Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008

Instead of making resolutions for 2009, I'm going to do my best to focus on the highlights from the year 2008:

  • Shedding the stress of our last house (landlord didn't pay mortgage) and moving into a wonderful house just around the corner.
  • Going camping for the first time in...6 years (?). And enjoying it!
  • Attending a wonderful family reunion with Spencer's family. Then, taking the big 'ol motorhome to Yellowstone for 3 days.
  • Watching gas prices come down. More like watching them FALL down.
  • Getting Emma into a fabulous pre-school (after months and months of waiting-list waiting).
  • Taking the kids to Disneyland and living the fun through them (being 7 1/2 months pregnant).
  • Being pregnant for the greater part of the year, and enjoying the short time I had with my precious, active-in-utero little girl.
  • The countless trips and events when we got to see family.

Here's to a happy and even better 2009! This is our Christmas card, for those of you who didn't get one in the mail (due to lack of addresses, etc.). Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Beef with the Big Guy

This Santa thing is getting tricky. I didn't anticipate having to be so careful and having to be prepared with explanations (for Emma) this early. Can't she just believe...without questions?

Yesterday, Spencer called me to come down to his office because Santa was going to be there for a couple hours. The kids hadn't visited Santa yet (though they did talk to him on the phone) this Christmas season. Emma took her HUGE picture list of what she wanted. There are cut-out pictures of about 25 different toys glued on this large poster. I humored her and let her drag it over to Santa. They both sat on his lap and showed them what they wanted. Santa went on to give them a speech about how they can't get everything they want but how "whatever you get is exactly what you're supposed to get..." Huh? It was quite the serious talk. They sat there just staring at him. I mean, they're 4 and 3. Doesn't Santa just oblige, tell them to be good, give his ho ho ho, and move on to the next kid? Guess not. Whatever; at least they got to see Santa.

On our drive home, Emma proceeded to say to Tyler, "That wasn't the real Santa. He was just pretending." I asked her what she meant and she reminded me that this summer, she went with Nana and Grandpa to a Christmas in July (or was it June?) party, and the Santa there was the REAL Santa. OK...at least she still believes. I just didn't quite know how to explain the plethora of Santas. I really must go to the mall but the store I need to go into has Santa (another Santa, of course) sitting right outside of it; now I'll avoid it even longer. I don't know how we'll handle the Santa visit next week at pre-school. Because he is definitely another "pretender."

Back to the drive home...Emma said she was getting every single toy that was glued onto her larger-than-life paper. I decided we needed to have a talk. I told her that Santa will bring some really cool stuff, but she wasn't going to get every single thing she wanted. She got so upset, saying that she was good and wanted EVERYTHING. I told her there are kids who get absolutely nothing for Christmas, and that we need to be grateful that we get the toys we do. She burst into tears - I didn't realize I would ruin her day - and then fell asleep for the rest of the drive. The Santa visit was part fun and part disaster (aside from Santa being too serious). Boy, I do love Christmas but it's just getting harder to deal with the details!

Some random Christmas thoughts:

*Why is "My Favorite Things" (The Sound of Music) considered a Christmas song? Seriously.

*If you've seen the ridiculous Christmas TV program "Shrek the Halls," there is a part that gets me every time (it's on our DVR) - at the end when the 3 pigs are lying down to go to sleep, under a blanket. One pig says, "We are pigs, pigs in a blanket, yeah?" The others agree, and he says, "So this is funny then, yeah?" Oh, and it is. So funny. Maybe their accents make it funnier...

*Christmas lights are great. Those blow-up Christmas figures that take up an entire yard...not so great.

*It is, once again, freezing here. If you know where we live, you'll feel bad for me when I tell you it's going to drop to 29 degrees the next few nights. Hello heating bill.

*I need good general Christmas present ideas. For friends, extended family, etc. Help!


Here is Santa having his serious talk with the kids. Tyler's thinking, "What??" Picture courtesy of my cell phone...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Whirlwind

Several days ago we got the bittersweet news that Spencer's granddad had passed away. As much as we were happy that he was again reunited with his sweet wife, I wasn't able to sleep that night. I was (selfishly?) sad as lots of emotions returned to the surface. My kids took the news really well; all they said was, "Granddad's in heaven with Macie!" We had the great honor of taking a quick trip to Salt Lake for the amazing funeral. I loved getting to know him even better by those who knew him the best - his son and his dear friends/colleagues. Everything about it was just wonderful, except for me crying like a baby half the time.



Tyler enjoying the ride (and the cookies)



Checking out the lights at Temple Square. Brrr!

We were in Salt Lake this past Easter. I got this picture of the guys and it turns out it's now the most recent 4-generation picture I have. What a treasure.


I'd like to share two of my favorite quotes from him. They have really brought me comfort these last six weeks, and I hope someday to be able to tell him this in person:

  • "Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come."

  • "That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Introducing...

HERMEY. Recognize him? He's the elf who wants to be a dentist. He's OUR elf, our "Elf on the Shelf."

Hermey sits on our bookshelf and watches the kids all day long. At night he goes to the North Pole to report to Santa about their behavior. Then he comes back and hides somewhere, to be found by the kids in the morning. And then he is returned to his perch on the shelf.

The kids talk to him all day. They whisper in his ear what he should tell Santa to get them for Christmas. They behave and play nice with each other. They are buying every second of this. I LOVE Hermey.

Sometimes Hermey forgets to hide at night, and then the kids are really sad in the morning to see him still on the shelf. We'll have to be sure he works on that. We can't have laziness or forgetfulness around here. I have realized something - bribery is a wonderful thing.

Speaking of Christmas, it came a little early here. Spencer is the proud owner (ahem, we are the proud owners) of a nice new flat-screen TV. Some Black Friday offers are too good to pass up I guess. Spencer must have given Hermey a really good bribe.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hmmmm

There are just so many things I could title this post/picture:

Why I hate Target.
Why I love Target.
Why I don't usually shop on an empty stomach.
Why I don't take my kids shopping. (Well, why I normally don't.)
Why you shouldn't go shopping when you're feeling down.
Why I still have to lose 13.5 lbs of baby weight.
Why my kids inherited my sweet toot
h.

But mostly...Why I love Christmastime!! These Cadbury "balls" are my favorite Easter treat (Cadbury Mini Eggs during Easter) and now they are out at Christmas too! These Oreos are pretty good (chocolate-covered mint). And you all know my love for caramel... I can't win. Or I can (and do), depending on how you look at it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy's

This is my 100th post! I didn't realize that when I sat down to post, but it's a fun fact I guess. It only took me a year and a half to get here! Happy 100!

This week, Spencer and I will have been married for 6 years. Wow, 6 years and 3 kids - happy anniversary to us! And - aren't we so lucky - every 4 or 5 years the BYU/Utah game ends up being on the same day as our anniversary (that was sarcasm). There is a reason why we got married on a Friday instead of the Saturday - the big game was that Saturday and Spencer's granddad told us he couldn't marry us that day. Then again, a lot of our guests would probably have ditched the wedding for the game anyway. So...once again we get to celebrate our anniversary watching the big game. I'm nervous this year and I sure hope BYU lets us have an enjoyable anniversary by giving me a happy husband! :)

We also had a happy weekend. Well, it was sad saying bye to my mom. She had to go back home because I'm sure my dad needed her too...it can't be ALL about me, right? BUT, I couldn't wait any longer and we put up all our Christmas decorations! There is one benefit to getting a fake tree - we could have it up all year if we wanted. We got everything up and even turned on all the Christmas music. Holding off until November 15th was quite a big deal for me (we usually pull red and green out around the 10th). We have the tradition of getting (at least) one new ornament every year. Our family ornament this year is of the Golden Gate Bridge. Here are the kids' ornaments, Macie's included. Also, we got Macie a little tree and will take it to the cemetery sometime in the next two weeks:


Today, one of our friends from church called and invited us over to the piece of land he takes care of. It's across the street - literally - and I never knew what was there. He has 11 chickens and told the kids to gather some eggs. It was really fun for them. They chased and scared the chickens for a while, but one chicken even let them hold him! It was one of those fun, random Sunday afternoon activities with lots of cute pictures. We topped it off with a visit to our favorite baby girl at the cemetery and Spencer's chocolate chip cookies - what could be better?


