Friday, April 29, 2011

Using Blogging For Good, Not Evil

A couple of weeks ago, my dear friend/former college housemate/fellow blogger/member of the jelly-bracelet posse, Carina posed a challenge on her blog to do something simple and help out our fellow-man by baking and giving out the goods to someone in need. Easy, huh? I thought this would be a fun and great way for my kids and I to step outside of ourselves, gain some perspective on how good we have it, honor Jesus and have a little fun baking at the same time.

This morning we cooked up our first "Bakin' It To The Streets" batch of cookies (Peanut-Butter, Chocolate-Chunk) and bagged them up and are heading out this evening when Gavin comes home to pass them out to a handful of homeless in our city. I'm excited! Noelle is nervous. We'll see how it goes! Thanks to Carina for the fun idea! We'll be doing this every month if you ever care to join us... :-)

Also, Carina's husband is participating in a hunger-walk this weekend. He's SUPER close to his fundraising goal. If you wanna donate $5 to the cause, click here. It is easy and fast, I promise. I did it!

Look at this cute little baker...

I'm 65% sure that he washed his hands...

This was when he looked directly at me, snot running out of his nose and burped...what a lovely boy...

I kinda like her...

I promise, I didn't eat any. Day 3 of non-Lent, Lent for me! :-)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Poetry Slam Thursday

*April 28, 2011 - I'm reposting this because it feels appropriate for today...and I'm bawling after Michael's exit...

I've decided that Thursdays are going to be "Poetry Day"! Yahoo! I'll write a wordy, rhyme-y poem about whatever my little heart desires. For many years now, Thursdays in my mind have been "The Office is on TV Tonight" day. So, on my first official Poetry Thursday, I'm inspired by my favorite show in the whole wide world...

The Office...

Paper is the office biz,
They all try to sell it.
Michael often interferes,
trying a new improv bit.

World's Best Boss on Michael's mug,
Dwight's the A(t)R M,
Toby is the hated one,
And love ol' Pam and Jim

Woof dot com is Ryan's gig
And Kelly isn't pregnant.
Dwight owns the building now,
with Dunder Mifflin as the tenant.

Kevin loves his M&M's,
And Oscar is so gay.
Angela throws cats into the ceiling,
and Sprinkles is not okay.

Darryl got promoted now,
He got another raise.
Andy pines for Erin though
Giving birds that cause a haze.

Creed's the man in quality
who never does his job.
Gabe is very nerdy,
And Phyllis loves her Bob

Stanley does his crosswords,
Holly moved away.
She's stolen Michael's heart
and Garbage is a stray.

Angela dates a senator,
He is from the state.
Threat Level Midnight's an epic movie
and Michael sure can skate.

Dinner Parties are my fave
When Jan is in the house.
Who know's what will happen next?
Will Meredith get bit by a mouse?

Finer Things Club is a clique',
Fun Runs are a blast,
Benihana is Asian Hooters
And David Wallace is in the past.

Pretzel day is the greatest,
It comes only once a year.
Mose lives on the beet farm,
and wears shirts that say, "FEAR".

The Office is the greatest
It's not a show that's typical.
Dunder Mifflin holds a warm spot in my heart,
As they're the people person's paper people.

My Current Obsessions

Sometimes I think it would be really fun to go into Sales as a profession. But only if I really liked what I was selling. Like Subarus. I'm pretty sure I could sell a Subaru. They are awesome cars and our current 1995 Subaru has 198,000 miles on it and his name is "Rocket" and he is awesome. I love Subarus. I get really excited talking about them and telling people how great they are, but only because I love them...obviously, I'm not getting paid to. Maybe I should rethink this...

My friend Carol could sell Vita-mixes. You know, those awesome blenders they sell at Costco and can pulverize anything? She LOVES her Vita-mix and I'm sure she would make millions if she sold them. I've almost rushed myself to Costco 84,579,345 times after getting off of the phone with her to buy one. I haven't yet. She gets excited about Vita-mixes like I get excited about Subarus.

When I find something I love or feel strongly about, I feel this desperate need to shout it from the rooftops...






Ya know, stuff like that.

So, I thought I would share my current obsessions. I could probably write a long blog post about each and every one of these, but that would probably be boring for everyone but me (and maybe Carol).

