Aug 31, 2011

Pediatric Dental Office Decor

We're working on decorating Doug's office.  It's being painted this week.  After that, new carpet will go in.  Then we'll need actual furniture.
Green is really tricky!!!

The theme that we've come up with is...

vintage modern.

Vintage because I love it.  Modern because it's "in".
(This part has all been decided, so don't try to change the theme.  It's TOO LATE!)

So, here you have our logo.  Very modernish, right?  Say right.
(And no, you still don't get to know my last name, Creepy Stalker.)

Then we have the following as options:
THIS is where I need your input.  Let me know what you think about the following items:

1.  Super modern couch by Herman Miller.
2.  or this Ballard Design more classic couch.  (Comes in many colors.)
--or something else entirely...???--
3.  Wall Art from Land of Nod.  I really love these but they're $89 each!  (But that includes the frame.)

4.  Also from LoN.  $129 on stretched canvas.  (I really love includes so many places I love.)
5.  What about a giant bouncy ball machine?  Is this a need or a want???
What do you think?  Which couch would you choose?  Which art would you want to see as a parent?  What magazines do you want to read and what would make YOUR dental experience better???
What are your thoughts?

(For my full "wish list" see my Emily Dub Pinterest board titled "Office Decor Wish List")

Aug 27, 2011


I'm skinny.
Tall and skinny.

Always have been.  Can't help it.  Born that way.

So much so that I was regularly asked at medical appointments if I had an eating disorder.
Addiction to sugar, junk food and laziness an eating disorder?  Then yes.  I had (have) one.

Throughout my whole life, I've been despised by females who actually exercise and eat right.

Except, not so much these days.
Without doing a dang thing differently, I've gained weight!  What the...?!?!

See, I hit my 30's, had my fourth baby, lived through an earthquake, and then changed countries.
And somewhere in there, my metabolism slowed down and my general sluggishness wasn't rewarded with continued skininess!  I put on weight!!!  The nerve!

Instead of being underweight for my height (5' 9.75") I'm now ( scale) somewhere in the upper "normal" range.  At least 20 pounds up from my previous "normal".

No, I'm not really whining.  It's no biggie, except my clothes are getting super tight and my energy level isn't exactly increasing.

So for a good two years now I've been contemplating exercise.  (These things can't be rushed in to.)

It had to happen sometime.  Can't put off health forever.

With that in mind, Doug bought me a nice road bike for Christmas last year.  (50% off after Thanksgiving.)  I rode it twice in Misawa always planning to REALLY get into biking once we were settled here.

I just got my bike last week and today I went on my first ride.
Yes, I wore shoes and a helmet and yes, I'm scowling.

It was hard.

But the reason I picked biking is because it inevitably includes periods of time when you can stop pedaling and coast.  And heaven knows I like me a good exercise where I just sit still with the wind rushing through my helmet.  (Running, obviously, is not for me.)

Hopefully there will be more rides to come.  Because my clothing budget is $0 right now so I can't afford a bunch of new pants and loose, flowy shirts.

Wish me luck!

And now a bonus blog post courtesy of Healthy Friend Janeen who now resides (and rides) in Germany!  (Lucky Duck!!!)


From Janeen's blog  
Bikers and Cars Beware!
April 2, 2011

A huge success in my life is convincing someone else that bicycle riding is the best sport in the world!  (darn tootin!) You are outside, you get to go fast, you can socialize and you are working out!  I just can't see it getting any better than that.  Our friends, the infamous Doug and Em, have seen the light (well, kind of).  I have to give a little background.  

Emily does not exercise at all!  And never has. (Sometimes I think it's amazing we are friends, really, but we married opposites, too, she is a lot like Merrill and I am like Doug, it's scary - I digress, back to my story:).  She says she's allergic to exercise because her body starts to itch.  [This is completely true.  I AM allergic to exercise.  Itchy Leg Syndrome is a real malady!  There are literally dozens of us!]  

