Thursday, January 31, 2013


This winter has been the one from my dreams.

Huge storm after huge storm as rolled in. I haven't seen grass (or in the case of my backyard - weeds) for longer than I can remember. It snows, it freezes, it begins to thaw, then snows again.

Then in some crazy twist of fate we got freezing rain on top of it all.

But the inversion and the freezing have made the snow less than fun to play in. Crunchy and black and icky.

So when it snows fresh white powder from a clear blue sky yesterday we took full advantage.

Josh was shoveling the driveway (for the 3rd time in less than 24 hours) and John was napping, so obviously Tommy and I bundled up and went out to "get Daddy!"

We had to find the edge of yard with the smallest snow drifts (shorter than Tommy) to enter the yard to get to our sledding "hill". 

Tommy was thrilled when I told him we could sled.
Sledding Tommy

Sledding Tommy
He loves it. Even at the bottom of our hill.

With each run the track got longer and longer. Then it got so long (OK, you should know that this is a seriously short hill....) that Tommy crashed into our neighbors car which they have to park in their yard because there's no street parking in the winter.

Poor boy, he hit the van head first and started crying and whining. I came down the hill to give him a big hug and kisses and he sniffled and cried because his tears were "frozen bo bozen right on my cheeks."

But I told him we could be all done sledding and head to the backyard to eat the fresh snow back there if he wanted to. He perked right up and raced me back there.

Say what you will about driving and being stuck inside and everything else, but there are few things more beautiful than a fresh snow. 
Our beautiful backyard.
 When you have a fresh canvas, you are required to play circle tag before anything else. Fortunately we had just been to story time and Ms. Diane (aka Grandma Marsh - Tommy's cousins' grandma) taught him how to walk like a penguin. So I started making the track and had Tommy and Josh follow behind me to tramp it down.

I explained the rules to Tommy (and Josh...who apparently doesn't know anything about fun.), you have to stay in the track (a circle with 6 spokes through the middle), and once you always have to move forward. No about-facing. If you start one way down a spoke, you have to finish it up - at least to the middle.

Tommy immediately changed the rules. "I'm a tiger! You're the giraffe! You're the elephant! NOW, make your sounds." And we still played tag. Running in full snow gear on top of the snow is tricky anyway, so it's a legitimately fun game - even for grown ups.

We all had a blast. But no one more than Tommy.

I bribed him with hot chocolate to come inside, but he didn't want to. So I told him he could color his story time homework. (Bless you Grandma Marsh.) and he came willingly. 

Later while we snuggled on the sofa and looked at pictures, he stopped on the picture of him by the van and started getting weepy again. "I did runned right into that van with my noggin' and it made me feel so this...." he recapped. 

I always feel bad holding out the fun things for when John naps, but the truth is he would've wrecked that activity. I'm working on including him more, even though it takes more effort. Because the other truth is that the boy LOVES things. He thinks everything is new and exciting and fun and life changing (because it is) and when he loves something, we ALL love it more.

So let's all pray for another big storm so I can do better at including him OK?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

One thing I love about 3 year olds

One thing I love about 3 year olds is that they can't say things correctly.

Tommy's primary teachers are a married couple. He refers to them as "BrotherSISter Karr". Which is especially funny because a friend I grew up with called her primary teachers "Brother LA-dy" and when Tommy says "BrotherSISter Karr" I hear Carly telling the story about how she wants to "hit Brother LA-dy!"  Today he had a substitute and when I told him it was because Sister Karr had surgery and was at home working on feeling better he reminded me "not ohn-ee [only] Sister Karr is sick. BrotherSISter Karr is sick."

"My neck [throat] and noggin are feelin' a little noxious [obnoxious]" he told me one morning. "I guess I need some medicine." Then he demanded M&Ms.

