Thursday, October 31, 2013

Oh Little John

When I learned I was pregnant with Tommy I immediately screamed and insisted that Josh get out of bed to properly celebrate with me at 5am. It took everything I had not to announce it to the world (via blog of course) that I was pregnant at 5:02. I not so patiently waited until 7:30 when Josh was driving me to work so we could call our moms. Then I posted it on the blog at 7:34 from my office and thoroughly enjoyed a day (or 3) of congratulations POURING in.

Tommy was an answer to everybody's prayers. Not just mine.

But Little John? Little John was just mine. All mine. I took a pregnancy test by myself in the middle of the day while Tommy was napping. And then I hid the positive pregnancy test and didn't tell Josh for a few days. I wanted to enjoy him (though I didn't know he was him) all by myself. I didn't want to share. He was MY baby and I wasn't ready to announce it yet.

After a while I told Josh.

Then everybody else.

Then I proceeded to grow a beautiful beautiful baby.

Who Tommy named Little John. Oh my gosh, remember that? When Tommy was too little to say Little John and he called him 'iddow yawn? My heart just re-melted.

Lately Little John has become kindof a pain the butt. He still only has a few teeth, and all of the ones under the gums are making him a little devilish. But last week a few more of those teeth popped right through and (in the words of my friend Aundrea) scared the devil right out of him.

Those teeth coming through are just a thing of beauty. John has gotten back to being a loving and snuggly and sweet sweet boy. Apparently teeth make him happy. And teethING makes him....not.

At his Dr. appointment a couple weeks ago we learned that he is staying right on his middle-of-the-road growth curve. He hates Dr.'s, nurses, scales, measurement tools and especially needles. And he only loves suckers. One in each hand and one in my hair. thankyouverymuch And he can get pretty much anything he wants from his mother when he's in pain.

One thing I love about Little John is that he gets deliriously happy. He laughs and giggles and his eyes literally twinkle. just like the movies He is magic. And oh so wonderful! I love this boy.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Memories: Primary Program

As a child, the Primary Program was a big deal to me. A chance to show off and be praised.

I'd memorize my part no matter how long it was and be unreasonably proud when people were (properly) impressed by my mad skills.

One year I did that embarrassing thing where you talk too loud into a mic and everybody laughs, which makes you feel stupid, so then you're all stupid and jittery. At 9 years old I was properly embarrassed to speak in public.

But mostly I just remember my parents being proud of me when I was done. Such a lovely feeling. I'm sure I milked it for all it was worth. And maybe a little more.

The week they handed out parts for the primary program we were on vacation in St. George. So the next week when Tommy got his part, I was worried a week wasn't long enough to learn it.

When you think of others before yourself, you make a forever family.

But then I remembered how Tommy has a freaky awesome memory and it would be easy.

We said it together a few times on Sunday afternoon and by Monday he had it down. But he got bored of saying it right and thought it would be better if it had potty words in it.

When you think of tooting before your toot, you make a forever bum toilet. 

Aww young humor.

So we made up a song so he'd stop with the potty words. Which miraculously worked. Most of the time. I was still a little concerned that he'd bust out the toilet line while on the stand, but I think he was just the right amount of terrified.

Grandma Fugal came and sat with me and Little John during the program which makes this officially the easiest sacrament meeting I have attended in 4 years.

The put the sunbeams on the ground level just in front of the rostrum, which I'm sure was a wise choice given the ants which clearly occupied their pants. But I was bummed not to be able to see Tommy most of the time. His class of sunbeams has like 15 little boys in it. And as far as I know zero girls. They have 4 teachers, 2 sets of 2 which alternate teaching weeks. And all 4 teachers were there to help with the program.
One stood at the microphone feeding them lines and boosting them up.
One stood on the left side of the stand to wave them up in a line.
One stood on the right side of the stand to wave them from the mic back down to their seats.
And one stayed at their seats to welcome them and get them to fold their arms again.

