Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wedding Weekend

After a two hour delay, mile long walk down the Sky Harbor Airport tarmac, and rickety flight in a stuffy 20 person airplane with no air conditioning, I finally arrived in Utah Friday night. Why? Because one of my best friends, Hayden, got married! I realized that I don't really have any pictures with her husband in them, but let me just tell you- their future offspring will have won the genetic lottery. They are so happy and go together so well. I am thrilled for them!

Here are some pictures from the big day.

 This was the funniest part of the day. These tourists insisted on taking multiple pictures with Hayden. They might have thought she was a celebrity? I mean, she is tall, skinny and blonde... I like this particular shot because it has the most peace signs. 

 Hayden looked absolutely amazing. And sticking that Barbie doll into the middle of her bouquet was such a creative touch! Just kidding. Really crappy joke.

 I hate this picture because my belly literally eclipses three fourths of Hayden's body. This baby is negative four months old and he's already trying to take center stage. 

 Janae and I doing awkward preggy poses. Get this- Janae (who is also 23 weeks pregnant) ran a HALF MARATHON that morning. She literally got ready for the wedding in a public bathroom at the Gateway. There is no way her baby won't be the epitome of cool and I am insistent that our children be friends.

 The photographer wanted us to do kissy faces. Actually, I think she requested "sexy faces" and that's what I came up with.

 Me with my arm around my ghost husband. Yes, at the time I thought this was a funny idea. I was the ninth wheel tagging along with 4 couples all day. I definitely wish Brock had been there, but it was a really fun group. Additional detail: right after this picture was taken I noticed one of the groomsmen rifling around in my purse, which was on the ground just outside this shot. Apparently he thought it belonged to someone else. It was really fun asking him what exactly he was looking for in my purse.

 Lindsey and I creating a "heart" over my belly with our hands. It would have been funnier if I'd been wearing some sort of sheer cropped shirt and a really serious facial expression. However, we were on temple grounds. 

Hayden and her beautiful assortment of bridesmaids. I really wish I hadn't tucked in my shirt that night. I think the tucked-in look visually added an entire trimester to my pregnancy.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bullying: An Epidemic Since 1994 (at least)

Today at work, I overheard a few of my co-workers discussing “bullying” and how rampant it is in today’s school systems. Instead of joining in the conversation, I took the passive aggressive approach: I kept quiet and eavesdropped, then wrote about it on my blog instead.

I find it kind of funny that “bullying” is seen as such an epidemic these days. I mean, I don’t currently attend Elementary School,so maybe I’m just naively unaware of this generation’s children and their malicious ways. But I just don't see why this issue is just now getting attention. Hasn’t the concept of “bullying” existed for centuries?

The first time I remember feeling “victimized” as a child was probably in about 3rd grade. I had gotten these fantastic new shoes and couldn’t wait to wear them to school. They were from the Bass Outlet and I’d wanted them for ages. They looked sort of like hiking boots only they were bright blue and made entirely of rubber. I think they were supposed to be worn as rain boots, but I had other plans. Those plans involved games of Red Rover (was that just a Utah thing?) tetherball, and of course, “Hot Lava Monster Tag”, my awesome blue shoes aiding me to victory in all of them. I dreamed about wearing them all night before the day of their debut.

I strutted around all that next morning, an extra bounce in my step. Nobody had mentioned my shoes, but I didn’t need them to. I knew I looked cool. Then at morning recess it happened.

“Nice BLUE shoes”, a girl in my class said, looking down at my new Bass Outlet beauties with her eyebrows raised. Then she laughed. A mean laugh.
I may not have known the capital of Alaska or how to form a cursive “Z” at that point, but I knew sarcasm when I heard it. And that “nice shoes” was dripping with it. 

