Wednesday, May 31, 2006

great expectations

What do you want for your birthday, Little Boy?

-remote control lady bug
-real hammer from Home Depot
-new bed
-"finding scope" to see the moon and stars
-ceiling fan
-monster truck picture
-monster truck book

You will all be excited to know that I actually found a remote control lady bug!

I haven't had a "What Do You Love?" day for awhile...and today's the day!

I love...
-sleeping in
-expensive cereal
-japanese maple trees
-this story
-baby showers
-fresh baked bread

What Do You Love?

Monday, May 29, 2006

in memory of...

Today is Memorial Day and it's also
Today's theme: "In Memory of..."

My maternal grandparents passed away before I was born, but I have always felt a special closeness and connection them. I had some experiences in my early teenage years that have made that feeling even more special. I wrote about these experiences several years ago in a story form. I'm going to share the story in memory of my grandparents. I did add or change some insignificant details to make the story flow, but all of the relevant details are what really happened.

August 1992
"Please God, I know this sounds stupid, but I just want the chance to meet my grandparents. I don't know how, but please, help me."

I closed my prayer and crawled into bed. My thoughts wandered for a few minutes. "My grandparents died before I was born. Meet them? What a silly idea that was," I thought. "Flowers, grandma loved flowers." A smile played on my lips and I fell asleep thinking about her flowers.

November 1992
My key turned in the back door to my house late in the evening and I made my way to my bedroom. I changed into my pajamas, went through my nightly routine, and crawled into my warm bed. The night out with my friends had left me happy and exhausted. I was glas it was Friday and I could sleep in the next day. I hugged my teddy bear tight and I drifted away into a world beyond my own.

"A train? What am I doing on this train?" Just as soon as I thought it, I was thrown off the train. It didn't hurt, but I was suddenly standing on unfamiliar land. I looked around me. To the north I saw a few wooden buildings that has signs that said "store, newspaper, and grain" hanging above. To the south I saw open fields with corn and other crops growing. Behind me was a train track, I knew, and just beyond that ran a little river. Wild flowers grew all around it. Straight ahead of me, I saw an older woman tending her garden. Her long gray dress was worn and a few holes could be seen at the bottom. She was holding a brown woven basket but I couldn't see what was in it from where I was standing. I couldn't imagine where I could be, yet it all seemed distantly familiar. I opened my mouth to call out to the woman in the garden when she looked up and motioned for me to come to her.

A bright smile spread across the woman's face and I knew I had seen her somewhere before. "Good morning, Alicia. I'm so glad you could come to my garden. You look just like your mother." I gasped and tears came to my eyes. This was my Grandmother! I wanted to throw my arms around her and keep her with me forever. Instead, she bent down and picked up a pot with a flower growing in it. "Alicia, this is a flower called a Sweet Pea. It is the flower for girls born in April. I have been saving it for you. I knew you would love flowers like I do." I lifted my hand to touch the pot when my Grandmother jerked her head toward the store. "You don't have much time, you need to go see Grandpa. Hurry!" I was reluctant to leave her, but she motioned for me to go on.

The stairs going up to the little wooden store were a bit creaky, but I continued on. When I reached the porch, I stopped at the door. I could see shelves, barrels, and fruits inside, but the man standing ten feet from me captured my attention. He was a sturdy tall older man. His hair was graying and combed neatly to one side. His brown shoes were scuffed and his trousers had patches on the knees. The navy button down shirt and suspenders he wore covered his broad chest and rounded tummy nicely and I smiled as a picture of Santa Claus entered my head. His eyes had small wrinkles around them that showed years of laughter. His eyes were rounded with thin wire glasses. I knew he was my Grandfather. I watched him pay the store clerk and watched the store clerk hand him a small slip of white paper. Grandpa put it in a small green change purse and shook the clerk's hand. He then took off his glasses and folded them neatly in a sturdy hard green glass case. He looked to his left to see me at this moment. He smiled lovingly at me, but as I prepared to speak, I heard a bell in the distance. "The train!" I thought. As soon as the thought appeared, the train whisked me away and delivered me back to my world.

My eyes shot open and I bolted out of my bed. I ran to my mom and told her the story. The accuracy was amazing. The clothes they wore, the garden, right down to the glass case my Grandfather had used. "How did you know?" My Mother asked. I had only seen one picture of my Grandparents and there was no way I could have known such detail. I thought for a moment and the silent prayer I had offered three months earlier rushed to my mind. Fresh tears welled up in my eyes as I recalled the answer I had received.

February 1993
"Yes, you have to come," my mother said firmly. She had agreed to help my Aunt clean out her garage and I had to go along. The idea of cleaning a garage did not excite me at all. I unwillingly went along, as it didn't seem I had a choice.

