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Tomorrow…

I am going to get my hair cut tomorrow.  I have yet to decide what I am going to do with this hair.  I believe that I have tried every style and color that is possible…there was this one time I even tried green.  Of course it wasn’t on purpose but when a person is going to Las Vegas for the first time and constantly battles gray hair, it is a problem.  So off I went to the drug store to pick up a box color and thought a nice ash brown would suit me.  I lovingly convinced Richard that he was a chosen hairstylist and he managed to get the color on my hair.  And then the wait…10 minutes, 20 minutes….for stubborn gray….30 minutes.  I washed it, dried it, looked in the mirror and cried.  We were leaving for Vegas that night at 7 pm with a large group of friends and my hair….was green!  Very green!!  I booked an emergency appointment with a random hairdresser…I refused to go to Vegas with green hair.

When I got to the salon, she told me I had two choices.  Strip the color and re-color it, or hack it all off.  Really??  Well duh…strip it off.  But she says “it should only take about 5 hours….”  uh huh…we were leaving in 3.  It is a good thing that I have hair that grows fast and I really have no problem hacking it off because that is what we did!  I got to go to Vegas with a cute (ugh) little short cut!  Note to self : When leaving on holidays…color your hair at least a week in advance.

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I am going to do this…

Along with my other touristy Las Vegas things I plan to do…I will be going here

And…I will be eating this

Frozen Hot Chocolate!!  Yummy!!

Making summer plans…

We are thinking of heading out on a little road trip this summer.  We like to pack the family up and head out for little adventures.  While my sister was here this weekend, she was mentioning that her kids wanted to go back to South Dakota this year.  They went down last year and the kids had a blast.  She said there were a million things to see and do and they really hope to go back.

So she put the bug in my ear that Richard and I should think about meeting them there in the summer!!  Sounds promising to me!  I have been researching the area online a bit…help me out!!  Leave a comment about your favorite family vacation ever!!

Oh Happy Day…

Today I went to Cody’s school for a play.  Every year they have a group of actors come in that work with the kids for a week to put on an amazing display of artistic talent and imagination.  Cody has been talking about it all week…how excited he was. 

As Cody’s mother, I don’t expect that Cody will ever get a speaking part.  Because of all his airway trauma, Cody has a paralyzed vocal cord and speaks in a loud whisper.  To many people, he is near impossible to understand.  To us, it is fine because we hear it everyday, but if you get him in a room with lots of background noise, it can be very tricky.  So you can imagine my surprise when I heard that my son had gotten chosen for a speaking part.  A small one, but who cares.  The whole program was based on diversity and accepting the differences within one another. 

As I pulled out my video camera in time for his group to come on stage, I had a hard time holding back tears.  This was monumental!!  I was nervous for him, nervous if the other kids and parents would wonder what was wrong with him.  I could feel myself holding my breath as he got up and went to the mike and then….just as plain as day, he spoke his part.    I let out a sigh, he looked at me in the crowd and gave me a thumbs up.  It couldn’t have been better.  I was so proud and I know that moment will be with him for a very long time!!

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Hair free and happy :)

One of the things I hate, and most women hate, is having to shave on holidays!  How annoying it is to have to take time away from your beach sitting to make sure that you are presentable to the general public.  Up here in Canada, sometimes it is so cold, we feel we need to hang onto that hair…like wearing longjohns!  So when we travel to somewhere warm and tropical….we need maintenance.

I am a certified laser technician…and I no longer own a laser.  Oh how sad it makes me.  The benefits of laser hair removal seriously want to make me purchase a new laser just to use on my own.  Now if you haven’t heard of laser hair removal…you are missing out!  Basically, you use a pulsed light laser which targets and destroys the hair follicles causing them to stop growing.  After approximately 3 or 4 consecutive treatments, most people will notice a significant reduction of hair in the area of lasering.  And this is not just for the ladies…we lasered Richard’s face many times and greatly reduced the amount of ingrown hairs and shaving time.  For men with hairy backs…come on ladies…you know that is just not sexy, it works great!!  For the ladies, any area of the body can be treated…except around the eyes.  It is so nice to go on a week long beach holiday and not have to shave once!!   I lasered my own legs once a month for 3 months and ended up not having to shave them once for the entire summer!  Who wouldn’t love that!!

