Friday, October 30, 2009

makes the heart grow fonder. usually.

The incessant pleas for "someping" have ceased for the day. In the dimly lit, dragon fly themed bedroom, you smile at your husband. He leans down to kiss his sleeping child once more before the two of you quietly begin your exit from her room. Suddenly her eyes pop open. She smiles widely and mutters something incoherent before rolling over and closing her eyes.

In unison, your hands fly to your mouth as you struggle to stifle an upwelling batch of "not here, not now" giggles. You know that if your eyes meet his, you will totally lose it so you intentionally avoid his gaze. After softly closing the door, you find his hand, give it a squeeze and whisper,

"Isn't she the best?" And before you know it, you're headed downstairs to look at the pictures you took of them earlier that day.

Fawning over our children is easily done once their in bed for the night. Frequently, we'll plant ourselves in front of the laptop and view recent video or scroll through images of our two children; both of whom, we'd felt eager to see off to bed less than an hour before. It's as if you're saying,

"Hurry up and go to bed so we can go downstairs and miss you."

Between t.v. commercials (keeping.it.real.) I search my brain for Eliza's one-liners, share the latest entries into Henry's spoken vocabulary and express my day's greatest, "You've got to be kidding me" moments. It's not even noon yet and I have a solid list already.
  • 10 minutes after dressing in a pair of khaki pants, Henry, who had recently dumped a cup of water onto the lower half of his jammies sits himself in my lap. Like a sponge, I involuntarily soaked in all of that refreshing goodness.
  • Eliza cut a chunk of her hair off this morning with a pair of child friendly scissors. I bagged it for Andrew's viewing pleasure.
  • Earlier this morning, I pulled a popcorn kernel out of Henry's footie. I'm impressed that it traveled down his form fitting sleeper where it finally made it's way to the bottom of his foot.
Everyday there are moments of crazy. I'm sure that I'm not the only Mom who feels that their childrens combined laughter seems to harmonize; while their whines and whimpers sound totally off-pitch. I find myself flushing my sanity down the toilet when the bathroom, aka a mother's last refuge, is invaded by their uninvited presence. Despite the daily toddler storm, it's amazing that following a quiet (long) moment of pause that I find myself longing to touch their cheek, hear them laugh and inhale their definable scent (...ali said what?).

It's true. I find happiness in the way Henry smells after retrieving him from his crib. Kissing the top of his head, my lips linger as I draw in his scent a second time. Andrew thinks it's total crazy sauce and kind of gross that I will casually smell his and Eliza's blankets when gathering them at bed time.

As a child, I'd cry when my Mom washed my own blanket. It erased that intangible piece of comfort. But like my kids blankets, the' smell that is them' quickly reproduces itself after a recent washing. I have this video to thank for that recent conversation: video

Despite the adorable nature of these videos, nothing warrant a sense of longing to see ones child in the dead of night when your body is DEMANDING sleep. However, true distress of dear child serves as motivation and can help add an increase of patience. But still... all of that lovey dovey sentiment is out the window (for me anyway) once I've said "goodnight' to the world.

Last night, as we waited for sleep to come, Andrew and I hear a big "thud" come from Eliza's room. The loud noise was followed by a series of confused whimpers.

"Eliza just rolled off her bed." I knew he was right as I climbed out of bed. Mustering up a tone of sensitivity, I helped her back into bed. I left her room, touched by her vulnerability.

"She's so sweet." I murmured to Andrew as I snuggled back into bed. Later, after an hour and a half of sleep, I wake to hear her crying. This is odd coming from a child who consistently sleeps through the night. I try to copy my previous attitude as I round the corner to her room.

"Mom!" she squeals between her distressed sobs.

"What is it, honey?" is my concerned reply. "Did you have a bad dream?" Holding her sippy cup into the air, she exclaims,

"My ice is all gone!!"

"Huh?"