I remember going on a walk with her last spring on a beautiful day and she belly ached the whole time about everything I liked about it.  hahaha  So Doug started riding last year on my old De Bernardi bike.  He's about the same build as Merrill so it was pretty funny seeing him on my little bike, but he was hooked so he didn't complain too much about the bike size.  Doug thought it would be awesome to go for rides with Emily (which it will be!)  So Emily got a bike on a sweet sale weekend around Thanksgiving last year.  

It was a gorgeous day outside and she took it on it's maiden voyage around the block!!!!  With her jeans on and lovely Ugg boots!  Rockin biker outfit, Em!  I hope your bum wasn't too sore today from your jean seam.  :)

When I ran into get my camera this is what I came out to!  What a goof!

Anyway... here she is!  We are all so proud of her! I called her later in the day and I told her she needed to start going to Pam's spin class M, W @ 11:30am.  By then, she will be up and ready to tackle the workout!
She's going so fast she's a blur!


(I never did make that spin class.)

Aug 25, 2011

Paradigm = SHIFTED!

Once, my friend Lyana told me she lets her kids fold and put away their own clothes, and then my brain popped, because WOAH!  I hate folding laundry!  Who knew I could shove it off on to them?!?!  That little bit of information changed my life!!!

So now I'll share something with you:
While sister Bethy was here, school lunches came up.  I mentioned that Max makes his own lunch and has since 1st grade.  Last year, he made Sam's too.  This year, both boys will make their own.  My job is to make sure we have ingredients on hand.  The rest is up to them.  And then Beth's brain popped a little because SHE hates making lunches and her kids are 6th and 4th graders!  So now maybe she'll make them make their own lunches and her life will be changed!  For the better!  And she'll forever praise my name like I praise Lyana!  And so will YOU!  Aren't you all glad I'm a blogger?!?

You can thank me later.

P.S.  (She also noticed my stash of plastic grocery bags all tied in loose knots and laughed at me.  But it's not just for the sake of my OCD!  It's so little kids don't pull them over their heads and suffocate!  Which my boys inevitably try to do when confronted with a bag of any kind--plastic or otherwise!!!)
And yes, we had a great time with Doug's big sister.  She brought her best friend Steph (basically a member of the family) and her two kids and we LOVED having them!  The boys LOVE getting to know their cousins after a three year drought.  We went to the beach every day, rinsed off with a swim in the pool, and then feasted on half healthy/half unhealthy food every night.  It was fabulous and we want them to come quarterly!

(So if you're planning a visit, better book the guest room STAT!  It's filling up fast.  And don't forget the cost of admission is a PICTURE for my WALL!)
Pictures will be posted...eventually.

Aug 19, 2011


One great thing about being back in the states?  More selection.  My first trip to Target, I grabbed every single Kashi item I hadn't tried yet.  (We had VERY FEW healthy grocery options at the Misawa Commissary.)

 I may have grabbed a few other things while I was there.

(And now I really must stop spending money because Doug hasn't started working yet.  So ya income and all that...)

Aug 17, 2011

A Few (a lot of) Little (back in America) Things

aka:  17 blog posts combined into one!

*When we got to town, we were greeted by all four of my siblings and my mom!  We got to have a mini-family reunion and the boys got to see lots of cousins they haven't seen in three years.  It was typical of all our Call-kid reunions: full of drama but highly entertaining.  (My dad and his wife Claudia also came down for a visit so we got to see them also.)
Faezer and Jay-bird: Caught mid silliness.
*Costco and Target are all that I hoped they'd be.  And more.  I love them.  I want to marry them.
They're also exactly what Doug expected they'd be:  Places I spend too much money.
Poor Doug.

Call Girls with Dale-bud
*I may have gained some weight since my arrival.  Not sure why...?
Best Picture Ever?  Yes.

*We have super cute kids in our neighborhood.  They brought these over the first day we were here:

*After being in Japan, where the HIGHEST freeway speed we encountered was 70 KPH (43.5MPH), driving the speed limit here feel like reckless driving.  People keep racing past and around me and I realize it's because I'm going 20 under.  It's terrifying.

