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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Christmas Fun Mingled with Sickness

It's almost Christmas! I can't believe a whole month of EM asking how many more days until it's here has gone by so quickly. We have been trying to enjoy this Christmas season, and pack in all the fun we can. My pregnant body can only take so much, but we've done pretty well...at least on the days that my stomach hasn't been queasy. I have some ailment that seems to strike every other day or so. Or perhaps I've been consuming too much junk and my body is simply revolting. Either way it has been less than pleasant, what with the churning innards in addition to an especially active and kicking baby girl in my womb. Though it hasn't really prevented me from sampling (in excess) the caramels and toffee and chocolate sent our way.
We've made and delivered gifts of apple butter, or apple pie filling, or popcorn to neighbors and friends. We've decorated a gingerbread house. CW and I have attended the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert with my parents and one of my sisters and one of my brothers - CW and I do not do well in situations of traffic/parking chaos - just a note to self for future marital harmony. It was a wonderful evening aside from the near end to our marriage trying to navigate through traffic in downtown Salt Lake City with thousands of people trying to get to a Tabernacle Choir concert, a Utah Jazz game, and/or a Nutcracker performance. We've sledded down the hill in our backyard. Even I joined in the fun and took LuV down a couple times - I am hoping none of the neighbors witnessed the spectacle of a very pregnant woman in capri yoga pants and knock-off Ugg boots (with at least 3-4 inches of bare leg) trying not to slam herself and her two-year-old daughter into the back of her brick home. EM did end up in a window well at one point, and she quickly learned to have her feet in position to slow herself down near the bottom of the hill. We've made Christmas cards for grandmas and grandpas and Primary teachers and preschool teachers. We've braved the store to buy gifts for each other - EM for LuV, and LuV for EM, and the girls for mommy and daddy. We've attended the ward party, which was a ride on the Polar Express, and I've never seen EM so giddy in all my life, plus LuV is happy anytime she gets to wear pajamas! We've seen the movie The Princess and the Frog, and I now know that movies are best when watched at the theater with your four-year-old daughter and a bucket of popcorn and a Sprite for her and her sister and a Diet Coke for me and my hubby. Except I could have done without LuV rolling around on the floor of the movie theater. We've done a sub for Santa for a family in our ward. I hope the girls understood at least in part what we were doing and why...EM was extremely upset that the little girl would get to open her gifts before Christmas, while she had to wait until Christmas morning. I informed her that this little girl had a mommy, too, and that moms make you wait until Christmas morning to open presents, and instantly everything was right with the world again. Another note to self: if you're trying to be anonymous, don't put all the food and gifts into boxes that have been shipped to you and clearly have your name and address printed on them. We tried to play stupid...because really, how much more stupid could I be, but I don't think they bought our "I don't know what you're talking about - we had nothing to do with it" act. We've had Grandma and Grandpa over for dinner. We've colored Christmas pictures and read Christmas stories. We've been to Grandma and Grandpa's house for a party complete with Santa Claus. We didn't get around to building a snowman, because the thought of rolling large snowballs in temperatures in the teens was not something I was willing to do, even for my daughters. We still need to set a Christ-centered goal for our family for the New Year. We are planning to go see the lights at Temple Square tomorrow. We started to read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and we may or may not finish it...probably on the drive to Grandma and Grandpa's house on Christmas Day. We still need to have a nice Christmas Eve dinner and have a toast with our fancy martini glasses. We still need to read the story of Christ's birth from the New Testament, and reflect on why we love and celebrate this magical time of year.
It's been a great month - stomach issues and all. I love this time of year. I love that I finally have a child who is old enough to eagerly anticipate Christmas. Her eyes visibly light up when she talks about it - not just the presents and Santa Claus, but when she tells me about baby Jesus and who He is and what He means to her. Christmas has never been so GOOD as it has been this year. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that the New Year is a happy one.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Fun

On the first day of Christmas we drank hot cocoa and watched Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Actually CW and the girls did this, since I had a Relief Society meeting to attend...

On the second day of Christmas we made sugar cookies - great big star sugar cookies decorated with sprinkles. This was mainly EM's and my project...LuV got bored quickly. I tried not to let the perfectionist in me ruin the moment, since I was taking these cookies for refreshments at our Young Women activity that evening and was hoping they wouldn't look like a 4-year-old had made them, even though she had...

On the third day of Christmas we made applesauce/cinnamon ornaments to take to neighbors - a very similar activity to the day before...great big stars cut out of dough made of cinnamon and applesauce. What a mess! They smell good and are still drying out in the basement, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that they turn out...

On the fourth day of Christmas we were supposed to attend the Festival of Trees to see our friend's beautiful tree, but EM woke up running to the bathroom to puke. Fortunately she made it to the toilet and that was the only incident, but we figured it would be best to stay indoors, so instead we painted EM's toenails and fingernails. Poor LuV was too tired and wanted to go to bed (there seems to be a common theme of LuV missing out on all the fun)...

On the fifth day of Christmas we went to the Festival of Trees, and once we found a parking space and CW calmed down a bit from the parking lot mayhem we enjoyed looking at all the pretty trees. EM especially loved the pink, girly ones. LuV's only interest was a carousel carved out of wood with all the Disney princesses riding the horses. We had to go back for a second look just for her...



On the sixth day of Christmas we built a fire in the fireplace and watched the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional on KBYU. We were supposed to sing our own Christmas carols around the fire, but since CW has to plug his ears to block me out when we sing for Family Home Evening, I figured it best not to torture him too much. We sang along to the third verse of "Silent Night" with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so technically, mission accomplished...

