Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hide & Seek

My boys have become masters of hide & seek.

They're being trained by their older (and wiser) cousins, Garret & Dallin. And miraculously Garret & Dallin are also teaching Tommy that when someone finds you, it doesn't mean you lost, it's the fun of the game.This is a concept I have been unable to teach him in the first 4.5 years. But he still places enormous value on being the last one found.

So when I got home from work today, we ate dinner (cereal and grilled chicken - because I let John be in charge and he is both 2 and a carnivore) and the boys immediately wanted to continue the game of hide & seek they'd been playing earlier.

Tommy: "I know mommy! Let's play hide & seek and I can be the trickiest!"
Me: "OK and I'll be..."
Tommy: "Well. Probably like the least trickiest. Because you're not so great at hiding. But that's ok."

After brushing myself off and vowing to stop going easy on him, we determined that he'd be "It" first.

T: "How high should I count?"
M: "20"
T: "Well...yeah, that's the rules, but I don't know how to count to 20 (he does, but apparently he doesn't know he does) so I I'll just count to 11 reeeeeeaaaallly slow OK mom? Like this. wah wah wah waaaaaaaannnnnnnne, t-t-t-t-t-t-toooooooooooooooo...."

Well I found an awesome hiding spot and it took him 1 Instagram update, 1 Facebook update, and 3 Pinterest searches to find me. I call that wildly successful.

John on the other hand is the world's worst hider. Partly because he always hides in the same place (in a pile of blankets and pillows on my bed) and partly because he can't control the laughing. As the mom I feel obligated to narrate my search because surprising the hider usually ends in tears.


"Nope, not under the pillows!" I say "not in the kitchen! I guess I'll go look in the bathroom."
As soon as I enter the room where Little John is hiding, the giggling starts.
"Not behind the door" I announce.
Mad giggle erupt under the pile of pillows.
"Not in the closet" I continue
Full on belly laughing from the pile of pillows.
"I guess I'll just take a nap on this lovely pile of pillows instead of looking."
And he jumps out of the pile of pillows (picture a show girl coming out of a cake) and shouts "I HERE MOM!!!!" and we giggle together.

I know summer is hard because you can't keep the kids busy with enough to do - I highly recommend recruiting them for some hide & seek at my house.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Brothers

Tommy has been fascinated with family relationships lately. He was totally excited for Mother's Day, then when Father's Day was coming up Tommy wanted to know when "Brother's Day" would be. For the record it's in May. But we had already missed it.

Next year we'll celebrate. And probably I'll make up a date for it this year too. 

His primary teachers moved and I think his class is currently bouncing through substitutes. Since we're still new (we get to be new for a year, right?) I have no clue who is teaching his class, and really I wouldn't recognize them if he knew their names. 

Last week when he came home with this drawing of "me (the big guy) sharing with Little John (the little guy) about my baksket ball because I'm so kind at sharing". I told him I thought the picture was awesome and I wondered who his teacher was. 


The good thing about 4 year olds is that they can tell you things. The bad thing about 4 year olds telling you things is that it's a bit like decoding. "My teachers were two brothers guys. But not little brothers like me and little John. Not like sharing. Like big brothers guys. With no balls." 

After I stopped laughing I asked if they were brothers because they were related or if they were brothers because they both had the same name "Brother ______"
he said their names were "Brother"

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New habits

After last year's "Great Big Biffed It" episode Tommy wanted exactly nothing to do with his "cool new bike". So he reverted back to the tricycle.

The vain part of me wants to claim I handled that well by just letting him choose when he gained interest again, but the honest part of me just didn't know what to do yet and hadn't gotten around to taking a stab at it. 

But a few weeks ago Tommy asked if he would need stitches if he rode the bike again, and I explained that the conditions in our new neighborhood are much more favorable for learning to ride a bike. With some reassurance he strapped on his helmet (which he doesn't see as a big help since he was wearing it last time when his chin guts fell out...) and pedaled slowly around the driveway. We talked a lot about braking and practiced a lot of times. "pedal pedal pedal BRAKE!" then "pedal pedal pedal pedal pedal BRAKE!" and then he dared pedal "hundreds of times!"


