Sunday, November 30, 2008

Got Steak?

And how, may I ask, was your Thanksgiving weekend?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I allowed myself to wallow in homesickness as I listened on the phone to the family festivities I was so far away from. My resolve Thursday morning, to make the best of our day, was weakened when our family activity of choice (Monkey Joes) was closed, despite what the internet schedule said. Monkey Joe's is a bounce type activity center for toddler sized monkeys like our Eliza. In addition to that frustration, we realized that sometime during the week, I lost our camera. It's now Sunday and our camera is still missing in action.

However, thanks to the goodness of Mother Nature, we were able to take Eliza to a near by park. I marveled as I watched her play in short sleeves.

Another positive of the day was that I successfully cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal. GO ME! Do me a favor and imagine that the cookware is something fancy schmancy. Mmm-kay? It would be fair to assume that Andrew and I will be living off of left overs for the next month. However, I'll be completely honest and say that we've nearly inhaled all that I made this weekend. All that is left are a few remaining portions of the green bean casserole.
These photos were taken with my cell phone to document this milestone in my cooking career.

The following day, Andrew and I indulged in a little 'retail therapy' to lift my spirits. I woke up early to shop 'online' which is something I now 'swear by' considering how important it was for me to score a good deal on a new camera, etc. After sleeping a few more hours following my online excursion, we went to Sears where we landed ourselves a sweet deal on a washer and dryer. The pair in our apartment were rentals.

The rest of our weekend consisted of deep cleaning our former apartment and sorting through an endless mass of boxes. I'm embarrassed to say that we're still seeing boxes in every room of the house. It overwhelms me.

Feeling somewhat like a failure on Thanksgiving for my poor attitude, I've spent the rest of the weekend really appreciating and loving all that is good in our life. I had a lot of alone time in the apartment to think as I cleaned. During those uninterrupted hours, I reflected on what I learned and experienced during the first few months of our new life here. I wiped away my daughters hand prints from the door where she'd happily run to greet Andrew each night. I did my best to scrub out the stains of blue ink she recently left on the carpet. I remembered that Henry took his first army crawl there, Eliza learned to use the potty and that it was in the walls of that place that an aching heart began to mend and a muddled brain started to adjust.

I hadn't planned on turning this entry into a sentimental ball of goo, but I fear my fingers have run away from my previous intent. I feel thankful. I'm thankful my husband has a job. A lot of good people here are losing their jobs. I feel and see their stress and it makes me ache for them. I'm thankful for my small families good health. I'm thankful to be married to someone who forgives me daily and loves me so much that it confuses me. How and what did I do to deserve Andrew? I'm thankful that it's my job to create a home for my children. Oh my goodness... my children. I love them so much. Eliza and Henry... if you ever get around to thumbing through my mass of blog entries, please know that your Mom loves you so much. Typing the words "loves you so much" seems inadequate when describing a Mother's love for her children.

Anyway...

On a lighter note, I have to apologize for being the biggest slacker when it comes to "Tags" - with that being said, this hypocrite would like to start one of my own. Anyone is invited to participate.

With our recent move, I had hopes that Andrew would take the time to de-clutter and organize the top drawer of his night stand. Seeing that this clutter drawer has virtually remained unchanged in the four years that we've been married, I was doubtful. Due to my limited expectation, all I could do was laugh when I saw him find an empty grocery bag and fill it with his "belongings" (aka JUNK) and then dump it back in once the night stand reached it's destination.

Last night, as I was searching for some finger nail clippers, I wondered if his infamous drawer would have some. That's when I spotted the most random of all items. Living in Andrew's top drawer of his nightstand is a bottle of Steak Seasoning. I'm still waiting to hear the "why" behind that mystery. Anyway, it made for a good laugh.
So ladies (or gents)... what's living in your junk drawer or the drawer of your significant others? I'm just wondering if anyone can come up with something totally out of the blue.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I repeat, I'm Not Pregnant

Per my brother's request, I was given the honor of announcing their pregnancy to my family back in Utah via our blog.

We wanted my Mother to momentarily think that we were the ones expecting another baby; mission accomplished! It was fun to be "apart" of their moment. What we didn't take into consideration is the heart attack we nearly gave my Mother in law when she happened upon the announcement. It took awhile before she realized that we were congratulating my brother and his wife! Our apologies, Mother Teresa. Please forgive us :)

I hope y'all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I'll be honest. Being away from Utah for the first time in my life, gave me a serious case of the Thanksgiving Day blues. But when I look at our little core family, my heart is over flowing with gratitude. I'm so thankful to be Eliza and Henry's Mom and to be married to my best friend.

