Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I got jumped today.

I learned how to use jumper cables today. The skill wasn't one I was planning to acquire when I planned out our day this morning. And like most unfortunate events, the timing was indeed inconvenient. As I look back, I suppose I ought to express gratitude that I was stuck in the comfort of my own garage. The real stress stemmed from the fact that I truly had somewhere I really needed to be; which happens - oh, I don't know - not ever.

Andrew's attempt to instruct me over the phone was comical.

"The car is dead" I pause. "like, it won't start."

"It's dead?" He asks. To provide further evidence of my claim, I do my best to imitate the sound it made when I turned the key. He tries not to laugh. He's at work after all. And we all know how boring, I mean professional, he is while working.

"What can I do?"

"I need you to," before he can finish his thought, I blurt out my dilemma in true Ali Flegal fashion: In. Full. Detail.

"You realize that last night I told you my radio hasn't been working for two days? Now the car's dead and I have to be at the *Rogers* (name has been changed) house to greet the kids when they come off of the bus. The kids! THE KIDS! They are counting on me!"

I'm turning up the drama for the sake of your entertainment. However, the scenario was completely true.

With his coaching, I'm able to pop the hood and prop it open. Gold star for me! When you marry someone who is so incredibly mechanically inclined, it's easy to disregard all things car. That's his department, right? Well, clearly, that mentality was a mistake. And it caught up to me. Returning to our conversation,

"I need you to find the battery."

"The what?"

"This will be easy. Just look for the object that's black."

"Andrew. It's ALL black!" After failing to identify and locate the battery, it became clear that I was up a creek without a paddle. Hoping that our mechanically inclined neighbor (who I happened to have had over for dinner the night previous - with our spouses, of course!) was home, I bid my husband farewell to give him a call.

For the love of a tender mercy, he answered the call.

A minute later, he was there, showing me the battery and how to charge it (*insert more tech jargon here). I was on my way to the Roger's home a short moment later.

Lately, it seems that I've had ample opportunity to step in and help watch children in our Ward. It's been a great chance for Eliza, Henry and me to get to know different families better. Not to mention, Eliza has LOVED the quality friend time. With the craziness that's been our pre-school teaching/helping schedule, there are days when I've felt like I'm a chicken running around without her head.

As my sister kindly pointed out to me today on the phone, I'm lucky to be in a position to help. A month ago, I was the one sick in bed struggling to care for my kids. Someday, I'll be the one in need of a sitter so I can make it to an appointment with the O.B. (I'm not pregnant, this is not an announcement, we're not close to making an announcement, etc)

You have to fill the role of that family member who doesn't live here. You have to be one that assures a concerned Grandmother that you'll help take care of her grandchild. You have to be that friend who tells their newly moved in Ward member that you'll lovingly take care of her kids when she goes into labor no matter the time of day or situation. Because in a matter of seconds things can change and you'll be the one looking for someone with jumper cables to start your car.

Fresh from that conversation with my sister and having had a quiet morning, I was looking forward to another afternoon with the Roger's children. I'm glad that the car decided to quit prior to this outing as opposed to a planned shopping excursion to Target. Because we all know how awesome it would have been to hear from your frugally cute husband that it was a sign from the heavens to avoid Target all together (*gasp* now that would have been a tragedy.).

Lesson learned: I'd rather be the helper than the help-ee. But when the roles are reversed, suck it up and ask for help.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Flegal Family 2009

To our loving Nana's, When you're ready to discuss your personal selection, be prepared to help me with my own. I'm at a loss. That's what happens when your Utah based photographer is stellar and provides you with a myriad of great choices. Thanks again, Savannah! Love, Ali & family

The family shots:

Let's begin by giggling (or cringing, depending on the type of person you are) at Andrew's sock/shoe choice. Don't worry ladies, Savannah knows how to crop! Looking at his handsome face, it's easy to forgive the fashion miss!
Next up, we have the, "Let's Pretend We're Acting Natural" shots. I mean, 'cause REALLY; I'm that bubbly. Always. Can you imagine me caffeinated? Yikes!

(Here's to hoping can smell the hint of sarcasm.)

The candid poses:
Trying to make Henry smile, we sing a Southern fave, "Five Fat Sausages" (pronounced, SOW-SUH-JIZ)
Henry thinks, "How about I even things up a bit by projecting the total opposite facial expression of my Mother. She's pretty much the Cheesecake Factory. Consider me, the Anti-Cheese or the realist."But then, he gives in. How can you resist that much happy?

To you, dear reader, the onslaught of Eliza's face may appear to be the exact same picture. As for me, I love each expression. They represent a unique thought.

Child of God

Despite Henry's continued skepticism, I fell in love with this picture.
Brother & Sister = Best Friends
These may be my favorites.
Black and white or color? What fancies you? Truth be told, I don't expect you to care. Unless you're my Mom. Or His Mom.