Now that Tommy loves his bike again, Little John has rediscovered the wiggle car and it is apparently impossible to get out of the vehicle and go inside before riding the bikes off into the sunset. Every day we get home from work and I try to chase them inside and they run for the bikes and get as far away from me as they can before I set down my purse and chase them down the street.

I can't tell you how maddening this ritual is - because at the end of the day as much as I'd love to go for a long leisurely bike ride/walk around the block, I have to make dinner and get them bathed and ready for bed before the stars come out.

Also I can't tell you how much I love this ritual. There's something about my kids loving to be outside that strokes my parental ego. As if my children wanting to ride bikes means I have somehow taught them something good.

I posted this picture on instragram and my Aunt (Hi Sharon!) so kindly reminded me to chase them down with helmets. This was the first time Tommy got on the bike again and I hadn't pulled out the helmets yet - and honestly I probably wouldn't have for a while if I hadn't been reminded. Do you put a helmet on a kid riding a wiggle car? I do now, because if Tommy has one of something John needs one too. Obviously.



The most expensive part of the wiggle car is that Little John brakes with his toes. Which means he's run totally through the toes of 2 pair of shoes in as many months. Before I find him another pair I'm making him "bike" in these ones, on the wrong feet, so he wears out the outside edge too.


I really love that these boys love their bikes, and I hope they (Little John) learn to be a little more cautious as they bike up and down our sidewalk, but mostly I'm just really glad for a flat neighborhood on a quiet road where they can reasonably bike up and down the street. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Day of the Tulips

Sometimes my family gets these really great idea.

"Let's go see the tulips!" they say
"It'll be a nice lovely stroll in the garden!" they think
"and a picnic lunch! Such peace, such reverence, such joy!" they claim

Lies. All lies. Except the parts which were true.

It was the last day of the tulip festival, which apparently means that every resident of the entire state must migrate to the garden. (Were you one of them? Hi Marianne! We saw you walking through the parking lot.)

After eating lunch at our park, which was crowded with the only 75 people who weren't at Thanksgiving Point, we headed for the garden. But when we got there ALL of the parking lots were full. And the line to be allowed the privilege of paying had filled the foyer, and was out the door and around the culdesac. I immediately declared that it seemed like a great day for a pony ride and ran for farm country.

Where we had a fabulous (and only a little crowded) time.

The kids were red faced before we even started because it dang hot outside.

Ryann, Lucy, Tommy, John and Ian

The kids were unreasonably excited about the whole thing. They couldn't wait to see the animals. Ryann was especially excited about seeing the baby chicks, and taught us about the egg tooth. Tommy saw I was taking a picture of the girls and cheese-ball photobombed. I love that kid.
Tommy, Lucy, Ryann, Grandma Fugal
 After riding ponies we wandered to the bird cages.
This peacock wouldn't stop showing off - which was SO cool.
I love this boy - and snapping a picture where he's not doing the cheesy smile is rare these days.
Tommy
Little John ran around like a crazy kid, then finally stopped to stare at the rabbits. He is rockin' the crazy blue eyes which I was certain would be long gone by now.
Little John
In "jail" we told the kids to make their bad-guy-est faces. The kid on the left wasn't with us, but he was in jail with us, and I suppose nothing bonds people like sharing a cell. 
Random kid, Ryann, Tommy
 Ian's eyes didn't stop sparkling the whole time we were there, and somehow I captured only 1 of 2 possible seconds he wasn't grinning from ear to ear.
"Baby" Ian
 Lucy got on the wagon and just giggled and giggled, she was so excited!
Lucy, Tommy, Ryann

Finally we were exhausted so we went to get ice cream, where we waited in line for a long long time. After ice cream, I still really wanted to see the tulips, so we headed to the garden to see if the line was still insane. It wasn't, and the air was cooler and there was a magic cloud cover which made the walking around much more pleasant. It was a beautiful evening. 

Since Katy watches my kids 2-3 times/week these kids know and love each other so well. I don't get to see them all interact that often, so it's especially fun for me to watch them be bestbuds.

Tommy, Ryann & Lucy open their arms and invite Little John to join them.

