Friday, December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Syne...

I don't want this post to sound whiny, but it does. And I'm not looking for support or reassurance, I simply want to be able to reflect on this last year the way I do the first half of a basis of comparison, and to remind myself of the low points and that things can only get better. You see, 2010 hasn't been good to us. In fact, 2010 has pretty much sucked. Looking back over the last year in blog posts, the few good things that happened can easily be seen in a negative light.

Like me getting a job and earning more money = hating my job, being tired and stressed all the time, and feeling guilty for the rest of my life that I was away from my kids so much for 9 long months.

Or like us getting the mini van = more car repairs than I care to think about.

Trip to LA = cost us a lot of money and didn't yield any results for jobs or even contacts for Zac.

Moving to Seattle and living with the Williams' = not having any friends or job offers and feeling like I'm in the way all the time.

See what I mean? I hate to be such a Debbie Downer about it all, but it's been rough. And that was the "good stuff" that happened. Forget all of the other crap that I don't want to go into detail about. Unemployment, deaths, fighting, unemployment, debt, computers breaking, did I mention unemployment? This year has pretty much been comparable to our first six months of marriage which were probably the worst six months of my life (not because of being married, mind you, but because of all of the other awful things that happened to me in those six months...deaths, unemployment, severe anemia, school issues, etc...all that other crap that I don't wish to think about).

So yeah. Here's to hoping for a better and brighter 2011.

And speaking of bright, here are some pictures of my beautiful kids in the bright sunshine. (These were taken a few weeks after moving to Seattle at our new favorite park that is right down the road.)

We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Belated Christmas Post...

So I tried taking pictures of the kids in order to send out Christmas cards this ear...then Zac's card reader wasn't working so I couldn't upload the pictures. And I didn't get a single decent picture of the kids together anyways, so whatever. But, these are some cute ones that did turn out and deserve recognition somewhere.
The girl:

The silly boy:

Christmas was great. Do I have pictures? No, because we were too busy web chatting all day with my parents, Zac's parents, and Zac's brothers and I just didn't take any pictures. Fail. I know. However, I feel it is safe to say that the kids LOVED every one of their presents...from shoes to games to toys to clothes, they couldn't be happier. Among Logan's favorites: the full-sized Buzz Lightyear ("Butt Laser," as he pronounces it), a wooden train set from Ikea, his new sneakers from my parents, and his fire-breathing dragon from Zac's parents. Kaylee LOVES her pink sneakers from my parents (she tries to put them on every chance she gets), her Little People dolls which seem to make the bath WAY more fun, her baby doll and bottle she got from us, and the stuffed puppy from Ikea that she got from us. She says "puppy" like "Ba-boo" for some reason and she sleeps with that puppy all the time. Bedtime and naptime have gotten much long as she has her Ba-boo, she just snuggles it, rolls over, and goes to sleep.

I scored some good stuff...I am really falling in love with my faux fur pom pom slippers from Old Navy from Zac's mom. They are adorable and toasty warm. I also love the earrings my parents got for Kaylee, even though they aren't my gift. There are 3 pairs of 14K gold CZ, butterflies, and gold balls. They have safety backs which twist on and are rounded caps so the earring post doesn't poke her. They are beautiful!

So, we had a good Christmas. Not a white one, but a good one.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All I Want For Christmas...

Well, not really ALL I want. But if you are wanting to get our little family a gift as a family gift, this is the one: $40 family pass to the Seattle Children's Museum. Just a thought.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This Last Month (Scatter-brained Style)...

So I always put off blogging until I have time to make something funny, witty, pretty, etc. I tried to make a timeline in Photoshop of the last month with pictures and was very clever. Then the computer crashed. And now I'm getting to the point that it's been more than a month and it will be very hard to catch up on all of the events in that manner.

My second thought was to write a song to the tune of Billy Joel's, "We Didn't Start the Fire," since this last month+ has been hectic enough to warrant that. But again, I don't have the time or patience to do that.

