Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Gift Vulnerability

A few weeks ago I had a really great idea for a Christmas gift for the boys.

This December has been unusually warm. Snowless and cool, but not at all cold. So we've been spending a lot of time in the backyard and the boys really like to play "kick a ball around" which is (of course) a game they invented, where you kick a ball around. But they each need a ball because sharing is hard. And sometimes they like to block each other's balls, and sometimes the fence is a "goal" and I just kept thinking "we need to sign them up for soccer".

So I asked Josh what he thought about ordering them a soccer goal, so they could "kick a ball around" into a goal, and we could get them each their own soccer balls and it would be so rad. Josh like it when I say things like "I have an idea for Christmas" because it means he's off the hook for having ideas for Christmas. So he was on board immediately.

I ordered the thing, I got the balls, and I was all excited knowing it would be the perfect gift. And then it was Christmas Eve and Josh and I put it together (inside, because it finally snowed) and I set it all out and thought "oh crap! what if they don't like it! what if kick a ball is not longer the funnest game in the back yard? What if they hate ball kicking? What if I ruined Christmas? What if they are ultimately disappointed? What if only one of them likes it? I don't even know which one that would be? I'm a horrible parent!"

That's when I realized that I hate giving big gifts. It's stressful, because what if I got it wrong?! I'd much rather give them each some clothes and some books and some toys and it displaces the stress over many small things instead of having one clearly big important gift that might totally flop. But it was Christmas Eve and it was 11:30 and I had nothing left to do but hope it went over well.

Christmas morning was torture. The boys had stayed up WAY too late the night before and just kept on sleeping. When they finally woke up I realized they weren't even going to see the big present (which didn't fit in the living room, so it was all alone in the family room) until we told them to go find it. So we S.L.O.W.L.Y. enjoyed opening all of the other gifts all morning, and once I was sure they were satisfied with their loot, we finally we told them to go check it out. They thought was cool. And they played a little soccer with dad as the goalie and they were both proud when they scored their first official goals.

So I guess it was successful, it will be even better when the only snowflakes that have fallen finally melt and we can get this thing out of the living room (or Josh and I get off our lazy butts and decide to haul it out to the garage).

What I learned (just in time for Josh's birthday) is this. I don't like giving gifts, it stresses me out and when I think I've found something perfect for someone and I don't get a ridiculous amount of overenthusiastic feedback I feel like a failure. So, I want to give up all of my job titles that require me to be a gift giver. I'm not going to do it anymore.

For his birthday? Josh is getting a toothbrush.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Chair

When we were house shopping our wish list was longer than our list of dollars, and we both knew we'd be giving some stuff up. We weren't sure yet which things we'd be missing out on, but the more we shopped the more we realized we couldn't have it ALL. (Obviously.)

Oddly some of the things I would have gladly given up wound up in this house.

Things like a master bedroom with room for a chair.

A chair! In the bedroom! It seems so superfluous and lovely and with the pretty bay window I started saving and chair hunting immediately.

Then Cami found a pillow that I fell in love with and it sat on the floor where my chair would go and the boys started calling it "the pillow where the chair goes" and it made me smile.

Then when my friend (Hi Hilary!) posted a picture of a chair on sale because she's a wonder-shopper and I ordered it immediately because it was perfect with my pillow, and my room, and my life.

It is beautiful. The morning after I assembled it I sat in it staring out the window, and the sunrise just happened to be beautiful. I enjoyed it for a few minutes loving the moment, then Tommy quietly came in and snuggled up on my lap and we talked about how beautiful it was together and about our plans for the day. It as one of those perfect moments that was so perfect I didn't even take a picture.

So it has become my sunrise seat. Eventually I'll get a tiny table to put by it for a cup of tea, and to set down my book when the sunrise gets too beautiful to read through.

And then the next day I came home from work and my sunrise chair of magic and loveliness had gone the way of all the things. It's just another place to pile laundry. Prettiest laundry holder I've ever owned though, right?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Under the Pew

Remember when Tommy was all tiny and a brand new baby and I sat behind my friend Emily in church and her babies were giant little boys with combed hair and glasses and I had a tiny meltdown emotional moment at church realizing that some day he'd be so big he wouldn't be able to sleep with his whole tiny body on my lap anymore? And then he'd get even BIGGER and he wouldn't ever fit on my lap, much less sleep there? And THEN he'd get even bigger and want to lay on the floor under the pew at church?

