Friday, June 27, 2008

A Little Boating Action, To Provide Needed Distraction

It's interesting how some weeks reek of ordinary. When life is full of the mundane, it would seem that my blog suffers from a drought brought on by boredom.

However, based on the social escapades and personal indulgences from this past week, I have a monsoon worth of experience to share. If I wasn't feeling the reality of the fact that we're uprooting ourselves from the land of all things comfortable and secure, I'd prattle on about our recent trip to the Zoo, a farewell BBQ with friends and the outings I've shared with my Mom.

I'm so full of words right now; words that I'm not sure I want to share at the moment. Rather than dissecting the complexities that define my current state of "OH MY GOSH, THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!" I'll refrain. I'm not sure if I am brave enough to "go there" right now. Suffice it to say, the mask of denial is slipping. Moving away sucks. Sorry Dad, for using the word "sucks." But it does.

Rather than allowing myself to spiral into a pool of sadness, I will proceed to offend your retinas by sharing with you photos of our glaring white, pasty bodies; bodies that enjoyed themselves while boating this past week.Behold, the definition of cloud nine (Katie and her fiance' Brent). Andrew and I have been dethroned from our title of King and Queen of P.D.A. land. They do such a good job of inspiring love. If you're single, you may want to avoid their presence.

Typically, when a person is between skiing runs, ("runs"... does that term apply to water skiing?) someone is designated with the task of holding a bright orange flag high in the air to alert other boaters that someone is out in the water, vulnerable.Well, thanks to the blessed state of our insanely white skin, we have no need for the flag. I simply stand up and my body acts as a reflector - a blinding light, that immediately motivates anyone within a mile's radius to throw on a pair of shades and head in the opposite direction.

I'm a real asset to have when boating. Or if you were to ever get stranded on a deserted island, you better hope that someone with my shade of skin is with you. There's no need for a mirror to alert a plane, flying overhead. My fluorescent limbs accomplish this. Speaking of arms, check out this cute little monkey. She couldn't get enough of this. It's amazing how easily a child offers their trust. Eliza was adventurous. However, after her first tubing excursion, her teeth chattered for a long time. My guilty feelings melted away as she allowed me to hold and cuddle her in a towel for the duration of our boat ride.Back on shore, Henry played the part of adored Grandson and nephew flawlessly.
Eliza made friends (of course) with the other boaters who were picnicking nearby, introduced herself to their puppies, etc. Thanks Bubba for taking us up to Echo this week. We love you.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Did Somebody Say Cheesecake?

Last night we had the pleasure of introducing our palettes to the divinity that is, The Cheesecake Factory with our friends, Chris & Heidi Lewis. If you ask me, the hype, the buzz, the overly-positive reputation - is well deserved. The additional chin I came home with was likewise, totally worth it.

Anticipating that we'd have to wait 45 minutes to be seated, Heidi volunteered to drive out ahead of time to put our name on the list. Feeling grateful for her service, we offered to drive Chris to the restaurant. Due to our bulky car seats that occupy 85% of our back seat space, Andrew and I shared the following conversation

"Andrew, don't worry about it. I'll sit in the back, between the kids." I insisted.

Afraid I'd be uncomfortable, he suggests, "Chris is planning to. I told him on the phone that he would be sitting in the back." Knowing from past experience the awkward nature of sitting between the car seats, I immediately shot down the idea.

"I'm not making Chris squeeze in the back. He'll be so uncomfortable. Let me do it."

Wanting to be the hero, Andrew changes his tune, "If anyone's back there, it will be me."

"Seriously Andrew, I don't mind. I'm smaller than you so it makes sense for me to sit in the back with the kids."

"Are you sure you're smaller than me?" he questions. His campaign to obtain "hero status" deflates instantaneously as I realize that he's questioning my declaration that I'm smaller than him.

Sure, after bearing two of HIS children, my perception of body may be somewhat skewed. In fact, he may be completely right. He has a severe case of "no-butt" syndrome and sure, his hips may be narrower than mine. But still, even if I do have more junk in my trunk, I swear the span of my shoulders are smaller...aren't they? AREN'T THEY?

