Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Evidence of the Sickness

And I bring you the 2013 additions:

I never could resist a brand new box of crayons.  Especially when it was the BIG BOX.  A few times over my years of kid-dom I got the BIG BOX, and that was like the Motherlode.  More often I got the 24 crayon box, but life was truly good when you got the BIG BOX, what with the skin tone crayons (well, peach and apricot) and the always confusing orange-red AND red-orange.  The sharpener never worked very well - or maybe I was just too dumb to operate it properly.  Life is too good for kids now - they don't know the joy of the BIG BOX of crayons.

The bell from The Polar Express, complete with a golden train ticket.  I so love the story of the Polar Express, and the amazing illustrations in the book.  I actually bought 1 too many copies of the book last year, so I have a brand new, still-in-shrink-wrap copy if anyone is in need of one.

We always put my collection of Christmas story books (mostly from Scholastic, but some nicer ones) under the Christmas tree.  My lovely copy of the Polar Express - a favorite gift from Greg and Tara Funk some years ago - gets the dominant spot in the front of all the books.

I saw this one at Kohls and just had to have it.  (I use that phrase a lot in terms of Christmas Everything:  "I just have to have it!")  It looks just like our Rex, except in his mouth he would be carrying a chewed up chunk of what used to be our garden hose . . . or what used to be Jack's sock . . . or pieces of what used to be a rubber chicken . . . or the recently severely mutilated Sock Monkey, who now only has one leg.

In addition to ornaments, I also have a tremendous weakness for Nativity Sets.  I added this one this year because I just couldn't resist the little sheep - he's so tiny!  I sent Addie to count my nativities, and she tells me I have 8.  That doesn't include the one I didn't even put out this year because I couldn't find a place for it.  I have 3 in this room alone.  Lane tells me I'm going to have to enact a one-in-one-out policy, because there's getting to be too many.  He's wrong, of course.

We've been bringing the dog in more since its so cold and snowy.  I couldn't get a picture of Rex trying to share his bone with Lane.  Lane finally put his hat over his face because the bone was so wet and slobbery.  It was funny to watch.  Rex has gotten so much bigger -  nearly full-grown we think - but he is still totally a puppy.  He loves to rough-house with Lane!  It's fun to throw a toy for him to fetch in the house, because he can't stop himself on the wood floors and slides into things.  Yeah, we're pretty mean owners sometimes, but it's incredibly amusing!

Normally it's hard to get a good picture of Rex, he moves around so much and seems to be camera-shy, but  I managed to finally get a decent one.  Funny thing, this is about as close as he'll get to the stairs.  He'll go upstairs all the time (naughty dog!) but is terrified of the stairs going to the basement.  He'll walk the long way around the ottoman, under people's legs, to avoid walking past the open door to the stairs.  I once inadvertently placed a laundry basket blocking his way around the ottoman, which would have forced him to walk past the stairs.  Yeah, so he opted to sit in the laundry room instead. Wouldn't even come in the room.  Stupid dog.
He's also scared of the vacuum.
And his own shadow.
We feel so safe with him around.  :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I have a sickness

We went to the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert again this year.  I got us better seats, better seats than the photos suggest.  It was the same show as last year, but they changed out the stage this time, which I liked better.  We took Addie with us this time, but since it was on a Wednesday, Taylor was unable to attend.  Maybe next year . . .

Why do the Christmas lights always get so tangled? 

I put Jack in charge of stringing the lights on the real tree this year.  Christmas Tree lights shall never wrap around any tree of mine, and it took some time for him to do it correctly.  There are 7 strings of lights on that tree, and he did a good job of it . . . after taking some lights off and making him redo it.  If the tree looks like its leaning, that's because it is.  Not good.  It fell over not long after all the lights were on.  So I made a trip to Walmart to get a new tree stand, hoping that was the weak link.  WARNING:  DO NOT GOT TO WALMART ON THANKSGIVING SATURDAY.  THERE IS NOTHING YOU NEED THAT BADLY.  It was a mess.  Luckily I got in and out without too much trouble, but it was really, REALLY bad.

