Friday, December 31, 2010

One Word to Describe Christmas 2010 . . . CRAZY!!

6 siblings. spouses. friends. kids. cousins. parents. boyfriends. girlfriends. presents. lots of presents. food. lots of food. filled up a new landfill with paper products eaten off of by our family. dad had a stroke the day after christmas. went to hospital. kids and adults got the "throw up" bug. laundry. lots of laundry. did i mention lots of hugs, kisses, and some tears. dad got out of hospital. dad drove from hospital to mall. took his 4 girls out for an after christmas shopping spree. more hugs and kisses. grateful for every moment. family . . . my heart can't hold all the love i feel for all of them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dear Nessie . . .

I've got a confession to make. I, Vanessa Heber, am Nessie, the World's Worst Advice Columnist. I was trying to pretend that "Nessie", the woman writing the never-read column on my blog, was really a mean, old lady with white hair, but alas . . . it is just me . . . an almost 37-year-old nice girl with lots of grey hairs that she tries unsuccessfully to cover up with bleach.

It has always been a dream of mine to write an advice column. I love giving advice. I think it's good advice. But 99% of the time. . . people don't listen. As long as people write to me with questions though -- I'm going to keep on handing out my advice -- for FREE! So here it goes. The latest question AND some FABULOUS advice to go with it!

Dear Nessie,

My twentieth anniversary is in less than three weeks. Last anniversary in Park City, my wife made it clear to me that we had better be in Hawaii for the next. As I sit here with airfare and a hotel in my shopping cart, I sweat bullets as I move the mouse over to the "check out" button. You see, somehow during the summer, Wife went and got herself with child. I should think that she won't very much enjoy being paraded around Waikiki Beach in a maternity bathing suit! (Do they make such a thing?) The subject hasn't come up since Wife's new condition emerged, so am I safe to assume the deal is still on?

Because I have twenty years of experience reading this woman's emotions, reactions, and expressions... She will probably believe I booked the vacation to mock her condition, and make an excuse to observe the non-expecting visitor attractions walking around on the beach... Although I can't deny I will probably get caught admiring the local eye candy, how can I remind/convince her that it was HER idea to go in the first place?

Truly Yours,
Probable Pineapple Disaster

Dear Probable Pineapple Disaster,

You are in quite a pickle. A pregnant wife, a wandering eye, and a 20 year wedding anniversary are not a very good combination. After considerable thought, I have come up with not ONE but TWO fabulous solutions for you. Let me remind you how lucky you are to be getting this FREE advice, because the first solution is going to cost you -- big time!

Solution #1 Surprise your wife with an even BIGGER anniversary vacation than she requested: a week's vacation to a PRIVATE island in the Caribbean should do the trick. You rent the ENTIRE island, so there won't be any reason for WIFE to be embarrassed of her pregnant belly, and you won't have an excuse to look at any eye candy -- as there will be NO ONE ELSE ON THE ISLAND!!

I found an island that is available for rent over your anniversary. I included the address, some pictures, and the perks that you will receive:

Cayo Espanto, Belize2Br, 2Ba (2 Ensuite), Waterfront, Pool, 2500 sq. ft.

*Bedrooms-2 King Beds (just in case WIFE needs her own bed because of those uncomfortable nights of pregnancy).

*Plunge Pool

*Villa Features Air-Conditioning, TV, CD player, DVD Player, Ceiling Fans, Hammock, Alfresco dining, VCR, Hairdryer, Alfresco shower, 2 Private Docks, Private Verandah, Wireless Internet Access, Stereo System, Free internet, iPod docking station, Refrigerator, Mosquito Net, Robes, Sailboat, Snorkel equipment, Movie collection,

*Only a 1 minute walk to beach

*10 minute walk to hospital(in case of contractions, etc . . .)

I think the $2995/night stay is a total bargain for all the amenities you receive. Only one problem -- a 7 night MINIMUM stay. I know WIFE is worth the $21,000 + tips the vacation would cost you, but I don't know if you are able to stay out of town that long, so . . . I decided to provide you with . . .

Solution #2Book your trip to Hawaii. Buy WIFE a super-cute maternity swimsuit like the one pictured below:

Then buy a really UNATTRACTIVE Speedo for yourself to wear. Wear it 24/7, no matter where you go on the island: the beach, restaurants, shopping . . . WIFE will have a fabulous time listening to the locals mock you as you walk by and feel very good about her decision to spend your 20th Anniversary in Hawaii. Problem solved. There is one potential hazard of the speedo. . . you may end up getting some pineapples thrown AT you!

