Saturday, January 31, 2009

His First Lemon

Our family is happily occupied. Due to the death of a great Uncle, Andrew's Mom has found herself in the Palmetto state. To our great enjoyment, she's made her way to our home we're we've welcomed her with open arms.

Too bad for her family out West, our arms are thickly wrapped around her and are reluctant to let her leave :) It would seem that we'll be lucky enough to keep her until Tuesday. Bubba, thank you for sharing your beloved wife with us during your birthday weekend. As always, your selflessness impresses us. Happy Birthday to one incredibly special Father & Grandfather.

Timing was on our side when her trip coincided with her son's, "Uncle Mikey's" previously planned visit. As I've said before the two of them together is an recipe for laughter. Mike was down South on business and jetted up for a quick visit. We sadly bid him farewell this morning after his brief, but likewise HIGHLY WELCOMED, visit. Let it be noted that I made a home run of a breakfast this morning. I keep my word. If you come see us I will feed you well.

Although Mike's time here was short, he managed to introduce Henry to his first dum dum sucker, shared with him a generous portion of his slush fruit drink (both of these things were done behind my back!) AND feed him a lemon. This experience must be shared. I love Henry's smile at the end.



Enjoy your weekend as much as we are enjoying ours.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Your Daily Laugh

Eliza has a need for social interaction when using the potty. Depending on who is available, she'll recruit Andrew or myself to accompany her to the "John." If we're needed elsewhere, she'll settle for the company of a good book.

Two nights ago, she wrangled in Andrew. Talk about service. Not only was he there to offer his moral support, but he also sang to her. I giggled to myself in the kitchen as I listened to to his loud, self written, gibberish inspired, compositions.

Andrew's memory suffers somewhat when it comes to remembering lyrics. This leads him to repeat the same line of a song over and over (and over and over). As he transitioned into the familiar song, "I've been working on the railroad..." I felt inspired to do this.

*** Please note: Andrew is fully clothed. This video is safe to view. Just make sure your volume is turned up.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's official, I have a "hater!"

I've been blogging for one and a half years.

It's about time that someone leaves me a nasty comment. In my observation, popular bloggers that claim loyal followings, will also attest to having a "hater" or two in their midst of readers.

WELL! Ladies and gentlemen,

I'm excited to report that I have my first one!!!

I'm sure they're not the first (or last) 'hater' to look at what I write with a critical eye; but I can say with absolute certainty that they're the first person that has offended me with their comment. And with that introduction, I'd like to share this hater's comment with the rest of the class.

Again
, this was written in response to my announcement of Andrew's recent purchase of a 55 gallon fish aquarium. A certifiable (meaning, it wasn't Andrew) "anonymous" reader kindly wrote:

Would you like some cheese w/that whine? He's the one doing all the work for it. Stop your complaining.

Wow! How do you respond to that?

"Cheese? Absolutely; of the pepper jack variety, please."

I could cut the "cute" and fire back,

"Tell me, dear reader. How is that you know that he's doing all the work in maintaining it?"

*psssst... Absolutely, he's the one that cares for it!

Or I could return with the diva smack-down and say:

Last time I checked, this blog had my name on it; which, forgive me if I'm mistaken, gives me the right to:
  • vent
  • complain
  • celebrate
  • gush about my kids
  • share
  • record our history
etc.
etc.
etc.

If you don't appreciate my complaining, don't read my blog.

I hate feeling like I need to defend what I write, especially to a person who doesn't have the nerve to add their name when posting a comment of this nature (*cough, cough, COWARD, cough, cough). I don't consider my blog to be controversial. I try to keep the peace and remain low key when hot issues are being debated publicly. If anything, I need to find the courage to be more pro-active in sharing my views. Now who is the coward? Me, so I guess it looks like the meanie-faced hater and I share a commonality with the exception that I make an effort to uplift, compliment and thank those that I leave comments for. Go Ali, go.

But, here's the deal...

When I make the decision to post or share a marital dispute, please understand that Andrew is in on it. He's laughing along as I type. As a person who has a tendency to "over-share" - I know where that line is in keeping things private within our family. If I question it, I ask Andrew his thoughts, keep in mind what he's comfortable with me sharing, etc. He gives the green light.

"Should I blog about this? Should I not." - that type of thing.