There are definitely prime candidates for the lasering.  If you have fair skin and dark hair, you are going to see the best results.  The reason is that the laser works on targeting the pigment.  The bigger the difference of color between the skin and the hair, the better!  The laser will not treat white or grey hair and red hair is also difficult to treat.  The darker your skin the harder it is.  And you should not be tanning when you get your lasering done!  I once treated a lady and sent her home with strict instructions to go home and ice her legs and not do her usual tanning.  She instead went tanning and then sat in her car and drove two hours.  She ended up with small burn marks all down the backs of her legs.  So wherever you go…always follow their instructions for post treatment care!

Trust me when I say that if you choose to pay the money and go get some lasering done…you will never regret it!!

Continued on…

Ok, so that night, I convinced a friend from work to go with me.  A big group date…innocent enough!  I didn’t know until years later that between work and going out that night, Richard had called his youngest brother who graduated with me.  He wanted to check out if I was sane I think…luckily his brother told him that I was “normal”!  Whew!  That night we just ended up talking the night away…about my schooling, his job and family, but mostly about the girls and how he felt guilt over what was going on in their lives.  Richard is a die hard romantic…he only ever wanted to get married once, he wanted his two kids and to live happily ever after.  I love that about him. 

We decided that there was a definite connection but we were both nervous.  He was in the middle of a divorce and the father of two kids, I was 19 and still in college…it seemed impossible that our two very different lives could be meshed into one.  We decided to wait for me to meet the girls, the last thing they needed was someone else to come into and then leave their lives.  At the time I met Richard, the girls were with Richard every weekend from Friday to Monday and during the week they were with their grandparents just over an hour away.  They were amazing Grandparents and Richard always knew that they were loved and happy while they were there.  Richard also went there every Wednesday night after work to bath the girls, read them a story and tuck them into bed.  I doubt very much that the girls remember the all the hours he drove to be with them as much as he could. 

And while he dealt with the divorce and work and squeezing in as many hours with the girls that he could, I went back to school.  The only thing I dealt with was friends asking “are you crazy?”, and “you’re joking right?”.  It was hard to explain to people.  We were only weeks into a relationship and I already knew.  People may say it’s corny, but I already knew that I would marry him…that I was meant to marry him. 

About a month or so into our relationship, I got to meet the girls.  Ahhh they were so adorable!  Taylor was 2.5 and Daniele had just turned 1.  There isn’t one person who could have met them and not fallen in love with them.  Daniele and I instantly bonded, she was still a baby and didn’t really even remember much of her birth mother.  Taylor was 2.5….she remembered and she wasn’t always easy.  I would be lying if I told you that joining into a ready made family was always easy.  Any step-parents out there know exactly what I am talking about.  The great thing I had was that the girls were still very young and much easier to bond with then teenagers!  Taylor didn’t like to share her “daddy”, she was so used to having him all to herself.  Completely understandable and that was never hard for me…we always agreed that the girls would always come first.  I may not have been a parent yet, but I knew how sacred that position was.  And in a divorce situation, I knew that making it easy for the kids was the way to go.

To be continued…again 🙂

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“Step”ping into Parenting…

I turned 19 on June 8, 1995.  I had my life set out.  I had finished my first year of college and was headed home to my parent’s house to work for the summer and save up some money.  I took a full time job waitressing in the small hotel that was near our house and planned to work as many hours as possible.  I had zero intention of meeting anyone, I knew I was moving 2 hours away at the end of summer. 

A month into summer holidays, a family friend approached me about taking over her secretarial position for 2 weeks so she could go on vacation.  I jumped at the chance and quickly gave my notice at the hotel.  Answering phones and typing seemed much more pleasant to me than serving breakfast at 6 a.m.  I soon started work at the nearby oil and gas plant doing whatever secretarial stuff she had left for me.  I was the only female in a completely male dominated office.  Luckily it was a small town and I knew most of the guys who worked there.  I remember being excited on my last day there…finally back to school for me.  I had about 4 days and then I was moving to get started back on my college courses. 

