Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Conversation on Christmas

You can always tell when life gets busy 'round here because it's our little blog that suffers. Christmas was wonderful but I'm feeling a bit lazy, especially when it comes to uploading pictures, so I'm procrasting writing a Christmas report (plus we're the only ones who will want to read it anyway....let's face it). I love that I am starting off the new year by procrastinating. Go me.

But I wanted to make sure I recorded this. The following is a conversation we had with Jane at dinner a couple weeks ago:

Jane: "It's almost Christmas time!! I get to ask for presents!"

Me: "What are you going to ask for?"

Jane: (face droops..) "I.......don't know. Maybe a piano." (No doll for Jane. She doesn't play around with the small ticket items.)

Me: "Do know what Christmas is, Jane?"

Jane: "No."

Me: "It's Jesus' birthday. He was born on Christmas."

Jane: "OOOoooo! OOooooo! Do we get to have a party? Can I help blow out the candles?"

Me: "Jev?"

Jevan: (punt) "It's all you."

Me: "Um....it's sorta like a party, Jane. But everyone celebrates it. Everyone all over the world."

Jevan: (raises an eyebrow...)

Me: "Uh...I take that back. LOTS of people in the world do." (heh....who's world vision is a little narrow, eh? Sorry India....and the Middle East ....and most of Asia...*doh*)

Jane: "I really like parties!" (can't seem to get out of party mode) "Will Jesus be there? Can I help him open presents?"

Me: "Uh....not technically. He's not physically on earth right now."

Jane: (staring at me with quizzical look) "Pizzickly?" (thinks some more...) "Will there be cake? (still can't get out of party mode)

Me: "And do you know who His friend is?"

Jane: "Who?"

Me: "Santa Clause!"

Jane: "Oh, yeah. He has to stay out in the snow. If he comes inside, he'll melt."

Me: "Um...I think that's Frosty. Frosty the Snowman."

Jane: "Yeah. He's coming to the party too."

Jevan: "Um....wow. I have absolutely nothing to add to that."

And thus begins the process by which we completely screw up our kids. Amen.

Jevan's addition:

While we're talking about historical and fictional characters and how it can confuse our kids, I figured I would add this little exchange I had with Jane this morning. I was tickling her and she called for Em to come help her. Jane yelled that it was daddy, and I told her that I wasn't the one that was tickling her, but it was in fact the man that lives in my finger, Mr. Bimbo. (For those of you that haven't seen Muppet Treasure Island, you should watch it, but for context you can watch this video. Skip ahead to around 6:45 to get some laughs.) Anyway, she looked at me for half a second, then promptly announced that "Mr. Clara" was living in her finger and was going to tickle me. Touche.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Raising kids is like a game of chess, except there are no pieces, no board, and the objective for the parents is not to win, but to help them survive childhood, whereas the objective for the children is simply to drive parents crazy. Ok, so it's not really like chess EXCEPT for the fact that for each and every move there is a counter-move. A few examples:

Move: In order to get attention at night, Allie learns to bodily fling herself out of the crib
Counter-move: Buy a crib prison

Move: Now trapped inside her prison at night, Allie begins taking off her pajamas and crying until we come in and put them back on.
Counter-move: Safety-pin her pajamas closed.

Move: Climb out of the porta-crib while traveling.
Counter-move: Turn that crib right upside down and laugh the night away.

So it's really been a stalemate up until now. But tonight, the game has changed, and Allie has a new move, and I can't think of a counter-move.

Move: Now trapped in her crib and unable to remove her clothing, Allie has taken the only logical next step - stuffing her binky down her pajamas and crying until you come take it out. I'm not sure how but it was literally at her ankle in her footed pajamas.
Counter-move: No idea, other than not giving her a binky and my friends, that is not an option.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Traditions (aka the spikey cranberry orange death balls)

Weekends are truly fickle things. Very rarely am I able to balance relaxation with productivity, work with fun, and return to the office on Monday feeling great. This weekend was, by my exacting standards, just about perfect.

It might have something to do with me taking Friday off to help kick off the madness that is December. I spent the morning putting the lights on the house, and then in the afternoon we went and picked out a Christmas tree. Some of you may remember that last year we went out into the forest and chopped a tree down with our friends Tom & Sarah. Em has felt guilty about it for the entire year, even though I tried to explain to her that we had chopped down Alfie the Christmas Tree and that he was happy to be in our house, but it was kind of hard to argue that the tree's life was better once I had to put him in a dumpster...

Therefore, in order to atone for this misdeed, we bought a tree from Home Depot, where they are grown in a soulless tree farm in Oregon. But our penance didn't stop there. Oh no, we had to prove to the forest that we were truly sorry for killing one of their her native sons. So, Em decided to start a fun new family tradition (we're calling it Christmas for the Critters™) and make some bio-degradable animal-food decorations to take into the forest and decorate a tree. With our kids. And we took my sister. And her kids. I would add my sister's husband (aka my brother in-law) but he informed us that this idea was just too random and he was going to pass.

So Saturday morning we bought a 10-pound bag of bird seed (apparently it doesn't come in smaller bags, because most people either really like birds or are afraid of birdzilla...), a jar of peanut butter, and grabbed some of the pine cones that the kids collected and then, armed with mini-bagels, wonder bread, and Christmas cookie-cutters, began to make the ornaments.

Hazel, Chloe, Calvin and Jane work like Elves in the factory. Only there's no factory. Or toys. Ok so they're making decorations.

What emerged from this process was a few plate-fulls of gooey vaguely christmas ornament shaped messes that, while not particularly appetizing to me, I'm sure are proving to be very tasty to all of the forest denizens that used to live in the late Alfie's boughs. All of them were completely environmentally friendly, down to the Raphiella (or whatever the straw-like stuff is called) used to hang them.

The finished products. Cute, eh?

The one exception to this statement would be the spikey cranberry orange death balls. You see, toward the end of the ornament-making fun, Em realized that we had a bunch of leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving, and thought they would add just the right dash of color to the otherwise drab collection of ornaments. In addition, we had some clementines sitting around that would be really pretty. (side note: is there anything better than a clementine? They're one of my favorite parts about Christmas.) So, she decided that it would be a really cool ornament if she used toothpicks to stick the cranberries onto the clementines. Unfortunately, the finished product looked more akin to a ninja-chef's weapon than something you'd hang on a tree for a deer to eat, but when I pointed this out I was informed that 'deer have very sensitive lips and they will be able to avoid the toothpicks and get to the orange.'

