The Bearded Baby

I walked into the bathroom to find this- and thought it was hilarious.  Luckily Addi didn't rinse her face before I could grab my camera. 

*if you're interested in growing your own (or just want a good laugh), go here
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Dear Diary, I made it!

It's true- I made it safe and sound to my new home.  I've been here about 40 hours and & I'm ready to go home, I mean to Utah.  I have so much to do and am feeling a little overwhelmed by it all.  But it's okay.  I am on no time line and that feels good.  Right now, the sun is setting, my washer is going and the dinner dishes are waiting for me.  Dave took the kids to the park and my mom (who was kind enough to make the drive with me & stay for a week or so) is resting.  I have a million things I should be doing instead of blogging.

Still can't believe I got pulled over the other night.  Well, I guess I can believe that I got pulled over, I just can't believe how crazy I must have sounded.  The cop asked me if I knew that I was going 80 in a 70.  I said no, cause I didn't.  He asked to see my license.  I didn't have it- I lost it in Utah somewhere.  He asked where I was headed.  I didn't know.  I said I'd never been there before.  Then my mom threw in, "She was hurrying because I'm almost out of oxygen."  Then the police asked if she wanted him to call her an ambulance.  We tried not to laugh out loud.  I did have my passport and the only proof (if you can even call it that) of where we were headed was my printout from Google map.  He took both of those back to his cop car (funny that he took the google map) and when he FINALLY came back I only got a warning.  TOTAL sympathy card but I'll take it.  I'm embarrassed even thinking about it.

Then we arrived to the humidity and I hate it!  I really hate humidity.  I feel sticky and dirty all the time.  We bought a de-humidifier for our house so the house feels good.  The outside feels gross.  Hopefully I'll get used to it.

Our house is perfect.  I'm hoping the lanlord will let me paint some walls, though.  It feels so white.  The yard is big and green.  Everything is really close.  It's strange not seeing mountains.

The fam is back together again and I LOVE it!


Coincidentally, Dave's boss had a Summer BBQ & Swim Party for everyone in his program the very day we got to Minnesota.  It was the joke that it was our "WELCOME TO MINNESOTA PARTY."  How thoughtful of them!  
It was fun to finally put faces to all the names I'd heard about.  Everyone was so nice and super welcoming, especially Dr. Long and his wife who hosted the party at their house.

And the kids were so happy to be swimming after 2 long days in the car.   I wish I would have captured a pic or, better yet, a VIDEO of Addi going down the slide.  PURE HILARIOUS-NESS!!



road trip continued...

When we woke up the next morning, we got ready for the day, packed up, ate our continental breakfast and headed to...
WOW!  Mount Rushmore totally exceeded my expectations.  It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!  The Black Hills really are breathtaking.  We drove through a lot of the Black Hills the night before in the dark (and the flashlight just didn't capture the beauty- did it mom.), so we were blown away to experience it in the sunlight.
Mount Rushmore is amazing!  It was fascinating to learn about how all this came about.  So much effort, especially in a day where the technology wasn't what it is today, went into the construction.

 Upon arriving, you walk through a tunnel of flags, one flag per state.  Tol and I are standing under and pointing to the Utah flag in one of the pics.  We probably should have shown our newly-found Minnesota pride and stood under it's flag.  O well.  But, isn't it pretty?

The kids were super good and patient while my mom and I (but especially my mom- she is a HUGE history buff) took our time through the museum.  We thought they deserved ice cream.  This was some seriously delicious ice cream!  I'd consider driving back to UT just to be able to stop here for ice cream again... oh- and to see the Presidents :)

And back in the car we go for the rest of the day. 

We arrived to our new house in Rochester about 11 hours later.  We stopped for lunch at a Burger King with a playplace so the kids could run around, then we stopped at Perkins for a sit-down dinner, plus a few potty stops in between. 
This stretch of the drive got OLD.  It was 560+ miles on the same stretch of road.  BORING!  By this time, I was over the fields and nothing-ness.  The road was so straight that there were times I was tempted to turn on the cruise control, lay my seat back and go to sleep.  I mean really, it was that straight and desolate.
When we were only about 45 minutes from our destination (about midnight), the kids were finally sleeping and my mom and I were enjoying some peace and quiet.  We were SO ready to be there!!!  So I was determined to get us there FAST!  Then I saw the flashing lights.  FREAK!!  Luckily I got off with just a warning. Not-so-luckily, the kids woke up during the commotion and Addi cried & Tol screamed at Addi to stop crying the rest of the way.  That was a LOOOOONG 45 minutes.
When we arrived, Dave had presents hidden in the house for the kids to find.  They loved that, but they LOVED seeing their Daddy even more!  Tol's present was a little behind-the-door basketball hoop and Addi's present was a Hello Kitty Diary (that she thinks is the best thing ever).  Dave gave my mom & I some beautiful flowers with cards.  Way to go Dave!

