Sunday, February 21, 2010

Would You Say I'm Clingy?

Going to a wedding reception on your own on a Friday night isn't a terrible thing. Do you want to know what is a terrible thing? Not owning a slip. Stopping at my nearest Ride Aid (for a last minute wedding card), I soon realize that I am the poster child for static cling.

"This will not do." I think to myself as I pull and mess with the dress that will not stay put. Perhaps I feel clever? Or, perhaps it's simply desperation? Whatever the cause, I soon found myself on the aisle of all things laundry. Spotting a box of dryer sheets, my solution is made clear.
Thelma, the cashier, can't help but rave over how wonderful I smell. She asks what perfume I am wearing as I prepare to pay. Laughing, I explain I'm not the fragrant source. After bidding one another a kind farewell, I head back to my car where I proceed to rub one of those babies all over my legs in an attempt to tame the static. Ain't I classy?

Saturday morning the kids and I went to Eliza's first primary activity where she helped make hygiene packets for Haiti. It makes my heart happy to see her grown up enough to participate with all of the "big kids." Meanwhile, Andrew spent most of his day on a temple trip with the youth. Ten minutes after arriving home, he whisked the kids away to go enjoy the sunshine at the park. I love that his downtime is spent with his kids. He couldn't resist taking a few pictures when they got home.Meanwhile, I prepared the house for a babysitter so that we could go to an adult Stake dance. I must be more stir crazy than I imagined because I let loose in a total freeing and somewhat embarrassing way. This morning Andrew and I shared the following exchange:

"Am I going to be embarrassed to see anyone at Church today?" I ask.

"No, it's not like you were drunk." He replies.

"I know, but I don't have to be drunk to act intoxicated."

"True. Very true."

I'm glad we went; glad for our awesome babysitter and glad for the chance to have laughed and visited with friends from the ward.

Friday, February 19, 2010

what i love

Strike a pose, little lady. Eliza's latest past times include her take on modern dancing and the interpretation of dreams.



She wakes up each morning ready to discuss her previous night's dream. This is followed by a round of questions regarding my personal adventures to dreamland. Recently she relayed the following.

"Mom"

"Yes, Eliza?"

"Last night, in my dream," She pauses. A rush of giggles accompany her words. "Mary made me a funny breakfast." She keeps laughing as I respond.

"That's silly. But wait?" I ask. "Who is Mary?" Quickly composing herself, she shoots me an expression that reads: DUH! She then says,

"You know, the one with the little lamb?"

She is pure entertainment; pure joy.

Next fall, she'll begin a 4k preschool program (state funded) at our Elementary school. How's that for crazy? Yesterday, I held the registration form/information and felt an overwhelming sense of change. Although she'll only be gone for three hours, it marks the beginning of her professional (for lack of a better word) school career.

As I swallow the lump in my throat, I do my best to contact the doctor's office, request her immunization record/certificate and mentally remind myself where all of her other official documents lay in wait. I feel like I can check a few things off of my "I'm a Mom" list, but 'registering your child for school' seems to be written in a foreign language in the Ali Flegal book of Mom. Am I old enough to be doing this? Well, sure. Am I mature enough to handle this? That's debatable. Am I over reacting? Probably.

At least this dear one will be around to keep me company.

He's irresistible, I tell you. Not to mention, he's a few weeks away from turning two!

Sadly, Andrew has been absent from our nightly bedtime routine for the past three nights (car maintenance, young men's activity, missionary splits). Whether he's there or not, its important to him to be the last to look in on those adorable slumbering lumps before we turn in for the night. Kindly, he lets me tag along.

On occasion, Henry begins sleep talking when we come into evaluate his blanket situation. Last night, he sat up and began spluttering a load of adorable nonsense. Feeling the absence of those bedtime partings, Andrew immediately scoops him up. Before I know it, I'm at Andrew's shoulder, kissing this little boy's sweet head - who, by the way - is now quiet and sleeping. It was a solid reminder of how awesome parenthood is.

And trust me, I have my fair share of, "You got to be me kidding me, this inconvenient tantrum can't seriously be happening right now, ready to pull out my hair, eating the words of praise I delivered seconds earlier" type of moments ALL.THE.TIME

"Ya right, Mom!"

I love them. Words of affirmation is my love language (I know. That shocks you.) Which is why posts like this are inevitable and frequent.

p.s. My days of hauling Henry's little bum up the huge inflatable slide at Monkey Joes are at an end. This little monkey learned to do it all by himself... simple and mundane update, but I was sure proud of him.

