House of the Sick

I have officially walked the red carpet to collect my award as 'Worst Wifey of the Year'... Jimmy has been so sick the past week. Like, gross, hacking cough/high fever/achy/whiny sick. And I have banished him to the guest room. I can still hear him coughing and snoring at night, but the guest room is farther away than any other room in the house. I am considering making him sleep in the car tonight. In my defense, for the first 48 hours I waited on him hand and foot, bringing medicine, water, soup etc. Then Kaitlin got sick with a fever of 103 and I was left a lone well person in the House of Graham. Gosh, now my duty had doubled from one whining baby to two. By the fourth day of doing my rounds in the sick ward, I got fed up and started letting the two invalids fend for themselves. Or let the sick husband care for the sick child, rather. Yeah, I'm that evil. Thus, waiting for the lightning to strike... or a high fever, whichever comes first.


OCD part deux

Actually, if I'm being honest, it's far past the second time I've had OCD...
I am a complete control freak about our Christmas tree. Complete.
To live as a Christmas tree at the House of Graham one must

a) have white lights. NO colored lights allowed, much to my husband's dismay.
b) ornaments are properly spaced and color coded to look 'randomly hung on the tree with great care'
c) must follow strict monochromatic dress code excluding the Faberge eggs my grandmother made forty years ago.

p.s.- any friend of mine does not have blue lights as part of their decor. If you have ignored this code of our friendship, we will not speak until Valentine's Day. I do this because I love.


Let it snow!!!

It snowed here yesterday! I have never seen it snow in the Bay Area before. I still recall a day living in Santa Cruz when there was actually a little ice on our driveway... It was so exciting to play in the white fluff with Kaitlin. Granted, it was only a couple of inches, but still enough to make a little baby snowman!


Oh, gosh

why is it that when I'm all gussied up and go to run errands, I don't see anyone I know... but when I look like c.r.a.p.- I see everyone and their brother/sister/gardener/nanny... you get the picture.


My allegiance is to the Road Runner

It was my morning to drive the kids to school today. As were driving down the driveway towards the road, one of the girls said, "Hey, look! There's a deer in the field!" Of course Kaitlin jerks her head around frantically searching for a glimpse of the wild life. I, on the other hand, am used to multiple deer sightings a day so was less than enthused and continued driving. "That's not a deer, " shrieked Anna, "that's a coyote!" Screeeeeeeech! The car comes to a stop and the supposed responsible adult yelps in fear, "Where?!?! A coyote?!! Where is it?!" As my eyes are directed to the coyote in the front field, all I can think of is our dog, Baxter, lazing around the yard. Oh no, I think, that coyote is going to eat Baxter in one bite! I do anything a rational adult would do and start to panic. Might I add, that the kids are calm this entire transaction... I started laying on the horn and yelling, but the coyote does not budge. So, the next thing to do is to protect Baxter from his impending doom and to get him in the car with us. Now, I was quite a distance from the front porch he was sunning on (think about 1/4 mile) and if I called him, the dog would have just barely avoid the coyote's path.
If Baxter ran straight to me. If the coyote stayed put.
Well, of course, this is my life so neither of those two things happened. Baxter came running at my call, but saw the coyote mid stride and started to chase the thing! Kids, still calm in the back seat- Me, freaking out!!!
"Baxter, get back here now- the coyote will!eat!you!" I scream. The dog continues to chase, I continue to scream. The dog crosses the road into reservoir property. I continue to scream. The dog runs further and further away. I continue to scream. Now granted, I did not use profanity... but I was a tad bit out of control trying to get the dog in the car. By now, I had no idea where he was. I am sure the coyote had him up on a spit by now and was preparing a tasty salad to go with Baxter. I hop back in the car to drive up the road to find our dog. There! There he is! just standing barking a severe warning to that coyote and awaiting his carriage ride. He came running towards me up and over the wall (it's private, city owned property, with gates and locks and such) as if to say, "Look, Mom, I've protected you... ain't I great?!" Oh gosh... Yes, Baxter is great, but not in the sense that he goes well with leafy greens and a nice vinaigrette.


