Thursday, November 20, 2014

Snowball Score

I hardly want to tell this story because now it's just embarrassing.

I had been planning the trip up the canyon for weeks. And in my early e-mails to Aundrea I even mentioned specifically how I would use this trip to even the score for the epic first snowball of the season battle.

I thought about it all morning.

I thought about if I should get the kids out of the car first so I could use them as sheilds, or if I should play offensive and just go for the kill as soon as the car slowed to an almost stop. I was glad he was driving because obviously that would give me the advantage. And as we drove up the canyon I made sure to discuss the beautiful snow just the right amount. Cooly and nonchallantly so he wouldn't know I was avoiding it, but also wouldn't have his attention drawn to it so much that he remembered. Because clearly I was the only one who could remember something like this. 

So you see, this is a cautionary tale of pride.

Because sometime after entering the parking lot and Josh stopping the car I totally forgot about the snow, the snowballs, the contest, the strategy, the planning and all of the other things.

And that's why I was still sitting the car, like a sucker, seat belted and everything when he pegged me with the first snowball of the year.

But the worst part is, when I got him back (within 2 minutes, because of my exceptional speed and excessive skill) John was standing right under him and the breakaway snow from my perfectly formed ball showered John all the way down and he cried and now he hates me.

I think Josh won this year. Again. I wish I could post the score (no I don't) but I can't seem to find last year's post, which I probably skipped, because now this is just plain embarrassing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On Snowballs & Swimming

Last week we spent a day with my dear friend Aundrea at her time share up the canyon. It was a welcome break from Josh's schedule conflicting with mine and our family never ever ever being together.

It was a beautifully snowy day and we could hardly wait to get there and start the fun.

Tommy and John went last year so that Aundrea could babysit them and they remembered swimming, and m&m's with movies. Which perfectly sums up the beauty of Aundrea, except the swimming. She hates swimming.

First order of business when we got there was to go swimming. Obviously. Because what else do you do in the snow? Oh wait, did I not mention? Snowbird's pool is outside.

As soon as they discovered that the snow melted when they threw it in the pool, and that the grownups giggled (aka: laughed out loud. hysterically. head thrown back.) with every snowball they threw, there was no other game to play at the pool. We all swam until our fingers were at least 30 minutes past pruney then shivered the whole way back to the room.

Obviously the only thing to do when we got there was snuggle up with a blanket, hot popcorn and really great Disney movie(s). (Hello Disney sing-a-long. Nice to meet you!)

The whole day was fantastic. Just what we needed to get away.

And then they screamed and cried and whined and kicked and whined and whimpered the whole drive home. Because that's how we end fabulous moments around here. With open weeping.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Last night we went to Grandma Huggie's 90th birthday party.


Grandma Huggie (Huggy? I still have no idea how we spell that...) is my mom's dear friend who everybody naturally loves. She is an extraordinary woman full of generosity and kindness and so much joy. I just love her and it was great to be invited to celebrate with her.

She was born in 1924 and so the party was (beautifully) 20's themed. There was some really awesome parked on the front lawn at the church, and balloons, and photos and family history and what Grandma called "food from the 20's bread & jam". (But not just any bread - it was delicious.) And the table decorations had boas and man-hats and fun party things. There was a small band playing music that had even me wanting to dance. It was a lovely event.

And then I sat down at the table to chat with my family (and stuff my face will delicious food) and I realized....if I threw a similar party when I turned 90, it would be an 80's party.

Suddenly the magic was over.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Month with all the Birthdays

The boys have always shared a birthday party because their mother is party-lazy and also tired. Also they've never had a friend party. Because they've never had friends independent of my friends' kids. But then we moved into The Neighborhood of Wonder and Joy and our kids had more friends in 5 minutes than I've had in all of my adult life. But they also have grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles who love them. So obviously we had to have a friend party AND a family party.

But neither of those days could fall on their actual birthdays - because although it happened the first time, the world does not actually stop on their birthdays every year.

That means 2 birthday parties and 2 actual birthdays. 4 days of attempted celebration. For this wonder mom that feels like a lot.

But with a solid plan of attack and a bunkbed surprise I was sure they'd be satisfied.

On the 8th the bunkbeds came. They were way more excited than they looked.

