Monday, March 29, 2010

MANism Monday & Project 365 (days 80 - 86)

I took a ton of photos this week but I still missed a few days. I'm loving my new camera and being able to carry it everywhere with me -but I'm still not use to having it. Like today, I took a photo with my phone and was thinking I wish I had my real camera with me - Oh yeah I do! DUH!

March 22nd - Day 80

The men were starting to look a bit scraggly so it was time for a hair cut - I refuse to pay the high prices when they never do a good job so I cut it myself. Here are the before and after photos.


Gryphyn threw a toy over the stairs and when he got in trouble for it (since it almost hit Nana), we went to apologize to her and said: "I'm sorry Nana for trying to throw my toys at your head"

We were out running around and stopped at the house for a few things. Nana was there and asked MiMi about Vahn "Has this one had N-O-N-A-P? To which Vahn quickly replied "Yep!"

MANism #03222010-3
MiMi told Gryphyn that if he didn't "________" then she was going to "drop the hammer" Later that day, we heard G tell Vahn that if he didn't do ______ that "MiMi is going to drop the hammer"

March 23rd - Day 81
No photos :(

Vahn once again got up much earlier than I wanted to - after a few minutes in my bed of him squirming around and insisting that he was thirsty while I tried to ignore him and sleep. I gave up and as I was prying myself from the bed I told him "your a bedhog" to which he replied "No, me a kid"

Vahn was looking at the front of his pj shirt (that has an elephant on it) and asked "Why animals have one eye?" Once I figured out what he was talking about, I told him "the other one is on the other side - you just can't see it in your picture"

We were driving and Vahn pointed out the window and asked "what those birds doing?"
M~ "I don't know, I didn't see them. What do you think they were doing?"
V~ "They looking for food. They hungry like me!"

Vahn got upset that his pee wasn't yellow. I tried explaining to him that its not "suppose to" be yellow. To which he replied "Me like it yellow" - then went on telling me how he was going to drink some water so it would be red and green! YIKES!

V~ "Mes play with Gryphyns neighbors?"
M~ "They are YOUR neighbors too."

March 24th - Day 82

I was driving Gryphyn to school when he pointed out the window towards a factory and and asked what it was. I told him it was some sort of factory and that we should go check it out to see what it was
G~ "Yeah, cuz its cool! Its making all the clouds!"

"Cloud" Factory

March 25th - Day 83
No photos :(

March 26th - Day 84

March 26th
Vahn tends to roll out of his bed at night - good thing its on the floor - this is how I found him when I went to check on the men before I went to bed!

I got Gryphyn a watch out of a Geocache yesterday. This morning Vahn put it on and was asked what time it was - I looked at it and told him it was 7:31. Then he looked at it and said "it says 39 - 1- 12" Since then, he has been staring at it and every time it changes he asks "what it say now mama?"

The Lil Men and I went for a walk along the Jordan River Parkway. The Men were riding their bikes and Gryphyn went really far ahead of us. Vahn was getting tired so when I couldn't see G anymore, I made Vahn sit on a bench on the side of the trail and ran after Gryphyn. When I finally caught up to him, he had taken the seat off of his bike and was sitting on it on the ground next to his bike. I asked him what he was doing and he said "ohh just taking a little break!"

March 27th - Day 85

We spent the day at Antelope island - while there, Gryphyn found this Cache totally on accident. We kept telling him not to open or touch thing. He found this in one of the side bins of an old wagon.

Here is the photo that I took:

And the one Zac took - sigh he just sees things better than I do!

While climbing on some rocks at Antelope Island, I thought Zac had the men and he thought I did! We couldn't find Gryphyn anywhere! Of course we freaked out when he didn't answer our calls. I headed back toward the car with Vahn while Zac searched the rocks. About 1/2 way to the car I spot Gryphyn with an arm full of rocks.
M ~ "why did you run away"
G~ "I was on a mission"
M~ "You have to stay with Mommy and Daddy at all times - stay where we can see you so we know you are okay!"
G~"But it was a "kid" mission!"

85b - Zac off doing what he loves - capturing great photos!

March 28th - Day 86
No photos :(

March 29th - Day 87
March29b toybox
Vahn sitting in his toy box -singing about "sitting in the toy box"

Friday, March 26, 2010


I had to give an informative speech today in my communications class.
If you know me, you know I'm NOT a fan of writing OR public speaking
- but I thought this speech turned out well!