Confessions of a Black Friday Shopper

I was a Black Friday novice this year. Not once in my life had I wanted to attend a Black Friday shopping trip. In fact, I avoided Black Friday like the plague. Well, I suppose I met my tipping point this year and succumbed to the ads... I have to say, this will be my new tradition! I LOVED it! I got to spend some girl time with my mom and in-laws, I got some uh-may-zing deal, and I just had a blast! Here's the rundown:

Thursday Night: after extensive debate and many shreds of newspaper ads, go to bed at 8:00pm


2:00 am: pop out of bed like a well oiled toaster

2:57 am: leave the house with minimal baggage- debit card and license in one pocket, ads and shopping list in the other

3:14 am: be fourth in line at Kohl's, have a great time laughing and joking with fellow shoppers(until 4:00 am, then all bets are off)

4:02 am: run through the store like a mad woman

4:06 am: realize no one else is in a shopping frenzy and calm down to get the things on my list

4:47 am: leave Kohl's and head to WalMart

4:53 am: invent own parking space, hop in to WalMart, weave my way to the back of the store for desired product, yank last desired from woman with less spunk/sass, check out and be on my merry way

5:13 am: arrive at Target, do some shopping come out while it's still! dark!

6:48 am head over to World Market and get a free ornament in the gift basket, buy French Milled soap for a buck! woo hooo!!!!

7:36 am: breakfast/should be lunch... at IHOP- thanks, Mom!!!!

8:53 am: got to Fairfield Michael's and start to ebb a bit. We all started walking around like zombies visiting aisles repeatedly and slurring our speech.

10:03 am: Head home- crash.

I will be doing it next year, any takers?


How we do Turkey Day...

with a HUGE amount of pictures!

Look at that bird... shake your tail feather (I'm sorry... I had to say it)

And THE picture to top all pictures...


Tomorrow's Turkey Day!

Get that bird in it's brine!!! *

*A friendly reminder from your neighborhood perfect turkey captain.



SO, yeah, I was just reading the blog, Seriously, So Blessed... when I realized that my last post looked almost exactly the same as her post on New Moon... I am so that mom she's poking fun at!!! I know she only does it out of jealousy.


only a little obsessed...

*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*vnew moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*new moon*

I saw the sign (think Ace of Base)

Now that song will be stuck in your head all day. You're welcome.
Onto the post!
There has been quite a bit of construction on our road lately. Since it is a two lane road, the construction crews have been closing one side and having cars take turns to use the remaining lane still open. With this procedure comes a tired looking, sometimes eating Doritos (true story), man holding a sign that either reads, 'Slow' or, 'Stop'. Pretty straight forward, no? Jimmy and I were driving through the cone zone and stopped at one of the men holding a 'stop' sign. Strange. This part of the road has both lanes open... Well, maybe they are about to close one side. Hmmm...The sign man was standing there chatting it up with a few other workers while we patiently waited for the sign to change. We sat there for a full minute. Think: a mouth full of fluoride in the uncomfortable trays minute... not- the last minute of 'Glee' minute. That's how long it took for the man and his buddies to realize we were stopped in the road. Then the group looked at us confused as to why we were just staring at them. The exchange of meaningful looks went between us in the car and the men on the road for another full minute. Meaningful to the point where our eyebrows and theirs were about to have a serious brawl. Then one guy looked up at the pole he was holding on to and realized that he was holding a 'stop' sign. He quickly put it down and started waving us through the nonexistent traffic. As we rolled through, I glanced back at the men men laughing and pointing at the former sign holder... gosh, I'm glad I wasn't the only one.