And then he does.
 Lulu posed by every flower for the first 15 minutes before she got bored of being "so beautiful". I wonder what it's like living with such a girly girl. :)
Lucy
I know Grandma's don't have favorites, but I feel a little confident that if they did Little John would be in  her top 12 grandsons.
Gramma offers a "bump it" to Little John

Little John accepts

Grandma explodes - sounds effects and all
 I'm not sure why, but there were some bouncy houses available. The old ones (me and grandma and grandpa) were bored and concerned that the kids thought the giant blow up slides were cooler than the beautiful flowers.
Tommy eventually got brave enough to jump and bounce down the slide. 
 It looks like we were there in the dead of winter, but the whole place was blooming, just not behind the "royalty bench".
Ryry, Lulu, T
 Somebody somewhere taught all of these kids that hills are for rolling down. Most of them aren't great at it (I mean really, look at Little John's form here....) but they all giggle uncontrollably the whole way down. So....
Lucy running, Ryann standing over Tommy and Little John "rolling" with both feet and head in the air while only his hip maintains contact with the ground.
 But seriously, the flowers were breathtaking.
pink tulips - so many pink tulips


Friday, May 2, 2014

What my babies love

My boys love me. Consistently, wholly, and beautifully.

I headed to Arizona for the weekend to help with a conference that a good friend mine puts on. I left Wednesday morning and got back late Sunday night. I got back just a minute or 2 before Josh and the boys returned from the family Easter party with the Burrastons. I was standing in the car port in all my road trip glory (read: dirty yoga pants, oversized t-shirt, road trip hair, and probably chocolate on my face - because, road trip.) and as Josh pulled in I saw Tommy unbuckle and get ready to open the van door. As soon as he could the door opened and he fell into my arms saying "mom! you're here! I've missed you!" and I scooped him up and kissed him and told him I missed him too.

He's lovely that little one. And really there's nothing like being missed when you're gone.

Little John would have been excited to see me too - but it was late and he was asleep, so I didn't love on him until the next morning.

But that night, Tommy and I stayed up for another hour talking while he told me about all the things I'd missed.

His first friend birthday party: It was all about frozen and it was Ella's birthday (she's from his preschool) and they were tryin and trying to put that nose back on Olaf and Mom! I did it! (pin the tail on the donkey I assume) And Ella's mom said if I want I could try it again but I didn't want and that's ok. And I did gived her a birthday present about coloring and I did had so much fun.

The Burraston Easter party: I will show you all my eggs. one by one and we did have candy over there mom! really. we did. (insert most serious 4 year old face you've ever seen) and gramma gave us all these eggs!

And a bunch of other intensely exciting things like church and preschool and riding bikes and snoozin.

Here's the thing about living with littles, they drive you crazy because they're high maintenance, but you leave and miss them anyway. Then you come home and wonder why you ever thought you needed a break. Then they prove to you exactly why you needed a break and it only takes a second or 2.

Lately I'm really loving motherhood.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

AARP

I was only 16 when I started getting junk mail from AARP. I'm not sure if it's because "they" somehow knew that I had an old soul or if that junk mail somehow aged my soul. 

Either way I'm an old lady inside and now "they" know it. In the last few months I've heard a few commercial and caught myself wishing myself into retirement. 

Enjoy the common areas and open floor plans of our unique condos. I do like open floor plans and common areas....
You'll love 2 beautifully prepared meals by our health conscious and professionally trained chefs every day. A chef?!?! That's the dream!
You'll easily connect to all the things that make you're life go. They have internet, I need internet, it's a match made in heaven!
Daily activities include hiking, biking, trips downtown with your friends and gaming! I like all those things, and so do my boys, we'd have a fabulous time.
Of course housekeeping and all medical staff are available to help you at any time. I'm sold. Where do I sign? 

Then all my dreams were shattered with their stupid tag line about not letting your advanced age slow you down and how Treeo is the coolest place for old people to live in all of Utah County. 

But don't worry, the next commercial really WAS for me. 


You can finally have a walk in jetted bath designed to let you feel secure and safe while you relax your muscles and joints. 
Joints? Dang. Only old people have joints. Foiled again.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Young Women

When I was in Young Women I am quite confident I was a giant pain in the butt. There were a lot of girls my age, and we were significantly less than gracious when presented with ideas, activities, and advice offered by our leader. They should have hated us, but all signed said they didn't. We were given far more love than we deserved.