This is my first week being back on my own. Ahh! I will need to think happy thoughts all week long to get me through! And, cross your fingers for BYU! :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Holiday Season

I know everyone loves the fall. I like the colors...even the trying-to-be New England colors we get here, but I HATE to be cold. Add in the fact that my built-in heater is gone (pregnancy) and I'm shivering to death if it's less than 74 in my house. I sense an expensive gas/electric bill this winter. However, I am excited for Thanksgiving (in my own house!) and for the excitement of Christmas. The kids and I laid in my bed together today, trying to remember all the Christmas songs that it feels like we haven't sung in years. We plan to decorate in red and green this weekend (I know I'm treating Thanksgiving unfairly but I love to celebrate Christmas for at LEAST 6 weeks) so we can really get into the holiday spirit.

I am so glad I got my Christmas shopping (well, just the kids') done by mid-October so I can sit back and just watch the mayhem. Of course I'll still have to participate somehow in "Black Friday" shopping...but maybe it will be more for fun and not for crazy deals. We're also scheduling in all the primary parties, ward activities, and other Christmas parties. It's going to be a busy December!!

And here are some some random thoughts from my unorganized brain:

  • I just got a card from a friend and I loved what she said: "I don't know why the Lord has given you this trial..." Hmm, I wouldn't normally consider a trial something that is "given." That got me to thinking how incredibly grateful I am that He waited to give me this trial until after blessing me with two beautiful and healthy kids. Those little stinkers sure are keeping me busy and distracted. What a blessing indeed!
  • Last week was rough. On Thursday (the date originally scheduled for Macie to arrive) I did a lot of crying. That afternoon we did something no one our age should have to do - we ordered a headstone. It makes my heart ache to even think about it, but it will look so nice when it's done and we hope she will be proud.
  • Spencer goes back to work full-time tomorrow. Last week he did a lot of "working from home" (seriously, if anyone knows how to really make this work...let me know) and had a lot of half days. I had wonderful friends who came over so I wouldn't be alone during those times. But my mom comes tomorrow, for the week, and there's just no comparing friends to a mom, especially when I'm not feeling great and need to cry.
  • Today I realized just how sad the last two weeks have made my sweet Emma. She did miss out on having a (earthly) sister, after all. I vowed today to let her grieve also - this isn't just about me and Spencer and I feel such pain that she has to go through this, especially since her simple and innocent mind doesn't understand why it had to happen and why Macie can't be with us right now. She and I did a lot of talking and crying together. We are both sad about all the new baby clothes that are now boxed up and put away, especially the ones we bought two sets of (baby size and Emma size) so they could match. We'll just have to hope for another baby girl someday to wear all that cute stuff.
  • Emma gave her very first talk in Primary today. I helped her work on it last night and then Spencer came home to get me and take me back to church (middle exercises) so I could hear it. She did a wonderful job and looked so cute in her purple velvet dress and frilly socks. I know she was glad I was there - she always asks if my tummy is still sore (it is) and she's so concerned about how I'm feeling. But, I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Not so Spooky

We had a somber week but tried to make Halloween as fun for the kids as possible. My sister Carly is here until tomorrow, so she and Spencer took the kids outside on Friday to carve pumpkins. We grew three of them in our garden this year, and then we had some huge ones - I don't even know where they all came from. They had lots of fun, and Emma made it her job to "stir the pot" of pumpkin seeds and guts - that kept her busy and entertained.

We have discovered a birthday tradition for Macie - every October 25th (starting next year) we will carve a "M" into a pumpkin and take it to the cemetary. We did it this year but left it on our porch. Maybe I'll even try to grow her pumpkin in our garden every year. Here we all are with Macie's pumpkin. Sorry Tyler is picking his nose - he is 3 after all...what can I say.

Here are Emma and Tyler with one of the big pumpkins. What cute faces.

And here are their costumes. Tyler was Buzz Lightyear and Emma was a fairy. Tyler has worn his costume every day since Halloween, and thinks he can fly when it's on. Due to the timing of Macie's burial, most of our family was here so the kids were in heaven trick-or-treating with their cousins. I'm glad they still got to have a fun Halloween.

I'm so thankful for my two sweet little kids. I won't post any details about the week or about Macie's graveside service, mostly because the events were far too special and sacred to be written on anything called a "blog," but everything was wonderful and Spencer and I feel honored and blessed to be her parents, even if it was only for a very short (earthly) time. Thanks to everyone for your kind words and prayers - they have been felt time and time again.

Now...down with the Halloween decorations. Is it too early to put up Christmas??

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our Blessings

Cheri and I wanted to thank everyone for their prayers and kind words during this difficult time. We've been overwhelmed with the love we have felt both from family and friends, but more importantly from our Heavenly Father. Over the past few days, we can't help but think of the many blessings large and small that we have witnessed. The hospital room where we stayed literally became heaven on earth and we are eternally grateful for the choice experiences we had there. There are not enough words to describe nor list all that we are thankful for from wonderful nurses/doctors/volunteers at the hospital to Cheri's Mom dropping everything to come to our aid, to a loving Bishop and Relief Society President who have gone above and beyond, to our wonderful family all over the country pouring out their love and support. The most important blessing we feel thankful for is Macie choosing to be part of our Family. We are honored and humbled by her.

Macie really is our angel. She was so perfect in every way and we know that she will be always be with us. We will be having a graveside service for her on Thursday and although we know that will be a hard day for us, we know that our separation from her will be temporary. A few scriptures/quotes have given us comfort:

"But Jesus said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (JST, Matthew 19:14)

"The Lord takes away many, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man and the sorrows and evils of the world. They are too pure, too lovely, to live on earth. Therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning, we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil and we shall soon have them again." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 196-197).

"...that the mother who laid her little child, being deprived of the privilege and satisfaction of raising it up to manhood or womanhood would, after the resurrection, have all the joy, satisfaction, and pleasure, and even more that it would have been possible to have in mortality, in seeing her child grow to the full measure of the stature of [her] spirit..." (as quoted in Gospel Doctrine, p. 454).

Very fitting for us is that Macie will be buried in a cemetery called "Pioneer Cemetery" and will be with other little angels like herself who went before their families and like Pioneers of old paved the way for others to follow. Our family hopes and prays to live our life worthy to join our precious Macie in the highest degree of Celestial glory.

-Spencer

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Please keep Cheri and me in your prayers

Hi everyone,

This is Spencer. Unfortunately, one of my only posts brings some sad news. We lost our little angel over the weekend. Macie was 7 lbs 4 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long with a beautiful full head of hair. Cheri is recovering in the hospital from c-section. Our only comfort comes from our knowledge of the gospel and eternal families and that we know that we will have little Macie with us forever.

Please keep us in your prayers during our time of mourning.

--Spencer

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friends

I truly have some amazing friends. I feel so honored to be surrounded by so many amazing women. At the RS Broadcast three years ago President Faust gave a wonderful talk. I remember talking with a friend about his words the next day; what stuck out to us was how he said we all need friends. I find this especially true for females. Husbands are great, but we thrive on friendships and time with other females:

"As President Hinckley has often said, we all need friends. Friendship fills us with warmth and love. It is not confined to the young or the old, the rich or the poor, the little known or the public figure. Whatever our circumstances, we all need someone who will listen to us with understanding, pat us on the back when we need encouragement, and nurture in us the desire to do better and to be better."