Instead, you get a mismatched, unorganized series of events that I will just write down for future reference. Maybe, MAYBE, I'll get to a picture smattering of events later, too. So, deep breath. Here goes:

Early October:
General Conference. It was great.
Kaylee started walking more than crawling.
I bought myself some sparkly Converse sneakers. I love them.
We had an offer to move to Seattle and live with my best friend's in-laws.
We didn't want to take the offer because it was just so...uncertain. Other than we'd have a place to live as long as we needed it.
A few talks in Conference and some thoughtful prayers later, we decided we were moving to Seattle.
I put in my two-weeks notice at work.
I put in our 30-day move-out notice.
Found a new writer's group in the Seattle area.

Started packing.
Zac's friend Brian Coller came and stayed with us for a few days.
I made chicken tortilla soup with black beans and fed it to Brian. His stomach doesn't do well with black beans. He spent a good day barfing.
We came up with a list of things to do before leaving Provo.
I broke my glasses beyond repair. They were still under warranty, but they only had black frames in stock (mine are brown). So I had to use black until they got mine in.
I used a spa gift certificate I had and got pedicures and "glitter toes" with my neighbor, Roxy.
Roxy talked me into going with her to her parent's houseboat on Lake Powell sans children.

Late October:
Went to Lake Powell with Roxy and left the kids home with Zac for three days.
Zac's best friend, Matt DiPerri, came out for a visit.
Had a hitch installed on our van so we could pull our Uhaul.
We finally made it up to the Salt Lake Temple. It was awesome.
Attended a good friend's baby's funeral. That makes two and I'd rather not have to do that ever again.
K started "talking" more. Actually distinguished between "yes" and "no" now. Before it was always "Nuh-uh."
Packed up most of the apartment.
Returned a bunch of stuff to people all over the city of Provo that didn't belong to us.
Broke my pinky toe on my left foot. I still can't wear my sparkly Converse sneakers.
Packed up the rest of our apartment, shoved it into a Uhaul trailer, and left the state of Utah.
Spent a few days in Idaho with the Ganoes.

Early November:
Made our way up north. I drove a lot. Pulling the Uhaul.
Spent a night in Somewhere, Washington at a hotel.
Finally made it to Sammamish where we are currently living. (Let me know if you need the address!)
Continued/continuing the job hunt (apartment managing, animation jobs for Zac, part-time writing gigs for me).
Went to the Costco in Kirkland...which is basically like going to Ikea in Sweden.
Got a GPS which is necessary when moving to a new state. I'm convinced.
Met with my new writing group for the first time (last night, actually). They are equally as fantastic as my Provo-based one. However, there was better parking for the one in Provo. And yet, meeting at a coffee shop in downtown Seattle is pretty darn hip.

Um. I think that's all. Now you know how my brain really works when I don't have time to process things. We are off to look at an apartment for a management position in a bit. They owner was nice and said "here's the address...go look at the building and see if you'd be interested in living there first. If so, call me back and we can set up an interview." I don't know what to take from that...potentially, it's really ghetto and we might hate it and may not even want to apply. But we shall see.

I'm out!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Punkin' Patch...

I know I still haven't said much about Seattle. I will. Until then, here are pictures from our pumpkin picking extravaganza yesterday:

And yes, that does happen to be the same shirt Zac wore at the same farm 2 years ago. Maybe it's time for a wardrobe overhaul...

I also enjoy the picture where the boys are sitting the same way on the hayride. Like father, like son, I suppose.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Metaphor Continued...

(Courtesy of my Aunt Karen at Strapp Studio)


Details where I spill all of the nitty-gritty are forthcoming. But for now, you should just know that the whole family couldn't be happier!!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Try This Metaphor On For Size...

I don't know why I post the things I post. Like when I get my hopes up about something (see the last two posts about potential moves for us). I get all excited and then...


It falls through.

The lady in Seattle? She still wants us.

I still want to go.

But I don't think it's going to happen.

"Not under these conditions," someone said.

I hate Provo.