Regardless of our measurements, did he not receive the memo that states:

THOU SHALT REFRAIN FROM QUESTIONING THY WIFE'S SIZE WHILE SHE LIVES IN DENIAL OF HER CURRENT, PLATEAUED STATUS OF I'M NO LONGER SHEDDING LINGERING BABY WEIGHT EFFORTLESSLY.

Thinking I had something to prove (like "only skinny people" fit in the back seat of our overly crowded car), I stubbornly planted myself in between the two kids as we made our way to the restaurant.

Thanks to Heidi, we were immediately seated when we arrived. Henry was a peach for the duration of our meal. Eliza kept herself occupied with the plates of packaged butter, silverware and her own personal, mountain of French fries.For those of you concerned over the welfare of my daughter's arteries, I assure you, I fed her a healthier dinner before we left for the restaurant (I was worried she wouldn't eat something off of their menu). These fries were supposed to be a diversion. It's a shame I didn't take an "after" photo. She out ate us all.

The evening was great. It was so nice to "get out" with friends, laugh and eat really, really good food. My only complaint is that I ate too much (shocker, I know). I think I know my body's exact limit when it comes to over-eating. What I neglected to factor in, is how my over stuffed self responds to carrying a wiggly Eliza to the car. The pressure of her hyper active body against my bulging stomach was nearly too much. Thanks goes to Chris who literally took her off my hands and carried her to the car for me.Thanks again Lewis Family. We owe you plane tickets to "the South" or a kidney.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stepping Out

Because I usually force my presence on others, I have to say that I feel I've been spoiled by indulging in a variety of social engagements/invitations this past week.

Monday night, Karina stopped by to show me her scrap book progress from our college days. I wish I could say something like "from our rebellious, danger infused college days" but unfortunately, I've always been a low-key, play it safe, type of girl (*yawn).

Wednesday night I attended a baby shower honoring my dear friend, Melissa. The cute Mama who hosted the party had her third baby THREE weeks ago. Her home was flawless, the food was so-oh good and the games were well planned and enjoyed by all. There wasn't a trace of "new Mom zombie" in her at all. A look that I haven't seemed to yet shake.

Last night's festivities included a Pampered Chef party hosted by the super cute, blogging phenom Paige; followed by a late night stop to see my former co-worker and eternal hero, Tami.Finally, I met Paige! She's the cute, eight month pregnant lady in black. Her strawberry lemonade was delightful and the brownies she threw together nearly made me cry; my mouth was that happy. Tis true, I look more pregnant than she does. I couldn't help but notice how perfect her eyebrows are. As I admired how well put together she and Heidi are, I realized that my exposed legs hadn't been shaved since...(in a hushed whisper) well, I can't remember. Eww.

While we're on the subject of unwanted hair, I haven't plucked my eyebrows since March. I avoid that torture filled endeavor the way my husband avoids a poop filled diaper.
I look fluorescent

For our final stop, Heidi and I made our way up to Tami's house. I felt as if I had stepped into a Martha Stewart catalog as I approached her front porch. Heidi immediately complimented her impressive landscaping efforts. Tami fessed up to doing it herself which shouldn't have surprised me knowing that the girl is "Wonder Woman" in the flesh. Did I mention that she gave birth a month ago to her third baby? These "third time Mom's" are unstoppable.

Her home was stunning, perfectly organized and clean. True, she knew we were coming, but I'd wager a bet that if I showed up unannounced, it would look like it did last night. If you were to show up unannounced at my house, I might not let you in!

After rubbing shoulders with these motivated, style filled women, I began to reflect on the type of Mom I am... and the type of Mom/woman I hope to become.

I'm the type of Mom that doesn't have the gumption to take her two year old's binki away from her. It's okay. Go ahead and judge me.But in my defense, I am anticipating THREE different airplane voyages this summer. One of which (let's call it the Kamakaze mission, shall we?), I'll be traveling ALONE with my children. A desperate Mom should utilize ALL of the reinforcements (binki's included) available.

