2.18.2016

Good company

Jimmy and I went on a much needed date tonight. It was just so wonderful. We laughed and laughed.
We tried a new place called Ciccio. Oh my. The best pizza I think I've ever eaten. And the worst broccolini and I have ever tasted. Quite possibly one of the worst things I ever put in my mouth. Ever.
When the waitress brought the plate to our table, it looked gorgeous. I took the first bite. And for the very first time in my life I held a strong poker face. The bitterness was so awful, I nearly lost my breath. But I wanted to see Jimmy's reaction. So I slyly pushed the plate over to my sweet husband and said, "try some", with nearly no intonation. I wanted to watch his face. If this was the only time I were ever use a successful poker face in my whole life, I am glad it was then. Because the very second Jimmy put the foul food in his mouth- all of my hard work paid off. It would have been even sweeter if I had gotten a picture of his reaction. I'm still new at using a poker face, forgive me.
The tables at this particular restaurant are very close to one another. Meaning that we could not prevent overhearing the neighboring diners order the same broccolini. But, we were done with our meal! How were we to know if theirs was as awful?! Our curiosity caused us to ignore our stuffed bellies and order dessert. For the sole purpose of spying on the table next to us. We are weirdos, I know. But we're fun weirdos. Our gelato arrived well before the couple's broccolini- so we ate very slowly. Fortunately our patience paid off. We  got to side glance the poor victims and witness their first bite. It was hilarious! The wait was worth it. I am glad to be married to someone that is willing to be weird with me.

2.17.2016

In the smart house

It's been a difficult transition for me to have two toddlers.
They are both such bright girls.
Which makes things very difficult.
It reminds me of someone telling me all about how their Jack Russell Terrier made a mess whenever they left the house. Because the dog was smart. It got bored easily...
If I am to use that as a basis for my toddlers' IQ, then they are borderline geniuses.
Cleaning one thing or room multiple times a day every single day is starting to wear on my nerves. And so it is today that I chose to post this ad on Facebook:

Two children for sale.
3 year old- sassy pants with her knickers in a bunch. Comes with fresh tantrums and a custom eye roll package.
20 month old- face that refuses to stay clean as well as mud soaked outfit. Only one shoe because the other is still stuck in the mud puddle, but still good.
Serious inquiries only.

Kate is a smart girl too. She clearly sees my resistance growing weaker. In fact, it has been so crazy lately, she has been hiding in her room. Literally. The toddlers have almost defeated us all.
But Kate ushered in one last ounce of strength and chose to use it to bring me breakfast in bed. Isn't that sweet? And the note read:

Upon delivery, she returned promptly to her room and I haven't seen her all day. The kind gesture has made me let her hide out in peace. Because she deserves it after doing so great for me. Hey, wait a minute...
Maybe I have three borderline geniuses...

2.16.2016

Let them eat (lots of) cake!

At the group I get to together with every Tuesday night, there have been many birthdays. And birthday celebrations require cake. I have been letting baking things start to grow on me. Baking cake is now quite a joy to me. Which is saying something...
Well, at one such birthday celebration, I made a flourless chocolate cake with passion fruit caramel and coconut whipped cream, coincidentally on the very same night we planned on going to see the movie, "Brooklyn".
Well, rather than try to keep these things separate- we brought the cake into the movie theater.
Where I drizzled the caramel in between previews and dolloped the cream during the opening credits. And because I want my food to be thoroughly enjoyed, it must be served on real plates with real silverware.
Which tends to bother other movie theater patrons.
Just a tad.
Not enough to feel guilty because eating the rich cake brought the guilt on all by itself.

And it was delicious.

2.15.2016

Meeting Charlotte

My friend Lauren (amazing, beautiful, funny, brilliant and then some) just had a sweet baby girl and I got to visit in the hospital! I think the part about seeing brand new life on this earth might be one of my favorites.

2.14.2016

Beach Vacation

What a great way to spend the holiday weekend. At the beach house with my sweet little family. It was so nice to enjoy the PHENOMENAL weather. 74 degrees! In February.
You can tell by the quality of pictures that I just had too much fun- I enjoyed rather than worrying about taking great pictures- and it was fabulous. 



2.13.2016

CHOCOLATE!

I went to an amazing chocolate making class today!!!
I got to wear a hair net.
Rather then try to explain the awesomness of this experience, I will just show pictures. Because that's really what it's all about anyway... the pictures.



2.12.2016

But the gas is cheap...

I got pretty immune to the rough edges around the town that is Vallejo because I was driving Kate down there twice a week for a whole school semester. The things that bothered me before were justified and I seriously got good at glossing over things that could potentially bother me.
I drove through Vallejo today because I needed to go to a store there and happened to pass the gas station that I would frequent on my drives down here. Only because it was cheap gas. Very cheap. A whole fifty cents cheaper per gallon!
The place is a little sketch Mcgetch, but fifty cents!
Today when I went to fill up, in the middle of pumping my gas, there was a suspicious looking character in the parking lot. But it was okay, because there was a cop car with a K-9 unit in the same parking lot. I had some curiosity, but my blinders had prevented me from being afraid of any potential troubles.
Dude, my blinders did their job today!
Because that suspicious character got closer to our car and I just shrugged it off. And then the K-9 started barking and growling.
I kept pumping gas.
It was when the suspect was pinned to my car and being handcuffed that I thought maybe I could quite possibly be in a dangerous place. My awareness of the situation mounted when I had a need to play peek-a-boo through the car window so the littles would not see the criminal now being dragged away from my van and then re-cuffed to the fender of the police car. It was when I got back in the car and had to move it to make room for the backup officers that I finally realized- maybe it's worth an extra fifty cents to get my gas elsewhere.