Well at least the written version of it, the getting up in front of the class and trying to run a slideshow on a PC while talking- Not so much!

Since this is MY blog and I can post what ever I want :) I though I would share it here - cuz I think its funny :)


Have you ever been to a friends house for the first time and asked where the bathroom was? Have they ever said jokingly back to you, after pointing it out, to just leave a quarter on the counter or back of the toilet? We laugh at this and don’t really think anything of it. Well, I didn’t either until the first time I left the country with the Military.

I was in the Air Force for 7 years. In Sept of 2003, I got orders to Korea  and lived in Kunsan South Korea for 1 year.


I wouldn’t say that it was complete culture shock because I lived on a military base that was very “American” However, there were many times that I went off base, exploring or on sight seeing trips with friends.
These were the times that were strange.
You don’t realize the things that we take for granted in the US.
Probably the most appalling thing that I saw - or I should say smelled was the open sewer lines. The smell was horrible!
I think the Koreas must be use to it - but I never did.

Then there are the bathrooms themselves. I just assumed everyone in the world had the same type of facilities. Boy was I wrong!

There is nothing like opening the door to find this 


No, its not broken or missing!

This is called a squat toilet. In Korea, the “toilets” originally, were just a hole in the ground. - these evolved into a porcelain hole in the ground that you are suppose to squat over.


They are supposedly pretty easy to use. I didn’t want to take the chance of not being coordinated enough to use one of these so I never did try.

Squatting is quite common in Korea. I remember doing it as a kid and my kids do it. When exactly do Americans out grow that???? Well, Korean don’t.
I remember seeing old women squatting in the market place selling fish and other things and wondering how they could sit that way??? 


Apparently, squatting is the best way to empty your bowels. When you sit, you pinch your colon.  This diagram is taken from the toilet related ailments website they say that you can not completely empty your bowels in the sitting position because this muscle pinches. And that by squatting, your leg muscles press against your intestines helping things to naturally move along. Check it out if you want more information on all that. You can even get plans on how to retrofit your home toilet with a platform that allows you to squat - I’ll be passing on that one!

If I were to ask you how many of the pictures I already showed you in these slides had trash cans in them, I bet you wouldn’t be able to tell me!
If you were in a Korean bathroom however, you would not be able to miss it.  The smell would give it away!


That trash can in the corner - THAT is where your used paper goes - this one actually has a lid - most do NOT!
YEP, sorry, you may NOT flush your used toilet paper.
The sewers can’t handle it.

Thankfully, there are many Western style toilets available
When in doubt, look for the McDonalds!

I never was stuck in a position where I had to use a squat style one - although now, I’m kind of wishing I would have tried - just to say that I did.

So, you finally found a “regular” toilet to use. Where you can sit and flush your toilet paper (still not recommended - but quite common in these toilets) but wait - where is the toilet paper???

You mean after all that you forgot to BUY your toilet paper?
Thats right, TP is NOT free. Pack some in your bag or look for a tp vending machine outside the stalls. 

This photo is of a tp vending machine in Japan - I couldn’t find a Korean photo - but its quite similar to the Korean ones.

OK, now that you never want find yourself in Korea when you need to use the bathroom, Lets move to Germany.


I arrived in Germany in Sept of 2004. Where I was stationed at Spangdahlem AB for 3 years. During this time I lived off base in a town named Biersdorf AM SEA - which means “beer town on the sea (or lake) - Right about  here on the map.

After Korea, I thought I was prepared for anything.
No one else would do strange toilet things - would they?

Oh -Yes they would!

In Germany, Whether you are a "Damen" - Female or "Herren" - Male
Look for these signs:


W.C. is the most common - it stands for Water Closet
Here are a few other examples you might see:


Upon locating the WC In Germany, you will be pleased to find that,
it is now okay to flush your tp and sit.
Which is great for us girls. However if you are a guy,
You probably won’t be so happy to find stickers like this:


Thats right - please don’t stand up to pee!

Why? Because the Germans have a crazy toilet design that makes it pretty impossible to pee standing up with out splashing everywhere!

While the typical american toilet is shaped like this:
The German one is like this:


With a shelf! WHY WHY would they do that?

Apparently, Germans are in the habit to checking out their waste to make sure they don’t have parasites. I’m perfectly fine NOT doing this!
If I don’t feel well I’ll see a Dr. thanks!

