Thursday, September 29, 2011

Look what Grandma caught!

You can imagine his enthusiastic response when Nanna asked him to tell her about his special worm collection.

Having arrived a few minutes early, Nanna Marie and Aunt Ami had time to indulge Henry in his game of show and tell. Giving them both a generous view of the orange bubble container that had been given the new assignment of housing his latest creepy finds, Henry blabbered on about their size, the quantity and the skill required to catch so many.

We wished him well as we made our way out the door. Following dinner at Zupas, we made our way to my Church building. The myriad of women dressed in their Sunday best at Zupas, had confirmed that women's conference was that night. However, the desolate parking lot of my church building told a different story. Apparently, my stake had access to tickets to watch it live at the conference center, so it wasn't available anywhere near my home. Brilliant Andrew had the idea that we watch it online (after offering to hook it up to the t.v. screen). I'd happily take my couch over a church bench any day. Sweet.

Fighting my exhaustion, as I had not yet recovered from Park City sleepover, I did my best to ignore the impulse to lay down and to... rest... my....(*yawning) tired, so tired, eyes. Meanwhile, my Mother, well... she was fighting something else. 

I look over to see that she is agitated. Not only that, but she is fidgeting, which is uncharacteristic for someone as consistently poised as she is. 

"I think," she pauses to stand, "that there is something crawling by my stomach?" She sounds as confused as Ami and I feel. Wondering if Henry's worms grossed her out or if she ate something wrong, I watch as she excuses herself to the bathroom to investigate.

What followed was a series of freaked out moans. Her wordless tirade of discomfort was laced with disgust. Finally, cute little Marie (as I lovingly call her), squeals. Tossing her dress onto the laundry room floor she retreats back into the bathroom, fearful that Andrew may suddenly appear.

"Ali, shake it out!" Smiling, I collect her dress. I can't help but laugh as I walk her dress outside. I hear her mutter the word, "grasshopper" and " between the lining of my dress!" I'm prepared, at least I thought I was, to see the creature. Wondering if the small bug escaped already, I give her dress one final, hard shake.

"Bleh!!!!!" I scream. It's huge! And ugly and OH MY GOSH, Mom! That was crawling by your stomach! Say it with me girls!
"Ugh!" So gross. No wonder she was slightly traumatized. We resumed watching women's conference. Her thoughts were mixed:

"What if I hadn't been wearing this belt and that THING crawled up to my neck..." and, "what if, I had been driving my car when I noticed it..." etc. As for me, I was thanking my lucky stars her little friend didn't get lost in my house. 


In regards to women's conference, how eloquent is Elder Uchdorf? Like the grasshopper, his talk was moving. Another take away from conference is the memory of my Mom jumping up from the couch as a result of that less than cute bug. So yes, in more ways than one, women's conference was uplifting.{Ba-dum-CHING}.

(... and yes, I saved the grasshopper for Henry to play with. Here's hoping that Henry doesn't see this as a challenge to "one-up" his Nanna in the bug collecting department!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Henry's World

When he comes home bare foot, caked in dirt, dripping wet and happily whispering,
 "Mucky Muck, Mucky Muck, Mucky Muck..." you don't need to bother asking if he had fun at his play-date.
{total blast, Mom!}

Speaking of dirt, Henry's favorite past time is hunting for worms.
 (this is my view from my kitchen window)
According to Andrew, the weekend worm total = 70 (+). Per his Daddy's suggestion, Henry returns them to the dirt when he's through playing with them so he has worms to collect the next day.
Nothing makes my skin crawl like a bowl of fresh worms; even so, Henry's managed to add an element of "adorable" to his new creeptacular hobby.

 Happy digging!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Paging Sargent Rage Face

The conversation had fallen back into an easy rhythm as we returned to our hotel room. Quickly retrieving both treats and pajamas; it would seem that my friends and I were eager to make the remaining (late) hours comfortable. It was time to settle in. The spacious suite offered us several options: overstuffed arm chairs, a cozy couch and padded window seats. As for me, I was the first to opt for a spot in front of the fire place.

Our afternoon of shopping at the Park City outlets was followed by dinner at Bandits, a restaurant located on Main street. And how, dear reader, is it that I haven't taken note of the incredible charm that is Park City? Each of our outings had been accompanied by a steady stream of,

"Hey! Do you remember when..."

"Are you even kidding me?!"

"Wait, when did that happen?"

And the annoying request of, "Um guys. Can y'all stop for another picture?"

Most topics were met with joy (some with regret) as we took our time reflecting, laughing and listening. In the entry way of stores, we unintentionally clogged the passage for other customers as we'd get lost in a memory or as we paused to share a new detail from our present life.