That day has come. And I took a picture and cried about it.

This man-child....he never stops making me fall for him.

Friday, December 19, 2014

On Being Important

When I was in preschool I my teacher made a photo block for my mom - it sat for years in her headboard, just 6 photos of me at school that year glued to a chunk of wood. Give my teacher a break, it was before pinterest. One of the photos is of me wearing a construction paper hat standing outside at "school" wearing a VIP badge. Maybe it's just the photo, but I swear I remember that day. There was a song

I'm a VIP in my family, I'm a VIP you seeee!
A very important person! A very important person!
A very important person that's meeeeeee.

Deep and meaningful lyrics right? 

Anyway, now that I'm a mom, I realize that VIP probably meant that my mom had to send me with treats for the class that week. Perhaps make a poster about how adorable I am. I don't know. I just remember the paper badge necklace, the crazy hat, and of course the song. 

So you see I was very young when I started feeling important. I suppose I never stopped. Pride is one (of many) of my character flaws. 

One thing I love about my job is that some days it feeds that ego of mine. Some days I come home feeling useless and incapable, but more often than not I come home feeling important and cool and very very grown up. Yesterday was an important grown up day. 

I'd been working on financial projects in preparation for a client meeting. Clients and projections make me feel important. 

I also spent some time editing the website content which really translates to 'finding other people's errors' and if discovering errors doesn't make you feel important I don't know what does. After editing content, I spent some time talking vision, making decisions, and bossing our Site Design Guy around. Site Design Guy is awesome, and is definitely capable of standing his ground and telling me when I'm wrong (which is obviously never). Discussions with people who tell me I'm wrong and then let me argue my point make me feel important. Bossing people around makes me feel even more important. 

After all of that I contacted some potential donors and set up some presentation appointments for interns (more people for me to boss around!). Interns make me feeling important. 

So you see, I was clearly walking around with a head the size of a small country what with all my high powered business importance of bossing people around and preparing for clients. 

It was the end of the day and I gathered my things (important people have things to gather - they take things to and from work every day in an important briefcase or bag, and though I haven't figured out what they do with those things when they go home, I am a willing participant in the habit of taking things places.) and started to head out the door. 

But Site Design Guy was leaving at the same time and I didn't want to walk out "with" him, so instead I stalled all awkwardly hiding by the bathroom down the hall before heading down the stairs. He must have stalled too, then heard me coming because he held the door for me and we chatted a bit while we walked all 6 of the steps to our cars. Which were parked right next to each other. 

His is a space age, sleek, clean car which has probably never doubled as a diaper changing station or housed a car seat. He walked "within range" and it lit up and beeped recognizing it's owner. Because space age cars owned by cool people who don't even have keys KNOW things. It probably greeted him in a computer robot voice when he got in. "Hello Site Design Guy, how was your day at work? Can I get you a cup of coffee or call an important client for you? Or would you just like to relax and listen to smooth jazz while I drive us home using my impressive robot brain?" It must have happened. I know it.

Me? I hauled all my stuff (which suddenly seemed less like an important briefcase and more like a diaper bag) and jangled the million keys on my ring to unlock my minivan. I climbed in, and the radio started blaring Raffi. Because apparently I hadn't noticed during my 30 minute drive to work after dropping off my kids that I was still rockin' the kid tunes. 

I'm going to pretend he didn't notice the loose fries that fell out when I opened the door or hear Raffi singing about baby beluga and that he still thinks I'm a very impressive high powered business woman who just happened to trade her own space age robot car for something else just to blend in for the day. 

Because important people weary of being important, driving robot cars, and eating at tables instead of in their vehicles. They just want to blend in. Princess Jasmine told me so. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Captain Underpants

Once upon a time I was in the 9th Grade at Oak Canyon Jr. High and I was in an honors English class. I drop the honors not only to feed my ego (hello ego! nice to see you all big and overbearing!) but also to paint the picture of academia (ok, fine, I'll just call it nerdiness) that went on in that class. I remember Mrs. Jensen telling us that in a room full of "type A individuals" she expected more than turning in quality papers on time. She fed our egos too. Clearly we were far superior to those in her ordinary classes. 