On the 9th I realized that I had no clue what to do for Tommy's actual birthday. So I asked him what he wanted for breakfast and it was cereal. I have never loved him more than I did in that moment. I asked him what he wanted for dinner and he took 2 hours to tell me he didn't want anything and I waited in the Wendy's drive thru line at 7pm for at least 20 minutes to wait for nuggets. Birthday dinner fail.

On the 10th Josh built the bunkbeds, Tommy jumped up and down on his mattress on the floor and shouted "holy smokes mom! we can everybody have THEIR OWN BED." Though I was glad he was excited, there was a tiny bit of shame for making them share a bed/floor for the last little while.

That weekend I was busy with Togetherness stuff. 

On the 13th we had a birthday party with the family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas. Costco cake. It was awesome. 

On the 23rd we had a friend birthday party. And wow. I was ill equipped for that. I asked Tommy & John more than a month ago what kind of party they wanted. Tommy wanted Wolverine and John wanted Batman. So I panicked and tried to think of EASY party ideas. Not pinterest ideas because that was likely to be more crafty than I have in me. 

When I found super hero masks that the kids could decorate I was thrilled. Then I thought I'd make capes out of t-shirts and let them decorate those too. Which was cool - except t-shirts are expensive! So I stressed. 

When I realized I could shop at DI for a bunch of cheap shirts, all my problems were solved and I got all cocky about how easy this party would be. 

But then I had a dozen small children in my backyard (holy beautiful fall! It's been so warm and beautiful outside I couldn't keep them inside.) and I realized (again) what a pain birthdays are. So we did all the birthday party stuff and had a great time, and I was feeling really great about it and looked at my watch and still had 30 minutes to fill. 

Though I wish they would, only 2 or 3 of the kids grasped the concept of playing night games and everybody was bored well before time to be bored. 

No matter, the kids thought it was a fun party, and nobody was irreparably damaged, but I did learn that for me a) friend birthday parties aren't that fun and b) they shouldn't be longer than 90 minutes. 



I am not a cake decorator....

kids opening presents sporting their awesome masks

Josh helped Little John decorate his. It stands for Super Little John - but don't tell John the L is on there....

Finally on the 31st it was Little John's birthday and I was thrilled to be done with birthdays for another year. We let him choose breakfast (pancakes) and had a great time celebrating.

So with 5 solid days of birthday celebrations just for the boys, I am ready to slim down the celebrations for next year. And none of that is even counting the OTHER birthdays around here in October. Aunt Cami and their friends Bronson & Cody also had birthdays (or at least parties) this month and I'm not sure they'll ever be used to just regular old non-birthday days anymore. 

My favorite part of this year is that both boys think that Halloween is the entire month of October. So when asked for their birthdays you'll get the following responses:
Little John: mine bowff-day on hallo-weeeen the last one!
Tommy: October, Halloween, ninth. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Facebook vs. The Real Life

A good friend of mine - the kind who knows it isn't always sunshine and rainbows asked me how I was doing a few weeks ago. She said "I mean, I know what's up on facebook - but what's really up?" and I said something stupid about how facebook is real life - because I never lie on facebook. Ever.

Then this morning, in the quiet of the morning Tommy sweetly came into my room and asked if I would please build a marble run with him. Of course I would, and we did. I was impressed with his problem solving and precision. I enjoyed the moment and we ran and ran and ran all the marbles through all the pieces. And my heart took a picture. and so did my camera. And I posted it on facebook because the moment was lovely.

Then Little John woke up and the moment continued to be lovely. They played together and Tommy patiently showed him some of the tricks we learned and they said adorable things.

About 30 seconds after posting about my fabulously successful Saturday morning, John asked a question which Tommy deemed stupid and they both destroyed the marble run and screamed like banshees and threw things and yelled at each other and whined and cried for the next 2 hours. I made them clean up their toys and they whined and whined and whined. And after the 10 millionth time I was patient, I told them they had exactly 5 minutes to put away anything they cared about because when I got down there everything else was going int he DI box. I came down and took away Tommy's backpack, 2 pair of shoes, about a million toys, army guys, miscellaneous game pieces and various other "treasures" while my children totally lost it. I gathered it all up and stuck it in the garage explaining that if they care about their stuff they have to take care of it.

Later I let Tommy do chores to get his shoes and backpack out of the box.