I'm so sneaky

My mom sent us a few treats from See's Candy a few weeks ago. One of the treats was a 1 lb. box of Nuts & Chews... I know you're drooling, but please people, let's get a hold of ourselves. Because Halloween was soon approaching, we put the See's in the cupboard so Kaitlin's cheap candy would be consumed first. I assumed that Jimmy had forgotten about the 1 lb. box of Nuts & Chews and very slyly hid it on top of the refrigerator. While Jimmy and Kaitlin would snack on her Halloween goodies occasionally, I would sneak into the kitchen for a taste of the good stuff. I had a meeting to attend to one night and had to leave my precious (think Gollum from Lord of the Rings...) chocolates to fend for themselves. Apparently, I did not take into account that Jimmy is, in fact, taller than me... hence, being able to see the box, hence finding it when I was at the meeting, hence... oh, gosh- you know what happened next- I was caught red handed... melted chocolate handed, rather. I am not as stealth as I think I am. At least I ate all the good ones first.

p.s.- thank you all for your sweet and tender words from my Kenai post. Your words are very encouraging and it helps to have them in this difficult time.


Our girl, Kenai

Our sweet dog, Kenai, peacefully passed away today. I cannot believe the tremendous effect it has had on our family. I suppose the effect is reflective of what she gave to our family. Kenai was a happy, loyal and loving animal. She was tender and sweet to Kaitlin, despite the numerous times playing dress up. Jimmy and I have cried together more at this event than any other in our life together. We loved Kenai. She brought such a special spirit into our home. We will miss Kenai dearly. I have no doubt that she is cheering up many children in heaven. Jimmy and I both admitted to each other that her heart was clearly for children. She would follow Kaitlin around and just kiss her to pieces. I am grateful that I was granted a short time with, Kenai, the angel dog. Rest in peace, sweet girl.


Joy to the World

I don't know what it is, but this year I feel the holiday spirit so strongly. It's palpable. It's deep. There are some years that I just skim through the holidays nearly panting from the busy-ness that comes. But this year, I feel the spirit so strongly and I'm striving to savor every moment.

The smells, the laughs, the friends, the family... it just feels so real to me. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that has given me this gift of the holidays. I am sorry to say that I don't have this wonder and awe every year. The gratitude for the amazing things in my life run deep and I feel anchored to it. I know that the spirit of Thanksgiving is not just about the food but about the gratitude and love for our loved ones. It's about those that granted us freedom and paved the way in a new nation. I know the spirit of Christmas is not all about the commercial aspect, but a true celebration of the greatest gift of all, our Savior. My love for the Savior is so real. I know without a shadow of a doubt that he loves me. I know that the birth of the precious Christ child is a miracle. Not just a miracle of that night... but of his whole life and example. How I love the knowledge of these things. I treasure my testimony of a true and living Savior. May this holiday season grant you peace and joy. May your hearts be filled with a tangible love and your soul be touched by the small miracles that happen everyday.


Rules of Mommyhood

I have come to learn with being a mother that there are certain tricks, rules, if you will of nature. I have listed some choice rules in our house below:
  • The Rule of the One Messy Room- at no one given time may all rooms within the household be entirely orderly. One room must take the fall... usually mom's room.
  • The Rule of the School Aged Child- you will never be able to wake your child early enough to avoid: the morning rush, banshee screaming/yelling, slow eating, lost shoe.
  • The Rule of the Toddler- this child must act like a blender with the top removed especially at: the grocery store, the toy store- heck, any store...
  • The Rule of the Teenager- anything a parent states must result in rolling of the eyes and a muttering of some sort. In most cases the uttering resembles, "whatever..."
  • The Rule of the Laundry- it shall never, ever, ever, ever, ever be done
  • The Rule of the Dishes- *see rule of laundry above.
  • The Rule of the Potty- no matter how many times a child uses the restroom before an outing, once leaving the threshold of any given residence, will need to use the potty immediately. This rule is usually most in use during car rides when the nearest restroom is either at least an hour's driving distance or filthy beyond all reason.
  • The Rule of the Ratio- 50:1 amount of time it takes mom to clean a room to how long it takes to be completely unrecognizable i.e. trashed.
  • The Rule of the Food- only the food on mom's plate is desirable, even if it is the exact same food on everyone else's plate.
  • The Rule of the Good Book- a child is equipped with ultrasonic hearing in that a page ruffle or spine crack of a good book is heard at distances between 2 and 40 meters from reading site. The child has two choices at that point: make trouble or play shadow.
  • The Rule of the Toothpaste- a child may never leave more than 30% of current toothpaste in tube remaining in the tube.