But yes, it's true. I was upset that he purchased the aquarium when he knew that the size of it bothered me. As a human, things bother us. Call me a complainer... but that size of tank, bothered me! I was hoping for a compromise in the form of a smaller sized tank because I know how much Andrew loves staring at fish (or just the water and rocks).

Obviously, that compromise didn't come to pass. I let go of my frustration, decided it was better to laugh (and blog) about it and together, I chose artwork for our kitchen (spending personal Christmas money) as a trade. And being the good wifey-poo that I am, the artwork I chose is artwork that I happen to know he loves.

You don't need to tell me that I'm over reacting to the rude comment I received today, because I know that I am. It would have been better to delete the mean spirited remark and not waste my time dwelling on it again, but like I said, as a blogger... that first piece of "hate" mail or however you want to label it... is a right of passage.

Anyone else out there dealt with a hater before? If so, how did you react that first time your tender heart was hurt?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

sNOw way!

Looking out my bedroom window this morning, I felt a pang of homesickness. It's automatic that I associate the beauty of the snow with my Utah roots, right? We didn't receive much, but it was enough for a few school districts to close (or delay) school for the day. We're enjoying the sight and thankful that Mother Nature remembered us.
............................
Yesterday, I took the children to the doctor's office. Eliza was scheduled to receive her 2.5 well child check up (two months late) and Henry needed a follow up weight check after his 9 month check up.

Living here, I've learned not to rely on those reminder calls. I remembered the date of the appointment with ease, but realized Saturday morning that I was unsure of the time. Hoping I had missed a message, I crossed my fingers as I checked my voice mail late Sunday night.

Nothing. Errrr.

Monday morning, I called at 8:00 a.m. - on the dot! Eliza was up with me but Henry was still sleeping.

"Good morning, can you hold please?"

"Absolutely."

"Thanks for waiting. How may I help you?"

"My children have an appointment today. Could you please tell me what time we're scheduled to be in?"

"Name please?"

"Flegal. That's "F" as in 'Frank' - you see, a lot of people think I'm saying 'Slegal' - with an 'S,' like 'Sam' - but it's really 'Flegal' with an 'F' - like 'Frank'..."

"Ma'm?" She interrupts.

"Yes?"

"I got it."

"Oh." I feel stupid.

"Your appointment's at 8:20." Panic sets in instantly. 8:20! Why would I do that to myself?

"I don't know if we'll make that appointment. Can I come in at a later time?"

"Sure you can."

"Great, when?"

"On February 4th."

"Oh. We'll see you in 20 (ish) minutes." And that's how my week began.

Eliza did great at the appointment. With a two year old, going out in public is always risky. Thankfully, she happily cooperated with the nurse and doctor. The greatest surprise was how quickly she recovered from the flu shot she received. The trauma was over once she saw the sparkly silver bandaid.

Her stats
29 lbs - 50th percentile
Height, too lazy to go check the exact number, - 75th percentile
I'm so smitten with my children. I can't help but gush over these two. Eliza's real smart. I didn't need her lawyer/martial arts/doctor to confirm what I already know, but he seemed somewhat intrigued by her.

Other random *new* things from the Eliza front:

She knows what it means to be "scared" now. She's developing fears of her own. Before, when the wind howled, she didn't mind. The other night, I was surprised as I saw her suddenly hide under her covers and murmur quietly, "I'm scared!" as we listened to the wind from her bedroom. Who taught her that? Is "hiding under your covers" a standard for all frightened toddlers?

That same night, she beckoned me into her room after being put to bed for the night. Stepping into my "brave Mom, hero" role, I assumed I was on my way to offer more comfort from the noise of the storm. Instead, she informed that she'd just picked a booger. Holding up her finger with her recently acquired treasure she said,

"Look Mama! A booger! Take it!" So I took it. At least they're not ending up in her mouth.

As for Henry, he gained one pound - to the ounce. He now weighs 15 lbs 3 oz. I'll be taking him in next month for another weight check and will continue to make sure he takes in more calories than his busy body is burning.I'm off to bathe the children before the Inauguration of Barack Obama begins. Have a good day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Children At Play

This picture isn't significant to this post. I just like it.