*** COMPLETELY UNRELATED *** Who watched Survivor last night? How awesome were Colby and Tom for standing up for Stephanie? That is all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Best Wishes


A Mother to be,

patiently waits


for the arrival of her child

She is filled with excitement.

Thanks for spending a few days with us. My family will miss you (especially me). I hope that sweet baby arrives soon, healthy and well. You're in our thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Southern Welcome

How lucky am I?

The day my Mom left, a dear friend from my youth arrived at our house. Oh, how ardently I have hoped and waited to play hostess to a friend from the West. It was a tender mercy to have her company to focus on after bidding my Mom a tearful farewell only hours earlier.

Allow me to introduce you to Angela.
Her reason for being here is so special as she is eagerly awaiting the arrival of her first child via the blessing and miracle of adoption. Witnessing her excitement, preparation and anticipation from the "sidelines" has been a privilege.

Being the pair of dramatic eighth graders that we once were, I have memories of us walking in the rain in the neighborhood of a friend to a large and solitary pine tree. There, we'd take shelter from the weather, sit ourselves on a batch of pine needles and talk about the injustices and hardships of our lives until we were both crying. Our puffy eyes and tear stained cheeks served as evidence to the rest of our friends of our ability to bond - oh how these memories makes me laugh!

Life happened. Time passed. As seniors in high school, we both found ourselves dating our future husbands. College took us separate directions but happily the blogging world put us back in touch and now she's here and its awesome.

Chatting with her all day is a source of total enjoyment for me. She's been a champ to endure the chaos of my children, accompany us on our weekly outings, etc. At the moment, we're laughing at Eliza who has just informed us that she'd like to be known as Arlene (what.the.random.) and that her Mr. Potato Head's name is Moe.

We were able to sneak away to a movie last night and hopefully there is a shopping trip looming in our near future. But I think the real highlight was the shocking site of seeing a trucker peeing on the side of the road, just as we exited the free-way. The range was close and absolutely disturbing. Welcome to the South.

She'll be a great Mom! There's no doubt about it. When I was pregnant with Henry, I asked for opinions on the type of double stroller I should buy... and what do you know!! The person who had the best, most detailed response was Angela. I was blown away by that. Let me tell you, this lady is all about preparation. Her desire to make others happy and give of herself is innate.

ItalicHenry has formed an attachment to 'La La' (as he calls her).

For the sake of their amazing birth mother and the excited parents to be, I hope her sweet baby safely arrives soon! In the meantime, I'm soaking up the interaction and the time we have to catch up. Chances like this don't crop up that often.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mush, Mush!

Fill in the blank.

Andrew is...A) training for a triathlon
B) coping with stress
C) a really, really fun Dad

My Mom, who was looking for an escape from the snow, woke up to a wonderland of beautiful white on Saturday morning. As for my dear spouse, the snow put him in an inspirational mood.
After tinkering for thirty minutes, he created a homemade toboggan. The kids were thrilled. Henry would have been content if it had never left the living room. Eliza, on the other hand, was itching to try it out.

The outdoor enthusiast. Like father, like daughter.

Before the coats were zipped and the boots were buckled, there was an important item of business to attend too...
Please note the flames on the right hand side of the image. Once they were satisfied with their job, we hit the front yard for the Flegal mushing tour. After the third run, I decided to take some footage and of course, they crashed.


"Let me tell you, crashing was not awesome."

So, we switched gears.
After our morning in the snow, I took another shopping trip (to Ross) with my Mom. That night we played games and watched a movie, courtesy of redbox.
My Mom left Sunday afternoon and you'd think that after being away from Utah for 18+ months, my capability to stifle back emotion would be better intact than it was. I securely adjusted my sunglasses before crumbling into a ball of emotional chaos.

Coming home, I made my way to the room where she'd stayed, inhaled the remaining scent of her perfume and all of the other cliche and over the top cheesy things sentimental shmucks like me do when they're missing a cherished loved one. I found myself on my knees, praying and thanking the Lord for blessing me with such a wonderful Mother.
A rosy cheeked Valentine

The day, overall, was incredibly special. I spent sometime journaling the 'old fashioned' way (pen and paper). Those lines welcomed my indulgence of all things schmooze and provided me a place to fold up and store the two cards I found hiding on my pillow and on my night stand.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Sunshine In Our February

Due to a past traumatic experience, it's been awhile since I've braved a children's museum. Having the support of my Mom, we ventured out to a nearby museum this morning. I was super impressed and delighted by each of the exhibits but quickly learned that it was essential to have my Mom with us as my children's attention was captured by different activities at different times.