He also can't quite do everything correctly and when he feels inadequate or incapable he is petrified and hates the project he's working on. This happens most often with coloring or drawing. He isn't afraid to make mistakes in speaking (to me) or reciting things (the memory on this child is amazing...I just want to fill it up before someone else does) or identifying things.
But CREATING things is well outside of his comfort zone. He has never liked coloring (until Sunbeams, I think his teachers are magic, he's easing into it) and writing is almost completely out of the question. I really wanted to teach him to write the letters in his name, but putting the pen (or pencil, or marker or crayon) on paper makes him so anxious I simply can't stand to force him.
Today he wanted me to write a note to his primary teacher with him. He talked, I wrote, then I suggested he try to trace some of his favorite letters. When his "o" got a little out of control he had a meltdown you wouldn't believe. He flung the crayons on the floor and ran out of the room crying about how he "hates to drawed that paper!!!" and he wanted a new one.
He was tired, he fell asleep within minutes of this meltdown, but it's a common occurrence. He just hates the thought of being incapable and I can relate.

Of course there are other times that I am astounded by his understanding. The other day as I was putting on my apron to cook dinner he walked up to me and so clearly stated what he wanted. "Mom. Take off that apron and don't be a cook right now. Just be my mommy instead." I asked him what he'd like me to do and he said "just sit on the sofa and have a little chat with me." So I did.

If you ever get the chance to have a little chat with Tommy take it. He's shy at first, but once he warms up to you I swear you'll never laugh harder or be so enchanted with anyone in your life. He's impressive and intelligent lovely to talk with.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Today I heard an airplane (or helicopter?) fly over our house and I felt my heart break a little bit again. This is the first time I've heard that since moved here. At our old house I heard that sound 3 or 4 times a day and Tommy could identify and find and point out airplanes before he could walk or talk. John has never seen one.

I'll be honest. I want to go home. I want to live in my tiny little townhome in Foxboro again.

Because at our old house:
  • I  know (almost) everybody in my ward
  • We heard airplanes every day
  • I had play dates with our friends 
  • We lived close to downtown - city creek, children's museum, malls
  • Parks. Teeny tiny parks just perfect for my teeny tiny boys just down the street. And another down another street. And the elementary school too.
  • We could go to the zoo any dang time we wanted
  • New stuff. Level floors and ceilings, unchewed door casing, and no disturbing bumps under the carpet
  • Utilities cost next to nothing even though I ran the a/c well into November.
  • Walking to the mailbox - usually I don't miss this...but sometimes a little walk through the common area to the mailbox sounds nice.
I love our new neighbors, I love our new house, I love a lot of aspects of our new life. But Foxboro was our home. It was the first place that we bought together, it was where we had our babies and the first place we were grownups to our neighbors. 

And today, just today, I'm terribly horribly homesick.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

To Do: Pages

I like lists.

My to do list is eternal. And I often put things on there that normal people wouldn't. 

9 months ago (March 6th to be exact) my friend e-mailed me and requested an "All About John" page on the blog. It was embarrassing then because he was already 6 months old! 

It's exactly 9 months more embarrassing now, but I finally did it and now I get to check off my oldest task in my list. This makes my heart happy.

So if you wanted updates about all of us, have at it. 

Dear Jess, Thanks for pestering me, I would have forgotten. Also, I win the prize for slowest response time EVER. Love, your procrastinating tightly wound friend.

Next up: Have a discussion with Josh about where our children will go if we both die. I sincerely hope that conversation is not relevant in the next 9 months....but I also hope it's done before then. (Have you had that conversation? Why is it so hard? Why can't I land on anything I like?)

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Once upon a time I worked at the Utah State Developmental Center.

It was my first "real" job (not counting working in my dad's law office) but I was really just an intern and a high school student. I loved that job and honestly wanted to stay there for the rest of my life. I was happy there and didn't feel any kind of need to move on or go to college. I honestly might have stayed forever if they had let me.

It was my first experience working with people I didn't already know and immediately fell in love with. The women in my office were extraordinary examples to me and I think of them all the time.

We had a old receipt printer which used continuous stationary and we had special letter headed carbon copy receipt paper. The letterhead said "Utah State Devleopmental Center" and had the address along with other basic information.