"I want an icy cold! Mom. I need ice in here." She shakes the cup. "NOW!" After refusing her request, I kindly telling her to "deal with it" as I return to bed. As I climb in, I hear Andrew mutter a,

"was-suh-matter..."

"She's a diva. That's what's the matter." Wrapping up this insanely long post, here's my diva performing the holiday hit, 'Five little pumpkins'
video

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Craft" a word I know little about. Fun ideas for your kids

*Credit for the craft ideas goes to activityvillage.co.uk

Tomorrow, I'm hosting Eliza's Halloween preschool party! During our craft time, the kids will be making themselves one of these:

**Materials Needed**
  • wooden spoon
  • bright paint (I chose green and purple)
  • googly eye
  • foam for the legs, mouth & horns
  • pipe cleaner
  • gem or cheap imitation of a gem (that's what i went with) for a nose
  • glue

Yes Mom, It's true. I made that. If you could see my face, you'd be able to tell that I'm beaming over my simple creation. It's a fair representation of my creative ability. I'm basically stationed at a preschool aged level and don't feel embarrassed to admit it :) Anyway, I assembled that little guy last night in preparation for Thursday's festivities.

I've set the "mood" for the party with the help of her preschool class.

On Monday, the children made ghost pictures by dipping their hands in white paint. With their fingers closed, they pressed them down onto black construction paper. Once they were dry, they created the faces. With their instruction, we also decorated pumpkin and ghost balloons. Some kids were more involved in that process than others.

I know what you're thinking...

It's kind of weird coming across a craft idea or two while perusing this blog. I blame it on my kids. I have this strange desire to make holidays special and memorable. ;) Speaking of memorable, on Monday we painted our pumpkins. Please note the expression on Andrew's face as I relay the following exchange.

"Eliza, what's your pumpkin's name?" In an enthusiastic, yet matter of fact, tone she replied:

"JESUS CHRIST!" Well, what do you know? She may have been paying attention to our scripture story after all.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cheerful and Nauseating Sentiment

Last night I received a call from a concerned mother-in-law.

"Why aren't you blogging? Is everything alright?!...Six days between blogs isn't like you. I'm going through withdrawals."

Her call made me smile! I assured her that everything was well. In fact, I've kind of been riding a batch of happy hormones. I attribute my fortunate piece of contentment to the simple routines of life, the beautiful weather and health of my family.

Our weekend was basic. Andrew took the kids to the park while I attended a stake meeting on Saturday morning. Eliza observed children flying kites and informed her Daddy that she wanted one too.
After altering an unused garbage bag, he acquired a pair of sticks to create the kite. A few tweaks here and a little swivel action there; he had it secured to Eliza's purple fishing pole. I came home to this charming site.

And what do you know? It worked! By the way, I'm not a fan of her saying, "Oh my gosh!" either.
video

My good mood continued as I set down the pot of of pansies I'd just received. Ruining my stellar record of "all things loser" - I won them at a raffle following my church meeting. Yes!

Despite the chaos associated with leading the music in a primary program practice, the contentment continued on Sunday. After a late night plea from the ward choir director, I went to practice. It felt SO good to be singing in a choir again. I love to sing.

Good food likewise makes me happy. Sunday night, I made a chicken marinade that reminded me of home. As I cooked, I listened to the kid's laugh through the screened door off the playroom.


video

A weekend where the activities didn't involve the use of our debit card deeply cheered my spouse. I have him to thank for all of Eliza and Henry's squeals of joy.
Speaking of saving money, due to the content state of our local weather, I haven't had to pay much attention to our thermostat. The reduction that I anticipate in next months heating and electric bill makes me a little giddy.

Returning to how I love food (and family!) plans are in the process of being made for Thanksgiving. It looks like this year, our turkey weekend will be spent in the company of friends and family (*huge smile*).

My mother-in-law kindly listened as I gushed over the small details of our life that have left me glowing with gratitude.

"I mean, really. What's better than a smooth bed time routine?"