More Christmas fun hopefully to come.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

100 Things for Which I Am Thankful

1 Beautiful Daughters, 2 a GOOD Book, 3 Spaghetti, 4 Friends, 5 a Home, 6 Health, 7 Jesus Christ, 8 a Husband Who Provides for His Family, 9 Smiles, 10 GOOD Food, 11 Girls' Night Out, 12 Sisters, 13 the Gospel, 14 Fruit Trees, 15 Psych - the TV Show, 16 Serving in Young Women with Great Girls, 17 Seasons, 18 Freedom, 19 Intelligence, 20 Neighbors, 21 Romantic Comedies, 22 Being Able to Feel My Baby Move, 23 Holidays and Reasons to Celebrate, 24 an Education, 25 Parents, 26 New Clothes, 27 Dancing Shows, 28 Stubbornness, 29 Laughter, 30 Diet Coke, 31 Blogs, 32 a Car, 33 Brothers, 34 Chocolate, 35 Grandparents, 36 Soup, 37 an Opinion, 38 Hugs & Kisses, 39 Hearing LuV say "Hey You" to Me, 40 My Bed, 41 Vacations, 42 8 Hours of Continuous Sleep, 43 Compliments, 44 a Clean House, 45 In-Laws, 46 No Laundry, 47 EM and LuV Being Friends, 48 Dreams, 49 Feeling the Spirit, 50 Love, 51 Flowers, 52 Surprises, 53 Forgiveness, 54 GOOD Days, 55 Clean Teeth, 56 Exercise, 57 Fires in Fireplaces, 58 Music, 59 Patience when I Need it, 60 Haircuts, 61 Indoor Plumbing, 62 when EM Listens, 63 a Trip to the Store without Kids, 64 My Kitchen, 65 Photographs, 66 Quiet Moments, 67 Internet Shopping, 68 PBS Kids, 69 the Temple, 70 Comments on My Blog, 71 Service, 72 Contact Lenses, 73 When CW Comes Home, 74 $5 Pizzas, 75 Weekends Free of Any Obligations, 76 Games, 77 a Prophet, 78 Phone Calls from Loved Ones, 79 Talented and Inspiring People in the World, 80 Coming Home after Being Gone, 81 Disney Movies, 82 Bedtime, 83 Babysitters, 84 Canning and Food Storage, 85 Fresh Baked Bread, 86 Missionaries, 87 a Child's Prayer, 88 a Dry Night - without Bed-Wetting, 89 the Smell of Clean Kids after Their Bath, 90 Lessons Learned, 91 "Please" & "Thank You," 92 Water, 93 the End of 9 Months of Pregnancy, 94 Bonus Checks, 95 an Uninterrupted Shower, 96 Lotion, 97 Time, 98 Hope, 99 Ideas, 100 the Opportunity to Stay at Home and Be a Mother

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blogging Blahs

If you hadn't noticed I've struggled with the whole blogging thing in recent months. And considering that my blog is just over a year old, that indicates I've pretty much struggled with the whole blogging thing from day one. I want to blog. I want to want to blog. But lately I don't really want to do much of anything. My attitude reeks worse than the sour milk LuV spilled into some unreachable crevasse of the car. I don't really like who I am right now. My hormones are out of control. Seriously. One night I sobbed until my pillow was drenched and I'd run out of reasons to pity my poor, sorry self. I went to sleep feeling like a pathetic loser, not unaware that I was acting very much like a high school version of myself. A time when my self esteem couldn't even be detected under a microscope. A time when I loathed just about everything, and myself most of all. These days are not at all unlike those days. And I really don't want to blog about how self-absorbed and insecure I am right now. I don't want people to know what kind of a person I REALLY am, and I especially don't need to be reminded of this pitiful chapter in my life, especially when it's a repeat, and perhaps a common theme throughout my life.

And that, my friends, is why I am a bad blogger. I am essentially a fortress when it comes to most people. You've heard of walls? I've surrounded myself with them. So what possessed me to start publishing what I think and feel on the world-wide web? It's insane how much stress it causes me. Every post I agonize over, wondering what people will think, not only of my words, but of ME! I don't want to sugar-coat my life. I don't want to write about how my children are perfect (or at least better than yours) and I don't want to write about how every day is filled with fabulous, creative, educational, super-entertaining activities, because I'm super mom (that would be blatant lies). But I also don't want to write about my actual day-to-day frustrations and feelings of inadequacy. Life as a stay-at-home wife and mother does not come easily for me....it is not my dream job, and I'm not a natural at it. When I started my blog I wanted to write about the GOOD things in my life, so I would enjoy them more, and so I could look back and remember that life was and continues to be GOOD. Lately I haven't felt a lot of GOODness....It's there, I just need to be better about recognizing it.

And next time I feel an anxiety attack coming on when I sit down to write a post, I need to find the GOOD and forget the rest. So....one GOOD thing I finished today was a project I started with my mom and sisters and sisters-in-law a couple weeks ago. It's an advent calendar made out of a muffin tin. The 24 days until Christmas are made with scrapbook paper and embellishments glued to a magnet to cover the muffin cups. Each day the girls can take off a magnet to find a little treat along with some sort of Christmas-y activity or project or service for that day. Here's hoping that I can get my stinky attitude in check and enjoy the holidays, at least for the girls' sake. Otherwise I might need to check myself into a mental institution until this baby is born - a little medication and even a straight jacket and a padded room doesn't sound too bad right about now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Week

Sunday: CW left for meetings at 9:00 am. I tried to keep the girls "properly" entertained, got them fed and dressed and ready for church at 1:00 pm. Survived three hours of church. Made dinner - Honey Salsa Chicken with Rice and Apple Salad. Headed south to visit CW's parents, bringing apples from our trees and homemade Fruit Dip.