When we arrived, my Aunt directed us to the garage and put us in charge of going through a few boxes. "Oh, fun," I mumbled. I lifted the lid to the box and started to rummage through the contents. I pulled out a small black tea kettle and asked what to do with it. My mom's eyes widened as she recognized it as belonging to her sister that had passed away thirty yeas before. "This was Ethel's." The idea of things in these boxes belonging to my family excited me. I went though a few more things. My breath caught as I pulled two very familiar items out of the box.

I held up a small green change purse and a sturdy hard green glass case. "Mom these are Grandpa's. These are from my dream." I opened the glass case with shaking hands and found the same wire frames that I had seen covering the pleasant face of my Grandfather only a few months before. I held the small green change purse in my hands and hesitated to open it. The tarnished silver clasp clicked in my fingers and I reached inside and pulled out a small slip of yellowed paper. It had some numbers written on it. "A receipt!" My mind rushed wildly and I could hardly believe hat had just happened.

I have never forgotten the way I felt as I knew my prayers had been answered. I do not know why Heavenly Father granted me to the opportunity to see my Grandparents, but I do know that it has hand an impact on my life. I know my heritage and because of that, I can hold my head a little higher and walk a little taller because I know how I am.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

the graduate

Little Boy graduated from his first year of preschool! Here he is gazing at his proud mother and father as he marches to "Pomp and Circumstance" with the other graduates in his class.

The children put on a little program starting with each of the children "signing" the first letter of his or her name and announcing his or her name. "L is for Little Boy!" Then they sang songs they have learned this year. Below left, Little Boy is singing along.
Below Right, Little Boy poses with his teacher, Ms. A. Little Boy adores Ms. A and we are grateful for her loving attitude and patience while teaching a room full of 3 & 4 year olds with their imaginary light sabers that they were not supposed to bring to preschool.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

happy leaf day from the pack-rat

Our Little Boy has a problem. We are seeking to remedy it, but currently we are unsure that there is a cure or any treatment. It may be something we have to suffer until he moves out of our home.

It seems our sweet Little Boy has inherited the Pack-Rat Gene. And it's invading our home.

The Assistant Gardener and I are the anti-pack-rat. Throwing away is therapeutic, organizing is bliss, and an uncluttered minimalist home is beautiful.

Little Boy didn't inherit that gene. Instead he's taking after past generations (and a few cousins) and has become real life genuine pack-rat.

It all started with my tupperware and other plastic containers disappearing from my kitchen. Then I noticed Little Boy's hot wheel cars disappearing. I discovered he was filling tupperware with cars and stashing them on the top shelf in his closet. I took a deep breath and refrained from emptying the containers and putting them back everything back where it belongs. I also took a deep breath and vowed to stop looking on the top shelf in his closet.

That was just the tip of the iceberg. Soon, water bottles full of sticks, flowers, rocks, and leaves made their way to the top shelf. Books disappeared from our office bookshelf and were found in the closet. Coins, junk mail, strips of paper, rocks, pinecones, sticks were soon found on the top shelf in Little Boy's closet. When toys started disappearing from Fat Girl's room, guess where we found them?

A couple weeks ago, I left $60 on Steve's dresser and when I went to claim it a few days later, it was gone. Steve confessed to taking $20 of it for lunch, but said the rest was still there. It wasn't. We searched high and low until Steve suggested we look in Little Boy's closet. We did. And we found it. Not only is Little Boy a pack-rat, but he's apparently also a little Klepto.

The collections have spilled out onto Little Boy's dresser now. He borrowed Fat Girl's purse to hold all of his pinecones (maybe he did inherit a little bit of the organizing gene), and rocks and sticks have become a permanent fixture there.

As hard as it is for me---the borderline OCD mom who must have control---I have allowed this mess to continue. It's his room, afterall. But, when the pack-ratting migrates to my kitchen counter, things must change. This mom can't just take a deep breath to get through that.

As cute as I find it that after Little Boy has gathered ziploc bags full of leaves he declares it "Leaf Day," tells everyone "Happy Leaf Day!," and even makes Leaf Day cards, I still cannot relinquish control. I'm just not that cool of a mom.

We continue to hope and pray that Little Boy will outgrow this and be the organized-non-pack-ratting individual we know he has the potential to be.

Until then, we'll put on a happy face and wish you a Happy Leaf Day!

Monday, May 22, 2006

the famous bloggirls

Oh what a night! The Famous Bloggirls spent the weekend on tour and I got a front row seat! It was awesomely fantabulous in every way. We laughed, we played, we giggled, and oh did we party! And not one Bloggirl turned out to be a dirty old man...what are the odds?