So yeah, its a bit odd but not too bad - when you flush, the water washes from the back and pushes the waste down the small hole in the front.

Just make sure you use the brush after you flush, sorry to say, you probably will need to unless there is great water pressure - which is unusual. - and YES you can flush your TP. All for free!

Well almost! Don’t be surprised if you are out at a restaurant or at a fest and see a little table with money on it in the bathroom.

Thats right, you are expected to PAY to use the bathrooms.

At least you know its clean - since there is usually someone there cleaning it - which yes you will have to wait on sometimes. Which can make the line take even longer!

So as you can see, bathrooms around the world can be a bit awkward. Whether you sit or stand, don’t forget to keep some change in your pocket, you never know when you might be required to buy your tp or even to be allowed access!
But if you have an open mind and do a little research ahead of time, everything will come out all right.

Monday, March 22, 2010

MANism Monday & Project 365 (Days 74-79)

WOW, I can't believe its been another week already!

This past week has been pretty hard for me.
It was my Spring Break from college and I was preparing to have my surgery TODAY. So it should have been a great week - but it wasn't :(

If you didn't already know, in Dec of 08, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer
I had a mastectomy around that time and since then have been doing chemo, radiation and some study drugs (called HER2). Fast forward about a year and a half later, till now. I am finally done with all of that and ready to have reconstruction! (check out my archives for more info on all that)
Since that time, I have only had one breast and wear a prosthetic - which is great - don't get me wrong - I don't know how emotionally I would have made it this far if I did not have the prosthetic to make me look whole - you really can't tell looking at me which boob is fake! But still, I KNOW its fake and its quite emotional for me at times.
Over the past few months, I have been seeing Drs. like crazy. ~ General surgeons, plastic surgeons, residents, tests and procedures all leading up to the big day of getting put all back together.

So the problem is that every time I go to the dr, I see a new dr and they want to do something completely different. I'm not against any of the options but it makes me nervous that they can't seem to agree on what to do.

The main discrepancies are on whether to do both sides or one at a time and on what type of incision to make (and who decides that)

Because I am so young and because the mass they removed was so large originally, I really want to have the other breast removed as well. Also, it will help in the reconstruction process to make them "match" if they are both fake!
I feel I'm entitled to a little bit of selfishness in all of this - why not get a boob job out of it :) The original drs (in NC) didn't feel that was necessary for some reason I never understood. But now that I am here,(in UT) it has never been a question. They call it a Prophylactic Mastectomy

Prophylactic: A preventive measure. The word comes from the Greek for "an advance guard," an apt term for a measure taken to fend off a disease or another unwanted consequence.

The plan is to remove the "good" breast and place a tissue expander under the pectoral muscle - on the other side, we will also place a tissue expander. then over the next 3 months or so, they will slowly inject saline to "expand" and stretch the skin. Once the new breast tissue is the size we want it to be -( I'm going up a cup size). Then I will have another surgery where the expanders will be removed and implants put it. During this surgery, we will also have to get additional skin from somewhere else - we are still deciding if we want to use my stomach tissue or take it from my back. Followed by additional surgeries for nipple construction. Its not by any means and easy process and while I'm looking forward to it, I'm dreading it as well.

Back to the discrepancies, I've been told that they are going to do both sides at once and that they want to do one side then have me come back in 3 weeks to do the other side. Reasoning being that, doing both sides, I would be under anesthesia too long and have a greater risk of complications and infection to do both at once. As for the incision, when I asked the Plastic Surgeon what type of incision they were going to make, she said that was up to the General Surgeon and when I asked him, he said it was up to her and then said that the plastic surgeon would mark where she wanted the incision before surgery and he would basically just cut there.

This left me feeling very uneasy about the whole process. Plus the fact that I'm looking at having 4 surgeries soon and would most likely have 4 different surgeons. So, we decided to postpone for now and are trying to get the head of the surgery department to be my surgeon that what there would be continuity and I would have someone experienced and have the same surgeon for all 4 surgeries.

WOOOOO - So, that has been the big mess this week - lots of dr consults and trying to figure out what to do. I'm really bummed that I have to wait even longer now but feel confident that we made the right decision!

All THAT to say, I didn't put too much effort or energy into this weeks "assignment" for this blog post so once again, the MANisms and photos are limited.