2.11.2016

Book of Mormon Challenge

One of my friends recommended I try to read the Book of Mormon in a week...
I did it.
I had to read almost 80 pages per day to accomplish the goal.
I did it.
I listened in the car.
I listened while cooking in the kitchen.
I woke up early to read in bed.
I stayed up late to finish what I started.

Here's what I came away with:
I know I have time to read scriptures every day, it needs to be a priority in my life to make scripture study a daily habit.
Emotion was really brought to the surface during the week. I cried extra.
I can do hard things.
It was really exciting sharing the goal while I was in the midst of it, but I was nervous I wouldn't finish. Now I can say I did it!
I did it!

2.10.2016

Way to make an entrance

It was my very first Relief Society activity as part of the new Napa 1st Ward. I sat with people I knew, but some unfamiliar faces. I did well being bubbly introducing myself and getting to know the people I had never met. I sat across from this adorable young mom. We were laughing and enjoying the conversation when one of my friends mentioned I was a gourmet chef. The moment that new information was shared, the woman I was talking to started explaining how bad of a cook she was! And I just kept saying, "I'm sure you're great!" and "You can't be all that bad" Things of that matter. She continued to tell me how terrible at cooking she really was. And then gave me an example of a dinner she made for her family. By this point, our animated conversation had brought the attention of all who sat at our table. The peak of interest was when she went into detail about a particular dinner and most people reassured this young mother that it sounded great. Then, with expectant eyes, she looked to me for approval and I just shrugged my shoulders and made a little bit of a disgusted face, "Meh.", I said. Because, honestly, the dinner she was describing sounded pretty bad. I have a horrible poker face. Horrible. But I said, "Meh."?!?!?! What is wrong with me?!I should have lied to her about what I thought! I tried to fix my faux paux by giving some tips on how to fix that dish, yet the damage had been done. Already, my first activity and I offend someone, greeeeat...

2.09.2016

What it's like to be a flake

It's quite relaxing, really.
You wake up, take the littles to the gym
workout while they play
meet other moms at the park and leisurely watch as the kids continue to play
then take the long way home with the windows down because it's just a gorgeous day
and daydream about putting the kids down for a nap the moment you get home
drive up the driveway and wonder why there's a car in the driveway...
Then it's a mad scramble to get the kids out of the car (who are filthy, by the way. Homeless looking after playing so long and hard) because you recognize that car. That car is the social worker who is coming to inspect your home. The home that you left so nonchalantly this morning (nonchalantly=messy) And you fumble through all explanations as to why you're late, why the kids look homeless and why the house is in it's 'nonchalant' state.
You see, being a flake is a roller coaster of a ride.
There's moments of pure bliss- when I forget what I'm supposed to be doing.
And pure panic- when I finally remember what I was supposed to do an hour ago.
However, I like rollercoasters... only when they're nonchalant.

2.08.2016

It was good while it lasted

I take an amazingly difficult, fun and exhausting fitness class at the gym called Body Combat. It's my favorite, really.
The moves are great, the energy high and, well, the instructor looks like a model.
He sweats pretty.
Nobody sweats pretty.
Except for John. Sweet Johnny.
I always stand in the same spot, ugly sweating (because I do that) and huffing in the back trying to just keep up. It's a blast. But, honestly by minute 42 of our 60 minute workout, I have given everything I can. Then darling John comes and gets in my face insisting I punch harder.
And I try. I give it my all.
But what I really want to do is tell this instructor all about my life story. I want to explain that I have lost a ton of weight before, I can do this. I want to tell him that my foot is broken and that's why I hold back. I want to say that I am a kind and loving foster parent who wrestled two littles to even get to the gym.  I desperately want to share how funny and talented and happy I am- that it is a joy to be in my presence.  I do not do that. I just grunt. And work hard. Someday, John will see me in Trader Joe's- no, Whole Foods- and I'll have perfect makeup, a great outfit with even greater shoes and just casually wave at him. And then, my next class will be a breeze. And he'll just it on his exercise mat and be in awe of how far I've come. And then I snap out of it. I'm happily married. And John's gay.

2.07.2016

Super Bowl 50!

Why not celebrate with the best (worst for you) food ever, right?!
My favorite addition to this year's menu:
Betty's Blush Fluff:
the most delicious and tacky fruit dip in the world.
Mix together cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, chopped maraschino cherries, almond extract and toasted coconut. It was an unnatural pink dip that was ridiculously yummy. Enough with that, onto pictures!