I hate my job.

I want OUT.

I feel like I'm a fish on dry land, slowly suffocating. Or better yet, I feel like a fish in a plastic carnival bag that is slowly leaking water. Yep. Like this:

I'm running out of room to breathe, to swim, to be happy and alive. And here comes this net, ready to scoop me up. But I can't tell if the net will drop me into the ocean where I can breathe and be free and happy, or if it will simply drop me into a small bowl where I will continuously swim in circles, surrounded by my own fecal matter.

So no, I don't think we are taking this Seattle job. "Not under these conditions." (Makes snide, mocking face.)

I'm pissed.

Time For Another Fortunately/Unfortunately Story...

Fortunately, my husband and I are both college graduates now.
Unfortunately, I picked a terrible major for which to acquire a job.
Fortunately, my husband picked a specialized major for which he has a deep love and where jobs are typically plentiful.
Unfortunately, the whole "economy being terrible" thing has hit his job market in the area of internships and low-level positions, so now companies only have positions that are contractual or are for people with 3-5 years experience.
Fortunately, the place with the most freelance and contractual jobs to offer is Seattle (and the surrounding areas, where we would love to live.
Unfortunately, Seattle is expensive and paying rent for an apartment when you aren't sure if and when you will have a job and get paid is scary.
Fortunately, the idea occurred to us that apartment managers typically get free rent.
Unfortunately, we don't have any experience managing apartments, and there sure aren't any positions in Provo to get us started.
Fortunately, there are 2-3 postings a day on Craigslist for ads for apartment managers.
Unfortunately, (and obviously) no one that posts those ads wants to hire someone from out of state.
Fortunately, one of the first jobs we applied for, we got a phone call back and the owners were so excited to meet us that they were willing to Skype-interview us.
Unfortunately, we never heard back from them. Even after sending an email saying "If you found someone else to fill the position, that's great. But please let us know!"
Fortunately, there were a ton of other want-ads, so we kept applying.
Unfortunately, we only heard back from two other owners, both of whom we didn't get a response from after we said we were out of state and could not make it in for an interview the next day at 9:00 a.m.
Fortunately, I got a voicemail on Thursday from a lady with a 20-unit complex that wanted to phone interview us.
Unfortunately, she wanted to have a phone interview basically to pre-screen before she would make up her mind if she wanted us to come into the office for an actual interview. So I never called back.
Fortunately, she noticed on our resumes that we are BYU graduates and secretly, she was hoping to hire an LDS couple. So she called again.
Unfortunately, I was at my crappy job that I hate, so I didn't answer.
Fortunately, Zac had his phone on him so she called him.
Unfortunately, Zac was caught off-guard and didn't know how to respond to any of her questions.
Fortunately, he told her just to call me and leave a message and I would call her back asap. So she did. Then he texted me and told me, "got a call from an apartment place in seattle. the lady said she is mormon and likes the idea of hiring mormons and needs someone like now."
Unfortunately, I was still in the middle of work and didn't have time to call her back.
Fortunately, when I did listen to her message and call her back, she was thrilled. We talked for a good 15 minutes about the job, the pay, and about how soon we could get there.
Unfortunately, the compensation for the job is only half rent credit. We would still have to come up with $450 a month.
Fortunately, I explained our desire to be managers was for the free rent. Then she said we could have until at least November free. She also said that with the three other properties she manages, she would throw work our way (painting, cleaning, turn-overs, etc), to help compensate for the other half of our rent.
Unfortunately, it's only a two bedroom.
Fortunately, it has a washer, dryer, dishwasher, and a fireplace.
Unfortunately, and this is a BIG unfortunately, she wants us there in a week. Like, pack up the entire apartment, quit my job, and drive to Seattle by next weekend.
Fortunately, it gets us to Seattle with extremely discounted (if not free) housing.

But do you see why I'm stressed?????

Monday, August 30, 2010

Miss K...

Disclaimer: Her hair is out of control in nearly all of these pictures. I promise I usually do it and she normally doesn't look so homely!