The "arctic freeze" arrived in the South this past Friday. I had to laugh when I heard on the news that the public schools start times were pushed back two hours later due to the cold weather. Keep in mind, it was a sunny and clear day - just cold. Bitter cold weather stresses out Southerners. Like I said, it made me laugh. The kids and I put on our coats and made our way to Chuck-E-Cheese with our favorite friends, Talon & Colby! The babies patiently sat in their high chairs and ate the entire time; on their menu: graham crackers, pizza and...
sweet potatoes! Apparently I have poor aim when spoon feeding my son. Perhaps that's why he's so underweight.
Eliza's attention was split between Barney and her main squeeze, Talon.
When Talon's not around to keep her occupied, she surprisingly seems happy to play with her brother, Henry. The, "Where's Eliza?" game is a personal favorite of theirs."THERE SHE IS!!" - he loves that part. So does she. Eliza was thrilled when her doll house arrived from Utah. She'll engage with Henry, perform for him on occasion or simply tolerate his presence when she's in that mode of make believe. I'm sure with time that will change, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying it.

As for my eight year old husband: he's pretty thrilled with the fish aquarium. I'm having a difficult time hanging on to my grudge when I see the pair of them enjoying it. You may remember, these two have a history of fish tank team observation.

While living with Grandma Flegal, Andrew would brush her teeth every night as she'd watch the guppies attack his daily pinch of fish food. Or on weekend mornings, we'd all snuggle in bed while she happily stared at them.

Today, she'll frequently begged:

"Come on, Mama! Let's go play with the fish!"
She'll greet the fish with a warm, "Hello!" and encourage the groups of fish to play with one another if they're on separate sides of the tank. She cracks me up. And so does this video.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Outing our friend, "Anonymous"

Last night I went to bed feeling sorry for the poor dear who left me this comment in response to yesterday's post:

"I think it is a really nice looking tank.
Your kids will love watching the fish.
Just feel lucky that he didn't just put up a
stuffed yak head on the wall like my husband did.
I would trade you any day."

My jaw dropped. "Wow." I thought.

"Some woman in blogger land truly has it worse than I do. A yak! Can you even imagine? Hmm..." I wondered to myself. "Do I even know what a yak looks like?" Andrew's laughter interrupted my thought process. He'd likewise, read the 'yak' comment. Together, we laughed.

Fast forward a few hours. It's 10:30 p.m. Andrew kisses the top of my head as he informs me that he's on his way to bed.

"I'll be right there." I lied. 20 minutes later, I tear myself away from the mindless t.v. show I had been sucked into, somewhat disappointed that I hadn't joined Andrew when I had the chance. As I hit the upstairs hallway, I noticed the light on in our playroom. And there, I saw my eight year old husband; seated on the carpet, with his eyes - transfixed - on a fish-less, fish tank. He was just staring... at the water and the rocks... and the water.

"Andrew. How long have you been staring at an empty aquarium?"

Sheepishly he grins, "Um... 10 minutes"

"Longer than that!"I counter. He has no reply.

"Honey." I laugh. "There aren't any fish in there."

"I know."

"So why are you looking at it?"

Confused by his own actions and exasperated by my interrogation he exhales,

"I DON'T KNOW! ... I just, I can't explain it. I just like it."

...........................

Fast forward to this evening. We're on our way to the fish store, when the OBVIOUS thought occurs to me. Andrew wrote the anonymous comment. How am I THAT slow? As I accuse the guilty party, he nearly drives off the road. The thought that follows is that he wrote both anonymous comments.

Eliza's expression clearly captures the essence of how I feel

"And tonight," he confesses, "I wrote a third." At that moment I stripped the title of "Overly Bold Husband" away from the imaginary yak wife and claimed it for my own. As for me, I went with option B. Andrew will find out in 2-6 weeks what my consolation prize is. I'm pretty stoked. about it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking

I have a "friend" whose husband recently bought a 'dentist office sized' aquarium despite his wife's protests.

My "friend" was willing to compromise on a smaller sized tank, but to her intense dismay, he didn't listen. And now this tank... CORRECTION... this aquarium is occupying space in her children's playroom.


(55 gallons)

I hate it. I mean, she hates it. What should she do?