For example, while Eliza and my Mom played doctor at the Teddy Bear hospital, Henry spent his time repeatedly sliding down the anal shaped slide (see below).
I couldn't help but hear Andrew's laughter as the exhibit made loud, flagellant vibrations each time a child climbed the steps of that charming slide.

The real hit of the day was the water play area created for the enjoyment of children five and under. It had been up to them, we would have spent our entire day there.
My Mom's winter trip to the South has been filled with ups and downs. For the sake of laughter, the few downer moments include:
  • the haircut my Mom received at the hands of a teenager with a purple mo-hawk,
  • Henry breaking her reading glasses and
  • the cancellation of our trip to Biltmore (largest home in America).
(Speaking of being a downer...)

The "up" moments, which are far more common, deserve a more detailed remembrance, but currently my Mom is cleaning out my dirty microwave for something to do - which is surely a sign of... what... charity? boredom? Clearly I need to wrap this up :)

But I will say this; we made it to Wicked!! Three days later and I'm still searching for a superlative(s) worthy of describing my immense enjoyment of that show. I have to ask. Has anyone else had the great pleasure of having their Elphaba portrayed by the insanely talented Marcie Dodd? Let us gush. She was phenomenal. They all were.
(Not Marcie Dodd)


(my gorgeous child)

We've enjoyed good health, the season premier of Survivor 20 (heroes vs. villains) and dodged a load of nasty winter weather. I'm relishing in her presence and am trying to ignore the sadness that is creeping into my heart as I realize that her departure from the South is imminent. To my Dad who misses her and to my brother who is frustrated that she isn't around to help him find his check book, oil, vinegar, etc; thank you for sharing your piece of sunshine with me and my family.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Sports Review From the Athletically Challenged

After a fairly intense round of Candy Land, the air was charged with competitive anticipation.

(Eliza and her favorite board game)

Having adopted a team to support an hour before kick-off, my Mom and I readied ourselves for the Super Bowl. At the conclusion of the national anthem, (With the exception of that last painful note, I'd say Miss Underwood nailed it.) Andrew shuttled the children upstairs for their bath.

When it comes to watching football, I average one game per season. My husband, who is not a sports enthusiast, averages 0.3 games per season. He doesn't even feign interest when were out with friends whose husbands "live, sleep, breath" football. It was quite problematic when we moved here as I feared that we'd have a difficult time attaching ourselves to new friends.

"Andrew likes fishing!" I interjected on his behalf following his 'big reveal' regarding his lack of interest.

"He played football in high school. Once. And then quit. So he could wrestle." I continued. "Um...." (crickets chirping. awkward silence.)

Future wrestler? The idea scares the crap out of me.

You see, he will sit by me on the couch (maybe) during a game, but his attention is entirely devoted to something else. It's not until I'm literally jumping up and down like an intoxicated monkey that he fancies himself a look at the television. When the play is over, he returns to his aforementioned activity.

Last night he asked,

"Does it make me less of a man that I don't care for sports?" Lovingly I replied,

"Based on the amount of gas you release on a daily basis, nothing could put into question your insanely high level of manliness." He seemed satisfied by my reassurance.

If I have a team to root for and the game isn't a blow out ( is it sad that an image of a full diaper is suddenly filling (pun intended) my mind?) then I'm happy. The biggest issue is that I tend to forget the rules. Lucky though, my Mom was here to enjoy last night's game with me. She was throwing out football terminology left and right. When I had a question, it was directed to her, not Andrew (I love you, babe).

Seriously, Mom? A turnover? That's just not an Arby's pastry? She was amazing.

And then there are the commercials which, last night, were mostly disappointing. My favorite, since you care, are the ETRADE baby commercials... the love triangle - milkaholic - one especially.

After consulting with the Blaser family and hearing of my brother's deep affection for Peyton Manning, our choice to cheer on the Colts was made easy. After some fellow named Tracy Porter caught an impressive interception, my personal alarm for my beloved team increased. Regardless of the sad outcome for the Colts, the game entertained athletically challenged 'ole me.

Not to mention, seeing a tearful Drew Brees holding his infant son moments after their win pretty much stole my (pathetically weak) allegiance away from the Colts. Peyton Manning may in fact be a brilliant player and devout fan of the Oreo cookie, but seeing that Father/Son interaction was pretty heart warming.

