Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mocha Maniac

Hi my name is Holly and I am addicted to mochas.

It all started when I was working at the Country Place at the ripe age of 13. I was always cold, and the only thing that helped keep me warm was coffee. From there it progressed to a daily addiction to mochas. I had my own little espresso machine, and would make my own in the morning. At times coffee would get me by, but I loved mochas. When we moved to Mt. Vernon almost 8 years ago, we lived close to a Costco. It's then and there that my mocha frappe addiction started. Mocha frappe is a can of instant mocha mix that I must have two cups minimum a day. I've tried other mocha mixes, even came up with a homemade mix, but nothing compares.

Then the unthinkable happens. This past May the mocha frappe disappeared from Costco. At first I got online and tried to find the magic mocha frappe mix. I found some on Amazon, but it was double the price, plus shipping. So I tried the new mix that Costco had. I didn't like it at all. But knowing that I may not have any other choice, I stuck with the mix for a whole week, hoping I might be able to live with it. The problem was I was a mess all week. I snapped at the kids, was not very nice to my hubby, and was blaming a lousy week on hormones. By the end of the week, I started drinking regular coffee, and gave up on the new mix. Two weeks later, trying to decide what to do with this open can that I won't drink, I read on the side, 99.7% caffeine free. What!?!?!?! I was having caffeine withdrawals for the week, and was blaming it on hormones! It proves how powerful my addiction is.

Last Sunday, I got the phone call. A dear friend, who knows how much I love my mocha frappe, called and said that Costco has it back. I about dropped the phone to do a happy dance. If I hadn't just got home from town, I would have run back to get some. So today, between classes, I rushed to Costco and bought 4 cans of mocha frappe. Oh Happy Day!

I'm a happy camper now. Hopefully my husband thinks I am more toleralble, and my children forgive me for being a bear. At least now they won't admit me to rehab for my mocha addiction.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


We are so blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest. I love the family activities available, especially at this time of year. The Lynden FFA puts on a corn maze every year, and we finally tried it. It was a beautiful fall day, warm and dry, which is rare for late September. My brother Marty wanted to take his kids, so we tagged along. This first picture was taken by my niece Emma. Not bad for a 4 year old! The kids all had a blast running through the corn. We let them each take a turn deciding which way to go when we got to a crossroad. Sometimes we went in circles, but we found our way out....eventually.

I love the look on Lily's face. She is looking for Nate's approval on her choice of direction. The next picture I obviously set them up to do this for me. We were stalling them so they wouldn't run off without us.
It looks like we started another family tradition.

Family Garage Sale

Yesterday we had our semi-annual family garage sale. We have done these so many times, it's become a well oiled machine. We joke that it's also called the family swap meet, since we tend to swap things between each other. Like my sister's black pants. I think every pair of black pants I own has come from my sister Amy. I don't know why she even puts them in the garage sale, they end up in my closet every time. Yesterday I didn't have much to sell, so I only made $6.75, two of those dollars went to the kids because they had sold some toys. I bought an air conditioner from my cousin for $50, so I ended up in the hole $45.25. Oh well, it's always a fun day to hang out with the family, and acquire a new pair of black pants.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Just wanted to give a very Happy 10 year Anniversary to John and Erin. They have been our friends for years, actually setting Dan and I up. We all were married the same year, and were in each other's weddings. Hope you two have a nice (kid free) dinner tonight!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day's Birthday