So 22ish hours in the car & 1250ish miles later, we're done with the road trip and are HOME!

Road Trip part I

The time came to pack in the car and head to our new home in Rochester, MN.  Our original plan was to fly and have our car shipped, then we snapped back into reality and remembered we don't have a million dollars.
So we drove.
The car was jam-packed.  Like, we had to leave plastic kid dishes behind and deflate the swimming arm floaties to fit them in.  Every square inch was stuffed full with stuff.  SO. MUCH. STUFF!
My mom was great enough to drive out with us, which contributed to The Stuff.  She packs light, thank goodness, but her oxygen get-up takes up space.  We LOVED having Grammy Shar with us for the drive.
Our first stop
 (besides fueling up at Harmons in SoJo).  Not quite sure where we're at, but we were mighty grateful for a potty break and a chance to stretch and get the wiggles out.

I seriously bought so much crap to keep the kids entertained during the drive, which greatly contributed to The Stuff, but not even half of it was touched.  These kids had their own portable DVD players with headphones & lots of movies, activity books, sticker books, coloring books etc.  I had this vision of the kids being perfectly content & happy doing their thing in the back while my mom & I talked and laughed while listening to my iPod.  Not so.  First of all, the iPod didn't work.  I thought it was the adapter so I bought a new one.  Not so.  It was something with my car.  So we were stuck with the 3 CDs that were left in my car.  They were good, but after listening to the same songs over and over.  and over?  Not so much.  Tol lucked out and got the iPod all to himself.  That was his favorite 'activity.' 

Addi was a GEM the entire drive.  I mean, she might as well not have even been there.  We didn't hear a word from her the whole way.  This girl has the attention span of a CHAMP.  She colored in the same coloring book for 5 hours!  And she loved her head phones.  She wore them almost the whole time, even when she wasn't listening to anything.   
Some peace and quiet.

Around 7 pm Tol really had to pee and there was NOTHING in sight except for this junkyard.  Tol ended up peeing on the side of the road then we explored the garbage.
We thought about calling it a day and staying on this cozy mattress for the night.

Shhhhhh- they're asleep.

Tol was loving the "Tolie sized" tractor.
*since Tol was tiny, Dave & I have called any mini-somethings "Tolie sized" and it has stuck

Addi's turn!

 The plan was to drive about 650 miles to Keystone, South Dakota the first day.  Mission accomplished!  We got there around 9 pm, checked into our hotel, then after the kids jumped on the bed for EVER, we went to bed.

to be continued...


Bunga Bunga

... is what Addi used to call it.  But it's better known as
We had driven past this place a million times and every time my kids begged to go.
I'm super bummed I gave in WAY too late.  Bunga Bunga is awesome!  I does look a little overwhelming, but it's not.  It is perfectly suited for young kids and toddlers.
We went a few times in just a one week to get our fill.  I used the "this might be the last time the kids will get to play" card and a few friends joined us.  Thanks Bollingers, Buchanans and Klotovichs.

  Tol loved the slides.  I mean, look at that smile.  I don't think the kid has ever been that happy.

His favorite slide was the monster huge one.  He even went by himself while I waited for him at the bottom.  I had to take these pics of him because I thought he looked SO cute and little up there all by himself.  He kept straining to see over the ledge to wave and smile at me.  I love that boy!

Bunga is definitely on our TO-DO list when we visit UT in the summer.  Tol & Ad are already excited, and so am I.
It's gonna be a loooong freezing winter.


more friends & more goodbyes

Thanks, Stacey, for having all us loud and crazy gals over and for putting on a fabulous spread!
These ladies are my rock, my strength and inspiration.
Love you all!


GDI does Park City

The weekend before I headed to MN, my friends and I celebrated (?) my departure.  We decided to use my 'Waldorf  Hook-up' and go there.  I was super excited to stay there again since Dave and I LOVED it.  Thanks Eddie!!

We all piled in Amber's Suburban and headed to Park City, but not before stopping at The Sweet Tooth Fairy for some delectable cake bites, cupcakes and Diet Cokes.  Cupshake Mission Part II was a failure, unfortunately. 