That's when the mental light bulb turned on. Perhaps, the real reason behind my happiness stems from the fact that we've all recently recovered from the 24 hour, "I want to shoot my foot off to distract me from my extreme discomfort" stomach virus. You know the one I'm talking about, right? It's the ugly, violent, purge you of EVERYTHING in a matter of hours, bug.

My supportive husband took a half day off of work to come care for the kids so that me and my depleted body could stare at a white wall while laying in bed. Anyway, the sickness was short lived, I'm two pounds lighter and enjoying a new week. Regardless of the reasons "why," the effort it takes to be happy needs to continue. It's a choice, as my wise husband frequently reminds me. And with that being said, here's to choosing to have a great week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Proven to be a Flegal

Sunday morning, I found myself staring at the clock as I tried to calculate the wait; my stomach was twisting in pain.

Oh yes, I'm going there.

The sudden intensity of my menstrual cramps caught me off guard. Never in my life had they forced me off my feet. When they hit, I'd been in the middle of my Sunday morning routine and to my satisfaction, we were ahead of schedule. The kids had been fed, were dressed in their Sunday best and the diaper bag was packed.

My make-up less face filled with tears as I lay in the one position that brought a sense of relief. I was impatient as waited for the Ibuprofen to kick in. I felt frustrated that I'd have to miss Church for a lame-sauce reason like this. The excuse was something a girl would use in high school in an attempt to avoid a biology test. Just then, Andrew walked in. He was more confused than sympathetic as he asked,

"What's the matter?"

"My uterine lining is shedding. It hurts. So Much." I moaned. Judging by the expression on his face, that may have been the most unattractive thing to have ever come out of my mouth. Eliza trotted in behind him. Seeing my distress upset her instantly.

"Mommy, I will sing you a song." She announced as she climbed into bed with me. I painted a happy expression on my face as she began the serenade. It wouldn't be long until the meds kicked in. And if they didn't? I wondered.

"Eliza, will you say a prayer for Mommy?" I asked.

She agreed. It was the first time that she insisted on saying it by herself. Andrew and I sat in awe as we listened to her deliver her first prayer. And for the most part, it made sense. She expressed her love for Jesus, blessed the food that wasn't there and also asked for me to feel better. I was touched. Whether it was her faith, the drugs, or a combination of both I was soon back on my feet; the discomfort a distant memory.

Since then, Eliza has continued to volunteer her pleas for divine help on behalf of our family. Our sweet daughter, whom resembles me in so many ways (my flare for drama, ability to attract teasers, hyper sensitive, etc) said this:

"Dear Heavenly Father,
...
...
Please get me back to Lake Powell..."

And with that, we found another piece of Flegal in that dear child of ours.

*** I just read this entry aloud to Andrew. He is encouraging me to remove both the "m word" and the "u word" from the text. Based on his suggestion, we both are left to wonder: How many fellas frequent this blog?

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Culprit

In regards to yesterday's post, the culprit of the gag inducing smell did not involve maggots. That's the good news. Shamefully, Andrew popped his head through the glass door while I was cooking dinner. He informed me that the source had been discovered and that he'd taken care of it.

"What was it?" I asked as I stood, sauteing mushrooms.

No response. I repeat my question as he intentionally slides the door closed. A while later, he reappears.

"I don't want to say. It's kind of my fault?" Not sure what reaction he was fearing because as far as I was concerned, I didn't really care anymore now that moldy mystery had been solved.

"Chicken livers." He finally stated, looking embarrassed. "It was really bad." Fishing bait! That had been my first suspicion considering he'd been at the lake early Friday morning. The smell is gone, no permanent damage was done and the chicken liver ban has been put into effect ;)

Saturday morning, I loaded my kids (who were still in their pajamas) into the stroller for an early morning walk around the neighborhood. It was our communities garage sale day and on the toy front, we scored!

The Noah's Ark play sete is a dated version. However, it was new in the sense that it had never been opened/used. Not to mention, you can't beat a $4.oo price tag.