Tried a new recipe tonight...

did NOT go over very well with anyone. Jimmy actually threw away his remaining portion. It has to be pretty bad if he doesn't at least hide it in the napkin first...


get the tissues ready...

I am terrible at writing thank you cards, birthday cards- any of those. Terrible. My family can attest to that. I am going to send a card to this little boy, though. If I can do it- I know you can! (this little boy is the son of a friend)

5 year old Noah is in the last stages of a 2 1/2 yr battle with Neuroblastoma Cancer. The family is celebrating Christmas next week. Noah's request is to get lots of Christmas cards.
Lets do it, please send cards to:

Noah Biorkman
1141 Fountain View Circle
South Lyon, MI 48178

with sweet and sour

This past Sunday at church, I got up to speak while Kaitlin and Jimmy stayed seated in the congregation. While I was talking about a very spiritual experience Kaitlin whispered not so quietly to Jimmy, "Dad, it smells like chicken nuggets... and I want to eat them."


The red button kid revisited

To quote an earlier post:
"I am a self proclaimed red button kid. The definition of a red button kid is this: one that sees a button, any button and has an overwhelming urge to push/pull said button. I still have to fold my arms when I walk by the fire alarm at the church. Luckily, there's a protective plastic shield over that alarm now. It used to be completely exposed... I would have to walk very quickly past that red button with arms folded and look in the complete opposite direction."

It seems that karma like to make a mockery of one, Stephanie Graham... because, literally touching the kindergarten class sign out sheet- the sheet I have to touch every day- is this:


Leaving a legacy

I almost feel like I need to explain my self for my lack of blogging. I would love to let you know what's been going on. Although I won't go into to detail, maybe some bullet points will suffice. Yes! Bullet points- I love bullet points...
  • Jog-a-thon- yes, I did make two full-sized palm trees to flank the snack table. A snack table that was only up for 30 minutes. A snack table that was attended by a crazy lady catching the trees as they were bullied by the wind. Gosh, I hate being a show-off.
  • Halloween party- crazy lady entertaining kindergartners for four hours. Think: jumping up and down, singing, making a complete and total fool of oneself. Cue: less than fresh orange sweater and daughter covering face in embarrassment.
  • Harvest festival & baking of 20 pies for pie eating contest (that one was actually easier than it sounds)
  • Meeting with financial advisor
  • Compiling resume- argh! (thanks for the help, mom!)
  • Feeling frustrated that every past job has come to me and sitting around waiting for a job offer is not being proactive. (anyone looking for a(n): event planner, professional organizer, caterer, seamstress, wedding anything, beneficiary to large fortune? Also, lines are open for pledges)
  • Keeping a happy home- dude, I know that's dang short bullet point, but you all know what a happy home entails...

And so, so much more. Plus, I have realized of late that I was starting to write this blog for everyone else but me. Consumption of mind came from multiple daily comment checks, google analytics checks, etc. I've always been one to worry about what people think of me. From my mouth comes a scary high whining voice when I suspect someone not liking me. But this I tell you now: No more! (I put the exclamation mark there to sound more menacing- what do you think? Wait! Don't answer that! I don't want to know what other people think... for the most part. If it's a compliment... argh! Why am I so darn self-defeating?!) It's nice to have a online journal to look back on. I just read my blog from beginning to now and thoroughly enjoyed some of my antics and cringed at the things I posted because I thought someone else might like it. I came to the realization that when I am being most real, a legacy is left for the family that someday will only know me as the great grandma who uses an electronic chair to get up the stairs.