(On her 1st birthday...over a month ago. Wow.)

Well, Miss K has been up to quite a lot. She is such a big girl!!! She now scales all three flights of stairs in our house in about 38 seconds flat. And just a few days ago, she learned how to go down them on her own, too. She also knows how to get up and down from the couch, the chair, Logan's name it.

She isn't quite ready to walk yet, but she is getting pretty good at the standing thing which tells me that walking isn't too far behind. Here's a video of her doing just that....however, I had to put the camera out of sight/reach and didn't realize you couldn't see her head. But whatever. You get the idea. (I would say "I'll try and get a better video and post it later," but we both know I won't actually do it, so I won't make any empty promises here.)

And as I mentioned before, she is pretty much weaned. I totally feel a sense of freedom. Both times that I have weaned my children, I have expected to be a little sad. However, that's not the case. I'm glad I've done it until they are just about 1, but the honest truth is that I find it suffocating to nurse and have a baby literally attached to me several times a day.

Even though she is on the bouncy seal thing at the playground in this picture, she LOVES the slide. She would climb the stairs and go down the little slide all on her own all day if she could. K also has a total of 6 teeth...two on the bottom and 4 on the top. At her last appointment, she weighed in at a petite 18 1/2 pounds which is like the 30th percentile.

K is still napping twice a day (most of the time), which is great. And though she wakes up once or twice at night still, it usually only lasts about 5 minutes and she puts herself back to sleep.

Her favorite food is cantaloupe, but she also goes crazy for Vanilla Oreos, most pastas, and root beer. And she prefers a bottle full of water when she goes down for a nap over anything else. She also has two super-soft blankies that she likes to snuggle when she sleeps. Though she doesn't need them, per say, I think she prefers to have them close.

We sure love our little princess!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ugh. I Know...

I don't blog anymore. I'm too tired. But I do have to say this:

If I don't get out of Provo like NOW, I'm going to slit my wrists.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oh Man, Oh Man, Oh Man...

I hate getting my hopes up.

But just this once, EVERYTHING seems to be falling into place.

The stars are aligning.

The timing seems perfect. Especially now when timing seems to be everything.

And I don't want to give away too much info because I honestly feel like that jinxes us.

But, for now, let's just say that someone found a something in Somewhere, Washington and had an interview. And though the something isn't like a Microsoft something, it certainly would be, well, for lack of a better word, PERFECT right now.

I feel like packing more boxes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Potentially Too Much Info...

...but I had to write it somewhere.

And Facebook didn't seem like the appropriate venue.

Turns out it's "World Breastfeeding Week" this week (August 1st-7th).

Apparently I didn't get the memo.

It's "Weening Week" here at the Steele's.

I forgot how painful it can be.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Snapshot...

I love this time of year combined with the gardening talents and generosity of our ward members. You see, many of the older people in our ward are active gardeners and have a plethora of seasonal produce. And they bring it to church and leave it up for grabs. Today, I made off with a zucchini and a nice yellow summer squash and three cucumbers. The zucchini and squash are in the oven becoming ratatouille right now. The cucumbers will go nicely in salad with our salmon tonight.

But the picture? That is Logan and Zac picking fresh, sun-ripened apricots right off of the tree. An older gentleman in our ward has this giant tree in his yard that is producing more than he can handle and said, "feel free to stop by and pick as many as you want!" so we did!

Not quite sure what I'm going to do with them yet so if you have any suggestions...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!!!

(I realized that I never posted this draft that I wrote in California...I guess it's just another epic failure that goes with celebrating my baby girl's first birthday.)

Since Logan's birthday post was delayed, it only made sense to wait a few days to talk about Miss K's first birthday celebrations, too. (That, and we're on vacation`, so...)

