Friday, July 6, 2012

The Worst Fourth of July....

Jordan and I were spending this Fourth of July with our good friends the Perrys and we were looking back on our worst Fourth from a few years ago and were telling them about it and so I thought I'd bring you all along on memory lane....

Jordan and I went to Tempe Towne Lake for the Fourth of July Festival reluctantly. We didn't really want to go in the first place because it was going to be crowded and hot but I ended up with free tickets. After debating with the roommates on who was going to drive, Jordan got designated as the driver for the four of us going. All went well until we decided to leave early during the firework show to beat the traffic out of Tempe.

So we start heading out of Tempe and are on the Stack, where the freeways overlap/merge and boom! The driver side of the civic tire blows out and we are on the bridge with really nowhere to pull over really. We get as close to the side of the road as we can and pop the trunk for the spare and jack. A  police officer has pulled up to assist us and she is this tiny little officer from Minnesota. So she and Jordan are jacking up the car and we realize that it's the wrong spare...for a totally different car. As we realize this, the Civic falls and the jack punches a hole through the floorboard, nearly crushing the officer. Luckily it didn't. So at this point, the fireworks are over and the bridge is packed with traffic. Our pair of roommates grab a ride with a friend driving by and leave us there to deal with our impaled car. We call a tow truck and while we're waiting, Jordan's nose starts bleeding, or hemorrhaging rather. Bleeding just all over the place. The little officer is trying to help him but it is just gushing out.

Finally the tow truck guy gets through traffic and it takes him almost an hour to hitch the car up and Jordan and I get into the cab with him to take it to the repair place. He was like a sweaty hairy man too, not one you'd want to share an already awkward ride with. He takes us to this place (which is closed because it's like midnight at this point and it will be closed for the weekend/observance of the holiday for like 3 days) on 44th street and Thomas, which if you know Phoenix is not the best place to be stranded at in the middle of the night. He makes us pay him and then he just leaves us there. So Jordan and I go to a Circle K and call our roommates to have them come get us because it's late and we just paid the tow truck guy so we don't want to have to pay for a cab too. They agree to come get us but we have to wait at this shady gas station.

While we're waiting at the gas station, this homeless man comes round and is drunk and belligerent and starts hassling people pumping gas. Then he hones in on this African American man and starts calling him racial slurs and swearing at him. The gas pumping man isn't having it and straight up decks this bum in the face and starts beating him up and yelling at him and then gets in his car and leaves. Jordan and I are just standing there watching it go down and instead of leaving to nurse his wounds under a freeway overpass, he gets up all bloodied and bruised and starts harassing other patrons. We thought someone was gonna get shot for sure while we were there....

Our roommates got there and came to get us and it was like 4am before we got much for 'leaving early" from the Festival.

And that was our worst Fourth and why we haven't been back to Tempe Towne Lake since.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

5 years wowsers

yesterday was my 5 year anniversary at USAA. It's by the far the longest time i've spent at any one place and i had to laugh a little because i didn't think i was going to get to this point in my career because something just kept coming up

example #1....surprise! 1 week after starting this job we found out we were having landon. i hadn't even banked a year of tenure and had no FMLA but they let me take 8 weeks after i had him.

example 2,3,4,5 and 6 surgeries, recovery, and follow up appointments

example # 7 oh boy oh boy! mr dylan tried to bail the womb early at 26 weeks and that landed me on a bedrest, not able to come to work for almost 5 whole months

example# 8 mono, landed me at home for two whole weeks

example #9seattle homesickness...everytime we came back from visiting or our family would leave to go back i'd plead with Jordan to let us move back

example #10 landon's ongoing health issues, meeting with every kind of doctor they give a degree too, hospitalizations, and recovery from his surgeries

but despite the obsticles, i've stuck it out and i'm glad to have a company with paid time off, FMLA and health care benefits because without them, we'd all be living in a van down by the river because the medical costs would have put us out of our house and into the poor house for sure.

i'm also glad because they are helping me in my pursuit of my degree...even though it is the longest 4 year degree ever. i'm getting ready to call the guys over at guiness book of world records so they can come photograph me in a stack of overpriced textbooks looking downtrodden. what will i do one i get this degree? i'm not sure, i'm still trying to decide. it will be a major accomplishment for sure. looking foward to it. the end is almost in sight

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lorax Review

Another Dr Seuss creation brought to the big screen with "the Lorax" but this one is not like the others. You might leave the theater feeling full of popcorn and full of guilt about your carbon footprint.