So, on the cons list of such a long hiatus: lack of detail with those bullet points when they all transpired. And on the pros list, not blogging has given me serious time to catch up on my Netflix queue.


Due to the crazy week ahead

My posts will be non-existent for 7-10* days...

*subject to change. If you will be pining for my return, I will still post this week on Butterflies with April.


Paranoid much?

I was shopping at Ross the other day looking through their clearance aisle... you know it's bad if you're buying clearance at Ross- haahaa!!! I just like me a good bargain. Anyway, as I was perusing the aisle, I noticed a woman to my left about to walk behind me. Because the aisles are so small, I pushed into the rack a little so that the woman could pass easily. As I continued to look through clothes, I noticed in my peripheral vision that lady was following me! I kept walking down the aisle, smooshed into the clothes to let her pass, but the dang lady would not stop following behind me. I am not one to get upset, but this woman was driving me nuts. I would peek ever so slightly over my shoulder and see the woman lurking behind me. If she thinks she's scaring me out of the clearance aisle- that crazy cupcake has got another thing coming!!! When the situation had reached it's peak of annoyance, I turned around to ask if the woman needed to get past me. As the turn was complete, I realized I was looking into the most familiar and slightly annoyed hazel eyes- that's right folks, I was looking in a mirror...


I assure you...

...my parents will be shocked by this next statement.

For me, the hardest thing about being a parent is the mess.


Having the same story

on prime real estate on this blog for a few days in a row may become boring for avid readers... but a few days between posts means that my house is clean.


Pickles and Ice Cream

When I was pregnant with Kaitlin, I sent Jimmy out to get a whopper at BK for an end to my craving. The instructions were specific: light mayo, light onions, add mustard, extra pickles, cut in half. My darling husband came home with a perfect burger for his cranky wifey... what I didn't know until last night (Kaitlin is now six years old, mind you) was this- Jimmy asked the woman at Burger King to cut the pickles in half, not the burger. He, of course, received a puzzled look from the worker, but insisted that the pickles be cut in half. There was no way Jimmy would be coming home to pregnant Stephanie without a perfect Whopper. It was only a mere 24 hours ago I learned how crazy my sweet spouse thought I was asking for such an insane burger...Luckily for him, they cut the burger in half too.


Time Out

Finally getting around to this post!!! I attended Time Out for Women last week with all my girlfriends. Time Out is a conference to encourage, grow, reflect and enrich. I had a blast... It always starts with great shopping, continues with great eating and ends with deep discussion over what we all learned each year. I really enjoy my time with the girls!
The majority of the pictures I have are from the first night of dinner... I guess I was a little distracted.
Above: Rachel and Jaime
Below: Michelle and Lisa

Above: Lisa and me
Below: Jaime making fun of Megan's mouth full of food
Below: Now Megan is in on the action!
I shared a bed with Megan and woke up to her head completely covered by a pillow and her wrapped up in the covers. I thought she stopped breathing! Well, I suppose not long enough to stop me getting a picture first.

Enjoying the speakers at the conference... Not enjoying, however, the chairs held together by zip ties, the echo in the building or the wafting smell of garlic fries during a very spiritual experience. Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to the conference in Sacramento next year (gotta love those cushy seats)

I love that we cut the zip ties between the chairs before the staff asked us to refrain from doing so... well, permission was never asked and I'm still waiting to hear on that forgiveness. Overall, I had a great time! I was able to score while shopping using stored up giftcards. I even got dinner at the Cheesecake Factory on a gift card. Life is good.


to market, to market, to buy a fat pig

On the way home from Oakland yesterday, the girls and I stopped at the Public Market in Emeryville. The Public Market is a indoor food court with international food from Persian and Afghan to Thai and good ol' fashioned turkey with all the fixin's! I love that all the little cafeteria style restaurants fight for your business by handing out tons of free samples on little toothpicks. If one were to circle the market a few times, there would be no need to buy food! I ended up getting Afghan food- Lamb kabobs with saffron rice and mild curry- so, so, so delish! If you are ever in the area shopping at IKEA or going to the temple, I highly recommend making a stop at the Public Market.