So I know it sounds awful, but we didn't do much. We still have to take her on her "Mommy and Daddy Birthday Date," but I will let you know when that happens. I figure, hey. She's one. She won't really be offended if we don't take her out for another week or two. Besides, we're in L.A. and we don't have anyone to watch Logan :-)

So what DID we do? Well, on her birthday, we had a lot going on. We all had to be at like 4 different places Wednesday afternoon so we decided to postpone the cake-eating until Thursday. So we ordered her free first birthday cake from Macey's for pick-up Thursday afternoon. Long story short, we didn't get to the cake Thursday. Nor did we do it Friday. And before we knew it, were packing up the car and heading to Vegas. So what did we do? Took it with us and ate it for breakfast, of course.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


So this one time, I had car trouble. Well, it wasn't car trouble just yet. I had some seriously squeaky belts. Every time the a/c in the Sube was on, it made a horrible screeching noise under the hood. So, being a mechanic's daughter and all, I figured this to mean that I needed to have the serpentine belts in the Sube replaced. So I took it in to the Subaru shop that is literally 18 feet away from our house and asked how much it would be to change the belts.

"Well the belts are about $18 each and with about a half hour of labor...should be around $85."

Ha. I don't think so.

So I started on my own little adventure. Found a tutorial on the web (which pretty much turned out to be useless). Went to AutoZone and got the belts for a whopping total of $23. Popped the hood, disconnected the battery, marveled at my engine, and called my neighbor for assistance.

So we got to work.

Had a little trouble finding which bolts the tutorial was trying to have us loosen, which was when we decided to forget the tutorial and just do what made sense. So after the moved the alternator around a little bit, voila! The old, cracked, and split belts popped right off. One of our other neighbors walking by called us her new favorite TOBs...tough old broads. I guess I'll take that :-)

Putting the new belts back on took a few minutes. We were so excited when we got them off, we may have forgotten to look and make sure we knew how to put the new ones back on. So after a few tries, we got it. And after some tugging and pulling and grunting, we got the alternator back in place which put the right tension back in the belts. And before we knew it, we were ready to start up the engine.

And sure enough, it started. And for the moment of truth, we turned on the a/c to full blast. Without a single squeak or screech. A job well done, in my opinion. Sure it took about 2 hours when the Subaru guy said it would take him about 30 mins, but whatever. And we got to celebrate with the satisfaction of doing it ourselves. And grease on our hands. And with a couple of Root Brewskies.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Won! I Won! I Won!!!

Remember this?

Well I won!!!!!!

Since the 1st place winner won BOTH categories (good for her, right?), they wanted to have a runner-up and I GOT IT!!!! I had the second most votes, THANKS TO YOU GUYS, so I get another ARC!!!!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Honey!!!

This was from Zac's 5th birthday. 20 years ago. Too bad his siblings aren't here to re-stage the picture. That would be sweet.

Happy birthday, darling. I love you. I'm so so so glad you were born 25 years ago so that you could wander into my life when you did. You're amazing and deserve nothing less than the happiest of birthdays!!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Argh! Things Are Happening!!!

Ok, time for a 1:00 a.m. scatter-brained blog post.

As of late, I love the quote from 30 Rock where Liz thinks she's pregnant after eating a ton of Cheet-o type snack foods. (And NO, I am not pregnant and choosing to reveal it in the form of a 30 Rock quote.) She calls and leaves a voice mail for Jack which goes, "Hey Jack, it's Liz. Maybe you're busy spreading democracy. Anyways, give me a call. Argh! Things are HAPPENING!"

So she's freaking out over huge life happenings, but she doesn't want to blurt out said life happenings in inappropriate venues.

I get it, Liz Lemon. I truly do.

Things are HAPPENING.

Do you know how I know things are happening and it's not just me getting all caught up in my head and over-thinking things? DO YOU?

I can't stop biting my nails.

Something I only do before huge things happen.

The week before my wedding, I was at my wits end because I refused to let myself bite away my natural ready-to-be-manicured nails.

High school graduation? I chewed those suckers right off.

Moving to Utah, going to writers conferences, family planning...all big happenings. Not necessarily stressful or bad...just big. And happening. And all resulting in jagged-edged, uncomfortably (for me) short fingernails.