One day someone in the office noticed the typo (Devleopmental) and pointed it out to us. We all laughed because they had been using the stationary for years and nobody had ever noticed it.

And that's why I can't say "developmental" properly. Because in my head it will always have a 10 year old typo making it say "Dev Lee Ope Ment" instead.

This walk down memory lane is really just because I've been watching my boys develop SO much over the last few weeks and I keep thinking about writing a dev le ope ment post.

A week ago John would take a couple of hesitant steps only if someone distracted him and he didn't notice he was doing something so dangerous. Today John walked clear across the room just to pick me up and giggled and clapped for himself when he sat down to rest at the end of his long journey.

A month ago Tommy refused to write or color anything on a piece of paper. Today he insisted on writing a note to "Daddy Adam Egbert" with me for when Josh got home. He reminded me to start with a "D for Daddy. Daddy Adam Egbert" and then wanted me to write "Tommy Adam Egbert" at the bottom so he'd know who it was from. In the middle he drew a happy face. And wrote (a bunch of random lines) "I love you".

John's missing teeth are sprouting up all over the place, with 4 visible today. He loves to brush them when everybody else brushes theirs.

Tommy knows all of his letters, numbers and colors and remembers things with alarming accuracy.

John is signing like crazy (more, all done, yay, me!, you, food, milk) and recognizing familiar behaviors. (i.e. getting ready to get dressed or change a diaper) and prepares himself properly for them. He races to the bathtub when he hears the water running and starts trying to undress himself. He walks to the kids' cupboard to get out his breakfast bowl in the morning. He's just starting to get stuff.

Tommy is more and more my favorite person to talk to. Telling stories, remembering things and making connections from books and ideas to real life. Today we made fishes out of construction paper, then I wanted to make an octopus too, so I told him that's what was next. He told me to "stay right there and DON'T move a muscle" while he ran upstairs to find an octopus. While he was gone I tried to think of anything that might be even a little like an octopus in this house. I came up with nothing. He came back with a kite from the back of the coat closet which we've never flown or even played with.

I miss my boys being babies, and I feel like I missed a lot of John's baby-hood because of other factors in my life, but I just LOVE watching them learn and grow up. I love seeing them pick up on things and making connections. I love watching them become capable and contributing members of our family. I love the age when they finally start to DO things and when they interact and enjoy each other.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Laugh or Cry

We are renting this beautiful home we live in.

It's not without it's quirks.

OK that's generous. It's a crazy place, with many quirks. But we like it anyway. Character and all that.

Yesterday Josh reached under the bathroom sink to grab something and found that the pipes were leaking. When he opened something somewhere under there (I have a lot of technical training, obviously) water started shooting up out of the hot water knob like a fountain. A tall, hot fountain.

He had turned off the water to the sink, but apparently that valve doesn't work, so while the (HOT!) water sprayed everywhere he tried to keep it down with his hand and reach under the sink while yelling obscenities calmly and rationally in a volume appropriate for the situation, requested my help.

I came in to control the hot water spraying everywhere while he crawled under the sink to try to make it stop. He quickly gave up and raced to the basement to turn off the valve to the whole house.

Turns out the gaskets had literally crumbled and the leak was just a bit of warning before the real problem started. You know, like a cartoon.

Most things in my life are like a cartoon.

So with no hot water in the house and 4 family members who were too sick to bathe the day before we called the landlord and demanded he come over right now and fix the problem.

He didn't. Josh did.

Mostly. Still a small leak, but sometimes hot water function and no bathroom fountains is good.

Then the landlord supposedly came while we weren't home (though there is no evidence of his presence) and fixed it. But it's still leaking today.

As is the water heater.

And the downstairs toilet.

And virtually all of the windows.

What Josh learned from this experience: Don't buy old houses. He already believed in this concept, but our last few months here have confirmed it. Over and over again. Also that his wife is awesome.

What I learned from this experience: water spraying straight up is funny. Every dang time. Tommy and I couldn't stop giggling (once I got the burning sensation out of my hand) because everything "especially and even that door by the potty!!!!" was dripping. Also that Josh is right. Again.