2.06.2016

Favorties with one of my favorites

Vivy is on the mend- no stitches!
My feeling is that this will not be the only time we visit the ER with that girl.
My mom came into town to visit and celebrate Christmas. Because it has taken us this dang long to find a weekend when we were both not busy... kind of.
I have an event tomorrow, so Mama and I spent the day cooking up a storm!
And we threw in a fun time shopping for makeup and eating at one of my favorite restaurants. Gosh, I love doing all those things with my mama!!!

2.05.2016

Not fun.

Today was a day filled with shopping and eating and talking and a horrible accident.
My poor little Vivy!
My friend and I went shopping all over town.
We did it successfully with the littles.
Then, I needed to drop off my car for an oil change.
We went across the street to shop while the car was being done. It was an uneventful walk around the store until the three year old (from inside the cart) pulled on a rack of clothes and pulled the whole cart over.
The two toddlers toppled out of the cart.
I knew something was wrong when they fell, but I REALLY knew something was wring when Vivy did that long inhale before screaming. You know the one. The when you keep willing them to just breathe. Well, I picked little baby up and saw blood covering her whole face. It was bad. I had blood all over the front of my shirt, in my hair. When I was finally able to get a good look at Vivy, I saw the damage. Poor baby bit all the way through her lip. And there was a huge bruise on her gums. I tried not to panic when I called the shop to check in on the status of my oil change- not done. They have my car seats! Called Jimmy- he left work immediately and got the car seats and met us to take little one to the ER. It was awful. Just awful.
I hate it when things like this happen. Lets just hope she gets better soon!

2.04.2016

Food Pictures

Because there are not enough on this here blog!







2.03.2016

All I did was answer the phone...

In the short time I took to stand up,
walk to the phone,
say, "Hello?"
and walk back into the bedroom shared by my two toddlers,
this happened...

If there was a 'before' picture it would include:
A nicely made bed
A fully intact curtain rod 
Curtains 
And not a toddler in sight

2.02.2016

The Painted Lady

I have been in and out meeting the social worker for a few months now.
We meet often enough that she and I really get along.
And we know each other pretty well.
I thought.
Because I went into the office to talk to the worker and stood at her office door for some time before she would even acknowledge I was standing there. In fact, she kept making that strange 'who is this crazy lady' face at the other social worker sitting in her office. I just kept standing there smiling and awkwardly waving at our social worker while she was making more faces at her co-worker. Things were starting to get ridiculous, with all the non-verbal communication, I was starting to think I had read the signals wrong.
I said a chipper, "Hi!"
The social worker gasped and covered her mouth in surprise. "It's you! Hi, Stephanie!"
You guys, she hadn't recognized me before I spoke.
I was a creeper that was just standing at her door because the social worker had no clue who I was!
Strange, huh?
It's because I was finally wearing makeup.

2.01.2016

First day jitters

Kate had her first day of public school today.
We made the decision to stop homeschooling because much of the time was spent on the road for different enrichment classes. Also, I just couldn't hack it.
I had Jimmy drop off Kate's paperwork for enrollment last week. He also scheduled testing for today...ish.
When I brought Kate in to the office, they were not expecting her. At all.
Because Kate's father told the school she would not be starting for a few weeks.
So the school had not made preparations.
Or set up classes.
Or set up testing.
Or even knew who Kate was.
But we got it all figured out and the first day jitters will just have to continue tomorrow...

1.31.2016

Hold onto your hats! (and other accessories)

We brought two cars to church today because Jimmy had an early morning meeting.
On the way home, I was at a stoplight right next to Jimmy. The littles thought it was a hoot that they could talk to daddy through the open window. It was a long light, so many silly faces were made and games of peek a boo exchanged. It was adorable.
Then the light turned green.
And Vivy chucked her shoe out the window.
Always an adventure.

1.30.2016

We live on a very bumpy road

Our life has always had some crazy mixed into it.
When setbacks occur, many call it a 'bump in the road'.
Well, in our little family, we tend to have a lot of bumps. I suppose it makes us drive slower to enjoy the scenery? It's become a bit of a joke now.
Kind of like when we came home from vacation in November and our bathroom was flooded.
Or the one time our septic system backed up on Christmas morning.
And then it backed up again on New Year's Eve.
How about the instance in which we came home from a 16 hour drive home to have no hot water.
Speaking of water- that one time I had to make SOUP for 400 people and our kitchen sink broke. How do you make soup with out water, I ask you?!

Seriously, it's a plague in the House of Graham. Something is always going wrong. And we laugh. Because if you don't laugh, you cry.
So what bump am I sharing with you fine people today?
Oh, only that our power went out. All day long yesterday. At just our house. For apparently no other reason than it was our house. I called PG&E, but they refused to talk to me because I wasn't the name on the account.. After I waited over an hour to speak to someone. Let me remind you that our power was out, so a corded (plug into the wall) phone was necessary to make the call. And if a toddler is anything, it's savvy to the fact that mom cannot leave the spot in which she is standing. So for 68 minutes, I sat listening to muzak and watched the littles ruin my house one cupboard at a time. We decided to celebrate that by going out to dinner! Wanna see pictures?