Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lazy week and lazier Sunday

Another week has passed without me even realizing it. The week itself was not all that interesting. However, the weekend has been quite eventful, or uneventful as the case may be. Here's how it all happened.

Monday thru Friday meant work for Aaron. Gabriela got school off on Monday because it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Yes, yet another holiday where the rest of the working world (comprising the US) curses all government employees because they get the day off for remembering people. Did any of the postal workers do anything to commemorate Dr. King's life? No, it was probably more centered around staying at home, in their pajamas, and watching all the shows they have been TiVoing for the past two months while cleaning their AK-47s. Sounds like a just system to me. But, I digress.

Anyway, the week went well. Gabriela is still the smartest kid in the class and attending school simply for the access to a social life. And on that note, I found out that Everett is looking like he's a math whiz. The past couple of weeks we have been playing Monopoly quite a bit, both the regular kind and the Star Wars version. The kids love playing it. Well, working with the money and the dice have really paid off. Madeline was rolling the dice today and after she rolled a 4 and 5, without anyone saying anything, Everett told her she needed to move 9 spaces. I was quite impressed with his prowess at simply picking that up. I think we've either got an engineer or CPA on hand. It's very cool.

By the way, the probiotics are not cutting it. We've had some good times and some bad times this week. Good times at the beginning of the week, worse ones around the end. Needless to say, we're throwing away a lot of soiled underwear this week. Darn the clay poop.

Anyhow, Saturday came around with a trip to Costco and then I went to work for the afternoon. When I got finished and drove home at 4 pm, the parking lot was coated in ice. We had freezing rain coming down, and apparently it had ben for a while. I had some fun with the truck and did a few donuts in the parking lot. Tried some drifting, but I think I need some pointers from my bro Ryan before I can really feel accomplished at that. I should probably watch that Tokyo Drift show, but I haven't watched any Fast and Furious movies and I don't want to. I'm just afraid that I'd be able to hear my brain cells collapsing while watching the shows, no offense to anyone who actually has been able to bear them. More power to ya.

So, I saw about 20 cars off on the side of the road on the way home and my regular commute of 7 minutes turned into 30. Seriously, some people have absolutely no clue how to drive with ice and snow. We had an enjoyable evening watching "What about Bob", a classic Bill Murray flick with a little more profanity than I had remembered. I forgot about the Tourette's moment in the movie, so once we muted through that, it was good. The kids liked it a lot too. We were in bed by 9 o'clock and got a call from the Elder's Quorum presidency letting us know that church had been cancelled. Which, I hate to admit, was a big moment of happiness for Kim and I because that meant she didn't have to lead the choir and I didn't have to teach sunday school. That meant pleasant dreams and sleeping in for Sunday morning.

What we didn't expect for Sunday was to find about 2 inches of snow on the ground this morning. And the snow did not let up today until about 8 pm. We've got between 6 to 8 inches on the ground right now and, with the 1/2" of ice covering the roads, I'm wondering if I'll be attending work tomorrow. We're feeling really happy about being snowed in, although I'm wishing we had a snow shovel right now. Might make for getting out of the driveway a bit easier.

So, lazy day at the house, playing games with the kids, Kim doing scrapbooking, etc. Got a phone call from Mom and Dad and chatted with them for a little while. Kim's mom and dad are on their way to Peru to visit friends and will be having lots of fun there where it's summer, rather than winter. The only bad spot to the day was the phone call from Kim's sister Emily to let us know that Pres. Hinckley had passed away. We were very sad to hear it, but we're happy to know that he is with his wife again and that he's surrounded by loved ones and all the people that have passed on that have benefited because of his work here on the Earth with building temples and doing temple work. We've been blessed to have him as our Prophet and he will be greatly missed. We are also blessed to know that the Church will still be in capable hands even though he is gone.

That's it from Richland, Washington. Peace, out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Did I really spend my Sunday evening writing this?

Well everyone, yet another week has passed and the Welling family remains alive and kicking. Here's the update for the previous week.


Okay, nothing happened to us last week. Let's be honest here: our life is pretty mundane and ever-so-uneventful. Oh, we might have the occasional happenstance of unordinary when Aaron has to fly out of town for work and leaves Kim with the kids as she tries to cope with being a single parent for a few days. I forgot that happened this week. Okay, here comes the elaboration.

Wednesday Aaron left for Moline, Illinois to conduct a workshop with a client. He did a very nice job and made it home in one piece on Friday evening. While in Moline, he got to stop at the John Deere gift shop and bought his kids souvenirs: toy tractors for Everett and Daniel, a plush pig wearing a John Deere T-shirt for Madeline, and a T-shirt for Gabriela that says "I Love John Deere" with a tractor on it. She put it on immediately right after she got it. What a great kid.