Friday, September 25, 2009

At the apple farm

How much time has to pass before an outing becomes a tradition?Last fall, my Mom and I took the kidlets to a nearby Apple farm. At the time, I was a freshly injured gimp after suffering a minor incident at the local fair. I remember spending the day hobbling about as I carried a six month old Henry in the Bjorn. Totally useless, I looked on as my Mom chased an excited Eliza through a field of corn. Thinking of her, we made a return visit this morning with a handful of pre-school friends. Pretending it was October, I made the mistake of dressing my children in their warm, black, coordinating Halloween themed outfits. I have a history of noticing holiday themed clothing in the closet AFTER the holiday has passed.

With visions of my matching children seated in a field of pumpkins, I pulled them out of their closets prematurely. Unfortunately for them, I chose an 80 degree weather day to do it. I can't blame them for their lack of cooperation considering they were dealing with heat exhaustion.
Pretty sure, Henry was shirtless by the time we returned to our car. After a quick ride on the short bus, we made our way up the tractor for a ride around the farm. Next stop was to the apple orchard.After a sip of apple cider and a quick stop to see the animals, we melted as we picked out our pumpkin.Eliza, how hot was it today?
"THIS HOT!!"

Lunch at Costco followed. We brought along a special friend. Her name is Flat Sydney. More on her later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Watch as I skip the post about dating my husband

Allow me to momentarily degrade myself. It's the prelude that justifies my forthcoming admission of my super human strengths.

In comparison to my spouse, I have a lousy immune system. In comparison to the world, I lack coordination.
  • I was the child who came down with strep throat after every sleep over,
  • Was written a prescription for glasses at the age of three (thick pink rims and lenses that were as wide as a magnifying glass),
  • came down with bronchial Pneumonia before the age of ten,
  • has a face that attracts stray soccer, baseballs and basketballs whenever I spectate a sport
  • fell off a horse and landed herself a concussion in the third grade,
  • had her gall bladder removed six weeks after delivering Eliza
  • AND scored herself an awesome case of mono during her Senior year of high school. Andrew was two months away from leaving on his mission and at the time, we were definitely kissing buddies. Despite the frequent "contact", he stayed healthy and well (AND MORALLY CHASTE!). Sorry, I had to add that in for when my kids read this blog.
Andrew's super human strength is keeping himself immune from my ailments, his work ethic and ability to laugh at my insanity. Not to mention, he functions on less sleep.Having a Mom who has survived cancer and watching a younger brother endure 5 open heart surgeries, I know that I have LITTLE to complain about in the health department. It was the prelude to the boasting fest... remember?

I use to have a super human metabolism and super human bad eating habits. If you want to know why I have so much black in my closet, it's because i'm still mourning the loss. I'm in the process of coping . It's shaking off my super human lack of motivation to exercise that's proven to be the issue there.

Now for the positive. I have super human hair that grows wicked fast. My hair is thick, brown and versatile. My eye lashes are likewise plentiful. My sister recently reminded me that I had a hairy back as a child (THAT'S NO LONGER TRUE!!) and I remember as an elementary student LOATHING the hair on my arms. Before the days of desiring a chin, I wanted hairless arms.

Belonging to the same "dead cells that make things grow" family, are fingernails. My nails have always grown quickly and (for whatever reason) are totally strong. They're almost weapon like! This gift has blessed me with super human back scratching powers; a skill that most certainly belongs on my resume.

The inspiration behind this lamest of lame posts occurred after I accidentally snagged Henry's ear with my thumb nail. I was chasing him down after he swiped a crayon. His mischievous smile made his intent to autograph the wall obvious. One thing led to another, and my weapon like finger nail accidentally made contact. I can't find the mark, am certain he's recovered and at this moment, he is playing in the bucket of blocks with his sister.

Henry's super human strength is his laugh and ability to charm the world.
Eliza's super human strength is her ability to befriend just about anyone.

Andrew took the kids to the park while I grocery shopped last night. As I began quizzing Eliza about the park, she excitedly told me about her new friends. Andrew jumped into explain that two 10 year old girls wouldn't let her go down the slide. Eliza, recognizing these girls for what they were (an audience), sat down on the step below and began doing what she does best. Talking. It wasn't long before she won them over and became their third wheel for the remainder of the evening.

I just finished the final installment in the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. Has anyone else read them? The third book, Specials, could also have something to do with today's entry. I just have to say that I was a little miffed that Tally chose the boy she chose (not wanting to give anything away) in the second book. I'd probably receive more feedback if I was talking to a group of 8th graders.

What are your super human abilities?

