rounding up "pretties" or nobody should have to see a grown woman with barrettes.

with 4 girls in the house, we have lotsandlotsandlots of barrettes and hair accessories and bows, or "pretties" as we refer to them as. they are often discarded here and there and under this pillow and thrown on this counter, and as i go through and pick up, when i find a pretty, i clip or fasten it on my head to take back into my bathroom where all good pretties live. there have been times when i've taken them out that i've counted up to 14 different fantastic hair accessories atop my head.

tonight i counted 8.  

5 things about mindi because this is my blog dammit

1. my real name is MELINDA. mindi is a nickname which actually was spelled 'mindy' until i was in the 10th grade and decided that spelling it with an i was fo sho gonna up my popularity factor. ummmm, it didn't.

2. me and motorized vehicles have had some bad luck over the years--i hit a mentally retarded lady on a bike 3 months after i got my license and she spent 2 days in the hospital with a broken arm and 2 broken ribs. yes, really. in my defense, they cited her because she rode out in between traffic and had escaped from the living facility and yeah, that still doesn't make it sound any better, does it? i also parked my car on top of my friend's steep ass driveway and had it roll down into the neighbor's house. speaking of rolling, probably my best/worst one was 2 years ago when i was pulling up my (fairly) steep driveway, opened my door to lean out to grab the newspaper, FELL OUT of the van, watched it starting to roll backwards, tried to jump back into it as it gained momentum and spiralled out of control, ramming into a massive boulder in my neighbor's yard, missing their 3 car garage. yikes. who does this kind of crap??? and lives to tell?

3. i la-la-LOVE gas station nachos. all of them. and that ooey gooey nacho-cheese goodness that sprouts forth from the pump? pure heaven! TOTALLY white trash, but i can't help myself. i'm like a deer in the headlights anytime i see a minute market or stop-n-shop. i hope you can still love me after reading this. also who says nachos are only for people who live in trailer parks?

4. in 1985 i went 4 months with only one contact in my right eye. i am blind as a bat, but my new-wave hairstyle required that my bangs fell way down over my left eye, so i figured since i wasn't really using it all that much, i might as well not mess with the hassle of putting that contact in. seriously. i still catch myself closing my left eye sometimes when i am putting make-up on or reading something. what a retarded thing to put myself through, but, hey--when you are 15 years old there are alot of things that make sense that shouldn't. ever. never-ever.

5. in restaurants, i order the same 6 things over and over and OVER:

*NACHOS OR CHIPS AND SALSA (if i could only eat one thing for the rest of my life? this!!)
*QUESADILLAS OR FAJITAS (chicken or steak, doesn't matter)
*LASAGNA (at italian places)
*ROAD KILL FROM TEXAS ROADHOUSE (best deal at that place in my opinionated opinion.)
*STEAK (usually when i'm sharing with rbc)

mia is three. and she called SHOTGUN!

showing "three"--most of the time the last couple of days she's said she's turning two..... she also has a hard time getting the right chubby little fingers to stay down.

i can hardly believe that my baby is three years old today. honestly, i just started having kids like 2 seconds ago--now i'm sooooooo barren (translation: tubes tied in a big ole knot) and i can't believe that my little one is hardly little.

mia was such a good baby--so easy and easily pacified. she has had the attention and adoration of her 3 older sisters for her entire lifespan, and continues to be the queen of the castle, managing somehow to always get her sisters to give her whatever she wants, all the while making it seem like it was their idea. smart little cookie, that one.

she LOVES to sing and knows the words to many different songs, and likes it best when the music is turned up way past eleven (see other post today) and her latest love is to dance around, twirling in a circle with arms held out, in her version of "whirling fish disease".

mia loves anything pink or shiny or a purse or container that she can load alot of crap into and transfer from one point in the house to another. she loves to have aunt megan polish her toenails and fingernails, but is most famous for giving midnight manicures or improving upon our family portraits with a sharpie. she has been such a funny, joyful little person and has brought much laughter and many smiles to our house.