Oh, here's another exciting front. Everett is still not potty-trained. Okay, that's really not the exciting part. The exciting part is our attempt at helping him become potty-trained. Now, I would like to warn the squeamish that the next paragraph may not be the most enjoyable or even most appropriate to read, especially if the details of fecal matter are not something you're particularly interested in, but unfortunately the state of our children's fecal matter is one of the most memorable things to happen this week, so I'm writing about it. Interesting? Doubtful. Stupid? Probably. Revolting? Most definitely. So skip it if you can't handle it. Don't say I didn't warn you.

So, Everett is still working on the potty training. He's got #1 down, although he still has some accidents which revolve around excuses like: "somebody was in the bathroom", or "I was too tired to get up" or "My pants were cold and I wanted to warm them up". Nevertheless, he can do #1. It's #2 that is causing the problems. The biggest reason for this is that Everett has what Kim likes to call "the clay poop". Now most of you might be asking, What is the clay poop? I'm now asking Kim to dictate while I type. She knows best anyways, since I absolutely refuse to change Everett's diaper anymore because, let's face it, I'm a pansy when it comes to changing poop diapers and I start to get the dry heaves when they smell really bad. These are Kim's words: "The 'clay poop' is poop that sticks to your bum and does not come off, so you have to shake your bum to get the poop to come off. That's the stuff that comes off. The rest of it just sticks there and won't come off. I can't believe you're writing this, Aaron." Her words, not mine. Anyhow, since the feces are fickle and most uncooperative, Kim's mom's dietitian's advice (can we get more convoluted) was to add probiotics to Everett's diet. The addition of the probiotics is supposed to balance Everett's bowels and make normally formed turds that should be easier to defecate and not linger from stickiness. We're hopeful that this will be the case and that we will turn a big corner in the potty-training. I'm sure you're all very excited to keep abreast on this front, so we'll you updated on how everything comes out.

Saturday was exciting for us because, after 8 months of living in our new home, Aaron finally dedicated some time to do some of the home improvement things that he has been successfully neglecting. We would like to report that the trim and the final shelf have been added to the bathroom closet. We are hoping to paint the inside and put on the baseboard next week and then add actual closet doors. Amazing, I know. Once this project has been completed, we will be focusing on the kitchen pantry and then the laundry closet. Given past dedication, we will probably have all that finished in the next 12 years.

Since it is becoming standard fare for the blog, I'll give a movie review. We borrowed a video from our friends this week: The Illusionist. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this movie at all, because it came out the same time as The Prestige and I couldn't imagine how it could even possibly compare with The Prestige because that movie just plain rocked. I loved it! And it had David Bowie in it, which was extra cool. Can't you totally see David Bowie, Hugh Jackman, and Christian Bale singing the soundtrack from Newsies during the breaks? Boy, would I have loved being a fly on that wall. Anyway, I was quite surprised that I liked the Illusionist. It was a good plot line and although I had some of the ending figured out before the end, I didn't have it all figured out, which is always an added benefit for me. My only problem was everybody and their accents. It takes place in Austria, but none of the actors really talked to each other beforehand as to what kind of accents they should use. I couldn't tell if they were supposed to have a German, English, or Swahili accent. That kind of annoyed me. But other than that, good show. PG-13 because of some gratuitous sensuality which we happily skipped over.

Last, but certainly not least, we got a call this morning before church. I looked at the caller ID and it said wellingra, which I knew could only mean one thing: Mom and Dad had figured out how to use Skype and were calling us from Kazakhstan. I talked to Mom for about 15 minutes and they said they were doing well, that the weather was just at -1 degrees today and, if it stayed that warm, they were going to try and get out of their apartment to see a little more of Astana. She said that it had taken them forever to figure out how to use their laptop and hook it up to their DSL connection. I reminded Mom it had only been 3 weeks and, considering their age and lack of tech-savvy that I thought they were doing a bang-up job between the two of them. They get to go to Sofia, Bulgaria in April for a humanitarian conference. I told Mom I was very jealous and that by the time they come home, they'll probably have more European stamps in their passports than I do. I'm very jealous and excited for them.

I believe that's it for the week. Keep it really real.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

American Gladiators and Dehydrated Water

So, the second week of January is behind us. It started out with me getting a fabulous promotion at work which will definitely help in getting us out of the big gaping hole we like to call "Debt" and in taking our kids off of eating Top Ramen and ketchup packets. We had been rotating between ketchup and hot sauce until Taco Bell banned us from their stores in Washington State. Didn't think it would be economical to drive over the state line just for free hot sauce packets, so we're happy for the added income.

Gabriela went back to school and we have started to see Kim's sanity returning after a long holiday hiatus. That is, Gabriela had a holiday hiatus, not Kim's sanity. She's been sane the whole time, although there was that one instance when we received calls from the neighbors in the middle of night because Kim was trick-or-treating in her bathrobe. However, I've got her convinced that it was just a bad dream from the baklava she had eaten the night before, so I'd appreciate it if none of you mentioned it to her. Thanks!