Day is Lily's bear. She's had "him" since she was 18 months old. He came from her Great Grandparents that Christmas. She named him Day, her bear, her choice right? Last Sunday Lily decided it was Day's birthday. She was very concerned that Day was only 4 and she wanted him to be 5 so that he could go to Kindergarten with her. We have gone through this before, when Nate announced it was Bear's (his favorite bear, very creative with the name huh?) birthday and we had a little party. At first Lily said we would have the party on Monday, and even Grandma said she would try to stop by. Then Sunday on the way home from church, Lily decided that the party would be that day. I had no plans that afternoon, so went along with her plan. Lily said that Day's favorite frosting was chocolate (shocker, so is Lily's) and that he wanted pink sprinkles (wow, another of Lily's favorites!). So I set to making cupcakes. Good thing I have about a dozen cake mixes on hand. While we were waiting on cupcakes, we looked in my box of gifts and found a book, the only option that I allow because seriously, if she picks out a toy, it's not for the bear! At least we can read the book to Day. So then we wrap the present, and the kids gather all their stuffed animals in the living room. Next we blow up balloons, frost the cupcakes, then light a candle. All the animals are in a circle, we ALL sing Happy Birthday, and Lily helps Day blow out the candle. I take pictures, the kids eat the cupcakes, open the present and the party is over. Moral of the story is...... live a little in your child's world. Be creative, let them use their imagination, and play along even if it feels silly. At least you get cupcakes out of it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Evil Coffee Cart

I survived my first lab class, even without my coffee for two hours. The horrible part was I had to pass a coffee cart on my way in the door to the lab. So I can smell coffee, I'm craving a mocha, and I can't have any.
The lab instructor gave us all the fire and brimstone speech to scare us. The reason they don't allow food and drinks in the lab is because the microbiology class (not mine thank goodness) deals with e-coli and samanila(sp?), lovely! She instructed us on how to shut off the gas line in case of a fire, and how to use the shower in the corner of the lab in case of exposure. She said if we got anything on our clothes, we would have to leave them there, but don't worry, there were scrubs to send you home in. Imagine leaving the lab in scrubs, everyone you saw would know you were the one who spilled in the lab!
As with my other class, we were told about what to do in a lock down situation. I understand the need for this procedure, but it made me realize how much things have changed in 13 years! If we have a lock down, can I lock myself in the coffee cart?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First Day of School

My whole family gave me a bad time about getting a picture my first day of school. Even my brother's girlfriend Jessica wanted a picture of us in our first class together. (We will try tomorrow and just call it the first day...don't tell). So here is what I decided to wear, picture is courtesy of Nate. The messenger bag on my shoulder only lasted one class, it was too heavy. So between classes I went to Target and bought a backpack, $6.68 baby! It worked much better!
Classes went well, I'm a little overwhelmed at all the work needed. For Biology we have 3 field trips, one of them at 9:45pm to visit the beach at low tide. That will be interesting in the dark. Think Nate will let me borrow his headlamp? Tomorrow is the first lab class for Bio and we can't bring food or drinks into the lab. Me without coffee for two hours in the morning will be quite the lab experiment in itself.
Keep me in your prayers this whole quarter. I'm already stressing about how I will make it all work and get everything done. Like right now, it's bathtime and I'm blogging. Gotta run!!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

What to wear

My sister called and asked the famous question, "What are you wearing for your first day of school?". I laughed because I have been thinking about this all day. Not that it's such a big deal, I just really don't want to look like me. You know, the soccer mom in a minivan me. I want to look like I belong at college, not a PTO meeting. And frankly, I look like a typical PTO mom.
This summer I bought a few new shirts hoping that at least I would look......well something new would help right? I wore one of these shirts when I saw my teenage babysitters. I asked them if I looked like a college student, and they gave me blank looks. So I guess whatever I wear, I'll look like me, just not a cool me.