What Tommy learned from this experience: "We never never NEVER say those words. Even if we hear someone else say them. OK?"

What John learned: nothing. Kid can sleep through anything if he really wants to.

Monday, January 14, 2013


You know that (country) song about how everything is going wrong but it's "just another day in paradise"?

That's the goal around here. Seeing the paradise.

The house is a disaster, the kids are whining, the parents have frizzy hair and cartoon squiggles above their heads to indicate their stress (over nothing, because our life is easily less stressful than it's been in our entire married lives) and it's just another day in paradise.

Yesterday I burned black beans (in the crock pot. I have a special talent for ruining black beans.) and the boys had eaten only mac 'n cheese and cereal for 36 hours and I had spent the better part of the day in my yoga pants on my front porch with a crow bar and a hammer trying to chip away at the inch and a half ice rink that is my front porch while listening to Sister Pearce talk about how "I am in change of whether or not I am opening my heart to the Lord. It is a decision I can make." She explained the experiment of A Heart Like His.

Chink chink chink I pounded on the crowbar hoping my bare hands wouldn't freeze to the bare metal.

If I open my heart to the people around me.....

chink chink CRACK

.....I am more able to feel the love of the Lord....

chink chink chink

......And I am completely in control of how open my heart is.....

chink chink CRACK scraaaape the people I associate with.

I pounded that stupid crowbar and ice sheet to death letting loose my frustration.

What I was doing and feeling couldn't be more opposite to what I was hearing.

But when I finished - physically and mentally exhausted - I dragged my frozen-but-potentially-soggy self into the kitchen to start cooking and cleaning for the party we were having that night.

Oddly enough I looked at my family. Ridiculously goofy hair - bed head combined with a sad attempt at home-haircuts - filthy faces, disheveled clothes wandering around the kitchen cluttered with dirty dishes and all the apparently homeless items in our home. And I caught I tiny glimpse of paradise.

I giggled with Tommy when he saw how funny his hair looked "sticking way up like that in the back".

I scooped up John, a bundle of goodness and love covered in mushed up food and spilled milk, and listened to him shriek with delight while we spun around.

And when we 4-way danced - Dad holding John, me holding Tommy, us holding each other - making the boys laugh with our awesome dance moves I saw nothing but paradise. Maybe I got Sister Pearce's point by osmosis....

The truth is that was just a moment. A moment of paradise in the middle of what is typically chaos and uncertainty. But I'll take it. Because in that moment, all was right in the world. And moments like that should not go unnoticed.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Last week Tommy went to Primary for the first time. 

To say he doesn't love change might be an understatement. 

To say I was nervous about how the day would go in general would be a bigger understatement. 

I talked to him about it before, we talked about how he'd get to sing songs, and sit in a chair (just his size!) with some of his nursery friends and that he'd get to meet brand new teachers (as of then undetermined). 

So when I dropped him off, we asked his teacher her name. She said "Hi Thomas, I'm sister Karr like this bbbbrrrrrr" (and made a car sound with her lips) and Tommy thought that was pretty cool and I thought it was DANG cool. 

But as I walked out of that GIANT primary room and looked back at my TINY boy kneeling backward on his chair with his eyes poking above the back of the chair staring at me and whimpering "mommy?" I (and he) wondered why I'd ever leave him there. I stood just outside the door rocking my baby (who is hardly still a baby really) praying he'd calm down and feel happy and safe. 

I have no idea what happened during the next two hours, except that when he came home Tommy was thrilled about being a Sunbeam.

And he really loved telling me (and grandma, and me, and daddy, and me, and Little John, and me again just in case I forgot) about his brand new teachers "THE CARS!!! Like Lightening mom!" 

So the Karrs are now on the list of people so saintly Tommy falls in love with them. And on my list of people I will be indebted to forever. 

Here's hoping next week (when he realizes he doesn't ever get to go back to nursery again) goes just as beautifully.