*I can't for the life of me remember which side the drivers side is when I need to get in the car, or how to turn on the blinker not the windshield wipers.  And yes, sometimes I forget which side of the road I'm supposed to drive on.

*Sam had to be dragged (yes, literally) to school kicking and screaming the first two days.  Last night he cried himself to sleep.  He said "I DON'T want to live in California!  I HATE school, I DID NOT want to move to the states, and I WANT TO GO BACK TO JAPAN!!!"  Poor kid.  Have I mentioned he doesn't like change?  (*Note to self:  Inform neighbors that we don't beat our children.  Sam just screams really loud when he's upset.  Which is a lot.)

*Yesterday was our 11 year wedding anniversary and we got to spend part of it in the temple we were married in.  (Followed by lunch at Rubio's and a cupcake from Sprinkles.  It doesn't get much better than that.)  And I decided that, yes, I would marry Doug again even now that I know he has the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy.

*After three years of NO visitors (aside from the H family's post earthquake stay), we've already had one overnight guest!  My high school friend Naomi came down from L.A.!  I had a great time blabbing with her by the (community) pool and the boys loved her.  Her visit was made even better when we went to the beach and dinner with two other awesome high school friends.

Felix, Nome, Me, Wahine
*My friend Kristen, shown on the right, helped us house hunt.  She is amazing and deserves to be sainted.  I'm so happy we're neighbors!!!

*We took a trip up to Monterey, CA to visit the afore mentioned H family.  Camille got baptized and we were thrilled to be able to be there.  It was a quick trip, (not the driving part--that part was long) but we had a blast and were so happy to see Tami, Wes, and Kiddos again.  It was, as Wes said, "EPIC!"

I told Doug to fix my wonky bangs, but he DIDN'T
*San Diego is paradise.  Every morning is foggy.  Then the fog burns off and it's pleasantly warm the rest of the day.  If it gets too hot, open all the windows and let the breeze in.  Things are blooming all over the place.  Colorful hot air balloons pretty up the sky.  We have hibiscus and jasmine and roses and rosemary and lavender and all sorts of smell-good stuff in our yard.  (And I'm going to start some veggies in pots soon, and when our ship comes in, I'll buy some dwarf citrus trees!!!)
Paradise I tell you!!  (And NO EARTHQUAKES!*)

*And I love our house.  It feels like a mansion compared to our Misawa 4-plex.  (Though the base housing had more storage.)  Cute, no?  The boys each have their own room (Gray gets a closet) but have to share when guests come.  It hasn't cut down on fights, but I'm still hopeful.
Box monsters
*Favorite part for the boys?  Garage door, hands down.  They fight over who gets to push the button to open and close it.

*Oh, and did I mention?  NO MOSQUITOS!  You can go outside at dusk and not get eaten alive!  (I don't know what they're spraying around here, but Misawa needs to get some.)

*But wait--San Diego isn't totally perfect.  It does have crows.  Not the monster mutant crows of Misawa, but I've seen 'em.  (Even the Garden of Eden had a snake in it...)

*And speaking of visitors,  (weren't we?) we have a batch coming tomorrow.  Two aunties (D's seesters) and two cousins are en route from Utah even as  Yay!

Yep, it's good to be home.

*Yes, I know California is earthquake prone.  And it'll probably have a huge one now that I've moved here.  But I don't care.  All that matters is we haven't had one here yet!  Days and days with NO TREMORS!  That's huge, people!

Aug 8, 2011

Here's the Dealio...

Many moons ago, Doug found a practice "For Sale" in the San Diego area.
(My dream locale.  Where I finished high school.  Where we got married.  Where I've been wanting to move back ever since I left as a 20ish year-old.)