When it was Tommy's turn, he did great. No toilet. No toots. No potty jokes. And especially no shouting. Just his "mediumest" voice saying the assigned words. I've never been so relieved in my life. Except that one time when after he didn't exist in the ultrasound we made a deal and he properly posed for the camera and we knew he was a real baby with a beating heart in there.

I was so proud, it was all I could do to stay in my seat and not run over to him to tell him how proud I was of him for being so brave. Which I knew I'd do immediately after the meeting. But then those 4 awesome sunbeam teachers took him straight to class and I didn't even get to see him for 2 more hours!

Anyway, the point is that Tommy is amazing. And brave. And kind and smart and important. And I love him. Because really, what's not to love?

Friday, October 25, 2013

History: Music

I don't remember not taking piano lessons - though it was the case at some point in my babydom.

Me. Babydom. "Playing" the piano.
But I do remember my mom teaching me lessons, and hating it.

I also remember taking lessons with Sarah & Katy from some guy who lived over by Vittles which is now Arctic Circle in Pleasant Grove. But Vittles was famous for its grasshopper shake, which my sisters had me convinced contained real grasshoppers. His piano (and lessons) were in his basement and his house and all my memories of there make me squirm. He must have been a bit creepy to me.

But mostly when I think of piano lessons I think of Karla.

Karla taught lessons out of her home in her non-creepy basement and she. was. awesome.

I didn't realize it then, but it must have been a significant sacrifice for my mom to drive us over to Karla's house WAAAAAY over in Orem (whatever...that's far) then sit and wait through all our lessons before getting us all home. It took a lot of time. And that was just the lessons. The practice must have been torture - none of us were extraordinary pianists. Good - just not extraordinary.

The memories of my mom shouting over the piano noise from the kitchen "flaaat!" or "shaarp" will be with me forever.

We'd sit in Karla's basement and while one person was having a lesson, the other would do technical games on the computer or read music history worksheets.

From Karla I learned about playing hymns (something I still struggle with) and reverence for music. I wasn't a very emotionally expressive person but Karla would not give up on me. "moooove your body while you play" she'd say - while exaggerating her body movement while she played. "Feel the piece. What is it about? Where is the emotion?" I never really got that. Though I like to think that if I played today it would be different.

Karla also arranged for some pretty awesome musical opportunities. I got to compete in stuff, do the regular recitals, group lessons, collect trophies and even record a song in a real live recording studio.

At one recital when I was 12 years old, I was playing a piece which was fast. Fingers flying all over the keyboard which was the only way I felt even a little accomplished as a pianist. Speed. Speed and memorization.

I practiced that song until I could play it in my sleep and my fingers KNEW it even if my brain didn't. In fact, it's still my go to song if I sit down without music.

Recital day came and I was nervous (as always) but dressed to the 9's. (Shoulder pads people. I was mature enough to wear shoulder pads.) and when I sat down to the beautiful piano on stage I was intimidated and shaky and terrified. I had the music, but I didn't need it. I played and played and played, and suddenly it was over. Too soon. I thought. The piece is longer than that....I must have played it faster than I ever have. 

And as I stood up to take my bow, I realized I had skipped the entire middle section.

My face immediately turned red and I was mortified. Nothing worse had ever happened to any musician ever. Not ever.

Somehow I survived that day, and took lessons a bit longer. But I quit before I got really good. I decided I wasn't really talented anyway, and I couldn't/didn't want to "waste my time" trying anymore. What a fool I was. But that was only one of the foolish things I did. 

I really love the piano. I love to play and I really love to listen.

Josh loves to play - but he doesn't read music, he just plays out of his head. And it's beautiful. I love to hear him play. I want our kids to play. I want to have accompaniment when we sing primary songs during FHE.

I've been begging for a piano since the day we got married. We've bought a lot of stupid stuff, but a piano wasn't ever on the list.

I've found a few on ksl lately that I'd like to own. But by the time Josh is available to go get it for me, it's gone. Plus he really hates the idea of moving a piano.