There is no appropriate response to that statement. I've spent last few days thinking about it, and I can't come up with anything.

Why is it that clementines are so much more deadly than regular oranges? When asked questions like this I typically try to break the word down to its roots. In this case, 'clemen' would be referring to Roger Clemens, who had a wicked fastball and was known to throw at batters' heads from time to time, and 'tines' are obviously the sharp part of the spork, so clearly we see that clementines are dangerous, pokey projectiles.

Thus prepared for our decorative activity, we headed off to the canyon to find the right tree. As it turned out, it was about 1:00 and past nap time, so the 'perfect' tree quickly turned into the 'closest and most accessible' tree. We trekked down a trail about 50 feet, found a likely candidate, and quickly turned it into a squirrel, bird, and deer 7-11. The kids had a blast, and I enjoyed pointing out that we would be able to return in the spring and count the bodies of all the dead creatures that ate the spikey cranberry orange death balls.

The decorating crew in front of their work.

Hang a blueberry bagel on the highest bough...

The finished product did in fact look rather festive, and despite all of my heckling and good-natured ribbing I had a really good time doing it.

I love the maimed wonderbread man in the background...

Here's a close-up of the SCODB after a hummingbird tried to get some of the orange...

So after we got back from decorating the forest tree, we came back home and decorated our tree. We make a whole evening of it, and while it is a bit challenging with Allie undoing decorations as fast as we put them up, I really enjoy it. Christmas music playing in the background, fire glowing in the fireplace, chocolate orange sticks and these really tasty butterscotch gingerbread cookies to eat... all happy things for me.

Allie giving the camera her 'cool' face, while Jane takes yet another bite of cookie dough. I'm pretty sure she ate as much dough as she made...

We ended the day by reading "Bear Stays Up for Christmas" to Jane under the Christmas tree and drinking bubbly by the fireplace. It was one of those days that make you smile when you look back on it. Thanks Emmy!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Turkey Times are Good Times

The phrase for Thanksgiving for our family this year can be summed up in the following phrase: Crazy-fun, complete and utter chaos. I wish I had pictures, but alas, I was a slacker. It starts the day before Thanksgiving with the first annual Pie Day with Jevan's sisters. Imagine 5 women, 12 pies, one galette (don't worry, I didn't know what one was either, but it was beautiful and tasty), pretzel dessert, other various side dishes...and ONE kitchen. Imagine that all together...all at once. Add in, just for fun, 6 kids under the age of 7. Voila! Pie Day! It was hillarious...and really fun. If anyone knows Jevan's sisters, you would know they are to cooking what Mozart was to music (yes, Stephy, even you...the pumpkin pies DON'T count). I just play along, and they help me...a lot. They are also highly entertaining. No one lost any limbs, or had any serious burns, and I came home with all my pies, and all my kids. Yahoo!

Next up, East Canyon Resort with all of Jevan's extended family for the weekend. This would not really have fit in to the crazy chaos category if not for one little (and very loved) creature we call Allie. Here's the equation: 1 Allie +1 Condo + us+5 more -minus space + many interesting things right at eye level+cold weather and not a ton to do outside+no sleep = Captain Destructo! Holy Cow. Allie was a veritable hurricane. We love her, but she was everywhere and into everything. To make things more exciting, we had brought up her porta-crib and after putting her to bed the first night, quickly discovered, as she came ambling down the stairs, that she could climb out of it. We battled for a while, trying to come up with some way to make her sleep, but she was too wired to fall asleep, and would not stay still for the life of her. We would be up there a few more nights so we had to come up with a solution. Jev's mom had one for us. Before you report us to child services yet again, let it be known that it worked, and Allie slept and is none the worse for the wear...it might come back to bite us in her twenties. Better keep adding money to her crazy jar. We tipped the portacrib upside down and Allie slept under it. Yup, like a cage. It gave me guilt but I had no idea what to do at that point.

The rest of the trip consisted of lots of game playing, movie watching and no sleep. Oh, and WAY too much eating. I think I can feel all the pecan pie I ate in the extra wide swing of my backside when I walk. Add one big bootie to the aforementioned equation.

I think both girls really enjoyed the Thanksgiving feast although Jane mostly just went for the rainbow jell-o. I went for the mashed potatoes. Allie went for the pie. Jevan went... away when I asked who wanted to clean up Allie after dinner.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for family. I am lucky to have lots of family around on both sides and I love them all (even if we do complain about how time consuming they all are :)..we never mean it). I am grateful for my mom and dad. I'm grateful for Jevan's family where I feel completely loved and comfortable, as comfortable as I am with my own brothers and sisters. I'm grateful for my own little family...for my little girls...for how cute and funny they are. For Jevan, for how completely devoted he is to us. We're lucky. I'm lucky. I'm thankful.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Definitely a Spooky Snowman

Hooray for our first snow day!! I can't tell you the size of my smile when I woke up to such a thick blanket of white outside. I know I am completely crazy, but there is just something about looking out at a snowy day in a warm cozy house, knowing you can go play outside to your heart's content and come in for a steamy cup of hot chocolate. I get all giddy. Most people think I've lost a few marbles....(although I don't think I was given marbles, I think I got bouncy balls. Lately
it feels like thoughts and information bounce into my brain, then right back out again, just as quickly.)
The girls were all crazy about the snow too - I just about strapped Jane down in her booster seat to get her to eat breakfast. I had to keep reassuring her that the snow would not melt while she was eating her banana. I decided we needed to take advantage of this snow day and do it up right.

After breakfast and some quick chores, Jane and I made some pumpkin bread to bake up a little later - one for us and one for a neighbor. We then started the laborious task of putting on snow gear. Holy cow - I'm glad that I didn't know that it would take FOREVER to get us all fully poofed up or I might have had second thoughts on going outside. After 2 potty stops and several redressings, we finally had all our gear on. Allie, however, was missing boots and gloves as I hadn't bought any for her yet, so I tried to improvise. After pulling on two pairs of socks, Jane's shoes and a pair of my fleece gloves, Allie resembled a creature out of Frankenstein Goes to Antartica (not a book yet, but there's a good idea someone can run with...). Finally, we ventured outside.

