toddler games

My son has been doing quite well with the speaking portion of his toddler development these days. Most of the time I understand what he is saying. Every once in a while, however, it's like a game of charades.

This morning he woke up hysterical at 5:30am, hours earlier than our rooster usually crows.
He kept repeating the same unknown word to me over and over; getting more frustrated and hysterical the more I got it wrong.

Mommy, want Payte (screaming and crying, tossing self around the bed)

Plate? You want a plate? Let's go to the kitch....

No! PAYTE, Mommy, I want PAYTE! (repeated over and over like he is on fire)

Plate? a plate. plate? you want a plate? tell mommy again.....


Oh BITE. Bite? Are you hungry?

noooooooooo want PAYTE (getting more angry)

Oh PLAY! You want to PLAY?


(I can no longer think of possible words he is trying to say. I scoop him up and head into the kitchen.)

Do you want some banana?

yes. (he rubs his wet eyes, eats, drinks and goes back to sleep. game over.)


Vertigo Sucker

Eating and writing about candy makes me happy. Photographing candy, not so much happy times. It's harder than I expected and Cybele does it over at Candy Blog like a pro.

I bumped into this Vertigo sucker recently. It's like a solid milk chocolate and hard candy hybrid. Naturally, you bite into the bland chocolate too soon and you are left with the hard candy portion. It is suppose to taste like caramel, but it doesn't. It was a sugary mass that I would consider borderline repulsive. Somehow there was an unintentional hint of a raspberry aftertaste (?) that resulted in me tossing the pop before finishing half of it. The only positive thing I can say about this product is the plastic stick, so much better than paper sucker sticks.

It's quite the disappointing product if I have to throw it into the garbage.


people generally trust me

Someday when the kids are grown I hope to have a job that allows me the opportunity to interview a barrage of people and ask them interesting questions others would not ponder nor have the balls to ask. I know I would do well at this job, for all my life people I barely know have felt compelled to open up to me and share secrets (i.e. infidelity! what he hell do I do with that one?). I don't always want to know much of the informatin I get. In such cases, I decided to take the opportunity to respond with daring questions I shouldn't ask (just how exactly were you positioned in the cab and what did the driver do?).

I think if I could choose my first subject it would be a current polygamist family. Sure, I would start off by getting to know them, building rapport and inquiring about their routines, the community, blah blah blah. But I will be honest with you, I only want to know about the guts of it. I want to know about the sex.

Do the wives barter? Talk amongst each other about it? Is it a competitive thing where each tries to be the better lover? Or is there a constant tension, angst for knowing he was with someone else last night. Perhaps we all think he is living the life of the guy in the Enzyte commercial, but he really gets none thanks to the deep emotional baggage such a life might carry for the wives.

People get all enraged when the topic of polygamy comes up, but I am just entranced with my curiosity. I bet I could get them to talk.

This is Backwards Attraction P.I. signing off.


even antiquated

Today I challenged someone to make a list of 100 things that makes them happy. Today is a day I need to make that list for myself. In no particular order:

Green grass
Banana splits
Songs that make me want to move; drum
Being outside
Taking a good photograph
Being confided in; trusted
Soft pajamas
Clean sheets
Getting a letter in the mail; or a long email
Watching someone else learn
Seeing my husband kiss our son’s boo boo
A door being opened for me
Other people being happy
My son singing, laughing, hugging, breathing, sleeping, eating, existing
My husband smiling, laughing, running, explaining, touching
Magic Shell chocolate
Butterscotch hard candy
Helping someone else
Seeing a live band I love
Reading magazines in a book store
Record stores
Fruity stripe gum
The ice cream truck
Calls from relatives, especially my mom or sister
Orange crush
Touching lessons, stories
Spending time with my grandmother
Learning the words to a song that moves me
Fuse and IMF channels
Check marks on my To Do list
Achieved goals (big and small)
Making a new friend
Pad thai
Masaman curry
Chicken tikka masala
California rolls
Warm chocolate chip cookies
A back rub
A foot rub
Pink polish on my toes
My wedding ring when it’s cleaned
Otter pops
A friendly kitten
Cute Overload website
Disco fries
Thick chocolate milk shakes
My camera
My new skirt
Flip flops
Santa Cruz
Flying home to AZ (happiness begins once the plane lands)
Snowboarding in the spring
Making a dinner that actually tastes good
Sleeping in (this one made me smile as I typed it!)
Play Doh
Genuine compliments
Going to the park
Alone time
Going to the zoo as a family
Little girls with barrettes in their hair
Jingle bells
Candy blogs
Photos and stories of my nieces and nephews
Understanding something in a new way
Fulfilling my potential
Being honest
Girly movies
Caramello candy bar
Oldies music (50’s, 60’s)
Bright blue skies
John Candy movies
Making decisions
Showing my son something new
Creative photography
Bright colors
Thick carpet between my toes
Holding hands
Lady bugs
Lunch I don’t make or clean
Date night
The Washington D.C. Temple
A new hair cut
Driving my car
My Heavenly Father