You are welcome for the FREE advice. I know you will put it to good use.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saddest Part of Thanksgiving

I found out too late that my running buddies in Taft, California, had some "special accomodations" for me along our running route planned for Thanksgiving weekend. I cannot believe I missed out on this! I ended up wimping out and staying in Utah over the holidays due to a blizzard-like weather forecast, and let's face it . . . I just hate driving long distances alone. However, if I would've known about that sparkling white seat and pile of hay earlier . . . My dream run!! I may have braved the blizzard to get there for that.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving To Me!

What is your ultimate Thanksgiving like?

A. cooking all day
B. eating up all that home-cooked food that took 10 hours to cook in 15 minutes flat
C. cleaning up the disaster of a kitchen from the above-mentioned cooking project
D. utter exhaustion by 3 p.m.
E. none of the above

I chose "E" this year! The kids and I met my mom, dad, and my mom's friend, Greg, at Mimi's Cafe for an afternoon of pure bliss. The employees took our order, delivered our food with a smile, checked on us while we SLOWLY enjoyed our food, brought us the dessert of our choice (so I didn't feel sick after tasting 6 different desserts like most years), and gave us throw-away boxes for our leftovers. I didn't spend the entire morning cooking, so I had plenty of energy to laugh and joke around with the family during the entire meal! Normally I feel a tad bit grouchy and frantic by mealtime. It was honestly the most relaxing DAY I've had in a long time.

A couple of funny comments were made throughout the meal that I don't want to forget:
Carson talking to Nyah and pointing to the side of broccoli on her plate: "Nyah, don't eat that. It's just a decoration!"

Nyah to Carson concerning his spring leaf mix lettuce salad: "Carson, just close your eyes while you eat it. I promise it will taste good!"

Ian to me while he was eating his "starter" dish, chicken gumbo soup: "Mom, this is delicious. You NEVER would've made this for Thanksgiving dinner!"

Ian to me after our leftovers were boxed up and sitting in between us: "Mom. Who farted?" The food tasted great while we were eating it, but smelled horrible in the take-out boxes! It took me a minute to figure out that the smell was definitely coming from the boxed up food, and not from Ian's person!
Dad to me after the meal: "Vanessa, this was seriously the best Thanksgiving ever!"

After our meal, we went home and decorated the house for Christmas (already moving onto the next holiday) and then headed to see the movie, "Tangled." I had purchased the tickets the day before to make sure we got in. There was a LONG line outside the theater since it was opening day. When the guardwoman at the door took my tickets, she counted the tickets twice, and then counted us. It turns out the ticket salesman had only charged me for 4 tickets instead of the 5 we needed -- and now, the movie was sold out. The guardwoman OBVIOUSLY thought I was a liar, but sent me ACCOMPANIED BY A MANAGER to the ticket booth so I could buy an extra ticket and get into the NOW SOLD OUT show. It was a teensy bit awkward.

The movie was FABULOUS! Fun for all ages. I definitely recommend seeing the show, and eating a large popcorn while you watch it. An end to a great Thanksgiving day and I didn't even lift a measuring spoon!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Strange Boy in the Kitchen

I was looking through the old videos on my camera, when I stumbled upon this strange scene that Carson videotaped in the kitchen one day this summer. I guess Ian must've been bored and decided to try on the life jacket that he wore when he was 2 years old. Keep in mind . . . he is now 12!

If You Think You've Had a Bad Morning . . .

Oh, how I wish this toilet would've been on Canyon Rd. today at around 8:15 a.m. I won't get into the nitty, gritty details about the horrific thing that occurred to me this morning. Suffice it to say, that I have never been more embarrassed in my ENTIRE life. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a new product I plan to put on the market ASAP. "Runner's Runs Diaper Inserts" will soon be sold near the Depends at your local WalMart and Walgreens.

4 in 1!

We recently got a membership card to Sam's Club. My kids love to go there for the free samples. I like to count it as "lunch". Unfortunately there were no samples today and we were all starving. Not a great time to be shopping for bulk food items.

While walking down one of the freezer aisles, Carson spotted his favorite breakfast treat . . . Toaster Strudels. There were 4 packages of the strudels all bundled together. "Mom, can we please get the Toaster Strudels? Please!" How can you say, "No!" when there are no free samples in sight to bribe them with?

"Okay, Carson. You can get the Toaster Strudels. This time."

Carson climbed into the cart with his precious cargo. "Seriously, Mom. THIS is the best day of my life." I saw him carressing the box, and heard him whisper. "It's like a miracle. 4 in 1."

This child sure knows how to work the system!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Snow Canyon 1/2 Marathon

My last race of the year is now completed. I feel very happy indeed.