Obsession #1: This book. It was amazing. I read it in 2 days. I hate war movies and war books, but this was incredible. I even learned a TON about WWII - and I ain't no history buff. The dude survived at sea for FORTY-SEVEN days! Read it. You'll love it (but if you don't love it, blame someone else).

Obesession #2: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products. They. Are. Amazing. Seriously, I HAND WASH my dishes now because I love to smell them and soak my hands in them. They are aromatherapeutic and they smell unbelievable. Lavender is my favorite scent, then Geranium, then Basil, then Lemon Verbana. I will buy every product Mrs. Meyers makes and hug her and squeeze her if I ever meet her. Unless she's not a real person.

Obsession #3: Not eating our Easter candy.

Obesssion #4: Our newly reorganized home/homeschool office. It's clean and pretty. Let's keep it that way - Okay, Noelle and Jude? Maybe I should make them read my blog as part of their homeschool routine...hmm...
Isn't it pretty?

Obsession #5: Leggings. I don't have a photo because I didn't want to steal one of the internet and I didn't actually think it would be a great idea to try and take a picture of myself wearing leggings. I guess I could have asked Gavin to do that, but he's at work now and it would really be weird to do a self-portrait of my legs in leggings. Anyways, they are my new favorite. It's like wearing PJ's all day. AND I just discovered that if you scrunch em' up a bit...they magically turn into carpris! I am in L-O-V-E.

Obesession 6: These shoes. I saw this post on The Pioneer Woman blog and boy, oh boy was she right about these shoes. I wear them every second of my life right now. In fact, I'm wearing the coral ones right this minute (they look lovely with my bathrobe). They've solved my Mom Uniform shoe dilemma and I will eternally be grateful.

I bought TWO pairs! I need them in every color...if only that were possible and not weird...

The End.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Opposite of Lent

I'm pretty good at sticking to New Year's resolutions, but I have never successfully observed Lent. So there.
Well, I had never even heard of Lent until high school and at that point I just thought it was dumb and unnecessary. At this point in my life though, it seems like a really great, honorable idea and I am just really bad at most great, honorable things.

For the past few years, I've thought of a few things that I could give up for Lent and just never stuck with them. My college roommate gave up shaving her legs for Lent our sophomore year. I think I could probably do that one too, but just haven't quite committed. This year, I considered giving up candy, but then I saw those black jelly beans for a buck a bag. And I ate two bags. I never struggle with craving candy like I do during the Easter season. When I see those Starburst jelly beans or Cadbury mini-eggs or Robin Eggs or Jolly Rancher jelly beans or black jelly beans there is this internal panic that goes off inside of me shouting, "BUT THOSE WILL ONLY BE AROUND UNTIL EASTER! YOU BETTER EAT EM' NOW!"...While everyone else is living a season of self-control and sacrifice, I live in a season of chocolate indulgence and jelly bean gluttony.

So, now that the Easter candy is overflowing in the Brem household and Lent is over, I feel challenged to begin my own personal non-Lent, Lent. Besides candy, anybody have any ideas? I'd love to earn back a little self-respect in the discipline category. That left when I purchased the bag Starburst Sour jelly beans - which were disappointingly not sour. 40 days begins today!

*If anyone wants to know what happens to your body after eating an entire bag of black jelly beans, I'd love to share...privately. :-)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

1 Million Dollars

Thanks to my sweet 8 year old, I’ve learned a few things about myself recently. I’ve had the opportunity for some self-evaluation and have come to a few conclusions that I had never expected. Somewhat like Noelle’s previous game, the new questions that have arisen in our household have given me the chance to decide what I would or would not do given the chance to win money.

Recent conclusions:

*I would try to eat 100 cheeseburgers for 1 million dollars.

*I would not drink 5 gallons of soda for 1 dollar.

*I would eat a giant sandwich for 1 million dollars.

*I would drink a giant soda for 1 million dollars.

*I would not pretend that someone was dead and tell their loved ones they were dead as a joke for 1 million dollars.

*I would sell Bindi for 1 million dollars. (This was met with threats from Noelle to cry and cry and never forgive me if I did that one)

*I would pick up a stray dog and help find it’s owners for 1 million dollars.

*Gavin would tell someone he had a crush on them for 1 million dollars.

