5.31.2007

Chucky


So I have a new angle on naming this kid flipping around inside my normally calm and painless body. No sweet, family names for this little dear. I imagine he is going to be born with razor-sharp teeth for brutal nursing, spiked maces for feet, and I am fully convinced in place of hands he has tasers.
I am constantly getting electrical shocks to the system from the inside no matter how I sit, stand, sleep, or speak. A little zap to a nerve on the right side of my tummy sent a cookie sheet flying across the kitchen yesterday afternoon. Last night I was frozen like a statue at the bottom of the stairs with my new favorite location of torture: the sciatic nerve. Good choice, good choice my son. Let's not forget his most popular destination for shock treatment: the round ligament. This one creates the same aftermath of being kicked swiftly in the groin with a cowboy boot 43 times.
Why have I not heard about this before? Oh wait, I have, but I just didn't listen closely to my poor friends and family who have experienced this. Words like sciatica and round ligament pain do not do it justice, people. Let's start our own lingo for what this really feels like. Because if I knew this was what you were feeling I would have been a better friend. I would have at least brought you brownies.

5.29.2007

check, check, check


I love that scene in the movie Singles when Steve is buying a pregnancy test kit at the grocery store (with a bunch of other 'filler' items) and the cashier is someone he knew from college. While they chat about old times, items fly down the conveyer belt without notice. Just as he invites his customer friend to a party that night, he looks down to see it is a pregnancy test in his hand running over the red grid of lights. The conversation ends abruptly with awkward exit salutations.
For the most part, I imagine it's got to be a rather dull job to be a cashier. However, to make it fun I would try to figure people out according to the things they buy. My list this week:

soy sauce
super glue
lettuce

I remember going to the store with my mom once as a teenager. We went to get ingredients for dinner; we would be having banana splits- an awesome tradition to do once a year.
The cashier began to scan my step dad's 12 pack of beer, then toppings, and ice cream. As my mom began to write the check, the cashier blurted out as if she was a contestant on a game show solving a puzzle: "Michelob Floats?"

8 mile

2002 (earliest digital photo I could find)



What's the best way to celebrate an 8 year anniversary?! I will tell you how- start at social security and finally change your name like you planned to do all these years. I have legally taken his name. And I swear it had nothing to do with waiting out that 7 year itch!

Here's to 80 more + eternity.


5.26.2007

do it



The summer I turned 16 I had my first true babysitting gig; every weekday from 6am- 5pm. That was the summer was that I discovered the delicious, yet smutty magazine Cosmo. Over a year of issues piled up in a basket next to their couch and that kept me entertained. If you have never read or flipped the pages, I have to tell you it's basically a juicy rated R movie complete with sexy photos and mouth watering language. Reading each issue made me more and more thrilled to get married one day and attack my husband as soon as humanly possible.

I catalogued every exotic position I read about into my mind and promised to remember them and be the most awesome wife/lover ever. According to this magazine, that was all a good marriage needed. Obviously that's not the case, but I do think it's an important part of marital satisfaction. AND according to Dr. Oz, it's very good for your health.

I know it's such a silly magazine to have made an impact on my tender, youthful mind. However, the one article I remember the most still holds a valuable suggestion I am interested in testing out. Several readers followed a challenge issued by a columnist to commit to having sex with their spouse every day for one month. My naive mind didn't realize the impact of such a commitment, I assumed when I got married that would be the routine I would desire to follow anyway, what was the big deal?

Readers wrote in by the dozens with their stories of how it made their relationship stronger and how it became a fun adventure to make time for every single day amid crazy schedules with work and children to tend to. They wrote about exciting new positions they tried, the quickies they snuck in before leaving for work in the morning or taking *showers* together. They found ways to make it work and it brought them closer together emotionally, as well.

I realize I am no Cosmo Magazine, but I want to challenge MY readers to a similar goal.

Choose a week (7 days) to make love to your spouse each day.