Sorry if this has piqued your interest and is not revealing in the slightest. But all I can say for now is that things are HAPPENING.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vote For Mine!!!

Remember that book cover I made? Well, it's time to vote!!!! Go here. Click on "Click Here To Vote." Fill out the form. Mark "Yes" for being a blog follower. Vote for #13. Then tell your friends to do the same. It only takes like 2 seconds. 2 seconds of your time to give me ETERNAL GLORY.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Snapshots...

Zac has been spending a lot of time at the Lab as of late...seeing as how his account will expire next month. So instead of sitting around the house by myself on a sunny Sunday evening, I took the kids to the duck stream by the bell tower on campus. Of course, I forgot the camera, but I did happen to have my cell phone so I took some with that. And I have to say, these are some of my favorite pictures ever. K's face in the top one...I don't know how I managed to snap it at just the right moment, but it is HIGH-LARIOUS. And the picture of Logan hugging K...well, it's just precious. And it wasn't staged. He really loves his sister. And as long as he doesn't hug too hard or long, she sure loves him right back. They are the best siblings in the entire world. I'm convinced of it.

Logan loved feeding the ducks while Kaylee pointed and grunted at them. I also let Logan take his shoes of and wade in the water at the top of the waterfall...but it was FREEZING, so he didn't last long.

Happy Sabbath!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Another Contest...

This time, it's a creative one. I'm trying to win a cover design contest for Bree Despain's new book. Isn't it pretty???


Logan got a "Stomp Rocket" in the mail yesterday for one of his birthday presents, and we played with it outside for well over an hour. And it's not much to blog about, but I felt like I had to share a few things. Like these pictures of Logan playing with, you guessed it, the packaging while the toy patiently waited. But isn't that always the way? The bubble wrap and boxes are almost as entertaining as the toy itself.

So once he popped all of the air bubbles, he moved on to learning how to actually launch the rockets. And of course the one launch I get on video heads right into a tree...

4th Of July Weekend...

Last 4th of July was a bust. I was 25 months pregnant, we didn't stake out seats for the parade 3 days in advance so we had to stand a block away from the route, and we barely got lucky enough to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks...from 8 miles away. LAME.

So while I was complaining about hating Provo during the 4th festivities, one of my very favorite people in the world, Roxy Barlow, said "Why don't you come up to my parent's house in Huntsville? We camp in their yard, boat in the lake, there is a small-town parade, and one of the best fireworks shows you can imagine."

So I said, "Sign me up."

So Friday, we drove up past Ogden to the Harper's. It was pretty much a perfect 4th of July weekend (aside from my apparently terrible ragweed allergies...I couldn't breathe through my nose the entire time we were there). Starting on Friday after we set up "camp," we played volleyball on the sand court in their back yard, Logan had about a million friends to play with, snacked on tons of food, had tons of fun, and Zac had wireless access.

Then Saturday morning, we got up and got ready for the parade. There was also a breakfast in the was very Bloomfield-ish and made me a bit homesick, to tell you the truth. Also, Roxy's Great-Uncle collects Civil War era things and has a group of her cousins dress up every year and march in the parade...and even fire the cannon. It was great!

After the parade, the park was filled with bounce-houses and games and vendors and all sorts of fun. Of course we didn't stay long since we had a sleepy baby, but even back at the Harper's, the fun was continuing.

That night, there was a dance-type thing back in the park prior to fireworks. We were only there for a few songs since, again, we had a sleepy baby who we were trying to make nap late so she would be not so cranky for the fireworks. So for a while, we just drove around the lake so the kids would snooze. And this was the view:

Nice, huh?

So the fireworks were a huge hit. After every blast, Kaylee would go "ooh!" or "eh!" and clap occasionally. Logan said he liked it, even though he covered his ears THE ENTIRE TIME. Silly boy.

So this year...WAY better than last year. Happy Birthday, America. Thanks for giving us an excuse to barbecue and light things on fire.