one thing mia does that is hilarious is to pose--it doesn't matter how many photos we take, she is always gonna tuck one foot in, stick her hip out with her hand on it and "work it"!!

we use the word "numa-numa-numa" round these here parts to describe anything really yummy--it comes front the time aunt megan was over at our house making cinnamon rolls and mia was all nervous about getting her fair share. megan put them in the oven and then told her as soon as they were done cooking, she could have one. mia stood right there, hands pressed up against the glass, nose nearly touching, as she watched those rolls bake and kept repeating, "numanumanumanumsssss...." the entire time.

everytime we go to load up in the car, you will hear mia yell "SHOTGUN!!! SHOTGUN!!" she has no idea what it means, but she's heard her sisters say it for so very long that she knows it's important to say it loudest, and firstest. she also loves to have "spider juice", which is actually bug juice as we've pointed out to her many a time, but she refuses to say anything but spider juice. being the retard that i am, i didn't get it until i was purchasing one for her in maverick about a week ago and the clerk was trying to be funny and asking if i wasn't just a little old to be buying bug juice.(i most certainly am NOT, thank you very little. frickin' punk.) i said that my baby called it "spider juice" and he picks it up and looks at it and says , "oh, i see, because it has a spider on the front."

i really hate it when the convenience store worker is more perceptive than me. typical.

oh, mia--we love you so very much!! you are our little lady and we are so glad you are part of our family---you make us complete.

conversations from the car seat or mia loves it loud

i go to my ghetto rec center most mornings for their exercise classes. on the way home in all my salty, sweaty, 'endolphins'- (ho!) kicking -in glory, i like to roll the windows down. it's just mia and i, and, as she IS my daughter, we generally like to have the tunes blasting while we rock out to music.

the other day i had window down, tunes up, and i hear this from the back seat:

mia: "MOM! MOM!!!!!

me: (turning down music) "what, baby?"

mia: "mines window rolled down."

me: "oh, you want me to roll yours down, too?"

mia: "yes." (love that she usually always says yes--not ya, or yep, or uh-huh. she is very proper. just like her mother.)

10 seconds go by while i roll her window down and check out the mother of all bruises on my arm, then----

mia: "mom. MOM!"

me: "yes...."

mia: "a-turn a music back UP."

oh. my. goodness.

could this proud mama's joy be any more full?? she's her mother's daughter. 

clove family food faves or FEED. ME.

"me so hungy. i HUNGY.HUNGY.HUNGY!!!" (mia quote in honor of her big bday today)

we love food. 

 when my bil neal joined our family and sat down with us one night to plan out a big family trip he mentioned that fact that we just basically planned our trips around where we were gonna eat. we looked at him and said, "DUH!" isn't that what every family does?

yes, food makes our world go 'round, and we are pretty easily pleased when it comes to restaurants (for the most part.)  a few clove favorites we would like to write down for posterity:

we love cheesecake factory and my girls fell in love the first time we took them.  chandi told me "this is the nicest restaurant you've ever let us eat in."

when i first ate here my favorite cheesecake was white chocolate raspberry truffle but i'm leaning more towards adams peanut butter fudge ripple these days. 

we love nachos and the sliders with cheese and the cuban sandwich and the four cheese pasta and the classic burger and the sweet tamale corn cakes (okay that's just me) and especially both kinds of breads with lots and lots of butter.

a forever clove favorite would be chili's.

ordering dinner sunday nights from this fine establishment has become quite a tradition for us.  we obsess over the chips and salsa and queso and the kids can't get enough of the kid's chicken tenders and russ and i will always be committed to the mushroom jack fajitas.  this restaurant is always on our short list.