It was at dinner when I received my first call from home.

Having finally found the courage to spend a night away from my children (with the exception of my stays at the hospital following the birth of a subsequent child), I excused myself to the ladies room where I sang Eliza and Henry their bedtime lullaby. Without shame, I welcomed the loud echo as I sang the words, "I have a family, here on earth..." Receiving Andrew's continued reassurance that all was truly well at home, I took a deep breath and told myself that having fun with my friends, many of whom I hadn't seen in over five years, was okay.

The merriment continued well into the night. How ironic to think that the one night we could guarantee a night void of child related interruptions, we happily opted to squander those precious hours of sleep to keep the dialogue and (gasp!) 'confessions' flowing. Midnight passes without any thought of going to bed. To be honest, I don't think that anyone is paying much attention to the clock until suddenly,

"BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!" A furious pounding erupts outside our door. Our expressions of shock mirror one another as instinct begs us to shut our mouths.

"BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!" Sheena bravely approaches the door. Without a word, she fastens each lock until we are secure. Returning back to the group, most of us retreat to the back corner of a bedroom in search of the phone.

"How do I call security?" Brittany's mind has gone blank. Taking initiative, Laura commands her to move. Angela remains on the couch, taking in the silent chaos that has erupted around her.

"BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!" Why hasn't the man, who we know is completely dressed in black, identified himself at all? Not a single request has been made, but the emotion behind his incessant knocking clearly indicates that he is impatient. While Laura demands that the front desk sends security to our room immediately, Angela addresses the stranger at our door.

"Is there something we can do for you?"

"Open the door." He is mad.

"We will not be opening the door" (... seriously?!) He pounds again as he repeats,

"OPEN THE DOOR!" Maintaining her bravery, she responds,

"We can talk with the door closed." And then comes the threat.

"If you will not open the door, I will open it for you." He sounds serious and I feel grateful that my kids are no where near this scene. A higher level of concern fills Angela as she flees the couch and into the room with the phone. She reiterates his threat to Laura who relays this new detail to the operator at the front desk. Surprisingly, Laura is informed:

"That is security at your door. A noise complaint against you has been made." Excuse us, what? Articulating all of our thoughts perfectly Laura replies,

"His behavior is COMPLETELY inappropriate. He did not identify who he was nor that a noise complaint has even been made." And in all honesty, if he was on a mission to shush us on behalf of other guests, then why was he:

A) Yelling like a crazy person.
B) Pounding that loudly on the door.

No doubt, we had been loud. Could they not have rang the telly and asked us to be quiet before sending Sargent Rage Face to our door? After hearing the front desk speaking to him on his radio, we finally believe that he is legitimately employed but that didn't do much to lessen our anger or distress.

I'll conclude by saying that when it came time for us to walk Lindsey to her car as she had to return to Salt Lake that night (read: 2:30 a.m.), one of us (Sheena) was most definitely armed with a (kitchen) knife.

It was CRAZY. Even so, it didn't so much as cloud our evening. It would take a lot more than that looney toon to taint our night of laughter and unrestrained female emotion.

As for the 'who, what, where, and when'

Who was there:
(Lindsay, Angela, Brittany, Sheena and
the girl with the awkward sweater/dress combo!)

Who am I missing? Oh that's right. Our saucy photographer:
Laura.I have loved Laura since the 7th grade.

What we did:
We talked, shopped and ate food.
That's the girl formula for pure awesome.

Lucky for us,
Mindy and Whitney
were there for the shopping trip.
When I grow up, I want to have a hot mom body like Mindy.
And I want Whitney's new mom glow. Beautiful Madison is simply precious.
p.s. She gave birth three weeks ago and looks a-mazing.
Hot Mom in training and super awesome friend who put this together:
Brittany McPhabulous.Laura, you're pretty fabulous too. Here we have Sheena
owning the concrete catwalk.Remember Angela? She's still a favorite.
Where we went:
Park City (in case you missed that.)


When can we go again?

Thank you Brittany for having us. The opportunity to take some time away from the ones I love most was indeed, refreshing. To my selfless sister Ami, thanks for taking my kids that afternoon. Andrew: I LOVE YOU. Thank you for encouraging me to go and stay the night. Other than waking up with a bra full of concrete (still a nursing mother) and missing the friends who were unable to go, it was perfect.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tailgate party! Elementary school style.

Eliza's school hosted a back to school 'tailgate party' last night.

The activities included bounce houses, a rock wall, a dunk tank and face painting (to name a few).
(Eliza's stupid human trick,
blowing massive spit bubbles
as previously recorded here:)
"Good evening Madame."

We enjoyed dinner on the green,
(apple slices for the Queen.)

as well as cotton candy, popcorn and snow cones.
What a feast.