I'm Expecting


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... another niece (or nephew!) next July!!!

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Congratulations Mark & Jen!! We're so happy for your family!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Family Video Time

I don't have anything "new" to report, other than our garbage receptacle (a.k.a. the can) arrived this afternoon. I have a few videos I'd like to share to make up for my lack of information. As a disclaimer, these videos have nothing on the last Eliza video I posted. Commence viewing if you're really that bored.

In the first video, Eliza kindly reminds the world of her disdain for peas.

Next we have Eliza demonstrating her ever-increasing vocabulary. I love the unique variations that she creates when saying or learning a challenging word. Unlike me, Andrew is quick to correct her. However, I know that with time she'll polish her pronunciation on her own. In the meantime, I'll continue to delight in her "cuteness." As with past words or phrases, I know that I'll feel somewhat sad when she transitions into speaking each word properly.

She's added a few extra syllables to the word "Hippopotamus" as well. Such is my joy when she utters these words, that as she repeats the words I say during family prayer, I can't help but ask her to remember to "Bless the octopus and the hippopotamus" as an excuse to hear her say it again.

And finally, this third video proves that Eliza inherited the glorious talent of blowing a perfect bubble of spit from her Father. I sure missed out on this gift. Next time you see her, if she's in a cheery mood, ask her to blow one for you. She's like a dog. Give her a treat and she'll certainly do it on command.

Thank you Andrew for verifying once again how much you dislike the limelight. I nearly forgot. I could hear your brain yelling,

"Maybe if I smile awkwardly for an immeasurable amount of time, she'll turn off the video camera!"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Twilight Fe-vah

I really like the feeling of "going out"; especially if the errand isn't an errand at all. The anticipation leading to my night out this past Friday was a welcomed feeling. After tucking in Eliza for bed, I pretty much stared at the clock, wondering how early was "too early" to show up at my neighbor and recently acquired friend, Melissa's house.Having introduced Melissa to the Twilight series shortly after we met, I was thrilled to see that she was as excited as I was to go to the movie. We arrived an hour early to the crowded (and incredibly over priced) movie theater. Eagerly, we took our place near the front of the line.

My over abundance of happiness resulted in my inability to shut my mouth. I was in a chatty mood. With all of the wait time, you'd think the conversation would lack some. It didn't. Rather, my excitement pulled in other groups of waiting fans into our conversations. Of all the people we talked with, there was a group of four high school aged girls that gave us their continued attention. Detecting that Melissa and I didn't share the Southern drawl that was oozing from their mouths, they began asking for our histories. Before revealing my home town, I asked them to guess.

"I bet you're from Jersey... no, wait. New York!"

"You think I'm from New York?"

"Yes!"

"Well, how old do you think I am?"

"19." Yes, the group's consensus was that I was 19. That's when I pulled out a photo of my children and shared that I'm from the land of Deseret... Utah. Please pause for a moment of silence. Thank you.

"Utah?" They gasped, obviously surprised. Generally the follow up question is,

"How and why did you end up here?!" But rather, one of the girls looked at me seriously and quietly whispered,

"Are there ghettos in Utah?" Kind of like... do you have any idea what you're DEALING WITH HERE? It made me laugh. They're from some rough neighborhoods. One of the girls openly admitted that she was a high school drop out. Anyway, I wouldn't say that we'd developed a fond attachment to these young ladies, but I didn't mind their choice to sit by us once we were in our seat in the theater. The excitement was mounting as I turned to the left and asked the girls nearest to me,

"So, I have to know. Are you on 'Team Edward' or 'Team ..." before I could finish my question, I noticed that the girls were holding hands; their fingers interlocked with one another's. Startled, I changed my question.

"...Or team, Um... Bella?"

Sometimes in life you should just label a moment for what it is (AWKWARD) and move on. I have a history of over using words in moments like this in an attempt to smother the feeling of discomfort. Usually, that makes things worse.

"Well, you see Melissa and I don't "swing" that way." I quickly explained. "But that's probably obvious considering you already know that I'm married and that um, Melissa here is actually pregnant and married like me. Wait. I'm not pregnant. She is. But it looks like, y'all are... um together? Oh gosh. I'm curious. How did your parents react?"