A little background: The Lorax is a creature that speaks for the trees and he appears when there has been an injustice against one of his forest dwellers. The Once-ler is a man on a journey to be successful with his invention, the Thneed. He ventures to a glorious, thriving paradise inhabited by bears, fish, and birds and cuts down one of the trees to harvest the material he needs for his invention. The Lorax appears and makes the Once-ler promise not to cut down anymore trees because of how important they are. the Once-ler's promise quickly goes out the window when his invention becomes the latest need of the people. High demand means more trees need to be cut down and the Once-let becomes blinded by his greed and a "what's the worst that could happen?" attitude and before he knows it, there are no more trees anywhere. The land is barren. Not only are there no trees, but the air and the water have become so polluted from the harvesting and manufacturing that the once beautiful lush place has become unliveable.

Enter the love story that drives the movie. The people of Thneedville live in an entire plastic world. Everything is manufactured and the toxicity of the outside world is in seeping and impacting them. They joke about how their children glow and become radioactive after swimming in their water. The head honcho of Thneedville is O'Hare who made his millions selling fresh air, since the people can't get it naturally. Ted (Zac Efton) wants to get the girl Audrey (Taylor Swfit) and the girl wants a real tree. Ted goes on a journey to find out what happened to the trees, why are they nonexistant?

Enter the agenda. As you listen to the songs and the conversations the Lorax has with the Once-ler, you start to realize that this movie is a message about the environmental slaughter happening now. The movie is entertaining and the characters are lovebale so it's bound to get the thumbs up from younger viewers but it at times feels like a finger wagging at the adults. Big corporations and factories that produce the things that we as consumers think we need are destroying the trees and land that we actually NEED to survive. The agenda hiding (not so secretly) behind the cute bears and the singing fish is that we need to make the changes in the world or else there won't be a world for us to live in. Parents are a little blindsided by the preachy tactics. A little head's up would have been nice so that parent's could decide if they were going to take the message to heart or with a grain of salt. Some people, especially when it comes to their children, don't like getting more than they bargained for in their kid movies.

Enjoy the message, the movie, or skip it and stick to the book. Either will be a positive way for your kids to learn how important our environment truely is, but it will let you do it in your own way.

(This might just be me, but I also noticed some religious parallels. Bears, fish, and birds are the only creatures in the forest the Once-ler settles down in? Seems like a weird, random combination but in this very Eden like place, it makes sense. In the Creation, God placed beasts on the land, foul in the air, and fishes in the streams)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 in the Dunn house

Wow! Can't believe we're almost done with 2011. Seems like it goes by faster and faster each year.

If you're a FB follower of mine, you're probably pretty up to speed with what's been going on with us this year. If you aren't a FB follower, you're missing out lol I like to post all the silly things the boys do and say, pictures, and stories all the time. it makes for good reading....especially if i'm doing status updates while under heavy sedation or anethesia after surgery.

We've been blessed (fingers crossed) that for the better part of the year, everyone has been healthy. We're definitely hoping that continues into next year.

Jordan and I had our 5 year anniversary this year and our 10 year "dating" anniversary. Good news is he still likes me after all this time :)

Dylan turned 2 in August. He is the funniest little man. Anytime you call him a baby, he promptly says in his gruffy little voice, "i'm not a baby. i'm a big boy". he is a jokster and he loves to do everything his big brother does. he is such a sweet and loving little boy, but don't let that big smile fool you...he is going through the terrible twos and boy is it terrible at times. he has his mommy's temper which isn't good for anyone who crosses his path. if he didn't know we were irish, you would when you see how mad he gets during his tantrums, but he's learned about time out this year and how to say "sorry".

Landon turned 4 in October. He is still a ball of energy and super smart. he cracks us up with his toddler inteligence and observations of life around him. He is a really good big brother and him and Dylan are the best of buddies and partners in crime. Throw their cousin Taylor in the mix and they are a pack of wild ones, but tons of fun. He is going in for a sleep study next week (finally) to see if we can pinpoint the reason that he still doesn't sleep at night. Wish us luck with that!!

Now that the boys are a little older, and we have two boys, we get the question a lot "when are you going to try for a girl?" After talking about it, I think we decided that it will be next year sometime but aren't sure when. We have some wonderful couples we know and family members that would like a baby and we're waiting for one of them to go first since we're ahead of the pack. So any of you on the baby path, feel free to lead the way; we'll be trailing, supporting you in anyway we can.

We got to have some amazing adventures this year. We went to Seattle and Canada, San Diego, and Hawaii!! We got to go through the Mesa Temple with our boys which was incredible. We got to spend some good quality time with our family which is the greatest thing.

As we come to the end of the year, we want to wish everyone a safe, happy, healthy New Year and a very Merry Christmas. We are so fortunate and lucky to have the people we do in our lives and we wish the very best for you all in 2012. Lots and lots of love, Nickey, Jordan, Landon, and Dylan

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 update

So a friend of mine pointed out how terrible I've been about updating my blog and she's right. Let's see what's been happening with us this year so far, now that we're half way through.