For all the work, it lasted a glorious 20 minutes. But we made every minute count. We made snow angels (Jane has been practicing all summer and it was the first thing she wanted to do), threw snowballs for Jasper, and attempted a snowman. We had to build him hastily, as Allie would come and body slam him every few minutes. We had to think fast when it came to his face, so he got plastic doughnuts for eyes (scavenged from Jane's play food), a stick for a nose, a scarf and the crown from the pile of halloween stuff waiting to be put away. The result? Um...he looked a bit freaky. Jane told me we made a "spooky snowman". We named him Spook. Just as we finished, all happy feelings went away, as Allie had now lost both gloves and one shoe and was rolling around in the snow trying to stand up. Jane's hands were cold and she started to howl. Time to go in.

We all had hot chocolate and pumpkin bread warm from the oven, and after lunch, both girls took long naps. Ahhhhhh...so heavenly. It was one of those happy, comical days not to be forgotten. I love snow days.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloweeeeen Festivitieeeees

First off, thank you everyone for your sage words of advice on our crazy sleeper. I too am a huge believer in the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book (and I'm not too bright not to have thought about it sooner...) but we weren't too sure Allie would actually SURVIVE the days of training it would have most likely taken. After a couple of bad falls from the crib, her obsession with climbing on things in her room and playing with the space heater we have in there, along with the tranquilizer gun threats from her dad, I didn't argue when Jevan wanted to try the tent. However it may appear to you, it is heaven for us, and Allie was used to it after the first couple days. She is SO MUCH happier now that she has naps back again and is going to bed before 11pm. Things around here are bliss again (okay...as close to bliss as we ever get) and I must admit I love the tent.

Now onto happier topics...HALLOWEEN! I love this time of year. I love fall...almost as much as winter...I love the crisp air and the colors...and the fall holidays like halloween and thanksgiving. Both involve eating lots of stuff that isn't at all good for you, so I'm a big fan. Also, all holidays are more fun now that I have a child old enough to start understanding them. This halloween was great because Jane actually "got" it. I tried to take advantage of this and do some fun things with the kiddos.

Here's our October Halloween Festivities in pictures:

Thanksgiving Point's Scarecrow Festival with our friends and their little ones.

All the kids posing (or not so much) with the scarecrows.

Stinkers! But cute ones...

Jevan's little sister Tasha was working there as a face painter. Isn't she beautiful?

The main attraction at the festival were all the big bouncy play thingys. There were not only bouncy castles, but snakes, sharks, worms, whales..you name it. I won't tell you the comments coming from Jevan as Jane emerged from the different bouncy animals in the area where their bums should be.

Jane emerging from a shark's mouth...

A few days before Halloween we carved pumpkins with Jevan's family and Jane's cute cousins. His family has some serious talent when it comes to carving. Jane said the pumpkins all looked "really, really mad."

Jane posing with our pumpkins.

Jane was Alice in Wonderland for Halloween. I think she made a cute one.
We tried to teach her to say "Goodness!" all the time, but it didn't work so well.

Jane's first costume party with little friends from our ward.

Look at all these kids! The mom who hosted this party was a brave woman, I say.

We went to the neighborhood Trunk-or-Treat.
Jane is Alice, Allison is the Chesshire Cat, and I'm the Queen of Hearts. Cheesy but fun.

Allie was a good Chessire Cat..just like in the movie - she was either being darling or very naughty.

Our witchy trunk. Since I'm in YWs in our ward, I was in charge of the YW trunk.
They came up with the idea and helped...cute huh?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Alpha Strikes Back

In order to truly appreciate this post, please turn on your speakers.

The time had come for me to take matters into my own hands. Here is a sequence of events from Friday night / Saturday morning:

2:00 - Allie wakes up and comes into the room; Em goes in.
2:45 - Em has finally rocked her back to sleep.
4:00 - Allie comes back into the room; I go in.
4:30 - Allie has not yet fallen asleep, but has stopped trying to escape (as I am sitting in the rocking chair giving her the evil eye). She wanders aimlessly around her crib for the next half-hour; neither of us has slept yet.
5:00 - Allie begins unzipping her pajamas and crying in an attempt to crack my resolve; I let the half-naked singing stinker cry.
5:15 - In a new and increasingly cunning tactic, Allie starts throwing her binkie overboard and crying. I realize that this is not a good sign.
5:30 - I raise the white flag of surrender, having not slept nor caused Allie to sleep in an hour and a half.
6:00 - Allie comes back into our room.
6:30 - 8:00 - Em makes a bed in Allies room and attempts to snuggle her to sleep. Em dozes lightly while Allie runs around the room, mocking our exhaustion and frustration with cute little pseudo-words and baby babble.

At this point as a parent but, you have to make some important decisions.
  1. How do we handle this new phase in our child's life?
  2. What kind of products are available to help us out?
  3. Is it legal to use a tranquilizer on a child?
What I discovered was better than a tranquilizer. Better than a rope tied to a child's leg. In my opinion, it's almost cooler than having a child that just sleeps without any kind of restraint. I give you my Death Star:

"That's no moon... it's a sleep station!" - Obi-Em Kenobi

"Witness the power of this fully armed and operational sleeping station!" - Emperor Dad

That's right, my daughter now sleeps in a dome. She's like the bubble boy from Seinfeld. I'm pretty sure that a determined and enraged wolverine couldn't escape from this thing.

"But dad, I was just going to go to Toshi station to pick up some power converters!" - Young Allie Skywalker

Am a I bad father? Perhaps. But I know I'm a better father to my children when they aren't wandering the house at 4:00 in the morning and keeping me from sleeping.

Oh, and mom, please put the money you had reserved for my counseling into an interest-bearing account; I'll need to roll all of that into the fund I'm starting for Allie.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Dreaded Thud

It's a sound every mother dreads. You've just put your toddler down for a nap and your 3 year old is contently watching Alice in Wonderland for the forty-millionth time, and you are happily in the kitchen with the laptop, pandering away precious quiet time reading up on why MSN says you are not trendy because you don't know that "belt loops and roomy pleats" on knit dresses "bring a fun, unexpected cool to a flared skirt." Dang it. Now you are neither fun nor unexpectedly cool. Just the average expected cool. Suddenly you hear a dull thud. You sit for a second, waiting for the cry which must be surely coming from the toddler's room, nervous about head injury. But then, there is no cry. Wait for it....wait for it...and then, the door opens and you hear the pattering of little feet. Your stomach drops. No...No...NO! She's learned how to get out of her crib!!! Serious panic. Suddenly she is staring you in the face. You sit, stunned. You resist the urge to cry as you realize what this means....the end of your sanity.