And thanks to the reminders from my childhood friends, I do remember actually eating an entire paper plate while sitting in a Dairy Queen for THREE WHOLE DOLLARS. Totally worth it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tacoma Minus The Aroma

The City of Destiny

From Infinite Soups to MSM Deli,
I dream of these foods gettin' in my belly.

Jefferson Park in the summer is bomb,
Point Defiance Zoo I love all year long.

Pac Ave offers lots of strange things to see,
At night its not necessarily where you want to be.

West End Pub on Proctor and 6th,
Their Onions rings and buffalo sauce are a lovely mix.

Mandolin, Metronome, Starbucks and Forza,
Make Tacoma Caffienation easy and simple for ya.

Tacoma Boys' chips and salsa (the samples are free),
Pho Than Brothers in Parkland is where Gavin likes to be.

Teriyaki is endless, but "A Top" is the best,
Thai on every corner, Wild Orchid I'll ingest.

Ruston Way is lovely and great to people watch,
Katie Downs, The Ram or Dukes take summer dining up a notch.

East Side, Hilltop, Parkland, and U.P.
Fircrest, North End and Stadium are lovely.

We eat our way through the city, growing as we do,
Chambers Bay is good for burning calories, we need to go there too.

Though cloudy far too long and gray for many days,
A sunny day in Tacoma can't be beat in any ways.

A very fitting name, it's called the City of Destiny,
The aroma no longer lingers, and that always blesses me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Gift That Keeps On Giving...

Every Christmas Eve our family exchanges one gift and it is ALWAYS a new pair of pajamas. My sweet mother-in-law usually takes on the task of getting my PJ gift most years and she always picks out the cutest jammies for me. This past Christmas, I received a really cute pair of PJ's from Victoria's Secret and I have been wearing them frequently for the past 4 months and loving how cute, cozy and comfy they are.

Currently, we are on a trip visiting our friends and family in Tacoma, Washington and we have been staying with different friends and family members while we are here. Being the conscious and minimalist suitcase packer that I am, I only brought one pair of pajamas with me on this trip and have been traipsing around in our various friends' houses wearing my new V.S. PJ's. The last couple of nights we stayed at our dear friends Brice and Julie's house. The house they live in has many mirrors, which gave me ample opportunities to check myself out while wearing my V.S. PJ's. What I saw was not what I expected. In fact, I couldn't help but double over with laughter when I looked in the mirror and realized what I had been parading around in all over God's green Earth. I'm sorry to everyone who's had to look at me wearing these in the past four months. And to my neighbors who may have seen me moving trash cans while wearing these with giant Ugg boots, please forgive me. And I may be a little sorry to Victoria's Secret too.

This is what the P.J's are supposed to look like:

And this is what I saw when I woke up this morning:

(I literally took this right after I woke up...the reason for the smudged makeup under my eyes and beautifully groomed hair...)

Go ahead and giggle. I am.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Break Check-in

First of all, let me just say that there is nothing more beautiful than a sunny day in the Pacific Northwest.

Secondly, I have seen more mom uniforms in our visit to the ol' P.N.W. than I have seen in our entire two years time living in California. It's good to be home.

Finally, you never realize how tan you are until you see yourself next to those who've been living under cloud cover for months and months. I'm thankful for my current golden hue.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Coffee, My Love

(Forgive my tardy posting. We've been in the car for what seems like 38729732 hours. I feel puffy and bloated.)

My friend Carina recently asked the question, "How much can one write about their love for coffee and chocolate?"

Well, I thought we might need one more "ode to coffee", so here is this weeks topic for the Poetry Slam...

Coffee, My Love

Coffee, how I love you so,
How one lives without you, I do not know.

You warm my hands in times of cold,
A big cozy mug, I love to hold.

As I lay in bed and stir to wake,
I pray that you yourself would make.

I drag myself up from my bed,
As thoughts of coffee beans dance in my head.

Until I get that magical first sip,
I am forced to try to get a grip.

I sip and gulp throughout the day,
Caffeine jitters kick-in eventually.

I'll finally force myself to stop,
When my heart I feel is about to pop.

Your flavor and warmth with none can compare,
Without you in the morning, I feel so bare.

Lattes and mochas used to the job finely,
These days, I'd rather have it black with an I.V.

Of you coffee, I'll always dream,
My precious little magic bean.

I pray I'm never forced to give you up,
Oh, how I'd miss my "hug in a cup".

