A Chocolate Donut

June 2, 2008

Child Labor

Filed under: children, family, home improvement, life — Wizus @ 11:09 am

Aha!  Finally, there something the kids can help with that is constructive!  While we found that they are very good at knocking holes in the walls and pulling up the carpet, there hasn’t been much else for them to do since we were in the break-down stage.  (Well, I should say we haven’t found anything for them to do that they didn’t whine about.) So what did we do last weekend?  Paint!

With a quick lesson from Dad…
Dad shows them the ropes

Kenny is off and running! He wastes no time working in his room.

We so much talked about the fun we would be having that Brynn’s friend insisted she would like to help..
Brynn and Jess

The kids picked out their own colors and I think they did a very good job. We installed some flooring and new ceiling fans last week so their rooms just need some finishing touches…
Brynn’s room:
Brynn's room and I think her ceiling fan is so cute!

Kenny’s room:
Kenny's room

The kids are very proud of their work and are very anxious to get into their new rooms.   At this rate, we will be back in our home in just 2 weeks!





May 12, 2008

Hello, poor neglected blog.

Filed under: family, home, home improvement, life — Wizus @ 11:35 am

Oh my!  Has it really been 4 months?  I have a lot of catching up to do!  

We have been doing a lot of work on the house and are on the final stretch.  We ended up tearing out every last piece of drywall, leaving only the studs in the house. 

It was a good decicion to be so aggresive because we found mold growing in places we didn’t even suspect would have it.  The master bedroom had such a bad moisture problem that weeds were growing in the wall!  One of the problems was a leaky pipe that went through the wall for an outside water spigot.

For some fun, see if you can spot the weeds, mold and a rusty pipe.

The walls had blown-in insulation that had settled and became rock hard from all the moisture. It was such a mess to clean out!

With all the drywall out of the way, we were able to move outlets and rewire cables very easily. Besides the mold, we found some termite damage (that the previous owner did a bad job of repairing) so we were able to replace the studs that needed it. Every stud and all the duct work was treated and cleaned for mold. The termite guys came out and treated the foundation. And now our old house is almost a brand new rebuilt one!

My new kitchen started going in this last week.

With cabinets in place we were finally able to take a trip to the granite yard to pick out counter tops. There are so many beautiful stones to choose from, it was a long 2 hours in the near 100 degree sun but it was exciting knowing that this is the last step in finishing up my favorite room.




January 8, 2008

The Name Game

Filed under: children, family, life, parenting — Wizus @ 1:10 pm

My daughter has decided she does not like her first name.  Maybe its a phase and she will get over it, but she is very determined to have everyone call her by her middle name.   Her dad is not happy but I don’t mind as much as he does.  You see, her middle name is what I wanted her first name to be.  I had it picked out years before but Hubby never vetoed it until the day the ultrasound confirmed that, yes indeed, there was a girl on the way.   It took months for us to agree on a first name and then more time to agree on the spelling…Kayleigh.  When she first began to talk she called herself KK and here at home the nickname has stuck, but everyone else calls her Kayleigh…until now. Now she is Brynn.

With the new year came new classes with new teachers and coaches and this has given her the perfect opportunity to tell them all her new name.  I did not realize this was her plan until after cheer practice when her coach told me KK asked her to call her Brynn from now on.  Later I overheard her telling her new swimming coach, “My name is Brynn.”  

When we came home last night I had voice mail from her 3rd grade teacher, “Kayleigh wants to be called Brynn…”. She wants to know if it is alright with us. 

This morning I received a call from the gym where she takes gymnastics, they wanted to know if I had two daughters in the class. KK had told her new coach her name is Brynn instead of saying, “I am Kayleigh, but please call me Brynn”. So the coach added her name to the roster. I told the gym to just have her full name on the roster so there would be no more confusion.

She has scouts tonight and I know that some of her friends there have already begun to call her Brynn.  The leaders haven’t said anything to me but this is their first official meeting of the year so I am bracing myself.