I've been thinking about this a lot the last few days. About a month ago, a good friend told me she'd be giving me a baby shower. I resisted (I already had a girl!), but she turned it into a double shower (the other girl is having a boy 4 weeks after me) and wouldn't take no for an answer. Realizing there wasn't much I could do, I gave in. Don't get me wrong - I was flattered. I just was a little embarrassed. Anyway, the shower was last week and I was so overwhelmed by the dear friends who came (or sent gifts) to show their support. There were young girls who came (Emma being the youngest), and the older ladies in the ward were also there, many of whom don't know me very well. It didn't matter - people came because I think other women feel the same way I do and love the chance to hang out with other women.

The gifts didn't really matter to me. Of course it was so nice to get new things for this baby (who will, by the way, be the best-dressed little girl ever. Think Paris Hilton, who never wears the same thing more than once. No joke.). Spencer said, "You've GOT to be kidding" at least 35 times when I brought the bags of stuff home. But more than that, I realized how lucky I am to live where I do and to have such a great group of friends - from the children all the way up to the grandmas. The fact that they all came and we got to eat chocolate and pumpkin pie and just be together was the best part.

Here are a couple of pictures from the shower/post-shower. This first one is Melanie and me - the shower was for both of us.


By the way...we found an AWESOME dresser/changing table for the baby (we're already giving our younger kids way more than our older ones ever had!) for dirt cheap - brand new - as well as a new glider for Spencer...er, for me. Haha, we'll see who really uses it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Girl's weekend/Boy's weekend

The boys took off for Utah this weekend for some "recruiting" (I still can't believe a football game classifies as recruiting) so Emma and I got to have our girl's weekend! Too bad I'm such a lump and wasn't as fun as I might have been if I wasn't 8 months pregnant.

We finished Tyler's Christmas shopping (Emma's is about done too!) and browsed through Costco. I let her sleep in my bed with me. While I did some Prop 8 work on Saturday morning, our Bishop and his wife watched her. Then we did lunch at Red Lobster, as Emma has been asking to eat there for a year but neither of us had ever been. And as much as she was hyped up about it, I think she might take after her dad in the seafood department. Broiled fish, what she wanted, isn't the yummiest pick. My crab linguine was all right, but I won't be going back there most likely! After that we were pretty wiped so we chilled and watched the chilly-looking football game. Tyler got spoiled by his aunt and her roomates and Spencer bought him lots of goodies to keep him happy at the game. BYU won, of course, but Tyler didn't last until the end of the game so they had to listen to some of it from the road.


I must admit, I had a hard time watching Tyler go on his first trip without me (I know he was with his dad, but he's still my baby for another month!). He called a couple times and talked to Emma, telling her how much he missed her. Those two are the best of friends and it's been cute for me to see their interaction from 800 miles apart on the phone. Spencer brought me a big can of Stephen's mint truffle hot chocolate and also bought a blessing dress for the little one (since I've had NO luck finding one here)! I love it, and now I'm torn because there are two I really like. I might save pictures and a poll for a very near-in-the-future post.

Finally, here is my LAST pregnant belly shot for this blog. This was taken last week, when I had about 5 weeks left. Black is slimming; there was method in my color selection... And I know I don't look very big here, but I had the option of this picture or of one where I looked huge. You would have done the same thing.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Girl's night no longer

When I was in college I took a really cool Folklore class as an elective my senior year. For my final project, I put together a folklorish compilation of what LDS women do during the Priesthood session of Conference. I suspected (and later proved) that most women/girls have girly traditions. Growing up, and even in college when my parents would come to Utah for conference, the girls would go shopping. It was fun for us, and part of me thought that maybe the boys (dad and brothers) were jealous that we were out having more fun (and spending money) than they were at Priesthood. I looked forward to this semi-annual tradition. I loved buying a new skirt and a new pair of flip flops at what used to be ZCMI.

I found that other females often got together for game night or spa night, or went out to eat in large groups. It's fun to have just one more excuse to get together with the girls. My in-law's always got Marie Callendars' pies and would often go out for Chinese. When we were in Boston and the session didn't start until 8 p.m., I had a few friends come over and put their kids down at my house. We would watch a movie and paint nails.

These days, I find the time during Priesthood getting increasingly boring...for me. Last night Spencer left even before dinnertime. I made dinner for the kids and bathed them, then we played and read books. The guys in our ward have a tradition of going out to eat after the session. They chose Texas Roadhouse, which has awesome food but isn't the most quick place to go. So he got home around 10, while I had twiddled my thumbs for a few hours after the kids went to bed. Really, I'm glad they all got to do this together. But then again...I'm so used to having girl nights, and those days seem to be gone, at least for now. I called my sister and she and my mom were at the Gateway (SL), looking for purses. Was I jealous? Heck yeah! I told Spencer that from now on, the men should go to Priesthood, then come home and get their wives and we can all go out together!! But then that sorta spoils their tradition. There's got to be a compromise somewhere in this. I don't want my Folklore project from 5+ years ago to die off so soon. Long live Girls' Night Out!

By the way, I thought Conference was so great. I was especially touched by the talks of Elder Wirthlin, Elder Eyring, and Elder Holland. Can't wait for my Ensign!

*I just found this article from the Daily Universe that substantiates my folklore project. :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

To Iron or not to Iron?

Do people really iron jeans? I mean, REALLY? Didn't jeans start out as crappy work clothes? Didn't women only start wearing them in the last 30 or so years? I know that I have a few pairs of trouser jeans that, when I bought them, were folded so they had that crease down the front. I even got so sucked in that I kept them folded this way. But once I washed them - bam - no more creasing, and DEFINITELY no ironing. I do have one friend who lived overseas and had to iron absolutely everything that came out of the laundry because the washer and dryer were one machine and things would come out in a rumpled mess. Can you even imagine??

So, some jeans may come out of the dryer with slight wrinkles. Fold them (normally...no creasing), put them away, and those wrinkles will disappear! If they don't, they surely will within 5 minutes of putting them on. I just see no point to this madness. Maybe that's because I'm anti-iron to begin with (if only you could see the STACK of Spencer's work shirts hanging next to the washer/dryer in the garage - probably a month's worth there, easily).

To those who do have creases in your jeans - do you put them/keep them there yourself or does someone else (your mom? grandma?) do your laundry? I'm just curious and would love to wrap my head around this. Is creasing/ironing the new proper thing, or totally nuts?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Overused and/or driving me mad

There are some phrases that drive me crazy:


  • "We're/I'm preggo!" Please stop. Get pregnant by all means, but call it something else.
  • "The reason for ___ is because..." So grammatically incorrect it gives me shivers.
  • Anything involving the phrase tender mercies. A little (well, a lot) overused in the last 3 years. Not to mention how it's often wrongly used.
  • And since so much communicating is done through emails and blogging these days, here's another one that bugs me: Periods and commas go INSIDE the ending quotation marks (Ex: "Happily Ever After.") (Can you tell I'm an editor?)
  • And while I'm on a roll...the difference between their and there is SO EASY, and yes there is a difference. Another pet peeve...
I hope there are other easy-to-irritate people out there... I can blame my annoyances on hormones. Any others I'm forgetting?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nearing the End

Times seem to be changing around here. We're go go go kind of people - the kids and I like to be busy and be out and about. Today my body finally started to rebel. I had my Dr. appointment (never a lovely experience for me as the weigh-ins make me nervous and I wear light clothing and eat hardly anything the morning of). Then we walked around the city lake - 2 miles. When did briskly walking 2 miles become painful? I think I had one big contraction the whole time. Thankfully, Tyler rode his bike and I didn't have to push anything. Well, anything other than my big belly. Then one of the kids' friends jumped in our car and we headed off to get Emma and her classmate from pre-school. Brought them home, fed them all, tried to clean up (but THAT is even a big chore these days).