visiting; teaching

I have been to visit an elderly woman at a rehab/ nursing home twice this month. It was the first time I had been to such a different environment as an adult. I guess I expected it to be structured like an office building, the suffering and loneliness hidden away behind closed doors.

The stench of urine seeps into my pores and I do everything in my power to avoid scrunching my nose as my eyes begin to burn. I beg my stomach to resist the vomiting urge. I round a corner and cannot help but hold one hand to my nose as I pass a hallway overflowing with The Odor, it is too overwhelming. Perhaps that was the room filled with soiled linens?

I feel like I am the only movement for miles, all eyes are on me. I pass several corridors lined with open doors; exposing rooms of stillness. I feel tense and wish I had a gift for every weary face I pass. Many are sitting in wheelchairs, as if they are lost, in the middle of the hallway with blank, longing stares. I pass a cafeteria where some align their wheelchairs around circular tables adorned with bright, plastic flowers; but no one is speaking. It's like life is on pause for everyone except me.

The more solitude I am confronted with down another hallway, the more uncomfortable I become with each bounce in my stride. Guilt of abundant health flowing through my veins makes me blush as I finally approach her room. The urine odor is not there, I am selfishly breathing relief.

She is a lucky one, she has her own home to return to once she is back on her feet. She is humorous and determined, a strong woman with mighty courage. She is also eager to have me visit her there one day, in her own home where she will tend her garden and show me around. I want to go, I want to celebrate with this woman I have never met before. I want to share a giant piece of pie with her once she is back to whatever her normal self will be. I just know she gets to leave one day and that will be so brilliant for her.

When I return to my car I am abashedly aware of the firmness of my skin. The sun kissed color appearing on my arms from days I followed Zane around at the park. The enormous gratitude for having a body that allows me to care not only for myself, but my son, in addition to growing another baby, all of it without assistance. To make a meal with my own hands so my husband can eat after a long day at work. To be able-bodied, even if it will not be forever, right now in my life is a tremendous gift.

I want to keep this feeling of gratitude; I want it to give me strength when I grow heavier and more tired. When I deliver. When I want to complain of fatigue once the new one is here. When I cry for weeks in a row again, I hope it will be for the joy that I am able to care for my expanded family with my own hands.


I am feeling strongly impressed to make my son's blog an invite only. It's a small readership of mostly family and some friends that I have already granted access; as their email addresses were readily accessible. Please email me if you would like to continue reading it so I can keep track of who has access to his adorable face and antics I write about.
This one will remain the same, as you can see. All are welcome, even the freakishly strange Coke drinkers.


Beverage Choice of Death

So of all the lists I have reviewed on-line (in addition to an awesome anonymous list in the comment section of my execution meal post), it has become clear to me Coke is the premier final beverage of choice for those getting put to death via electric chair.

I wonder if there is a creative way for Coke to use this stat with a positive spin for an ad. That would be an interesting challenge for The Apprentice.