Parenthood looks different having entered the "elementary school phase." As Andrew and I chatted, it took us a minute to 'calculate' how many years of "this" we had ahead of us. The potential number made me happy.

Eliza's favorite stop was to the "crazy hair" station.

As for me, I liked the music. Eliza and Henry were "busting a move" from the time we let them out of the car...

and they continued to shake their groove thang back into their seat belts.

Henry goes to preschool!

Last Thursday, Henry started preschool. He was excited. His blue shirt had a red three and racing horses on it. He thought that was cool. His car themed back pack? Also cool.Why I have labeled this child as being "quiet and introverted" is beyond me. Each day, he proves me wrong. Confidently he waved "Goodbye!" Once his back pack was hung, he went straight to "work."

Picking him up from school today went something like this:

With happy anticipation, I watch the door of his preschool from my car. My eyes flit to clock as I confirm that the kids should make their appearance soon. A short moment later, I see his sweet face appear as Mrs. Phillips ushers the little children, whose large backpacks threaten to swallow each of them, out the door. With Lottie snoozing in back, I'm mindful to lock the door as I join the group of Moms across the street. There is a row of bright colored chairs that dot the front lawn. It is here that the preschoolers are directed to wait to be picked up.

I'm somewhat in a hurry as I make my approach. One street away, Eliza is making her way to the pick up zone at her school. As I make eye contact with those big blue eyes, I crouch down and open my arms. I wait expectantly for him to run into them, the mental anthem celebrating our reunion plays on... until I realize, sadly, that he wants nothing to do with me.

"Hi Henry." I practically sing. He looks away. "It's me, Mom." Trying to comfort my ego I think that perhaps, the sun is to bright. I reach down to grab his hand.

"Hey sweetie, it's time to go! How was preschool?"

"I don't want to go home, Mom. I like preschool." The sad and happy feelings combat one another as the image of Eliza waiting to be picked up fills my thoughts. I give him a moment to realize that all the children are leaving too. Finally, he reaches for my hand. As we make our way to the car, he explodes into the details of his morning and that feeling of happy contentment purrs its way back into place.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Like Baby, Baby, Baby, Oh!!!!

Meet Henry Bieber.

And while I totally love his hair, Henry could use a small trim. That's right. This superstar starts preschool tomorrow! (finally.)

I am not eager to have him gone, but the excitement is eating him up. Now that I'm taking a moment to seriously think about having him gone for a few hours (twice a week), I feel very sad. He will be missed terribly. I've digressed.

The trouble with his hair is finding someone nearby who is capable to trim it. Apparently, I'm not qualified.

Exhibit A: The Flegal hedge bushes.

Lacking an electric trimmer, Andrew provided the next best thing this weekend. He pulled out our kitchen shears. You should be laughing. I'm sure we were a sight. Wanting to contribute, I "trimmed" the bush that's obviously... well shorter... than the others.

We'll figure out Henry's hair sooner or later. Good luck tomorrow baby boy! I LOVE you so much.
"Peace out, Mom!"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

climb every mountain. or not...

I'm not sure how it happened but what I thought would be a leisure stroll around the boardwalk at Silver Lake (see photo below), evolved into a strenuous climb up to Twins Lake. I was prepared to type the words, "grueling" and "exhaustive" to aid in my description of our hiking adventure. However, when I researched the web for additional details, I was humbled to see that this hike was labeled, "Easy."

Really?!? For this out of shape girl, that tidbit of information was salt in my already aching wounds. I could blame the misery on the inadequate shoes that I was wearing, but I think my spouse {who carried Lottie in the pack AND Henry on his shoulders} said it best when he gently said,

"I think, that if we... you know, exercised more it would not have seemed so difficult."

It was kind of him to include his manly self into his thought but like I said, he was an ox. So yes, let's get him in better shape just to find out if he could manage carrying all the kids next time.

The kids loved it. Eliza didn't murmur once, which I hate to admit, surprised me. Henry grew tired a few times, but they both had great attitudes. They didn't seem to notice the rocky inclines the way I did.Good news for Ali. We made it. As an added bonus, the temperature was ideal for hiking and thankfully the rain held off.

The day was spent with my parents and the Chamberlain family. Eliza was thrilled to be with Callie and Mia. Listening to them play off each others imaginations was a delight. Watching Eliza squeeze into the Chamberlain's family pictures and hold Ami's hand on the steep slopes down, heightened my suspicion that she would soon be asking to be adopted into their clan. Somehow we managed to steal her back into our car for the drive home.

Speaking of the drive home, it was a quiet one.

And that right there friends, is the mark of a memorable weekend.