And that was the day I met Richard.  He worked as an operator at the plant.  Now if we want to discuss how some things are meant to be….here is one.  Richard had 2 weeks of holidays but because he had used one day earlier, he only had 1 week and 6 days…which ended him right back to work on the last day of my work.  I knew exactly who he was when I saw him…I had gone to school with two of his brothers.  Luckily I knew how to turn on the magic cause by the end of the day, I had a plan for a small group of us to go out that night.   The nice thing for him was that I already knew all about him…news travels fast in small towns!  I was drawn to him instantly and truthfully was not thinking at all into the future.  Can you imagine at 19 thinking about getting together with a 24 year old on his way to divorce with 2 babies at home?  I guess maybe my age was a good thing…I was naive enough not to worry about stepping into the world of parenting.

To Be Continued…..

Christmas in Las Vegas Baby!

My husband’s family consists of 4 brothers, their wives and 10 kids.  His Mom passed away in May of 2000 and his Dad passed away in September of 2004.  Christmas always meant alot to our families, but after both his parents passed away, we wanted to make sure that we were always close.  People are amazed when they hear that we have monthly get togethers with Richard’s family…it is important.  Always remember that family is what is most important and they won’t always be around.  Richard may have been 34 by the time both his parents were gone, but I know that there are many times when he wishes he could call up his mom to tell her something great…or ask his Dad how to build something…or give his Mom one more pair of earrings for her birthday cause he couldn’t think of one single thing she needed.  And she loved it…every year…Beth didn’t care what she got because it meant the world to her coming from one of her boys!  They both loved hosting, they loved travel and they loved Christmas…so we thought we would do them proud and head out of town for Christmas…all 18 of us together!

Since 2004, we have been alternating between his family and in-laws.  It seems to be working great so far.  Right after Christmas of 2008, we started making plans to go somewhere warm for Christmas of 2009.  I like to be on the computer…in case you hadn’t noticed…so I took over finding us somewhere to stay!    Being the adventerous sort I am, I set out to find ONE house that would fit us all.  Who wants to spend Christmas Day all bunched up in a couple of hotel rooms…boring!

Why Las Vegas?  Why not Florida or Hawaii?  Well, two of my brother-in-laws run a business together and it is hard for them to get away for a long time together, so Vegas seemed perfect.  Close to fly to, stay and play for a few days and then come home.  I used vrbo.com to look for a house and because Richard and I had been there a few times already, we somewhat knew what areas we liked.  You guys are probably thinking it was hard to find a house that fit 18 people….but it wasn’t.  There are a ton of rental homes on vrbo.com that allow for up to 25 people.  And alot of those people own two houses side by side so you could rent enough space for 50 people!  It is amazing!!  I emailed a ton of houses, found availability for the dates we wanted and waited.  After receiving a ton of emails back, I sorted through them, found the perfect house and booked it.  The great thing was we had all this square footage, our own pool and hottub and we would all be together.  The cost was approximately $450 per family for the house plus any groceries which we split 4 ways.  And using Allegiant airlines we paid a fraction of the costs for the flight. 

Ok, so what did we do when we got there??  Well we kind of all did our own special things, one family went to see the Blue Man Group (very loud…but good) others went outlet shopping (they were very happy).  Let me stop there….let me tell you about my sister-in-law.  We gave her a hard time….she mapped out the malls.  I am not joking…she literally had maps, a pen and a highlighter to map her route and what stores she had to hit.  You know who you are…and we love you!!  Anyway, Christmas Eve we wanted to do something special as a family so we rented a huge limo and had them take us around and down to Freemont Street.  The kids loved it!!  Of course they had a live band, big Christmas tree and the popular light show.  It was wonderful!

