Thursday, February 26, 2009

Feeling The Love, a recap of sorts.

"Oh no! Here it comes; another one of my Mother's shamefully long travelogues! Brace yourself folks!"Henry's right. How do you make a travelogue interesting?

You don't. At least, I don't think I can. My creative juices have run dry; but for the sake of remembering the blessings of the day, I'm prepared to relay the tale of Tuesday's travels. Each moment of good fortune was attached to a shard of adversity.

The Good vs. The Not Good
a case study in opposition

* Good: I was in the company of kind, friendly people while waiting to board our first flight.
* Not Good: The above mentioned kind people, asked me to watch their belongings while they used the restroom. In addition to watching my own children & carry on items, I was baby sitting the seats and luggage of strangers. Not to mention, I missed out on the opportunity to take my own kids and self to the bathroom before boarding.

* SUPER Good: We scored an extra seat free of charge. Henry was able to stay in his car seat for duration of each fligh.

* Good: Both of my children fell asleep as the plane took flight. This afforded me the opportunity too...
* Not Good: ... leave them in peace as I dismissed myself to the restroom where I proceeded to vomit three times. No, I'm not pregnant. It was not the result of air sickness either. Truth be told, ever since having my gall bladder removed, I suffer from an excess of stomach acid. When I'm extremely nervous and have an empty stomach, I fall victim to intense pain. I have to rid myself of miserable acid and then eat. It's bizarre. Someone please sign me up for the 48 hours medical mystery show.

* Good: We landed early in Atlanta. We had plenty of time to make it to our next gate.
* Not Good: The crew sent my double stroller on ahead to my next plane. This left me with two children, a car seat, two carry-on items and a Baby Bjorn to transport all by myself.

* Good: Per the encouragement of a flight attendant, I hijacked a wheel chair. I placed a car seat bound Henry on the chair and prayed that my verbal commands would be enough to keep Eliza close by and obedient.
* Not Good: Eliza found great pleasure in releasing all of her energy as she sprinted down the busy concourse - full speed.

* Good: We found our gate.
* Not Good: We had two hours to kill.

* Good: There was a family restroom near by that allowed us privacy and accommodated the massive wheelchair.
* Not Good: The first three visits to the restroom, Eliza refused (as in SCREAMED bloody murder when I sat her on the toilet) to use the potty. She was doing "the potty dance" and whimpering out of misery. Still, the stubborn girl refused. I gave her my full permission to "go" in her pull-up. She declined. The violent nature of the airport toilet's automatic flushing system frightened her immensely.

* Good: FINALLY, an hour later, she offers her consent to use the restroom. Eliza and I happily bid farewell to that bathroom.
* Not Good: 10 minutes later, Henry poops. We return, for the 4th time, to the bathroom.

* Good: Henry, Eliza and I find a great place to camp out while we wait. Realizing we haven't needed to use the DVD player yet, I pull it out for Eliza. Henry is afforded the opportunity to crawl. He goes hog wild. The other waiting passengers fall in love with my kids.
* Not Good: (Sniff - sniff) Henry pooped again. We're off to the family bathroom for the 5th time.

The flights passed by quickly thanks to the cinematic magic of the motion picture, Beverly Hills Chihuahua (ha ha). Seriously though, the kids were great. It was the waiting time in between that proved most difficult. As always, it was worth the inconveniences of the day to have the chance to be in Utah. We landed at 10:30 pm. We were literally the last passengers to leave the little airport that night. I laughed as Eliza continually shouted through the nearly deserted airport,

"Peoples! Where ARE you?" I was relieved to see Andrew coming up the escalator and beyond ready to head home.

* Cue the "not good" *

As Andrew and I pull forward in our car to pay the ticketing agent for parking, he turns frantic.

"Where is my ticket?" I watch as he searches the pockets in his jacket and in his pants for a third time.

"Did you check your wallet?" I ask. Without acknowledging my question, he pulls the car closer. It suddenly dawns on him.

"Ah!" he moans in disgust. "I threw it away."

"You what?"

"I picked up miscellaneous pieces of trash from the car and threw them away on my way into the airport. I'm certain that's what happened." I instantly accept that we'll be paying the $12.00 fee to leave the short term parking area. I should know my husband better than to have even hoped that he'd do the same.