Honestly, I don’t know what to think.  I use a nickname, Hubby uses a nickname, all the kids have nicknames…don’t most people shorten their name or have another name that “sticks”?  Its not like she is picking a name from her favorite TV show or movie.  KK knows other people that use a different name other than their legal first name and she has presented a good argument for her case.  I don’t know if there is more to her name change other than she really likes one over the other, she denies there are any other motives.  While I am concerned about her “declaration” of her new name and that she changed it without a formal approval from Mom and Dad, I also wonder, can an 8 year old have an identity crisis?  Is she trying to hurt her dad or get approval from me?  Is there something deeper to this or am I just trying to read too much into it?  

Once again, my daughter has managed to baffle me.

January 7, 2008

My house is a mess!

Filed under: Arizona, family, health, home, home improvement, life — Wizus @ 1:18 am

 Here is my house…just what you would imagine a home in the Arizona desert would look like, no?

my house

The house is 20 years old but we only bought it 18 months ago. We have had many surprises in the past year and a half. The mold is only the latest…the other big surprises (there are 2) have us involved in a legal dispute with the title insurance company, the sellers and one of our neighbors.  The dispute began when we started the renovation about 4 months after moving into the house.   We put everything on hold and were hoping to settle all the legal problems before doing any more changes but the mold made us move out, so here we are!

We began renovations on Dec. 17th.  The outside still looks the same, but the inside is going through a full face lift.  I had taken “before” pictures of the house inside so I could show for comparison but I cannot find them  😦
(UPDATE: I found a few “before” pics to share!)

Here is how it looked before we tore it all down…

Now, here is my kitchen after the first week of deconstruction…


The black stuff on the left wall is mold that was growing behind the dishwasher.  The dishwasher never leaked so I had no idea there would be a problem there.  Those walls are pretty disgusting, I didn’t realize how dingy the paint would seem and I really could not believe all the grease that streaked down the wall behind the stove!   Two burners on the cooktop were broken and the oven could not stay an even temp so I rarely used it.  The crockpot and the George Foreman Grill became my best kitchen buddies! 

Bathroom before, not the best picture but you can see the pretty tiles in the shower (and yes, that is black grout, not from mold)

A week later it is this:


Inside the walls of the shower we found more mold. It was also under the shower floor when we pulled up the tiles and there was mold in the ceiling that ran into the hallway next to the bathroom. This bathroom was the masterbath and it shares a wall with the hall bathroom, which also had mold hiding in the wall. Before drywall goes up we will spray everything with a bleach solution to kill the mold.



No mold here, we are just taking out this wall to make 3 small rooms into 2 big ones. 

I have had a very exciting 3 weeks of tearing out the old and picking out the new! I picked knotty alder for my cabinets with a natural stain and a chocolate glaze…they are beautiful but they won’t be here for 3 months. I picked the GE Monogram Series for the appliances…I cannot wait to be able to really cook again (apartment kitchen=no counter space)!  Windows and doors have become a bit of a headache for me…the door company makes over 1,000 styles of interior doors! It is a lot of fun but too many choices are overwhelming for me. 

November 23, 2007

Dear clothing manufacturers,

Filed under: children, family, life, parenting, rant — Wizus @ 5:52 pm

My 8 year old daughter is not a miniature teen and I don’t want to dress her as one.  I don’t even think I want her to  dress like a teen when she becomes a teen! She is not trying to impress the boys in her class.  She likes to look cute, but not in *that* way.  She wants pretty clothes that are durable enough for the playground.  She would like an outfit that is stylish yet allows for spontaneous cartwheels.   Low-rise jeans do not fit this bill.

