The House on Hillman Drive

I'm playing along with this "tag".....afterall, I don't want to be dubbed the party pooper. And by the way, I'm going to tag all of the "silent lurkers" of my blog. Yea, that's right, I'm talking about you, and you and you.

My Closet:
O.K. so here's the weird thing....I swear I took a picture of this (when I took pictures for this post that is) and now that I'm getting around to posting I can't find it. I'm not about to go take more pictures because I'm determined to get in bed before 10 p.m. tonight. So sorry....but trust closet is not much to see minus the fact that the laundry basket is seriously overloaded. Tuesday is laundry day.

The Kitchen Sink:

I do love that there is a window above my sink. There was always a window above the kitchen sink in my childhood homes. So what if they looked out into beautiful green lush lawns and a large garden? I can pretend that there isn't another brown stucco house 10 ft. away from my window.

The Fridge....I mean pantry:

The fridge isn't much too look's pretty bare and needs cleaned...lots of crusty milk flakes floating around. Those bug me so much. I'm bending the rules here and taking a picture of my pantry. Neato.

The Laundry Room:
Again a lost photo. But my laundry room (uh, hmm...closet) is awesome. No joke. E built shelves all the way up and around that wasted vaulted ceiling and so I have storage galore. I heart my handy man.


It's growing.......Please just tell me I look pregnant and not bloated.

My Favorite Room:

My kitchen/dining room. For now anyway. But I do adore my kid's bedrooms too. I guess I should have taken pictures of them. Oh, well. Big blue stripes on the wall in Deklan's room and chair rail bordering the red lower half of Sadie's walls. Quilts compliments of The Quilt Shop at Gardner Village in Utah. All in all our favorite places to cuddle up at the end of the day for story time.

The Toilet:

Now you tell me why a three year old would NOT want to do "brown stuff" and "yellow stuff" (Sadie came up with those terms during her potty training days) in this lovely toilet? On the verge of tears I begged Deklan to poop in the toilet and he said very adamantly...."I will mom ALL NIGHT LONG!!!" And then, "Are you happy to me?"

My Favorite Shoes:

Flip flop weather here in AZ 9 months out of the year. My kids detest socks. I can't wait until I can pull out my long black boots and Uggs. I look at them lovingly every day!

My Dream Vacay:

Begins in four days!!!! And Zana is coming to town to hold down the fort. My kids are acting like it's Christmas! And I'm acting like I'm leaving on my honeymoon!

What My Children Are Doing Right Now:
Sleeping soundly with bellies full of ice cream. And I'm going to go join them.

Oh yea, and my "other child" is doing this right now. Go Monsoons!

I fought the law....and the law won.

And I'm not happy about it. Not happy at all. It all went down three hours ago in Courtroom 404 of downtown Phoenix. Judge D presiding in the case #3863731. Defendant: Stephanie Dunn in violation of Phoenix City Code 36-145A on 7/30/2008 at 8:15 a.m. as follows: "Parking/Non-Dust Free Lot". Here is how it played out:

Judge D: "Please raise your right hands to the square and repeat after me...." What? No Bible for my left hand? Well that's disappointing. "Officer, please present your case."

Officer "Ralphie": Blaa, Blaa, Blaa, Blaa, Blaa, Blaaaaaaaa. "I have some pictures I'd like to present as evidence your honor. May I approach?" Pictures, smictures you moron!

Judge D: "Mrs. Dunn, do you have any questions for the officer?"

Me: "Uh, yes. Where did you get those sweet tatoos officer Ralphie? They make you look so TOUGH!" (Kidding.) "No, sir."

Judge D: "Mrs. Dunn, go ahead and present your case."

Me: "On 50th street there are only two "No Parking" signs. One is at the bus stop. I was not parked there. The other is about 10 yards south of Chandler Boulevard and just south of that sign there is a sign that reads "No Parking Begins Here" which implies that south of that sign, parking is allowed. That is where I parked."

Judge D: Heavy sigh. "Now there are a lot of you here this morning facing a similar situation as Mrs. Dunn so let me explain something. A few years ago the city developed an ordinance. We live in a desert climate and they felt it necessary to control the dust so they prohibit parking in non-dust free lots. However, there are so many of these lots in Phoenix that it would be impossible to post "No Parking" signs in all of them. Therefore, they do not have to post those signs."

Well isn't that brilliant! Who is the brainiac that came up with that idea? Seriously, alert future President John McCain because I think this guy could fix our national debt crisis.

Judge D continues: "Now in most cases, a judge can evaluate mitigating circumstances, (Here's where I get my hopes up), like in Mrs. Dunn's case, the sign that says "No Parking begins here" which may have been misleading" (YA THINK!?!? But reality check here......half of the city of Phoenix can't read signs written in the English language so I'm doubting that will help me win the case). "However, in cases such as these the city ordinance prohibits a judge from either lowering or raising the assessed fine. In other words, it's a set fine". (Hopes shattered). "So the fine will be imposed as originally presented in the amount of $135.00. Mrs. Dunn, will you be making a full payment today?"