Monday, September 21, 2009

With help from the Craft Fairy

Unfortunately, I'm not the craft savvy, steady handed, sew machine capable, project oriented type of person. My strength lies in my ability to recognize people who are, appreciate their stellar taste and proceed to copy. Is that totally shameful? The part of my brain that is itching to transform and create has been switched to "hibernation mode" due to a lack of funding. I'm sure all of our homes would look different if we had the decorating budge we all desired. Am I right?

Right Mom.

With that being said, no one was more surprised than myself when the Craft Fairy blessed me with the following idea after a few sessions with my trusty friend, Google. I was searching for a creative way to display my children's artwork. This idea inspired me. Later on, I imagined the tag line, "Eliza & Henry's Art Gallery" in vinyl. After messing with fonts and colors on this website, I knew how I wanted it to look.

With frustration, I realized that you can't order the Deka rod from Ikea online. I don't live by an Ikea. Weeks later, when the idea resurfaced, I had the sense to try Ebay. For less than $5.00 (shipping not included), my order was placed.It enhances a wall that was, prior to this, totally lonely

Taking advantage of a friend's kindness... I mean, by supporting my local bestie's vinyl business, I was able to design and purchase the wording that I desired (I paid her, relax!). There are companies online that offer this same service. Thanks again, Michelle. Her spacing suggestions were definitely right on. I'm still giddy about it.

(The sign above the window says:
Please Excuse the Mess,
the Children are just Making Memories)

Window treatments. Yes, those would be nice. That's next on my list.

I'll be honest. Andrew's projects are slightly more impressive. His garden, for example, was a smashing success this season. I can't claim an ounce of credit for its productivity. Take a look here for the "before"... and the after

Again, we have dreams of quaint fence, or even raising our gadren. Due to the lack of funds, he steadied it all with bamboo and string. It's held strong through each rain storm. Do you remember this bad boy?
It's been the conversation starter ALL summer long with our neighbors. If you're still confused, it collects our rain water. Andrew waters the garden that way. He's all cute and engineerish like that.The garden has been our backyard gathering place. It's become a classroom for Andrew to teach the children. They are eager to help water, pick tomatoes and dig. It's a shame I didn't take a picture when the production was at its peak. Next up: Adventures in Dating your Spouse

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Nursery Tale

"Brother Flegal?" The man places his hand on my husband's shoulder. Turning to face him, Andrew smiles his response.

"Are you free the second hour for a meeting with the stake young men presidency?" Of course he wouldn't deny the stake young men president's request. Fully committed to following through on anything church related, I knew what his reply would be. That's why I felt surprise as I witnessed his momentary hesitation. Andrew looked at Henry with concern.

"You see," he said as he gestured toward the child in his lap, "it's my son's first day of nursery."Suddenly, Andrew was beaming with pride. I start to giggle. Since receiving my calling as primary chorister, Andrew's been in charge of Henry for the remaining two hours of Church. Each week, he'd magically rock Henry to sleep in the halls during the second hour in hopes that he'd be a happier boy as he taught the third hour.

Perhaps I should be more sensitive to the fact that this milestone was affecting him more than me. Weird, but it might be true. Having missed the class on keeping your train of thought to yourself, Andrew began sputtering his inner dialogue aloud.

"It was my plan to sit with him for the first half of our nursery. If he was doing well, I'd sneak away to teach my class." Rubbing his chin, he paused for a moment. "But if my absence upset him, I'd take him with me." He looks at me with resolve in his eyes.

"We'll just start him in nursery next week." Before the man could talk Andrew out of that idea, , I interjected.

"Andrew. He'll be fine. I can take him." I see the protest forming on his lips. "If there's a problem, I'll have them bring him to you or me."

"They won't know where I am." Did I detect a hint of panic?

"Find out and then quickly let them know." I'm not annoyed, I'm amused.

"You're just going to drop him off? And leave him there?" Man, I almost felt guilty. However, those feelings were overshadowed by the awe that I felt that he and I had completely reserved roles. He's more maternal than I thought! And with feigned confidence, I swooped up Henry, reached out for Eliza's hand and escorted my two children to nursery.

Feeling somewhat insecure, I opt to take Henry to opening exercises with me. After we did our conduct the music thing, I took him to nursery. After one look at the pile of toys, he was off. I slipped out easily. The reports that followed at the end of the day were positive.

"He didn't cry once." and "He didn't have a single problem with anyone." The nursery leaders seemed surprised and pleased. Insert huge *sigh of relief* It probably doesn't hurt to have his big sister in there either. I can't believe she'll be a sunbeam in January. Great job Henry! We're so proud of you!

*** I posted twice this morning. Check out the talents of Savannah Tate below **

Savannah Tate Photography - Family 2009

(pssst: Mom, click to enlarge)

Flegal family
August 2009

Savannah sent us our first 'teaser' (I think that's the proper lingo!) this morning. Without question, I love it.