He contacted the seller/Dr.
She interviewed him via Skype.
He flew to California and met her in person.
After weeks and weeks of waiting (and an earthquake), she finally offered to sell him the practice.
We started making all necessary (extensive) preparations to buy the practice.
(lawyers, lenders, accountants...)
It would have cost a LOT of money to buy the practice.  (Turns out they don't give these things away.)
BUT it would come with equipment, staff, and patients!
We planned our move here.
We signed a one-year lease on a home.
We researched local schools and local church congregations.
I mapped all nearby Libraries, Costcos and Targets.
We directed our "Household Goods" to be shipped to the port of San Diego.

And then...

three weeks before we left Japan...

the seller changed her mind.

She backed out of the deal.

We don't know why.  (But we have our suspicions.)

Then Doug's heart stopped and his brain exploded a little, and his stomach turned into a giant bleeding ulcer.
      I took the immediate role of therapist/counsellor/cheerleader.
("It's going to be okay!!!  You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggoneit, little kids like you!!!")

Luckily, on his last trip to the states, just for kicks, he'd looked over an available office space for lease in the area.  It's next door to a General dentist and is all set up for a Pediatric dentist.  It's in a great location on a busy, high-visibility street.

The same day we got the mind-exploding news, Doug called about the empty office space.  It was still available.  He asked for the lease paperwork.
We decided to lease it and start a practice from scratch.

With three weeks to go before unemployment and no pay check and no benefits and no security and no anything.  Except a house and office we couldn't pay for once our emergency fund ran out.  
(Yes, thanks to stupid Dave Ramsey, we have a hefty emergency fund.  Or at least, it seemed hefty until we moved to expensive here and had to spend a bunch of it!)

So yeah, it's been a stressful few weeks.

Since we've been back, Doug has done the following:
Filled out mountains of paperwork
Met with a bazillion lenders
     and vendors
         and Doctors
Hogged the laptop  (The desktop is still in transit, hence my spotty blogging.)
Gotten 58 new gray hairs
Secured financing to start a practice
Purchased us a second car (our mini van has been in storage for three years)
Made a bazillion phone calls
Eaten numerous "business" breakfasts

And a million other tedious things.

He's also gotten a part time job at an office about an hour away.
It's only three days a week, but it will see us through until his practice takes off.

Which it will.
Because he's Doug and he's awesome and little kids love him.

As for me, I'm keeping busy unpacking, organizing, donating, hanging, and throwing away a whole bunch of stuff
While also feeding, clothing, cuddling, chasing, disciplining, kissing, hugging, refereeing, supervising, separating, and time-outing four {extremely noisy} boys.
Oh, and I'm working on the colors/theme/feel/decor/accessories/"brand" for the future office and website.

Um hmm.

And it turns out, having your husband home 24/7 in these circumstances, doesn't actually feel like an extended vacation.  (Maybe an extended hellcation.  But forget I said that last part 'cause we don't say the "h" word.)  Not that I don't love having him around.  It's just we're not dealing with optimal circumstances here!

But despite all of the afore mentioned stress, we're happy to finally be "home".  We're happy to be back in America. We're really happy that the whole dang country isn't shaking every five minutes.  We're thrilled we don't have to move anywhere ever again if we darn well don't want to.  And we're extremely glad things are progressing in the job department.

We've even managed to have some fun!
All of my siblings and my mom were here to welcome us home.
Visits to the pool and beach have been squeezed in.
The weather has been perfectly beautiful.
Breakfast out has been eaten.
Friends and new neighbors have been good to us.

So life is good.
Prayers are heard.
Prayers are answered.
And life goes on.

And that's the dealio.

Aug 7, 2011

Friday and Saturday in Hawaii

Friday was an especially fun day for Sammy and I.  Since Doug and Max got to swim with Manta Rays, Sam and I got to swim with dolphins.  You'll pardon my 80's if I say it was "totally rad".

The deal is, you get on a boat, they provide snorkel stuff, and then the boat drives(?) to where they know there are usually pods of dolphins.  When they spot a pod, they let you hop off the boat so you can swim with them.  (or near them.  Or actually usually quite far away from them because shockingly, dolphins tend to keep moving.)