So you see, the truth is on facebook - it's just that the truth doesn't last very long around here.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Dear John: a subtle hint

Dear John,

I expect that 20 years from now you'll be making plans for my 50th birthday (which is in just 6 months! Plan away little one!!) so I thought I'd give you a hint. I want you and Logan to re-create this picture this year. That's all. And maybe blow it up so it's life-sized and I can display it at the epic birthday party you'll be throwing for me. The one where we'll all sit around eating Costco cake and telling stories about your awesomeness. 

You're welcome for this excellent birthday gift hint. Tell your dad I'm still waiting for a piano bench.

Your ever low maintenance Mom

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How old ARE those guys anyway?

On our first Sunday in our new ward I forgot how old my kid was. I insisted that he was already 3, and when they tried to tell me that meant he was a sunbeam I was totally baffled, because he's NOT. And correlation makes sure that Sunbeams begins for all the babies in all the lands at the same(ish) age and I couldn't figure out why our last ward was so confused and held him back in nursey. At the same time I couldn't figure out why our new ward advanced kids to nursery before they were old enough. At the same time I was excited for Little John to be a real live sunBEAM!

I suppose that says something about my insistence that I am NEVER wrong, or my parenting, or my lack of involvement, ability to keep time, or retain important information, or my extreme nerves in meeting the people who will be caring for my child, or my general brainlessness, or something.

When Josh corrected me and saved me from having to back to the nursery to admit my foolishness and beg forgiveness for not knowing my own child's age I was thankful. But then I picked up Little John and had to hang my head in shame anyway. Ya win some, ya lose some.

Anyhow, all of that is water under bridge now because Little John (or "I NOT A BABY!" as he prefers to be called) is 3 now. For real.

Hard to believe isn't it? 3 years.

And even harder to believe that he is the younger brother and there is a giant roaming around here claiming to be the same Thomas who named John "Diddo Yawn" 3-and-a-half years ago. This memory of this boy as a baby blows my mind, because he makes such a great big kid. The pants that fit him last week are now shorts and he cannot find a pair of shoes comfortable enough to wear more than once, but when we get it right, that smile just kills me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On Sucking Air

A dear friend of mine has totally lost her mind and decided that Bikram Yoga (wherein you voluntarily walk into a room which is kept at a steady temperature of 105* (YES. ONE-HUNDRED FIVE DEGREES!) and work out.) She looked me straight in the eye and swore to me that "It feel so good. Cleansing."

I think she's nuts. Obviously. But the good kind of nuts. Like pistachios. Not walnuts. 

Anyway, I asked if she could breath. She said something about the air being thick, but that they reassured her they were constantly pumping fresh oxygen into the (hotter than hell) room. I told her yoga would do me no good at all if I couldn't breath. 

Every time we talk about this experience, I see myself lying in the fetal position on my purple yoga mat sucking air while my lips turn blue and my face pales. I imagine I'd last 5 seconds feeling like I'm drowning in the sweaty air and wishing myself dead - because at least then I could float up above all the heavy heavy air and find something fresh to inhale which must be hanging out near the ceiling. (lessons from this paragraph: dead people float and even though I'm way too chicken to ever participate, I cannot get enough of hearing about my friend's experience)

I sometimes get embarrassed when the people around me can tell I'm sucking air. 

I run up the stairs at home and refuse to answer the phone because if someone asks if I've been working out I won't have the strength to be honest and tell them I wasn't. 
I hike with people I love and walk as slow as is humanly possible - constantly willing my heart to beat slower so I can breath steadier. 
I don't run with other people. Because admitting that I can't hear them over my own panting is only slightly less embarrassing than that time I wore a sweater vest (over a t-shirt) to 9th grade lagoon day and rocked the sweat pits which probably became columns as they met the waist of my pants rather than sticking to the much more socially acceptable sweat rings the rest of the people had.

I get embarrassed about physically sucking air, but I'm getting better at being caught emotionally sucking air. 

Maybe it's just because I hang out less with "acquaintances" and more with the kinds of friends who will notice you sucking air, and give you an oxygen mask instead of asking if you're working out - clearly looking for some explanation for your bizarre behavior. The people who know that the sucking will slow eventually and remind me that there is plenty of air for everyone. They sooth my panic, sit with me in the crazy and remind me that it will pass. 

The more I am around these friends who recognize the need for air, the need so deep that you simply can't NOT suck it in spite of the embarrassing noises, the more I want to be that kind of friend for someone else. 