Fortunately, they found my awkward tirade amusing, rather than offensive.

"Yes, we're a couple." The one sitting next to me confirmed with a smile. Pointing to the two girls seated down from them she added, "And so are they."

"Ya. Sunday marks our three month mark." Her girlfriend proudly added. "My Dad said he'd rather see me date a cute girl than an ugly man who beats me."

I responded, "So, you wouldn't be interested in a cute guy who doesn't beat you?" Gosh. Maybe I really lucked out with Andrew.

"So who paid for who tonight?' Clearly none of this is my business, but they didn't mind answering. Heaven forbid that their Mothers question their sexuality, but if a random stranger at a movie theater makes inquiries, they don't have a problem explaining.

"She paid for me tonight."

"You're worth it babe." Her girlfriend piped in. "I love you."

What do you say? I wondered to myself. Um... congratulations? We did our best to smile and nod in the appropriate places as they explained their romantic histories. Like I said, it was a surprise to see 16 year old girls dating other girls. But we continued to enjoy our little chat fest. Once the movie began, I completely forgot the unique, uncomfortable, nature of our exchange; until one of them started laughing at me. As I watched Edward smolder and dazzle on screen, I began to hyperventilate.

"Oh come on!" I whispered in my defense. "Lesbian or not, how does he not do something for you!?!" I just couldn't understand it after two hours of staring at Robert Pattinson.

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In terms of my personal analysis of the film; absolutely, I loved the experience. Were the visual effects the absolute best I've seen? No. Did it play out the exact way it did in my own brain? No. But honestly, I hadn't set that expectation, knowing it would be impossible considering everyone's interpretation of the book varies. Going in, I felt like I had accepted someone's invitation to see it through their eyes, while accepting that necessary alterations (condensing, slight plot changes, etc.) would need to be made. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The characters were well cast for the most part. I thought the chemistry between the two leads was sizzling. Robert Pattinson instantly became Edward. A lot of times, I watch a movie and think of the celebrity who's playing the character. But he was just Edward for me. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the father/daughter relationship between Charlie and Bella. I was moved when Bella walked out on Charlie for his safety. I could feel their mutual heart break. Again, the high school friends, although their parts were minimal, were highly entertaining.

Another surprise came in the brief exchange between Edward and Jacob. Nearly as important as the chemistry between Edward and Bella would be the performance between Jacob and Edward. The rivalry and their premature stirrings of disdain for one another was awesome. An addition that was made at the end of the movie, involved a heart broken, yet determined to seek revenge, Victoria, watching them at the prom... Nice! I'm so ready for the sequel(s). Heres to hoping they receive the funding the deserve in the future after smashing the competition this weekend at the box office.

Until I discover a healthier, more productive hobby, I will continue to spend time stalking all things Twilight. I have spent an embarrassing amount of time reading various reviews of the flick. Click HERE to read one review that shares my sentiments.

To my children's grandparents... I'll get back to my regular postings that involve photos of your beautiful grandchildren. They are still, and forever will be, the light of my life.

PS... Mom. The only thing that would have made the experience of this movie more enjoyable, was if you'd been there with me. I love you. THREE MORE WEEKS!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Excitement

I should be packing. I should be cleaning the apartment. I should be focusing my efforts on something productive.

I'm restless. Typing this entry is taking an extraordinary amount of effort. And I can't figure out why. I could blame it on the excitement surrounding the recent purchase and signing of our home,

Or... perhaps, I'm still giddy with Eliza's continued potty successes....

But I'll be honest.I'm eagerly awaiting a major Twilight fix this weekend... I'm obsessed. I admit it. Go ahead and judge me.

Returning to the news of the day; our family has spent the last couple of nights sleeping in our home. Unloading my groceries into my kitchen from a garage of my own felt surreal.

Regarding our new home, I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility; as well as extreme gratitude. Signing our mortgage made me feel more adult than having babies. I know, that sounds backwards, right? Meeting my children connected me spiritually to a holy place, but signing a mortgage stirs up feelings of --- oh, I don't know, bondage?! :)

It's strange. As I begin to pack up my belongings in our apartment, my feelings of homesickness are resurfacing. You'd think that living on cloud nine would smother such thoughts and feelings easily, but that hasn't been the case. I'm probably not making sense. But last night, as we took over our nightly load of boxes and furniture to a home I feel we don't deserve, I was near tears. I missed my family and friends so much. Weird timing, right?