Monday: Cleaned house...all day long, because for some reason the house falls apart on the weekends and it was a disaster. Made dinner - Roasted Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Had Family Home Evening or attempted to do so. Made Apple Crisp for dessert. CW tried to fix sprinklers (it's October, shouldn't we be done working on our stupid sprinklers by now?!). Did laundry.

Tuesday: Took EM to preschool. Picked up EM from preschool. Went to the store to purchase materials for Young Women's. Had EM's and LuV's friends over to play. Made a poster for Young Women's. Went to EM's soccer game. Made dinner - Tacos and leftover Apple Salad. Normally CW would be at meetings all night, but luckily he didn't have to go...or he ditched. EM wet the bed and slept in bed with me the rest of the night, which resulted in very little sleep for me and a delightful head butt first thing the next morning.

Wednesday: Woke up grumpy. Made the mistake of bringing the girls to the ultrasound. Had ultrasound...baby looks healthy. Big surprise (for us at least) baby is a girl! Took the girls to see where daddy works. Saw daddy's cubicle. Got Happy Meals for the girls for lunch on the way home. LuV fell asleep in the car and had a 15 minute nap for the day. Made dinner - Manicotti and Green Beans. Went to Young Women's.

Thursday: Took EM to preschool. Drove too far to get grapes for canning juice. Went to Park Day and enjoyed beautiful weather and visiting with other moms. Went to EM's last (hallelujah!) soccer practice. Ran to the grocery store to pick up four items. Made dinner - Tortilla Soup and Green Salad. Went to watch Young Women play volleyball. Did laundry.

Friday (in anticipation): Visiting Teachers coming. Laundry. Maybe work on lesson for Young Women's on Sunday. Probably not. Attend 40th birthday party for a friend (hopefully he doesn't read this blog, because it's a surprise). Can grape juice. Lots and lots of grape juice. Not make dinner. Leave girls with a babysitter for a couple hours. Make dessert to take to party.

Saturday (also in anticipation): Attend Super Saturday for Relief Society. Definitely prepare lesson for Sunday. Make dinner. Hopefully do a fun autumny activity with CW and the girls - perhaps a pumpkin patch or corn maze. Prepare to do it all over again the next week.


It's been one of those weeks. I'm burned out. Grumpy. Tired. In a rut. Looking for a change in the monotony. Wishing for some "me" time and knowing that it never truly comes anymore. If I were a better person I would be grateful for the GOOD things - that CW was home Tuesday night, that we've had beautiful weather to enjoy, that I have oodles of apples at my disposal, that I have a healthy baby girl inside of me, that I made dinner every night this week (which is a huge accomplishment for me these days). But instead I'm wishing for a simpler life with less meetings and less scheduling and less cleaning and less laundry and less errand-running. That is what I'll be dreaming of tonight - that and grape juice. Good night.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What to Say

It's been so long, and yet I'm still feeling uninspired and unmotivated to blog. But I'm so embarrassed that the last thing I posted about was the American Idol winner. As if my life holds no more value now that the show is over. How pathetic that would be if that were true. I have So You Think You Can Dance to get me through until American Idol starts again. Just kidding....really, I'm not seriously that obsessed or pathetic.

It's been a typical summer. EM has been busy with gymnastics and swim lessons and now soccer practice. She is really thriving, and it makes me proud (and just a little bit sad) to see her growing up. As always she is my stubborn little mule, and while I love her dearly, there are days I want to lock her in her room forever....or at least until she learns some decent manners.

My sweet LuV is also growing up. She is a chatterbox, and now that we successfully cut her off from her binkies she has all sorts of things to say. She imitates everything her big sister says/does, which is pretty cute most of the time. Except when she says things like, "Just go away, Mom." Which in her adorable little 22-month-old voice is pretty hard to take seriously, but still....I'm not a fan of the sass she's picked up from her "role model".

We've played in the water and dirt and with chalk and with friends. We've ridden bikes and basically just enjoyed good weather, when Mother Nature was kind enough to bless us with it. It's been a crazy summer weather-wise. My girls spent a week at my Mom and Dad's while I survived Girls Camp. I think that was the highlight of their summer.

I started out the summer waking up early to go running. I was doing it pretty faithfully, and was feeling GOOD about myself, but that only lasted a few weeks. Now I roll out of bed when my girls do...Maybe next summer I'll do better. My windows need a washing in a bad way. My house has been sorely neglected. I've let my laundry pile up, which I NEVER let myself do. Some nights my girls eat Ramen noodles for dinner. My summer has consisted of laying on the couch doing as little as possible.

Yes, I am lazy beyond belief. But in my defense I am also 11-weeks pregnant. I am hoping to regain some usefulness in the next week or two, but not making any promises. We (meaning hubby and I) are a little freaked out by the prospect of being outnumbered. I suppose we'll figure it out as we go. CW needs a son, so send the boy vibes this way. Although I'm pretty comfortable in the girl department and wouldn't mind just keeping the status quo. And yet, a little less emotion and drama would also be nice. See how useless I am? I can't even make up my mind. A useless flake is what I've become.

And poor CW has to live with me through it all. He's a keeper, that CW. Patient and hard-working and a lifesaver for the girls. One example of what he has to put up with: he bought a puppy for himself for Father's Day. And then six weeks later when I clearly couldn't handle one more responsibility on my plate, he sold the puppy. He did it for me, his useless, flaky wife. And that about sums up our summer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who Do You Love?