*not my image


mint w.style

I remember being on my lunch break one afternoon at a big, fancy bookstore getting a gift for someone. At the checkout counter I noticed this smooth package of cinnamon mints. The following week I had several meetings and each time I pulled out this charming package of mints without expecting the cool factor to increase so rapidly.
Every person in the room at each meeting was impressed not only with my sparkly breath, but with the packaging AND delightfully solid flavor of Hint Mints. The cover slides on and off like that 80's lip gloss. It fits snugly in your purse, bag, or pocket without spilling. It has every bit of charm the old skool metal cigarette cases you see in black and white movies held.
I was going to tell you they are hard to find, but their website gives you the option to order various flavors online.

happy thursday thoughts

There has to be a list kept somewhere of all the last meals people request before being electrocuted. I would be interested in seeing what is most common, in addition to what is most unusual. Has anyone ever requested monkey brains just to be a total ass?

I wonder to what lengths they go to obtain one of the three meals requested. What if it's Thai Fried Rice from Brooklyn's Lemongrass Grill? What if that was every single option on the person's list? Do they have a chef that tries to emulate what they think I am requesting? Do they try to pretend it's really what I asked for even though it's not? Do they provide a menu of recommended options? Joe's mashed potatoes and BBQ Ribs down the street isn't bad, we have it for lunch all the time. Would they really take a trip to Outback to get someone cheddar fries? And would they work hard at keeping them warm for the prisoner's consumption? If not, I would totally not bother putting that on my list. I would need to know a lot more information about the process before making my list of three options. That would be a pretty important decision.

Even though I am pretty certain Nacho Bell Grande would be exactly what I would want.


talk talk

I have always been envious of posts in blogs about pillow talk. As if it's an everyday thing everyone participates in with their spouse. Everyone, that is, but me.

We just don't have pillow talk. Never have.

I am married to what some say is "a man of few words".

This made everyone else in my life far less concerned when my son was speech delayed.

I, my friends, have resolved to sneaking in pillow talk.

I had to be creative, but it's working.

Pillow talk and then some.


They really ought to provide an opportunity for students to letter in elementary school. I SO would have been on the varsity teams for tetherball and four square.
I remember a boy named Kyle was the best at four sqaure, but I was a close second. I didn't need acknowledgement from him to know I was pretty good, but I still wished for it. I liked the days he wasn't playing cos I got to be the main sqaure where you call the rules and declare the 'outs'. Although, I preferred him to play because I liked the challenge.
One day he showed up with a really big, white trucker hat on, long before they were cool. I remember it was summer in Arizona and he was always sweating profusely, but this time even more. He took off the hat to wipe his brow and his whole head was shiny bald. He tried to hide it. I tried not to look. What if he had medical issues? I worried about my four sqaure buddy. Finally one of the other boys playing asked him what happened to his hair. He simply retorted that he shaved his head. The same boy asked why. The answer was that his brothers thought it would look cool.

That was the only day in my entire life I was grateful I did not have older brothers.

His naked, white head had trouble with the sun and after about 10 minutes he would have to go sit in the shade by the portables cos it hurt too bad. He would always choose me to take his place in the main square. Finally, the acknowledgement I had been waiting for!
That week someone in class told me Kyle had a crush on me. I have held this dilemma in my head ever since. Maybe he didn't really think I was so good at four sqaure, maybe he was just giving me his square cos he liked me. Not because he thought I earned it.
Hearing about a crush was never so disappointing.



The first time I was pregnant I felt like I joined a club. Once my belly was obviously round enough I was actually excited to enter the secret clubhouse that is Motherhood Maternity; or any other maternity clothing section for that matter. It was like a right of passage. I found bits of my wardrobe pulled from various sources, but such efforts did not deter my enthusiasm for dressing the new and ever-growing shape of my body.