So tonight while he was at scout camp I got on ksl just in case my piano was there. And I saw one I kinda liked, and the guy selling it could deliver it. And I had the cash to buy it. So I loaded my pajama clad babies in the car to go look at it at 7:30.

When Kevin answered the door and I realized he was blind I was surprised. But he knew exactly who I was, what I wanted and which piano I was talking about directing me around the 14 others in his living room to the one I came to see. Shouldn't I have been directing him?

So I bought it and asked if he could deliver it. Yes he could.

He asked how late was too late, I stammered when I said "you mean tonight?" and let him know that anytime before 10 was fine with me but that I was no rush.

He called at 8:45.
He came at 9:45.

And that's the story of when I bought a piano from a blind guy (a blind guy who delivers pianos!) while Josh was at scouts.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

History: Donations

Tithing was a law in my house growing up, and it was never a hard principle for me to get on board with. Get money, pay your tithing. Easy. I was raised that way and I was promised that if I did I would be blessed both spiritually and financially.

The financial blessing really sunk in for me. I was probably 8 or 9 years old, for the first tithing settlement I vividly remember. Tithing settlement happens at the end of the year when you meet with your religious leader to declare if you paid a full tithe or not. The clerk gave me a piece of paper with the report of the money I had paid that year. It couldn't have been more than $6 or $7. But at the very bottom of that little paper is the math. $6 is 10% of $60. So it showed "total income = $60".

I waited anxiously outside the bishop's office for our turn.

When it seemed that things were wrapping up, I asked my sister (or mom?) when we'd get all that money. Fully expecting a check for $60 at the end of the night, I was a bit disappointed to learn that was how much money I had "earned" that year and I wouldn't see another penny of it.

Though the financial blessings of paying tithing haven't come in the way I once thought they would, they have always come. We've been blessed with the ability to provide for ourselves and when that ability ran out, we've always been given exactly what we needed.

A few years ago when we lived in Foxboro someone approached us about Friends of Scouting. They had announced in church that "every little bit helps" but when they asked us for money we (I) sortof cringed. Josh is definitely the generous one in this relationship. I think we gave them $5. (We were stingy stingy students!)

Fast forward to this year, Josh is collecting donations for Friends of Scouting. I asked him how it was going and my eyes nearly popped out of my head when he said someone gave him $150. One. Hundred. Fifty. Dollars. Cash money. To Friends of Scouting!!!! So I immediately flashed back to the cheapskates we were that year. I'm not sure who to apologize to for our insulting I'm apologizing to The Internet.

Dear Internet,
I'm sorry for coughing up 5 lousy dollars for the scouts. It's not that I don't believe in scouts, it's that I am cheap by nature and I had/have no concept of an appropriate donation size. Please forgive me and I'll do better next time.
Generous Me

Dear Scouting,
Stop being so dang expensive OK?
Poor Me

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Family Home Evening

We've never been good at family home evening, but a few months ago Tommy was playing with our super cute rotation chart and asked why it had all our names on it.

I explained what we should be doing, and what our assignments would be and he immediately nominated himself as "the boss of treats" forever more.

So we started having family home evening.

And by family home evening I mean Tommy picks a treat. Typically we wait for Josh to come home from work and look at a religious picture while one of us tries to remember what it's about and explain it to the kids.

One time Josh chose Abraham sacrificing Issac.

As it turns out, this is not a great bedtime story.

Josh: So Abraham's son was Issac, and he really really loved Issac.
Tommy: Like how much you love me?
Josh: Yes! Just like that! You're my son and Issac was Abraham's son and...
Me: Um...easy on the relating this story to our real life OK?
Josh: So God told Abraham to sacrifice Issac so they went for a little walk in the mountains....
Tommy: What's fice? What's a sack of fice?
Tommy: Why's that guy's hurtin that other guy with that sharp one. Is he choosin' dangerous?
Josh: Mom?
Me: You started it, good luck.

So you see lessons aren't our strong point.

But treats. We've totally got that under control.

