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. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

2 Years

Josh graduated from nursing school in the Spring of 2012, he got a job that summer working at The Peaks (an orthopedic rehab center) in Orem, and we were thrilled that he got a "real job". But it was an hour long commute from our home. And he hadn't gotten around to quitting working his other full time job at Redbox, so he was gone a lot. And we knew that an hour commute was not sustainable for us - although it was just 3-4 days/week it meant his very long work day was that much longer. He left at 4:45am and didn't get home until 8pm on work days. 

So we started looking for someone to rent our townhome so we could move to Utah County. We listed it available and knew that if we hadn't found a place to live in Utah County yet, we could crash in my parents' basement while we looked. 

We rented faster than I ever dreamed we could, and wound up having about 6 days notice to pack and move. We moved Labor Day weekend 2012, leaving all of our stuff at a storage unit and sleeping my parents' basement. 

A month later we finally found a place to live and moved again. 

Then our landlord (in a move of epic jerkishness) evicted us delivering 30-day notice on Halloween. So we moved again - this time to American Fork. The week of Thanksgiving Break. 

In June we started house hunting and found the please, and somehow we wound up closing Labor Day weekend exactly 2 years after we left Foxboro for Utah County. 

Because it happened during the same weekend, it magnifies the differences in our life then and now. Now we're getting ready to move for the 4th time in 2 years, and I'm swearing up and down we'll never move again unless we feel like it.

We are thrilled with this home we've found. Shopping for and choosing it was a surprisingly beautiful experience. I wanted so desperately to walk into a home and have God send a bolt of lightening and a clear message to both of us that simply said "THIS IS IT!!!" BUY THIS HOUSE!" (Did you say it James Earl Jones' voice? If not, go try again.) But when we walked through this home the first time we just liked it. It was comfortable and calm and peaceful and exciting all at once. We shopped some more after it, we made and offer and got it under contract. But we kept shopping even after it was under contract.  It doesn't have everything we thought we could get out in Spanish Fork, so we looked around a bit more. 

We scheduled another walk through and when we left Josh just kept saying how comfortable and calm and peaceful it was. I thought of all of the things we can do there, I can see our future there and our family in that home. I especially love the neighborhood - it's in a circle, it's close to my sisters who watch my kids while I work, and it's closer to civilization (read: Salt Lake City). So it's an easy win for me. When we thought more about it, we decided that Josh's comfort and my excitement were as clear of a message as anything would ever be. 

We're moving in a couple of weeks when we've had a chance to paint the pink room (so many boys in my life!) and Josh has a weekend off work. But before that,we'll definitely be spending more time there. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

keys, police, flowers

This morning was one of those mornings. 

You know the kind, when you wake up to the sound of birds singing and you roll over in bed and that handsome little boy next to you puts his hand on your cheek and says "I love you so much" and then you slowly meander to the kitchen, share a leisurely breakfast, share with brother, clean up, do chores, and realize that you have SO much spare time you can all play a game together, then read some stories from the library, (REALLY read, all the words on all the pages) and still have time to put your shoes on before getting in the car. 

It was that morning. And I just kept thinking "wow, how come things are going so smoothly?" and then I remembered that Josh had cleaned the house from top tthe night before which always makes for a better morning. So we walked out the door, to get in the car and reached for my purse and it wasn't there.

So I reached for my keys on the counter. And they weren't there. 

So I started scrambling around my house looking for the missing keys. Then I looked through the windows of the car and saw my purse on the floor in the front seat of the car. Then I realized my keys were probably in there and starting thinking of a) how I could get my keys out of there. Right now as I'm writing this I think the better question would have been How can I get to work without a car. Because surely it's possible. But I'm a spoiled first world resident so instead I tried to figure out how to get my keys out. I called Josh, and texted Josh, and called my sister to tell her I'd be late, and called my office to tell them I'd be at least late, if I ever made at all, and called Josh again, in case he didn't notice the first, and sent another text, just in case. 

But then Katy said did you call the police? 

Which is how I know that the Police Department will come and break into your car for you if you ask nicely and they're bored. (I did, they were.)

Which is also why we had time to sit around picking dandelions out on our front lawn this morning. 

Which is also why I was late for work. 

In other news, once the police got there and let me in to my car, I grabbed my purse and reached for my keys and there they weren't. So, that was another fun 30 minutes searching for them. (They were DEEP under the seat of the car.) 

But the best part is that while we were waiting for the very kind police officer to rescue us, the boys picked "flowers" for me. Then Tommy sweetly tucked the dandelion behind my ear and told me "I'll put this boo-tiful fowler in your ear and then we'll cover it with your hairs so your boss can't won't ever see it." 

Meanwhile little John picked all the flowers he could find then threw them up in the air and jumped on them. So, there's that. 

These boys of mine, they are not the same as each other are they?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Oh Little John

L:ittle John is at that lovely age (2.5) where he knows exactly what he wants, and he'll do whatever it takes to get it. That means I spent lots of time saying things like "Little John! Beach balls are not appropriate stools!" and "don't hug the crock pot again." and "climbing the bookshelf is dangerous" and my new favorite "the fridge handle isn't strong enough to hold you."

Somehow my very clear and scientific explanations of gravity and force and heat do nothing to deter him. So he is my most injured child. We are constantly finding bruises and scrapes and bumps all over his arms, legs, and apparently magnetic noggin.

But when he gets how he snuggles. When this boy wants you, (which is not always) you just soak it in because though the love and stillness is fleeting, it's well worth the spontaneous investment.

He's also at the really fun language age. Where he says funny things, repeats sweet things, and grunts enough things that you just want to giggle at his "communication".

After climbing the fridge door to get an otter pop out of the fridge, he told me "big one. pop. fridger." and I translated "you got a big popsicle out of the freezer?" and he corrected me. "NOOOOOOOO no popsicle. oughtta 'op." (because, duh.) I managed to keep me "all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares" lecture to myself. I'll save it for another day.

He's a little crazy. But aren't we all?

And handsome. But aren't we all?

One of the best things about Little John is that most photos of him have something blurry happening. It's usually his face or limbs because he has exactly 2 speeds. Stopped to examine the ground, and full blast. 

It's so funny to me how he relates to the world and to me so differently from Tommy. Where Tommy is reserved, shy and cautious, John is enthusiastic, wreckless, and brave. He doesn't often hold back, and because he's so much like me, I am surprised that when we divide & conquer, Josh usually takes John and I negotiate with T because Tommy & Josh are far more alike and John and I seem to operate similarly.

I just love this little one.

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


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.
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. :)
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

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