Here is our tiny tree in the entry way. 

After the tree fell over  -- not once, but twice -- we finally got some bricks to stabilize it.  It's really not leaning in this picture, the whole photo is crooked.  It hasn't fallen again.  There were a few glass ornament casualties as a result of the falls, 2 more of my "bubble" ornaments among others.  I started with 6 bubbles many years ago.  We lost 2 the year Addie pulled the tree down and 2 more this year.  Makes me sad, they are favorites.

After we got all the trees (4) decorated, I realized that either I need to stop buying/acquiring ornaments or I will need a 5th tree soon.  We all know that there is no chance I'm going to stop getting ornaments, so I will start shopping the after-Christmas sales for that 5th tree sometime soon.

We got a delightfully huge snow storm yesterday.  Well, it was delightful once I drove safely home from work and promptly changed into my jammies.  We missed Jack's trombone lesson and I missed yoga, but there was no way I was going out again.  Lane started a fire and we spent a pleasant evening at home. 

Well, pleasant for me.  Lane had to drive to work in it that night. 

Why can't it storm only on the weekends?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Remember to notice my hair

So it's that time again:  The Annual Funk Family Photo Shoot.  We decided to honor Taylor's school this year.  We got all matching shirts when we moved Taylor up to Logan  (whoo hoo!  Only $6 per shirt!)

 I don't know why he does that.  I just don't know.

So this is the one going out with Christmas cards this year.  It's not even November yet!  I love it when I (seemingly) get my act together.  Having Taylor gone has forced some degree of organization on me, having to plan around her schedule and all. 
Plus, the day we had scheduled to have these pictures done threatened to be rainy and miserable.  Not only would that mean having to wait three weeks until Tay came home again, but more importantly, I was having a good hair day.  Who knows when that will happen again.  Luckily, the clouds lifted and both Taylor and my good hair were able to be photographed.

Sometimes things get a little silly  . . .

before we come up with a lovely photograph of an even lovelier daughter.

Sometimes the handsome photograph . . .

gives way to the silliness.

And some girls are just adorable in every single way.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Today's Infomercial is brought to you by the letter S and the number $47.99

And we are on to another school year, this one being so different because there are only two children to photograph.  Addie is now in 5th grade, Miss Nielsen's class.  I'm glad that her hair has stayed red, sometimes it looks like it is tending towards the browner tones.  And just like Taylor at about this age, her hair is starting to get curly.  Must be Lane's genes.  My hair is so straight it would probably snap off if I tried to bend it around a curling iron.  Addie is taller than Taylor was at the same age, so it will be interesting to see if that continues to be the case.  She's not the tallest girl in her class anymore, but she is the 2nd tallest.  When we saw her cardiologist in August, he was so impressed with her growth and really excited to hear that she has done so many 5K's with the family.  He told her to keep it up - walking is really good for her.

We are so relieved that Jack's growth spurts have slowed down somewhat.  He's about 6'1" and such a great kid.  He's going to have another busy year.  He is in the PGHS Marching band, takes 3 band classes at the junior high, and is an officer in FCCLA again.  He also takes drum lessons and trombone lessons.   We have removed the Eagle Scout goal from our list (yes, I do mean OUR) since that was finally completed in August.  So that's one less thing.  It's always good to have one less thing.  He just turned 15 so his next big thing is getting his Learner's Permit.  Weird.

I froze quite a bit of jam this summer/fall.  Our raspberries did pretty well, especially this fall.  The blackberries, not so much.  Too hot for them, maybe?  Not sure, but we did get some that got mixed with strawberries and raspberries into jam.  I also did a few batches of tomato sauce and some chili sauce.  We no longer have a peach tree, so no bottled peaches or peach jam this year.  :(  The grapes are coming along nicely and I'm hoping to have some to make jelly with - that is if the dog stops eating them.  Stupid dog.  What dog eats grapes?
Our garden was too neglected this summer, so again I'm all to happy to take surplus produce from anyone who has more than they want.  Hint, hint.