I'm the type of Mom who doesn't begin to clean up her daughter's toys until until 20 minutes prior to her husband's estimated time of arrival, even then, it's a losing battle. Nap time is a great time to straighten, but by the time Andrew arrives home, the mess has magically reappeared. You wouldn't believe me if I told you that I faithfully style Eliza's hair each morning. I attempt, I create, she rebels, I fail (lather, rinse, repeat the process again).I'm the type of Mom who allows her daughter to dress up her brother. As long as they're interacting positively, Eliza has the green light.I'm the wimp of a Mom who fears cutting her son's finger. Which means, nail clipping duty is Andrew's responsibility. He has a steady hand and possess dexterity, something I lack. However, as his primary caregiver, it's my fault when he scratches himself. Looks like I need to "cowgirl up" and clip his nails myself. *please note the self inflicted scratch on his nose.
I love this baby boy. Oh my gosh. It's just ridiculous.

This morning I let Eliza eat her yogurt with three different, child sized spoons. It's 12:17 and her current outfit consists of a red Thomas the train t-shirt that is two sizes too small, a diaper and green, glittery jelly shoes.

I have leaps and bounds to grow before I become a savvy decorator, the charming hostess and the "showered by 7:30 a.m." Mother. But I feel that this next phase that we're entering into will afford me the opportunity to try harder.

Our friend and family festivities will be in full force up until we leave. My husband humbly expressed his feelings of neglect last night. I should have responded with more tenderness; but the way I see it, my social life will soon be plummeting to negative ten in a matter of weeks, so I deserve my fill.

Next up, another trip to the zoo with Eliza's cousins.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Announcement

We're moving here.
In less than two weeks.


We'll soon be proud to say that we live in the same state as this Southern Belle. Presenting Miss South Carolina, 2007 - Teen Pageant edition

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Andrew's Home Remedy

While observing Andrew administer a swab of an over-the-counter medicine to a small rash on his leg, I patiently fight an urge to tell him he's wasting his time. My patience wanes as I see the concern on his face. From my bed, I call to him where he's standing in our bathroom,

"Andrew," I wait for him to acknowledge my presence. "Last time you had that rash, it didn't go away until you took an oral antibiotic."

Without a word, he returns to the tube of cream.

"If you want my opinion," I smile to myself as I privately acknowledge that he isn't interested in my opinion. "If you want my opinion," I repeat, "I think you're wasting your time with that cream. Besides, I can smell it from here. You are needlessly polluting our living quarters." I look over at my innocent child, who is peacefully sleeping next to me. I frown as I imagine his perfectly formed lungs inhaling the stink.

To my surprise, Andrew makes his way towards me. Looking down on at me he asks,

"Really? Was it the antibiotic that cured it last time?" With certainty, I meet his gaze and reply,

"Yup."

"Well, I'm not too concerned. First of all, the rash itself is small. It's not getting worse. In addition to that creme, I've been putting Tilex on it each time I shower." He states in a matter of fact tone.All traces of my lingering sleepiness immediately dissipates.

"Excuse me?!" I exclaim. "You're honestly telling me that you've been spraying Tilex on your rash?" That's it. My husband's crazier than I am. As I wait for him to explain his rationale, my memory immediately digs up this image from my mind.

Mr. Portokalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding

For those who haven't seen the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, allow me to explain one character, whom it would seem, relates well to my husband. The father of the bride is deeply set in his Greek beliefs and traditions. However, one American custom that he completely endorses is the fighting power of Windex.

It is his multi use, cure-all for everything under the sun: paper cuts, burns, a pimple - you name it! As the mental comparisons begin, my thoughts are disrupted with his continued explanation.

"Well, I was reading on the Internet"

"The Internet," I scoff. "... always a reliable source." My interruption is dripping with sarcasm.

"It says that wrestlers use bleach to help with rashes. And, well, Tilex is the closest thing we have to bleach." He sheepishly admits. I'm in total disbelief. I don't know if I should be concerned or if I should allow myself to laugh out loud.

Yes, I was surprised when I discovered the Tilex in our shower. I had assumed with pleasure that Andrew had nominated himself to be the daily conqueror of the unwelcome mold infested corners (gross, I know). But I was wrong. It was being used for medicinal purposes instead.

I shuddered.