Also singing. Because Little John can do a rendition of sun-BEAM that blows the roof off our place.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I remember 4 years ago tonight

I was writing this post. 

And I thought I peed my pants.

And then we went to the hospital and on the way we ate at Wendy's because everyone told me if I didn't eat on the way I'd starve to death. But really nothing sounded good, so I ate half a salad in the parking lot at midnight.

And it took Josh a couple hours to clean out his car to make room for a car seat, because it was full (no really, FULL) of redbox movies and I sat on an old towel because for all I knew I just couldn't stop peeing my pants.

And I wouldn't let Josh call his mom on the way because what if I really did pee my pants?

And I realized I'd never leave home without a diaper bag again.

And I left a garbled message for my boss at 2am over the sound of the oxygen machine and through the mask on my face. They told me not to take it off and I'm nothing if not obedient. 

And my sweet little miracle was born and he didn't cry, and the cord blood shot all over the room, and he peed before they could weigh him and they were sure he would've been over 7 pounds if he hasn't peed everywhere first, and he was whisked away before I got to tell him how much I loved him.

And I cried every day for the next 3 weeks.

And every week for the next 4 years.

And my life has never been, nor will it ever be the same again.

Thank heaven for that.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


I'll be honest there are certain things I feel like I simply can't really love because it's cool to do so. I'm generally resistant to coolness because cool is not typically a crowd I fit in with.

Stuff like the cupcake craze (which is delicious- but also ridiculous)
And big fat glasses which used to be dorky (which is only ridiculous - but also cool)
And Downton Abbey (which I may never understand)
And vampire obsessions (which I KNOW I'll never understand)
And that one song that I love to listen to but hate to admit I like

But every now and then, there is something (or someone) I really really love. And it doesn't matter that 9,000 meme's show up in my Instagram feed or that everybody who's anybody loves him too. Because when he speaks he does it directly to my soul and almost always brings me to tears.

Today he did it again. And although I know it's as trendy to love Elder Holland as it was to quote "this really awesome story" from President Monson, I can't help it. He's just so dang lovable. Aren't they all?

Three cheers for this man who dared to disclose personal information and did so beautifully. I love him the most. And all the others the most too.

History: Childhood

Though I was born in Fresno, CA, I only remember one childhood home. And that was my Grandma & Grandpa Fugal's house in Lindon. Three Ninety North Main. 

I like saying the address, because when my Daddy would tell us stories at bedtime, they were always about his childhood and the scene was always always 381 East 3rd South. Now that I live in Pleasant Grove, I intentionally drive out my way to drive past that little red brick house and recite the address and beginning to all of his stories to myself again. "A long time ago, when I was a little boy at three eighty-one East third South....." I sortof hope that when my boys grow up they'll find themselves in Lindon and drive past Grandpa Fugal's house at 390 North Main and remember that it is the scene of my childhood memories. 

Like the time we were babysitting Mae's dog and there was a thunderstorm. Mae was Grandma's college roommate - but I didn't know that, just that she was Aunt Mae and part of our family. Bebe got scared (thunder you know...) and ran away. All of the doors to the house were closed, but with 5 kids in the house, I'm sure my parents didn't really know that she was still inside. I remember being instructed to look everywhere. Even in the gigantic chip barrel. The thought of her in there made me giggle. 

When we eventually found Bebe she had run under mom and dad's bed in their room downstairs. They had a waterbed and my dad had built the frame for it. The frame under the bed left some open caverns that could only be entered through the small corner openings and it was DARK under there. I thought she must have been terrified - and she apparently was because someone said that she peed under there. (Though I'm sure they didn't say "pee" because "pee" was a bad word at our house.) I can only remember hearing that it happened, I can't remember at all my mom complaining about having to clean it up - which must have been a miserable job because of the tiny opening. My mom wasn't (and still isn't) big on complaining about things. 

I believe we lived in that house for 6 years (with 5 kids!) and I'm sure that was tough for my parents, but I was too young and/or selfish to notice or care about toughness. For me it was just home. 