It's nothing short of a miracle that this baby who we (all of us!) prayed for and hoped for and prayed for some more is a handsome little boy wearing a suit to church and going to class on his own. I look at him and just shake my head in wonder at the blessing that is mine.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Birthday for a Month

Josh's birthday has probably never been more neglected than it was this year.

Maybe neglected isn't the right term....strung out perhaps. It isn't like we didn't's just that we did it in 5 minute increments over the course of 14 days (so far).

The morning of Josh's birthday he opened presents.  But his real present from me was in the mail

He opened a couple of other presents. Slippers from the boys (because he's an old man) and kid music from the Washington Fugals (because he's really not THAT old) and some new music from me.

Then we made pancakes and enjoyed breakfast together and took the kids to the Dr.

Then I didn't really have the ingredients (which I ALWAYS have) for Josh's birthday dinner, so we didn't eat anything special.

So, Josh and I played games by the light of the fire while he downed mate (which I have apparently don't like anymore).

The next day I made his precious dinner, only the black beans weren't cooked all the way (even though I SWEAR they were....) and that was pretty much garbage. And he wasn't home to eat it. So....

5 days later we watched The Avengers because it finally got here in the mail. (Dude, what a cool movie.)

And a few days later I made tres leches cake (which he requested long before his birthday) and ate it. Then ate it again the next day, and the next, AND THEN put a candle in (what was left of) it and sang happy birthday to him. Again.

Still on the to-do birthday list is The Birthday Date. Date of The Month is all Josh this month. Rodizio [shudder] and some movie of his choosing.

So...maybe, if we're really good, we'll finish all of his birthday celebrating before mine begin.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Toothless no more

14 months and 4 days and he is finally sprouting his first tooth. 

Call it what you want, I think it's a miracle.

PS the tooth is on the bottom...right side....tiny white bump? squint your eyes....tilt your head..... Oh yeah. That's it.

An Interview With Tommy

I interviewed Tommy this morning. Here's what he said.

What is your name? Thomas Adam Egbert but sometimes Mr. Toad
How old are you? 3 [with 3 signing fingers]
Who is your best friend? Jacob How do you know Jacob? I see him at the park. I have no idea who Jacob is....hmmm...a church friend? I see him all the time at sitting on the trees. I'm short and Jacob's short. I tell him to go to the mountains too. We bonk my head. And turn the lights off.
What do you love to do the most? Share toys. With who? My friends. Like who? Stella Bo Bella. obviously
What is your favorite show? Blue's Clues and Dora
What are your favorite clothes? pants and a shirt with a crazy lizard
What do you love to say? [foot clap] "with my toes!" indescribable noises I actually believe that.
What is your favorite book? 2 Elmos. (a book with the sesame street people kid songs)
What is your favorite song? Follow The Prophet
What do you love to do at nursery? Play letters. T is for Tommy and I love Johnny.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Be big and be in a tree.
What makes you happy? [spins around on chair and sniffs] "like this!" drugs perhaps?
What makes you sad? bonk [touches his head] right here
What's your favorite thing about bedtime? snoring and snoozing
Do you want to tell me anything else? Yeah. I don't like coloring true. too too true.

Here's what I learned. 
1. He loved this. I need to talk to him more often because he is happy to answer any question I ask right now. He wanted to do more questions but stopped giving coherent answers.
2. Who the crap is Jacob? Imaginary friend? Ward member? Stalker? How concerned should I be about this? And why have I never heard of him before?
3. He wants to live in a tree. Maybe this summer we'll build something for him to play under the apple tree in the corner of the back yard! Dreams can come true.....

New Year's Hike

When my mom called and said they were hiking battle creek we were sitting at the computer looking at pictures from last year. John was napping and the rest of us were still in our pajamas feeling a bit hung over from our new year's eve party the night before. The one where even Tommy stayed up until 2am.

So we jumped at the chance to do something that would help us all wake up.

We got all bundled up in our snow clothes and headed for the hills. Tommy whined and cried the whole way because he didn't like the way Josh put him in the car seat.