Yes, folks. That was me a couple days ago. I am now in an all out war with Allie to get her to stay in her crib and sleep. I am not ready to give up naptime. I am not ready to fight through bedtime. Hear that, Allie? I am NOT READY!! So it is now almost 11pm and I am venting. I have talked to all sorts of people trying to figure out what to do. Tonight I tried my friend's suggestion, who got her idea off of Super Nanny (which I haven't ever watched but now I'm thinking I should...) who said to just put her back in her crib every time she launched herself out. Don't talk to her, don't really acknowledge her, just put her back in her crib and close the door. It sounded good at the time. It actually worked at naptime. I only had to put her back in her bed 6 times.

Tonight? We did battle. Serious battle. It was a face-off. Like Hulk Hogan meets....a prize fighting Oompa Loompa (cause I'm big...and have long blond hair...and she's short and has many Oompa Loompa-like attributes...especially when covered with spagetti sauce..the resemblance is uncanny).

Guess how many times I put her back in her crib before I started calling my life-lines? Just guess. Nope, more. Nope, more. Actually, I don't really know, I stopped counting at 34. No joke. Thirty-four freaking times! AAAAAHHHHHH! Finally, Jevan comes home from a church meeting and puts in another few minutes on the battlefront. But this time, the Oompa Loompa was up against...Sasquatch. And he won. I think it was the combination of him getting really mad and scaring the pants off her, and she being really tired as it was now after 10pm. He says it's because she knows he's "alpha." Apparently, in our family we like to play Call of the Wild.

Honestly, what do I do? She is too little to go without naps and to play these games at night. She needs sleep. Time for a toddler bed or train her to stay in crib...can that be done? Honestly. Who voted me in as "Mom"? I'm not any good at this. I call for impeachment...of myself. There's some change I can believe in.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Darn body parts...

So today, while driving in the car, Jane tells me her tummy hurts. She has a history of getting carsick so I pull out my usual response of "Just look out the window, sweetheart. It should go away in a little bit." Most of the time, that does it, but sometimes we have adventures out on the side of the road and I'm washing the car seat cover once again. Is there really anything that smells worse than throw-up? I really don't think so....except for maybe the smell emanating from the rogue sippy-cup with pink milk in it that you gave Jane a week before, against your better judgment, knowing full well that it might disappear into the void of the basement.

Anyway, after I tell Jane to look out the window, she is silent for several minutes and I can tell the wheels are turning in her little noggin. Then her little voice pipes up:

Jane: "Mom, my tummy still hurts. Can I take it off?"

Me: "Huh? Take your tummy off?"

Jane: "Yeah. Can I just pull it off?"

Me: "No, Love. It's part of your body. Your tummy is inside your skin and you can't take your skin off."

Jane: "Please! Why can't I take my skin off? Can I take it off if it gets itchy?"

We then launch into this whole discussion about how you need to keep all body parts attached to your body. I tried to tell her if we took off a limb every time it hurt, we'd all be in big trouble. But you know, it sure does make sense. The tag in your sweatshirt bugs you so you take it off. Your shoes fit too small, so you take them off. You get a bad headache, you pull off your head. There are lots of times I think I would like to be separated from my head, and not always just when it hurts. I think we should be able to remove body parts, fix them, and put them back. I think I'll take it up with Heavenly Father when I die. For now, I just have to tell Jane to put up with her upset tummy...and plead with her not to lose her lunch because I sure don't want to take the darn carseat apart again!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My dedication page....

When I read books, I really like to read the dedication page. I like to read the ways in which authors express their gratitude to those who helped them through the laborious process of writing a book. I also like that their books are never dedicated to people with normal names; very seldom are they dedicated to just "Bill" or "my sister, Susan". It's usually to someone like "Barry 'Barrel Bottom' Bishop who gave me inspiration as well as donuts." Something like that, anyway.

This past week has been a crazy one, and I had a lot of people help me through the laborious process of coming back to the land of the living. I think I am starting to have some color in my face and I can walk up the stairs now without feeling like I hiked Everest. Only without the good views, just the kitchen.

I cannot even come close to describing how LOVED I have felt this past week. Really, really loved. If you are ever in doubt that you are loved, have something traumatic happen to you (although I don't recommend my route - go for something cool like a hip dislocation after wrestling a large animal to save a small child - it's more heroic and involves a lot less blood, which is a good thing, believe me). I have so many people to thank. So, here's my dedication page.

Thanks to Jevan for not letting me die - and still thinking I'm cute even when I look like something from the Land of the Living Dead.

Thanks to all of Jevan's family for taking care of my kids in crisis time and for always checking up on me. I LOVE all my commune dwellers.

Thanks to my family for all the phonecalls, flowers and good books.

Thanks to all my friends (my blog friends too!) for your notes and phonecalls expressing love and concern. I love my friends. Marie and Maris, thanks for taking my kiddos. You both always go above and beyond the call of good friendship. I can't thank you enough.

Thanks to my ward friends for the phonecalls, dinners and treats. It meant so much and it was so nice not to have to worry about dinner.

Finally, thanks to my wonderful mom who spent the better part of week at my house, making sure I got lots of rest and good food. She is a super star and I think Allie is more attached to her than she is to me now.

Thanks, everyone.

Oh, and thanks to Stephanie Meyer who kept me entertained with vampires as I was having blood fed through my veins. Ironic, no?