There are or will be about eleven or so other blogs on this topic outlining all of the various Bloggirl adventures, so I'll keep it short and just share some photos of the event. Some are great and some are seriously unflattering (but funny, or I wouldn't be so rude as to plaster them on the internet!), but all are entertaining.

Emily (remember that Ode? That's Emily. Isnt she stunning?) and I.
Taffi & Mary
Karen. She's a thief.
Big Pile 'O Money
She's Young. She's Daring. She's Kathryn!
Karli and her luscious lips First impressions are everything...sorry Karen.
There's no feet like Bloggirl Feet.
The Famous Bloggirls & Company
Bottom Row: Kathryn, Karen, Mary, Erin, Stephanie, Elizabeth, Brooke

So there you have it! Best Friends Forever and all that--I have the necklace to prove it!

Oh...and Heather...I totally know you.

bloggirls continued...

How many pics does it take to get a perfect picture of four giggling bloggirls?

Sorry, Kathryn....I seriously could not resist...
Emily, Me, Kathryn, and Brooke.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

an ode to emily

Emily, Emily with her hair so brown
She's so much fun to have around

She's smart, and witty, and oh so funny
She makes my day so very sunny

It's with Emily I love to share my food
When we can't decide
If we are in an appetizer
Or dessert kind of mood

Emily, Emily with her rubbing feet
She can't help it and I think it's kind of neat

It's Emily who tells great stories when she gets the chance
And makes me laugh so hard I pee my pants

She's a wife, a mom, former turkey grower, and friend
I hope my fun with her will never ever end!

Bloggers---your mission of you choose to accept it is to write an Ode to one of your favorite friends. Do two if you can't decide! Make someone feel loved today!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

a lesson for today

No matter how sweet she may appear...

If your little girl asks for an apple and you cut a pear instead thinking she won't notice or if she does notice she won't care....

Rest assured, she will notice and she will care. She will suddenly morph into a terrible toddler, throw the pear down in protest and scream "APPLE!"

Lesson Learned.

Monday, May 15, 2006

my favorite story revisited

Today's Topic: The Story of My Spouse, How We Met and Got Together. I blogged this topic back in February on our anniversary, so go read all about it, and then come back here for more My Life Monday excitment.
You know what was missing in that story? Pictures! Well, there were two, but here are some more. The first two pictures are from our trip to Las Vegas. Never mind my hoochie shorts and fat thighs. I've got better fashion sense (and thinner thighs) now.

These pictures were taken at the Oakland Temple when my sister-in-law got married and just weeks after we met. We knew at this point that we would be getting married too, but nobody else knew.

This next picture is of our beloved old car. When I first met Steve, he drove a dark blue New Beetle, but shortly after (just a week, I think!) we traded it in and bought this Reflex Yellow New Beetle. It is a Limited Edition color and only 2000 were made. We loved this vehicle. Some of my fondest memories were driving around in this car with the windows down, hair blowing, and singing along to the radio. We traded it in for a family car just before Little Boy was born. We still miss this car! Last year, we were visiting the city where we traded it in and found it on a used car lot--we knew it was ours because of the custom wheels that Steve loved so much. If we had the money, we would have bought it again!

I hope you enjoyed the short picture tour of the first month of our courtship. It was a whirlwind of excitment! Steve has much shorter hair and I have much less weight, but we have much more love than ever before!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

you are my son-shine

Today I was invited to Little Boy's preschool for a Mother's Tea. It was magical, memorable, brought me to tears more than once, and made me so proud to be a Mother.

Little Boy has been very excited about today and has talked about the presents he made for me at school. We took Fat Girl to daddy's office to hang out for a little while so Little Boy could have me all to himself. (Daddy and Fat Girl had quite the adventure. He took her walking around the pond, to the playground, and for a walk by the river. She was worn out when I came back to get her. I'm thinking about taking her to hang out with daddy before naptime every day.) What was I talking about? Oh yes, the Mother's Tea.

Upon arrival, the kids went into their classroom and the moms were hussled into an empty classroom to wait for a few minutes while they prepared. The moms from Little Boy's class have never been especially friendly or talkative, so it was a bit awkward for me. It was icy until redhead mom showed up and declared that her kids were filthy and she was not a bad mother because of it. She explained that they went outside and dumped ashes into each other's hair just before it was time to come. I laughed, the other moms looked at each other and chuckled nervously and unconvincingly. Maybe redhead mom and I should hang out---we both seem to be the outcast moms of this group!