And here is our Eagle Scout following his Board of Review in August.  Our Bishop was there to present him to the Board, and said some very nice things about Jack.  It's always nice to find out that other people think that my wonderful kids are wonderful.  Because mine are especially wonderful.  And adorable.  Even though it seems they lack the ability to make their beds . . .

And for our biggest change of the year so far, we have shipped our firstborn off to college.  I think she must be liking it pretty well and staying busy because she won't return my calls.  She's been home once since we took her up on August 17.  She is able to keep her job at the movie theater if she will work twice a month.  So she'll be home again on the 20th.  If not for that, it seems she wouldn't be home at all.  I'm glad she's having  good experience and all, but I miss her terribly.  If you should see her/text her/email her, please tell her to call her mom.  I'm lonely.


And finally, because I can't help myself, I have to share my latest happy find.  I'm sure I've mentioned (ad nauseum) how much I hate to mop.  I'm also sure I've mentioned (ad nauseum) how much I detest carpeting - and yet I like to vacuum.  I know, it's weird.  Anyway, I found a steam mop that didn't cost too much ($47.99, Amazon) so I was willing to take the gamble and try out a steam mop. 

Where has that little joy been all my life?  Sure, I still have to sweep before mopping, but using a steam mop isn't nearly as backbreaking as traditional mopping and works so much better.  Even stubborn spots on my kitchen floor only require on or two passes to get them up, rather than some 20 or 30 passes with my traditional mop, sprinkled with some ugly four-letter words from the Mopper.

And because I also have mentioned (ad nauseum) that I'm the Cheapest Person Alive, I can't go with the disposable Swiffer pads.  Too expensive.  So I went down to Walmart and bought a bundle of washcloths for a couple of bucks.  They fit the Swiffer perfectly, plus I can wash and bleach them.  On my first mopping, the washcloth wasn't poked into the holes well enough, and it kept pulling off.  I solved this problem by really stabbing the washcloth into the holes with a butter knife.  I haven't had that problem again.  I also wet the washcloth with hot water before I put it on the Swiffer.

So, to sum up the Swiffer Steam Boost:  I would recommend it if you are looking for an inexpensive steam mop.  I also would recommend getting the bundle of washcloths from Walmart.   My only gripe about it is that you have to hold down the steam trigger all the time.  I wish it was more of a toggle sort of thing - push it in for steam, and push it again to stop the steam or something.  Since most of my main floor is hard floors, holding that trigger in all that time results in a crampy finger.

Again, please tell Taylor to call home.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Let's Eat!

When life gets crazy, as it frequently does around the Funk Homestead, we eat out.  The following list is representative of my faves only, the others can speak for themselves.  For instance, Lane could eat at Taco Amigo every single day.  That's excessive.  Hey, I like Taco 'Migi (that's what our kids called it when they were small) as much as the next PG resident, but come on. That's a lot of Taco Amigo.
So here are my top 5 choices when I get to choose and have some time to spare, because, let's be honest, none of these are quick in-and-out sorts of places.

BEST WINGS:  I am a lover of wings.  Hot and spicy . . . garlic-y . . . tobacco-y.  Yum.  Don't let anyone deceive you:  Buffalo Wild Wings is not the best wing place around.  Actually, it's not even close.  I was left disappointed when we went there.  The best wings around are at Rocky Mountain Wingshak in American Fork.  They don't have as many sauce options as BWW, but they do have quite a few (substantially more than the normal hot/mild options).  The best one there?  Garlic Pepper.  Get the boneless wings - much easier to eat.  Oh, and get the tots with it.  (Location: next to Coldstone in American Fork).