My husband was thrilled with how my curves were filling out and told me countless times how sexy I was. Each morning he asked several times how I was feeling. As I walked the halls of work with my fancy panel career pants and flowing blouses, compliments greeted me left and right. I imagined I had a special glow and thought of my seemingly beautiful belly and wonder of the baby more than anything else. It thoroughly consumed me.
This time around it's different. All of us in the house forget about the pending addition brewing in my belly as we are caught up in daily routines. I have to remind myself to eat instead of charting out well balanced afternoon snacks. The need to turn to maternity clothing happened sooner and with far less enthusiasm. The image of a mother-to-be looks anything but cute or sexy to me no matter what attempted style is draped on the model or mother. The glow is not there. The glamour is gone.
I have put off obtaining my new round of Household Management maternity garb long enough. Here is my rough guide for this month's reluctant shopping:

For one year we waited for the stork to bring us this new bun for the oven. I started to truly believe we would not have another child through the traditional method of conception. The day we took the positive test I jumped and screamed with delight as greatly as when my husband did the day the Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001. Please do not mistake my grumbling for lack of gratitude.



I need to challenge myself sometimes and involve a timeframe or fun things I want to do get pushed out of my mind too easily.

I want to open the challenge to YOU, as well.

Once a month I want to send a Thoughtful Box to someone I am thinking about. Several months ago I sent a filled shoe box to my Aunt Kathy. I was just thinking about her a lot and wanted to tell her in a way beyond a simple phone call. She is such an awesome example of obtaining her goal of education (graduate school grad- first one in the family!). She always makes me laugh and attends any family gathering I am in town for. I sent her some of my fav issues of Real Simple, a little note, a funny picture of Zane, Stella D'ora cookies (we saw the factory in NY, but she had never tried one), and other misc. stuff.

I have decided who my person will be and now I have one month to collect fun things and send it. I would love to post a photo of your Thoughtful Box. It could be for your neighbor, grandma, any relative, friend, or new blogger friend; near or far.


Step 1: decide on the person

Step 2: obtain a small box, decorate it if you must

Step 3: think about ideas, write them down on a paper, place it in the box for safe keeping

Step 4: collect items for box and get address ready so when it's filled you can send it right away

Step 5: send it! don't let it collect dust. how happy your little gift box will make someone!!!

Once mine reaches its new owner, I will post a photo as a sample.


I think I was in 4th grade when the teacher initiated the fiasco of pen pals from North Dakota. Even after over a year of exchanging letters, I do not know anything about the boring and unheard-of location.
Her letters were getting more wildly outlandish upon each arrival. One lie after the next, even talk about having sex with boys (?!) and how her boyfriend looked just like Kirk Cameron (sick).

She happened to not have a photo of this intimate romantic partner, but sent a photo of Kirk cut out from a teen magazine.

I thought about not writing her, but that's when the mischievous side of my sister appeared at my side. We trumped her Kirk by sending her a photo of our friend's hot brother (Troy) who lived down the street. We told her that was my boyfriend and conjured up a letter so obviously fake she would realize I was no longer taking her seriously. We laughed all the way down the block as we went to drop it into the mailbox.
I don't think I heard from her again.


freshness guaranteed

Blogger's Block?
Bored with your usual run-of-the-mill blogroll?
Curious what else it out there to entertain?

Weblog Awards lists winners so you have a ton of options for new reading material.
Scroll down to see their various winners. Enjoy!


It's really best to have family pets living for the purpose to DIE. Then you are never on the edge of your seat waiting to see how long this gerbil can survive the hands of a toddler, when the fish will go belly-up, or if the cat will run away again.

We prefer rats, but the occasional pet wasp is another fun treat.

Yesterday the handyman stopped over due to some funky smells coming out of the bathroom. Looks to be some water damage and a valve or two needing replacement. I laugh to myself at the rare moment I take pleasure in being a renter. Then he checks the boiler room. Dead. Freaking. Huge. Rat.

That makes three in the short time we have lived here. Thareeee. Rats. We are going to start to keep hash marks in the kitchen next to the family calendar.

Can't say the wasps in the living room stir as much drama. They are typically found still alive and fidgeting, yet weak from bouncing repeatedly off of the sliding glass door in futile attempts to escape.

Now, I don't want everyone calling at once to schedule summer visits.


diapers. no, really.