Congratulations, dear reader, for enduring my first ever (and possibly last) sports related blog. My Mom and I returned to our feminine ways this morning with a trip up to the outlets where I have to say, I inflicted severe damage to my bank account.That game was good, but shopping was better.Note to Mom: Thanks for being here!! We love you!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Yay!


She's here! I love my Mom.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes!!!

After years of waiting, I'm finally a week away from seeing Wicked, the musical. And do you want to know what the best part is?

My Mom will be coming with us!(!!!!!!!!!)

She will be here this week! I can hardly stand to think about it because when I do, time stops.

things of a spiritual nature

Considering our climate, I haven't been in the market for a sled. In fact, I was sure our tobogganing days were over after bidding Salt Lake and her snow-covered hills 'farewell' in January. So, when Mother Nature proved my assumption incorrect, I found myself scrambling for an alternative. Ta-dah!
After spotting an empty storage container, the kids were in business!

On Saturday, Andrew and the kids met up with friends (who kindly shared their sleds) at a nearby park for an afternoon of sledding. I skipped out on the activity so I could prepare for our babysitter (squeeee!!!). We had a sitter scheduled so we could attend the evening session of Stake Conference, which ended up canceled due to the ice rink our area had transformed into. Andrew and I kept our plans with the sitter and went on a date with two other couples.

Being with my husband, eating that salad and laughing with those friends did my soul good. Speaking of my soul, Sunday was a spiritual feast.

Stake Conference was broadcast to our area (South Carolina, Georgia and Florida) at 1:00 p.m. It was a new and special experience to hear directly from President Eyring, Elder Perry and other Church Leaders in SLC via satellite. I felt comfort in knowing that they are aware of the Lord's Southern saints and the unique challenges we have. Busy keeping two children quiet, doesn't permit one to take notes. Please allow me a moment of reflection before the highlights of their words leave my brain permanently.

Faith and fear can not co-exist. Cultivate faith through righteous living. Take heart when faced with trials, the Lord has prepared the way and endured that struggle already. You are not alone. When persecuted, you find yourself in the same company of the early saints. That thought gave me strength. I have to say, I've experienced nothing but kindness and respect from my Southern neighbors. Still, the misconceptions surrounding my faith, at times, is palpable and I can only hope that friends will have the courage to ask rather than turn to a false or incomplete source.

Elder Eyring talked of our responsibility to rescue our kin through family history and missionary work. He noted that throughout the Church he has seen a surge in the efforts of young families raising children. As we follow the council to implement daily prayer, home evening and scripture study, our young children will recognize the feelings of the Spirit, benefit from that peace and be equipped to reject evil. We won't have the need to rescue our children if we do our part now. He said that. That is a promise I will cling too.

They testified of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I echo their sentiment that it stands as tangible evidence of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a companion to the Bible. Paired together, they stand as a solid witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ. When the Book of Mormon is studied and prayed over, the experience that Joseph Smith had at the tender age of 14 can not be denied.

The experience of the 'first vision' is one I shared while out walking with a non-member friend last year. And I have to be honest, I probably sounded like a total crazy person. As I spoke, I was simultaneously praying to be articulate, to have the Spirit penetrate her heart, etc. I went inside feeling like I had compromised a budding friendship. I felt like I failed and doubted my decision. The good news is, we're still friends :) .And I feel that before they (or anyone else) is allowed to label us as 'crazy,' they have to first act on our invitation to ponder and pray about that book. The feelings I have for the Book of Mormon is what I fall back on when being a member of the Church is hard. I regard Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God; so do 13 million other people (see LDS/Mormon statistics here). All that we do as latter-day saints, hinges on that.

Alas, I've diverted.

My words don't properly convey the beauty of the messages shared, but I have to tell you that my testimony has been strengthened while being here and that my gratitude for the ward family we know and love is great.

Entertaining two children (in a dark chapel, mind you) was tricky when you're doing your best to pay attention. Not to mention, it was Henry's nap time. The last 45 minutes, he passed out on the bench; which left me optimistic for a happy afternoon.
(Henry, post-nap)

It took him a long (emphasis on the word, long) while to recover from waking up an hour and a half too soon. For Andrew, his tears were unfortunate considering the lovely lighting of the day. He wanted to take some photos when we came home. This is what Henry thought of that idea. Eliza was happy to oblige his request. I did my best to distract Henry from the cruelty that is exhaustion.Cheer up, Henry! It's February!