I've wondered how that could possibly be so. I thought they must be faking. Or putting on a happy face.

A few weeks ago I was called to be the laurel advisor in our new ward. And now I suddenly my leaders in a new light. I suspect they weren't faking. Perhaps they really loved us. And maybe they saw that we were just kids doing what we could.

The girls in my ward happen to be far more incredible than I ever was. There are only 3 laurels in the ward right now, but they are extraordinary human beings. I mean really extraordinary. They have already gone through challenges that I still don't know how I would handle, and they are dealing with it beautifully. Plus they are beautiful. I look these girls in the eyes and I see the incredibleness beaming out of them. Because there's so much awesome in them that it can't be contained.

I suppose that's one thing I love about growing up. Seeing things from grown up perspective and learning that it was all much more loving and accepting than I had ever imagined.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Home Sick

I won't lie, the adjustment to our new (to us) house has been hard. We're close enough to our old house that Tommy stayed in the same preschool and we are in the old neighborhood fairly often. Plus every time he sees "our" G on the mountain he asks if we're almost home. (Because it used to mean exactly that.)

But this week, the home sickness had us both in tears.

Because we moved under less-than-desirable circumstances (read: I was crazy mad at our landlord and NOBODY wanted to move) I tried to explain it to a concerned Tommy.

Me: Well, our Landlord gave us a letter that says he wants to live here, so we have to move to a new house.
T: What's a Landlord?
M: He's the guy who is the boss of this house.
T: Our house-boss?
M: Sure. Close enough.

Fast forward to this week on our way home from work
T: "mom, I just want to go to our real home. From our house-boss. Did he said he's all done there now?"
M: "No babe, we can't live there anymore, we have our new house instead."
T: "I really really miss our real house, I don't want to go to our new house anymore."
M: "I miss our old house too, what do you miss about it?"
T: "Riding bikes, playing in the yard, walkin' to school, and 'member those nice guys that lived by us?" (sniffling and crying while he talks)
M: (Sniffling my own self) "So SO many nice guys that lived by us. I miss them too."
T: "Maybe we could visit our old house if we want to."
M: We can't go inside, but we can go drive by and wave to it from the car if you'd like.

So we did. We drove by slowly, waved and wept. We waved to the Carlson's and Ruby's house. We waved to our sledding hill and Maggie Dog. We remembered walking to church and then.....we saw a for sale sign in the front yard.

Tommy asked what the sign said. I told him it was for sale, so someone new can buy our old house. He wants us to buy it. And he nearly had me convinced with his emotional attachment to that neighborhood.

But the flooding in the massage room, the cracks in the foundation, the weird weird weird layout and bedrooms with no closets, the shoddy workmanship on any of the "remodel" work, the yard (oh that yard....) We don't REALLY want to put that kind of money - and labor - into it. But my goodness, that little boy preyed on my emotions and nearly had me convinced we wanted to buy that house today. (future Realtor? He can be very persuasive.) Enough that I got to a computer and looked up the listing. I will say, if I had the money, I would buy the empty lot for the current list price on that house. Because really it's an incredible location.

Primary Photo [click for next photo]

Here's hoping we buy a place soonish and we can enjoy saying "this is our real home" for the last time. At least until he's too old to care. (Does that ever happen?)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Workiversary

1 year ago I went to the wrong place for my first day of work. It wasn't my fault, but I felt foolish anyway. When I showed up at the right place, my new boss and I talked through some strategies and business ideas. We immediately got along very well.