Deciding that I would endorse the need for him to be placed on an antibiotic later, I looked up at him, suppressing my giggles and innocently asked,

"Honey? Can I blog about this?"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blame it on a Barney Song

Can you remember the last time you watched (or endured) an episode of Barney and Friends? Hopefully, you've just mentally answered with a resounding,

"No, Ma'm!"

This admission is embarrassing, but I'm going to share anyway. While listening to this morning's episode, I heard a yellow dinosaur sing a song that could be adopted as my personal anthem of late.

Barney has a friend named B.J.

(do you want to know something sad? i think i've used this same image before in a previous post)

... during the above mentioned scene, B.J. was whining to Barney through song. He was distraught because he doesn't have a dog; therefore, he couldn't participate in the Dog Show. Poor, poor B.J.

The lyric that echoed with my current mood reads:

"I keep wishing that my wishes would happen right away but every time I make a wish it seems I have to wait."

I feel that I need to preface my online venting sessions with a disclaimer
that I acknowledge that I lead a blessed life. The things that matter most, namely my family, are healthy, safe and happy; for this, I'm profoundly thankful.

Introducing another sappy analogy, by yours truly.
If I were to write the story of my life, I'd begin by outlining each chapter chronologically. The most recent of chapters would be entitled, "Starving Students Testify of Miracles." Highlights include the birth of our beloved children, our summer in Landshut, Andrew's graduation and the blessing I take most for granted: living near our families.

Without my permission, the chapter we're currently starring in is called, "Living in Limbo."
Not that limbo. That's just disturbing. I am the opposite of flexible. Stiff. I am stiff.

Living in limbo, involves sifting through job opportunities, waiting by the phone to hear how an interview went, dealing with disappointment when an ideal job falls through and then, resisting the urge to set up a personal appointment with said employer to boldly inform them that they made a mistake in passing on the stellar candidate, who is your husband, and that they OUGHT TO RECONSIDER!!


I wish I could tag along on these interviews so I could glorify my husba
nd's talents (he's too modest) or at least write my own letter of recommendation. But that folks, is what we call 'taboo.' My goodness, that would be a fun writing exercise! Another day perhaps.

Limbo has been a frustrating place until recently. As I've been striving to exercise patience (a lesson that I apparently haven't learned well enough in the past), I've started to count my blessings. It sounds trite, I know. But as I've done this, I've realized what a comfortable, blessed place limbo has been.

Sure, we don't have a washing machine - a frustration I discuss on a weekly basis. However, because of our location, I'm able to spend hours visiting with my Mom or in-laws while pushing our clothes through their machines. That's just one small example, among many.

As we approach the conclusion of this chapter, I feel conflicted. A part of me is content to remain in 'limbo land.' We live in a great area, have good friends and are minutes away from our parents. Yet, I can see the pressure that's weighing on Andrew. I feel his de
sire to begin a promising career that will enable him to achieve his long-term goals. The career choices we make today will greatly impact where we'll be in the next five, ten years. And when I say "we" that doesn't include us alone, but most importantly, it effects Eliza & Henry.

(My apologies for taking on the commencement speaker persona)

College was a long, frustrating road... but it was one that was t
aken close to home. I've enjoyed and depended on that security and familiarity.

So the question is, what do I hope for? As my husband heads to the East coast to interview next week with a fantastic company, I sincerely hope that they r
ecognize his abilities, talents and potential. He's the hardest working man I've ever been married too (*smile).

Or, do I secretly (not much of a secret now) allow myself to hope that we can hang out in limbo land awhile longer, to possibly find something as equally satisfying that allows us to be near our family? Is that wishful thinking? We have to pay our dues somewhere in order to gain experience, right?
,
While I have other posts to attend to, (a Flickr tag, a photo of Eliza giving her doll a swirly,
my Nauvoo reunion) I've had to postpone them because of the overwhelming space in my brain these thoughts have been occupying.

To my friends who live near their parents: I'd like to know if you're simply lucky or if you're there because of a clear cut decision you made early on to stay near by no matter what. Are you open to heart wrenching, character building change or are you set on staying close to the ones you love most?

To my friends who are away from their family, I ask: How do you get passed not seeing your Mom whenever you want? Is it harder than you thought? Do you feel a closer bond with your spouse since you've been gone? Would you willingly give up your left big toe to have your children near their Grandparents?