We were called out in the hallway and lined up in the same order as the children and each mother came in the room one at a time. I came in third and saw Little Boy all dressed up in a man's green dress shirt and a tie---he looked so cute! All the boys were dressed like that and all the girls had on adorable little aprons. Little Boy came forward and put a bead and pasta necklace around my neck, and asked me if I would read him a story (teary time #1). We went over to the floor and read a couple of short books together.
After every mom received her beautiful jewelry and stories were read all around, the kids led us to our seats where a sweet picture of our kids were the place card. Inside it was a poem about handprint (teary time #2) and had our kid's handprint in it. The kids went to the front and serenaded us with a few songs---You are My Sunshine (teary time again), I Love You, and Happy Mother's Day To You.
After the concert concluded, each child showed the placemat he or she had made for his or her mother. The placemats say, "I love my mom because..." Little Boy said "I love my mom because she makes me two cookies." Apparently, I should start making cookies if that's why he loves me.
After the placemats were all handed out, the kids went and got trays and bowls of food (rolls, chicken salad, muffins, fruit salad, fruit dip, veggie tray, veggie dip, & lemonade) and served us all. The were so excited. One little girl told me I should really try the chocolate muffins. I did and she was right---yummy. The kids then sat down with us and we had a nice little brunch.
This was the most fun I've had in a long time! (Since the last Girls Night with Emily and Jami at the very least!) I was the only mom who seemed more than mildly amused, the only mom who got teary, and the only mom who brought a camera. But, the jokes on them because I'm also the only mom who now has a 30-second video of her son singing "You Are My Sunshine" with a big sun around his face. How happy am I!

two for togetherness tag

I've been tagged by Stephanie!

Two for Togetherness Tag

2 things you compliment your husband on while in his presence.
1. His willingness and ability to help
2. His ambitious nature

2 compliments you make about your spouse to your friends about your spouse.
1. He helps do everything around the house. He never leaves it all to me.
2. He works hard.

2 traits you married him/her for.
1. His intelligence and ambition
2. His patience with me!

2 Days you cherished the most with your husband being together.
1. The day we went to Las Vegas together.
2. The day our kids were born.

2 Material things you could give your husband if you just inherited a fortune.
1. A fully restored 1949 split window Volkswagen beetle in black.
2. A fully restored victorian home from the 1800's.

2 things you would miss the most if she/he left for two weeks.
1. The Help!!
2. The company and conversation.

2 thoughts that crossed your mind when you first met/saw your spouse.
1. He's cute.
2. He's the one!

2 favorite dates
1. Driving in the Utah Mountains with our windows down in our old new beetle.
2. Going to the Temple.

2 funny odd things you love.
1. His little OCD habits...turning clothes the same way, using the same color hangers, etc.
2. He's really not that odd....just perfect the way he is!

2 two places you have lived with your spouse.
1. Springville, Utah
2. Livermore, Calfornia

2 favorite Vacations
1. Lake Tahoe
2. Orlando

Katy, Emily, Lee, Taffi, & Sunny....You've been tagged! I want to hear your Two For Togetherness answers!

Monday, May 08, 2006

my life monday

I didn't know it...but it's also:
Rachelle issued this assignment (she is a teacher...she issues assignments) and from now on I'm going to participate and change my "What Do You Love" days to another day of the week. I don't know when will be a surprise.

Today's Topic: My Most Memorable Childhood Experience. I've been thinking about this topic all morning. I even looked through my photo albums hoping something would jump out at me, but nothing really did. I have a lot of little tidbits of memories and such, but no real memorable childhood experiences and nothing with a lot of detail. This isn't really an experience so much as an insight as to how I was as a kid---but it'll have to do!

I was a weird kid that tried desperately to be normal. One of my teachers even gave me the award for "Best Attempt at Normalcy during Adolescence" in Middle School. I know all kids are weird to an extent, but I think I was really weird. I also loved (LOVED) to read. I read so much that my mom would try to get me to stop in the same way that most parents try to bribe their kids to read more. I made a goal in Elementary School to read all of the books in the school library (I didn't make it). I read for hours on end---in my room, in the bathroom, at the dinner table... I tell you all this to prep you for the following experience:

I don't know when I started or when I stopped doing this, but I liked to pretend that I was the main character in the book I was reading. I read a lot of The Babysitter's Club series and tried to start my own Club. I also tried to be a babysitter like them. I failed in both attempts---nobody can be as cool as them!

I found the book Death From Child Abuse and No One Heard at a neighbor's garage sale and read that book at least a dozen times. I don't know why I was so fascinated by it, but I would pretend I was the little girl while I was reading it. The step-father in the book wouldn't allow the little girl to use the bathroom and punished her when she would have an accident. So, while reading it, I would hold my pee until the very last possible second. (See, weird.)