Me: "I'd like to appeal this ruling". (You'd better believe I said this).

Judge D: Clearly unsure of how to handle this since apparantly it must not happen too often. So he turns to the recorder. "How would this be handled?"

She then explains that I would have to file my appeal within 14 days. Still pay the fine today PLUS a filing fee. If the next judge ruled in my favor, I would be refunded the money. I'm feisty, but not foolish.

Me: "I'll pay in full. Can you answer a question for me your honor so that I can avoid future citations? Why on Frye road, just as you turn west off of 50th the cars fill that "dirt lot" just south of the school? Is that not a non-dust free area as well?"

Judge D: "Basically Mrs. Dunn, it comes down to the priorities of the City of Phoenix Police Department." (PRIORITIES?!!???!!!) "The enforcement of parking regulations along this area may not be a priority for them at this time". (OH, you mean along with the "No Parking, Fire Lane" all along the back of the school which is essentially a parking lot of eager parents waiting to pick up their kids from the hour of 2:30-3:30 every day? Let's hope there isn't ever a fire between these hours. Or how about the parents who don't want to fight the parking (or NO parking in this case) and so just stop along the street to let their kids out? Priorities, huh? Awesome. Thanks for clarifying.)

I exit out the left door. I want to throw Ralphie a wink and tell him not to work too hard today. I restrain myself. I get another paper from the bailif. I go down stairs. I take a number. I sit and wait. I pay the $135 fine with my sassy pink credit card. I walk the six blocks back to my car because I parked at 3rd Street instead of 3rd Avenue. I see a Paradise Bakery. I go buy a very large diet coke and an unsaid number of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. I find my car. I pay the parking fee. I do some serious emotional eating. I compose the letter in my head that I am going to write to the Phoenix Chief of Police. I call E and he is reminded of why he loves me so much and he falls in love all over again. I'm home now. I'm going to go clean my bathrooms. I'm going to think of how my hard earned money just handed over to the court today is going to pay for the meals of some illegal immigrant crowding our jails. I"ll scrub harder. My toilets will have never looked better.

I'll sleep better tonight knowing that there are fewer dust particles in the brown, mirky air of Phoenix all thanks to the brave efforts of officer Ralphie. I'll think about how in a few years I'll look back and laugh at this although right now that doesn't seem possible. Damn you Ralphie.
P.S. Dad, will you pay for me to go to law school? I know you've always thought I'd make a good lawyer.


Totally craving these.....

And it's a good thing I'll be in Utah in a few weeks to stock up!

Back To School...

Uh, six weeks ago that is. Can you believe it? I couldn't either because I was in denial that our summer only lasted seven weeks. Sadie starts her seventh week of school tomorrow and Deklan had his first week of preschool last week. Two hours on Tues. and Thurs. of solitude for me. I did get a lot done, but didn't really like being alone believe it or not. I guess that's why your children slowly grow their wings.

So here are the typical first day of school pics with a few extras thrown in of Sadie's hairdos. Sadie and I made a deal that if she got tired of me doing her hair everyday, we would cut far so good.

Life is good.

Labor Day Labors

It was sort of "spur of the moment" but we decided to beat the heat and take a "little" day trip to "Apple Annie's", a nice little orchard and farm to pick some apples and vegies. The kids loved picking, tractor ride, apple smoked hamburgers and all. They were completely worn out and fell asleep the second we were on the road home. That left 2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted "talk time" for Erik and I which made it completely worth the tank of gas.

All that harvesting made me wish I had some canning equipment (hint, hint momacita). Now I have a stash of apples, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and clearly not enough time nor the proper tools to do anything with our loot of food. We did come home and made eggplant parmesan, tomato basil bruschetta and apple crisp. Delish!

It was a nice way to try and capture that "fall feeling" since we clearly won't be feeling any of that here in Maricopa for at least another month and a half. I concluded that if I could recreate any of my childhood experiences for my children it would be that "fall feeling". The specifics? Well, every year my Pa and Nana (my mom's parents) would arrive for a 4-6 week visit bringing with them peaches, pears, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes and gobs of other food. I remember coming home from school every day to bottles simmering on the stove, the pressure cooker working it's magic and the smell of peaches and pears weaving throughout the house. And amongst all of the washing and peeling and slicing and boiling there would be a pot of autumn stew and fresh rolls for dinner. And then Sunday would roll around and Pa would make his famous caramel corn. I don't know why it took so long for him to boil that darn caramel. I make it now in no time at all, but it sure seemed like his caramel simmered for hours. Oh how the passing of time changes as an adult.

I can buy the equipment and do the canning. All I need now are the grandparents who are willing to come for more than an overnight stay and the cooler climate. One can dream, right? Someday, if I have anything to do with it, Sadie and Deklan will come home bundled up in their coats, darkness will settle in by 6:30 p.m. and they too will watch with amazement as the kitchen fills with bottles of food....and in the end they will look back and realize how much more they learned and experienced beyond the art of canning.