8 years of living with a crazy lady...

and Jimmy's still holding on!
I love you so much sweetheart and wish you a Happy Anniversary today!
May we continue on this journey of eternity with just as many laughs as we have had thus far.


The happiest place on earth

Disneyland in two words- AWE-SOME!!!!

One of my all time favorite moments:

We went on the California Adventure rapids ride with another family and really hit it off. I got got completely drenched and in turn, completely laughed at. There was speculation as to whether or not a certain seat is the one to always get drenched... to test our theory of the heavy side getting the most wet, we went on the ride again with that family. Approaching the front of the line, our plan of attack was decided- all the kidss on one side and all the adults on the other side of the circular shaped raft. As the raft flew down the first elevation, all the adults got a wall of water down their backs. And it continued. On the last and final drop, when the raft usually twists and turns, the raft acted as it had an invisible magnet- with the heavy side going down first, dropping like a lead balloon. Yes, our theory was right, but the only thing we had to show for it was a good, healthy soaking.

Mom's favorite ride: Thunder Mountain Railroad

Stephanie's favorite ride: The Tower of Terror

Jimmy's favorite ride: Space Mountain

Kaitlin's favorite rides: Indiana Jones and Mulholland Madness (we went on that ride 4 times in a row)


Okay, okay...

you asked for it, you've got it.

I suppose I wanted to remain vague about Kaitlin's extracurricular activities while both of her parents were napping because I wanted to keep all things as far from my memory as possible!

  1. First, she called nearly everyone in the address book.... I got several calls the next day from the lucky winners. Some had to erase multiple long messages on their answering machine. Because apparently, when Kaitlin leaves a message and the machine cuts her off- she calls back.
  2. The flowers that were so lovingly planted previous to our nap were transplanted onto the patio. It seems our little girl feels the flowers need more 'room to grow'.
  3. The dog got into the trash can because, as Kaitlin puts it, "He was really hungry, mom!"
  4. And last, but certainly not least, we woke to a terrible crashing sound. A huge mirror just happened to shatter mysteriously. A HUGE mirror. Like, six feet by five feet, huge. Yes, just mysteriously. It just so happens that when we came out of groggy afternoon nap-ness, Kaitlin was standing next to the shattered frame mysteriously.

Needless to say, we will be taking our Sunday naps in shifts again...

p.s. Disneyland post to come soon... we had a blast- just getting all the pictures together is taking longer than expected!


Parenting Tip # 372:

Both parents should avoid napping simultaneously...

you don't even want to know.


in the know

Do you know anyone that has gone through the car wash with a back window down?
Well, now you do...

In gratitude and remembrance

My parents are from the generation that is asked the question, "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?"
I am from the generation, "Where were you when the twin towers were hit?"

Jimmy and I were to be married in eleven days. I was busy with wedding plans. Working in living facility for the elderly gave me ample opportunity to view the attacks on our country on a huge screen with very loud commentary in the home's great room. The realization of what had happened to our country hit me like a ton of bricks. What I was more concerned about was this: I wasn't married yet. What if something happened and Jimmy and I were separated? I launched into panic mode because I wasn't bound to Jimmy in marriage... silly thoughts, I know, but I was very concerned. So much so, that I had considered eloping that night. Fortunately, we waited the eleven days to get married so that my family could be there. Luckily, their flights weren't cancelled! On the night of September 11, Jimmy and I attended the temple. It was eerie to be at the temple near so many flights paths without a single plane in the air. The things said at our session were striking and profound. The Spirit was so strong. I came to realize the love my Father in Heaven has for me. My heart went out to those who lost their loved ones- and it still does. I have a great love and deep respect for all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The acts of heroism are just testaments of the strength of this great country.