She was magic in keeping Eliza enthralled with the process. Henry did great too. I'm glad we had the sense of mind to take advantage of her talent while we were in Utah last month. As a refresher, she was the photographer behind Henry's 4 week old photo shoot. It will take two seconds for your kids to fall in love with her. Her photos speak for her talent. Check our her website for more information. More to come.

Monday, September 14, 2009

because this only happens twice a year

Summer trip to Utah: The Salt Lake edition

The majority of what was lost on my camera card documented the days spent in Salt Lake. Lucky for you, dear reader, what I lost in imagery I can compensate with words. Just kidding. However, that portion of our vacation does indeed deserve to be preserved.

Our arrival to Salt Lake:
  • My Mom picked us up from the airport.
  • I love, love, love the anticipation I feel as I make that final stretch from the escalator to the baggage claim. With excitement, I search for her face in the crowd.
  • The drive home to her house felt so familiar and welcoming; the mountains, the dry air, the smell of her car, the road construction...
  • I'm glad somethings (Utah's road delays and construction) will never change!!
  • Downtime was spent chatting with my brother Matt, Dad & Mom.
  • He picked up where he left off in bonding with "Hank."
  • We stayed up late at night watching movies, discussing the dating scene and, Andrew's personal favorite, eating otter pops.
I met my cute nephew, Tyler:
  • I'm 1 for 2 in meeting the newest additions to our family.
  • Tyler Jeffery joined siblings Kate, Brynn and Scott this past June.

(Kaitlyn)
(Brynn)(Scott & Eliza)
  • Pretty sure Tyler prefers me over his Dad (sorry, Mark. It's true.)
  • We bonded. I miss him. I miss them all.
  • Good thing my niece Sara (whom I've yet to meet) is a tiny peanut of a baby. I'm looking forward to the bonding with next time.
  • The Mays (junior) family met us at my Mom's. The night before driving to Lake Powell, my mission to win the hearts of their children was placed into action. Considering they currently live with a large portion of their other Aunts and Uncles (as they wait out the construction of their new home), I proceeded to dose out all of my silly Southern songs (accent included) in an attempt to win their hearts.
The Dinner up the Canyon
  • Due to an impending storm, we had a slight change in venue.
  • We opted to skip the storm and eat dinner at my parent's house
  • Mike showed Henry the lights of his cop truck.
  • Eliza was FINALLY reunited with her bestie: cousin Emee. After months of singing about her at bed time they were back together again.
  • To my great surprise, she smothered me with a monster sized hug when we saw eachother. I fell over.
  • For those of you who don't know: I have one sister in Colorado and three brothers in Utah. I'm number four in the family.
Zoo trip bound
  • We found ourselves at the Hogle zoo on Saturday.
  • The weather = perfecto!!
  • Eliza's tantrum over not getting a 2nd merry go round = embarrassing lame sauce.
  • I was happy that my Dad came with us. Here's the spot where I WOULD HAVE placed the photo of Eliza and my Dad seated together on a bench. It made me melt a little. It's a shame I suffer from being a moron.
Time with Mom(!)
  • Saturday afternoon, my Mom and I jetted off to do some shopping for some much needed, "unmentionables" for me.
  • Mexican food followed
  • Andrew took the kids for a 2nd trip over to Grandma Flegal's. I later met them at her house.
  • Feeling bad when I saw the enormous amount of food preparation she'd exercised on our behalf, I ate dinner. Again.
  • I love her potato salad.
Sunday
  • I mentioned in a previous post that we took Eliza & Henry to temple square.
  • The experience was simple but special. She'll remember it.
  • Thinking we utilized our time wisely, we attended church with my Mom.
  • My in-laws, who serve in an old folk's care center each Sunday, spent their Fast and testimony meeting with the Prophet.
  • No joke.
  • My father-in-law was conducting. How often are you required to bear your testimony in front of the Prophet? I'm sure he did a great job!!
  • President Monson comes by on occasion to visit his "Friends." This was the third time he's stopped by since they've had their calling. What an amazing man.
  • We totally had considered going to Church with them that day!!!
  • No regrets. I promise.
Sunday night...
  • Spoiled rotten to have both sets of Grandparents over to visit before our early morning departure.
  • Uncle Brent & Aunt Katie came too!!
  • It was another night of good food, great conversation and cousins playing in the backyard.
  • I packed my kids airplane bag and sorted through laundry on the back lawn.
It was the type of night I've craved all summer.

Both flights went without a mishap. Overall, they were, uneventful. It's the type of traveling I prefer.

Dear Utah,
Thank you for treating us so well.
Take care of my family.
See you soon.
Love,
Ali