Thursday, August 27, 2009

Being Married to a Fraud Consultant Does Have Its Advantages: Debit Card Scan

Nate got a fraud alert this morning. Wal-mart apparently just busted a huge bunch of its employees who were scamming customers. This could happen at any retail outlet.

1. You checkout
2. You pay with a debit card
3. The cashier manually inputs $20-$60 cash back which only shows up on your receipt and not on the touchpad screen.
4. If the cashier is under constant surveillance (which they are at Wal-mart) the cashier give the next person in line, who is in on the scam, your cash advance.
5. If the cashier is not under surveillance then they simply keep track of the cash back and remove the money when their shift ends and they reconcile their register to the till.

Even if you catch them doing it, they will simply claim the machine has been messing up and automatically doing cash-backs. Just always check your receipt for cash-backs.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why I Love Arizona (even when it's 110+ degrees)

This is the time of the year I hate...I've given up leaving the house much, my air conditioner chugs away to keep the house at 82 degrees, the kids are bored, and we've all watched more Jungle Book than I'd care to admit.

Crafty, cake decorating friends have been telling me about the ABC Baking Cake Decorating store for a while now. But, I'm not crafty or good at baking, so I figured it wasn't for me.

However, in a moment of desperation last week, I had a moment of inspiration--I could bribe Asher and Luke to be good with the treat of going to this store to pick out their very own sprinkles for decorating sugar cookies. I thought, "It'll probably be about $10, but I don't care. We'll slip this into the budget somehow."

The boys were good, and we went with my mom to pick out the sprinkles. They had car sprinkles, alphabet sprinkles, little Micky Mouse sprinkles. Our family's only complaint would be that they had no train sprinkles. Sigh...

But, each boy picked their sprinkles: Asher got some plain primary colored dots, and Luke is loving his butterfly sprinkles. Then, I got some cute muffin papers (you probably can't tell from the picture, but they're safari themed). And, our grand total? $4!

If I bought the same things at a grocery store (and mind you, they don't have butterfly sprinkles), I would have paid at least $10.

ABC Cake Decorating
2853 E Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85016-6857

Monday, August 24, 2009

Here you go, Cookie...

I'm not sure where Luke learned to call everyone, "Cookie," but we're fast approaching the year anniversary of when he adopted the term.

I suspect it came about when he was trying to repeat me saying, "Here you go, Lukey," and it always came out, "Here you go, Cookie."

Or, maybe Luke just thinks "Cookie" is a cute name to call people. He does have a fondness for Cookie Monster after all.

So, we call him and each other that now, and I've noticed a few looks from people--like they're thinking, "I wonder what other strange pet names those Curtises call each other..."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Baby Luke

We have this little boy named, Luke. Perhaps, you've met him. He's the one who is always telling his mom to "Go away," when he's in the midst of having dinosaurs stomp through the house plants or engineering a train over a particularly difficult set of track that his brother built.

But, then, we have this baby named Luke, who loves to be snuggled and still wants to be cradled and rocked to sleep in one of his parents' arms. I kept thinking it was amazing that a 6 month old, 1 year old, 18 month old, 2 year old! would want to be rocked to sleep. Now, he's almost 2 1/2, he's way too big to be rocked to sleep, but he still loves that cuddling as one of us awkwardly dangles his legs over our arms and tries to cradle this big boy.

I'm not sure what we'll do when he turns twelve and insists on this...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yellowstone Trip

So, I'm catching up on blogging, and by the dates at the head of these posts, one can see that I had good intentions.

My grandparents are very generous and arrange these fun family reunion vacations every once in a while. This year, we went to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. To the left, you'll see our lovely family picture. Really, couldn't have asked for a better backdrop; it's just a bummer that 3 members of the family couldn't be in it (darn airlines, darn mission)!

Because of several family members' generosity, Nate and I got to take a rock climbing class with lots of family. It was SO fun.

Experiences like the rock climbing are why this was the first family vacation we have taken our children on that made us think, "Oh, this is why people do family vacations." In the past, we have been convinced that family vacations were a perverse form of torture (and if you took a 3 year old Asher and a 1 year old Luke, you'd know how we arrived at that conclusion).

Not to say this vacation didn't have a few bumps. Asher and I were rather sick on this trip (we came home and found out we had strep throat). We went through most of the trip in a haze of a fever. And, I was dumb and decided to try and teach two classes during our vacation. So, Nate and I put in some late nights grading.

Luke was awesome--sleeping in his own pack n' play most nights without a peep. We had some balcony concerns, but overall, with a nanny and a blanket, he was a peach.

Asher was a trooper considering how sick he was, but we had a few problems. Asher has learned that it's ok to pee outside, but you know, that etiquette about when it's ok to pee outside is difficult to figure out. So, that picturesque photo shoot above? Well, while some cousins were doing their pictures, Asher went over to the bushes at the Grand Teton Lodge (if you click on this link, squarely in the middle of the picture, you can see the very spot) pulled down his pants and put his back to the bushes and peed. It was mortifying while being rather hilarious at the same time. I don't think the tourists getting the lodge tour thought it was as funny as Nate and I did, though.

Thank you, Granda and Grandpa for a lovely vacation, and thank you to the K. Clydes for putting it all together!

And so the generational difference in music taste begins...

Emily: Asher, this was one of my favorite songs when I was your age.
Asher: Oh, Mom, I do not like this song AT ALL!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Caring, Sharing, Every Little Thing That We are Wearing

This is a belated birthday post for my sister, Rachel--that tall, skinny drink of water on the right.

A few weeks ago, I was offerred two classes to teach online. Teaching contracts haven't been coming in much lately, so I was suprised. And, I debated (was the money worth a stressed-out Emily for 5 weeks?), but I remembered that the last time I taught this particular class, I had 6 students.

So, I'd have, what?...12 students?
Instead, I have 34...

Who each turn in 3 papers a week (102 papers for me each week!). And, if you're on Facebook, perhaps you saw the countdown I did one week while I graded with a fever from strep throat--got a little punchy there.

Anyway, this class started the week before our big family reunion, which left me flitting from my classes to getting ready for the trip, not really getting anything done, and panicking about everything (I caught myself thinking, "Oh my gosh, Asher will be wearing 4 different navy shirts on this trip. What kind of mother will my family think I am?! "--really, I thought this and worried about it.).

That's when my sister, Rachel, called. "Bring the boys and you can grade here," which got me out of the house to one of my kids' favorite places (Aunt Rachel's is almost as good as the choo-choo train park).

And, I got a TON done.

She wasn't even phased when at 4 pm, I said, "Um, I have 14 more papers, and Nate is working late. Can we stay for dinner?" (Yeah, don't have me over as a house guest.)

She made us a lovely dinner and a special allergy-free one for Asher, too.

Then, I had to confess, "Um, the only dress that I'll be able to wear to the family picture (with the bloated upset vacation stomach I like to "pack" whenever I travel) is the dress I wore to the last Clyde family picture, three years ago."

Rachel says, "You can wear the dress I got for Cora's blessing, and I have these fierce shoes that look awesome with it!"

So, I went home that night about ready to cry with gratitude for a sister who watched my kids, fed us all dinner, and gave me a cute dress to wear in our family picture. And, this is just one day that serves as an example of how she helps me.

Thank you, Rachel, for being such a good sister to me. I love you and happy belated birthday!

Monday, August 3, 2009

What not to say...

...when you want to take a nap.

I think my exact words were, "Go read some books, do a puzzle, play with play dough, I don't care what you do. I just need to rest for a little while."