A) Adjust her attitude to accommodate his over sized want?
B) Buy something large out of revenge - that's not the most Christ-like of options, but to be honest, she's considered it.
C) Beg and plead for a smaller sized tank. *** This method is not working ***

Any other ideas?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Up Close & Personal

I met my next door neighbor today and the impression I made was ... ? Without bashing myself, I could say that the impression I made was - honest -

In my defense, I did shower this morning. I opted to postpone my shampoo session an extra day so that it would be as fresh as flowers for Church tomorrow. I didn't mind the greasy, free-thinking, knot that adorned my head. I had no plans to actually leave my house, so I sported my Saturday, "I'm not leaving my house all day" uniform (blue sweat pants and an over sized gray Ferguson sweatshirt - thanks Mark!) and skipped out on applying make-up.

I was looking hot. and frumpy. and really 'natural'.

What could have possibly lured me outside to make such an impression when we've gone this long without an actual meeting? Loneliness? Boredom? Losing a bet? No.

Without any reservations, Eliza and I eagerly ran outside to introduce ourselves to her recently acquired puppy, I mean we wanted to meet her (and her super cute puppy)!!
This is not her actual puppy, but it's the same breed. Except the above pictured dog looks bored. Her puppy is extremely hyper.

I got over the embarrassment of my shab-tastic appearance right away. What really "bonded us" occurred moments after Eliza got over her fear of the dog which allowed me to put her down on the grass. Eliza then trotted down our hill, to play near the trees. Looking like a motorized doggie chew toy, our neighbor's puppy couldn't contain his excitement. The puppy bolted down the hill after Eliza, ripping the leash right out of his owner's hand.

Having super maternal instincts, our neighbor, rescued Eliza from the excited puppy, who had been trying desperately to lick the syrup off of her face (Eliza had pancakes for dinner). Despite being Eliza's Mother, she still beat me. As she scooped Eliza into her arms, I struggled to secure the puppy's leash... the puppy who was now running between his owner's legs, which left my head in close proximity to my neighbor's rear end.

Awkward.

Eventually, we became untangled, Eliza was returned to my arms and the leash was returned to her hands. Other than that, I have to say that our first exchange as neighbors was entirely positive. She and her husband are retired and unfortunately are living far from their children and grand kids. So, we bonded over that. She offered to come and stay with my kids if I ever needed to run an errand or had an emergency with one of them. She's someone I know I will be able to trust. Now that she has a puppy, she'll be seeing a lot us in our backyards. It was clear that she is taken with Eliza and it won't be long before Henry casts his magical spell on her too.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In Order To Get The Best Parking Spot

I've felt inspired as I've read the various posts my fellow bloggers have written regarding their New Year resolutions. In fact, our beautiful cousin Kera recently blogged about the goals she has set for herself physically. After reading her list, and knowing full well that this girl will accomplish anything she sets out to do, I consoled my envious, flabby self with imagined thoughts of what I'll look like after I'm resurrected. Until then, I"ll just keep up my nightly walks with my neighbor friend (she's pregnant so I can keep up) and chug a Slim Fast each morning.

To those of you that successfully achieve yearly goals, I sincerely commend you. By nature, I'm not a goal setter. This doesn't necessarily qualify me as being a 'bad' person, but rather a lazy one with a history of small failures. *smile*

I consider myself to be a work in progress, as we all probably do. But in following your examples of finding something to focus on, it was quite obvious (as it is every year) that I need to be diligent in studying my scriptures, personally and with Andrew.

My personal history has proven that when I'm faithful in doing this, I'm simply a better person. Andrew and I have a running joke that whenever we score a stellar parking spot, it's because we read our scriptures the night before. Clearly, that's not the reason, but it's symbolic of the fact that I find my life blessed in little ways for doing it. Examples include:

I have an extra slice of patience at the end of a long day. I have a desire to prepare my lesson for Church sooner than later. I'm able to resist the temptation to buy chocolate covered granola bars, sometimes. I love others more easily. Andrew and I have a healthier relationship. I'm able to handle the ugliness of life with more grace, etc.

So as I welcome 2009, I'm committed to bettering my personal study, which includes, reading my children a few verses during breakfast and to keep reading with Andrew. We've recently come to the end of the Book of Mormon, but technically are only 'half way' through because we started it in the middle to avoid the eternal repeat of the first two books of Nephi. To my non-Mormon friends who are confused, you can CLICK here if you're curious. Something I took for granted when living in Salt Lake is that most people are familiar with Mormon lingo/terminology. I find myself back tracking a lot when having Church related conversations.