Monday, October 06, 2008


Disclaimer: This post might be somewhat sentimental and sappy, but I (and this is Jevan, by the way. You can typically tell it's me because I spell the word "weird" correctly, but rather than make you hunt through the post searching for that particular grammatical cairn I'll just get it out of the way) reserve the right to do that every once in a while. It's been a rather eventful week here, one of those weeks that really makes you think about everything and do a little self-examination. I'm typically not good at introspective thought; I tend to think about things like how, given different circumstances, I would have been Batman, only cooler. But today, I am going to focus only on the important stuff. So, without further adieu, here is a list of things for which I am grateful:

  1. I am grateful that Jane can speak: This might seem odd, especially for any of you that have spent much time around Jane, given her propensity for non-stop talking. In this situation, however, it was indeed a blessing. Em was at Young Women's so I was putting the kids to bed. Allie was exhausted so I decided to put Jane in the tub while reading Allie stories and singing her songs. I told Jane to make sure she turned the water off when it got full, something that I know she can do. At least I thought she could do. (At this point, I know you're thinking "I'm sure glad my husband doesn't do anything that stupid when I'm not around." Trust me on this - you're wrong. We all do stupid things like that. And they usually work. You only know about the few things that DON'T work) Anyway, I'm sitting in the chair, rocking Allie, who has fallen asleep, when Jane knocks politely on the door (a real no-no), opens it up, and innocently asks me "Dad, which way is off?" Fortunately she came in before the tub overflowed, so a crisis was averted.
  2. I am grateful for modern medicine (part 1): We found out on Wednesday that Em was going to miscarry. We kind of had a suspicion that something wasn't right, as this pregnancy didn't quite feel the same as the others (no nausea, no real symptoms, etc.), so it wasn't entirely a surprise. This is also the reason we weren't broadcasting to the world that Em was pregnant. I am grateful for modern medicine in that we were able to know that it was coming and prepare for it to happen. The doctor gave Em a prescription and told her what to expect, so at least we went into the ordeal with what we thought were open eyes.
  3. I am grateful for modern medicine (part 2): Not entirely knowing what to expect, we decided that Sunday would be the day for Em to take the prescription and... I can't find the right words, but you can guess. Anyway, I had planned on watching the kids and supporting as necessary. Well, not getting into the gruesome details, suffice it to say that by the time Em had passed out for the third time and was completely unresponsive for a good 5 minutes I decided to make my very first call to 911. The paramedics were there in less than a minute. They took a look at her and decided to take her right in. They loaded a disoriented and confused Em onto a stretcher and took her for what has to be the shortest ride in an ambulance ever (.3 miles). Literally across the street. Awesome.
  4. I am grateful for family (part 1): So, in a panic, I called Stephanie again and asked her to come back and watch the kids. She, of course, dropped everything and came rushing. The poor girls were at this point distraught at seeing their mom carted off on a stretcher; I was too. I headed to the hospital and went to find Em. At this point, she looked pretty much like a corpse (albeit the most beautiful corpse I have ever been married to...). Come to find out she had lost about 40% of her blood, which even in my non-doctor ignorance I know is a Bad Thing. They decided they needed to do an immediate 'd and c' (look it up if you're curious, but this is a guy-friendly blog and I can't break one of the cardinal laws of Guydom by talking about gynecological procedures in anything other than vague terms and acronyms). My mom was there for moral support, which was wonderful.
  5. I am grateful for irony in a time of trauma: While the doctors were running in and out, running tests, pumping Em full of IV fluid, and all the other fun stuff that was happening, the funny little paramedic from the Fire Truck came over to me and told me he had to give me a pamplet. I asked what was in it, and he said it basically said that the fire department would not tell any of our neighbors that they had come to our house and taken Em away on a gurney. Right, because parking a 40-foot fire engine outside of my house on a cul-de-sac and sending 4 paramedics in to carry Em out was so discreet.
  6. I am grateful for modern medicine (part 3): So, finally they got Em into the surgery center, where the medical staff quickly performed the surgery and immediately got the bleeding to stop. She took 2 units of blood that night and 2 more again this morning and is finally at home, snoring away next to me. I can't help but think that if we lived in the middle ages or were Scientologists she would likely not be alive.
  7. I am grateful for family (part 2): My family had the girls all day, Em's mom was down in the afternoon and is going to come over tomorrow morning to help out, and all of our family members have been very helpful over the past few days. We love you all!
  8. I am grateful for neighbors and friends. Throughout the day, people from the neighborhood have called and asked what they could do to help. So nice to have people around that are concerned about your well-being.
  9. I am grateful for perspective (part 1): This was never really a life-threatening ordeal for Em, so I didn't really thought that she wouldn't make it. I can't imagine what it must be like for people that see their loved ones go in to a procedure and not know if they're going to see them alive again. That being said, I had a real moment of panic when I gave her one last kiss before she was wheeled off. It's those times that make me realize how much she means to me. I'm glad she's ok, even if her snoring does make it tough for me to concentrate.
  10. I am grateful for perspective (part 2): With all of the additional hoopla around the process, it isn't lost on us that a miscarriage is a tough thing to go through. I think we'll have a little more time to grieve and go through that process once things calm down. That being said, I am grateful that there were no complications and that we'll be able to have more kids in the future.
  11. I am grateful for my 3 beautiful girls: I love them all.
  12. I am grateful for sleep: And thus concludes my post.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

October Madness

Great News - It's not too late to enter this year's October "Madness" pool. Here are the brackets as they currently stand:

Just mark your picks and email them to your Congressman by 5:00 PM today. The entry fee is 20% of your retirement savings and is non-refundable if you lose; unless of course you bet $25 billion or more, in which case you might be bailed out if you smile real nice and say pretty please. The pool winner gets 65% of the pool and a $25 million severance check. Pool counsel, the lobbyists and various other influential hangers-on get 35%. The loser gets a third-position deed of trust on a no-money-down, half-built $800,000 condo in Fresno owned by some guy whose livelihood entails front-line delivery of circular Italian-American food products.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just checkin'.....

Sometimes, just sometimes, you get a glimpse of that little tender heart that resides in every child's heart. It's those little times that make your crazy mom life worth it.

This morning, as I waited outside of Jane's little dance class, desperately trying to entertain Allie with books on my lap, Jane suddenly burst through the door, ran over to me and put her hand on my shoulder. She looked at me with this loving yet concerned look on her face, and said in her little pixie voice, "Mom? Are you okay out here?" I was stunned. I stammered, "Um...yeah, Jane. I'm just fine....are you?" "Yup!" she exclaimed and went dancing back through the door. The teacher looked out at me, just as surprised as I was. I just shrugged and got up and closed the door again.