It doesn't have to be this month, but put a star on the calendar and commit together to try it a week that makes sense (no travel, fewer late work nights, not surrounding imminent birth or recovery, etc.).

p.s. This might only work if the wife suggests it, so be careful guys- could totally backfire and you might be out of luck for a week entirely.

5.24.2007

seether

We got a lemon tree, a bunch of rose bushes, lots of space, a garage and all sorts of awesome perks when we moved into this house. We also inherited vertical blinds, ultimately 4 pairs to cover the 4 sliding glass doors. Let me tell you a thing or two about vertical blinds, in case you have not had the pleasure.

When we moved in there was one loosie. Like a wiggly tooth, sometimes it would fall down when we opened or closed them. We learned to pull the chords like one would handle a marionette doll. No big deal, a charm you adjust to in a new place.

Now throw a toddler into the living space who gets a little bored. He seems to think they are swords and yanks them down every chance he gets. Within a month about 6 of these teeth are not only wiggly, but tumbling to the floor any time we enter the room and breathe. They collapse quickly like uncooked spaghetti noodles in Mario and Luigi's Giant World (did anyone else ever get to that level?). The bending over deal to pick them back up, it's getting pretty old the larger I become. It is now time to break out the super glue and you better believe I am going to whisper sour nothings to these bitches as I give them what for.

So in my ode to vertical blinds, I must say that I would never wish a fire upon anyone's home, namely my own. However, if a fire did happen I would get my family safely out and return to make sure every single tooth was ignited and leave only after they burned to the ground, leaving me happy little piles of ash.

5.21.2007

awesome mail


Look at this awesome package I got to be the recipient of! Not only did Kristy choose every single thing I would want to pick out for myself and made me laugh out loud with the silly cards, she also sent the cutest prego shirt EVER. See below. I seriously have had this exact shirt in my hands 3 times and put it back cos I wanted to put my discretionary budget funds towards something else. You know, like more candy or junk food instead.

Not so good at self-portraits, but this one below shows the kid growing and my giant bicept.
Thanks KRISTY! You rock, it was so exciting to get my very own happy mail, it made me so feel so stoked. I hope you guys get to visit this summer so we can go shopping and have girl talk over chocolate shakes at a diner. Maybe if you're nice we can dust off the XBOX for you.
P.S. Check out her site, she has the cutest family ever and is one of my most favorite people in the world to laugh with.


dragon flies

Waiting for Mike to check into our hotel in Boston a few years ago, I waited in a cozy lobby chair. I watched as the bellman whisked a giant bouquet of flowers across the floor and up the elevators. I noticed the fine detail of the vase and admired it greatly. I thought of the lucky girl who was about the receive such a lovely and thoughtful gift. I admit I was slightly envious.

Mike greeted me, flowerless, with our room key to assist my pregnant self with the bags and we went to our room. I took a long look at his profile in the elevator and admired him. I reminded myself of the moments he, too, is thoughtful and kind to me. I was also a lucky girl.

When we got to the room that exact bouquet and vase I saw the bellman carry was sitting on the dresser. It was mine. I had watched the act unfold for the lucky girl that would be me.

I know those flowers/ that gesture meant a lot more to me to have seen them from the outside first. This week I am thinking about how each day must be filled with moments and luxuries that would be so much more appreciated if I took some time to see them as an outsider would.

5.17.2007

30


yes, yes. the profile now reports I have entered a new decade of my life: my thirties.

and you know what- it's a number that hasn't given me a whole lot of grief or thought. i basically feel like i have been 30 since i got married. pre-marriage roaring twenties reminds me too much of college and concerts and silly boys to chase. so my pre-thirties have been a whole new package of fun and today isn't so much of a milestone feeling as it is for others. not really sure why or how.