And finally, here's a slide show from our trip to Utah.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And Then There Were Four

Feelings of relief, triumph and success washed through me as we loaded our little family back into our van at the airport after a two week vacation to Utah. After a lo(ooooo)ng day of travel, I passed the remaining drive time on my cell phone.

"Babe," I began. "I should probably call our voice mail and check our messages." Fully aware that I haven't checked our home phone message's once since we left, we mutually felt somewhat irresponsible.

"That's probably a good idea." He said, somewhat amused. Listening to my voice greeting for the first time, I entered the numeric password. I was humbled when the generic voice informed me,

"You have zero messages."

Needless to say, I don't think the South missed us much while we were away.

The second round of calls were to our parents; letting them know we arrived safely and that our sanity had been restored. Your assumption that our children were the cause of it's temporary displacement is incorrect. They behaved well. I couldn't have expected or hoped for happier travelers. Rather, it would seem that I am CURSED with the inability to sleep the night before I fly.

The curse of "no sleep" spread like a highly contagious viral infection to my family as Andrew and I ended up separating our children at 2:00 a.m, Sunday night, into different rooms. After fourteen shared nights as a family, Eliza and Henry chose the last night of our trip to battle each other. Their differing, and thankfully minor, ailments bothered one another. Dragging Eliza's makeshift bed into the family room, I quickly melted into the couch.

As my body begged to sleep, Eliza begged for attention.

"Mama" she whispered. "I want my bear."

"Go to sleep, 'Liza." Whipping out my firm voice I added, "Now."

Whipping out an impatient batch of tears she ordered back. "I waaaaaant my bear!" Unintentionally kicking toys in the dark, I crept back into the room where my two boys slept, located the bear and tossed it at her. Relax, it was a gentle toss.

"Gaink you" she whispered. Asleep for .2 seconds, I'm awakened with a new demand.

"Mama! I want an icy cold!" Knowing that her cough had necessitated all of the water in her sippy cup, I felt a motherly obligation to replenish her water. It didn't stop there.

"Mama!" she whispered in the dark. "Cuddle me!" It was more of an order than a request. It was nearing three a.m. and I hadn't slept yet. Anger seemed like an unfair response considering the sweet tone that was felt from her pleading. It wasn't long until I found myself on the basement floor, next to her tiny body that comfortably rested on a foam mattress.

What felt like 15 minutes later, I heard Andrew's cruel invitation to wake up. It was time to get ready to leave for the airport. The first 20 minutes of our flight were brutal. The exhaustion was thick. The neighboring passengers unknowingly mocked us we watched them fall asleep.

Thankfully, some surge of who knows what kicked in. I felt human enough to be a good Mother to my children. Eliza slept the first flight, Henry the second. It was manageable. The travel transitions were smooth. Driving back to our home felt weird. I felt sad as I repeated to myself the wonder that I had woken up in Salt Lake and seen my Mother that day. Now, I was 1900 miles away from her again.

So, I have to say that I was surprised at the level of comfort that was received as I walked back into our home. Not because it is "new" but because it feels familiar. Nothing around this house offers that feeling entirely. And, I have to say, I was pleased with myself for cleaning it well before we left. Eliza joyfully reunited with her toys and Henry is happy to be back in his crib.

After weeks of having access to familiar, loving faces I don't have imminent plans to see anyone other than my little family today. I confess that I indulged in several "wants" over the holidays. I lunched with friends, saw movies with my Mom, borrowed her socks when I couldn't find a pair, went to the temple with my sisters and let family help with our kids (THANK YOU!).

It's time to revert back into the "taking care of" mode. And the optimist in me is thankful to be taking care of a healthy, beautiful family in a home that is a joy to be in.

The mail carrier arrived moments ago with a plethora of mail that had been on hold. The discouragement I felt as I saw the stack of bills dissipated as the stack of holiday greeting cards quickly surpassed its size. My loneliness has been eased as I am once again reminded that throughout this country are people who care about our little family even though we still seem like strangers to our new neighbors.

Thank you to those who remembered us. Although the holidays have passed, these cards couldn't have been received at a better time than today. I'll be back to post pictures of our trip when I unearth our camera from the mass of "stuff" that is waiting to be unpacked upstairs.

Happy New Year one and all.