In case you aren't aware of it, in Jr. High there are groups of people, Jocks, Popular Girls (why there are no popular guys or female jocks I'll never know), Dancers, Stoners, and of course Nerds. I can't tell you for sure about the groups of which I wasn't a part, but within the Nerds there were subsets. Cool Nerds, Goof Off Nerds, Athletic Nerds (not the same as jocks), Pretty Nerds (aka Smart Cheerleaders), Nerd-Nerds (comes with a pocket protector!), Band Nerds, Singing Nerds, etc. 

Of course now that I've grown so mature and adult about things, I realize that these categories serve exactly no purpose at all, but they were alive and well nonetheless. (Nerds Who Use 'Nonetheless' was not at a category). 

Oral book reports were one very important piece of our grade in Mrs. Jensen's class. And though I can't be sure of the reading material requirement, I feel fairly confident that when Mike G. (a goof off nerd) stood up and announced that he'd be presenting his report on the book Captain Underpants, Mrs. Jensen was disappointed. Mike G. had guts. But you know what blew my mind? He actually prepared a real live book report, with a handout, a point and EVERYthing! About a book called Captain Underpants, which seemed to be some kind of comic strip. He gave us laminated bookmarks with the caption "Underneath we all wear underpants" on it. At the time I had no idea that he was impacting the rest of my life. 

So in 9th Grade was formally introduced to Captain Underpants. 


Fast forward some years. Tommy and John are boys. Both of them. And they think potty humor is the best (and funniest) ever. 
For example:
J: Knock knock
T: Who's there
J: Diiiiiie-pah!
T: Diaper who?
J: DIIIIIIIE-PAH booty bum bum!!!! baaa ha ha ha ha
And they laugh and laugh and laugh. 

Or they did until their mother told them that our bodily functions are not for people to laugh at and that if I heard any more potty jokes I'd feed them vinegar. Now their potty jokes go like this. 

J: Knock knock
T: Who's there
J: Diiiiiie-pah!
T: Diaper who?
J: DIIIIIIIE-PAH booty bum bum!!!!
*crickets and the most serious face*
J: Potty word, no laughing mom. no laughing about potty words. 

So, you see my parenting is very effective. 

But the most important piece of information here is that I have the secret. I know how to make my boys laugh. And if I am ever in a silly mood, we can all have a good laugh over a potty word. 


Now Fast Forward to John being interested in potty training. It's about dang time, and honestly I think if I stopped buying diapers and wipes Josh would do backflips and sing my praises forever. 

I made John a potty chart and we very casually let him use the toilet anytime he wants. He gets a sticker when he does and everybody's happy. I don't have it in me to do that "2 day potty training" thing, instead I just want him to do it himself. So, we've been encouraging that. Well, he filled up his first potty chart and kept talking about wearing unders and so I put a clipart of captain underpants on his second potty chart. 

The moment I told the boys that this guy was Captain Underpants!!! I became the coolest mom in the West. When I told Tommy that the quietest place on earth (the library) had a book about Captain Underpants he died laughing and immediately demanded that we all go the library AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!! So we did, and I let him check out Captain Underpants (2 books!) and we read them. 

Disclaimer: I had never read these books before reading them with my 5 year old. 

I cannot possibly de-recommend these books enough. 

I mean it. Really. They are full of potty humor and horrible pranks. (ketchup packets under the toilet seat) The cool kids in the book make fun of the nerds. They use mean words and teasing and more slapstick violence than I find funny. As far as I can tell these books have no redeemable qualities. 

Except of course that my child now thinks reading is the best thing that has ever happened to him and he wakes up early asking if we can read and stays up late quietly "reading" in his bed. He has always enjoyed reading when we do it together, but he has never wanted so desperately to read something so often. And honestly? Anything that makes my kids love books is good in my world. 

NOTE: Also I think it's fine for a kid in 9th grade to read these books because they've already heard all of these mean words (and if he's a nerd probably been called them and if he's not a nerd he's probably called someone them) and he gets that slapstick whacking is not the same as trying to murder your little brother and he probably thinks it's funny to find the grammatical errors. 

So we read. The whole dang thing. 2 volumes of Captain Underpants. 

Except the pages that had booger jokes, which was a lot of them since the book was called Captain Underpants and the Bionic Booger Boy. And on the page where the "idiot nerd boy", Melvin Sneedly sneezed while his combinotron was merging his boy body with a robot the snot also got put in the mix and Tommy started gagging uncontrollably. He nearly lost his lunch and gagged and gagged and gagged and I said "Should we quit reading this totally gross-o book?" and he covered his mouth, put on his strongest and most determined face and said "No, just cover those yuck-o pictures and I'll plug my ears while you read till we get to that funny captain underpants part again. OK?" So we did. 