After his attempt to sweet talk the money collector into believing his story failed, Andrew reversed our car and returned to the heart of the parking lot. I watched on in disbelief as he sifted through the garbage can. Less than a minute later, he returned to the car... ticket in hand. He was triumphant. And I was thrilled to finally be on the drive home.

It's Picture Time:

CousinsDress ups with Emee
Cousin ScottTruman & Henry

The Mays Cousins (minus the Chamberlains)

The Flegal Cousins: Maxwell, Wickman, Cecelia, Shipley & Truman
My cousins Jessi & Claire and brother, Matt (he's still single & still righteous ladies)

SiblingsUncle "Mack" & "Hank"
Ali's brother Mike & his beautiful wife, Sunnee.
Andrew's brother Mike, my travel agent extraordinaire, & cousin Max
Andrew's siblings: Mike, Sara, Katie & Liz
Newlyweds Brent & Katie with CeceliaJen & Mark with Scott. Their fourth, a boy, will arrive this summer!The New Yorkers, Liz, Truman & Mark

MelissaThe recently engaged, soaring on cloud nine, KarinaWith my Nauvoo Hogs, Allison & Sam
Al dolled us up with a little Mary Kay pampering
Emily kept it up with a hair trim. I'm loving the new layers, Em!

And best of all... The Grandma's we love so much

Thanks to friends and family for stopping by the house, those who droves us legally (and some what illegally - cough, cough KEERSTEN! cough cough!!) and for those who watched my kids. To Laura, Tami & Heidi, I'm sad I didn't snap a picture of us together. Next time!

And Mom, I'm missing you fiercely. It doesn't get easier being away from you and your smile.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More From Molly

They took my breath away. Thanks Molly!

A New Talent

This blog has been neglected. That's what happens when you're enveloped with family and friends. Seriously, these two weeks have been incredibly special. You blink and it's time to pack your bags again. However, the time away from Andrew (and in Eliza's case, Talon) will make stepping onto the airplane tomorrow easier.

For the two people still checking this blog regularly, you may have noticed the absence of photos. I encourage those who care to take a peek at Molly Jones Photography. Molly kindly stopped by this morning to take photos of Henry and Eliza. To my delight, she recently posted a teaser. I could have been better prepared regarding my choices of how I was going to dress and/or coordinate my kids, but considering we're not at home, that this photo shoot was somewhat impromptu and that the majority of their clothes are in the laundry room, I did the best I could.

As for Molly, she is extremely personable, great with kids, and creative. Simply put, she has the knack. Her work speaks for itself. She claims to be "new" in discovering her passion for photography, but if you ask me, it would seem that she's a long time professional. I'm just sayin!

As for you, dear blog, be prepared to be bombarded with pictures in the days ahead. I'll soon be reunited with my laptop. Until then, I have clothes to fold and children to attend to. Case in point, Eliza just brought me a pair of purple under-roos. She has requested that I help her make the switch from blue to purple.

"Why Eliza?" I ask. Without an explanation she continues with her demands.

"Purple, Mommy! I want purple panties!"

"Is it because purple is your favorite color?" I easily assume. The girl loves purple.

"No Mama." Pausing for a moment she looks at me like she's the parent and I'm the child. She explains seriously,

"My blue ones are muddy."


As for Henry, he just found a q-tip, of the used variety, and is imagining it's a dum dum sucker. Bad things happen to my kids if I blog while they're awake.

*** Please note: Eliza didn't soil her underwear in the way that would make us all throw up in unison, at least, the air quality hasn't changed. Wish me luck as I go to find out what she really means about them being "muddy."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I could have just called him.

Dear Andrew,

I'm sorry that I don't have the capability to post pictures of our most recent happenings, but I'm quite sure that the children and I look relatively the same as we did last week; with the exception of Henry's recently acquired bruise located on his sweet little forehead. That shiner is a work of art.

Savanna posted a great recap of the funeral. I'm sure that Grandma Helen was over joyed to see her posterity bonding last weekend as we celebrated her life and honored her memory. I'm glad we were able to make it to the temple with your siblings and like you, I loved watching our children form deeper relationships with the Taylor cousins and baby Truman. I wish it was a frequent occurrence.

Since you left, I've stayed busy with a few play-dates of my own. Friends have graciously stopped by my Mom's house to visit. I imagine your nights have been lonely, but laugh to myself knowing that you're somewhat stressed out about the progressive dinner this weekend. I can't even imagine what it will be like for to host 50 ward members at our house! Where will they all park?!? I'm definitely disappointed that I won't be there to help you and wish that my critical eye balls could be there to see the house ahead of time. I stay up at night, thinking of tasks to add to the long list of chores I left you with. I'm horrible, I know. I'm sure the house will look stellar, but still think that it is imperative that you borrow more than 10 chairs!!