There's this little reality TV show some of you may have heard of called American Idol. I have been addicted this season. I'm not sure why, some seasons spark my interest more than others. And this go-around...I'm borderline obsessed. And I have thunk until my thunker hurts about all this "controversy" surrounding Adam Lambert. I read an article the other day on msnbc.com about whether the show is ready for a gay winner. Now, Adam has not disclosed his sexuality, so why was there an entire article on a major news website discussing whether or not America is ready for a gay winner of American Idol? I don't know, that's why I'm asking you. It bothers me....last year when the competition was down to the two Davids I didn't see any articles about whether the country was prepared to vote for its first Mormon American Idol. Why does his sexuality even have to be an issue? And because I don't like Adam Lambert I am a bigot or homophobe or close-minded or you come up with a word you'd like to call me. Bring it.

I am baffled by how much people love this guy. What's there to love? I'll admit he's got a GOOD voice, even a great voice, when he actually sings. But....every....single....song....he has to do that scream. I guess in the music world they call it falsetto, but it is about as pleasant to me as listening to fingernails on a chalkboard. I do not like it. And then there's him....Adam. My 14- and 15-year-old Mia Maids adore him. My sister-in-law is a huge fan. And there are oodles and oodles and oodles of others out there who think he's the greatest thing to happen to American Idol. Kara DioGuardi had it right on when she called Adam "sleazy." I look at him and he is everything I do not want my children to be. This has nothing to do with his alleged sexual preference. It has everything to do with his self-absorption, his smugness, his fakeness, his absolute sleaziness.

I know American Idol is about singing, and if you think Adam Lambert has the better voice, vote for him. I personally think he's an actor, a chameleon, and a fake. He'd be fun to see on Broadway, but if I had to listen to him in my car I think I would find myself swerving into oncoming traffic to put myself out of my misery.

I like Kris. Surprise, surprise. I like his humility. I like that he seems like an all-around GOOD guy. I like his voice and his music and his style. I think he's more talented, but less experienced than Adam. If Kris were gay, but still the same Kris that I see on TV, I'd still like him. As much as I currently like him. If Kris had pictures of himself doing distasteful things with anyone, male or female, on the Internet; if he was obsessed with himself and his looks; if he acted like he was the greatest thing since peanut butter, then my opinion of him would lessen. I don't know Kris - all I know is what I see. But if I had to choose an "idol" for my kids (and myself) to look up to, hands down I choose Kris over Adam. Apparently America sees it quite differently, and maybe I'm more old-fashioned than I realized.

I don't know who will win.....the odds are pointing to Adam, and since one definition of idol is "a form or appearance visible but without substance," then I'll concede. Adam definitely is worthy of the title, because I can't think of anyone more visible, yet with so little substance.

Take That, Swine Flu

CW and I had planned a backpacking trip to Havasupai Falls. My husband went with some buddies back in his former life, before there was me, and he hasn't stopped talking about it since. I was excited to go, if for no other reason than to remind myself that I can still do fun and adventurous things like I used to before I became a mommy of two. Well, as pandemics like the swine flu can be very scary things, the tribal council decided to close the falls in order to protect the community. Too bad the whole swine flu thing was ridiculously overblown. But I don't think my little phone call asking if they were serious and if maybe they'd like to reconsider opening it back up did a whole lot of GOOD. Oh well, their loss.

And Moab's gain. CW's sister and her husband were planning on accompanying us on our trip, and they decided not to let the swine flu stop them from having some fun and seeing some beautiful scenery. Too bad when CW's sister told me to keep my babysitter for that weekend it didn't actually register. I really was smart before I had children. So, last Friday we ventured to Moab, with our two girls, to enjoy a weekend with the ADULTS from my husband's side of the family. My girls thought they were pretty special, being the only kids. They actually behaved themselves splendidly, and I loved having them with us.

Grandma and Grandpa brought the four-wheelers, and we spent several hours on a couple different trails soaking in the beauty and the sun. I couldn't believe LuV didn't scream the entire time, but when she wasn't zonked out sandwiched between Grandma and Grandpa, she was shouting, "Whee!" sandwiched between CW and me. And EM had the time of her life "driving" the four-wheeler (which meant she got to sit in front) with Grandpa.

We hiked to Delicate Arch, and EM was a trooper! She walked more than I thought she would, and thank GOODness we had Super Aunt C to save the day when she needed a piggy-back ride. It was a fun, fun, fun vacation with GOOD company, GOOD food, GOOD scenery, and as far as I can tell, absolutely no swine flu outbreaks.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Broccoli Salad


EM helped me make broccoli salad for dinner. It’s one of CW’s favorites.

2 bunches broccoli tops
½ red onion, chopped
½ lb crisp bacon, crumbled
grated cheddar cheese
grapes, halved
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp vinegar
¼ cup sugar

I chopped broccoli while EM gnawed on it like a beaver chomping on a log. EM wanted to know if she liked “purple onions” so she tried a piece. It made her eyes and tongue burn, but she was still determined to eat it. I was proud of her for trying something new, even if she wasn’t able to eat it all. I cooked the bacon in the microwave, because it is so much easier that way, and then let LuV and EM share a slice. EM blew on the bacon for her little sister even though it wasn’t hot. LuV has two mommies. I grated cheese and EM asked why I was putting cheese in the salad. I halved the grapes and EM stole grapes as she stole glances at me, making sure she wasn’t in trouble. I put the mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar into a bowl and EM stirred it all together until it was smooth and creamy. We tossed everything together and put it in the fridge until it was time for dinner. CW had several helpings, and literally licked his plate.

A Homemade Life

This was a birthday gift from my husband. He told me, “The book made me think of you.” I love it, and I took it as a compliment that a book about cooking and a life with the kitchen at its center reminded him of me. Let me peak your interest, or perhaps bore you to tears, depending on your relationship with the kitchen, with the first couple paragraphs.