Last night I sat on the couch, lower back BURNING, at 8:42 p.m., watching the bumps (elbows? knees? toes?) move across my stomach...wondering where that motivation to go go go has gone. This seems to be getting more typical. Did I feel this way with my previous two pregnancies? Was it always a chore to paint my toenails? Was it always hard to tie my shoes? (Let's be honest, how often do I actually wear shoes?) If I have to sit around and be a lump for however many weeks until I get my body back (and this baby OUT), I might lose my mind. Maybe I'll just walk a brisk one mile instead of two. After all, my weigh-ins are a lot more frequent now. And food is just looking better and better...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ahh...September

Anyone who knows a corporate tax accountant understands why I LOVE the arrival of September 15th. "Tax season" (March, April) is NOTHING compared to what we go through from July-September. By "we," I do mean all of us, in addition to Spencer. I think the kids see him on Sundays and a total of 2 hours during the week. It's common for me to wake up around 2 a.m. as he's getting home and climbing into bed. Luckily, he's been able to sneak a kid in to work with him a couple times this busy season, on a Saturday here and there. Anyway, last night he got home from work in time to see the kids (!!) and help me put them to bed. It was a comfort I'd totally forgotten.

I also love September because here, summer ends sometime in mid-October, or sometimes even later. This weather can't be beat. We put up our Halloween decorations today - the few we have - and I am going to try to pull out my craftiness and make some things in Photoshop for the holiday. I also LOVE caramel apples. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory makes my heart skip a beat (yeah, probably literally) so I tried to be Martha Stewart last night and make my own. Well, I had forgotten that electric stoves don't work great for making caramel (I guess it can't ever get hot enough) and I had a bit of a sugary/non-caramely mess. So today, still determined to accomplish the feat of the caramel apple, I succumbed to the laziness of Brach's caramels and, while they may look a little messy -- YUMMM. Who would love to have me as a visiting teacher right now? ;) That's what mine are getting tomorrow.


I also love the hype of college football. Spencer has been hinting around getting a plasma TV for a year and after seeing BYU last week, I am even starting to think their wins might look better in HD, yes? There's nothing like being at one of their games in person, but watching it on TV is pretty darn exciting too. Well, just when they win. :)

Last, I found this thing on babycenter today that estimates the costs of your baby's first year. It sets everything to the default so after I unchecked things like crib, stroller, changing table, clothes, etc., I found out this baby will cost us about $3400 in her first year. Quite interesting if you ask me. We have less than 8 weeks to go! Freaking out!

I'd love to hear what everyone else loves about September (or Fall in general)...

Monday, September 8, 2008

The beginning of private education

I guess it is just one year of private education (until college!)...

I can't think of anything more cliche to blog about than a child's first day of pre-school. With that disclaimer, here I go. :) Actually, it was a great day for us all because Emma FINALLY got accepted into the school just on Friday afternoon (!!) and after I had to write a huge check to the school (and almost said thanks but no thanks), I realized how good this will be for her. Today proved that.

Each child is assigned a cubby and a hook (for a coat, etc.). Never mind that it's 85 degrees...Emma just had to take a coat for her hook. At the end of the day she wanted to bring her entire cubby home...never mind that it's connected to the others and to the wall. She ATE it all up and loved every second. Tyler doesn't love having ME as his new playmate, but I think he'll get used to the one-on-one time (something he's never had), and I'm sure we'll be just fine without Emma for 6 hours a week.

Now for the sad part. And I don't know if it was more disappointing for me or Emma when we found this out, but there are no flip-flops/sandals allowed! It's a sad day when you have to (sorta) give up your foot freedom, let me tell you. But she has lots of adventures ahead this year - I just know it - and I'm confident it will be worth every dollar (or hundred). Welcome to life.

Here she is this morning, posing like a little diva...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Something new

I have blogged before about the funny situations we find Emma in at nighttime (remember the winter clothes/ski hat picture from the middle of June??). Tonight, this one just made me smile, and made me proud too. A bookworm in the making. (None of those books was there when I put her to bed an hour earlier - quiet little stinker.)
And I found a new way to make my kids think I'm the best: new pajamas. Aren't new PJ's fun?? Disney had these pajamas for $3.99/$4.99 so I bought sizes a little big (next summer) and made their day. They came in the mail this afternoon - oh the excitement level in our house... Check out the website (outlet section) - maybe they still have some!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just another year

I think the best thing about my birthday this year was watching the two little ones enjoy it as much (maybe more?) than I did. Tyler couldn't stop fidgeting as he waited for me to open my couple of presents, and Emma made sure I had a crown on my head to do so. I got beautiful roses from Spencer, flowers from some friends, gift cards, candy (Smarties!), and skin care/nail stuff! Also that day, I went to a Thai restaurant with two friends and ate food so good I didn't know if I'd be able to stop (I know I'm not the only one who gets this way). Thai coconut soup is the best! It's just another year but it's so much more fun with cute little people who make it extra special!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The thin line between Bored and Busy

THANK YOU for all the baby name suggestions, first of all. Holy cow - I'm feeling even more overwhelmed now! I still think I'll sit on any ideas for another 2 months until it's REALLY crunch time, so as not to stress myself out. Seriously, such fun things in life shouldn't cause so much anxiety at the same time!


I think I've always been a homebody. Growing up, I liked to be home. Even if I was just reading or doing nothing in my room, I like the comfort of being at home. I'm the same way now; even after a fun vacation, I love the idea of getting home, no matter where "home" might be that year. :) Spencer's mom claims he was the same way (and they were surprised he wanted to get far away after BYU graduation; this is clearly not the Spencer I know). Emma came along...Miss Adventure. She liked to be gone and be busy, which is hard with just one child and not a lot of money or friends. When she was little (2 years old and younger), we would go "out" two or maybe three days a week. Grocery stores were adventurous enough for her then, luckily. And adventurous enough for me too, with a toddler and a grumpy baby in tow.

When Tyler got a little bigger, I was the one wanting to be out and about, just to pass the time. But now he is a homebody. We go to the park and after 20 minutes he asks to go home. We go to the beach and he asks to go home....and all the while, Emma always wants to stay longer. He likes to be here, where he is comfortable and everything is familiar. I can't really blame him. But then that often crosses the fine line into boredom (for me). It's hard to find that happy medium. I'm trying to cram things in before school starts for Emma and then things get a lot more crazy, when I know I'll be wanting to stay home a lot more than I do now.

I guess it's a compromise, just like everything else.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Suggestions

I guess it bugs some people that I don't have a name picked out for my baby yet. I'm ok waiting to decide until a few weeks (or days) before, when it's crunch time. Spencer doesn't really have any suggestions or opinions at the moment, so we don't talk about it.

We have this darling girl in our ward with a mental handicap. She is so sweet and so much fun to be around. In fact, she plans everyone's baby showers because she's quite the party planner. Today at the park, she asked me a few different times what I was naming the baby. "I don't know" wasn't a good enough answer, so she started suggesting names. Phoebe? No. Monica? No. Rachel? No. (Do you see a pattern here?) I asked her what her favorite TV show is. :) OK, how about Elizabeth? No. In complete frustration, she gave up on me. As much as picking a name is a big deal, I'm not as worried about it as some people think I should be.

Spencer was dead-set on Emma's name. There was no discussion. She was just Emma. Easy enough. I was dead-set on Tyler's name. No discussion (it was THE only boy's name I liked, so that made it easy).

So, how do I pick a name? I don't have a name book and really don't want to buy something I'll use once. That seems like a waste of money. I don't want to use Top 50 names lists or anything like that because I don't want my choices to only include the most popular. Emma suggests a new name every day but her latest was Katrina; after the hurricane 3 years ago, it carries a negative connotation, no? I'm also not the type to pick out a name when I see what the baby looks like (a baby looks like whatever name you want it to look like, people). I just would like a few good ideas for names to start throwing around. We are, after all, in the last trimester.