I'll follow and support Andrew no matter what. That's the bottom line. I have faith that when making decisions (the big and small ones alike) the Lord will bless us to know what's right while allowing us to exercise our agency. Although I'm conflicted, my greatest of all desires is to be where the Lord wants our family. A place where we can grow, raise our children in a safe environment, (Ali whispers*...visit Grandparents on a weekly basis)... etc.

If you made it through today's post, congratulations. Please share your thoughts :) and pray that my husband does well because unfortunately, I wasn't invited to the interview.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Apparently, Eliza's a nurturer. She patiently 'nursed' her baby for two Sesame street segments. What a champ.

*For the record: She completely acted on her own. This photo was not staged, merely captured at the perfect moment.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Attempt at Subterfuge

While visiting the elephants today at the Zoo, I was reminded of a conversation I recently had with Andrew.Setting: Sunday afternoon, nap time.

"Come on," he urges. "What were you going to say just now?" Considering the fact that I married a man blessed with the gift of discernment, I roll away from him. As I bury my face in my pillow, I quietly lie,

"I can't remember what I was going to say." Instantly he calls my bluff,

"Liar!" Suppressing a smile, I finally make eye contact with him, though my lips remain sealed.

"Of course you remember what you were going to say!" He pauses a moment and then exclaims enthusiastically, "You're an elephant!!"

"Excuse me, what?!" Suddenly, I'm a full participant in our conversation. Not realizing his error, he repeats himself.

"I said, You Are an El-e-phant."

Acting hurt, I ask the infamous question. You know, the one that earns an automatic, fully justified, roll of the eyes.

"Are you calling me (sniff, sniff) fat?" I'm playing my part well. Knowing that he is smart enough to never bring up the subject of my weight (unless I'm in dire need of positive reassurance), I continue.

"You once... compared me to a cow when looking at pregnancy photos and now... after I've been DILIGENTLY DOING TURBO JAM FOR SIX DAYS STRAIGHT, you have the audacity to call me an elephant?"

(*alright, alright... I didn't use the word 'audacity' during this conversation. But I should of.)

Surprised that he isn't seeing past my over-dramatic facade, he interjects quickly,

"Elephants have GOOD memories. I was comparing you to an elephant because you can recall every detail from your life. If I asked you right now what you wore to school the first day of junior high, you'd tell me."

And there I am; preparing for my first day of seventh grade. In my mind, I see myself examining my olive green polo shirt. The neckline exposes a small portion of the white spaghetti strap shirt I have on underneath. At least I'm cool enough to know that I'm not supposed to tuck my shirt into my size nothing khaki shorts, despite them fitting loosely. As I look over my frightened, make-up free, face I notice my new, metal hoop earrings. Finally I smile as I now see the full image of a scrawny, nervous looking creature, with her socks folded down in a perfect crease. (I'd soon find out the hard way that folding your socks was a "fashion DON'T' at Olympus Jr. High).


It's true. I have a stellar memory. But who wouldn't remember their first day of junior high? (*shiver.) I return to the present conversation.

To ensure he doesn't ask a second time about the comment I am intentionally withholding, I ham it up some more,

"What do you mean elephants have good memories? I've never heard that saying. And according to you, I'd remember if I had - because I am an elephant?" I'm not making sense, but my plan for distraction is a success. Frustrated by his drama queen of a wife, he rolls away to fall asleep.

Maybe I'm better at subterfuge than I thought! I suppose that's not something to be proud of.

As for the zoo, here are the photos:

Monday, June 2, 2008

Last minute, Nauvoo Reunion - uh, kind of

I'm aware that the majority of my friends who attended the Joseph Smith Academy, don't read my blog. I hope that someone who does frequent my blog, was more responsible than I've been in keeping tabs on student's e-mail addresses.

With that being said, we're staging an informal get together this Saturday, June 8th at 11:00 am in the SLC/Holladay area. If you're able to come, e-mail me and I'll send you additional details once they become available.

Pah-lease assist yours truly in spreading the word. If the number is high enough, I'll contact the teachers. Again, it's last minute! Sorry :)

* ali.flegal@gmail.com