I do not care how much I pay,
I will gladly fork over the money every day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grossest Parenting Moment Yet.

This was originally posted in 2009:

Last week, I had THE SICKEST moment of my parenting career. I'll try to paint the disgusting picture for you...
For some reason, our dog, Bindi was inside for the afternoon. I have no idea why. Bindi is an outside dog and only comes in once in a blue moon or if we hear nearby gunshots (that happened last night and we called 911) or during a big, blustery storm. None of these scenarios were taking place. Noelle was in school and Jude was home with me. It was late morning, I guess around 11AM. I had noticed earlier that Bindi had gone into the bathroom and drank nearly all of the water from the toilet. I'll confess, we haven't trained her not to because she is usually outside. I wasn't terribly worried about her drinking the toilet water because I had recently cleaned the toilet. I did notice that Bindi was really thirsty. That was probably around 10AM. Now, around 11AM I heard Bindi and Jude playing in the living room. Jude was giggling and chatting it up with Bindi and goofing around on the floor with her. I had to use the bathroom and when I walked in I noticed a piece of used toilet paper on the bathroom floor. This isn't a usual thing in the Brem household, but I wasn't alarmed and thought that Jude had possibly dropped it after wiping his cute little buns. One thing you must know about Jude; The kid poops about 5 times a day. I'm not joking. And often, he doesn't flush. Well, here we are in the bathroom noticing the used toilet paper on the floor and I pick it up and go to toss it in the toilet when I notice that Jude had once again committed a "poop and run". Except this time I notice that the water in the toilet is looking VERY low and the poop looks like it has been destroyed by some strange phenomenon. At that moment, I remember that Bindi had been repeatedly licking Jude's face while they were playing. I ran out of the bathroom (I flushed before I left) and find a VERY stinky 5 year old happily playing with his dog. Now, he didn't slightly reek of poop. I nearly gagged when I smelled his face and the only thing I could think was, "My son's face is covered in his own poop." Needless to say, Jude got a late morning scrub-down in the bath.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Changin' It Up A Bit!

Today is our first Guest Post!!! Yahoo!

My dear friend Carina is one of my favorite people in the world! She juggles 3 little boys, a career as a sylist, a great marriage, PLUS a fun blog while winning the affection of everyone that comes in contact with her - She's that funny, folks! We met our freshman year of college and some of my favorite college/adult memories include Carina. Not only is she hilarious, but her story of adoption is one of the best I've ever heard. Check it out here...
Also, Carina and I often refer to ourselves as "personality twins"...just FYI.

Without further ado...
(You can find Carina by clicking on one of the links above or here at "a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut:")

I was pretty excited when Patty asked me to do a guest post for her today - it made me feel very official in the bloggy world. She gave me free reign topically, so I started to go over the millions of thoughts swirling in my brain today. Should I write about my hate of raisins smashed into my kitchen floor? Maybe the perplexity of finding toddler pajamas heaped in my shower this morning, only after I’d turned it on and stepped inside. Or my love for Sesame Street, not only for the educational value, but for the time it allows for said shower? No, I am going to veer away from parenting topics today for everyone’s sake.

Maybe I could stick with Patty’s theme of craftiness and tell you about my many projects. Like the bin of yarn I have that I dare not even think of how much I spent with grand ideas of gorgeous hats, scarves, booties and even a blanket. I have a plan for how to use it - I really do. Or the BOX of empty frames I have for my “gallery” wall that I have yet to put together. Maybe I should mention that I finally scanned all my wedding photos after six years because I am totally going to put our album together... within the year. Really.

I could do a post on beauty, because I do hair and makeup when I am not chasing rugrats. But then true to my share-too-much-need-to-confess nature, I would have to tell you that it’s been six months since my last haircut and I feel like that makes me a fraudulent stylist and why would you listen to such a phony? While we’re talking about a need to confess, though, I ate a rice crispy treat for breakfast. Okay, I ate two. And a half.

I could do a post about things I really love. But how much can one person write about coffee and chocolate? Apparently a lot, if you ever read my blog. Or my newest love, Tina Fey. I am about six years late to the party, but my new addiction is 30 Rock. I am pretty convinced that Liz Lemon and I could be besties.

But what I really want to write about, the most important thing of all, the thing everybody should know...

Patty is awesome.

And I would not be sad if she and her awesome family ever decided to move back up north.