“It started when I was a freshman in high school. We’d be sitting at the kitchen table, the three of us, eating dinner, when my father would lift his head from his plate and say it: ‘You know, we eat better at home than most people do in restaurants.’ Sometimes, for good measure, he’d slap the table and let loose a long ooooh of contentment. It didn’t seem to matter what we were eating. It could have been some sliced tomatoes, or a bowl of mashed potatoes, or some fish that he’d fried in a pat of butter. At least every couple of weeks, he said it. To me, it sounded like tacky bragging, the kind of proud exaggeration that fathers specialize in. It’s the suburban man’s equivalent of ripping open his shirt and beating his chest with his fists. I would shrink into my chair, blushing hotly, the moment it crossed the threshold of his lips. I was mortified by the weird pleasure he took in our family meal. After a while, I could even sense it coming. I’d mouth the words before he could say them: You know, we eat better at home than most people do in restaurants!

“But now I’m old enough to admit that he was right. It’s not that we knew how to cook especially well, or that we always ate food that was particularly GOOD. There were hot dogs sometimes, and cans of baked beans. Our garlic came in a jar, minced and ready, and our butter was known to go rancid. What was so satisfying, I think, was something else. It was the steady rhythm of meeting in the kitchen every night, sitting down at the table, and sharing a meal. Dinner didn’t come through a swinging door, balanced on the arm of an anonymous waiter: it was something that we made together. We built a life for ourselves, together around that table. And although I couldn’t admit it then, my father was showing me, in his pleasure and in his pride, how to live it: wholly, hungrily, loudly.”

Blueberry-Raspberry Pound Cake; Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille; Italian Grotto Eggs; Doron’s Meatballs with Pine Nuts, Cilantro, and Golden Raisins; Cider-Glazed Salmon; Slow-Roasted Tomato Pesto; Arugula Salad with Pistachios and Chocolate…and so many more! I can't wait to try these recipes.

Granted I have no idea what kirsch is, and I don’t know if my local grocery store carries crystallized ginger, and more than one recipe calls for bourbon or other such alcoholic beverages, and I’m not certain how my little girls feel about eggplant or salmon or feta, but I’m undaunted by the task. My cooking exploits are about to get a bit more adventurous – and I’m eager to broaden my kitchen repertoire!

My husband has expressed similar sentiments when we contemplate eating out… “We could go out, but your cooking is so GOOD, it’s better than any restaurant.” Many of you may share my love-hate relationship with cooking. I love to cook, when I want to cook. I don’t always enjoy the day-to-day necessity of fixing dinner, especially after a long day with the kids. I hate coming up with a weekly menu, but I love making something delicious for someone to enjoy. I love when EM says to me, “Mommy, this is GOOD.” I love to see EM’s eyes widen when she sees a plate of strawberry shortcake piled high with whipped cream. I love LuV’s barely contained excitement when she knows it’s feeding time. I love when CW nearly licks his plate clean after eating broccoli salad. I love to see empty plates and full tummies. I love little hands pouring and stirring and helping and tasting. I love the kitchen, and I guess that’s why I love this book.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Birthday Love

EM and LuV,

For my birthday you both woke up extra early because you didn't want to waste a second of my special day.

You were needy and fussy all day long because you wanted me to know how much I am needed and appreciated.

EM, you burst into tears for no apparent reason and told me, quite passionately I might add, that I had hurt your feelings because you were trying to tell me that you care very dearly what I think of you and say to you and do for you.

LuV, your two-year molars have been causing you, and therefore all of us, a great deal of pain. You asked me for medicine, in your adorable little 19-month-old voice, because you wanted me to recognize that I have a remarkable ability to comfort.

EM, you asked me why none of my friends were coming to my party because you wanted me to understand that I don’t need any more friends than my wonderful husband and two precious daughters.

EM, you threw several toys at me when I asked you to turn off Ice Age so I could watch American Idol because you were teaching me a lesson – just because it’s someone’s birthday and just because someone is older than you does not mean that they get to do whatever they want. (Actually, sometimes it does, even though it doesn't seem fair.)

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday gifts!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day


Sometimes I feel like I've failed as a mother. Sometimes I lose my patience, I don’t spend enough quality time with my children, I handle a situation poorly, I say “no” too many times in a day, I don’t teach them enough, I don’t love them enough. I’m not, I don’t. Sometimes I compare myself to others. Sometimes I try too hard. Sometimes I don’t try at all. Sometimes I’m overly sensitive to what others think of me. Sometimes I base my worth on someone else’s value of me. Sometimes I say mean things. Sometimes I don’t like what I see in the mirror. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I don’t have my priorities straight. Sometimes my house is beyond untidy. Sometimes I’m not a very good friend. Sometimes I’m selfish. Sometimes I beat myself up because I will never be GOOD enough.

Sometimes women are too hard on themselves. I hope you gave yourself a break on Mother’s Day and acknowledge all the GOOD you do. You deserve it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not So Subtle


To CW,

I made a mistake - early on in our marriage when I was naive and assumed you should know me well enough to be able to read my mind. I told you that some special occasion (such as Valentine's Day or my birthday or our anniversary) was not a "big deal" and you didn't need to do anything special. And you believed me. You must have been relieved to find that I, like you, found it silly and unnecessary to make a big deal on these days. I have since learned that you are a low-key, low maintenance kind of guy who does not care for such hoopla when said events involve you. Well, I was severely disappointed when nothing was done in celebration for whatever occasion I had told you not to worry about celebrating. Just in case you haven't realized after 7 years of marriage...I like to celebrate, I like to make a big deal, and I like to perhaps go a bit overboard. I will never throw you a surprise party. I will never invite the neighborhood over for cake and ice cream when you turn a year older. I will never buy you a gift without being 100% certain you will approve. But for your benefit, here are a few items on my "wish list." In the next month we will celebrate Mother's Day, my birthday, and our anniversary, hint, hint, hint.