I was a 3rd grader in 1973.  My teenage cousins wore hip-hugging bell bottom jeans which I would have loved to have worn if they were available in my size.  (Lucky for Mom they were not.  She did not have to have deal with the frustration of looking for age appropriate clothing and Lordy! What would she have said if she knew my cousins wore no underwear under those skin-tight pants?!)  When I got dressed in the morning I did not worry that my panties would be higher on my hips than the waist line of my Toughskin jeans.  No one would see that I was wearing “Tuesday” underwear on Friday.  When I sat on the floor in class, my pants did not slide down my hips to expose my entire backside. 

I would like to take my daughter shopping and have it be a pleasant experience.  I would like to outfit her in modest and stylish attire.   She is at the age where I cannot fool her with the higher waisted boy’s jeans any longer.   She would like to try on clothes and hear me tell her she looks great.  Is this too much to ask?


Frustrated Mom

November 20, 2007

I’m useless today

Filed under: family, fibromyalgia, health, life, rant, sleep — Wizus @ 2:52 pm

I don’t know why I want to do nothing.  I am not tired, I am not in any pain or discomfort, I just don’t want to do anything.  I have a list 2 pages long in my notebook (damn that notebook!) but I cannot motivate myself into doing any of it  😦  I hate it when I get stuck in a funk that won’t let me be productive. 

Yesterday I managed to get a few things done that I didn’t want to do…all of which involved going into Walmart.  I am lucky that my local store has 1) a branch of my Dad’s bank  2) a mail center  3) groceries and 4) a pharmacy.  I feel like I accomplished a lot in one stop because that took a few hours…yes hours.  What is amazing about this store is, if I had had more time, I could have also gotten an eye exam, my hair cut and had our family’s portrait taken for out greeting cards!  Bummer, they are still on my to-do list.

I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart…I like the convenience of the store, but I find it weird that I am never greeted by a “Greeter”.  Even when my kids were small and I needed help with the cart the “Greeters” would ignore me.  No one believes it until they walk into a store with me…then, as if on cue, the “Greeter” will turn to talk with whomever happens to be behind them at the time.  If I have a return I have to ask them for one of those stickers they like to put on incoming merchandise because they will just let me go on in without stopping me.  Hubby and my friends are amazed.  I asked them if I have an unconcious “Don’t talk to me, bitch!” scowl on my face that scares the greeters away, but they promise me I don’t.  I’ll chalk it up to being one of my *gifts*, I am “Suzi, the invisible Walmart shopper!” 

Three days before Thanksgiving and I survived the Walmart parking lot,  being ignored by the “Greeter”, the business of taking Dad’s death certificate to the bank and straightening out a social security mess, mailing life insurance information to ungrateful brothers, buying a few fresh food items for dinner (for the remainder of this week, I advise only go into a grocery store if it is an emergency!) and made it through a check out line a mile long…so what is my problem today?  I just want to veg.  I want ignore my responsibilties, maybe turn on the TV to see what poor sap Dr. Phil is going humilate today.  


October 29, 2007

AZ State U wins again!

Filed under: Arizona, family, life, parenting — Wizus @ 3:41 pm

Congratulations to our ASU Sun Devils…they are undefeated this season!

Here is a look at our family’s annual trek to ASU’s homecoming block party and game:


KK loves going to “Sparky’s school”!  Only 10 years until she will be a student there!


Kenny playing in a police car that was on display.

Pictured below, the kids in the student section rushed the field and somewhere in that mess is Ricky…he says he’s the one wearing the gold shirt  😛


And once again, I am the one that takes all the pictures so there are none of me  😦 

October 24, 2007

Hey 19…

Filed under: children, death, family, life, parenting — Wizus @ 1:07 am

He is lost and wanders aimlessly through life. 

He stays up all night and sleeps all day.  He will leave home for days at a time.

I don’t know what to do to for him.  He needs help but I cannot force him to get it.

He was only 7 when he followed his step-brother into his dad’s bedroom.  He watched Daniel pick up the air rifle and fill it with BB’s.  He counted the pumps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9…

He walked behind him as they went down the hall to the living room.   He saw him raise the gun and pull the trigger.