Because you love the small tidbits regarding our kids, I have to tell you how much I love watching Eliza reunite with her friends and cousins. Her enthusiastic greeting is always the same.

"Hi!" she cheers. "It's me! Eliza!!" It cracks me up. Like you, she's been spending a lot of time reading in the bathroom. There's a nice collection of picture books next to her potty. As for Henry, he's entered the stage I've appropriately titled,

"Always on the Verge..."

He's always on the verge of sticking his hand in the toilet, falling down the stairs, pulling Eliza's hair, turning off the computer, putting something small into his mouth, banging his head on the wood slant of a banister and bruising his forehead... oh wait, that one actually happened. You get the idea.

As a result, I hear myself saying all the time now,

"Henry -- No, No, No!!! I don't want you to get hurt!" or "No, No, We don't splash in toilet water." For whatever reason, this tone of warning, makes him giggle. It's having an adverse effect. He lives for danger! He loves the anticipation of knowing that I'm chasing him down. He thrives on being naughty and to my ever increasing frustration, he's nothing but charming and irresistible as he pulls that smile that proceeds my light chastisement! I sincerely enjoy our children.

As for me, I've relished in time spent with my parents and Matt (my 21 year old brother) after the kids are in bed. It feels like I've "gone back" to when it was the four of us living here. I've returned to my parent's bed side, where we prayed each night growing up. Last night, it was my turn to pray with them after years of being away. And like the "old days" - I had to fight off a self inflicted batch of giggles. Minutes before saying the prayer, I dramatically danced into their room as I listened to Matt's ipod. Acting ridiculous, I mouthed the words to the catchy song, being somewhat 'over the top'.

"What are you listening to beanie?" My dad asked. Embarrassed to tell him, I avoided his question.

"Seriously, what song is it?" he pressed. Curious, Matt grabs back his IPOD to check for himself the title of the song and reads:

"I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry. Clued in that our Dad would possibly be offended that his daughter was rocking out to that particular song, he started to laugh with understanding. I dodged the full truth by sharing with him the artist's name and then did my best to recover as it was my turn to pray.

It's nice to remember what it was like for Matt and I to live under the same roof as teenagers and to once again share those late night laughs and random conversations. With that being said, please know how much I miss you. Until the kids and I are back under our own roof with you, remember that I love you most.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Series of Useless Details that No One Should Feel Obligated to Read

I don't have any pictures to accompany the following post. Therefore, I compensated with an over abundance of words.

Per my brother in law's request, I am preparing to delve into the details of our travel experience. In other words, here's another snoozer of an entry dedicated, to you, Mike Flegal. He's quite interested on what 'went down' yesterday considering he's our family's personal, and world's best, travel agent.

I challenge any "thrill seeker" that's looking for an adrenaline fueled adventure to fly stand-by with two small children. I promise you, it's a rush. Not necessarily the 'fun kind' of rush, but I can assure you that my adrenaline was pumping. Unfortunately for me, the rush kicked in prematurely. My alarm was set for 3:45 a.m. (*insert sounds of profuse retching here*) but found myself wide awake at 1:20 a.m EST.

Our first flight was scheduled to depart at 5:50 a.m. We left from a very small, yet highly efficient airport. For whatever reason (I'll go ahead and play the "Because I'm A Sensitive Female" card), I began crying as Andrew escorted us to security. Saying "Goodbye" to him has never been one of my strong points.

I shook it off as best I could, knowing the hardest part of my day was still ahead of us, kissed him good bye and focused on getting us through a nearly vacant, security check point. It was just our family and several, eager to help, TSA agents. Andrew watched through the glass wall as we headed off to the elevator.

The airport felt deserted. Seeing my struggle to gather all of our belongings, a considerate employee, who wasn't assigned to our flight, jumped on a computer and blocked an entire row for my family so that Henry could remain in his car seat. As a result, Henry was able to sleep through the 36 minute flight to Atlanta and my arms were available to help keep Eliza occupied.

Oh, Atlanta.

We deplaned onto the actual tarmac where we were reunited with our stroller. I then proceeded to assemble, organize bags and situate children. Four steps later, I noticed the two flights of concrete stairs. Awesome. Suddenly, I missed Andrew and his muscles.