As usual, there are other subjects to tackle, but my normal ability to download my thoughts seems to be clouded and blurred by all that is taking place this week. Hopefully after we're further settled and my Twilight obsession is satisfied, I'll feel more like myself.

I'll delve into the tactics/methods that I've practiced in helping Eliza to learn to use the potty because it seems that several of my friends are in a similar place. For now, all i can say is that I don't think there is a magical answer or formula because of individuality. What matters is that your child is ready and that as a parent, you are committed to helping them once you start the process. But the "readiness" factor, on your child's end, is key.

Oh gosh. I need a nap.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An Unfortunate Case of the Giggles

We've all been there; caught in a serious moment when something or someone humorous catches our attention. Before you know it, you're fighting a losing battle as you desperately try to suppress an unwanted batch of giggles.

I hope my high school friend, Camille, happens to read today's entry because the most memorable of all instances I've experienced occurred while attending a free Taekwondo class. I know. The thought of someone training me in the martial arts is beyond hysterical considering my lack of athleticism. Blame it on boredom or sheer curiosity, but Camille and I entered our names in a drawing for the free class at Subway Restaurant. Along with every other name entered, we were invited to participate in a free trial training session.

To our credit, we put forth our greatest effort. Camille's performance was impressive compared to mine. As we mimicked our instructors moves, we fantasized about the way each exercise would tone are size 2 figures. Despite the fact that we stood out like a sore thumb, I'd say we were doing alright...um, that is... until it came time for the class to meditate. Our fellow peers were extremely sincere and serious. Camille and I just couldn't quite commit to their level of devotion and found our selves aching from silent shakes of laughter. Tears were streaming, urine was escaping, an occasional outburst of laughter escaped our sealed lips. The dirty looks we received from the instructor were well deserved, I'm sure.

Like I said. You've been there too. Well, not there in that studio, but you can relate.

Today, my eight year old husband and I were wrapping up a grocery shopping trip when I remembered that I needed to return a phone call to a member of our Church regarding a food assignment for an upcoming funeral. Expecting him to burst into the driver side of the car, ready to engage in conversation, I held a finger to my mouth, cautioning him to be quiet as I prepared to leave a message on Sister Smith's voice mail.

Not knowing, or caring, who I was gearing up to leave a message for, Andrew begins to make farting noises. Loud ones.

Doing my best to muster up anger, rather than give in and laugh, I give him a dirty look as I hear the beep indicating that it was time to "leave a message"

"Hi. Sister Smith? This is Sister Flegal, returning your call." Realizing the type of call I was making, Andrew loses his composure. Surrendering eye contact, he turns his body toward his window and begins to silently convulse with laughter.

"Um..." I try to catch my breath as I suddenly lose it. "I was calling about the funeral." His laughter intensifies as he learns of the subject matter of my call. Unfortunately, I start laughing too.

"I was wondering about the timing on Monday. If you could please..." I stop. I take a long pause, hoping to compose myself. Maybe if I speak faster, I will stop laughing?

"... if you could (*insert laughter outburst here) call me back, I want to help with the (*insert more laughter) funeral.

**HOW HORRIBLE AM I?** Last time I checked, I am still trying hard to make a decent, if not good, impression with my fellow Church members and I'm laughing about a funeral. By now, tears are welling up in my eyes. I sniff back my tears as I acknowledge my disrespect.

"Sister Smith, I'm so sorry. My husband is making me laugh. If I don't hear from you, I'll call you back after I've had a chance to retaliate. Thanks. I'm sorry. Bye."

He still insists that I started to laugh first; which is NOT what happened. Even if it was me who laughed first, WHICH IT WASN'T, remind me again Andrew who it was that was exercising his lip flatulence?

POTTY TRAINING UPDATE

I haven't changed a soiled or wee wee filled diaper in DAYS!! She is waking up with dry diapers, coming home from errands wearing dry diapers... walking her self to the potty, pulling down her under-roos on her own as well as pooping in the potty. I'm ecstatic. This was easier than I thought. I will not be buying another box of size 4 diapers until Henry's miniature sized bum has grown. In a high pitch voice (she's imitating my 'happy' voice) she proudly declared tonight,

"Mama, look!"