Then he watched his big brother fall to the floor.  

What did he hear?  I don’t know.  I could not listen to the 911 tape.  What would it be…crying? screaming? silence in the background?   I know he was scared.  He was alone in his dad’s house with his dying brother and the teenager that was supposed to be taking care him.

I ran into the emergency room.  I was escorted to a little sitting room and there they all were with their heads hung low…his dad, his stepmom, his stepsister, Daniel and my little Ricky.  No one looked up. “Where is Kyle?” I asked…nobody answered but I already knew. I had sensed it.  I felt him leave. 

…We had been shopping for Christmas gifts when we stopped to get a bite to eat.   We were discussing where to put the new freezer we had to buy when it happened.  Hubby says he saw it in my face as I abruptly stopped what I was saying and began talking about Kyle.  I knew it was him as he traveled right through me, it felt like a wind blowing through my chest and my mind filled with thoughts of him.  I felt restless and I told Hubby we needed to go home, now!  I knew there would be a message waiting for me and I dreaded having to push the PLAY button: “Come to the hospital immediately.  There has been an accident…” …

I had to say it again, “Where is Kyle?” and my baby boy is the only one to looked up at me to say, “He’s dead.” 

A single BB had torn through his shirt and entered his chest and punctured the pulmonary artery. The pericardial sack slowly filled with blood until his heart could no longer beat.  

I took Ricky home with me and held him all night.  I have held him many nights through the years.  He was 16 the last time I held him, I mean, really held him while he cried.  He was in so much pain my heart still aches from the memory, “I feel so lost right now and need my big brother“, is what he confessed to me.  

All summer long he watched Grandpa slowly die. I thought he was doing OK but it has brought back the horrible feelings of grief.  He didn’t tell me at the time but he had stopped going to work and he neglected to register for fall classes. 

I want to hold him now and tell him everything is going to be alright, but Mommy’s kisses cannot fix this.  

September 26, 2007

What the…?!?

Filed under: children, family, life, parenting — Wizus @ 10:52 am

I truly love my daughter more than words can describe.  She is my pride and joy and after two sons I was thrilled at the thought of all things pink.  What I wasn’t prepared for was how different she would be from me, I don’t understand her at all.  

Now, I think I have a good sense of humor, but what in the world would possess my sweet little princess into doing something like this to her little brother?

Look who is a big boy now! (not for the squeamish)

Filed under: family, life, parenting — Wizus @ 10:33 am

Kenny had just put his toothbrush in his mouth when blood began pouring out over his chin.  I saw it in the reflection of the mirror so I turned to look at him,  his eyes were wide and he just stood there with his mouth hanging open and the blood pooling in his lower jaw.

“Spit!” I told him.   He leaned over the sink and spit out the blood and froze there watching it drip, drip, drip, into the sink.   

“What happened?” I asked.  “I lost my tooth!” he said with a big grin.  I looked in the sink and sure enough, there was a little pearly white tooth mixed in that sea of red flowing towards…..the drain! 

I fished it out of the sink and I have to say, Wow! That little tooth had the longest root left on it that I have ever seen on a baby tooth!  He has knocked his teeth loose a couple of times so I am going to guess that is why it came out like that.   Look at the size of the hole it left!

Isn’t that the most proudest big-boy smile you have ever seen?!  I resized the picture so it is not too big for this post, but if you look carefully you can see that his top tooth is a shade of gray…that one was knocked loose by a sidewalk in California about 18 months ago but it has held up pretty well.   His 2 top teeth and the 3 left on the bottom are just a tiny bit wiggly now.   He was very happy with the dollar the Tooth Fairy left for him (yes people..I did an informal poll of the moms in my area and the going rate is $1,  do not give your child more so as to make my kids feel gypped  )  so he cannot wait to lose those teeth, he has some big plans on how he will spend his money! 

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