Just sayin’.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I'm Cheap and Uncrafty

Once upon a time, there were some boring, blah-looking, sage green pillows that sat on my couch...

For many years, the pillows sadly sat there, getting spilled-on, barfed-on and napped-on while people drooled on them.
Poor, sad, boring pillows...

One day, in an effort to liven things up (or just clean them up) I threw the pillows into the washing machine. That was a poor decision.
And the poor, sad, pillows were even sadder...but less boring?
I tried to mend them, but that wasn't very successful.
Alas, the pillows stayed that way for a few, sad years.
(Remember, I'm cheap and uncrafty...)

Then, one day the clouds parted! I stumbled across this blog and was inspired!
I found these napkins at Cost Plus World Market (the best store in the world!) on clearance for $1.48 each. I purchased four of them and borrowed my sister's sewing machine.
(Straight lines are not hard to sew, and that is the only reason I even attempted)

And now, my sad, boring pillows are happy! And pretty!
And they are the nicest pillows I've ever owned.
And no one shall ever barf-on, spill-on or drool-on them again.

The End.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How To Ruin Your Child

I blame everything that happened yesterday on the movie "Hop". I don't recommend seeing this movie unless you like cringing in your seat at incredibly over the top cheesiness. You've been warned.

We had a ridiculously busy day yesterday which included an early morning softball game, a trip to the movies with the cousins, a 6 year-old birthday party and dinner with old friends. All the makings of a fabulous, but busy Saturday.

Let me just say: I think we're usually pretty good parents. I mean, we're not perfect, but our kids are usually well-behaved (except for Jude's incessant public burping lately), obedient, kind and sweet. They are compassionate and friendly and we just think they are the cutest things alive. We try really hard to be good parents...but yesterday made me question any parenting skills that I may have thought we had.

After seeing "Hop" yesterday, I was a bit annoyed at the emphasis on the Easter Bunny (I don't know what I was expecting) and the fact that there wasn't even the tiniest mention of Jesus being the real reason for Easter. I know, it wasn't the point of the movie, but we've worked very hard with our kids to make sure they know the real story behind Easter, but still allowing a bit of the "Easter Bunny fun" to be around. We do the same thing with Christmas and the kids know that we are celebrating the birth of Christ, but Santa is still a part of the fun - although he is downplayed a lot. The thing is, we've worked really hard to keep the Easter Bunny and Santa alive - even had Santa write a thank-you note to Noelle for her thoughtful cookies and apologizing for the mess his boots made outside of the fireplace. We roll like that.

In my annoyance at the Easter Bunny movie, I may have let it slip at an inappropriate moment that the Easter Bunny wasn't real...I was annoyed and only half paying attention...AND it was about the 10938398th time that Noelle had asked if the Easter Bunny was real in the past couple of months. I took that as a sign that she was having her doubts and I may as well just set her straight, after all she is EIGHT and that might as well make her an adult, right? I WAS SO VERY, VERY, VERY WRONG. More wrong than I could have ever imagined.

As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew I had made a mistake. I wished with every ounce of my being that I could suck those words right back into my mouth. Gavin just sat there in awe and/or shock. Dumbfounded, maybe? I don't know, he mostly sat in silence letting me deal alone with the mess I was making.

I think the sequence of events went something like this:

*Noelle stares at me blankly in shock.
*Tears well-up in her eyes.
*She loudly says, "YOU LIED TO ME! WHY DID YOU LIE TO ME?" in the saddest, most dramatic voice ever.
*Holding back tears, I try to convince her that I am sorry for lying AND Easter is about Jesus AND the Easter bunny is just for fun AND we'll still give her candy and hide eggs and pretend there's an Easter bunny AND what would she do if she was a parent?
*This does not go over well.
*Noelle asks if Santa is real.
*Starting to panic I inform her that of course, Santa is real. We would only lie to her about a bunny who brings eggs, but never about Santa.
*I start to wonder what the heck I'm talking about.
*Noelle refuses to talk to us as tears flow freely down her face.
*I am a horrible mother.
*Gavin is still mostly silent.
(Did I mention this is all happening in the car?)
*Upon arriving home, Gavin and I have a short conference and Gavin believes we should "rip the entire bandaid off" and tell her that Santa isn't real either just to get it all over with. Why not?
*We both lay down with Noelle and Gavin gently starts to explain the story of St. Nicholas and how he was a great man, but Santa is not real.
*SOBBING begins.
*While sobbing, Noelle says, "I wish you never told me!" "Why did you lie to me?" and tells us that she always asks if Santa and the Easter Bunny are real because she loves to hear us tell her that they are.
*I begin questioning every decision that I've ever made as a parent.
*Noelle informs us that she believes that we are the crazy ones who don't believe anymore and that we are just imposing our lack of faith on her.
*Noelle cries more.
*Trying to figure out a way to travel back in time to take it all back, I desperately and silently mouth the words to Gavin, "Can we tell her we were joking?"
*Gavin pauses for a few seconds and then sheepishly blurts out, "April Fools?"
*Noelle stops crying.
*In awe that this desperate ploy might actually work, I awkwardly say, "We were just joking!" and explain how we had forgotten to play an April Fool's joke on her and this was it.
*Noelle bursts out laughing like I have never heard before in my entire life.
*Gav and I stare at each other in disbelief.
*Noelle tells us what a bad joke that was and she is so relieved that it was just a joke and to never, ever do that to her again.
*Don't worry, we won't. EVER.
*Gav and I head to our bedroom and close the door contemplating whether we've just ruined our child or not.
*Still not sure.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jude's Obsession

My sweet, quirky little man is known to get "hooked" on Macaroni and Cheese, for instance. The kid has seriously eaten an entire box in one sitting. He asks for it for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and dessert. I'm not exaggerating - he asked for it this morning for breakfast. For his 5th birthday, while the rest of us happily ate pizza, Jude polished off close to two boxes of Mac-N-Cheese served up in a giant mixing bowl. Hey, it was his birthday...AND he's "skin & bones" skinny...AND at least it was the Trader Joe's kind with REAL Wisconsin cheese and Smart Balance instead of butter...I'll just keep convincing myself that it's somehow better for him that way.

He's also been hooked on the Wii. He doesn't really care what game he plays, but as long as the carrot of getting to play is dangled in front of him, I can pretty much get him to do anything I want. I am pretty sure that I'm going to hate life when that doesn't work anymore.

There was also a season where he was attached to Angry Birds on the Iphone and would swipe my phone or Gav's Ipod touch any time we set them down for even a second. He's real quick like that. One time, while sitting in a Dr.'s office I was letting him play Angry Birds and I heard him quietly singing a tune I didn't recognize. Yep, he had even composed his own little ditty to sing along with the game. I don't remember all of the words, but I believe it went like this:

(Sing this in your highest pitched voice as humanly possible and you'll pretty much get the jist)
"I'm just coming at the sun."
"It's a beautiful day to get three sta-ars."
"And don't forget to kill the pi-igs."
"And don't forget to use the white bi-irds."
"It's a beautiful to get three sta-ars."

(I may have just bribed him to sing that to me so he could have a cupcake. Gotta do, what I gotta do, right?)

Jude's latest and my new favorite obsession of his is Hawaii. We went to Hawaii the week after Christmas and he cannot stop talking about it. It is very sweet...but mostly hilarious. Here are some ways he displays his obsession:

Me leaving Target: Well, we're all done with Target!
Jude: Now, can we go to a Hawaii?

Me in the car: Jude, want to go on a trip with Daddy? (To Reno for work)
Jude: To a Hawaii?

Me to the kids: What should we do after we go to the aquarium?
Jude: Can we go to a Hawaii?

Me leaving the grocery store: What should we do tonight guys?
Jude: Let's go to a Hawaii.

Me in the car: Daddy is going to the airport for a trip.
Jude: I need to pack my suitcase for a Hawaii.

Me on a hot, sunny day last week: Do you guys want to go swimming at the pool?
Jude: In a Hawaii?

I keep promising him that we will go again someday. It may have to be sooner than later. I'm pretty sure that I'm okay with that. He's only saying out loud what I'm thinking every second of my life...

This was the suitcase he attempted to pack for our actual trip to Hawaii in December...

Oh my goodness, I love this quirky boy...

Thursday, April 7, 2011


It may seem like I write about food a lot. It's true. Eating is my hobby...

(A.K.A. - Chipotle)

Food With Integrity,
That is your motto.
My own integrity is lost,
When I count my calories, though.