What the? Could she suddenly sense how difficult it was to keep Allie entertained, to keep her from pulling every book from the shelf, or knocking on the door, trying to bust into the dance class, or trying on every pair of shoes she could possible find (she is so obsessed with shoes - if she doesn't get some weird foot disease, I'll be surprised..)? Perhaps she could sense my slow progression towards insanity caused by days upon days of listening to "The Greatest Hits of Dragon Tales" in the car? Or, could she just have wanted to make sure I was happy and not feeling left out while she got to dance with balloons and hula hoops, and having her own little shape mat to sit on? Whatever it was, it completely made my day. Sometimes it seems that as a mom, you spend all your days making sure you've met all the needs of your kids, making sure they are happy and secure. How wonderful to know that I have someone watching out for me too - making sure I'm okay out here. Love you, Jane.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Family Update

Wow. I just realized I haven't done a family journal post since January. What a lazy bum I am. I figured it was about time, now that Jane has turned 3 and Allie is 18 months. A lot has happened since the beginning of the year! Fortunately, most of it I have already blogged, but I haven't covered the smaller family details and the development of the kids the past year.

Let's start with overall family stuff. We have really big news we have yet to really share with anyone (except my mom and my best friend, Sarah). We are having another baby! No at all expected (it seems to work that way with us - either we just don't get it or Heavenly Father knows we would never work up the nerve to get pregnant if we could chose when it happened....). Anyway, after a few long deep breaths, I think we are both starting to get excited. I go in for my first doctor appointment in a few days. I hope all is okay. We don't know whether we want a boy (because it would be fun to have a mixed family...and Jevan wouldn't be so outnumbered...and would have someone to really wrestle) or a girl (because we can do girls - we actually, sort-of get them...at least, it's not as itimidating to me...) We don't find out the gender for a few more months though.

So that's the big news. It really is big because we actually turn into truly a FAMILY. One where the parents are finally outnumbered. It almost seems to feel like it will send us into a totally new phase in life. It DOES send us out to buy a new car. And maybe a new house, depending on what happens with Jevan's job. He has a couple of opportunities right now and each one sends us somewhere different. His current employer, McCann Erickson, has a possible opening in Seattle that he has told his boss he is interested in. We just don't know if and when it would actually happen, but both of us are excited about that prospect. If we can handle the rain. But change is always exciting to me. The other opportunity is with the company that has been courting him off and on for over a year now. They have come to him again with another job, a good paying one but maybe not as exciting to start out with. He hopes if he takes the job, he can eventually move into something more suited for him. The fun thing about that job is that it is in Orem, which gives us a shot at being able to live in Heber. I have always wanted to live there. Houses are super cheap right now because the country is in financial crisis. Good ol' George Bush has really outdone himself now. The housing market has plummeted, sending homeowners, mortgage brokers, banks and now practically all of Wall Street into bankruptcy. It's nuts. Everyone is very worried. In November, we vote for a new president; either Barak Obama or John McCain. Jevan says if John McCain wins, we can go live in Canada. I like that idea and secretly hope he does. Okay, not really. That would be a huge disaster. Go Obama!

Let's see....oh and in July, I was called into Young Womens again, as first counselor...which has been fun but a heck of a lot of time. The president is also young with a toddler, about Allie's age, and we both feel like we fly by the seat of our pants most of the time. Jevan hasn't been released from Activities Committee Chair (and I think, neither have I) so we both work at that too. Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming and I complain a lot, but mostly it is workable. I just wish this ward had more responsible people so those that really try to do our jobs aren't stretched so thin. We also think our bishop is headed for the nuthouse, but that is an entirely different story indeed.

So let's talk kids. Allison is a total crack-up. She is getting funnier, cuter, and more lovey by the day. She has started to go to most people more readily( for a while there, she was a complete momma's girl), and has definitely found her favorites - Aunt Andrea and my mom. She gives a lot more loves that she used to and giggles all the time now, especially when everyone around her is laughing - she doesn't want to be left out of the fun. She is growing taller and leaner and just cuter every day. She has finally started to keep clippies in her hair - for months she has looked like a complete wild child because she would take them out almost immediately. It has been so frustrating, especially because she looks so cute with her hair done!

She is so much happier these days, for the most part, but she definitely throws her fair share of fits, mostly because she has very few words and a very independent personality. That combination is sure to blow up from time to time. She was really tough a few months ago, but I think (I hope) we are getting out of that stage. When she does get upset, she just lays flat on her face on the floor and wails. It's kinda funny. At least she doesn't scream and kick. We have only had one incident of a major breakdown. It was when, in desperation to save her clothes because she will NEVER keep a bib on, we tried to put one of those full shirt bibs on her. We thought she was going to pop blood vessels in her head she screamed so long and loud. She screamed through almost of all of dinner time. We had never seen her like that, and haven't tried the bib since. Sheesh.

She is still super tough, hardly ever crying when she falls down or hurts herself. She has more words now that include: thank you - "dank yooo", all through - "all trooo", bathtime - "baaaa tie", shoe - "sheew", jasper "daaah dehr" and of course, Mama and Daddy. Sometimes we think she says other words too, but none of those are consistent yet. She is still the messier eater this side of the mississippi but at least she isn't picky when it comes to food, and we'll take that over being messy any day of the week.

She is also very interested in reading books now. It's her second favorite pasttime. She tries to get you to read her as many bedtime stories as she possibly can, and most of the time, I am persuaded to read her far too many. She still won't snuggle until she falls asleep but at least she will keep still for a little bit while I sing to her. I love that.

**(I am writing this while the kids nap. Jane just got up and came down to the computer room. She loves to type her name on the computer because she can spell it now. Pretty cool. Here she goes.


Thanks Jane. Okay, back to Allie. Allie's very favorite thing in the world right now (besides her binky, I suppose) are shoes. She is OBSESSED with shoes. When she gets up in the morning, the first thing she wants to do is put on her shoes. She usually has tried on at least 7 pairs (and not always her own shoes) by 10am. When you change her diaper, she always wants to be holding a shoe. When we go to Jane's dance class, she wants to try all the little girl shoes left by the door. It is hillarious. She loves to get her own shoes out of the drawer and has a total fit if she can't find or reach the pair she wants. She loves to bring shoes to everyone, even strangers that show up at the door. You're selling a coupon book today? Oh, well, here, have my mom's shoes. I wonder if this will be a life long obsession....