We loved to play cops and robbers and we'd leave a trail of Spencer's Construx leading to our hiding place which was almost always in the creepy under the stairs space of the storage room.

And I still think that yard is one of the most magical places on earth. It has huge trees (seriously SERIOUSLY huge trees,) a water fountain, fruit trees, lilac bushes, a trampoline, the barn and honeysuckle bushes which we'd lay in to hide for some epic games of hide and seek. None of it is well groomed or manicured, most things are run down and tired, but the wild growth of that yard was kid heaven.

Three ninety North Main. I have enough memories there to write all month about nothing but that house with its charming outdated features. The electric heating panel and rotary phone at the bottom of the stairs were particularly fascinating to me - though I still don't really understand why.

I wonder why Grandma and Grandpa chose that house when they were house hunting? Did they see it filled with charm and picture grandkids running around the backyard in the summer and sledding down the hill on the North side in the winter? What was it like when they bought it? Did they make improvements or has it always been the home I knew?

Three ninety North Main. That is where my childhood happened.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Nanny

After high school my sister Katy went off to Connecticut to be a nanny for a family over a summer. I'm not exactly sure how she liked it, but I remembering thinking that she would be (a) rich and (b) living in a mansion. Like a mansion mansion. Like that rich bald guy in Annie mansion. I never really asked her about that summer - I wonder if she did live in a mansion. (Dear Katy, please do a blog post about your summer nannying? Now we're all curious.)

My perception of people with nannies really hasn't changed much over the years. Clearly these are humans with LOADS of cash and ginormous homes because who has extra room for extra people?! The idea blows my mind.

But a few weeks ago when Josh and I were looking at the craziness that is October, we realized we needed help with our lovely children. I couldn't quit my job for a month, and we couldn't find enough flexible child care for just a month either. We weren't really sure what to do - when suddenly Josh had a brilliant idea.

"Would you wanna see if Cami would want to come live with us in exchange for watching our boys? We have the guest room in the basement...she could just have that bathroom - we never really use it anyway....."
Yes! Yes I would!

Cami is Josh's younger sister and she's been working on moving out of the parent's house, but it hasn't all fallen into place quite yet, and this (to me) seemed like a brilliant idea solving all of our problems. Well not all of them. But some. 

So this week Cami has been living with us and caring for our kids while we're both at work and it has been heavenly. I don't have to take them anywhere, they don't whine about putting their shoes on, John naps in his own bed whenever he wants, and she is the kind of person that ANYbody can live with because she is only helpful and adds exactly zero extra work to my life. In fact, I've been giving the "doing the dishes and cleanup" credit to Josh all week, but I suspect it's really her. She just sneaks around taking care of things for me.

But I'm here to tell you, not all people with nannies are rich. And we don't live in a mansion (though having 5 bedrooms available to me still blows my mind. SO. MUCH. SPACE!) and nobody sings and dances in maid outfits while they cook.

It's just a temporary thing, and our house is up for trustee's sale again in a couple of weeks - so there's really no telling how long this will last. But in the meantime, I'm sure enjoying this gig.

Now just imagine if I could do all that myself. Next step: stay at home momming.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I am an anxious person. I think I always have been, but for the last year or 2 it has been OFF. THE. CHARTS. No really, I took an evaluation and I scored in the most anxious of the anxious minds. I'm learning some new skills and working on getting myself and my life under control - but I'm still me and I still have plenty of bad habits.

Like saying "Sure, I'd love to help you with that." Because I genuinely would love to help you with that. But when all those thats come at the same time, I crumble. I find my life suffocating and crippling and I can't even keep my head above water - which is probably a good thing because it's time to just put my head down and plow through anyway.

Such was my state of mind when I totally lost it Tuesday morning.

Josh has found another temp job to work during the month of October. (Are you counting? That's 3. Plus massages on the side.) And will be working 60-75 hrs each week during October. Including both boys' birthdays AND halloween. Plus doing his (3) callings (in theory) and taking care of the kids so I can go to work.