The first part of the year was actually pretty rough for me. I didn't start off too well. I had a very scary encounter in a parking lot with a strange man who tried to abduct me by pulling me into his vehicle. Thank heavens for an innocent passerby who scared the assailant away just as he was on the verge of wearing me down in our struggle and getting me into his car. As of today, still no word from the police. He got away. I just hope that he doesn't succeed with some other poor girl. I'm fine physically. I just won't be visiting a particular post office ever again and now I walk around with mace in my purse.

Then a week later, I got really really sick and got to take a lovely trip to John C Lincoln. I had to wait for 4 1/2 hours to be seen. I had a pretty serious lung infection and then got costochondritis, which is fluid build up around the heart. That was horrible; I felt like I was having a heart attack. It took me a week or two to get better.

Then in March, I had to go in for surgery yet again. I had to have my right ovary out. The doctor said it was problematic.

April was great! We have a lot of birthdays to celebrate in April, and Easter. So it gave us some time to spend with friends and family. For my birthday, Jordan planned a really great day for us. We went and got a couple's massage and had lunch. We got to enjoy mild weather before it got too too hot here in Phoenix. We had both the USAA company picnic at Castles and Coasters and the ECare family BBQ. Both were really fun. Pictures can be seen of all our fun on either Facebook or our Picasa account

May brought really warm weather and....wait for it....yet another surgery for me. This time, the cyst was on my left ovary and it grew to be the size of a tennis ball almost. The doctors tried to shrink it with medicine but it made it angry I guess so it got bigger instead. I also found out that I have minor kidney reflux. This time, the recovery was rough. I had to, of course, stay at the hospital even though it was scheduled outpatient. I try to tell them that doesn't work out for me but they didn't listen and had to admit me after surgery because my kidneys and bladder went to sleep and wouldn't wake up. It was pretty awful. It was painful and the doctor didn't know why I was getting cysts still, since they had never been on the left side. I go see a specialist this week and hopefully he can get some answers for me...other then taking everything out or getting pregnant. My doctor is funny. He said "you know, if you were in a state of pregnancy, those cysts wouldn't populate. You could try for a little girl"...pushing his agenda..I laughed. Jordan and I are 50 50 on having anymore anyway...we aren't against it but we aren't pursuing it at this time.

Things got better in June though. My mother in law came to visit for my niece's birthday. We were all so happy to have her here. We all got to go to Washington. We went to my brother in law Nick's graduation and were so proud to watch him graduate from high school. We got to spend time with friends and family and got some much needed time to relax and for me to recover. Jordan and I had our 5 year wedding anniversary and got to get a night away in Vancouver BC. It was the Stanley Cup playoffs so the city was crazy! We went and drove through Stanley Park and then went on a hike through Lynn Canyon Park to the waterfall and suspension bridge. It was scary but I sucked it up and walked across the bridge. Jordan got to go to Eastern WA and spend time with his best friend Paul and I got to go have ladies's night and play Bingo, which was so much fun. We got to meet up with the Francis family which we love to do when we are there. They crack us up! We got to take our kids to Mulkiteo Beach and let the kids play in the sand and the water and then get some Ivars for lunch. We got to do some fun stuff with the kids too. Landon got to go see Kung Fu Panda 2 with his Aunties and he was so excited!We went to Point Defiance Zoo. We got to take the kids on a tour of the Seattle Center, with the fountain, the science center and Pike Place. My friend Tim and his family opened up Absolute Airpark, which is an indoor trampoline park and it was amazing. It was so much fun, and a really good work out too. They just opened so anyone that is looking for a great time, they are located in Arlington off 67th and it's such a great deal for fun with groups, kids, aerobics, or date night. Jordan and I got to go to our friend's wedding. Nick was Jordan's college roommate and we were so happy to be there for him and Kira on their big day. It was a busy time but so much fun.

The thing I loved about it the most was seeing how happy my kids were. They loved it there. They loved being close to family and playing with Sammi, Ryan, Rush, and Gracie. They loved being outdoors. The rain didn't bother them at all when it did rain. There is so much to do there; parks, beaches, rivers, hiking, lakes, zoos, museums, family dinners, adventures for them. I felt guilty taking them away from it all. I usually get a little "homesick" when I leave there but this time, it was a very sad goodbye. I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that we were really were supposed to be there; close to the people there that love us. Arizona has it's advantages too but there is just something different about being there...I miss it terribly and know the boys do too.

Going forward into the summer, the heat has officially kicked in. It was 110 today. Ick. Landon came outside with me and he said "it's so hot, it hurts my eyes. the sun is mean to me." I'm not looking forward to 4 more months of this.