Every parent has their own opinion about diapers, which varies from family to family. Several weeks before Zane was born I bought a pack of newborn Pampers. I don't recall if it was the packaging I was oddly attracted to or my sister's advice that led me to choose the brand. I assumed I would eventually run through each brand to determine a favorite. I never knew that baby fresh scent would hook my loyalty so fast.

Until this weekend. I went to Sam's Club and they didn't carry Zane's needed size. I told myself how silly brand loyalty is when it would be so much more convenient to grab this giant box of Huggies. Surely there can't be that big of a difference between two big name diapers.


Diaper one: urine and feces seep through clothing, all over boy's legs. Sick.
Hrm, maybe we left that one on too long.
Diaper two: sags to knees and saturates his pants.
Dang, there are a lot of diapers in that box. Put the next one on tighter.
Diaper three: urine and feces combo, once again, everywhere.
How the hell is this company still in business? Who buys this crap? These diapers SUCK.


Dear Huggies:
Here's the deal. Get someone on your staff with a baby or two. Your product sucks. There is nothing in the frontal area of the diaper to absorb urine. You know, that area where a boy has a penis and wet stuff comes out. So it all collects into this padding on the underside. This padding does not contain a regular flow of liquid, let alone the additional need for solid fecal matter. I could design a better diaper with a bunch of cotton balls and tape.

a mother doing laundry all freaking day


girl you know it's true

So there was a nice girl I was trying to make friends with. I invited her over for lunch one day, but it didn't work out for whatever reason. I tried again a few weeks later, but our schedules didn't work out. I might have gone so far as inviting her to a group outing with several other moms, but no show.

I wondered if I should keep trying, you know, to make sure she isn't sitting home in the corner reading a book and wishing she had some friends. Then I started to realize she did have a lot of other friends. And she made it to their appointments and calls. But never mine, nor where they reciprocated.

I admit I was initially hurt and even began to question what I had done. Had someone said something about me? Is it that whole Guess Jeans Syndrome, am I not hip enough? It really consumed me for part of an evening, but I kept it to myself.

I almost forgot about it until I listened to someone else tell me their similar story. It brought me back to the sad feelings I had, but then remembered the times I just didn't feel like hanging out with someone else for whatever reason. It wasn't because of what someone else said or the clothes she wore. We just simply didn't click.

There are people we might want to be friends with, but for whatever reason or no reason at all there isn't a common thread enough to make the effort. I realized it's not a reason to have hurt feelings; it's normal human behavior I think we all participate in.

I am going to continue to do my best at making new friends and being open to hoping there is a click with everyone I meet, however, I will decide to not be hurt if I am the unclickable one with someone. I will decide to understand, smile a genuine smile and say hello when I see her.

big brutha

it's harder than I thought to capture both kids in one shot.



While my husband is running his 20 mile stint this morning for marathon training, I am secretly planning to hijack the grocery shopping chore from him so I can score some girl scout cookies in front of Safeway.
My priorities in specific order:

> thin mints

> do-si-dos

> too many samoas
> i hear the lemon ones are awesome, so i might get crazy and add a box

What flavors will you be getting this year?

***not my photo


fire starter

My friend without a wife (or children) recently asked me what it was like to be on the verge of having another child. I found it hard to select which parts of my swirling thoughts I would deliver.

I explained the guilt associated with being significantly less excited than the first go at it. The countless times I actually forget someone is growing inside of my body. I also explained the lack of mystery, I know what I am faced with and it will be hard. The labor, the healing, the fatigue, the emotional psychoticness of hormones readjusting along with all those misplaced insides shifting back into place. The crying, the diapers, the nonstop physical demands of a newborn are relentless and seemingly eternal.

Okay, I didn't go into that much detail, but I was honest. I fear I left him with a negative impression of parenthood. I regret not telling him about the fact that 'hey guess what this was intentional and a blessing that I get to do this all over again'.

I didn't tell him about the thrill of knowing my son will have a sibling. I did not explain the miracle of a sleeping baby's cheek pressed against the smooth curve of the inside of your shoulder. Or the sweetest baby breath only to be compared to the magic of pixie dust. I did not tell him of the miraculous moments you get to look into this tiny face and know you would stand in front of a speeding train to save its life. That love cannot be properly described. A love so different and unique that can only be connected to the love of your children.