Our cheap, pink stroller (featured in the photo above) is the toy that Eliza and Henry fight over the most; which is why were were excited to find the grocery cart. Anything with wheels is a hit at our house. Eliza was likewise excited to adopt Zack & Wheesy and Ord from the Dragon tales family. The rocking Giraffe cost three dollars... all of which was paid for in change. That was kind of embarrassing.

As Henry rocks on, he sings "Ee-I--Ee--I--Oh!!!" over and over. It was unfortunate that Andrew was away that morning on a Scouting camp out because these would have been ideal gifts to have stashed away until Christmas.


(I had to include a photo of Eliza's artwork.
We were quite impressed with her drawing of a pig.)

Saturday afternoon I went to a craft fair at our library to help Michelle pass the time at her booth. Her stuff is ridiculously cute and I'm trying to encourage her to set up her own Etsy store. That cute baby is her third little boy. His name is Nate and I love him to pieces.

Andrew has some exciting news. He's increased his reading repertoire from books like this: To big kid books like this:After my incessant ranting and raving over my latest reading adventure, I finally convinced him to start the book. Two days later, he had finished it. He has informed me that when the sequel is ready for me to pick up at the library, he gets to read it first. My response to that...

Not.A.Chance.

Who else has read Suzanne Collins, Hunger Games? If I were to surmise what it's about, it would sound lame or completely barbaric and ugly (which... it kind of is?)... so I encourage you to google it if you want more info and THEN read it. Is anyone out there a die hard garage saler? If so, what are your tips? Have a great week!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Flashbacks

"It's maggots" I say confidently. "Whatever has died in our garage has evolved into an infestation of maggots."

It's a shame Andrew and I can't locate the origin of the stench.

The sense of smell has the power to call back memories. As a youth, I remember shopping for a perfume and having to disregard certain favorites as I'd already identified them with a friend of mine. To this day, when I smell the perfume, cool water, I think of my friend Christi. Its scent calls back her smiling face, sky themed painted bedroom and trademark laugh.

I bought a specific type of hairspray when I moved to South Carolina. It's the same brand my Mom has on her bathroom shelf. Whenever I spray it, I feel connected to her. Kind of weird, but that's what long distances do to you.

Not all scents serve up favorable memories. It's been 7 years since I've smelt maggots. Dear reader, I hope that you haven't the slightest of idea what they smell like. I'm struggling to find an adjective that justifies the insane odor that I've come to associate with these foulest of creatures.

Flashback June 2002

A few weeks after Andrew had left on his mission, a nasty individual(s) egged the inside of my car while I was at work. They kindly smashed eggs underneath the driver's floor mat. The unintelligent "nasty" neglected to take into consideration my employer's parking lot security camera which is why I can say that this act of cruelty was not random. It was the wad of chewed gum that had been strategically placed on the underside of my door handle that tipped me off. I was clueless about the egg for days. Finally, due to a stench powerful enough to wake the dead, the situation demanded that I deal with it.

It was a Saturday morning when I felt the inkling to check the floor mat. To my horror and complete disdain I saw the remaining egg shells accompanied by a myriad of fat, slimy maggots. I nearly passed out. My heroic brother Mike stepped in to clean it out for me. Meanwhile, I sobbed and vomited in my street.

It was the return of this ugly remembrance that has helped me realize that our garage is suffering in a major way. Andrew's concerned there's a dead rat peacefully rotting away somewhere. I haven't the slightest idea of the cause but am thinking the effect involves maggots. So gross. Our home teachers are headed to our house this afternoon. Would you have the audacity to ask them to help you?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

because it feels good to write

"I miss my family so much."

From the bottom of the stairs, I can hear Eliza crying. Tears often accompany bed time, especially if she should have been in bed an hour earlier. She's conversing with someone. Lately, an imaginary group of Care Bears have been her close associates. Assuming she's telling one of them of the tragedy that was her Mother abandoning her that night to go grocery shopping (gasp!), I make my way to her room.