Your Barbacoa is always,
calling out my name.
My mouth instantly waters,
I may feel a bit of shame.

Your chips are so very tasty,
With that hint of lime.
I had some of them today,
And they made me want to rhyme.

I drive nearly 20 minutes,
To indulge in my favorite food.
You have Coke Zero in the fountain,
It puts me in a good mood.

When I step up to the counter,
I hate to have to choose.
Tacos, Burritos or salad?
I don't know which to refuse.

The kids adore the carnitas,
And the cilantro-lime touched rice.
For me I'll never change,
Barbacoa will always suffice.

When I've finished off my lunch,
I could really use a sleep.
Once again, I'm stuffed,
The walk to the car, it feels so steep.

A breath mint is in order,
To cover up my stink.
I hope no one tries to talk to me,
They'll pass out, I surely think.

At dinner time I'm still burping,
that salad from my lunch.
This happens every time,
You'd think I'd have a hunch.

You have the best ingredients,
I'll happily pay for that.
My food comes with integrity,
Even though it can still make you fat.

When I wake up tomorrow morning,
And start to plan my day,
I'm sure I will think of Chipotle,
And again, my mouth will water right away.

I'm thankful for self-control,
Or I might be there right now.
Eating another burrito,
and Barbacoa made from cow.

(Seriously, I'm totally full right not, but my mouth is still watering while I'm thinking about it...I may have a problem.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Missing In Action

Guess where I've been:
A. Mourning over our latest pet debacle
B. Avoiding the piles of laundry that have been strategically placed all around my house
C. Finally dealing with the piles of poo, overgrown grass and chewed-up dog toys covering what was once a backyard
D. I got sucked into a book and have been neglecting everything else
E. Professional baseball season started, and even though I don't play, it makes my life a lot busier for some reason
F. B, C, D and E

Guess what things I've eaten as meals this past week:
A. Chicken
B. Soup
C. Candy
D. All of the above

Guess what blogpost I'm working on writing, but am getting stuck on it all making sense and being funny like it is in my mind:
A. A bear pooping in the back of my mom's truck
B. The mulch pile
C. Both

Guess what Jude's latest weird noise/tick is:
A. A constant clearing of his throat that sounds like a pig
B. Yep, the answer is A

Guess how many times I've been running this week:
A. 7
B. 5
C. 85
D. 3
E. I've worn running clothes on multiple occasions, but only made it on 1 actual run

Guess how many dreams about me being pregnant have occurred this week:
A. 0
B. 2
C. Yep, 2. But I wish it was 0. Now I'm scared - Even though it would be nearly impossible. Dreams make me nervous.

Guess what book I'm reading and love, but would never in a bajillion years watch it as a movie:
A. Ramona the Pest
B. Unbroken
C. The Princess and the Pea
D. Its B

Guess how many Giants games have been watched by our family this week:
A. 2
B. 3
C. 4
D. This is going to be a loooong baseball season

Guess how happy I am that the sun is out and I'm not in front of the computer/not folding laundry/not doing dishes/wearing shorts and having to shave my legs:
A. Really happy
B. Really, super extra happy
C. So happy that I could cry
D. Meh, who needs sun?

Check out these hooligans...

Answer Key:
7: B or D
8: C and D
9: A, B or C are all acceptable answers

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Does a Bear Poop in the Woods?

The Throwback:
This is a new section on the blog where I get to tell you an amazing or unbelievable or sad or hilarious or strange story from when I was a wee little one. And you're gonna like it, okay?

My childhood best friend, Maria, recently said something that reminded me about this and I am still a little in awe that it actually happened in real life.

I grew up living at the bottom of a dirt hill. Yup, it is just as glamorous as it sounds. Our house was the last of 4 houses on this long dirt driveway and it sat overlooking a bunch of woods, which overlooked a canyon that had a creek at the bottom. I spent lots of summer days staining my clothes with mud in that creek. As you could probably guess, there were lots of wild animals in those woods. Even bears. I know there were bears because occasionally they would come up to our porch and eat our dog's food and we would stare at them out our front window.