Christmas Day we spent at the house eating big meals and….swimming!!  That’s right…swimming in our own private outdoor pool! 

I think I can speak for all of us when I say we all had a super time!  It was nice to get away from the snow and just enjoy each others company!  Hoping to get away Christmas of 2011 with my side of the family!  Keep you posted on that one!

Sedona, Arizona

 

Last May, my sister and I decided to plan a trip to Sedona, Arizona.  We wanted to get our parents to actually get themselves on a plane and experience some travel.  The reason we picked Arizona is that we have an uncle that lives in Winslow and we hadn’t seen him in over 19 years.  We wanted my Dad to see his brother while he was still young!  So we convinced them to come and started planning. 

We flew into Phoenix and rented a car to drive to Sedona where we stayed.  We were looking to do the trip for the most affordable we could.  We got rooms at Kokopelli Suites in Sedona.  The front desk staff was very accomadating and friendly, making sure to suggest great places to eat and tourist attractions to see.  The rooms were nice, very clean.  We were only down for 3 nights so we had to act quickly to get all our sight seeing in!  There are so many more things we could have done there.

Our first day…we flew down this day and had the afternoon to wander around, find our hotel, pick out somewhere nice to eat.  It was kind of a relaxed day which was nice. 

The second day…this is the day we planned to meet up with my Aunt and Uncle in Flagstaff.  They chose a restaurant that was one of their favorites and we met them there.  After 19 years, there was no mistaking who he was when he got out of his Dodge truck (same as my Dad drives) and walked (the same as my Dad) over to us.  Seriously people, the similarities were endless.  The walk, the cowboy boots, the same jeans, the voice, the laugh…we all just sat back and watched my Dad and his brother.  We had a wonderful lunch and with pictures taken and goodbyes said, we headed on our way.  Richard and I had seen the Grand Canyon before, and I am so glad that my sister was anxious to see it and we convinced everyone else to go.  We headed out of Flagstaff and headed to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.  After about 1.5 hours we were there and it truly is majestic.

Day 3….definitely our busiest day.  Gwenn went with one goal…to see the McDonalds in Sedona.  The reason?  It is the only McDonalds ever that does not have the signature yellow colored M.  The town told McDonalds that they could build as long as the arches were Desert Teal as to not clash with the surrounding red rock of the area.  So we went, we took pictures, and now she can say she has been there!! 

We then travelled just outside of town to see a church.  Not just any old church…this church was beautiful and built into the side of a wall of red rock!  It was called the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  The idea of the church came from a lady named Marguerite Bruswig Staude who was from New York.  While travelling in the Sedona area she loved it and decided a chapel would be perfect there.  It was finished in 1956 and has been there ever since.

We managed to fit in some souvenir shopping as well and then that night…the sushi restaurant.  So nice to check out things the adults like when the kids do not come on the trip!  If the kids would have been there, no sushi restaurant!  So we went and ate way too much.  But it was delicious!!

Day 4…the day we pack up and head for home.  We left lots of time to drive back to Phoenix to catch our flights home.  On the way, we stopped to photograph everyone with the Seguaro cactus.  I say, if you are going to be a tourist…act like a tourist!!  Pictures of everything!

We all had such a great time.  I hope that it will be easier next time to convince my parents that it is a good idea!

Winter…

As I sit in my office staring out my office window, I wonder how we could possibly get any more snow.  It is like a complete repeat of our weather a couple of weeks ago.  The roads are drifted with snow…I feel sorry for our snowplow drivers.  They are putting in some major hours.  One can only hope that they feel appreciated for keeping us all safe. 

We were blessed with a few warmer days last week and we took advantage of it!  The kids had no school Thursday and Friday so Cody and I went outside to build some snowmen! 

This is his snowman that he built to pump his sister’s gas into her car.  His Dad and him also built a big sledding hill with the tractor, so while it was nice we tried that out too!!

Now it is cold again and we are back inside.  🙁   I told my sister today that I would rather be sitting on a beach with a suit full of sand than sitting inside watching the snow fall around me.  Come on summer!!