Luckily I have no nightmare stories to tell. No runner's runs. No period beginning at the starting line. Lots of downhill. BEAUTIFUL scenery. Great time was had by all. But, boy . . . my legs were tired.

Before the race, Jeff a.k.a. Charlie, did some interviews for a new "angel" to run the race with him. (Charlie's 3rd angel moved to Texas). After a considerable amount of time spent searching, Jeff found his angel. His name is Clark. We just need to put a wig on him. The only problem with Clark is that he is faster than me. And . . . he likes to rub his "fastness" in my face. Other than that, he is very well qualified for "angel" status.

Great memories from the race:
Marisa won a cool medal!

We got caught with our pants down after the race! We actually got cold after the run and put pants on, but figured we wouldn't look like "runners" in the pictures if we were all sweat suited up. Thus, the pants around our ankles. The photographer was SUPPOSED to take the pictures waist up so you wouldn't be able to see the sweats around the ankles. Who was that photographer anyway?

Four of my good friends from the neighborhood ran the Snow Canyon 1/2. They did AWESOME!!

The Honeymoon Cafe

On Sunday afternoon, Aaron and I always feel like taking a nap. The kids do not feel the same. We try to get them to do a quiet activity so we can rest, but I usually end up hearing the pitter patter of little feet and get up to see what's going on.

The kids were quite excited about the project they produced 2 Sundays ago. Carson and Nyah said, "Don't look outside. We're making a surprise!" Lo and behold, when I was finally invited into the backyard, the playhouse had been transformed into a "Honeymoon Cafe." Unfortunately, I honeymooned alone, as Aaron could not be woken up to attend! The kids were semi-disappointed about their lone customer, but I ate enough cheese and crackers for at least 2 people. (Notice the winter hat and coat I am wearing. The cafe was a bit on the chilly side!)

After being served my meal, the kids insisted that I turn into the waitress and serve them. I think that is probably what they had in mind the entire time!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rockin' Out with Ingrid!

Cali's friend, Mendy, got her tickets to go see Ingrid Michaelson in concert for her b-day. And guess who decided to tag along?! All the fun moms!

Calz and Mendy were ready to party!

We felt so young rockin' with Ingrid! She told the best stories throughout the concert and her voice was AMAZING!!

Halloween Costumes

I love the colors of Halloween. The orange and black make me feel cheery.

What does not make me feel cheery is coming up with Halloween costumes for the kids. This year, I told them they had to come up with a costume on their own, with things we had around the house.
Carson was a B-Boxing Dude. ($0)

Nyah was an 80s Prom Queen. (dress from DI for $10)

Ian was a "girl". (wore all of Nyah's clothes and a creepy wig. $0)

Can you tell they are loving themselves?!

Halloween was not so fun. Freezing cold temperatures. Rain. Hail. Trick-or-treating lasted 10 minutes.

Cali got to go to a fun Halloween dance with some friends. They dressed up like mimes. Here they are in character.

Hayride at the Red Barn

It's always a fun tradition to take the kids on a hayride to The Red Barn, gather pumpkins, and get apple cider donuts for dessert. The only part I actually enjoy is the donut part!

Here I am with my Sweetie! I am trying to get geared up for all the fun! Aaron told the kids that they could each pick their own pumpkin this year, but that they had to be able to run 100 yds. with it. The bigger the pumpkin, the bigger the price. Try to take a guess who could actually run even 10 feet with their pumpkin?

This is Nyah struggling to look strong. Can she hold onto that thing?

Carson couldn't even roll his pumpkin!

Cali, Nyah, and Ian trying to look excited about the pumpkins. Really they were all just dreaming of the donuts, which I failed to get a picture of! :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To Hickey or Not to Hickey . . . That is the Question.

What's your opinion? When you see a married man or woman with a black and blue mark on his/her neck, do you think:

a) Cool! She must've had a lot of fun last night. Good for her!
b) Ooh, gross! She's too old to do stuff like that. Disgusting!
c) I wonder if she's going to lie and say she had an accident with her curling iron?
d) Is that legal?!

I've had many thoughts on this subject over the years. When I was a teenager and saw friends with hickeyed up necks, I'd think, "Ooh! She should've covered that up better! A turtleneck or some concealer would've been a good choice today. Her parents are going to find out what she was up to last night." I think most teenagers want their hickeys to be seen though. They wear hickeys like a love badge.

I must admit, I did have twinges of jealousy at moments as a teen. "Man, I wish someone liked me enough to suck the bejeebees out of my neck" . . . I knew hickeys weren't legal in my family, so I decided to wait till marriage for the long awaited coveted neck bruise.