1. A dress from here.

2. This phone.

3. A vacuum (or maybe one a little less pricey...)


5. A haircut and/or pedicure so I can look like her.

6. Dinner and a movie with you as my date.

7. This, or this, or this.

8. Something from here.

9. A bench for our bare wall.

I know that was a little "indulgent" as Simon Cowell would say, but just so long as you remember and do something to make it a special day, I'll be happy. I love you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Growing Up


Four years, one week, and one day. Four Christmases. Four summers playing in the sun. Four birthdays. One presidential election, and a new president. Two Olympic games. One move to Idaho and one move back. Four "homes." One night in the hospital, connected to an IV. One vacation to Alaska and one to Yellowstone. One baby sister. Twelve cousins born. One new aunt. One first step, first word, first tooth, first day of preschool, first day of Primary, first prayer. Countless stories, songs, pushes on the swing, visits to Grandma and Grandpa's, play dates, trips to the zoo or park or library, walks, hugs, kisses, laughs, smiles, tears, runny noses, changes of clothes, messes, memories. Two beautiful bluish-gray eyes, one button nose, one smile that melts my heart, two arms with two hands, two legs with two feet, one perfect, healthy body, one smart little head finally covered in wavy, blonde hair. Four years, one week, and one day ago my life changed forever. I became a mother.

EM was a week late. Her tardy entry into this world was only the beginning - an indication that EM will always do things in her time, when she is GOOD and ready. And to expect anything else will only lead to disappointment and frustration on all sides. She is stubborn, or in the words of her preschool teacher, "she knows what she wants." And does things her way. A Church teacher once told me that when EM starts school she will be the type of student who will listen to the instructions given and then promptly do the assignment the way EM wants to do it. I have grown to love this about my oldest daughter. I have learned to not worry when she doesn't do things I expect her to do. I have forced myself not to force (or at least to try not to force). She will make friends when she's ready, she will get over her fear of being in front of people when she's ready, she will let me put "pretties" in her hair when she's ready, she will wear something other than her favorite pair of jeans when she's ready, she will become a mamma's girl when she's ready. And she will start kindergarten before I'm ready, she will become more and more independent before I'm ready, she will continue to grow and become a big girl before I'm ready to let go of my baby girl.

As I look at this girl, I wish I could slow down time. How can she possibly be four already?! Another four years and she'll be baptized. An accountable child, capable of knowing right from wrong. Hopefully making GOOD choices. She wants to be big, and I want her to stay little. Four years, one week, and one day my life has been filled with love for a child. My child.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Oh, the Madness!


I love this time of year. Not only is the ground completely 100% free of snow - which means the girls and I have spent oodles of time outside today, playing, walking, riding bikes, basking in the 50-degree weather, and this evening we actually tilled our garden - but even better than all that....it's time for my secret passion - tall men, sweaty men, in shorts. MARCH MADNESS! I am a huge fan, which is total madness, because I do not watch a single college basketball game during the regular season. But come tournament time I am obsessed. It's those darn brackets. The whole thing is madness - agonizing for days over which team will win each and every game, trying to predict the upsets, and knowing when to play it safe - as if I'm some sort of basketball expert.

I watch every game I possibly can - with intensity, loving every minute of it. Perhaps it's the competitive side of me coming out - needing my bracket to trample every other member of my family's. It has never happened, but every year I have high hopes (it's seriously a fantasy of mine) that somehow, clueless as I am, I will pick the winning bracket. The bracket of all brackets. A bracket that will win me money and prizes and maybe a guest appearance on the Today show, so I could meet Matt Lauer. Or maybe it's just that this is a family tradition - something my family has always enjoyed doing together - whether we're actually at the games or not. Maybe it was actually attending those 1st and 2nd round games that got me hooked. Some of those games were unbelievable. What memories - being there in person where the excitement and energy was palpable! Whatever the reason, that feeling is in the air again.

When I heard the news that my alma mater would be playing their first games in Boise, I immediately started searching for tickets. How much fun it would be to see them play! I was sorely tempted, but....tickets are more pricey than I hoped they would be, and there are so many other things on my "wish list" that I can't really justify the splurge. But, I will be watching and cheering and wishing I was there in person, because nothing is better than watching an incredible upset. So, family of mine, it's on. Who will the winner be this year? My bracket is finally complete - I vowed I wouldn't change it again. We'll see if I can really resist the urge.

I'm feeling GOOD. This just may be my year....my lucky year. If I say that every year - one of these years it may actually be true! The victory will be that much more sweet when I come out of nowhere to defeat all you trash talkers. And you'll be jealous when Matt asks me how I came to be so knowledgeable about filling out brackets. Okay, so technically I just talked a teensy-weensy ounce of smack, but really....compared to what the rest of you all are saying to each other, that was nothing. I'm so ready for my yearly basketball fix. Go Aggies!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Grow Spring!


Yesterday I pulled out the Easter decorations. Eggs in pastels and flowers of yellow and white. Once our home was filled with the colors of spring I decided to pull out the girls' warm weather clothes. I needed to take inventory - see what we had and what "needed" to be purchased. I must say, the sorting of capris and shorts and tees and tanks and swimsuits and sun hats and flip flops and sandals did nothing GOOD to my severe case of spring fever. EM spent the day in a in a blue sundress with big red flowers and orange capris underneath - as if she could will springtime to stay.