Weekend with Aunty

Last weekend I took my brother Marty's 3 kids for 5 days while he and pregnant wife Tiffani went to Las Vegas. Emma is 4 and the twins, Grant and Ben are 20 months old. Dan had just left for his 40 days at sea, so I was on my own with 5 kids. The kids were all so excited to have a sleepover, as Emma said," Aunty, I get to have 4 sleeps at your house!".
The kids all had a fun weekend, they played hard and thankfully the weather was great, so I was able to kick them all outside to play. The twins loved playing with these balls that you can flatten, then they pop out round again. Nate likes to throw them like a Frisbee (the balls, not the twins!) and toss them up on the roof of the garage. Then they pop open and roll down. The problem is that they rolled down on the roof of the dog kennel and got stuck in tree branches. Knowing how much the boys loved playing with these balls, I climbed a tree with a broom stick to get the balls down. My mom was over at the time and she was keeping an eye on the kids while I climbed the tree. My broomstick doesn't reach, so I have to climb up on the tin roof. As the roof is creaking and bending my mom is down below yelling, "Don't you break your back and leave me with 5 kids!". Thanks Mom. I reached the balls, but on my way back down the tree, I was scratched up by the holly tree next to me (just a little ironic). I lost my footing on the way down and bruised my leg. So Aunty the hero was all scratched and bruised, but Grandma didn't have to take the 5 kids.
I saw such different sides of Grant and Ben while they were here. Grant is more vocal and physical while Ben is the thinker. They love oatmeal raisin cookies and Grant now says "kiki" for cookie. I was sure that I would get Ben to finally say Aunty, but not even my cookies would make him say it. The girls "helped" make play dough, which was lovely to clean up every few hours.

The house was trashed by the 5 kids. It was all I could do to keep up with dishes and laundry (2-3 loads a day). Ben dumped the crayon box twice, and the older kids were tearing the couches apart to make forts. I caught Emma jumping from couch to couch, and Grant was right behind her ready to jump. Mom helped with bath time, and took the girls overnight Saturday so that I only had the boys to get ready for church on Sunday. I wouldn't let her take Nate, I needed him so that I could get a shower in the morning.
I have a new respect for Tiffani and her daily grind with those kids (Marty you need to help her out more!). Dan thought for sure that having babies in the house would make me want more. After the 6am twin alarm clock.....no thanks! I'll just be Aunty and borrow babies when I need a baby fix.
The kids are asking for another sleepover, and I tell them not to worry. Tiffani is having another baby is January, and I'm sure there will be another weekend with Aunty then.

Fall is here

The first day of fall arrived with a cold rain. I love fall, although I will miss the warmth of summer. Fall always makes me miss the old days of the Country Place. It's the fruit stand that my family owned and I worked at for 7 years. We had pumpkin festivals every October with hay rides, petting zoo, horse rides, hay maze, bobbing for apples and of course acres of pumpkins. It was always a ton of work to organize the festivals, but always enjoyable. My siblings and I (all four of us) would get friends to come help with the festivals, even getting Grandpa to drive tractor, then have a pizza party and bonfire at the end of the day. After the last festival, we would go 4x4 in our trucks, tractors, and four wheelers in the fields, smashing pumpkins and running over the corn. We also did pumpkin tours for preschool and kindergarten kids. We would have 2000 kids come through in the month of October, and it was fun to teach then about how pumpkins grew.

Now that my kids are this age, I wish we still had the farm and fruit stand. They would have loved the pumpkin festivals. We visit a local farm that does something similar, but it's not the same as having your own.

I was asked to help with a school fall festival, and I jumped at the chance to relive the old days. I am realizing though that it's not so easy without the farm. Things that we had on hand, small bales of hay, pumpkins, cornstalks, aren't so easy to get when you have to ask for or buy.

So here's a lovely example of a fall day at the Country Place. I miss those days, but not that outfit! Your gotta give me credit though, it was 1991!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Shameless plug for my sister

I love pictures! It helps that we have family paparazzi that follow us around. My sister is a photographer and we love to abuse her talents. You can check out more pictures of my family at www.Amyparsons.com.

Mommy goes to School

So I had to sit down and have a talk with the kids today about Mommy going back to school. I don't know if they truly understood what I was saying. Nate's only concern was that I would be home on early release days, and Lily was totally fine with going to Grandma's on the day she doesn't have school. I think the true test will be when I need quiet time to study. Hey kids, let's all sit down and do our homework together!