Sometimes Josh and Tommy just don't get along, and it's usually because Tommy thinks Josh should do things a certain way (my way - the way we always do it) and Josh doesn't see the point (because why does it really matter HOW he gets in his car seat?) and then they fight. This was a day of fighting. And both of them being sleep deprived didn't help at all.

But we made it there. And I helped Tommy out of his carseat (the right way apparently) and somehow Josh managed to squeeze bundled up John into his carrier and we headed up the mountain.

Before we hit the pond Tommy wanted to turn around and go home. He was well bundeled but was still cold and sounded a lot like the 101 Dalmatians whiner. "My toes is froze, my ears are froze, why can't we just walk in the snow?"

So he walked in the snow.

Meanwhile Lucy preferred to sit on the snowless rocks.

Once we found the pond though, the bridge was right around the corner, and once you hit the bridge, you're practically to the cave, which is just down the hill from the waterfall. The ultimate goal.

And just like that we learned about setting small attainable goals instead of big ones that make you wanna turn around and go home.

My shoulders swear that Tommy rode on them the whole way up, the pictures say he walked a good chunk - I suppose we should side with the photographic evidence rather than my old lady aches and pains.

The cave people.

I think they would have happily stayed in the cave for the rest of the day - but the promise of sliding down to the frozen waterfall finally got them moving again.

If you've never seen a frozen waterfall before, put that on your bucket list now. (If that's your kind of thing....) The water is still moving, but the surrounding icicles provide a positively beautiful sparkling frame.

Tommy was much more excited about sitting and sliding down than he was about trudging up the mountain. I learned that I am not equipped to be wheelchair bound - pushing us down the mountain on our bums was perhaps the most physically challenging part of the day.

Baby Ian was a saint in his pack the whole time. Apparently singing as we went.

John did surprisingly well considering he's never let us carry him more than 3 steps in this thing.... We vowed (again) to find a better hiking pack for the babies.

If you do this hike soon, you'll see Grandma's angel marks. :)

Any maybe Ryann's too.

There's something incredibly freeing about ditching the snow gear for the ride home. Even "frozen bo-bozen" Tommy was happy to ditch the britches.

This is another one of those moments where I look at my baby and wonder how that happened? I have a 3 year old (primary next week!) wearing snow pants, joining us for hikes. It seems like just yesterday I took Tommy to meet his new cousin Cayson and marveled at how grown up his 2 month self seemed.

These days the pictures of those two simply cannot be contained to a blanket on the floor because they're too busy wrestling each other.

Me and every other mom wanna know, where does the time go?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolved: 2013

Last year's Resolutions pattern was one of my very favorite parts of the year. I loved the variety and the challenge of it. Plus everything was quite manageable. (Though I didn't succeed in every goal...)

So I'm doing it again!

Here's the rundown for 2013:

January: Finish typing Grandpa Fugal's mission letters. (I'd like to say "and get the printed, bound and presented to him", but I'm afraid I'll be typing the last word of the last letter on January 31st at 11:59pm.....that's sorta my style. And I'd rather be in my office typing at 11:59pm than at Kinkos at 11:59pm.)
February: Attend a weekly exercise class (yoga? cycling? masters swimming? who knows.)
March: Fast with a purpose 4 times (I think I already know the purpose, but that's a good 2 months from now and a lot can change...)
April: A date a week. We're doing the Date of the Month Club again this year, but for my birthday month I'm stepping it up.
May: Run (jog, whatever...) 3 days/week.
June: Find and register for a class that interests me. (cooking! dancing! yoga! communication! computers! the possibilities are endless.) 
July: Go somewhere new and exciting and filled with adventure.
August: Find both ends of Murdock Trail (In my head this is a long bike ride....but the truth is I don't even know how long it might be different from that.)
September: Make 10 brand new to us meals.
October: Write. Answer at least 10 of those "personal history" questions. (I assume this will be on the blog....something to look forward to) 
November: Sew something. Anything.
December: Organize and carry out a service project that will require more than just my efforts. (Church humanitarian something? Neighbors? Friends? Family? Blog friends - Are you guys charitable?)

I'm curious, what are your plans for the new year?
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