"Did you go pee pee again? What a good girl you are!"

"Yes Mama! Look! It's magic!"

I couldn't agree more!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Don't Read While Eating

This blog is rated:

PH
for 'potty humor'

"Don't count your chickens before they hatch" Isn't that the proper saying? Regardless if that verbiage is correct, that phrase describes my sentiment this morning.

I've been slow to commit to potty training Eliza. Before Henry was born, she displayed a high level of interest,"Not until she's adjusted to her new brother." I said. Henry arrived and we began our adjustment. But then, we decided to move to the other side of the country.

"I can't begin this process until after we return from the wedding." I rationalized last August. Returning home, I continued to find small excuses to postpone a serious attempt while keeping in mind, that it has to be her decision. My pediatrician explained that I'm here to help her, rather than force her.

However, with a house full of new carpet waiting for us, I'm suddenly very much on board with the idea of having her going "pee pee in the potty" on a regular basis before the move. I've purchased panties (*cringe*, I just used the 'p' word. Sorry Laura!), pulled out her Thomas the Train potty chair and have a piece of chocolate taped high on the wall with a promise to deliver it to her eager hands if she can deliver a blue cup full of urine into mine.

This morning began with a usual request from her to sit on her potty. Okay. Sounds good. Not bothering to set a timer to remind me to encourage her to take a squat every few minutes, I get busy doing other things. Eliza requests a diaper, which clues me into the fact that she needs to G-O. Rather, I encourage her to sit on the potty. A few minutes later, I hear the glorious word,

"Look!" she exclaims. Having forgotten about her diaper free bum, I turn to see her thrilled face pointing to her fresh deposit.
Cue Mama's happy dance!! We frolic our way into the bathroom where she proceeds to dump and flush her pee pee. Triumphantly, we return to the wall, where a piece of chocolate has been taped for over a week. With great enthusiasm, I hand it over to her. Wanting to prolong the celebration, I put her panties on and search for my phone. I call Andrew. No answer. I call my Mom. Yes! She answers. I give her a detailed recap, admit that we still have a long potty training road to take, but that we made progress.MEANWHILE...

Eliza and her Cinderella panties trot on into Henry's room. Searching for just the right corner, she tinkles. Running back to where I am she hollers,

"Mama! My leg! Oh no, it's wet!"

"Eliza!" Not wanting to get mad at her, I ignore my breaking heart.

"Did you go pee pee in your panties?"

"Yes!" She says with a cute smile.

"Show me where, please."

"In Henry's room." Walking into her younger brothers room, she proudly 'outs' her corner. "Right there, Mom!" Wondering if it was simple bad luck or a calculated decision to pee in Henry's room rather than her own, I proceed to swallow my slice of humble pie as I begin scrubbing the carpet.
Two and a half years ago, the idea of scrubbing human urine out of the carpet would have seriously disturbed me. However, I find myself somewhat desensitized to the ugly nature of the chore but am hoping now more than ever that we keep making progress in the right direction.

***UPDATE***

Since I last worked on this entry, Eliza went pee pee AGAIN on her potty (twice in one morning! YAY). With Henry in my arms, I allowed her to walk her cup o' pee pee to the toilet to be flushed. Unfortunately, her concentration was such that she didn't notice a shoe which resulted in her tripping. *SHUDDER*

See?Quite a bit sloshed out. She was bummed (pun intended) that she didn't have as much to flush away.

Here's to progress. I love you Eliza Grace, Pee Pee face!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Construction Completed

It's true. Our house is finished!! Next week, we'll participate in a final 'walk through' with our builder. Shortly after, we'll meet for closing. If Andrew's heart doesn't fall out of his chest and he actually survives that meeting, it will officially be ours. Here are a few photos for your enjoyment.