P.S. Don't tell me to look in the scriptures; I'm not that desperate.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oh funny

So, since I'm so above blogging about potty training (ha), I'll just give some small non-disgusting/non-revealing details. I think being potty trained has increased Tyler's ability to make me laugh. Tyler's voice is hilarious to me to begin with because he says all kinds of crazy stuff, but to hear a "Hey, what's the big idea!" every few minutes, in reference to the toilet, out of a tiny person still makes me laugh every single time I hear it.

Again, without getting graphic, we had some "Poo toys" that he knew he had to "earn" by doing certain things in the potty. These prizes were The Fabulous Hudson Hornet and Ramone (from Cars). I started to lose my mind as they sat in plain view, untouched and unopened, on top of the refrigerator for almost two weeks. I think poor Tyler almost lost his mind too. He finally earned them both this weekend. And again, I laugh when I hear him asking for Doc: "Where is "Doc-cousint?"

Thirdly, we borrowed some movies from the library last week, knowing we'd be around the house a little more than usual (because of the potty thing). One of the movies was a combo of Toy Story 1 and 2 (seriously, 2 wasn't nearly as good as 1). Tyler also (only) likes the first one. I didn't watch it with him, but I know he sure liked it because all I hear all day long is "O incredibee...and beyond!" Oh, his cute voice and interpretation of what he hears. Hilarious. What a fun age. Luckily, I struck gold last week when I happened on Disney.com's online outlet and costumes were $9.99 and less (and 3 days later, they were back to full price, just in time for Halloween). So we have a Buzz Lightyear, complete with goggles and all, arriving today. Timing is everything, people. Can't wait to get that costume on him. Halloween IS only 2 months away.

Lastly, I think I'll have Emma potty-train my next child (by herself). She's been such a helper with Tyler and yesterday when Tyler achieved a big success in the bathroom (with Emma by his side), she ran in and said, "Oh my gosh, Tyler ________ in the toilet! And I was like 'What a good boy Tyler!'" No, it doesn't bother me that she's already talking like a teenager; I'm so proud that I only have to do about half the dirty work and she happily takes care of the rest.

Unrelated...I can't believe summer is almost over! Well, in the technical term it's almost over. It will still be hot/warm here until Halloween, but the fact that Emma will be in preschool really makes it seem like it's almost over. I don't know what I'll do without my super helper 3 mornings a week - I guess I'll have to be Tyler's mom all by myself.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

How time flies

3 years ago I had quite the morning of anticipation. We got up and and drove to the hospital. I wasn't in labor or in any pain, but had an appointment for Tyler to be born. I think we got there at 10:00 but an emergency c-section pushed my time back so we just hung out and watched TV for a while. Spencer got into his scrubs, which he thought was pretty cool, and I was in my beautiful hospital gown. The nurse came in to put in my IV and I remember she had to try a few times because she claimed my veins kept collapsing. This was the point when I got really nervous. After plenty of time to get more scared, they wheeled me into the operating room. I remember they did the spinal and told me that I would instantly go numb and they would have to have several people there to carefully lower me down. Sure enough, it was pretty instant. After giving my body a few minutes to get good and numb, my two doctors were there, jovial and cracking lame jokes all around. Spencer wasn't allowed in until after the spinal, and once he got there, things were underway really fast. I think I started to hyperventilate.

I remember being completely surprised that I didn't feel the pain this time like I had just 18 months prior when Emma was born. I got almost giddy as I knew what they were doing, and knew what was about to come next. Sure enough, my doctor quickly pulled Tyler out and I had to be tortured for a full half hour while everyone got to look at him/hold him/ooo and ahhh over him, and I had to stay put and be put back together. Spencer finally got to hold him and brought him over so I could see. We were all so in awe of his red hair (and there was TONS of it) and his perfect looking face. It's a surreal feeling to see your child for the first time, outside of your body. I was glad I was feeling ok and was aware enough this time to take it all in. He was awake and so mellow - the last time for about a year he'd be so chill and calm. :)

We were soon wheeled to a "recovery" room and stayed there for a while. I remember the incredible itchiness I had over my whole body. I remember telling the nurse that even my eyelids were itching. Spencer made some phone calls and we enjoyed the bonding time. He was perfect so once I got to my suite, Spencer left for our house house to get his mom and Emma (I don't miss those days with just one car, by the way). What seemed like hours later - I think it actually WAS hours later - the three of them showed up, and I got to show Nana her hair-twin! I loved having Emma there to be a part of it even though I don't think she really understood what was happening. I was (and still am) so thankful for my doctors that day - I think I picked one of the best I had access to, and I essentially trusted him completely. Here's cute little Tyler a day or two old (being held by Nana).


Today at noon, Tyler turned 3. I keep thinking, What happened to my baby? I think in a way he will always be my baby - he's the one who loves to cuddle with me, be held by me, and just be with me. And now here he is, 34 pounds, still as red-headed as ever, and newly potty trained! He had a great weekend with his new bike and new presents, and all the attention in the world. He's such a sweet boy and we're so glad he's a part of our family! Happy Birthday Tyler!

Here is his cake (it took me 2 hours and I have swollen ankles so I hope he appreciates it!):


And Tyler's birthday layout.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Problem


Suddenly these otherwise disgusting, PURE SUGAR candies are my best friend. I can't get enough. I even googled "smarties," found the homepage, and noticed there is a tab for "nutrition." Are you kidding me? So they're telling me that these have some nutritional value?

Halloween is not going to be pretty this year (or, it will be VERY pretty, depending on how you look at it); that I know already.

I need to remember at nighttime, when my teeth hurt, that it probably wasn't worth it. Any other seemingly reasonable adults who like these?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Positive Thinking

I must have had some pretty positive thoughts (ha), and a certain amount of luck, because I don't know how I otherwise managed to grow a sprawling garden my very first time. As it spreads over even more of the lawn on a daily basis, I just have to laugh. It might even be growing faster than I am. There are about 100 green almost-tomatoes (and these two ripe ones - yum):

Here's a shot of about half the garden (I hate those red flowers - not my doing). I think I have pumpkins and spaghetti squash in here. Can't remember. And corn.

And a zucchini. There are two more nearly ready to be picked (I think?). Now, what do I DO with the zucchini? And please don't say zucchini bread - blech. (Please tell me I didn't just sound like a loser and got it wrong; this IS a zucchini, right?)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Here you go

OK ok. Here is THE BELLY. Pictures taken from this angle always make the subject look bigger, am I right?? 25 weeks down, 15 to go! I'm worried this girl will be huge.

P.S. After a brief tutorial, Emma is the one who took this picture. No one else around to do it, and I don't know how to work the timer. Pretty good, huh?


Monday, July 28, 2008

To be a Hero

Most people know that Tyler pretty much adores me. I mean, I'm his mom - not too weird, right? He is quite the momma's boy, and most of the time I don't mind it. Now I can add another title to his perception of me - Hero.

A couple weeks ago we went swimming at a friend's house. Tyler loves the water (just recently) but is terrified of me letting go of him, no matter how many flotation devices are keeping him up. So while I was swimming with Emma, he decided to jaunt around the pool to the deep end where the diving board is. He loves to watch me when he runs, grinning and smiling (and wearing floaties, of course, which are basically useless to him), and watching my reaction. Well, I guess he forgot the in-ground hot tub was there and while he was watching me he fell right in, face first. There were a few "luckily's" in this: 1) The hot tub hadn't recently been heated, so it was maybe 80 degrees; 2) He was, like I said, wearing his (not-so-useless after all) floaties. I was quite amused by this, seeing no real danger, and while I booked it (as fast as I can "book it" in my state) to grab him, he started screaming bloody murder. He was above the water, but was floating on his stomach, not knowing how to get his feet underneath him. I can't imagine his terror, probably thinking he was going to drown, just waiting for me to reach him. By the time I got there he was a complete mess.