As I began singing, "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" I hustled a car seat bound Henry and an Eliza up the first flight of stairs. Always keeping the two of them within my view, I returned to the stroller and without bothering to close the monster, I hauled it up the first flight of stairs and repeated this process with the second. Next came the exciting tasks of finding our gate and wooing the agent into finding a spare seat for Henry's car seat.

Understanding my bold request, the agent remained straight faced as she handed me a single pink tag. Typically, I need two tags when checking items at the gate; one for the stroller another for the car seat...

"Does this mean!?" I blurted out. On the verge of releasing tears of joy, I continued, "...that I can keep him in his car seat, that we'll have a row to ourselves?" With a brief nod, she shot me a look that clearly read,

"KEEP IT DOWN SISTER! I just did you a major favor and shouldn't have considering your a stand-by passenger - so shut your happy mouth!"

I toned down my enthusiasm as best I could and left the counter, elated. Eliza fell asleep as we took off from Atlanta, and woke up mid flight, just as Henry was settling in for his second nap. Could I be so lucky? It's true. All my grateful little heart could do was pray. It was definitely work to keep the two entertained, but with that extra seat for Henry, it was indeed manageable.

I'm having a hard time catching up on sleep, but other than that, we're doing well. Salt Lake feels brutally cold after enjoying short sleeved, sun shine filled Southern weather days before our trip, but I'll take it any day if it means spending more time with the family. Last night, Eliza's beloved, cousin Emee came over. My Mom, ironically enough, flew to Denver yesterday afternoon to be with my sister and her new baby. It's a good thing, I'll be here two weeks so that I can spend time with her as well.

I hope it works that I see as many of my friends and family while we're here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Lord Giveth

...And the Lord Taketh Away.

This week my sister and her husband welcomed their third child; a sweet baby girl named Sara. How grateful we are that Sara arrived safe and well. She was received into a family with great joy and excitement. Needless to say, I can't wait to hold her!!

Can you even stand the sweetness of that baby?!

When that will happen, we're not sure considering they are living away from Utah too. Hopefully, it will be sooner than later.

A day after Sara's arrival, we received word that Andrew's beloved Grandmother passed away. What a lovely, special, genuine, giving, bold woman! I'm fortunate to have married into her family. I will always remember her laugh. Simply put, Grandma Helen was fun.The plan of salvation, or of happiness as I prefer to call it, has been on our mind. I know that the family bonds we form here can carry on into the eternities. Sara is a Chamberlain now and forever. Andrew and his Mother will always be linked to sweet Grandma Helen. I'm profoundly grateful for this knowledge. It's more than a hope, it's more than a wish. The teachings of my youth have been solidified. Families are forever.

The Lord's time table isn't always in line with what we expect or hope for. But what comforts me is that regardless of what happens, it's still His time table. He does care and He is mindful of when we're born and when it's time to return to our Heavenly home. It matters to Him. All that we do, matters to Him.

Allow me to grab a tissue as I step off my soap box.

The children and I are heading to Utah at the beginning of next week to celebrate the life of his dear Grandma. I'll stay a few weeks and soak up as much of Utah as I can. I'd love to get together with whoever I can while we're in the neighborhood.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wiped Out! (pun intended)

I have to say straight off that there's no real story or planned ending for today's post. No, I do not intend to blog forever, but since I'm in the mood to 'ramble on' about nothing, consider yourself warned.

The kids and I have been cooped up all week due to Eliza's illness. Her fever has passed. However, her voice is still missing. She whispers now. Her "sick voice" is a little bit of cute, mixed with a touch of sad and, although I'd never admit this to her, it's kind of nice. I'd prefer to be yelled at via a whisper any day.

The discomfort associated with her tight congestion has shifted into something far more annoying, albeit less painful. Her nose is a free flowing faucet of mucous and fluid which demands a Mother's constant vigilance. I'm never too far away from a box of kleenex. As I wiped her nose for the umpteenth time this morning, following a particularly brutal diaper change from our leading man baby, I realized that I spend a lot of my day wiping.

I wipe stinky bums, runny noses, yogurt encrusted faces, the surface of high chairs, more stinky bums, counter tops, toys that have been coated in peppermint flavored lip smacker, the bathroom floor after Eliza's attempt to transfer her recent deposit into the big toilet, wet bodies waiting to be wiped dry after a bath and the heartbreaking, tear stained cheeks belonging to an upset toddler and/or baby.