The phrase that keeps going through my mind this week has been

BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED

bloom where you are planted

Bloom Where You Are Planted

BLOOM where you are planted

no matter the age, location, or personal situation- it's a wonderful feeling to allow yourself to bloom.

pardon me as I rest my puffy stems from a fun day watching my toddler play at the park and amusement playground and await for my love to bring me some Indian cuisine.

5.16.2007

Package Take II


My second thoughtful package to report on was sent to my mother for Mother's Day.

I made a list of things I knew my mother enjoyed and things that reminded me of her, and then added to the list things I have learned from her over the years. It was fun to find connections to some of those items and added a little note to each one. Here are some examples of the items I sent in her package:

Barnes and Noble gift card: Her love to read and learn has always made an impression on me to seek information I have interest in and helped me want to gain my college education.

Her fav candy: Having a sweet tooth is fine to indulge in, but aim for moderation. I am still working on this lesson!

Cute notepad and new pens: To work hard with every job I have and always write everything down (we share the forgetful gene).
A new CD: Her love for music is much appreciated. Growing up she was always open to listening to what I liked and often enjoyed it right along with me. She never complained about what I listened to and didn't ask me to turn it down or off.

Photo album with photos of Zane's life: Most importantly of all, I learned so many things about being a mother from her! I always think of her patience and calmness and strive to be that kind of mother every day.

You've still got time this month to get your package out- go for it and tell me all about it!

5.15.2007

always and forever

Back in the day when I worked in a corporate building, I normally bought lunch from the cafe. A salad with ham and provolone chopped up on top with ranch dressing. And the dessert of the day, eaten before the salad.



Sometimes I would bring my lunch and stash it in the community fridge my office neighbors shared. Normally, it was an empty fridge. I was situated at the end of a row of offices filled with the senior level types that got fancy parking spots and filled them with Mercedes. They were pretty much too cool to bring their own lunch. But they were still my buds and I didn't hold that against them.



I couldn't resist the urge one day to fill my Pyrex with an all-time favorite lunch from home. Of course, someone important on the floor hits the fridge at lunch time and shouts down the hall:




"Ooooooooooookay, WHO brought the SpaghettiO's!?"









5.14.2007

A+ Treat


Yes, yes, and YES. This Hershey's caramel chocolate bar is the best *new* item I have tried all year. It's huge, heavy, and will last even the biggest sweet tooth several days. The caramel is as perfect as in the Caramello, but I prefer this chocolate better. It is less of a mess compared to the Caramello in that you can break off a piece and the whole thing doesn't explode into a gooey mess. They got this one completely right.

This is an absolute winner- 100%. It will replace my Moose Munch Target shopping treat.

leaves and life


All I can think about this weekend is how blessed my life has been and continues to be.

I look at leaves dangling from a tree outside the window and think about how perfect they are and how it all started. I ponder how it all works out, if God is proud of some of the good decisions I have made in my life and if this is the joy I am allowed to feel, the regular life of a little family growing. Our bucket of trials seems pretty manageable. No tragedy so far with us, is it coming later? Or is it just luck? Is there a grand correlation going on that permits us the opportunity to be so blessed? Is there a formula I accidentally got right? Because it seems others that get a tougher bucket of trials are doing things a lot more right. And on the flip side, some pretty screwed up people living a seemingly hassle-free life.

There is so much to figure out and piece together and answers to my questions I know I can find in my heart and in this giant book. But there are also some I am not supposed to know on this earth. Things that will make perfect sense when I am gone and doing more important things with the correct, noise-free perspective when I get to the other side of the veil.

I keep reminding myself of every single luxury afforded to me and my family. It's so easy to ignore all of them. When people ask me how I am doing, I realize I have the audacity to complain with a sigh that "he is getting heavier" as if it's a chore. My mind often flies through the list of things that are different, less comfortable each month. I'm reshaping such thoughts and remembering. The leaves help me remember each morning as they greet me from outside of the window.

Today I will change my mind. I will remember

He's getting heavier! This means he is thriving and getting what he needs from me! For this I am grateful.