After he was calm, I used the experience to (nope, not to tell him that running around a pool is a bad thing) tell him that his floaties had saved him. I reminded him that they help us float, and now he can do it by himself (ha!). That didn't go over well. A little while later, he started saying "I fell in, and you saved me Mommy!" I told him it was the floaties a few times, trying to get him past his fear of floating/swimming. But he stuck to his guns - as far as he was concerned, I had been the one who saved him from drowning.

I have now decided that it's ok if he thinks I am what saved him. I guess I didn't necessarily save him from drowning, but I surely saved him from his state of terror. And what's so bad about being the one your child sees as the hero??

Also, today I read Letters for Emily. I really enjoyed it; it's a fast read (like I said, I read it today). There's one part of the book where the father, who is writing letters to his granddaughter, recalls how his son fell from a tree branch and was dangling from another branch, screaming for help. The father points out that his son was only a few feet from the ground (no immediate danger), but was terrified nonetheless. Once his father was able to get him down, the son told everyone his father had saved him. The father loved that feeling. That same boy fell out of a tree several years later, breaking an arm. The father felt that he had failed his son because he wasn't there like he had been before. So, I will enjoy being Tyler's hero for as long as it will last, hoping he never feels like I've failed him. And I do recommend the book - it had a great message and even made me cry. Well, most things make me cry these days.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thoughts

Time to count my blessings. Spencer has worked 80 (chargeable) hours in the last 5 days (Sat, Mon-Thu). The only comfort I have during the night is waking up at 3 a.m. to use the restroom and seeing that he's there. I don't know when he gets home - probably between 1 and 2 a.m. - but he gets home. This is part of life for us - a few crazy times at work every year - though this seems a little more extreme than in the past. I'm still blessed.

This morning Spencer and I got a few minutes to talk before he left. He works with several women, and two of them have young kids (and yes, they are putting in the same hours he is). One of them last night was so frustrated with work (rightly so). She said something in her frustration to the effect of "They're only young once." So today I have been so thankful that I can stay home. Sure, we may never be able to afford a house here, but Spencer is doing all he can, and I'm doing the best I can. To those women who choose to work full-time, great. But those women who work full-time because they have to (and don't want to) - I feel for them. I know it's a sensitive area, and is such a personal decision and matter, but I can't imagine working those insane hours as the MOM - the one responsible for the nurture and care of the children. In light of this, I am counting my blessings:

*First, my usual little stinkers have been practically angels this whole time. Emma, when I put her to bed at night, says "Will Daddy take me potty in the nighttime when he gets home?" So, Spencer does it. Emma is queen of going potty in her sleep, and I think Spencer likes taking her right now because he actually gets to carry her to the bathroom and have some contact with her. And every night she asks me if she'll get to see him in the morning.

*Swimming lessons have been a blessing. Not because Emma's doing anything even close to resembling swimming, but because we get out for a couple hours every morning, and three of my friends have kids in lessons at the same time. Some form of adult conversation is a wonderful thing, my friends. And Emma's cute with her teachers, using her charm to get out of doing things she's scared of.

Hmm, maybe I'll honor Emma's request and read that extra story tonight when we're all three lying in her comfy queen bed together, and be grateful that I'm even home to read to her. Maybe I won't be so frustrated when I wake up to Tyler next to me in bed at midnight instead of Spencer. That awful habit of his can wait a couple weeks to be broken (again).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Simple Pleasures

I felt rewarded this afternoon in a strange way. Maybe someone decided to throw me a bone for: 1) Being ALONE all week with the kids, or 2) Getting a flat tire, which resulted in sitting at the Costco tire center for 5 HOURS on a Saturday with two kids, or 3) Feeling like a pregnant hippo and trying to enjoy it. :)

Lowe's is next to our Costco, so while we had plenty of time to kill while waiting for 4 new tires to get put on the van, that was one of the walks we made. I was just going to look around and dream like I usually do (I know people other than me do the Someday when I'm rich... thing - I usually covet those awesome HE washer/dryer combos). Lo and behold there was a brand new dryer that was being discontinued. For $98!! Now, I am blessed to have a dryer (and a washer) - I know how hard it is to not have a washer/dryer - and I totally don't know how people can do it. But let me tell you about my dryer. About a year ago the timer broke, so it runs and runs and runs. And not only does it run forever, but it only heats on the HOTTEST (translation: nearly on fire) setting, so my clothes come out feeling fried, and everything shrinks. It gets to be annoying to set a kitchen timer so I can remember to open the dryer to get it to shut off. And I can't go anywhere when the laundry is in. I've found lots of used ones for $100-$150 but never made the purchase. So this $98 find was like Christmas for me! Who cares that I had just forked out $400 of hard-earned money for new tires - this was a deal I wasn't going to pass up!

I scored a two-year parts and labor warranty (for $9!) and paid for it, telling them I would return when I once again had a car. We skipped back to Costco (a little more optimistically than we had done all morning) and waited. Tyler thought he'd died and gone to heaven as he got to watch the "cool" tire guys put the new tires on the van. We got the keys back and drove - very smoothly, I might add - over to Lowe's to get our new dryer. We rolled home with a lot of new stuff and a lot less money. Now I just need to find some strong men to bring it inside and hook it up for me! That may have to wait a few days while I wait for a husband again. But, I can't WAIT to do laundry!

On a totally random note, I've been procrastinating putting a really attractive "belly shot" on the blog but I've had some requests, so I'll get up the guts and maybe do it in a couple weeks.

Also, I've been itching to be crafty so this last week I neglected some things that needed to get done to work on these items. The first is a sign meant for the baby's room...I don't love how PINK it is, and haven't decided to use it for sure. Gotta love vinyl. Then, I did Emma's name to hang in her room (the colors didn't show up). And finally, I decorated one of those rustic metal stars that everyone seems to have; I wanted mine to be different and unique and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I have a lot of black frames/etc. on my wall so this will fit right in. In addition to doing lots of digiscrapping, I know I've met my craftiness quota for at least a month, so I think I'll take a break and get my house back in order!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gualala update

Remember the camping post I did about two months ago? How I am SO not a camper? Well, thankfully we had a good time....because today in the mail I got a notice from the campground informing me that we were the winners in their drawing and the prize is two free nights there! I have to laugh because I believe I posted something along the lines of "I don't know if we are going to make this a tradition," but now I guess we are! BTW, it's $40 a night there so it's a relatively valuable "prize"...not one of those $9 a night campsites.

Anyone wanna camp next to us? We'll have a baby...I know, tempting. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vacationed Out

After logging 2500+ miles in the car in the last ten days, the last thing I feel like doing is posting all about it. My kids were incredible, we had a great time, and we have some awesome pictures. Maybe I'll find some time (and desire) in the not-so-distant future to do it. A few things on my mind (random, yes):

*Tyler told me today he either wants to name this baby Lightning McQueen or McDonald's. The poor kid needs to get out more. And I guess he doesn't care that the baby is a girl.
*Emma really (and I mean really) needs a sister. This morning she dressed Tyler in one of her dresses and a pair of high heels.
*I have loved having Emma feel the baby kick the last two weeks. At first she was offended ("Why would she kick ME?") but now she thinks it's fun. She even talks to and sings to her.
*Growing up, in the summertime I'd get to can peaches with my grandma. We ate everything PEACH for those few days, and my favorite was when she'd make peach milkshakes. Today at Costco the peaches called my name and I bought a box. It's 100 degrees all week long here, so I will be drinking lots of peach milkshakes and thinking of my grandma. And gaining a lot of weight.
*Today was a sad day as I emptied all my shirts from my closet - temporarily - and moved in my maternity clothes. I wasn't quite ready to do this so soon (21 weeks) but regular shirts were starting to get snug and I needed to face reality. At least I bought some cute stuff this go-round. Lesson learned: Have a big enough closet (and enough hangers) to fit regular shirts and maternity shirts.
*I have another vacation/reunion at the end of this week that I'm excited for, but at this moment I'm too tired to think about it.
*I will never let one of my children run for senior class president. I've seen firsthand (secondhand?) how crazy it is to throw a 10-year reunion (from out of state no less). Spencer was a good sport (Mr. Senior Class President himself) and I think I was too; I didn't know a soul there! It turned out a success but the stress beforehand about put us over the edge.

