time. Their madness keeps me sane. 🙂

This time last year in my blog:

What Happens When I Leave My Laptop Open – just Lia being the Queen Troll that she is.

It’s Epic Pain Time – The hubby is no longer in the picture, but this post is one of my favorites because funny, and no matter where I move, my accident-prone feet will always come with me. Earlier today, I found a two-inch-long sewing needle in my houseplant (don’t ask what it was doing there, but I once found a dried octopus in my houseplant, so I wasn’t surprised). Miraculously, I found the needle before my feet did.

Oh holy cow, it’s 2:30 in the morning. I gotta run. To my bed! And I’m planning a writing post for reals next time!

Nerd Adventurers and…Murphy’s Law is Real

I don’t even know how this got started, but suddenly my kids were yelling, “Yay, adventure!” and singing something that went, “Let’s have a nerd adventure, everyone have a nerd adventure, tally-ho!” (Adapted from a silly Steam Powered Giraffe song called Horse Adventure.) I went to check it out and saw them all putting on costume pieces and planning out their special abilities and powers. Then they ran outside and inflicted their insanity upon the neighborhood.

Lia: part fish with gills on her butt, had a magic wand
Eva: elf thief with magical fairy sidekicks
Brian: magic fire hands and map reader
Elijah: had an awesome fire sword, also a potion master
Anya: a dragon with a fire flashlight, had an imagination hat

I never had such fun adventures when I was almost 19!
Instead, I got married and pretended to be responsible. I missed out.

Emily, who is out of town with my husband, edited in some superpowers!

My funny bone is kinda broken at the moment, but check out my post today on ANWA’s blog for a laugh at my expense. 😉 And don’t forget to check back tomorrow – I’m unveiling my Super-Secret Project with Alyssa, and we’re both super-secretly excited about it!

Deadlines Are Great! So Are Parties!

You know that little rewriting deadline I set for myself a couple weeks ago? The one in which I promised myself some tights and sushi if I completed it? Well…I did! Right on time too.

I think I get bonus points for finishing this rewrite in a tornado of insanity. My 13-year-old and 11-year-old had their annual Halloween party last night. The one that they plan and send out invites for before getting permission! It always ends up being a total blast, but exhausting. A record number showed up last night: at least 30 6th- to 8th-grade kids, and about 15 stayed for the sleepover. (Next year the sleepover part will be omitted or I’ll lose the rest of my sanity!)

These girls really know how to throw a party. I was impressed with the treats they made, and the decorations they came up with on a tight budget. (Didn’t get pictures of the porch outside yet, will when it’s a little darker and gloomier.)

This doesn’t even show…kids were everywhere! Everywhere!

Werewolf cupcakes
This cake was probably the best cake I’ve ever had!
It was seriously amazing. Emily’s my cake baker from now on.
They made these string cheese zombie fingers.
I didn’t get a picture of ours before they all got eaten.

So anyway, last night I sat on the couch in a living room full of screaming girls and crazy dance party music, somehow tuned out all the noise, and fixed all those pesky red notes. Then I deleted them while laughing like a villain! After that, I played Apples to Apples with the girls.

Daisy the bunny got some major spoiling!
Brian’s crashed on the couch. LOL

So, what now? I’m going to scrounge up the money for some crazy tights and all-you-can-eat sushi at my favorite place, Sushi Time, send out some more query letters, get back to work on Cobalt, and then party like this dude:

Except not today, my lower back is really out…

Almost Forgot the Monday Funny!

It was the first day of school for us. Bittersweet for me. Lia’s all graduated and stuff and is still looking for a job, so she’s home and taking a few online college classes. It’s really nice not having to battle the high school parking lot this year! I swear I’ll never do that again. Emily’s going to Connections Academy, which is an online school, so she’s home as well. And my baby Anya is starting kindergarten. I expect my schedule to have some exciting changes, including the potential for more writing time, but right now I’m sort of reeling. Can’t help but feel a little bit older, as I do at the beginning of every school year.

So I think we need a laugh! I try to keep my Facebook statuses interesting, as does Lia. I thought I’d copy and paste a few of my favorites.


Here’s a warning for my friends my age: When you behave like a teenager, the next day you feel like an old lady.

Having a random mattress fall on me while I’m just minding my own business on the couch: not my idea of the best way to start the day.

You guys totally missed me falling off the toilet and ending up halfway in the bathtub!

I throw spiders at Lia, it’s an involuntary reaction. This morning was the third time it happened. She doesn’t know about it yet.

Me: “Guess what I pulled out of my armpit yesterday?”
Dennis: (ignoring me completely) “Where’s Emily?”
Lia: “Nose hair!”

Aw man. I just walked into the back bedroom screaming, “NO NO NOOO! Where’s my cell phone, I’m gonna kill her!” Then I realized the window was open and the neighbors behind us are all outside.

Dear Similac: Thanks for the huge box of baby formula in the mail (addressed to my husband). My “baby” is five! I sure hope that was a free sample!

So, since the hubby is clearly enjoying his free baby formula samples, I signed him up for tampon samples.

Anya: Princes and princesses don’t stick their fingers in their mouths or pick their boogers. I go to the bathroom and blow my nose.
Grandma: But I have a picture of you picking your nose.
Anya: You should delete that one.


My sister glued eyes on a rock and named it Amanda Palmer.  

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday. Today is Friday, Friday. Tomorrow is Saturday and afterwards is Sunday. Uh… I don’t know what’s next because Rebecca Black didn’t tell me. Is we so excited or what?? 

I just slingshot a carrot into my neighbor’s yard…

Anya while lying on me: “My couch is comfy but annoying. It won’t stop talking!”