Image result for chili's

lately our thing has been texas roadhouse--

the roadkill!!! i have always subscribed to the theory that the roadkill is the best value on the menu--for $7.99 you get a salad, loaded mashed potatoes, and a whole mess of ground beef with swiss cheese and mushrooms and onions on top----numanumanums.

we went to scottsdale and all i have to show for it is a bag of chucharitas.

when we were getting ready to hit the road in scottsdale, we stopped into a little am/pm market to gas up and get a drink and a treat. i found this over by the bags of licorice, gummi bears, and little butterscotch hard candies. i was so very repelled/grossed out/sickened by the "chucharitas" that i had to purchase them. there are 6 spoons, wrapped in saran wrap each with a rubber band around them. ingredients, you ask? sugar, citric acid, salt, chili powder, and corn syrup, naturally!!! with my pseudo-latino heritage, i should be all over these babies like white on rice. unfortunately, i don't like to consume food that tastes like ass.

what's so gut-churning about them is that the stuff is all gooey, like a scoop-full of cookie dough. with the consistency of crisco. 

my ddp enabler

have you ever watched an episode of 'intervention'?? it's a documentary about addicts and their families, and the process they go through to get the addicts into rehab.

many episodes the people from the rehab staff have to come down hard-core on the family, as they have enabled the user and his or her addict behaviors.

i wish you to meet my "enabler"--isn't he handsome? if he had a dime for every time he went into a handi-mart to procure me a diet dr pepper, i think he would be ready for early retirement by 2010. what a good guy--thanks, honey, for feeding my full-blown addiction.

hey-----the first step is ADMITTING you have a problem! too bad i don't plan to take it any further.


thankful thursday

things i am thankful for this week:

1. my sunroof. yes, i love it so--it allows the sun to shine down on my head and feel a little bit of a breeze right now in this gorgeous weather. plus, i have to use the heck out of it right now before mr. heat miser cranks up the temp and makes us wanna whine. alot.

2. a husband who's job allows us to travel--oh, what joy it brings us!! traveling would be our biggest indulgence (that is major, coming from a girl who has many indulgences...yikes.) and i am grateful for russ working in the hotel industry. we have connections in high places, i'm just saying........AND, i've always subscribed to the theory, "IT'S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, BUT WHO YOU KNOW, AND WHO THEY KNOW." ( thank you derrill larkin. )

3. coral canyon playground--with mia being the 4th child, she usually gets the shaft, big time, when it comes to all things little. with child #1, #2, and #3, we spent lots of time at the park with friends and their children, letting the kiddies duke it out on the playground. now i am pretty much the only friend with a child still home during the day (except for megan, who's just getting warmed up). taking a little time each week to watch my mia play has been a little slice of heaven.

plus, how can you NOT love a little person who's feet look like this in her "flower shoes"......
or who's chubby, knock-knees look like THIS in a skirt???? i wuv her.

4. my shiny, happy, clean windows-- my cousin dennis likes to moonlight as a professional window washer when he is on one of his bajillion days off from his ultra cool job as las vegas fireman--he had my windows sparkling in no time and for a price so low, i almost felt as though i was robbing him. but then i still let him do it.....he is awesome.

5. girls who do their chores--every day when they come home from school, my girls have 1 or two jobs. nothing major, as i like to point out to them on a weekly basis when the whining starts up, but enough to have them pitch in at our house. they are all good about getting them done, and it makes me happy. thanks, my little ladies!

top 10 things we loved about our trip to scottsdale

10. our hotel-- how amazing was the jw marriott?? from it's jaw-dropping lobby to the millions (how do i know? i counted.) of flowers in bloom around the property, we were instantly in love. we settled into rock-star living faster than you could say "american express black card". too bad we want champagne wishes and caviar dreams on a mountain dew and mac & cheese budget, but we took full advantage for 72 hours straight.