I didn't tell him this because I often forget to tell myself
that after the fireball shooting out of my crotch,
it might not be as bad as I remember.



It isn't very often that a photograph will make my jaw drop while inspiring me to conquer the world. That happened with an ad in February's Transworld for Ezekiel clothing.

I wish I could find the photograph, if I could I would frame it. It is Louie Barletta doing a backside wallride shuv it out sequence. The photographer, Mark Whiteley, shot it from below. It's got great depth and Barletta has so much style in the moment of that shot, which you rarely see in skateboarding photography (in my humble opinion). I also love how he nailed this trick, which probably took a lot of time to work on and perfect. Lots of falling, blood and sweat.
I don't know if it's the skater or the photographer of the ad that inspires me; perhaps it's the unique combination of both. It's hard to separate which evokes the feeling.

Photo 1 by Mark Whiteley
Photo 2 by Pete Thompson


buddies for hummus

My favorite things to eat with
roasted red pepper hummus:

black olives
yellow corn chips, triangular in shape
green pepper
cheddar cheese, rectangular strips
red pepper
wheat crackers
salty pita chips
soft pita bread
carrot strips


on the grass

I love this photo of me tickling my son taken by Nikaela Curtis.
I also love how well we accepted the fact that on family picture day with Mike's entire family (19 people) our son was just not going to be cooperative. We tried tricks to get him to sit and smile, but none were successful and that was how it was going to be. No frustration, no tears, no worries. He was just Zane being 2 years old and there was nothing any of us could do to change that about him.
So we played between pictures and let him run and let ourselves enjoy having a toddler.
There isn't a single shot of my little family we love, but I find the way we handled the morning a pretty big accomplishment for us.


overheard in suburbia

There was a day this week I was waiting in the drive-thru for my Nacho BellGrande and I overheard one worker talking to another.

The teenage Hispanic girl taking orders wore a thick, curly ponytail with dark, silky hair I could only dream of having. She had a big smile, cute figure, and wore make-up the way JLo wears it; a bit too much for my skin tone, yet just right for her.

She stood next to an older gentleman, also seemingly Hispanic. I would guess he might be approaching 40s if he isn't there already. He is taking off a part of his uniform that leads me to believe his role is to clean, not run a cash register or fill a burrito. He glances at her sideways and hopes for her attention.

Like typical teenage fashion, she forgets about the generation gap. She asks him if he has a computer at home, "you know" she says, "the internet? do you have the internet?"

He confidently answers yes, yes and she asks him if he has a myspace account. He shifts and looks away, unsure of how to answer; trying to hide his confusion.

She tells him to give her his myspace account sometime and she takes another order, ultimately scurrying over to assist another worker; she leaves the scene and he is off the hook.

He puts his uniform away and does a little happy dance after she walks away, singing something in Spanish. He wasn't sure what she was talking about, but I bet he will figure it out at soon as he gets home. She has no idea how important he felt from their little interaction. How he looked at her like an angel from heaven and hung on to every word she said.

She also has no idea the 29 year old customer waiting for her Nacho BellGrande felt pretty lame about not having a myspace account, either.



Felt another earthquake tonight. This one alarmed us both for a moment as it got stronger at the end. It was very brief and seemed to shake side to side. It was closest to Lafayette and was a 4.2 magnitude. I would have guessed higher as it rattled and made more noise than the other one I felt in December.

Mike was playing a game on the computer, Zane was in his bed waiting for a story to be read, and I was putting his humidifier into the bathroom.

It is an insane feeling I don't think I could ever get used to,
no matter how many people tell me I will.

The moment after it happened I just held Zane in my arms and felt so thankful it wasn't a huge one. Then there was this lingering feeling of helplessness. There is absolutely nothing I can do to protect my family or home if a big one were to happen. And they happen so fast there is nothing I can do to get to my son and protect him in the throws of it, should it be a messy one. That's a freaky feeling that doesn't settle well into my bones.