I walked into the bathroom and Anya followed me in and asked what I was doing. I said I was going to the bathroom and she said, “Oh. Sorry, ho.”

There’s a lot of butt-slapping going on in my house. O_o

Anya while playing Dolls: “Come on, little Mexican!”

I just dyed all the milk in my fridge blue. I can’t wait until someone finds it.

Funny Junk!

Let’s take a break from writing. My daughter Lia had a film class in her senior year. They had to pick a movie for the semester and make short films based on it. Lia’s chosen movie was Disney’s Hercules. Her movies ended up being too hysterical not to share!

The first was a mashup of Hercules and Pirates of the Caribbean. I thought it was amazing how she almost perfectly synched the voices and sound effects.

Her second movie was done in the style of the Kid History videos–also hilarious, check them out!

The next movie is one of the funniest. There’s really no explanation for the madness, just watch:

The last video (there was actually another one, a stop-action with clay, but she didn’t like how it turned out so she never uploaded it) is a silent Western (she knowingly took some liberties with sound effects), and incorporated clips from the previous films as a class requirement. Yours truly is in it! Don’t miss the bloopers at the end. Yes, those are my everyday clothes. Yes, that’s my real butt running down those hills, and it was scary. (My butt was also nominated for Best Actress. No joke.)
Please comment, because I have no life and I love your comments, and tell me which was your favorite!

Brohaim! We Did Not Ride the Jet Skis in Cabo.

or, Why I’m Taking Control of the Camera on Our Next Vacation
(because Dennis took too many pics of the scenery and not enough of the rest of us)

It’s okay though! I think I’m posting plenty of pictures here anyway. So without further ado, our vacation pictures (I know they’re small, so I’ve posted bigger versions of the same pictures on Facebook)…

We went on a cruise to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta with Dennis’ parents, my brother-in-law Craig, his wife Laura and their three kids, and my other brother-in-law Roger.
 Emily thinks this skeleton statue in Cabo is being immodest! I love the following pictures.


This was totally unintentional! I had no idea I was wearing a top hat or smoking a pipe, but Lia seems offended enough to slap me…

 Looks like Eva’s pointing out what I’ve been smoking, while Lia puts her soda bottle up her nose.
And Eva. Haha!
Anya getting cheeky.

There were tour boats just to the right of the kids, and the people disembarking were walking past Anya and laughing their heads off!
Emily was really the only person excited about getting a picture taken with the baby tiger, her favorite animal. Actually, it was the only hot day that week, and it was miserable inside that little hut. I was outside watching the waiters at Senor Frog’s dance with the customers, which was much more entertaining!


This was the beach I would have liked to go to. Except we were in a glass-bottomed boat, and just below us was a school of barracuda! Hundreds of them, right near the swimmers. I wonder if they knew…


Give you one guess which ship I wanted to be on…
The jellyfish the kids found on the beach. A few kids had been stung the day before.
Brian: “What the heck is this?!” Anya: “I don’t even KNOW!” (They’d found a sand crab a few minutes after this picture was taken.)
This was awesome: Right here were hundreds of crabs of all sizes, especially babies (I caught a few), a couple of sea urchins, these little weird squishy creatures attached to the rocks, barnacles, and tube worms. Maybe Dennis could have come a little closer to get better pictures!
Bad Karma: Laughing at someone else on this ship who got sunburned will result in receiving the ship’s worst sunburn the next day. I was only out in the sun for an hour! There were people laughing at me in the elevators later on. 😦
One last look at Cabo.




The ship’s magician, who was actually pretty freaking amazing. (And Emily thought he was cute!)
Thursday, on our way back up Baja California. For some reason this was the day everyone went nuts. ALL the kids on the ship were just going completely insane! Lia and Emily were racing each other all over the decks. It was also very windy outside, and I’m afraid I flashed a few poor people before I realized it wasn’t safe to be out on the deck in a skirt.
These are not my kids. I had to yoink this from the internet because we didn’t get any pics of the awesome kids’ pool. We didn’t have the water cannon though.

* * *

Other memorable moments and favorite quotes:

Lia and Emily jumping on the hotel beds when we just got into L.A., crashing into each other (after bickering during much of the 8-hour drive)

Poking my head into the passageway to say hi to Craig and Roger, then falling out of the cabin when the ship listed and hitting the opposite wall, while the door slammed and locked behind me. Classy.

Spending a great deal of time in the ship’s library while other passengers hung out on the decks or in the pool! (But at least I got some writing done.)

The ship’s hypnotist, making a guy think a lady in the audience had stolen his butt. “Give me back my butt!” ROFL

The night when the kids club workers painted all the kids’ faces to look like pirates, and paraded them around the ship singing a pirate song.

“Nooo, I left my eyelashes at home in the little teapot!”

“Lia, STOP spanking the jellyfish!” And later: “Put that down, Lia, it’s a baby jellyfish!”

“There are snails on the menu tonight. Remember, if you don’t want to eat snails, order the escargot. Don’t forget, it’s ES-CAR-GO, or else they’ll bring you snails for your appetizer!” (The snails were excellent, by the way)

At the beginning of the cruise, we participated in a mandatory drill where they blasted an emergency klaxon which instilled fear and doubt into Emily’s heart. Wednesday morning while we were docked at Puerto Vallarta and most of the passengers had left the ship, the crew conducted a fire drill and announced over the loudspeaker for the remaining passengers to ignore the sounds. Emily wouldn’t get up, so the rest of us had left for the breakfast buffet. As fate would have it, she was in the shower when the emergency horn went off, and hadn’t heard the announcements! She found us in the buffet a few minutes later, soaking wet and a little shaken, but luckily not panicked, since she figured out it was a drill after she left the cabin.