After shoes and books, I have to say Allie's other love of her life is water. She loves to play in water. She loves bathtime and will almost completely submerge herself, while most kids her age hate getting water on their face or hair. I honestly think there is more water outside the tub than in it by the time bathtime is over. She is an all out crazy woman at the swimming pool. She has no idea that she can't swim on her own and will jump in at any second. She wants to swim so badly, she tries to peel your hands off her body. A couple times I have let her sink under when she has done that, but when I bring her up, she just looks a little dazed and then starts right back in flailing and flapping in the water, trying to get away. Jevan's favorite pool trick is tossing her to me, chucking her up 30 feet in the air, so high you can hear an audible, fearful, "oooohhh" from everyone around us at the pool. Allie loves it and gets mad when we finally stop. I tell you what, though, it sure makes me glad we don't have a pool - I'm not sure how long Allie would survive with how unfearful and crazy she is around water.

Allie is just so much fun. She is a true daredevil, afraid of practically nothing. She gives the best "loves" and is becoming such a snuggler - I can't tell you how much I love that. She is smart, independent thinker and we are just waiting for her to start spitting out more words. I absolutely live for her little giggle - she is just darling.

Jane is just getting so darn big! Where did my little baby go? I can't believe I have a 3 year old. Jane is just constant entertainment. She continues to be an amazing little talker - she sounds like all the little 5 and 6 year olds I know....except, she is still thinking on a 3 year old level. She loves people, especially little girls her age. Whenever we go to the park and she sees ANY little kid playing there, regardless of whether we know them or not, she instantly yells, "Look, Mom! My friend is here!" She immediately goes right up to them and starts talking and playing. She makes friends everywhere she goes, regardless of age.

Jane even has a couple of imaginary friends. They are named Jane (creativity might not be her strong point) and Vallie...or maybe Valley? I have no idea, but that's her name. She always needs to know where Vallie is at all times. Vallie comes everywhere with us, to the store, to dance class, to church. Vallie even has to be strapped in the middle seat belt whenever we go anywhere in the car. She also has to sit on Jane's lap when we read books. Jane talks to Vallie a lot. The other "Jane" just makes a cameo appearance from time to time, I guess when Vallie isn't around. It really makes me laugh. I love to watch her interact with her imaginary friend - especially because it so reminds me of me when I was little. I loved imaginary friends, although, unlike Jane, I think I made mine up because I was so shy and needed kids to talk to.

Jane has now added movies to her list of obsessions, second only to books. She always wants to watch movies and I have to really be firm in how much I let her watch them. She got Dumbo for her birthday and will watch it over and over. Books are still her favorite - we read to her at naps and bedtime, and if we're still in bed when she gets up in the morning, she will bring in a huge stack for us to read to her in our bed. This is usually Janey and Daddy time because I try to be out exercising before Jevan leaves for work.

Jane has also always wanted a bike and finally got one for her 3rd birthday. She loves to ride her bike too. We are still working on helping her to learn how to brake; any kind of hill completely freaks her out - she doesn't want to go too fast. But she's learning, and with a little practice, she'll be great. She is a pretty determined little thing and doesn't give up too easily. She mastered how to pump herself on a swing the other day, all by herself. She is really good at it now. I thought that was something kids didn't get until they were 5 or 6!!

Jane is a tender, loving little soul too. She is always telling me she loves me, (and Allie and Daddy) at random times throughout the day. It melts my heart. She is also always concerned for mine and other's well being. In fact, I have a good case in point that happened today. This morning, while I was waiting for her to be done with dance class, she suddenly opened the door and came out (halfway through dance class), put her hand on my shoulder, looked at me tenderly and said in her little pixie voice, "Mom? Are you okay out here?" I was stunned. "Um..yeah, Jane. I'm just fine...are you?" "Yup!" She said, and danced back into class. What the? The teacher looked out at me, just as surprised as I was that Jane had to suddenly leave class to check on her mom. Maybe she thinks I am going crazy and has to check on me every once in a while...I would too if I were her and had a mom like me!! Anyway, it was really sweet...and random. I think I am going to have to post that story, come to think of it.

Here are the other things Jane loves: all her cousins and spending time with them, making up her own little songs about the most random things, macaroni and cheese, strawberry milk (she wants pink milk at least 3 times a day), her teddy bear, helping me with the credit card machine at the store check out, CARS (she loves to put the keys in and pretend to drive, loves to push all the buttons, turn on all the overhead lights, put on the flashers and windshield wipers; she already knows how old she has to be to drive and will tell everyone, "I get to drive when I get to be big and sixteen!" She keeps hoping they will change the age to something more reasonable, like eight.), going to the park, going to nursery, and just being with people in general. She is just so social.

I love my girls...my little family! Jevan and I feel very content right now, I think! That's all I can think of for now....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

You know the party was a success when...

So Jane turned 3 last week. It was while Jevan was in Italy so we decided not to tell her it was her birthday until we were able to have him home and have a party. However, a sneaky nursery leader at my ward foiled all our plans and told Jane she already had her birthday. She was a little confused but ran out to meet me at the end of class yelling "Mom, Mom, I already HAD my birthday! I'm three and big enough! It was my birthday last night!" (for Jane, anything in the past was "last night." Lunch 3 hours ago was "last night".) How dare the nursery leader be honest and not let me deceive my own child!

So, anyway, we celebrated Jane's 3rd birthday with a bike parade at a nearby park. Despite my reservations, I think it turned out really fun. Here's why I think it was a success:

1. There were no bandaids used at any point and only a few tears shed over random decoration issues. No one was physically or psychologically damaged as far as I know. This is always good when it comes to toddler parties, no?

2. You had family and friends come from far and wide with their little ones. Our crazy friend Jim actually biked to the party with his kids. Mind you, he lives in Sugarhouse, over 70 blocks away. With a few stops, it took him 2 hours! We gave him one of the parade medals because he was so tough. I say they should start a Tour De Disneyland because I would enter Jim and he would win - with Lainey on her trailer bike. Sadly, we forgot to get a picture of them....