That's all for now. I'm off to find the vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On my left shoulder

There is this little devil that sits on my left shoulder. It doesn't try to get me to do bad things, per se, but it does try to get me to spend money. I like to leave it at home but lately that hasn't been possible - it is everywhere with me. Yesterday in Target, this little creature talked me into buying some cute (and yes, they are cute) new black shoes (for me). It told me they were "fancy," and that word pretty much sealed the deal. The fact that they were on sale made them more enticing. This little devil is named Emma.

Taking this girl shopping is asking to overspend. At least this time she was convincing me to buy something for MYSELF and not for her. But still, I don't know if I would have bought those cute black shoes without her whispering into my ear, telling me how cute (and fancy) they were, and then finding my size (!!) and putting them in the cart. She sure is one little girly-girl, sitting on my shoulder, making me spend spend spend. She must go to preschool next year so I can shop with Tyler, the angel on my other shoulder, who hates to shop and throws a fit if I want to go look in the women's department. Thank goodness for little boys.

So, here is a picture of my $9.99 purchase, thanks to my 4-year old diva.


She also tried to get me to buy a hundred baby girl outfits. There, I drew the line.
*YES, I do need a pedicure. That polish has been on for over a month - can you believe me?? I'll take care of it today and maybe post a more flattering picture of my feet. :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

It Feels Like the First Time

Some things never get old. Riding a rollercoaster brings the same thrill the 10th time as it did the 1st. Eating a piece of Key Lime Cheesecake Factory cheesecake still brings a grin to my insides. Hearing a child FINALLY say "mommy" for the first time warms my heart no matter how many times his older sister said it (much earlier, mind you).

One other thing that never gets old is watching and feeling a tiny baby wiggle around inside of you! It's magical, and exciting, and feels like you're doing it for the very first time all over again. I remember my very first doctor appointment with Emma...I was 16 weeks along and we not only heard her heartbeat, but also got to have THE ultrasound and find out we were having a girl! We were thrilled (and I was SO glad I dragged Spencer to that one very important appointment!) and I remember calling almost everyone I knew - because I wanted to shout it to the world. Tyler's ultrasound (again at 16 weeks) was just as exciting and we were ecstatic to be having a little boy, and again I wanted to tell everyone I saw.

So...this is me shouting it to the world. Again.



This is the "alien" shot of her face. Creepy, but still so fun to see!
*the ultrasound was this morning. we saw the baby's lips and even the tongue (the tech said she was drinking - gross, but cute too). and in true form, her legs were crossed most of the time. i guess i have another emma on my hands.

*everything with the baby looks wonderful. There was a little scare with possible placenta previa but now everything appears to be perfect! a big relief.

*i am due in november. spencer needed someone else to share a birth month with him.

* i was hoping it was a girl only so that i wouldn't have to be the bearer of "bad" news (of a boy) to emma. phew! she's been calling her a girl for weeks and wouldn't accept the alternative as a possibility.

*luckily, tyler doesn't seem to have a preference. yet.

*i am terrified of having 3 kids at home all day. wish me luck!

And here is my other darling daughter, and her reaction to the news of a girl.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Serious question

When your two-almost-three-year old can pretty much completely diaper himself...does that mean I need to get serious and finally potty train him? I mean, he gets that little diaper under his own cute bum after a change like he's been doing it for years (like me). Is it bad- the level of disdain I have for this whole potty training thing - after only having trained one child thus far?

Yes, I am a lazy mom.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Blessed with cheesy smiles

I am having an especially difficult time with this lately...you tell your kids to "smile" and you end up with ultra-cheesy pictures - way more than you know what to do with.

I'd love tips on how to get them to SMILE - you know, real smiles. Emma is queen of doing this, as my dad recently realized after he took 100 pictures of her and one or two of them were cute enough to really do anything with. The rest? Fake smiles. We distract them, try to get them talking, tickle each other and do bunny ears. But such things don't get the real smiles to come out. However, sometimes these silly grins are just as fun as the sincere ones, and I treasure these pictures just as much!

So...here's to all the cheesy grins we are blessed with on a daily basis!



Thursday, June 5, 2008

In Stitches

I don't really know what to say about this picture other than we laughed until we cried when we saw her (at 10:30, as we were going to bed). Yes, she was asleep. No, we don't live in an igloo. Like I've said before...never a dull moment with this girl around. (We often find her wearing odd things - or wearing nothing at all - when we're going to sleep. This one takes the cake.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

You CAN try new things

Rushing through Costco this afternoon, I saw (and heard) how Emma truly is MY daughter. She might look nothing like me, but she has a lot of my traits. Costco is wonderful for all their samples and Emma has to try everything, no matter how disgusting (or how organic) it might be. Tyler, on the other hand, doesn't eat very much period. And trying something new for him is absolutely out of the question. After she finished an eggroll, I listened as my kids conversed.

Emma: "Tyler, this was yummy. And so was the soymilk."
Tyler: "It's yucky." (He hadn't tried it)
Emma: "No it's not. You should try new fings (things)."
Tyler: "No."

It brought a surprisingly large amount of surprise (delight? smugness?) to my insides that I heard my daughter using the same line I use so often...WITH SPENCER. Emma might be just like me but Tyler is just like his dad. From this simple conversation, I have discovered a few other ways in which Emma takes after me:
*She is bossy. She's telling her little (but not by much) brother he should be trying new things. Hilarious, coming from a 4 year old. I am sure it will continue and will only get more extreme as they get older. My parents used to call ME the "police" for being bossy and trying to boss my siblings, especially my OLDER brother.
*She is nurturing. She encourages him to expand beyond what he's comfortable with, because she thinks it will make him happy and that he will like all these things he currently avoids.
*She's a know-it-all. Enough said. :)

Next year at Gualala, Spencer WILL try the abalone. No more Mrs. Nice Guy. I'll keep bugging him with "You should try new fings" until he gives in. Then again, maybe Emma will be the police. After all, she tried the abalone...and liked it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Initiation

We made it through our initiation into the ward. One word - Gualala. Camping. Dirt. NOT MY THING. We conveniently missed it last year because my grandparents returned from their mission so we went to Vegas to see them. And boy, we didn't hear the end of that from our friends. It doesn't help that some of our closest friends have been going on this Memorial Day excusion since they were in utero. No excuses this year. It was our time.

The last time we went camping was when we were dating. I hate to be dirty, to smell, and to have brown feet (or nasty shoes). I don't like walking far to bathrooms that are being shared with hundreds of other people. But most of all, I don't like sleeping in a tent in a "bed" that is not my own soft king-size monstrosity. Let me just tell you, everyone kept telling us that "Gualala is NOT camping." And they were (sorta) right.

The Highlights:
*Giant redwood trees everywhere. And even better, the electrical boxes attached to the trees. Oh yeah baby, we had electricity!
*Real bathrooms with flushing toilets! And showers!
*Our friends' site. They brought an entire kitchen (no joke). And we got to eat with them. Folks, we didn't eat boring old camp food. We had Cafe Rio burritos, homemade egg mcmuffins, ribs, and fresh abalone gathered by the brave souls who were willing to sacrifice their body temperatures in that frigid water so we could have a taste.
*Sitting in church among the redwoods. Yes, unconventional. But 2 hour church with no primary for me=happiness.
*It was cold...but we are resourceful people and brought our portable heater. We set it to 70 degrees and it ran almost constantly. We were warm and I never once entered my sleeping bag. Lovely.
*Our blow-up beds. We all had one, and slept (relatively) like kings and queens.
*National Treasure 2. I bought it last week and we watched it in Gualala next to the campfire. Great flick, especially when sitting outside.