I didn’t really know what to say; I’ve never been a good “trash talker”. I probably just awkwardly mumbled something and shuffled off to the 4 square court. I do remember looking down at my shoes and suddenly not feeling so confident. They were VERY blue…

Later on at lunch recess my now not-as-cool shoes were mocked again during a game of “Red Rover”. Instead of summoning me by my name, the other team chanted “Red rover, red rover send BLUE SHOES right over!” Then their entire team burst into giggles.

Ah, so clever! That whole group has probably broken into the stand-up comedy biz by now.

The rest of the day was ruined. I remember literally wishing I would break my arm or get sick so I could go home. I was desperate to ditch the blue shoes, or at least get them out of the public eye.

My mom was really puzzled as to why I never wanted to wear the shoes again after that day. I mean, my parents don’t usually buy us things for no reason, so this sudden lack of use must have been kind of a kick in the head. I’m pretty sure she still made me mix them in occasionally. She tended to do that. If us kids changed our minds about something we’d previously begged for, she’d make us wear it anyway as punishment for being so finicky. That’s how I spent my entire 5th grade year wearing clogs.

There are a few other instances in which I remember being made fun of as a child.

There was the time I was ridiculed by a group of “JNCO” jeans wearing sixth grade boys for wearing my DARE shirt with a vest. I wish I could say otherwise, but I am pretty certain it was not DARE day.

Or when I was paired up with a particularly “revolting” boy for the annual dance festival and everyone called me Carolyn followed by his last name all year. (He ended up punching me in the nose at some point, sending us both to the principal’s office. I remember walking home afterwards in shame, with the jaded feeling that I finally knew what “rock bottom” felt like.)

But hey, I can’t completely play the victim here!  I specifically remember asking a classmate once if he/she was a boy or a girl.  The funny part? She’d obviously been asked it before. Her response was a defeated sigh and “Once again… I’m a girl.”

I also recall bragging to my friends about teasing a certain boy so much about his messy hair that he finally cut it. Looking back, it was probably just cut in preparation for him to be ordained a Deacon or something.

My point? We’ve all been bullied. And we’ve all been the bully. Deep down, I think we can all admit it. And guess what? Most of us are probably doing just fine. 

Note: In order to avoid seeming like a heartless bully advocate, I would like to make it clear that I do not condone teasing (at least, the mean kind) in any way. :) 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Taste of Home

Something wonderful happened on the way home from work today. 

I noticed two things. 1- A “Grand Opening” sign in front of the once empty "Winco Foods" building. 2- Cars in the parking lot. Aside from anything having to do with our baby, I haven’t been so excited in months. 

I love Winco. 

It is by far my favorite grocery store, no contest. Everything ALWAYS seems to be on sale at Winco. I’ve never seen mango salsa (the good Chachies brand) sold for more than $1.79. That is a STEAL, my friends. And the aisles? So neatly marked and easy to navigate. Oh and any item that remains on the pallet it was brought in on must be a killer bargain, right? Don't even get me started on the fabulous bulk foods selection! I didn’t know that self serve hummus mix even existed. And they do have an entire sugar-free section. My old body-conscious self once tried out some sugar-free red vines, but be warned- digesting them was NOT a good experience. Let’s just say I had one of my first ultra embarrassing moments in front of my husband (then boyfriend) because of what they did to my system.

I think I mostly like Winco because it reminds me of home. Which is funny, because honestly, it had only existed there for a year when we moved to Arizona. I guess I just formed some sort of unexplainable bond. Plus, I really enjoy bagging my own groceries. 

The Glendale Winco did not disappoint today. In fact, it was delightfully similar to the Orem branch. (Does the word “branch” work here? Or does that only apply to banks and churches? Okay, the Orem “location”.) Once inside, I could have been tricked into thinking I WAS in Orem! The layout was exactly the same and the people were shockingly similar. You know how they have the “People of Walmart” websites? They really need to start a “People of Winco” edition. I’ve never seen so many stretched out tattoos/FUBU track pants in my life. The interior did smell somewhat like burnt maraconi (you know, when you accidentally drop a dry noodle under the burner) and stale cigarette smoke, but I blame that on the inhabitants, not the upstanding store itself. 