And that is the long long tale of that one time I read a stupid book to my 5 year old and now he loves reading and I'm afraid he'll never stop checking out these books and I'll be sorry for the rest of my life that I tried to potty train Little John. Serves me right.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dear The Internet

For the first time ever. (I mean really, EVER!) I have Christmas cards! (please hold your applause, something even MORE amazing is coming)

Know why?

Because I have FAMILY PICTURES!!!! (which I love)

Know why?

Because I let the boys (Tommy really, he's more tightly wound than John right now) do their own hair and choose their own shoes and their eyes aren't all bloodshot from crying and lashing and being all crazy!

Know why?

Because all that therapy is finally paying off and I realized that my family finds me much more tolerable when I let them do (some of) the things they want.

And so, I give you..... (drumroll please....)

The Egbert Family Christmas Card:

(and the photos on the back)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Oh Thanksgiving

Quite a few weeks ago, Josh's office had them sign up for half day shifts on the holidays. A process I generally despise, but is a necessary evil. So Josh asked me which parts of the holidays I'd like him to work. Christmas morning or evening or eve? Thanksgiving day or Black Friday? New Years? Most of these were fairly easy to answer. But picking a 6 hour chunk out of the holidays to spend at work still bites.

He signed up for the necessary number of shifts and since he was one of only a few who were willing to sign up right away, he felt confident that he'd get his pick.

And then the schedules came out and Josh was working ALL DAY on ALL of the holidays AND the Eves. Know why? Because they fall on his regularly scheduled work days. Because nobody had signed up, they just assigned everybody their normal shifts and Josh (and all of the Wednesday/Thursday people got the very short end of the stick. He came home and told me and I said something that wasn't really G-rated and whined and cried about the injustice of it all. That once again we'd be celebrating without him.

Then I asked him if he could work his Josh-magic. He has this magic quality. It means that all he has to do is THINK about asking people for what he wants and they say "Oh hey, can I give that to you please? It would really help me out. And for that privilege I'd be glad to pay you." Then, like a seasoned pro, Josh thinks about it. And they up their bid. And he gets everything he ever wanted with an ice cream cone to go with it.
Not that I'm bitter....just that I'm observant.

Anyway, he went in to work and whined and now he's not working ON any actual holidays this year. He's working all the eves, and most of the afters, but none of the real days. So, obviously we're excited.

This year we went to the Reilley's for Thanksgiving, which was going to be all awesome and fun, and stress-free because Lori's arm is broken and she can't really do much and I don't think she dared ask anybody to help with something as monumental as Thanksgiving dinner. So we had a delicious meal prepared by Harmon's and it was fabulous.

We were especially excited because our year coincided with Misty & Ryan's year and most of the family was going to be there. We were bummed we wouldn't get to see Caleb because he's in Missouri being all Marine-y. So imagine my surprise when I was sitting on the sofa and saw his marine self walking up the front lawn. I screamed (like a girl) and ran out to give him a hug and then felt like an idiot because I was the wrong person to be all stoked and excited and thrilled and mind-blown by his arrival. We hadn't seen Lori yet, and she was back getting ready. Frank was out with the boys and Josh in the kitchen and I was screaming like an idiot because CALEB WAS HOME!!!  He made a huge effort to make sure it was a surprise, (including a 4 hour walk to the airport) and it was probably the best Thanksgiving surprise ever. But I'm afraid his grand arrival was wasted on me adn should've been for someone closer to him. But really, the image of Caleb walking up with his marine haircut and his big old duffle bag slung over his back (is that really what it's called?) was just kindof surreal.

We had a great time at dinner and playing some games and looking through black Friday ads. Which is how we found a replacement computer for ours that just bit the dust. Which is why Josh went to Office Depot at 6pm on Thanksgiving. He was miraculously successful, everybody napped, everybody played, everybody won. The kids did that annoying kid thing where 2 hours after the biggest meal of anybody's life they were both hungry again. So we had sandwiches for dinner and everybody slept hard. Easily the best kind of holiday we have around here.

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. 

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 to bottom the 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?

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