I can't say we'll make this a definite tradition like so many others in our ward have. One of my friends is 8 3/4 months pregnant and went this year! And get this - they brought their infant seat "just in case!" Insane! My only real complaint was driving on Hwy 1 up the coast for 22 miles of switchbacks, with sheer cliffs on our side leading down to the ocean. Can you say carsick+terrified? However, there are few things more enjoyable than watching your kids experience something new, i.e. camping. And can I just say how WONDERFUL it was to 1) stop on our way home at In 'n Out for my favorite chocolate shake, and 2)be home last night in my own bed?? Heaven! We had a great weekend!

Here is a layout I made today of our first year at Gualala. See, I'm already talking like we're converted to going every year! The picture of all of us is at Point Arena, up north. There was a totally lame lighthouse there (especially when compared to the beauties on the East Coast) and it was nothing exciting. But, I can honestly say I was colder than I've ever been in my life. That wind chilled my bones. And I've lived in some COLD places. The poor kids almost blew away.And just for kicks, here are a few other pictures.


Check out those feet! She showed me in the car and I gagged. Exactly why I don't like camping! I handed her the baby wipes and she spent a half hour cleaning off her feet. Ahh, the signs of fun...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Fluffy Hands

I found this little card Emma made in joy school for Mother's Day - I had stuck it on my dresser two weeks ago and it just resurfaced. It makes me smile each time I read it; Emma's answers are so random.

A Mother Like No Other
Happy is what I feel when my mother...is beautiful in her dress.
Her hands...are soft and fluffy. (What? Fluffy?)
She's funny when she...laughs and tickles us and smiles.
I love her because I like the temple.

This one goes right into her file of stuff to save.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Doctors, doctors everywhere

Do you ever feel like your family is single-handedly supporting all the doctors/pharmacies in the area? Here's this week in a nutshell:

*Tyler complained of ear pain all Monday morning. My kids don't get ear infections - ever - so I was skeptical. Finally took him in. Sure enough...he's on amoxicillin and is doing much better.
*Spencer got a HUGE cavity filled. Rare for him to even get a cavity. And guess what? It was in his wisdom tooth. Yup, he still has all 4. Hmm...maybe I should go to dental school.
*I bruised my ribs (entire right side, front and back) last weekend from the intense coughing I've been doing for two weeks. Ouch.
*I finally went to Urgent Care for the rib pain and found out I have bronchitis (with a slight chance of pneumonia). Lovely. More amoxicillin prescriptions were filled around here.
*After two days of antibiotics and still lots of coughing, I heard/felt a "pop" in my back and had extreme pain. Certain I fractured a rib, back I go to Urgent Care - after Spencer had come home from work to take me. Xrays and hours later, we find that I've either torn a muscle or connective tissue. Basically, I get to endure the pain for about a week or more. Joyful, when I have two little kids to care for and it happens to be 100 degrees this week (p.s. I love hot weather, but not without AC!)

My thoughts:
*Thank goodness for Spencer's great job and his wonderful health insurance. 5 co-pay's in one week stink, but that's better than paying $1000 for an xray or $15 for a dumb prescription (instead of $2).
*Good friends continue to be my life-savers.
*I'm so glad I have a great husband who is so conscious of how I'm feeling. Now if he could just go to medical school...
*Next weekend is our ward's massive camping trip up the coast. I really want to go, so please cross your fingers with me that I heal fast!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pride

Pride is...

Watching your 4-year old Sunbeam sing for the first time in church on Mother's Day. It is watching her BEAM and sing her heart out, so proud of herself being up in front of everyone, with no shame or embarrassment to be singing directly to one person out of hundreds. It is fighting back the tears because crying would be silly, wouldn't it.
Pride is listening to your kids BEG their dad to take them shopping for a present for Mother's Day, then hearing their squeals as they get home, calling you out to see your new beautiful flower pot for the front porch...and listening to them ask again and again if they can water it so the flowers will get bigger and bigger. Pride is hearing "Happy Mother's Day" and "I love you" more times than I can count, and realizing that they are what it's all about.

Have you seen a cuter delivery boy?


On this Mother's Day I am doing a lot of reflecting and hopefully improving. A few weeks ago, Emma came to me and asked: "Mom, do you like kids?" I was a little surprised but of course I said yes. Then she said, "A few days ago when you were on the phone, I heard you tell someone you don't like kids." I could tell she was concerned, and felt this pang of guilt. I knew she had heard right...how often do we express to one of our friends, half joking, that we like our own kids, but not others? OK, probably not as often as I do (guilty!). I want Emma to one day desire to be a mother; I know she desires it a great deal right now, but I really want her to experience the joy that I have and do experience with them as my children. So, I am watching my words very carefully from now on.

Lastly, I got to attend RS today. Gosh I sure appreciate the two times a year I get to go there. Our wonderful teacher read us HER favorite quote from Sister Hinckley and it struck me, probably because of the exact point I am in my life:

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk’s lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”

And to me, this includes Emma (and Tyler) knowing that I love children and am here for the whole ride. And I love what I do because of two special little stinkers. Happy Mother's Day!

P.S. I got my laminating machine! I guess Spencer can take a not-so-subtle hint! Now my job charts can look super spiffy.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Jobs

It's almost comical (more like ironic) to me that every single time Spencer goes out of town, someone gets sick. Yesterday, after cleaning a large amount of vomit out of MY BED (which came from an otherwise cute 2-year old), I decided he can't go out of town anymore. He's been gone all week but gets home tonight, thankfully. In his absense I have tried to be somewhat productive. I decied to make job charts for the kids, from a template I got online several months ago. I think they turned out cute and they're at Costco printing right now. Emma's actually really excited about having a job chart. When I showed it to her (on the computer) she said "Woo hoo, jobs!" Clearly she doesn't know what she's saying. I told her if she does everything for two weeks straight, we can pay a visit to the now infamous ice cream truck, that seems to be perusing our neighborhood more and more often. After I put her to bed last night, she called me in and told me she wanted to do a "job" right then. I asked which one and she told me she wanted to read. :) So we turned on the lights, read a book, and she went back to sleep.

The great thing about this format is that I can so easily change the jobs based on their ages and what they're involved in at the time. Hopefully they'll be a little more motivated to help me pick up their crap; it only gets harder and harder to clean up after growing kids! Oh, and it's only like $1.49 to print (each) at Costco! Pretty good!

Template by Brooke Kemp.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Aww

I love this picture of my kids. My sister was here for the weekend for her roomate's farewell, so we took the kids to the beach on Saturday. Seriously, I don't know if I've had that much fun in a long time! They had more fun together and with their Aunt Carly, and I probably took 50 pictures - all of them good ones! They sure were photogenic this weekend. These two are the best of friends and Emma is SO protective of her little brother. She's a mommy in training! And Tyler...what can I say - he's such a boy. He likes to be naked and carry a stick.

Word Art by Bethany Harty.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sticky Lips

That blasted ice cream truck came blaring by this afternoon...Spencer quickly reminded me I had "promised" them that next time we heard it we could try it out. Now, my kids are awesome about not opening the front door or going out without me(they're scared to death of "strangers") but within milliseconds of hearing the music, the door flew open and they were gone in a flash. I had to grab a couple dollars and by the time I got outside they were halfway down the block, jumping up and down like it was Christmas. It might as well have been. I let them pick popsicles based on the picture (laughing inside myself that they didn't have prices listed - such a ploy!). Tyler got some popsicle bomb (yes, it was a monster of a thing) and Emma got some lifesaver-flavored big popsicle. Amazingly my total was under $3 (I could do this more than once!) and we returned to the front porch - while giving and hearing a lecture about not running off - and licked frozen sugar to our lips' content. Nevermind that it was 4:45 p.m. Did they eat any dinner tonight? No. But I'm ok with that. What a lovely way to spend a spring afternoon outside--in the sun with sticky lips, chins, fingers, clothes, and toes.