Madeline is having an issue attending Sunbeams at church. Of course, I can't really blame her. If someone told me that I had to give up a 2 hour block that consisted of playing with toys, napping, assembling puzzles, playing games, making stuff with clay, and eating goldfish crackers and Cookie Crisp cereal, all to go sit on hard chairs and listen to somebody talk for those same two hours, I probably wouldn't feel all that hot about it either. Actually, I'm starting to take her side. It's a good thing Sunbeams aren't smart enough to unionize. We could have the same thing on our hands that the Writer's Guild of America is giving to the media. Hey, maybe we can just give the WGA goldfish crackers and Cookie Crisp with some extra Play-Doh and that problem could go away. Then we could get back to some decent television again.

Speaking of decent television, have you seen American Gladiators? I cannot believe that this show is back on television. And I'm definitely blaming this one on the WGA. When we can't get decent writing, we get throwback shows from the early 90s where we get to watch "athletes" that have so much human growth hormone running through their veins that they are automatic candidates for the baseball hall of fame. My favorite moment was watching "Titan" a 250 pound man whose pecs crush walnuts pick up and toss this 150 pound weakling down a giant foam pyramid. This is what they're trying to pass off as entertainment. And unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it except ignore TV entirely and devote our lives to YouTube. Actually, some of the stuff I've seen on YouTube is much funnier than the drivel on TV lately. Did you ever get to see "Chocolate Rain"? I haven't laughed that hard in the longest time. Check it out when you get a minute. It's a laugh riot.

So we rented Stardust this weekend. Now that was a great movie! Totally reminded me of Princess Bride, but much better special effects and a great cast. I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet. It's got the great adventure element to it, the comedy, and a good love story to boot. Definitely not for those aged 12 and under, as there are some scary elements to the movie.

Yesterday we went to the dry pack cannery and attempted to replenish some of our food storage that has probably become dust because we have had it for so long. We got a bunch of carrots, potatoes, milk, flour, sugar, hot cocoa, apple slices, and black beans. I joked with Kim that the only thing we were missing was dehydrated water. But, in all actuality, there have got to be a few suckers out there that would be dumb enough to buy dehydrated water. It would take quite the marketer, but imagine the tag line:

Double the output of the water in your storage by buying Wondrous Duplicating Dehydrated Water. This colorless, tasteless, odorless, and weightless additive, when added to water can increase the level of your water, simply by sprinkling the invisible powder over a half full container. After 10 years of containment, your stored water will double.
And in fine print:
Please be aware that this process does not happen overnight. Water will need to be in a non-transparent container and cannot come in contact with any air during the 10 year period. Any exposure to sunlight or air during that time will make the product null and void.

And, of course, by the time everybody gets to see if this stuff actually works, you're long gone, living the high-life on some South American beach. Of course, you would have cheated a lot of unsuspecting, naive, over-trusting people and you'd probably feel really guilty, not to mention go straight to Hell later on. Wow, I'm glad I talked myself out of that one in the blog here. I almost gave up that promotion.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sledding Fun - January 1, 2008

Aaron didn't crash & burn everytime...those are just the moments that were captured on film!

There goes Everett down the hill!

Gabriela and Daniel down together.

Madeline sat on a stump and ate snow the entire time!

This is how Daniel spent most of his time sledding ... maybe that is why he was so adventurous!

First week of 2008

Since I am no longer calling my parents each Sunday because the long distance charges to Kazakhstan would probably cause hemorrhages to my brain as well as my bank account, I am devoting that time to writing to the blog. We'll see how long that resolution lasts.

The Christmas and New Year's break was great. We stayed in Richland for Christmas. We had an enjoyable time just hanging around home, staying in our pajamas, and doing very little on Christmas. On Wednesday we drove to Spokane where we stayed with Kim's family for six days. We got to go sledding twice (they actually have snow there) and we got to see a few movies, on DVD and in the theater. The kids loved the sledding and we started to see just how crazy Daniel is. The kid has no fear. Madeline couldn't even be coaxed into riding down the hill.

I saw I Am Legend, which I thought was a very good film, although not for the faint of heart. Kim, Gabriela, and I went to see National Treasure 2. We all thought that was a worthwhile time and would recommend it for anyone who liked the first one.

For Christmas, Everett and Daniel got lots of Hot Wheels and they're enjoying playing with them every chance they get. Gabriela and Madeline got Littlest Pet Shop stuff and Madeline loves playing with them all the time. That kid has quite the imagination and can play for hours by herself inventing scenarios and stories with all her toys. She just started Sunbeams today and we're so happy we've got to the point where we have no more kids in nursery. What a blessed day!

That's about it for this week, or at least that's what is top of mind. More to come in the future. Please stand by.