Note: I am realizing this is quickly becoming a store review. You’d think this is part of some Secret Shopper homework. Oh well, I'll run with it- here is one more helpful tidbit. Something I wouldn’t recommend buying? Personal grooming products. For some reason the toothpaste and soap seem to be marked way, WAY up. I’m sorry, but a bottle of Dove body wash for $9? I don’t need it THAT badly… I guess I’ll just sort of rinse tonight...

I just don’t know why everyone up in Orem was so upset when they lost their Nordstrom. They've had Winco all along! I mean, no, Winco doesn’t carry Michael Kors or Frye, but I’ll tell you what award winning brand they they do have- Hy Top! (Winco’s generic brand. Kind of like Western Family at Maceys. Or Kroger at Smith’s. Great Value or Equate at Walmart. Yes I have an extensive knowledge of grocery stores and their featured store brands. I could go on but don’t worry, I won’t. Have you ever baked a cake from the "Deluxe Moist" Hy Top mix? Not bad, I'm telling you. Especially for 97 cents.

Glendale, Arizona, you have finally impressed me!  I purposefully didn't buy everything we needed today. I'm sure Brock will want a shot to peruse Winco's sleek aisles. He missed this exciting outing, as he is in Scottsdale with some work friends, eating some sort of creation that was featured on Man Vs. Food. It's a burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches or something gross like that. He literally fasted all day in preparation for this. I guarantee I could make something 10 times better with ingredients purchased at... you guessed it, Winco. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Daddy's Big Guy and Some Great Conversation

Today the little guy officially received his first baby gift. It was given to me by my coworker Tracy. Tracy has a Grinch tattoo on her calf and is one of the nicest people I know.

It is a striped onesie (sp? patience please- I've never typed out these baby terms before) with "Daddy's Big Guy" plastered across the tiny chest. Then there is some sort of football graphic with a smiley face. Well, it might not be a football- it might just be a tan oval with a smiley face. I'm not sure. Tracy proudly told me that she'd gotten it at Wal Mart for $1. Score! 

I've always been a bit envious of men for one reason. (Well aside from their lightning fast metabolisms and the fact that it is socially acceptable for them to wear basketball shorts in public.) No matter the situation, men always have a go-to conversation topic: sports. Almost any guy can strike up a conversation with practically any other guy about the Broncos (or insert team here), Jimmer (at least in Utah), or March Madness brackets. For those men not interested in sports, the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" populations are disturbingly high. I'm sure the discussion possibilities regarding those gaming gems are endless. 

On the other hand, I've always felt that women lacked a solid go-to conversation topic. Good conversation is not just dumped in our laps. It takes a lot more work for us to bond! Questions need to be asked! Hair/shoes needs to be complimented! Quirky/semi gross habits sometimes need to be revealed. That is until now. I've discovered the feminine equivalent: pregnancy. I can talk to anyone about pregnancy! Women who have had babies are more than willing to share their (comical, horrific, embarrassing) experiences. And much more willing to at least feign interest in mine! Women who haven't been pregnant are patient enough with my endless ramblings, mostly because most of them know they'll be there sooner or later too. 

Note: I will admit, a close second to the "pregnancy" as a go-to conversation topic among women is "The Bachelor." I have had some riveting and thought provoking discussions about this show with ladies of all backgrounds and intellects. I'm embarrassed how much I've discussed Ben's awful hair, Courtney's awful soul and Linzi's awful Snow White cape. (Bachelor viewers, you know what fashion disaster I'm talking about.)

I feel like I have joined some sort of exclusive club. Most of me feels honored to be included in such a grand sisterhood. The other tiny part of me misses my stretch mark-free body. 

I'll try to draft up some blog posts that are NOT about being pregnant soon. As much as I think about it, it's like watching a pot boil; the more I talk about it, the further away August seems.