BEST SOUTH-OF-THE-BORDER CUISINE:  Milagros.  They have a Mango Chicken Salad that I would sell one of my children for.   This is a sit-down place, not the normal cattle-call that is CafĂ© Rio/Costa Vida.  Real plates, not foil thingys.  Real cups, no lids.  Chips and 2, count them -2, 2 kinds of salsa.  Sometimes on weekend nights they have some kid come around and play guitar at the tables.  Some call that ambiance.  I call it annoying.  But I am willing to overlook that for the greater good.  And good it is.  (Location:  Orem, 800 North near Winco and Taco Time)

BEST BARBECUE:  Smoking Apple.  I do love me some Brisket.  It used to be that Wallabys had the best brisket around.  But then Smoking Apple came to town.  Their brisket is so good and tender it almost melts in your mouth.  You'll want to get the smashed potatoes and side salad with it.  And on the salad you want the house dressing, I think its a raspberry vinaigrette.  YUMMY!   They also have ribs and pork and a really good cheesesteak, but I stick with the brisket.  (Location: Lindon State Street, top of the hill.)

BEST SUBS:  Firehouse Subs. Jack is usually the cause of our busy-ness and twice a month he has a trombone lesson at Summerhays Music in Orem right at dinner time. His lesson goes for an hour so I take the time to find something to eat.  We stumbled upon Firehouse Subs once while trolling for something other than Subway to eat during his lesson.  These are easily the best subs around.  Lots of choices, both hot and cold.  The only problem is that it is way down in Orem so we only go when Jack has a lesson.  (Location:  University Parkway, Orem, south of University Mall)

BEST BURGERS:  Holding this coveted spot for about 15 years now (I was pregnant with Jack when they opened), is JCWs in American Fork.   They  know how to do Bacon!  And as a side note, they have the best Dr. Pepper mix around.  You know how it tastes different from one fountain to another?  JCWs got it just perfect.  You will want to order anything with bacon on it, onion rings (also the best around) and a shake.   But only get a small or a mini.  DO NOT get a large shake unless you have a small army to share it with.  (Location:  American Fork State Street, around 500 East)

Sorry I am too lazy to google addresses.  I should have done it while I was looking up the pictures.  Let me know what you think when you go try out these places, because you should if you haven't.  I'll even volunteer to go with you.  Except for Firehouse Subs.  Unless you are driving or it's Trombone Lesson day.

On that note, I'm off to Trombone Lessons now.  :)  Guess what's for dinner?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

He was right. Again.

So it's Jack's first year of PGHS Marching Band.  Please don't be confused - he's not in high school yet, although he is frequently thought to be.  Our 9th grade is still at the junior high, but can participate in the high school marching band.  Anyway, that's him playing his trombone . . . not in formation . . . way out in front  . . .  Well, they had only had 2 weeks of practice and this was his first parade.  They sounded good anyway, and despite it being hot and "a really long walk," he survived and had a good enough experience that he's still willing to stick with it.  The boy does love his music.

And here's my latest act of pure stupidity:

About 2 weeks ago I was getting ready for the day, it must have been a Saturday or part of the July 4th weekend because Lane was home (therein lies the trouble).  I was talking to him about some sort of nonsense whilst putting in my contacts.  Suddenly I realized that the left contact lens was lost.  I must have dropped it, I figured.  So Lane and I crawled all over the bathroom floor with one of his many flashlights (a subject for another post), and couldn't find it.  I always plug the sink, but had foolishly released the plug before I realized that I was still left-eye blind.  No contact lens could be found.

Lane:  Are you sure you didn't put both in the same eye?

Me: How stupid are you accusing me of being?  Of course I didn't put both in the same eye.

Lane:  Maybe you should double check.

So I did my best sigh of haughty derision and an exaggerated eye roll and searched all over in my right eye.  Only one lens.  I popped the lens out to make sure that there weren't two stuck together.  Nope.

Me:  Ha!  See I told you I wouldn't put two in one eye!

So the next business day I went down to the eye doctor to order a replacement left lens.

Secretary:  That will be $80, Mrs. Funk.

Me:  Are you freaking kidding me?  For one lens?