We got up to the hotel, checked in and checked out our AWESOME room.  Seriously, this hotel is so nice!  Then it was off to Loco Lizard for dinner.  Loco Lizard is one of my very favorites.  Their carnita quesadillas are YUM-O!
Our waitress surprised me with a free going-away desert and the opportunity to wear this awesome sombrero!  You know me- the more attention the better :)

The best part of this picture is how FUNNY Dana (in the background right)thinks I am. 
We then headed back to chill by the hotel pool until it was MOVIE TIME.  We saw EAT PRAY LOVE.  I definitely recommend you read the book but I was underwhelmed with the movie.  I mean, the movie was okay but didn't come close to capturing the stories and feelings that the book portrayed.  And I'm not one of those that believe the book is always so much better than the movie.  3 examples of movies that were just as good if not better than the book, in MY opinion, are:  The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks and My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult.

I'm off my soap box now.

After the movie we went back to the hotel and talked the night away.  (even the roll-away beds were high-end and luxurious)
The next morning we went to Mimis for breakfast.  The BEST breakfast in the world, might I add.  Although, they were out of oatmeal.  That was another failure.

It was such a fun night!  I've said it a million times, but I LOVE MY FRIENDS!  I honestly couldn't ask for a better group of friends to call MINE!!  I'm not a fan of being 1300 miles away from them, but am grateful that distance ain't no thang anymore.  We've got free long-distance calling, facebook, skype, and blogs to keep us closely connected.  But, I can't wait to see my girls again.  Christmas can't come soon enough!


The Adams Family

My Uncle Steve & his adorable family paid us a visit from Boston.  We look forward to their trips to Utah all year!  My kids love seeing their cousins!  Now that we live a little closer maybe we'll be able to see each other more.  But since we're not in Utah, I'm afraid it might be a little less.  Boo.

Preston, Tolman, Steve, Madeleine & Kate in the

Grammy & Addi playing in the pool

Jess, Heather & Ben's hair

Little Gymnasts

Tol & Addi have been going to The Little Gym practically their entire lives and it has been AWESOME!  They have learned a ton about social skills and especially coordination.  There was about 2 years where my uncoordinated little Tol wasn't enrolled in any of their classes.  Seriously, when he went back he turned into a NEW person.  He was more energetic, happier and we saw a MAJOR improvement with his strength and coordination. 
We are so sad to be leaving and will miss The Little Gym (wish there was one in Rochester, but even if there was it wouldn't compare to Draper's) and it's FABULOUS & TALENTED staff.  It seems like we were spending so much time there.  It was home away from home for my kids, and the teachers and other kids became great friends.  And, this last semester, the Bollingers joined us!  That made it even more fun (especially for me & Leesa)!  I am so glad my kids were able to have this.  Hopefully when we're in Utah for Christmas my kids can do a few Holiday Camps!