TP troublemakers

My brother, Tom and his fiance got married a week and half ago and Jimmy and I were able to attend their beautiful wedding. The reception was held at a fine and fancy restaurant. Everything was very tasteful and classy... so much so, that the restaurant prohibited any 'decoration' to the happy couple's form of transportation. Some mischievous groomsmen decided that the rules of the establishment did not apply to them. The sneaky guys had been caught in the act of trying to decorate Tom and Ellen's car and were nearly dragged in by the scruff of their necks. Enter my little brother Jim... Jim had decided that if he was on the black list of this fancy restaurant, as well as nearly all the other men he tried to rope into defacing the wedding getaway car, he had no choice but to turn to the sweet innocent women attending the wedding. that's where Jess (My sister-in-law, Jim's wife) and I come into the picture. Here's how the story goes:
Jim came back defeated from the parking lot and saw Jess and I chit chatting outside. He approached us with a very sneaky look and said, "I see that you ladies are wearing black dresses... hmmm... like ninja/stealth black dresses. Like 'won't get caught decorating Tom and Ellen's car' black dresses. Do you guys feel up to completing our mission? We've been flagged by the security guards and can't even get out to the parking lot. Will you two finish the job we started?" Jess and I somberly agreed. This was serious business. Jim proceeded to tell us where he had stashed the toilet paper and that we needed to look for the silver Ford escape with Nevada plates.
As Jess and I innocently walked out to the parking lot, the security guards nary gave us a second glance... good! we're in!... As we reached the spot where the toilet paper was to be stashed, we realized that the loot had been confiscated. Gosh! These guards were good. So, Jess and I walked back inside to get more toilet paper from the bathroom. But, how do we explain why two girls would be walking back and forth from the party to parking lot? Easy, have your sister-in-law play a drunken party girl while you assist her to the bathroom. We had gotten another accomplice from the reception hall to give us a hand. To protect the innocent, we'll call her Janice. Janice agreed to stuff her dress with toilet paper to appear pregnant... with cylindrical shaped babies. The plan failed when a total stranger walked in on us in the bathroom and Janice delivered one of her litter prematurely. Holding toilet paper rolls under the husbands' suit jackets was the method of choice. As Janice and I escorted 'drunk' Jessica back out to the parking lot, the guards curiosity seemed to have been piqued. So what else were we to do? Yes. Yes we did, drive my car out of the parking lot, turn off the lights an re-park in the back of lot. We snuck, very ninja/stealth-like to the desired car and got busy. I am surprised the guards didn't catch us at this point, because the giggling had really gotten out of hand. I think Jess was taking the drunk thing very seriously and it was highly contagious. The car was sufficiently wrapped. 'sufficiently wrapped' meaning completely covered, it was not apparent a vehicle was even under the huge mass of toilet paper we managed to smuggle from the gorgeous bathroom. Just as we were congratulating ourselves on a job well done, I called Jim to make sure the guards didn't see us. This is how the conversation went:
Jim: Hello?
Steph: Hey. We're done... are the guards watching us?
Jim: Not that I can tell. It looks like the coast is clear.
Steph: I just wanted to make sure we did the job to your specifications. Silver Ford Escape completely unrecognizable, right?
Jim: Right.... wait a second
Steph: What? You sound confused.
Jim: Did you say silver Ford Escape?
Steph: yes....
Jim: It's the car next to the silver Ford Escape.
Steph: awwww... crap!
So we proceeded to clean off the Ford and TP the car next to it. As Jess, Janice and I were finishing up the second destructo-fest of the night, a roll of toilet paper rolled down the front of the car, underneath two more cars and right in the middle of the parking lot. In other words, nearly at the guards' feet. One of the guards became suspicious and started to patrol the parking lot. He caught sight and we ran. Janice and Jessica had managed to stash their toilet paper while I had got stuck with mine. The guard chased us. I am very positive he saw my toilet paper, but I was not stopping. As Jess, Janice and I re-entered the hall, I looked at Jimmy with panic that can only come from being chased down by a security guard, threw the roll at him and yelled, "Hide this!" Jimmy stashed the roll under the table and we narrowly escaped into the crowd. Us girls continued dancing like nothing had happened. we were triumphant!... until we cheered for the happy couple on their way out and realized that the guards had removed any trace that we had done anything to their car. Maybe we were drunk after all....