I wipe a lot.

Are you grossed out yet by my blunt assessment? Good! You should be. There's nothing glamorous about the surfaces I'm called upon to wipe clean. You try your best to teach your children manners, hoping that your own little lady will grow up to be just that; a lady. Why? So that they're shocked out of their mind when their lady like prepped lives shift into a reality that literally smells bad and triggers even the most toughest of gag reflexes.

I could end my thoughts here; hoping that I've garnered a small chuckle or a deeper appreciation for the health of your family. But since I'm an optimist and don't want to be offered another slice of cheese for my whining (*Shout out* to my hater!!) -- I'd like my kids to know that:

The responsibility that I feel, knowing that it's my job to help you get well, is one I take seriously. I love that it is my hand that gets to rub your back when your fever filled body is aching. Your daddy and I feel an embarrassing amount of success when we win over your reluctant to open mouth, as you take a needed dose of Tylenol. Amid the "sticky ickys" that cover your tiny faces, I find a smile and hear a giggle; which I can't help but return. As for the diaper changes; if I didn't have so many to change, I would miss out on the joy that's associated with your first time using the potty or the pleasure derived when Daddy's home, you've pooped and I win a quick battle of paper, rock, scizzors which = HIS TURN! Although, I feel more frump than chic during my day, you two compensate for all that's unpleasant without even trying.
Until you learn to wipe yourselves, I'm yours.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Surprise Visit

*** Friends have been blogging about ice storms. Their frosty tales and ice-filled pictures have been of great interest to me. It's with a sincere heart that I wish them safety and warmth. ***

As for us, we've been spared such storms. Rather, we recently woke up to a scene straight out of the Alfred Hitchcock horror flick, "The Birds." Fortunately, all of our eye balls are still intact.

Looking into our neighbor's yard from our bedroom window

We're a little bit sad today.
Yesterday afternoon we dropped off Nanna at the airport. The simple words of Lloyd Christmas came to mind as I watched her walk away.

"I hate goodbyes!"

(Good for you if you don't know who Lloyd Christmas is. Seriously, I should be quoting Shakespeare or C.S. Lewis. Truth be told, I'm simply not of that caliber.)

The "best of"our weekend with family includes:

Playing with Uncle Mike
Lunch at California DreamingAnd welcoming Nanna to our home!
Eliza used the "big girl potty" at Monkey Joe's. Inspired by my cousin Kelly, I had the idea to play up the fact that it was "Monkey Joe's" potty - and glory be - Eliza actually used it. She was SO proud of herself.
Don't worry Monkey Joe, she washed her hands.

After returning home, she insisted on using her frog (training) potty despite having used the regular sized one earlier that day. I learned this weekend that she will use the big potty when her little one isn't around. Obviously this means it's time for the Frog Potty to disappear after I tape a picture of Monkey Joe to the adult sized toilet.

Other highlights...

Playing games with Nanna and our friends, the Hendersons, Saturday night. We watched our wedding video per our friend's request. Eliza was captivated. Since then, her first demand of the day is, "Please, can we watch the Mom & Dad show!?" 75 viewings later, she still loves it.

Costco. Something about that store makes me smile.

Having an adult female to talk to all day! No offense Andrew.

After church on Sunday we visited with Teresa's Aunt Del who lives 2 hours away from us. The lady is heroic. Currently, she's battling brain cancer.
Monday morning, we were forced to factor in the opposition that accompanies all family related visits. Eliza woke up with her first fever since moving here; along with a bark of a cough. She glued herself to the couch and informed us that she didn't want to go anywhere. Needless to say, our morning was low key.

Last night, Andrew came home to a wife that was eager for a hug. Hoping his arms could fill the void I felt after dropping off his Mom at the airport, I hung onto him in the entry way for a solid amount of time. Knowing that Andrew is all about eternal lasting hugs, I was confused when his grip soon slackened. Not being a fan of limp noodle armed hugs, I finally looked at him to ask,

"Why aren't you holding me tightly?"

"I didn't want to rush this. I know you need this right now but I just really (really, really) need to *use the restroom* (quite sure he said something else, but I'm taking the liberty to spruce up his verbiage).

The void is still here, but so are a fresh batch of memories. Thanks for the visit you two. Come back soon (AND BRING BUBBA!).