My Mom and Step-Dad are crafty folks. And resourceful. And sometimes cheap (sorry Mom, you know its true). Instead of paying for garbage service to come pick-up our trash weekly, my parents decided to own their own garbage truck, wait till it was full of trash and then drive it themselves to the dump. Crafty, huh? Looks REALLY nice parked in the driveway too! Their garbage truck of choice was a pea soup green 1978 Datsun pickup. It was awesome. It would just sit at the bottom of our hill and wait to be filled with Costo sized garbage bags until it was time to be taken to the dump. This may have had something to do with the bears coming to visit. I also know that the bears liked the garbage because of the discovery of the "bear sized" poop on the roof of the Datsun. I'll never forget that poo and checked it out at least a dozen times because I couldn't believe my eyes.

My Step-Dad has LOVED saying this at least 8,247 times since then:
"Does a bear poop in the woods? Nope, he poops in a Datsun pickup."
Of course...

Here begins the saga of the "Mulch Pile"...
Recently, there's been a large push for people to have "worm bins" or "compost bins", but my folks were WEEEELLLL ahead of the game with the infamous mulch pile. It was a place out in our yard that was fenced off to throw our compostable food and gross stuff that went bad in the fridge. Sounds great, huh? Good for the environment, less garbage to throw in the Datsun, sounds like a win-win, right? Except that the mulch pile was closer to the woods and farther from the house which means that I could be eaten by a bear at any second on my way to deliver the food to the mulch pile. And no one ever thought to take the mulch out during the day. AND, it was just a coffee can or bowl that sat on the counter collecting waste and attracting flies until someone was finally forced to take it out. I'll never forget hearing, "Patty! Take the Mulch out!" which point we would often stand as close to the house as possible and try and heave the food as close to the mulch pile as we could, then turn and run as fast as we could back into the house. It was really attractive having a pile of rotting food just sitting there on our counter feeding the flies, but at the risk of being eaten by a bear I would always choose to leave it there. Also, "mulch" just might be the grossest word I've ever heard.

As an adult, I've NEVER regretted having garbage service or a garbage disposal. I LOVE them with all of my heart and will forever be grateful.

Yep, that's the lady who risked my life getting eaten by a bear...
(love you mom!)

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Joke Is On Me...

Happy April Fool's Day! It really feels like Spring now!
First of all, it is H-O-T today, so I am in H-E-A-V-E-N. We are heading to the pool in just a few minutes to bake ourselves and we'll call it "P.E." for the kids today.

I'm happy to report that our lizard finally "kicked the bucket"! Er, I precious pet, Yoda sadly passed away last week. I was just so, upset...that I forgot to tell everyone. Not one human in the Brem household was really all that sad. Leopard geckos aren't the funnest pets to have in the world and he had been going downhill for a while - despite my great efforts to keep him alive by pulverizing meal worms in my blender with olive oil and dropping them one drop at a time on his nose. AND Gavin did massage his belly until he pooped. See? We tried! We're not horrible pet owners, despite what the numbers of pet deaths we've racked up this past couple of years may say. I did ask Gavin if we should take Yoda to the local exotic pet veterinarian and he just looked at me like I was insane. I took that as a firm "no". So, we all just watched as Yoda withered away and hoped and prayed his misery would soon end. Too bad he died while we were out of town...our house reeked like a dead lizard when we got home.

No funeral for poor Yoda either. Gavin just tossed him over the fence like Bindi's poo...
At least he fared better than our last lizard, Spike - who just got tossed into the garbage can. We move on quickly here in the Brem home...

So, thanks to Yoda no longer being in need of the hope chest that his cage sat upon...I've been working on a new project!

I love, love, love it. I received this hope chest as a Christmas gift when I was 13 - which means I've been hauling it around for 20 years now! Yikes.

The thing is, I was under the impression for all of these 20 years that it was real wood. As I started working on it, I sadly found out that it was pressed-wood with cherry veneers! Boo.
Oh well, at least it looks pretty now. And instead of housing a lizard aquarium, it will further beautify my bedroom and hold cozy blankets. And I won't feel as bad hauling it around move to inevitable move. Remember how we've moved 9 times in 10 years? We've gotten pretty good at dumping stuff we don't love and/or need.

I feel like I'm winning more than Charlie Sheen right now.

Here it is before...a bit rugged after 20 years...

See that rectangle of dust on the top? That's where Yoda's tank lived...

And VOILA! Here it is all prettied-up...

No more icky gold hardware thanks to metallic spray paint...

Gav brought home some pretty flowers, so I had to try them out...

R.I.P. Yoda
(I know, they're supposed to live longer than that...)