I spent my weekend with these kinds of friends and somehow I just breath easier around them. Even if I'm not sucking air in the moment, they are still MY PEOPLE. They are Air-Suck Preventers, and I love them. 

If you need an Air-Suck-Preventer yourself, will you let me know? I'm no expert at solving crises, but I am quite used to sitting in the crazy and I'd love to sit there with you. #codesafespace

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Who loves you?

One of my favorite games to play with Little John is "who loves you" because he has the best (and longest) lists of people who simply adore him.

"annnn....Kate! annnn.....RyRy........annnnn Lulu annnnnn GarGar......annnnn......grummuh.......annnnnn........" the list goes on and on through all our family members and people he has seen the last 2 days and every now and then he'll throw in a random one. "annnnn ELMO!" And really Elmo loves everybody, so I suppose he's not wrong. And who would bother to correct him anyway? 

Last night as we were driving home the boys were bugging each other so Josh started a conversation with Little John. Josh would name an animal and Little John would say something about it. 

"A fish"
"goes [insert kissy fishy face and accompanying squeaky sound here]"
"A bat"
"goes WINGS, 'side down" (as in "UPside down - but I think we can all agree that "up" is superfluous)
"A spider"
"up a water spout....down came the rain and WASH-A-PIDAH out!"
"An owl"
"Ow-ul scare me"
"A hippo"
"Eat grass"

I have no idea where he learns these fun facts, or why he's afraid of owls, but he is. Terribly horrible afraid of owls. He loves to climb on things and jump off them, pick up ants ants and spiders, and hide in dark and scary places in the house. But if you ask him "what's scary" he'll tell you with his most serious face - every time. "Ow-uhls scary and dragons scary." So...there's that.

The best news about October is that Little John is scared of Halloween (except the part about his birthday) and it's birthday month and everybody around here loves that. Because really, what's not to love?

Welcome October. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Child's Prayer

3 days a week Josh leaves for work by 5:30am. He wakes up, gets ready and heads out the door before anybody else has even thought of opening their eyes. He usually doesn't even make us stir. But somehow, somehow the boys seem to know when he leaves, and one or the other of them almost always silently wakes, walks into my room and takes his spot in our bed. We snuggle for the next hour or 2 before I wake up and get going for the day. 

Sometimes this habit makes me crazy because I want the whole bed to myself and I don't want to have to be quiet when I finally do roll out of bed. But I want my boys to know that they can come to me and be comforted and that my room has an open door and is a safe place for them and that they are welcome there anytime. So I don't stop it.

Other times I think this habit is sweet. They snuggle sweetly, or pull my covers over their heads, or they put one tiny hand on my cheek while we drift in and out of sleep. I love that. They are some of the sweetest moments we share. 

This morning after Josh left for work I rolled over and nobody was there in his place. I laid in bed trying to decide whether to just get up (and do some packing) or lay there soaking in the peace and extra rest. I had resigned myself to getting up when I heard the creek of the boys' door. Tommy came in, climbed into the bed and said "mom. I had a really scary dream." 

I asked if he wanted to talk about it and see if we could make it funny or nice instead of scary. 
He solemnly shook his sleepy head. 
I asked if he wanted to snuggle.
No response. 
I held him tight and whispered in his ear that he was safe. 
Not a word. 
I got up to use the bathroom, and when I came out he had the solution. 

"Mom, maybe if we can say a prayer about that dream I'll feel better." 

I don't think I taught him this (though I clearly should have by now). We pray. We talk about God loving us. But in this moment I realized I've never taught him to pray when he's having a hard time. He is quite dependent on grown ups to pray, he repeats, but he doesn't come up with his own prayers just yet. 

I nodded, and asked him if he wanted to say it or if he wanted my help. 

He said he only needed help with the front part and the end part. 

So I helped him "Heavenly Father, I had a very scary dream" and he took off

"Please, oh please help me get that scaredyness out of my head and out of my whole entire body. I don't like that dream, so please put something nice or funny in there instead."

I helped him close and held him a little tighter as he slipped back into a much safer and happier sleep. 

I've never heard him pray such a genuine, heartfelt, faith-filled prayer. Being a mother means I'm invited to the wholeness of my Littles' lives. Their most horrible and most beautiful moments. I think that's what makes it so sacred. 
Share |