The Secret Garden was one of my all-time favorites and while reading that one, I would pretend to be Mary Lennox---especially as she discovered the great outdoors. I would wolf down my meals like she did in the book and then run outside hoping to experience what she had.

I'm sure there is some underlying issue that I must have had, but luckily I outgrew it and I've stopped trying to be someone else. Unfortunately, I also stopped reading like I did. That's one thing I wouldn't mind picking up again.

what do you love today?

It's What Do You Love Monday!

Alissa's blog about her day at the beach and the pictures of her kids reminded me of a picture that I love. So, here is the #1 thing I love today...this photo:
I love everything about this photograph. I love the beach where it was taken (the beach where Steve proposed) and I love his footprints in the sand. I love the way the sun is reflecting off the sand and I love the perfect shadow. I love the way Little Boy's jeans are rolled up to his knees and most of all I love the way it captures some of his sense of wonder and curiosity.

More things I love today:

I love...
... that I have Good Friends.
...Sunny Mornings .
...Honey Graham Ohs cereal.
...Wonder Pets.
...that I'm not a Turkey Grower.
...a day with nothing on the calendar.

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 05, 2006

family portraits

We have company right now---three 20 year old college students. Two of them are my neices and they brought along a friend. Since I'm busy trying to appear cooler than my old-married-mommy self, today's blog is brought to you by Little Boy.

Little Boy is an artist. Maybe he's just mediocre and draws like every other almost-four-year-old in the world, but we think he's brilliant and very talented. We are his parents and we are allowed to think that. Little Boy drew all of our portraits. It's very impressive.

This is Me. Little Boy hasn't made it very clear what I'm holding in my hand, but I think it's a chocolate bar. That would explain the big smile on my face:

This is Daddy. In reality, Daddy doesn't look so, um, interesting. I think Little Boy may have been experimenting with some new techniques:
This is Little Boy's self portrait. I worry about body image. Does he really think he has huge ears? This is the Little Sister, Fat Girl. She's the lucky one, because she's holding a rocket, says Little Boy. Of course, she is bald, so maybe she's not so lucky.
My favorite part is that we are all smiling!

Monday, May 01, 2006

making choices

To Choose or not to choose-that is the question:
Whether tis easier for the mind to suffer

The uncertainty and confusion of sitting idle,
Or to muster courage and heart in a decision
And, by deciding, simplify. To sit, to question-
No more-and by a question to say we end
The heartache and the thousand uncertain thoughts
That vacillation is heir to-'tis a situation
Inevitably encountered. To sit, to question-
To question, perchance to discern. Ay, there's discord,
For in that tentative contemplation what options may arise,
When we have pondered every answer,
Must give us turmoil. There's the doubt
That makes procrastination and idleness so long.
For who would accept the anquish and disorder of wait,
Th' chaotic election, the proud man's contumely,
The twists of bewilderment, the mind's mishap,
The indecisiveness of heart, and the resignation
That exhausted minds and restless hearts take,
When he himself might a justification make
and suffer a futile result? Who would agony bear,
To flounder and worry over a settlement,
But that the dread of something unseen in life,
The undiscovered detail which whose result
Destroys the traveler, puzzles the logic
And makes us rather bear those ills we had
Than live with subsequent selections we know not of
Thus uncertainty does make indecisive of us all,
And thus the original peace of comfort
Is uprooted with the uproar of change,
And the unseen of great and powerful
With this their unsettled hearts shy away
And those the moment of happiness. -Elect one now
The hesitant thinker-Friend, in they knowledge
Be clear in thy presentation.

I wrote that several years ago. It's form was obviously stolen from Shakespeare's "To Be or Not To Be," but it's one of my favorite peices that I've written and I think about it often.

I'm bad at making big decisions. I can easily make a decision about what to buy at the store (maybe too easily, I tend to impulse shop.) But ask me to decide about things that impact life as I know it and I'm stumped. I like to be able to predict what will happen next---I'm a planner. Even if it's only in my head, I have a plan about how things are going to happen (and I get frustrated and agitated when things don't go with that plan...just ask Steve). Since I can't predict the future, making big decisions put me in a state of utter turmoil and fear. I tend to ignore the decision to be made or defer the decision making to someone else. I often wonder what it would be like if life was like Jeopardy where we got the answers first and then had to figure out the question. That seems like it would be easier.

If we need to decide where to have Play Group next week, where to have dinner, or what movie to watch, I'm your gal. But please, someone else decide for me where we should live, when we should have another baby, and what medications I should take. I can't the stress.

Thus uncertaintly does make indecisive of us all. Well, Me at least.