Ok, so I didn't really say that, but I totally thought it and wrote out a check for $80.  And proceeded for the next week to wear my glasses which have an old prescription and need to be replaced as well.

After about a week I picked up the left lens from the eye doctor.  So happy was I to be able to reclaim my vanity and toss the stupid glasses aside.  And the next morning getting ready for work, I faithfully cleaned both contacts and put them in.  Fellow GSP contact lens wearers can attest to the fact that when you have gone without contacts for a while, they are not terribly comfortable during that initial return to contacts, and there was indeed some discomfort.  I assumed it would lessen as the day went on. 

And it did.

But only in my LEFT eye.

My vision was off all day.  I figured I would have to return to the eye doctor and tell them that they had managed to order the wrong left lens or something.  Because something was just not right.  And the right lens was just . . . not comfortable. 

When I finally got ready for bed that evening, I popped out the left lens first, cleaned it, put in in the container.  Then popped out the right lens.  Wait.  Lens . . . es.  What??

Yes, its true.  Once I popped out that right lens, the two lenses finally separated (those dry eyes of mine finally pay off . . . I guess?).  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  That stupid left lens had been in my right eye the whole time.  And now I had 3 lenses.  No wonder my vision was off.  No wonder my right eye was uncomfortable.  Plus, I, the Cheapest Person Alive, had spent $80 for nothing.  And - more importantly - I had to confess to Lane what I had done, and utter those 3 little words all husbands love to hear and wives hate to say:

You Were Right.

So I called him at work, and he only laughed at me a little bit.  Well, a little bit while I was on the phone with him.  He won't tell me how much he laughed at me after I hung up in shame.

Back when I had time to watch Rachel Ray's cooking shows in the afternoon, she prepared a meal that has since become a family favorite.  I'm not even sure what her name for it was, but we call it Hot Dog Salad.  Don't judge me - it's surprisingly good and a perfect summer meal.    Salad greens, grilled hot dogs and onions, tomatoes and a mustard based dressing - yum.  Served up with some homemade French fries and a fresh lime drink and it's perfect for hot summer days.

Ok, you can judge me if you want.  But only based on the contact lens thing.  :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I'm good at Guilt - I took a class.

Taylor with her cousin Henson.  Somehow PGHS miscounted and didn't bring enough diploma covers. Thank goodness Taylor (F) got hers, but sad for Henson (W), who didn't.  I'm sure the school will get more, but they really should have planned better.

One of my brother Calvin's favorite things to do is to hug Nanette because it really upsets her (not really, she's a good sport).  They are old high school friends and it's a fun thing Calvin started doing a while back and it's become a game.  See, she doesn't look too upset about it.

Taylor with her Funk Grandparents and Grandma Wilson.  My parents snuck off too quick and we didn't get pictures with them.

Taylor in the A Capella Choir singing her final song as a PGHS student.  It was a nice song, and thankfully they sung it at their final concert because I couldn't hear it very well at graduation.  The Marriott Center was not designed for singing.

So now it's all over.  The day that seemed a lifetime away has come and gone.  It's quite a proud moment for a parent to see a child graduate.  Especially when that child has grown up to be as awesome as my Taylor.

We'll do this again for Jack in 4 short years, and then again for Addie 4 short years after that.  By then Taylor will have graduated from college (she BETTER!!) and will probably be married.  That's really weird to think about.  But like everything else, it will be here before we know it.

We are so proud of her, and proud to be her parents.