I'm just doing my 1 regular job, trying to keep my kids alive and well, manage the house stuff and keep up with my (1) calling. But then I said yes to a bunch of stuff.
"Sure, I'll coordinate the freezer meals for the sisters." I said.
"Yeah, I can teach a workshop on organizing and simplifying our lives for night RS." I wrote.
"I'd love to serve on the board and head a committee for that event." I was giddy!
"Please ask me my opinion about your upcoming business decisions." I offered.
"Are birthday parties optional?" I begged.

Too many events requiring too much preparation all came due this month and by Tuesday morning I was maxed out. Totally and completely maxed out.

Josh could see the breakdown coming and did everything he could to relieve my stress. Except that he was stressed about his own overwhelming responsibilities.

I sat on a couch and cried. Sobbed. Sniffled. Whined. and mostly mourned over the life I had caught myself trapped in again. I keep thinking I can do all these things so I offer and accept the invitation and get excited about it. And then when it's go time - I cry.

Because all I want to do is snuggle up with my babies in bed and read them stories until they're asleep or bored. Not until I have to leave.
I want to take them for walks on our trail and watch the sun set together.
I want to spend John's naptime shopping for a piano online and have time to play it when I find the perfect one.
I want to know that when Josh comes home it's time to shut down the productivity machine instead of ramping it up.
I want to go on a date with him without feeling guilty for leaving my boys again when all they want is to stay home with me.

So I cried. And I felt like an idiot because I'm the one that agreed to do it. And really these things should be manageable. Plenty of people are dealing with plenty of other harder horrible things.

In a somewhat surprising move Josh solved a few of my problems, going well out of his comfort zone to take on some of the responsibility for me. He gave me great ideas about what I could say or do. He helped me manage and took the kids during some crucial moments that I needed to manage on my own.

But I still felt insufficient. So I beat myself up about being a pansy. And I beat myself up about taking on too much when I'm trying to slow down. And I beat myself up about letting down these people who are counting on me to deliver the thing I said I would.

And then a voice I trust said "you should tell the Mary & Martha story." And the voice inside me cringed because I hate that story. And my mind remembered a version* that brought me to comforted, loving tears.

So last night after talking for 45 minutes about how to organize your stuff to a few awesome women in my ward, I told the good version of the Mary & Martha story, and reminded myself (and them) that there's only one thing that matters.

I came home feeling a typical post-event high - feeling good about life and confident that I can manage the rest of the month. But I am equally confident this feeling is fleeting. I'll likely crumble under the stress again and require a reminder. Feel free to e-mail me sporadically through the month and remind me. OK? But don't expect a response because I'm busy putting my head down and plowing through the craziness.

*This story as told by Goldberg in The Five Books of Jesus changed it for me forever. I highly recommend it and the kindle version is cheap. Even free to borrow if you have Prime. And you do. Because it's awesome.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

10 new meals = sucess

Sometimes Often the 29th of the month rolls around and I go "Crap! A goal! I've been looking at that goal on the top of my daily calendar for 29 days now and I'm out of time!"

Sometimes it magically happens and I win.
Sometimes it doesn't and I don't.

And both are OK.

But this month? This month I. NAILED. It.

My goal of cooking 10 new meals was to get me out of my inevitable food rut. Even in January I knew I'd be in a food rut this time of year. Lo and behold, I think the month of July had me making pasta or sandwiches at least 8 times/week. And mac 'n cheese filled most other empty meal slots.

As it turned out my friend Charisse hosted a freezer meals activity and told me I could bring my boys if I'd come and we made 5 new meals in one night!

Plus I had zucchini and yellow squash coming out of my ears and Ruthie had the same problem and gave me a few new recipes to try with my garden haul.

Then when I was telling my family about our awesome freezer meals activity they got all like "I wanna try too!" and so we did, and I made 5 more new meals.

And just like that, my freezer is stocked, we tried a bunch of new things, and I met (and exceeded) my totally awesome goal for September.

Share |