During the last year we've done a lot of adjusting. 
  • Josh took on more household responsibility and I gave some up. 
  • My boys have adjusted (or are trying to adjust) to seeing less of me. 
  • I spend more time talking to adults than little ones.
  • I cook and clean less.
  • Josh knows more about kids than he ever dreamed he didn't know.
  • We spend much less time with our entire family. 
  • We pay all our bills with significantly fewer financial-emotional breakdowns.
  • We discovered that cereal is a viable dinner option. 
  • I learned how to answer my cell phone without knowing who it is.
  • I got a grown up wardrobe.
  • Josh has new respect for all the stay at home parents in the world.
  • The boys cry to Josh before me when they're injured.
  • I became the pushover.
  • I listen to talk radio.
  • The boys have awesome relationships with their cousins (minus Little John and Ian who are still deciding if they like each other or not...) and the love-fest is continuously melting my heart.
  • I regained confidence in my ability to do things. Like answer my phone and talk to adults. 
  • I'm leaning all kinds of new skills and abilities. Securities laws and limitations, business design and (begrudgingly) Quickbooks. Again. 
To be totally honest, I'm still deciding if it's worth those adjustments. We make a lot of sacrifices, we enjoy a lot of benefits. (Like not losing our house, and being able to pay our bills.) It's hard. Really hard. My kids miss me. I miss them. We want the park instead of the carseat. I want to cook dinner before bedtime. I want to have a pajama day just because I feel like it. I want Tommy to KNOW that I will always be the one to pick him up from school. I want to play with word families with him while Josh plays wrestle-mania with the Little "The Maniac" John. I want Josh's days off to mean family fun days.

But staying home was hard - really hard - too and I wanted a lot of changes then. (like wearing real clothes, being asked a question harder than "what's for lunch", the boys to see Josh more often, a break from them long enough to miss them, and the ability to buy stuff they need.)

I recently read a blog post by someone I truly love and respect, and she took a very firm stand that choosing to be a working mom is not a good choice. I read that post and cried. It hurt, because I'm still deciding what is best for me, and this stance left no room for personal choice. Blanket statements and generalizations implying that it's selfish or irresponsible or harmful to my children, made my heart ache. I retreated to my very favorite (and safest) corner of the internet with the women I trust more than any other women - to both have my back, and tell me when I'm being unreasonable - and I cried to them. They backed me up. Because they love me. The pain of reading those words in that post made me do some soul searching and decide if I really thought I was doing the right thing by working out of the home again. And today, right now, I am sure this is what I needed for 2013. 

I'm honestly thankful for my experiences at work during this last year. I've had some life changing conversations with my boss that had nothing to do with my job. I've gained a new respect and appreciation for not doing it all and slowing down. I've learned to let go of stuff that simply doesn't matter. I'm working on better managing my time. And oddly, my kids have become a higher priority to me. I spend many more quality hours with them and I think about them when I'm gone. Something about absence making the heart grow fonder..... Mostly I appreciate my time with them more. I'm far more willing to snuggle a little longer, sing one more song, read one more story, and watch the ants for one more minute. I'm learning valuable life skills, gaining confidence in what I already knew and rediscovering my priorities in life. I get an enormous amount of satisfaction from doing something that makes me think.

My kids? They know I love them. They are building social relationships with kids their age and learning to interact with adults that aren't me. They get opportunities that they wouldn't get if I was their sole caregiver and the opportunities I normally give them. They are with a person who does love them. Whether she's paid to or not, she is an extraordinary soul who has the ability to love people she didn't give birth to. She also happens to be family, and for that I am extremely grateful.

For me, right now, this is the right choice. An excellent balance of office work and mother work.



So, happy anniversary to me and my job. Who knows if we'll celebrate a 2nd anniversary or not, my time here might be done and I'll be a full time mom again, or I may stay at this office until I retire; but either way, I'll know that I'm making the right choice for me. Because I truly believe that choices which so intimately impact an individual family are choices that can be made only by that family.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On Feeling Beauty

I've never been one of those universally beautiful people. I don't mean that in a "tell me I'm pretty" way, but in a matter-of-fact some people look like supermodels and I'm not one of them way.

But every now and then I feel beautiful.

This started when someone I love started doing Dressing Your Truth.

But most recently, I got a haircut. And apparently the world ended. I posted this photo on facebook


and had (I'm not exaggerating) 145 likes and 45 extremely generous comments about it. I think that's more than when Thomas was born.

It's kindof a weird feeling because while I seriously love the new do, and these generous comments reinforced that feeling of beauty, it sortof freaked me out. It's a lot of pressure to be attractive! What if I look totally average the next time I see one of those 145 people? (I did.) What if I never learn to do my hair like that any everybody I meet is like "you should consider going back to that one really awesome hair day you had that one time..."? What if I let my hair grow all long and nasty again?

*sigh*

Knowing your potential is stressful. So please, join me in the lowering of expectations so I dare come out in public again?
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