This morning we (and about 2500 other people) did the Nestle Art City Days 5K.  It was perfect weather, but there were so many people!!  I found out just before the start that the race started uphill.  How much uphill can there be?  I thought.  This is a "Family Fun Run," I thought.  I'll just walk the uphill part, I thought.
Um, yeah.  The first half was uphill.  Not so much uphill in the beginning, but then the road turned and leveled out, it appeared.  No.  It turned and became a much bigger hill.  So I walked almost all the first half.  I jogged a little bit, but only a little bit.
Once I got to the top of the hill and it leveled out, I did much better and earned back some of my lost time.  I finished at 46:40,  about a minute behind my time from the Memorial Day run, so considering how much I walked, I think I had a pretty strong finish.  Jack ran almost the whole thing, including all the uphill, and finished with a better time at 27:40.  Taylor, Lane and Addie walked the entire race, and finished around 55 minutes.  Even with that big hill, Addie kept trudging along and she is proud that she never did stop.
I'm happy that Taylor is smiling in this picture. She was quite grumpy all morning ("I don't smile until noon!").  But we got some Dr. Pepper and breakfast in her and that seemed to change her disposition.
Next up is the Strawberry Days 5K later in June.  Jack won't be doing it because he'll be with the Marching Band.  Lane said he'll do it.  Addie always wants do it.  Grandma Wilson is nursing a sore foot, but hopefully she will do it - she has to defend her 1st in Division status from last year.  I think Taylor might bribe someone to get a work schedule that will prevent her from joining us.  We'll see.  I can lay on a pretty good guilt trip.  I'll win her over.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Busy, Busy May

On May 19 Taylor graduated from Seminary.  It was so neat because for the first time ever, the Bishops announced the mission calls for the young men as they read their names for their diplomas.  Not all the young men had received mission calls yet, but quite a few had and it made it fun to hear where they were all going.  We are so proud of Taylor! 

May 29 brought Jack's 8th Grade Completion Ceremony.  Even though Jack has been so busy and involved in so many things during his 7th and 8th grade years, he has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA.   For 8th Grade he earned the Viking Attendance Award, the Viking Citizen Award, the Viking Gold Scholar Award, the Excellence in US History Award (hooray!!!!), and the Viking On Board Award.  I'm not quite sure what those last two are, but since the one is in History it must be extra awesome!

Waiting for the Completion Ceremony to begin . . .

I signed us up to do the Run of Remembrance again this year.  We have done no training.  None.  We had really good intentions once it started to get sorta warm, but we got busy with this and that . . .  and we got lazy because that's who we are . . . and so it just never got done.  I was half tempted to withdraw from the race, but figured it wouldn't hurt us so we did it.

Jack has done some training since he ran track this spring, and he had a personal best time of around 28 minutes, and he ran the whole 3 miles.

Here is Lane finishing around 52 minutes.  Jack wouldn't allow him to walk across the finish line, so he ran alongside his dad to encourage him.  The reason Jack isn't next to Lane in the picture is because Lane kept hitting Jack; he wasn't too happy to be there in the first place.  Luckily this child abuse was not captured on film.

Jack ran alongside me as well for the last stretch.  I tried to alternate my runs and walks - run 1 song on my ipod, then walk 1, and so forth.  I followed that plan for the most part, except that I was supposed to run just as I got to the big hill at American Fork Cemetery, so I walked that part too.  It was a good race, great weather, and despite my earlier misgivings I'm glad I did it.  My time was 45:35, which I am very happy with considering my zero training.  My personal best is 43 minutes, so I'm not sure what that means.  I trained really hard (well, really hard for me) for that 43 minutes, and not at all for 45.  Hmmmmm......

We made our usual rounds at the PG Cemetery for Memorial Day.  We went down on Saturday instead of Monday and it was much less crowded.  Only Jack and I were available to go.  Taylor was working and Addie was sick.  Or so she claimed.  I think she didn't want to go to the "boring Cemetery."

May 11 was Prom.  It will be a few years before I have to worry about dressing a daughter for the Prom again.  Taylor looked so pretty in her dress and had a really good time with her date.

Where do the years go?

I remember when Taylor was born and her graduation seemed a lifetime away.  And here we are.  I'm so excited for her to go to USU and hopefully have as much fun as I did and make lots of memories.  Despite all of our mistakes as first-time parents, I think she turned out ok.  Better than ok.  I think she's wonderful.  She's a Very. Good. Buscus.