On a Positive note, I DID get a new camera - a small one that I can carry in my purse and always have with me to take photos - so I don't have an excuse :)

Alright On with it - here is Day 1 (or 74 in this case)

March 16th (Day 74)

March 17th (Day 75)
Gryphyn why aren't you listening to me today?
Cuz I just want to do what I want to do!
~ At least he is honest!

March 18th (Day 76)
March 18th
The Men LOVE to play with this train table at the gym. I usually let them stop and play for a few minutes when I'm done working out.

G~"Mom, I don't like your kind of chapstick cuz its like aliens!"
M~"Like Aliens?"
G~"Yeah, it smells like aliens"
M~"Aliens smell bad? How do you know what they smell like"
G~"I don't know, I just do"

March 19th (Day 77)
March 19th
We stopped at the post office today and Vahn asked for a sticker. They didn't have any but she said she could give them a stamp. So they both got their hands stamped with a "Spoiled" stamp ~ I love it. I also love Vahns expression in this photo that I was taking of Gryphyn.

I pointed out a street sweeper to Gryphyn today and he went off telling us about it and how it was so great - I wish I could remember exactly what he said - it was so funny!

March 20th (Day 78)
March 20th
We went to a friends b-day party and the Men won these glasses on one of the games.
Too cute I love when they are actually willing to "like" each other long enough for me to get a picture of them!

March 21st (Day 79)
I took Mandy Geocaching for the first time today. We didn't have much luck on most of our searches but on our last one, we found THIS! Mandy's first find!
Check out: for more info on Geocaching!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MANism Monday & Project 365 (days 67-73)

I did really bad this week on taking photos and writing down the MANisms - I'm not sure why????

So here is what I did get:

March 9th small
March 9th - Day 67
Gryphyn - He looks like he is mad but really he is concentrating on a computer game. I love his expression because it is so "Gryphyn"

March 10th small
March 10th - Day 68
Today was my 34th Birthday!
I spent the first 3 hours of it at the plastic surgeons office finding out about my surgery that will be next week
I'm have a mastectomy on the "good" side and then having expanders placed on both sides - look for more details on all that soon to come.

MARCH 11th - Day 69
No picture today :(
I suppose that is pretty good that I have made it this far into the year without missing a day!

Gryphyn: "hey Mom, maybe tonight we can have a party, cuz we really like to party"
M~"what would the party be for?"
G~"for tonight"

March 12th small
March 12th - Day 70
I know, I know - I'm a mean mom!
I make my kid stand in the corner then take pictures of him and post them on the web! :)

March 13th small
March 13th - Day 71
We took the Men to see the Disney on Ice Show (for MY birthday) - I had good intentions of taking lots of photos but I forgot to put a card in my camera and ended up caring around the big heavy one all day in the snow for no reason - I really wasn't very happy about that!

March 13b small
Runner-up 71b
It started snowing while we were at the show and Zac and I stopped to get Starbucks to warm up - however, there was a Ben and Jerrys right next door so the Men "had" to have some ice cream!

March 14th small
March 14th - Day 72
Poor Vahn is so accident prone - We have one of those cutting boards that pull out from the cabinets and he was running around and ran right into it! OUCH! - I love his expression in this photo when I asked him to let me take his picture - he brushes it off and keeps right on going!

March 15th - Day 73
Zac's Protein Powder (its the only picture I took today)
I took a picture so that I could price it at other stores to see if I could find it cheaper.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

MANism Monday & Project 365 (days 60-66)

March 2nd small
March 2nd - Day 60
Gryphyn loves to crawl into bed with Daddy and cuddle up in the mornings.

Gryphyn: "Mom I invited all of my friends at school to my birthday- except for one friend who always has boogies in his nose - he's not my friend"

Gryphyn's class at school tried to "grow" seeds but very few of them turned out. When Papa picked him up today he told him that they could go buy some seeds and grow some flowers in the backyard. He has been asking about it all day and just overheard him asked Zac where to get seeds - Zac told him "maybe at a nursery"
G ~ " Do they have them at the nursery at church?"

March 3rd small
March 3rd - Day 61
I was trying to take a picture of Gryphyn eating chicken nuggets - because they are a staple at our house - but G wasn't too pleased with me taking his picture. In this photo, he is pointing to the ceiling and told me "You go to time out on the ceiling for taking my picture"

March 4th small
March 4th - Day 62
Breakfast - "bunny cereal" (Twix) for Vahn and Cheerios for mommy!