I realized soon after marriage though, that people get uncomfortable when they see hickeys, even on married people. The bruised up necks are like car accidents -- you can't take your eyes off of them. Thus my question above . . . what are people REALLY thinking when they see a hickey on a married person's neck?

By the way, I am not asking this question because my neck is currently bruised. And don't give me any weird looks today when you see me out in the sunshine with a turtleneck on!

P.S. I read this quote recently in an article about "hickey giving techniques". I wanted to share one part of the article in case some of you out there are wondering where exactly to place a hickey.

"A hickey is caused by lips breaking blood vessels and that's easy to do on the sensitive neck. It's less easy to do, say, on the sole of someone's foot."

Can you imagine? "Hey, babe. I was wondering if you'd like me to bruise up the sole of your foot tonight?!"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Say what?!

Ian gets to go to Youth Conference tomorrow and spend the night up in Heber with the Young Men and Young Women. He is very concerned about the sleeping conditions. The boys are going to be in one tent and the girls in another. Ian likes to sleep in just his underwear at night, and knows the other boys won't allow it. His solution: sleep in a tent with his sister, Cali, who is very used to, and very grossed out by, her "sleeping in his underwear brother."

Unfortunately, Ian's hopes for sleeping in his underwear were dashed on Sunday, when the Bishop warned the kids that under no circumstances are the boys to sneak around the girls' tents. Ian was horrified to hear that he wouldn't be able to sleep in the tent with his sister, who by the way, wouldn't be caught dead sleeping in the same tent with him.

As we were riding in the car today, Ian voiced his concerns about the sleeping conditions: "Hey, mom. Can you believe it? I'm not allowed to sleep with the other sex!"

"Say, what?!"

"Yeah, the Bishop said I can't sleep with the other sex!" Of course my innocent 12 year old was talking about not being able to share a tent with his sister or any of the other young women for that matter.

My thoughts on his comment: "Well, Ian. Not this weekend. But someday, buddy. Someday!"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm Finally Done!!

This is what our trip to St. George did to all of us . . .

This is what actually happened to me in St. George over the weekend --

right foot . . .

left foot . . .
Doesn't it look like I had a great time?!
So this is the story . . . The St. George Marathon was the last marathon I had to complete for The Grand Slam 2010(you have to run 4 Utah marathons in a year to earn an extra medal and a shirt. What a sweet deal!).

We had big plans for this marathon. Jeff made Marisa, Donna, and I pace bands and got us some sweet tattoos to make us feel tough. Our goal was 3:25. Would've been a PR for sure. We got up to the starting line at about 5:30 a.m. The race started at 6:45. I hit the wall at Mile 11. Still had 15 miles to go. Saw lots of ambulances drive by. Wanted to hop on one to take me to the finish line. Knew I wouldn't get my coveted Grand Slam medal if I got a ride to the finish. Kept running . . . and WALKING! Took lots of Chocolate Outrage GU. Almost threw up a number of times. Felt blisters forming on my toes. Wanted to curl up and die when I passed a mortuary on the route. Wanted to cry at mile 25.8 when I saw my family. Did cry when I crossed the finish line at 3:43, not because I was sad about my time, but because I was SOOOOO happy to be at the finish line. Drank some Diet Pepsi. Tried to eat some bread. Had to spit it out. Felt like throwing up. Took some pictures with my running buddies. Collapsed on the ground. At long last, the marathon season has come to a close. Boy, was it fun! Boy, am I glad it's over!!

Me barely moving near the end of the marathon route!

Trying to look tough with our marathon tattoos: P.R. or The E.R. During the race, I was definitely thinking the E.R. was a better choice!

I'm sure lots of people got a laugh as they passed me and read my calf: It's only 26.2 miles! This tiger tattoo on our calves was also a reminder of my old alma mater, Washington High School. Go Tigers!

Marisa, Donna, Jeff and I after the race. What an awesome group of running buddies!

It was so hot outside during the race, it even made the onlookers grouchy! Check out Carson's face!!

Here I am with our resident photographer. He's been such a trooper during this process! Thanks for being so supportive, Aaron!

Marisa placed 2nd overall out of ALL THE WOMEN THAT RAN THE GRAND SLAM!! She is AMAZING!! Great job, Marisa!!

After all the sweat and tears, I found out that I got 1st place in my age division in The Grand Slam. Let me tell you . . . the black plastic beehive shaped trophy they gave me made it all worth while! It will have a place of honor in my home. Maybe I'll stick it in my fridge so I can look at it hourly. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!