Anyway, I've never seen a dolphin up close, so I thought it was extremely cool.

Click to play this Smilebox collage
So here's what happened.  The boat went to the first stop.  There were dolphins everywhere.  We were all suited up and ready.  We jumped in the water.  Sammy, who has been practicing with a mask and snorkel for a few weeks, looks down, can't see the "bottom" and freaks out.  He did not like swimming with fins, and a noodle (instead of a life jacket) and he did not like the depth of the ocean.

It took some persuasion to get him to try again, but he did it.  We swapped out the noodle for a life jacket, ditched the fins, and went to an area where you could see the ocean floor.  (It was super clear water.)  Sam jumped in, stuck his face in, and popped right back up.  "I SAW ONE!  I SAW A DOLPHIN MOMMY!!!"  It was, again, totally rad.

During one stop, our "driver" spotted a pod and stopped.   Everyone (there were about 11 of us) jumped in and started swimming away from the boat.

I looked in the opposite direction and saw a dolphin jumping in front of the boat and headed towards it.  When I started swimming, I realized I was surrounded by dolphins...they were just all below the surface.  That's when I saw the mommy and baby swimming together in the distance.  Very very cool.  I wish I could have gotten closer but they were a bit ahead and swimming away from me.  

For the last stop, we left the dolphins behind us and went to snorkel a reef near the shore.  Since this area was relatively shallow, this is where Sam did the majority of his snorkeling for the day.  He actually got pretty far away from the boat and looked at the reef and tropical fish with me.  For a little while, he let me hold his hand and swim with him.  It was fantastic day and that was the icing on the cake!

Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
(And now I really need to wrap this up...)
Saturday:  We did some stuff.
We took a red-eye "home" through L.A.
It was a horrible flight.
It was delayed.  Children were cranky. Bags were lost.  Then found.
We finally made it HOME to San Diego on Sunday morning.


(More tomorrow.  Or the next day or day after that...)

Aug 3, 2011

Thursday in Hawaii

So much to blog, so little time...

Gotta finish up Hawaii so I can talk about my NEW HOUSE!

So, Thursday was our VOLCANO day.  Since we stayed in Kona, the volcano was a ways away.  Therefore, trying to get the boys excited was next to impossible.
"We have to drive for TWO HOURS?  Why can't we just go to the POOL?!?!?"
Little ingrates!
But we shoved 'em all in the car and set off anyway.
To break up the trip, we made two stops along the way.  First, to the southern most bakery in the United States for some Hawaiian sweet bread.  (YUM!):

Handsome group!
 Next, to a volcanic black sand beach:
Why yes, I did take a smidge for my sand collection!

Turtles chillaxing
(Aside:  So, we're standing around oohing and ahhing over the sea turtles, and a Japanese gentleman gets really excited to see them, walks over, and happily smacks one on the face to get it to move.  The Americans gasp and say "NO!", and my arms automatically come up and cross in front of me making an "X"; the universal Japanese sign for 'no' or 'stop'.  He didn't touch the turtles after that.) 

"I know I'm adorable!"
Yes, I did buy my shirt at Costco, and yes, Gray did eat more sand.

Playin' in the waves.
Finally, we arrived at the volcano visitor center.  They gave us maps and told us what the "must-see" attractions were for single-day visitors.  Here are a few:

In a lava tube tunnel.
The boys walked across this caldera.  I stayed in the car with sleeping Gray.

Barren landscape cleared by flowing lava.
Cute buzz boys.

Smoking volcano!

Smoking volcano after dark.  Sweet!
We stayed for quite awhile but only managed to see a little bit of the "park".  It was really amazing.  The boys were disappointed they didn't get to see an actual eruption, but seemed to think it was cool anyway.  The glowing crater was pretty close, so that got high marks.

We'd definitely recommend a trip to the volcano if you're ever in the area.

More tomorrow.  Hopefully I can wrap this trip up!