9. how do you keep 11 kids entertained for hours on end with whining kept to a minimum? two words: lazy river. i think if they could have figured out a way to sleep on those tubes come bedtime, we could never have removed them from the pool area. at one point they were the instigators of a "tube-train" where strangers hopped on, and i counted 28 tubes at one point! yah, our kids are waaaaaaayyy ahead of their tubing time. 8. greatest chips and salsa ever to be served poolside. having a server come around every 10 minutes to ask if you need anything can be habit forming. truly. at the end of the trip when chandi was placing an order for a pitcher of diet coke by herself, we knew it was time to check out.
7. arizona diamondbacks game--sitting just 2 rows above the in-stadium swimming pool had it's advantages. despite the unfortunate fact that they were constantly referred to as the "d-backs", (huh? time to re-think THAT nickname, people ) a fabulous time was had by all. highlight of the evening? watching jared break up a drunken brawl, and the kids making the best use of the "foam fingers". oh, and the baseball game!
6. the beauty of the desert--now, i'm already converted to living in an oven, but the nights were so breathtaking and we enjoyed sitting out under the full moon eating outside at the desert ridge outdoor marketplace. downside? chain smokers going for a new record of consecutive cigarettes smoked in one sitting. who wants to smoke and freakin' eat at the same time?? i swear, i'll never get it. but then i have to remember that some people don't get why i want to wear painful shoes, either, so it was tolerance all around.
5. boys and girls dormitories. renting 2 extra rooms for our plethora of kids was downright genius. the male dorm housed dallen, braden, b-rad, and spencer. the female dorm consisted of katie, chandi, abbey, mia, and abby hanks. now, if darrin could only have figured out how to get gracie and ellie in on a short, mandatory exchange student program, everyone would have been satisfied.
4. the jews--yes, you read that right. with the week of passover coinciding with our vacay, we noticed a large group (400 plus!) of men and boys walking around wearing "little tiny hats'. (thanks, abby hanks--i couldn't have said it more eloquently.) we made friends with one of the families out on the lawn and had the most interesting discussion with them about their religion. they were all 'modern orthodox jews' who came out from back east for the whole week to stay and worship and play together. they even invited us to join them that night in their 5 plus hour feast. we respectfully declined, considering the sheer numbers we had, but giggled over the prospect of a bunch of mormons from utah crashing their passover party. it was awesome to get a glimpse into another religion, and they were so gracious to answer our questions. (btw: they refer to themselves as "jews", so i am being pc....)

3. big kids getting bigger-- with older children ages 15, 14, 13,11, & 10, we reached a big milestone: "teenager alone time at the desert ridge marketplace for hanging out and a movie. at. night. (gasp!) those kids asked, with low hopes, figuring the automatic "no. NO." was gonna come. the look on their faces when we said, "okay"?? priceless.

2. hoover dam-- if you want to see a grown, 34 year old man act as giddy as a school boy with a crush, then go with our geotechnical engineer friend jared to see this modern marvel. we did find out that, no matter how many times you say a word with "dam" in front of it (ie, 'dam door, dam bathroom, etc. you see where i'm going here) it NEVER gets old.
my favorite part of hoover dam? the photo below that jody snapped of our european friend who thought it was "shirts off" day. you can't make this crap up.

1. good friends we adore-- being the traveling fools that we are, russ and i have talked many times about the fact that we could just plan hundreds of trips with only our family or each other, but being able to share it with those we love makes it even more meaningful. thanks, hanks and larkin families--we love you!! here's to many more good times....

notice the little gangsta in the back, throwing the peace sign with "gangsta new jersey tool" lips? yeah, i wonder who's child that is....... always drawin' (see slang term of the day), that one.

mindi gets a new phone after losing hers. (yes again.)

yeaaaaahhhh. i've had rather bad luck with cell phones over the years. i've dropped them in sinks, toilets, pools, and hot tubs. i've dropped them on driveways, parking lots, bathroom floors, and pool decking one too many times to count. i've left them in stores, restaurants, people's homes, hotel rooms, & movie theaters. i've even lost my cell phone in my car for 3 days, only to find it wedged waaaaaaaaayyyyyy under the seat, dead as a doornail.

i guess you could say i'm a bit careless. or A LOT careless. i try not to be, but for some reason unbeknownst to my poor husband, i cannot seem to keep a phone for longer than 18 months (and that's doing really well).