How I anticipate springtime after a long, cold, snowy winter. She is such a tease, promising to come, only to grace us with her presence in brief bits of sunshine and warmth. Springtime, this household is ready to welcome you with open arms (and shorts and tee-shirts and flip flops). Come and stay a while. Give us days in the park, and picnics, and bike rides, and walks without jackets. Let us come out of our hiding. No more arranged play dates. I want to look out my window and see the neighborhood kids playing while their mothers read books or weed gardens. I want to join them. For me, and mine, please come soon, and don't go away.

As I sit here, watching the snow fall, covering the ground that was bare just hours earlier, I fear that I'll have to wait longer than I'd like.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bipolar


Happy.... Upset.... Laughing.... Yelling.... Princess.... Ogre.... Obedient.... Stubborn.... Helpful.... Demanding.... Hugging.... Hitting.... Sweet... Nasty.... Snuggling.... Fighting.... Pleasant.... Whining.... Fun.... Miserable.... Playing.... Crying.... "I Love You".... "You're Not Being My Girl".... Sharing.... Teasing.... Grateful.... Taking.... Please and Thank You.... DO IT NOW....!

Life with EM is a roller coaster of emotions.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I Am


Remember report cards and grades and finals and semesters and all that stuff related to quantifying your performance in school? I miss that. It was my regular dose of affirmation and approval. My way of knowing that I was doing something right. That I was above average. I need that now. Badly.

I have never failed anything....ever. Not a test, not an assignment, and certainly not a class. I was the type of student that was disappointed with a "B." So it's a little troubling that my current performance in my current endeavors is less than satisfactory. I may even be failing. Miserably. Actually, it's not so much failing. My report card would be dotted with "I's." "I" for incomplete....or it could just as easily stand for incompetent, insufficient, imperfect, inadequate....This is not sitting well with me. I much prefer straight "A's."

My abilities as a wife, mother, housekeeper, homemaker, peacemaker, chef, teacher, leader, example, nurturer....and so on and so forth....are incomplete. I am not doing enough, of this I am sure. Tell me, how does one know what is GOOD enough without a handy little report card at the end of the term?

I thrive in quantitative situations. Like math - give me a math problem, with a specific solution, and I will solve it. It may take me a whole sheet of paper and two hours, but when I find the correct answer, I know absolutely and positively that I am right. Nothing feels better. Writing an essay for an English class, on the other hand, was a bit more complicated....because it was subjective and open to interpretation. There wasn't a specific right or wrong answer.

Unfortunately for me, life is more like the essay than the math problem. Except even in English there was a teacher handing out grades - someone to let me know where I ranked. I am flailing and failing pitifully....desperate for feedback. Looking at the state of my house and the general happiness of my children in recent weeks, there is definite room for improvement. And so, tomorrow I will try yet again to be more patient and kind and cleanly and all the things that I should be. Wish me luck, for clearly I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sponge


Tonight EM said the prayer during family prayer. She nearly always says the prayer. Before we even know what's going on, she's started...."Dear Heavenly Father." Occasionally she'll let CW or I say a "short, little" prayer when she's done. Tonight's prayer went something like this:

"Blessings to this day. We're thankful for mommy, and daddy, and EM, and LuV. We're thankful that we can talk about the Lamanites and then that I can play PBSkids.org."

Maybe reading the Book of Mormon together isn't a total waste of time after all.

How Do You Know She Has an Older Sister?


Can you say "PLAY" "PRETTY" "PRINCESS"? She can.

Monday, February 2, 2009

How Much is That Doggie in the Window?

The one with the waggly tail.

It's imminent. At some point in the very near future I will lose the battle. We will become dog owners. CW knows each and every dog listed on ksl.com intimately. And there are thousands. He wastes as much time as I do blog-stalking with his dog-stalking. He longs for a dog of his own. EM loves dogs almost as much as her daddy. I can't really deny her forever. Or can I? I really, really, really DO NOT want a dog.

I am not an animal lover. Never have been. I have a cold, cold heart. The only way I can ease my mind on this issue is by deluding myself. My latest philosophy, and one I hope to be true, is that my feelings for a dog will evolve. Similar to how my feelings for babies have changed since having my own. I have never been a baby lover. I recognized a cute baby when I saw one, but I never had the urge or need or desire to hold her and snuggle her and coo at her. I was more than happy to admire from afar.

I feel quite the same for members of the canine family. There is such a thing as a pretty dog, but even so, I have never felt the need to touch, or pet, or cuddle said animal. I told you, I'm very nearly heartless. Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not cruel, just unaffectionate.

But once the adorable babies were my very own I couldn't get enough holding and snuggling and cooing. I'm still not overly eager to hold babies not belonging to me, but thank GOODness I love cuddling my own. So...my philosophy...perhaps if the dog is mine, and begins to grow on me, and melts a little of my icy heart, maybe, just maybe, I'll be okay with this. Some day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Believe!




Okay, so it is official. I have been married to my liberal husband for too long. And when I say "liberal," we're talking Utah liberal, which by the rest of the country's standards is pretty conservative. I actually listened to the inauguration. I have no interest in politics, but I listened all day long. I really need to have an interest, because it affects me, and my children. My husband has had a man crush on President Obama for some time. Not really a crush, but he's been an Obama supporter all along. I have had my reservations. Clearly he's intelligent. He's articulate, which is so refreshing after what we've been listening to for the past eight years. He's full of lofty promises of great reform, as all politicians are. But there's that part of me that's afraid. Of what I don't know.