Opening her door, I discover that my assumption was wrong. She's clutching a photo of my parents. Tears, not the type that stem from tantrums, were streaming down her face. They were crocodile sized. And I'm confident that the sight of them would've caused the grumpiest of misers heart to sink.

"You miss your Grandparents?"

"And my cousins, too!" She wipes her eyes and reaches her arms toward me. "I need someone to make me feel better." As I held her, I cheerfully outlined our plans for the following morning; which ought to have depressed her considering a trip to Dr. Martial Art/Lawyer/Pediatrician's office was on the agenda.

When preschool started, I made the choice to cut out her daily nap. Knowing she'd sleep in until 8:00 or 9:00, I didn't have a problem with letting her stay up. She consistently received 12 hours. Now that we have morning obligations, it's strange having both kids in bed by 7:00 or 7:30. I think Andrew kind of misses his late night popcorn buddy. Eliza is fair to allow for "quiet time" in the afternoon. It's not the same as having her asleep in her bed, but I'll take it. Not sure if it's related, but since the disappearance of her nap, there have been nights when she's woken up crying.

Sometimes there's a monster in her room. Other times, (like Monday night) she cried because she really wants to grow a carrot in the garden. This book is currently on her night stand.

Waking up 5 minutes after my alarm was to have gone off, I quickly jump in the shower. Eliza wakes up enthused about our morning adventure. Mentally, she's totally prepared for the doctor to give her a "poke" - she almost seems excited. Odd.

Balancing Henry's breakfast with the styling of Eliza's hair, I take note that I probably should make time for toast. Placing my bread on the hard-to-see wet counter, I cringe. Soggy toast = bleh. When retrieving Eliza's breakfast bowl that morning, I noted an excess of water. Of course, my dish towels are upstairs in the dryer, waiting to be folded. Thinking she won't care once the milk is in there, I give the bowl a quick shake and forget about it.

Until, I placed my toast in the spot. Gross. Whatever. Let's be on time. We're 5 minutes early. Yes. Happiness.

"Oh, hey!" Says the receptionist whose complexion is perfection. "Nurse Kathy was looking for y'all at 8:20."

"That can't be right. Our appointment was for 8:50. I promise. I wrote it down."

"Well, why don't you take a seat. You might have to wait a while for them to squeeze you back in." I proceed to enter the COMPLETELY EMPTY waiting room. Two minutes later, my kids are taken back. Eliza is thrilled to be included in the check-up. As the nurse asks questions to gauge where Eliza is developmentally, I resist the urge to boast.

"Does she know at least one color?" ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

"Yes."

"Can she draw a circle?" The girl doodles the alphabet in her spare time. And writes her name, my name and Henry's. Not kidding. I can boast here. This is my space. Again, I respond,

"Yes Ma'm."

"Can she sing a song?" Eliza takes this as a request and delves into a preschool favorite, Five Little Pumpkins. After sitting through the entire song, Nurse Kathy claps for her. As the nurse returns to finish up her notes, Eliza, again on her own accord, begins singing, I Am a Child of God. Nurse Kathy, who is still focused on her paper work, gets misty eyed. In her defense, perhaps it was just allergies. As for me, I had goose pimples.

Eliza 3.5 year
32 lbs - 5o%
38 inches - 50 %

Henry 18 month
21 lbs - 5 % (for him, that's normal)
31.75 inches - 25%

My puppy has grown taller. Grateful my kids are deemed healthy and on track, we leave. What could have been perceived to be an awkward morning, I reflect on the positive. While sharing the updated stats with my Mom on the phone, I was reminded of the hellish morning my brother endured yesterday.

My brother is a police officer. Constantly astounded by his stories, I frequently marvel at his bravery. I wonder how he copes with the ugliness that he confronts on a daily basis. Not having permission to share the latest episode from his shocking and often times heart wrenching cop file, I will conclude with minimal detail.