As far as the boys go, they have been the opposite of me health wise..they are doing great. Seems that we trade off that way..when they are fine, I'm a mess and vice versa. Landon is going to be 4 in October. He's doing really well after he had surgery at the beginning of this year to remove his tonsils and adenoids. He is talking a lot better and asks and says the funniest things. He is potty trained finally!!! He barely ever has accidents. Dylan is doing great too. He will be 2 in August and he is starting to talk so much. He has the funniest little personality and can be very sweet but oh boy, does he have a temper on him. The boys really starting thriving once we took them out of public daycare and moved them towards the end of the year last year to in-home daycare. The women that have been caring for them are so wonderful. They love my boys and make sure that they are learning and safe and having fun. They haven't barely been sick and aren't coming home with bite marks anymore, thank goodness. Jordan is doing okay too. He is still liking his job change in IT with Cox. Basketball season was a little disappointing for us this year, since the Suns didn't make the playoffs but the Mavs and Heat gave us some good games to watch. At the moment, we are watching the US and Mexico in the Gold Cup (soccer). Soon we're gonna put Landon in soccer and he can't wait.

I'm going to try and be better about updates so check back soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

hot pockets...

Last night Jordan and I got to go see Jim Gaffigan at the Comerica (previously dodge) theater.

I was excited to see Gaffigan live because I had been following him as a comic even before he had Comedy Central Specials or Cd's. His timing and delivery are classic.

This was a show with all new material, which is probably why the security told everyone at the door " no pictures or video, not even on your cell phone". There was one opening act by a comic named Jordan Rubin. He had an interesting style. He would pause in between his jokes to make it seem like he forgot what he was going to say and it would make the next punchline seem random, but it all came together. He had a good joke that hit well with the audience about the rapper Mystikal. He did a good job of warming up the crowd for Gaffigan.

Gaffigan's act did not disappoint for the long time fans and roped in new fans. The main focus of his act was about working out (or lack there of), the gym, the glory and disgust of McDonald's, the facade that is Subway, hotel living and hotel indoor pools, and whales. It seems like a far leap from talking about the creepy guy who stares at the women on the hip abductor machines to whale blubber but it flowed seamlessly. The show kept the audience engaged and laughing in hysterics. It was a well timed show, lasting about an hour and half. Gaffigan left the stage and the audience cheered for an encore and without disappointment, he came out and gave the crowd what they wanted to hear....the hot pockets skit. He added new some material to the older, adored jokes about the microwave favorite. He even threw in a shout out to bacon, which was a big focus in his last special "King Baby"; it was subtle but it got a big reaction.

As a long time fan, I loved his new stuff. Jordan made a good observation about how, for the most part, his act is pretty clean as far as comics nowadays goes. Even though it isn't packed full of swear words and filth, his jokes are relatable and hilarious. I'll watch this special over and over again when it comes out on cable.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

as we get ready for the holidays....

i can't believe that it is almost the end of the year already. thanksgiving is nearly here which means that the "holiday rush" will be quickly upon us. looking back on the year, it has been a very crazy year for us. work, jordan changing jobs, me having surgery twice this year, a camera crew in our house, dylan turning one, landon turning three, and most recently landon's surgery.....breathe....
almost all a blur of chaos.

thinking about all, it really puts some overly consumed, commercially brainwashed yuletide shoppers into perspective. this year, i really find myself a little peeved at the fact that christmas is being shoved down our throats, starting the week of halloween. i used to remember how there was a building of anticipation about christmas. as turkey day came to close with full tummies and football, your mind started to wonder, thinking about picking out a tree and decorating the house. the black friday shoppers would get up, fuel themselves with starbucks and pepsi and the rest of us would be enjoying a leisurely three day weekend (if we were lucky to have friday off). then the christmas season began; holiday parties, ugly sweaters making their way out of the very back of the closet, lists were created for used to be a month long production. as the days windled down, the house would smell like pine and apples and cinnamon and the kids would be on th every beset behavior so as not to blow their chance at getting gifts at the last minute. family traditions would take place. pajamas and cookies christmas eve, opening just one present to tide you over til morning., parents up all night wrapping gifts, enjoying the silence......then it was, prayers, blessings, breakfast, presents, love, was all intertwined and it was something to be cherished.

maybe it is the current state of the economy that is making such a push in the red and green direction...retailers desperate to make those end of year goals....but the commercial part of christmas is really being over commercialized to the point of being obnoxious. the lists have already been drawn up, the shopping has already began and in some cases ended, people have already began to stress about the crowds, the lines, the lack of supply for demand.....i might sound a
little beyond my years but i miss the slower simpler times.

this year, for us, it will be about much more than gift cards and presents. we are going to make it about family, about spirit, appreciating the real reason we get this holiday to begin with, the gift and that was given to the world. that will be my job this year....not running around like a mad person off their meds looking for the toy that sold out a month ago...but instilling these important values in my kids.

happy start to the holidays all! may it be a safe and merry one for you