3. Gale force winds always make for good party. Gusts kept coming, sending everything and everyone flying. I think there were a couple incidents of people's pizza being picked up and blown into their face. We had to sing Jane's birthday song at light speed in hopes the little candles would stay lit for a mere second. Didn't happen. I also think there were more decorations spread across the park than on the bikes. Several people told Jevan they were disappointed that his wife would throw such an environmentally un-friendly party. I hung my head in shame, but on the bright side the birds will get to decorate their nest with lots of sparkly streamers...sometimes birds need a little bling, I always say...
4. The ever-amazing Andrea made the cake. Isn't it darling? Jevan's mom made the little biker Jane - the real Jane was actually wearing the exact outfit with her hair in pigtails! We had to keep watch over it during the party to protect it from little pokey fingers and fly by bits of the party blowing everywhere. Everyone liked eating it, but no one quite as much as Allie. NO ONE likes eating cake as much as Allie. In fact, if running the country involved lots of messy eating, I'd vote her in for president. She would be all about change - we could all run around wild with shaggy hair and eat 'till our tummies became little basketballs. Her foreign policy would involve everyone sharing their shoes and binkies with everyone else at all times. It would be a happy world. And maybe, just maybe, she too would be able to see Russia from her back yard.

5. A gaggle of kids on bikes playing kazoos. It cracked me up.

6. There were many times when Jane giggled in absolute pure joy. That definitely made the party for me.

(My sister-in-law, Beeca, made this for Jane..so cute!)

7. That night as we are brushing out her hair and getting ready for bed, Jane turns to me and says. "Mom, now I'm three. Someday I'll be ten and then I get to be a cow!" Wow. Keep those aspirations coming babe, even if they do involve bovine. A few minutes later she says again..."Mom, now I'm three....AFTER ALL!" said with an air of exasperation, like she is finally 3 after all she has had to put up with being 2 - like being 2 involved lots more than just learning sentences, potty training, and realizing that your little sister can be bribed if necessary - like it was the hardest year she has yet to go through. You did good, Jane. You made it through.

Jane rode her bike home from the party and as I walking behind her, I had one of those surreal moments when you can't believe this is your life, and the little girl, who is so big now, riding her first bike, is actually yours. Life is good to me and I am so lucky to have her.

Happy Birthday Janers! You are a clever, darling little thing that I absolutely adore.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I don't care who you are voting for...

but this is funny:

Tina Fey sounds exactly like Sarah Palin. I giggled, and boys aren't supposed to giggle.

From Italy, with love

I just got back from a little trip to Italy I did with Em's brother and some of his friends, and I started a blog as a way to help family members back home know what was going on and see some pictures of the places we'd been. In case anyone wants to take a peek, the url is http://geriatricgiro.blogspot.com.

In other news, Em is glad to have a husband home. I can't imagine why, I was only gone for 10 days. She's a complete and total rock-star and I'm incredibly lucky to have a wife that gives me the green light to go on a trip like this. I love you babe!

Yes, Em is a rock star. Now if only I could get her to wear this outfit...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wrappin' up summer..

So I am in a sad spot right now. We just came home from a trip to California and I realized it is the end of any and all planned trips, and pretty much the end of the summer. How did that happen? I know we have lots of warm weather still ahead of us, but all of our adventures are mostly over. I guess I have been pretty spoiled this summer, always having something to look forward to. All I have to look forward to is the ward campout (which we are in charge of so it makes it more work than fun) and in September, 10 days all alone while Jevan is out of the country. Bleh. I probably sound like such a whiner but I can't help myself. So to cheer me up, I'm posting a bunch of pictures from this month that make me happy.

My dear friend Elisa came into town a few weeks ago and we were able to spend time with her up at her ranch house in East Canyon. It was so fun to be with her, Marie and Marisa and all our little ones. We were quite the group. It was very chaotic but really fun.

Elisa & Nat

Jane sharing her many pairs of beloved sunglasses with Noah.

We made it to the pond!

The whole crew of kids..it was a miracle we got this shot.

Allison's "don't mess with me" face...

Jevan's summer work party up at Snowbird. Jane LOVED the alpine slide and riding up on the ski lift.
Have I mentioned Jane is obsessed with sunglasses?


Doesn't get better than face painting and balloons...

A hike up near Alta in Albion Basin to see the wildflowers:
Allie the drunken hiker

Allison trying to keep up with Jane.

True trouble...

Giggle fit...

The flowers were really pretty but it's hard to tell in our pictures...

And finally, California. Last weekend we went to Newport Beach to Jevan's cousin Cameron's (the groom) wedding. Jane and Allison were flower girls, along with their cousins, Hazel and Chloe. We went with Jevan's sisters and had such a blast.

The reception was held in backyard in a town outside of Newport and it was a picture out of a fairytale, seriously one of the most amazing yards I have ever seen. It had a pool made to look like a mountain pool, complete with rock waterslide...a covered dance floor, a huge willow tree with tables and benches underneath, pathways through fruit trees, ponds with fish connected by a bridge, and even had a rabbit that made it's home there and nibbled at the grass at our feet from time to time. The huge attraction for the kids was an amazing playhouse - one that looked like a house down to the tiniest detail such as a doorbell, wooden shutters, mailbox and a working light on the outside by the door. Inside there was a complete little kitchen, living room with couches and a TV and a loft that several kids could sleep in. Needless to say, they stayed in there through the whole reception.

We also hit the beach while we were there and once again, the kids were in heaven. They played so hard, jumping in waves, building huge sand pits, even making pans of sand lasagna (we could not find beach toys ANYWHERE! Weird huh? We had to resort to buying kitchen utensils and pans for them to play with...). Jane loved spending time with her cousins and I had a great time with Jevan's family. We were all in the same hotel with rooms right next to each other and so at night, after the kids were in bed, we would play games until all hours. Such a fun trip!!

A rare moment when Allison wasn't running wild or busy being tired and angry.

Jane as a flower girl

Flower girls with Cameron's new bride. Hazel and Chloe, Jane and Allie's darling cousins, are on the right.
Crazy that these kids are cousins, huh?
In Jevan's family all the kids are either the "black hairs" or the "white hairs".

Allison checking out the amazing playhouse...

Beach day!!

Jane burying herself in the pit...

Jane and her cousin Calvin.They are only 3 weeks apart and together they are darling (most of the time :)).