After finishing up his night shift, he arrived home ready to crash. A call came in from dispatch. It was a neighbor. He was literally steps away from the emergency, which unfortunately infoved friends. He had to strike that balance between offering comfort to an erratic neighbor while carrying out the protocol that his profession demands. As the horrific scene unfolded, he maintained composure and became that pillar of strength that she needed in her time of crisis.

His job is horrible. His job is hard. His job is humbling.

He is heroic. These stories serve as a solemn reminder that I don't need to sweat the small stuff. I feel guilty when it takes a story like his to put things into perspective. Who cares about a soggy piece of toast or a late arrival at the Doctor's office (However, I still maintain that I was told 8:50).

Thanks for bearing with today's rant. My fingers were restless, my mind was shouting for the release.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Raising A Gentelman

Don't let her choice of apparel fool you.
She was rather insistent that we dress her in this, despite the warm weather. Andrew and I were content in our short sleeve t-shirts. It's nice to know her snow clothes from last season still fit (yes she was wearing her snow pants underneath).

Do you remember when Andrew discovered this? What's the saying? One man's junk is Andrew's treasure?
Saying it is one of the best things he's done for the kids, he brought the abandoned vehicle back to life.

Eliza spent a fair amount of time figuring out how to reverse herself out of awkward situations such as: engaging the trees in hand to limb combat.

Our yard has proven to be an ideal location for their expeditions. Henry happily plays the part of "shotgun" rider... unless, Talon's around. In keeping with my desire to resurrect chivalry, today's lesson from Miss Manner's focuses on dating. Assuming he's interested in taking her out in 13 years, we went over some guidelines.

1. Gentlemen, be on time when picking up your lady friend. Or else.It makes them mad.

2. Look (and smell!!) cute! (CHECK!)3. Open and close doors for her.3. Make sure she's home before her 6:30 pm curfew.
What lessons or rules ought we be teaching our young'ens to prepare them to be polite, morally inclined, respectful people? (Yes, I'm still thinking about conference. Wasn't it awesome?) What's general conference you ask? Here's a news write up!

Who else is terrified that their adorable toddler will one day be a teenager?! GAH!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Reunited. At Last.

Despite my best effort to be punctual, I regularly neglect the simple chore of changing my kitchen calendar. A week after the fact, Andrew kindly reminds me that we're living in a new month. However, yesterday proved to be the exception. I must really like October. I'm looking forward to pumpkin spice muffins, Halloween costumes, Autumn leaves, eating my kid's Halloween candy, Jim & Pam's wedding on the Office, etc.

My happy Autumn thoughts were halted as I glanced up at our new month's picture. What the snowman? Candy canes? Well, that's somewhat annoying. Let's just say Andrew can't blame me if I'm found humming a Christmas carol (or two) a few months early. When you're looking at Frosty all day, it does things to you.

In other news, Eliza has a happy announcement.

("Hey y'all. My boyfriend's back!")


Eliza and Talon are what I like to call, star-crossed playmates. This is their sad and sometimes lonely tale.

It began last Spring. They were kept apart by a series of out of state family visits. One week, we'd be lucky enough to host a family member. Following which, the Blasers were welcoming someone from theirs. We kept up this pattern for weeks. Seriously. Summer arrived and with it came illness. Talon was out of commission for awhile and just as he became well enough to play, we'd come down with something. Four days after returning home from our marathon vacation, Michelle and co. left for a two week trip to Utah. Like I said, star crossed.

All relationships face oppostion; distance, three year old emotionally infused tantrums, naughty spells, etc. Still, they've worked through their sharing issues, adjustments to Pre-school and so forth. It's just good to see them together again.Fearing another long separation, Eliza pauses a moment, takes a deep breath and says (click on image to read),
Welcome back, Blasers. We're looking forward to hanging out with you and Jimmy's stash of swiss chocolate as soon as possible.