As I listened to our new president speak today, I felt hope. Perhaps I have CW to thank for that. After nearly seven years of getting my current events and political news from his perspective, maybe my way of thinking has morphed into his way of thinking. After all, I really don't have my own way of thinking when it comes to politics, so I'm pretty easily persuaded. And CW is smart when it comes to things like politics and economics and stuff that makes my head hurt. Anyway, back to the historic events of the day. Obama left me feeling optimistic. I believe that he is the man for the job right now. The people of this country need someone they have confidence in, especially in our current state of economic uncertainty. We need someone who inspires hope, and he did that for me...an Obama doubter. We definitely need change, and isn't that what Obama's all about? Seriously, why wasn't I working for his campaign?!

It's a scary time. Job security, health care, war, moral decay, a failing educational system, the economy....the list goes on and on. Sometimes I like to remain ignorant on the current state of our country, because the reality of it all terrifies me. And it feels like it's totally out of my control. I hope that President Obama can make GOOD on his word. He has a tough job ahead of him. I don't envy his position. He's walking into a mess...and the expectations are great. I hope he succeeds. I want him to succeed. I hope that the faith and determination he's instilled in Americans thus far continues beyond the first few days and months of his presidency. I have lots and lots of hope. Time will tell.

With all this recent talk of majority and minority I have realized that for the first time I feel like a minority in this country. I am a minority because I define marriage as being between a man and a woman. I am a minority because I believe that an unborn child has a right to live. My values are not consistent with what the majority considers to be acceptable, and now I find that I am a minority in our society. And so while I have hope that Obama can do some GOOD for our nation, I also recognize that he is not the solution to our moral dilemmas. That is up to those of us in the minority to make our voices heard.

Wow, you will never again get a political post from me, because, really, politics is not my cup of tea, but this is history in the making, and I want to be a part of it, even if I am an ignoramus.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Remember Me?

Happy Housewife, is that really you? Really and truly. Had you given up on me? Taken me for dead or imprisoned or vacationing in Bora Bora? Well, no, just haven't been blogging. Don't start, I've already been reprimanded. "Once you've started blogging you're obligated to keep your posts up-to-date." So I'm told. Otherwise your faithful readership will just stop being faithful. Ouch. I'm not even sure my readership and I have had the "talk" about where our relationship stands. I can't say I blame them for being unfaithful when I'm still not sure I'm ready to "commit" to blogging. Besides, I thought family members were bound by blood to read my blog. I was counting on my large family and my husband's large family as a built-in fan base. Oh well, I guess I will never be a cjane. Whom I love, by the way. And, no, I don't actually know her, but I do know her sister-in-law, which is a lot more than a lot of her readership can say. This is exactly why I didn't want to become a blogger. Too much pressure. Expectations. I just don't need any more of that than I have already self-inflicted.

When there are actually worthwhile things to blog about I'm too busy. Now that it's the middle of January and absolutely nothing worthwhile is going on, I wonder is it too late to go back and recap the last month? I suppose not. After all, this is MY blog and I can do whatever I want. Unless I want unfaithful readers on my hands....

We had a cozy little Christmas here at home...just me and CW and the two girls. There was a fire in the fireplace on Christmas Eve. There was a less than fabulous roast for dinner (just because I'm a happy housewife does not mean I am perfect at my job). But the rolls definitely made up for it, thank you very much. And with the cranberry-pineapple jam gifted to us from our neighbors, they were beyond heavenly. There were PJs opened Christmas Eve. Sisters exchanged gifts. The big sister was more interested in playing with the toy she had GIVEN than the one she RECEIVED. But LuV was happy just because EM was happy. We attempted to read the story of Christ's birth from the Bible. It wasn't overly successful. Girls were tucked into bed.
When we all awoke we discovered that Santa had, in fact, found us. The girls were pleased with their Christmas loot. EM found every gift exciting. And LuV was excited by anything that EM found exciting. They couldn't have been happier. CW and I couldn't have been happier. We stayed in our pajamas until late afternoon, watching Kung Fu Panda and eating clementines.

All I want for Christmas is a pair of scissors! She has been working on "projects" ever since.

I loved it. Every minute of it. I loved that presents had been wrapped weeks earlier. Once stockings were stuffed and presents set under the tree, I was in bed. At a reasonable hour. Except that I stayed up all night watching Chuck on DVD, so I was not in bed at anywhere close to a reasonable hour. But I could have been. I loved that the Christmas morning chaos was confined to our two children. I loved being lazy all day, watching movies the girls had received in their stockings. I loved going down to Grandma and Grandpa's later in the day. Cousins played. We snacked and ate and snacked some more. We visited. It snowed. A lot. We spent the night. The next day was more of the same. We played a lot of Wii. I am finally a fan - especially of tennis, but only when it's doubles. And Wii Fit is pretty fun, too....except that I am unbalanced. We came home to a house covered in over a foot of snow, not to mention at least a foot of wrapping paper and post-Christmas mess inside the house.

We spent a couple lazy days at home before making the trek up north to spend New Year's with my parents. It was nice. We were the only ones there, besides my three youngest siblings who are spouseless and childless. It was quiet and calm. It was good to spend time without the whole gang there. I got together for dinner with some high school friends. We laughed. Hard. More to come on that experience. My brother and his wife and their little boy came and partied with us for New Year's Eve. I am getting old, or boring, or both, because I can barely stay awake to ring in the New Year anymore. I came home 5 lbs heavier.

And now the tree is down. It is just January. 2009. Another year. Older. It is cold. Some days are unbearably cold. But the holidays were GOOD. One of the best, really. For that I am grateful. And I have these two cute little girls to thank for making it the best holiday ever. Christmas. With small children. A fire in a fireplace. A warm home in which to celebrate. Family and friends. I am blessed. Immeasurably.
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