*Side note: If you want a closer look, let me know and I'll e-mail you a private link to watch a 10 minute video tour of the house, narrated by yours truly. From the front door, the living room is on your right.Welcome to our kitchen! When you come to visit, I'll make you food in this room :) To the right of the fridge, is our mini 'mud room' with a door that leads to the garage.My only 'complaint' is the placement of the electrical outlet on the center of the island. The other model, had it on the side of their island which I would have preferred. Boo-hoo, right? Seriously, I'll be pinching myself until our first mortgage payment arrives! Another view of the 'morning room' - next to Henry's carrier is a sliding door that leads to our back patio Standing in the kitchen, here is a view of our family room. To the right is the hall that leads to a closet, the stairs, the half bath and the living room/entryway.Master bathroom
Here is our food storage closet, well... I suppose our clothes may end up in here too (mbr closet).An idea of what one of the four bedroom looks like. And finally, a cute, disheveled Eliza playing in our future back yard.
Another reason I'm smiling today: gas prices have dropped to this.Click big on the picture... if you still can't read it, the price reads $1.99

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In Four Years

My Fellow Americans,

Four years ago, I was a three month old newlywed. I saw my Mom's lovely face whenever I wanted. Our separation was marked by a simple five minute drive. Having a full time job, I happily played the part of "Sugar Mama" to my sweet husband as he battled through his first semester of college, post-mission. I slept through the night ALWAYS. Four years ago, I fulfilled my duty to vote in less than 20 minutes.

Four years later...

I am a wife of four years and the mother of two monkeys. I mean, children. I see my Mom four times a year. Our separation is now marked by a three day drive. The days of earning a pay check with own name on it has been suspended. Although I don't bring home any bacon, the benefits of my new job are exceptionally better; in fact, they're the best. I am learning to clip coupons and frequent garage sales. Yesterday, Andrew and I (along with Eliza & Henry), fulfilled our duty to vote. This time, we stood (and stood and stood) for four (4) hours and two (2) minutes.

I wonder how many two year olds waited that long with their parents to vote. Cheers to you, Eliza Grace.

During our never ending wait, I thought about the past four years. Reflecting on the way our country has evolved; I was reminded that my knowledge is minimal. Shifting to more familiar territory, I thought of my own life. I am astonished at the changes that have taken place. It was hard to believe that I was in line, waiting to cast a vote from the South. What the... how did I get here? How did this happen? I spent a significant amount of time, silently answering those questions.

After three hours had passed, we reached a milestone. We left the winding hallways, passed by the vending machines where we purchased treats (aka boredom busters) and stepped foot into the guacamole cement colored cafeteria!! As we evaluated the additional lines waiting to be conquered, I shot a look of desperation to my husband and laughed,

"What we're we thinking!? You could have come alone." With an expression of complete sincerity he replied,

"No. I'm glad the three of you are here with me." His simple statement bonded me to him even more. Andrew is a true family man. Having spent a good portion of our evening chasing Eliza down deserted hallways, changing diapers in empty class rooms, wearing a toddler on his shoulders and bouncing a baby boy in his arms, I couldn't help but love him more. Being the Nephi type of man that he is, he never expressed complaint in caring for our children.

Turning on the television after our night out, I soon learned that several east coast states had already been deemed a 'red' or 'blue' state. Remembering the long line of people still waiting to vote, I offered a laugh of irony when I saw that ours was among those that had been called. Do I regret our decision to wait it out? Absolutely not. You might call us patriotic or plain old crazy to wait so long. Sad to say, I think it's further evidence that our life may in fact be THAT boring and that subconsciously we wanted a 'night out' to mingle with members of our community. We did that in fact. We saw and visited with several friends from Church as well as neighbors of our soon to be neighborhood.

The truth is, the candidate of my choosing spent hours campaigning. I could spare the time in return. And I'm proud to say, that I was a participant in an incredibly historical election.
....

Rewinding back to Tuesday morning, the children and I spent a piece of our morning at our sales rep's office to fax misc. paper work to our mortgage company. Eliza, upset that I denied her another piece of candy, began to wail. As I struggled to walk her out to the car, I wondered what I was doing wrong as a Mother. I convinced myself that our neighbors must have a negative impression of our family based on Eliza's random fits while driving pass our occasional scenes of chaos."I want Henry, I want Henry!" she screamed as I buckled her in. Assuming that I had permanently left Henry with our sales rep, she cried for him as I hauled her flailing body to the car. I couldn't help but smile at her dramatic declaration of love for her sibling at that moment. After buckling in Henry and driving away, I had to tell myself that Eliza's behavior was typical for being two while mouthing another apology to our sales rep and friend, "Yo-yo" (Eliza's nickname for her).

....