i lost my phone when we went to "ka" in las vegas 2 weeks ago. i just got the replacement today, and let me say this: if you think you could live for 14 days without a cell phone, i'm here to tell you: you CAN NOT!! it has been ridiculous the number of ways it has impacted my life from the little itty-bitty things to things large and in charge.

here's chandler programming my new, cute green phone that she picked out for me specifically because it had a flip out keyboard. it's pathetic that she knows more than me and can do it 5 times as fast. i've just decided to harness that information and make her work it for me.

i am grateful for my new phone and in an effort to keep track of it, i thought that utilizing packing tape might be the best way:
wish me luck!

i had to wear not cute shoes to lagoon and i wasn't happy about it.

last october we took our kids up to salt lake and we went to lagoon's "frightmares" with our friends the cowans, dalleys, and the kemps. we pulled into the parking lot and my children were bouncing off the wall with the anticipation of nasty carny food and $$$ wasted on bait-and-switch games. the rbc is a sucker for those, but i loathe them because, even if he wins, i LOSE, as we would have to drag that nasty stuffed sponge-bob home with us.
but i digress....

as russ was hollering to "come on, babe--light a fire under it!" i was throwing a mini-mindi fit about changing my shoes. that's right, a total tantrum because i didn't WANT to take off my cute black high-heel steve madden boots that i got on a big sale from tj maxx. i didn't want to take them off because then i would have to put on my running shoes which were totally gonna screw up my outfit and look sooooooo not cute. it didn't matter that there was gonna be not one single person in that amusement park who was even gonna give a rat's ass about what i had on my feet--I knew, and my sweet cross-trainers were looking a hot mess with my jeans.

it's all my sister megan's fault that i am a freak about shoes--she started it, and now i am continuing and perpetuating the "beauty is pain" theory. i can't tell you how many times we have come home from a concert or an evening out in las vegas, barely being able to walk on those monstrosities we call heels, which looked so great, but were pure torture all night long. i know i'm not alone in this dilemma as i see other women, limping around in their cute stilettos, trying to put a brave face on all the while our men walk along next to us, blissfully unaware and oh-so-comfy in their flat shoes built for comfort.

now, i know there are some of you practical gals out there that are reading this right now and shaking your head, "tut-tut-tutting" me because i am so lame when it comes to this. and if you are one of those, then i applaud you because you are definitely smarter than me. i fully admit it.

will i get smart one of these days and wear something out that is comfy, but sacrifices looks for said comfort? i should.......but don't hold your breath.

speaking of shoes, when we were down in phoenix we were in nordstrom and walked past my miu miu mexican hoochie mama shoes (hey--that's what my friends called them. i don't mind as i AM 1/16th mexi myself) and i had katie take a photo with them. they were only $550--too bad russ said no.

a cautionary tale about what happens when you have no boundaries or tiburon was annoying AF.

okay, my family--here is what happens when your mother used to have zero boundaries.  like none.

this is tiburon.  she was a blogger i "met" online and immediately decided she and i were besties.  like BFFFFF'S.

she asked if she and her four kids and supah dorky husband could come down and stay with us 8 weeks after we had "met" me.  and i said yes.

i made russ put them up at his hotel, free of charge of course, for 3 days and dreaded it for a month but she still showed up.  and wanted to spend quality time.  it was torture and she was a self-involved dumb bitch who had an inflated sense of self as well as no clue that she was annoyng AF.

but the only good thing about this visit was i got a cute photo of mia:

as well as an adorable photo of abbey.  back when she used to be nice:

i had told her that i loved her son ethan's curly hair and tiburon then decided that ethan and i had this real "connection" (ewwwwwwwwwhhhhhh creepy) and i suffered through.  i was an IDIOT.

but the best part is i got a good photo of the second wedding ring i had:


boundaries are sexy af.  also why did i think i was fat in these photos???!!!   WTF.