March 5th small
March 5th - Day 63
Diaper Bears that I made for a friends baby shower who is having twins.

March 5b small
Runner up 63b
Vahn looking through his "telescope" - I love how he holds one eyes shut with is finger to do it.

We were down stairs and Gryphyn said:
"Its evil cold down here mom"
M ~ "Is that like wicked cold"
G ~ "Yeah, wicked cold"
M ~ "What's that mean?"
G ""Oh, it means something that is very cold"

March 6th small
March 6th - Day 64
"Batman" playing the drum.

I ordered a sample pack of the new "sponge bob" maple and brown sugar cream of wheat for Gryphyn. He was super excited to open it and make it. I made him wait until breakfast this morning - so he takes his first bite and looks at me with a strange look on his face.
M ~ "what's wrong?"
G ~ "it feels funny"
M ~ "You don't have to like it"
G ~ Quite relieved "I don't like it - it feels funny and its warm and sweet and I don't like things that are warm and sweet and feel funny"

Gryphyn told Nana:
"Nana when I get bigger I'm going to take you somewhere and help you cross the street!"

March 7th small
March 7th - Day 65
Zac's first time in the Mac Store!

March 7b small
Runner-up 65b
Vahn eating his ice cream cone while we wait for our appt at the Mac genius bar!

Nana told me:
G was watching V play a computer game. As the music started playing G said "Do that one! Do that one!"
V replied "I'm thinking of it."

G~ " Daddy, can you build me a big scary house?"
Z ~ " A big SCARY house?"
G~ " Yeah, to scare away my hiccups!"

A few minutes later, Vahn got hiccups and told me:
V~ "Daddy make me scary house to scare away my pickups"

March 8th - Day 66
I laughed when I saw Zac's empty beer bottle on the bathroom sink with the Mens' toothbrushes!

I was looking in the hall closet for more hand soap and only saw one that I didn't like. When I started closing the door again Gryphyn said:
G~ "What about that one? It's soap"
M~ Yeah, I don't like it though, its too strong"
G~ as he is flexing his muscles "I like it, cuz its strong like me"

G got a spoon to eat his yogurt with and while playing with it said:
"I can see myself and I look lovely"

Gryphyn had been burping loudly all day after his bath, he burped again, and upon my "mom" look he said:
"Excuse me, ......... Delicious!"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

MANism Monday & Project 365 (days 53-59)

Feb 23rd small
Feb 23rd - Day 53
The Men making play-doh

I was putting laundry away and Gryphyn came in and got a new pair of pants.
I asked him why he was getting new ones and he said:
"Cuz I peed for just 2 minutes in mine"

Vahn asked Nana for a fruit bar and she asked him "What did mommy say?"
To which he replied "I'm asking YOU!"

Feb 24th small
Feb 24th - Day 54
Gas light is on AGAIN - sigh!

We were driving home and passed the crossing guard at the school - He has a long white beard - Vahn pointed out the window and kept saying "Santa Santa!"

"Momma - have you rode on a flying rug before?"

Feb 25th small
Feb 25th - Day 55
Returning Library books!

Vahn and I were playing the I love you - NO I love you game.
M ~"I love you"
V~ "NO, I love you"
M ~ "No "I" love YOU"
V ~ "I love your FIRST!"

Feb 26th small
Feb 26th - Day 56
Gryphyn wanted to help me mop the floor :)

Feb 26b small
Runner up - 56b
Those corners are hard to reach :)

Feb 27th - Day 57
I saw this bus in the parking lot at the gym and took the pix to show Zac
- cuz he would have done the same thing :)
Actually, he would have gotten out of the car to check it out - I only circled back around to get a quick shot!

I was putting Vahn to bed and while praying with him, he started naming random names to pray for. He told me my name was Johnny! So I asked him what my name was and ended up going thru the list of ever ones names. When we got to him, I asked him what HIS name was and he said "Vahn Valor" "Vahn Valor what?" "HAPPY - Vahn Valor Happy!"

Feb 28th small
Feb 28th - Day 58
Gryphyn kept his gummy worm from dinner the night before, and named him Sherman. He put him in a cage as his "pet"
The next morning, he took him out of his cage and gave him an orange for breakfast.

March 1st small
March 1st - Day 59
When Vahn is suppose to be sleeping and I go in to check on him, he squeezes his eyes shut like this so I think he is asleep!