The end of an era

I think I used to be a pretty good writer and I attribute that to my 20+ years of (almost) daily journal writing.  I hardly ever write in my journal anymore.  My writing skills have gone down the drain.  That is why I don't do the journal-ish entries on my blog.  I want to, I have a lot to say as always.  I guess I just feel like my written words don't do my thoughts or feelings justice.  With that said, I'm going to write my thoughts and feelings about today.  Bear with me.
Today started like any other work day.  Alarm. snooze... alarm. snooze... alarm. snooze. FREAK! It's 5:15 (earlier than usual), I gotta get up!  Shower, dressed, hair.  I decided I'd do my make-up in the car so I gather my stuff and head to work, but not before stopping at Beans & Brews for a super fattening yet fabulous CHAICICLE. I'm almost to the freeway when I realized that I forgot to brush my teeth- FREAK!!  I don't think I've forgotten to brush in like FOREVER.  gross.  And to think I had to work 13 hours with slime for teeth.  I texted my mom about my dilemma & she texted back, "Sounds like a mocha morning." "I already got one."  "I'm a bad influence."  "No you're not- I got a Chai."  "That sounds good.  I want one."  " :) "  I adore my mom!!
I pull into work a half hour later.  I swear- I always have 18 things to take in with me so as I get out of the car I figure out a way to finagle all my crap into the salon in one trip.  My arms are full.  Then I try to figure a way to unlock the salon door while still finagling all my crap.  Never works- especially because it's a temperamental lock.  I finally get in, throw my stuff down, turn on the lights, disarm the alarm, turn on the radio (radio from hell on X96), and a minute later Lori arrives.
I met Lori 13 years ago while working in the Kids department at Nordstrom.  She was the manager in a different department.  She intimidated me.  Plus, when I worked as a "fill-in" @ Nord a couple years later, Lori asked me to cover a shift in her dept and I said yes.  When the day came, I called in sick.  I wasn't sick, I just didn't feel like working.  I've always felt kinda bad about that.  owell.
Lori was my first client of the today... a cut and color.  I've done her hair for about 9.5 years now.  I've seen her through a LOT, from death and divorce to new career and (lots) of boyfriends.  I've done Lor's hair for as long or longer than most of my other clients.  The funny thing is, and we were talking (& laughing) about this today, Lori hasn't EVER changed her hair since I've been doing it.  EVER.  We also talked about expensive handbags & sunglasses, her new house and my soon-to-be new rental house (she gave my some great decorating ideas BTW).  Lori calls me James & Dear and I love it.  She has super blundt bangs and has become a good friend.  I love Lor.
Then it was a cut, weave and toner for Darlene.  Cut, weave and toner for Briana.  Cut and weave for Char.  Lunch time- a BIG A** sandwich from MOOCHIES- compliments of Jim (thanks Jim!!)  Weave for Elizabeth (never to be called "Liz").  Cut for Laurel.  Cut for Grace.  Cut and weave for Yvonne.
Yvonne is another 9.5ish year-er.  I adore Yvonne.  She inspires me.  She seems to have all the qualities that a balanced woman should possess.  She is educated and informed.  She is caring, nurturing and loving.  She has good boundaries.  She is a talker and a good listener.  She is healthy, active and proactive.  She is involved.  She is beautiful & happy. 
When Yvonne sat in my chair I got choked up and all teary.  She was the last client I'd put in my chair as an employee of ZADA.
Today was my last day.  sniff sniff.  I freaking LOVE LOVE LOVE my job.  The thing with me is that I have ALWAYS wanted to do hair.  Always.  It wasn't a last-minute decision for me because I didn't go to college.  I didn't go to college because I knew I wanted to do hair school, so I did that and am proud of it!   How many people can honestly say that they LOVE their job?  I honestly LOVE my job.  I love my clients, who are now dear friends.  I love making people look and feel beautiful.  I love the up-beat environment.   I love the "out" or "break" from being a mom.  I love working with my hands.  I love dressing up for the job or, in most cases, dressing down.  I love the flexibility.  I love doing color.  I love my co-workers.  I'm going to miss Candice's wit, Kathy's wisdom, Jimmy's boldness, Karen's questions, Liz's quirks, Ray's charm and Rob's laugh.
Doing hair has been a dream ever since I can remember and while I am so so sad to end this chapter, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the most amazing 10 years of a dream fulfilled.  

    One day, my mother and I were working together in the garden.  We were transplanting some plants for the third time.  Grown from seed in a small container, the plants had been transfered to a larger container; then transplanted into the garden.  Now, because I was moving, we were transplanting them again.
    Inexperienced as a gardener, I turned to my green-thumbed mother.  "Isn't this bad for them?" I asked, as we dug them up and shook the dirt from their roots.  "Won't it hurt these plants, being uprooted and transplanted so many times?"
    "Oh, no," my mother replied.  "Transplanting doesn't hurt them.  In fact, it's good for the ones that survive.  That's how their roots grow strong.  Their roots will grow deep and they'll make strong plants." 
    Often, I've felt like those small plants- uprooted and turned upside down.  Sometimes, I've endured the change willingly, sometimes reluctantly, but usually my reaction has been a combination.
    Won't this be hard on me?  I ask.  Wouldn't it be better if things remained the same?  That's when I remember my mother's words:  That's how the roots grow deep and strong.
                                                                                            -Melody Beattie

So here I am, closing this chapter and opening a new one, with hopes to strengthen my faith and my self.  Oh boy!  Wish me luck in Minnesota!


My 2nd family

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Kris- Mom
Karen- Big sis
Jim- Big bro
Candice- Little sis & BFF
Rob- Estranged foster bro
Rene- Dad
(and those that aren't pictured don't get titled- but you know who & what you are :) )

And I am completely serious!  These people ARE my 2nd family.  Sometimes they felt like my first.

The salon had a going away dinner for me at STELLAS.  It was a perfect evening.  I was bummed a few couldn't make it, but I DESPISE goodbyes so it worked out for the best.

I absolutely ADORE my co-workers!  I have learned so much from each and every one of them and count them as HUGE blessing in my life.  I really miss them not being apart of my day-to-day life. But life goes on and at least I get to look forward to being apart of the team again in December.  I really can't wait to be back, for a few days anyway.

Thanks for a great night everyone- and thanks 'DAD' for picking up the tab!

Here's to MANY more boating trips, skiing trips, late-night dinners, trailer-trash parties, parties, parties and more parties (including Jimmy's 'upcoming'  house party that we've been hearing about for the past 7+ years), singing performances (as the brooms for mics), dances, good bands, bad bands (that light their drum sticks on fire), laughs, cries, 'cocktails' and UNFORGETTABLE memories.
Love you guys!


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