Tuesday night, as we walked through the high school's dark parking lot in search of our van, I was beaming with pride. Our children had lasted and endured our long evening without a tantrum, without a tear. It makes me think I ought to be trying harder in the walls of our home to keep them that occupied and entertained. At any rate, I want to record the measures that were taken to entertain our family of four while standing in the congested halls of an ordinary high school.

- Portable DVD player. This provided an hour of entertainment for Eliza (and the adults standing near by)

- Bring food. For Eliza, dinner consisted of two pieces of wheat bread and a nutri-grain bar. We were in a hurry to get out the door. Can you tell?

- Race Eliza down vacant hallways; proceed to jump up and down as if winning a prize on a game show when reaching the glass doors. Disregard strange looks from night custodian.

- Make friends with the people standing near you no matter how uncomfortable their high pitched laugh makes you.

- Spoon feed baby a delightful assortment of mushed fruit.

- Kill time sucking on gobstoppers.

- Locate all of the pre-school aged children and participate in various rounds of "Ring Around The Roses" and "The Wheels on the Bus."

- Refrain from throwing an adult sized tantrum when the election managers inform you that the "I Voted!" stickers have run out. I was SO looking forward to getting mine.
.....

Four years from now

It is my hope that our country has a deeper bond of unity, that the economy is healthy, that the troops have returned home victorious, that the attack on families will be lessened and that I'm standing in a ten minute line with a healthy family while waiting to cast my vote. Following which, I'll take a quick drive over to my Mom's house with my family to watch the election unfold on her television.

Four Hours, Two Minutes

Four hours, two minutes...

That's how long our family stood in line to cast our vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Festivities and then some

Today, for your viewing pleasure, I've combined 5 days worth of blogging material into one. Welcome to the post that has no end. If the idea of reading an overly-detailed account of our weekend makes you hurl, I advise that you discontinue reading now. Thanks to my friend Marie for the pumpkin idea.

Cinderella, you're as lovely as your name. Here she stands, waiting for her Prince Charming.Halloween night we trick or treated in our soon-to-be neighborhood. Having recognized one of the Moms, our family tagged along with a group of trick-o-treaters. It was a great opportunity to meet some of our neighbors. Having the shortest legs of the group, Eliza trailed behind the other trick-o-treating princesses, but insisted on walking the entire time. It was a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to future neighbors. As we drove back to our apartment that night, I felt an added sense of reassurance/comfort that we chose the right neighborhood.Before we went trick or treating, we went to a local park to check out a community event. Although we enjoyed a trip on the spooky train, I don't think we'll be going back next year.Correction, 3/4 of our family had a pleasant experience. As for Eliza, she was terrified of the tunnel. She spent the two remaining laps of the ride like this. Or maybe she's just upset that Prince Charming never showed up.

You'd think I'd be ready to wrap up this post for the day. Sadly, that's not the case. Don't worry, we made up for our eventful weekend on Sunday by doing absolutely NOTHING, with the exception of going to Church an hour early. Yes, that's right. The Flegal's did not get the day light savings memo. Until yesterday, I've never been able to say that my children and I arrived at Church 70 minutes prior to the start of our 9:00 am meeting.

Knowing I had missed my opportunity to sleep in an extra hour, I felt robbed. Andrew's expressed empathy as he jokingly said,

"Don't worry Ali. There' s always next year."

Returning to Saturday,

Our ward enjoyed an afternoon together at a member's farm. Eliza fed carrots to the animals,

spotted various Halloween objects in a charming barn,and braved a bumpy hay ride with MomThe colors of our surroundings were amazing. Andrew summed it up well when he said, "Heavenly Father sure loves us."

Andrew and Henry at the bonfire and then again, inside the barn.

To reward the three of you that endured another lengthy post, I'll give you a peek at what Andrew and I wore to a costume party our friends hosted later that night. After hitting the local Wal-mart the day after Halloween, we found the following costumes for half the regular price. We went as Father Adam and Mother Eve. Yes, this is the least flattering costume in existence. It showed each roll and each unwanted lump and bump that I have acquired since giving birth. That's exactly why the above photo has strategically been cropped. However, if you have a slender figure like my Adam has, it's a perfectly fine choice.The above photo is evidence that man has been responsible for taking out the trash since the beginning of time.

Other than my insanely bold (or dumb) move to sport such a costume, we had a great weekend. What's that? Your slightly disappointed that "the post that has no end" has ended? If that's really the case, here's some footage of Eliza prior to boarding the Halloween train.