Arizona is h.o.t.

Not just temperature wise... because we were there!
Jimmy and I went to Tempe Arizona for my brother Tom's wedding. We had a blast! I loved seeing my family and seriously getting down on the dance floor. Ellen looked absolutely gorgeous in her gown and planned a fabulous wedding. Our drive there was mostly uneventful... except when we broke down in the desert and had to pray hard. All things worked out, though. I do have to say, it was a little scary getting into Arizona at 10:00 at night while the temperature gauge is reading 102 degrees!!! I am used to it cooling down when the sun goes down. It did cool down, but it was 110 to begin with! Every time I stepped outside, I felt like my face would melt off. Needless to say, we will not be calling Arizona home anytime soon. There was plenty of fun and rule-breaking to go around while we were staying at the hotel. Climb a fence to the closed pool after midnight? No prob. Sneak into a hot tub hidden in the cliffs? You got it. There was ample opportunities for mischief to be taken- and take it we did! A Bear family event is never amiss with the silliness... more stories to come.

p.s. I suppose I can't complain when we got to stay at this beautiful resort...


"you said what?!?!"

When I picked Kaitlin up from her very first day of kindergarten, we had quite a bit to talk about i.e. she talked at me... When I asked what she had learned, Kaitlin excitedly responded, "I learned how to spell a word today!" Wow, it's already starting! So, after an inquiry, I learned that she was the proud new speller of the word, 'sad'. Hmmm...
"Kaitlin, why did your teacher help you learn how to spell that word?"
"Well," Kaitlin said, "we had to draw picture of ourselves with our name and how we felt."
"And you felt sad?" Aww... she missed her mommy!
"No. I just thought it would be funny to put down that I felt sad!"
"What?! Did you tell your teacher about this 'joke'?"
"No. But, I did draw myself smiling, so she'll know I'm actually happy. But now she knows I'm happy and funny!"
"oh gosh..."

After Kaitlin laughing so hard at her cleverness, I then poked and prodded her mind about the rest of the day. I should've learned from the last revelation to stop asking. Kaitlin informed me of the first thing she raised her hand about. Apparently, she felt it very important to ask, Miss Wade, on the very first day of school, if there were any ticks in her (Kaitlin's) hair... and then proceeded to ask the teacher to check! Argh!!!
I learned my lesson. I stopped asking about what else Kaitlin said to her teacher. I did, however, want to flip a u turn and explain that Kaitlin is actually a very content child and that we live out in the country and perform tick checks quite often. I am just waiting for the other antics that will be cooked up in the following school year... at least her hair looked cute.

UPDATE: Kaitlin came home with the first picture she drew of herself- not only did she write that she was 'sad' because it was funny, but to drive the point home of her hilariousness- she drew on herself a mustache.

I am the mother of a kindergartner!!!

The obligatory first day of school pictures:

It went great this morning. Jimmy and I dropped off Kaitlin in the morning and she did really well. No crying- for any of us. I already did my crying last week when I was sorting through Kaitlin's baby clothes. After dropping off Kaitlin for class, Jimmy and I went to the meet and mingle with other parents. I signed up to be the room mom and part of the hospitality committee. I am excited to be a part of such a great school! I am extremely grateful that I can be a part of Kaitlin's schooling. I have been so blessed to have the time to do so- thanks, Jimmy!!! Can't wait to update about the wonderful world of kindergarten!