I will also take more opportunities to have a seat and gaze out the window. And read that big giant book so I can try to figure some more things out.

5.09.2007

Initiation

Parenthood seems to come with a series of initiations no one really likes to tell you ahead of time. The poop on the fingers was covered quite well by a witty writer over at Sweet Juniper not too long ago. Puke initiation, however, has not been covered widely on the blog circuit.

Let us begin with Monday of last week. It was a normal Monday, getting him fed and pumped up for Mommy and Me Soccer, which is loose translation for pulling weeds from the grass and running in circles 50 feet apart from the class.

Once home, he turned to me with a whimper and fire hosed banana chunks into my hands. It was one of those moments that seemed to happen in slow motion. I was torn between wanting to scream SICK and being a tender mother. I was amazed how The Nurturer in me stepped up and took control, shaking a fist at the rest of me that wanted to run and hide.

He really freaked out watching lumpy, throat-burning bile spew from his mouth over and over. He cried and trembled in fear and confusion. Both of us covered in slime and breakfast, I emptied my hands into the sink and clutched his little, frightened body while ignoring the warm puddles upon our feet.

The word repulsive left my mind and comforting took precedence. I couldn't believe how my voice and assurance everyone throws up it's totally normal dried his tears and simmered his trembles. I felt like I was saying Sure! We all puke all the time, it's loads of fun. Right or wrong, the approach worked. The following week of tummy flu suffering did not include the tears, just snuggles with me for some comfort and rest.

Each time his stomach landed in my hands I was more impressed with how much I could hold without it dripping onto the floor. My clean-up process got faster and more efficient. His role of standing still until I could strip him and wipe him down became rather fluid (pardon the pun). We were a great puke and clean-up team! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would find pleasure and success in mastering this process. Never did I think I would find satisfaction identifying, after 20 minutes of mystery, that the pink stuff mingled with the apple chunks was Tylenol.

But the most amazing of all to me was the sheer elation I felt watching him become himself again. That busy toddler that talks, laughs, plays cars, runs, climbs, and pushes his limits is back and I have never appreciated his curiosity and defiance more.

5.08.2007

pictures to prove it


Dear Mom,

I know it's hard to think of me as pregnant cos we live so far apart, so this post is to assure you that your newest grandson is growing rapidly. He moves with such abrupt jabs that I often think he is about to shoot out of my stomach and fall onto the floor. So I instinctively get ready to catch him. Unlike before, this one actually feels like an alien flopping around in there. I wonder if that means he will be interested in science.
As for the big brother, he pretty much spends the whole day hanging on me while begging for pretzels.


5.07.2007

Vance is off the list.

I am so excited when I am at the park and I see two brothers hanging out, throwing sand at each other or eating their picnic lunch with their mom. They have their boy clothes on, baseball hats, and sometimes their bikes and helmuts with flames on the side. I love that I get to have 2 boys. I can't help but smile inside and out when I see the family we are about to become.

I don't love the brain freeze for boy names I am having.

Every time I pass a baby aisle for clothes or bedding, I immediately pick out what I think would be suitable for Violet Amelia. I have to stop my hand from reaching out to put it into the cart. Oh yeah, I get to have a boy again just like I wanted! My mind won't shift away from this obsession I have for my girl name and into reality. I see the boys growing up together, but the poor little brother just doesn't have a blasted name!

Maybe I will add that to my monthly To Do list for June.

How To

I recently read a list of things someone wants to accomplish before they die, being in a band was on his list. I thought I would take this morning to outline what I think are the steps he could take to get into a band.

p.s. I never said anything about this band actually being great or famous, but that isn't part of his goal.

****

1) Choose an instrument you are in love with (this will only work if it's something you have always wanted to play and have much passion for it).

2) Purchase instrument (these steps may seem obvious, but it's funny how easy the rest of it comes after this is accomplished). Craig's List is a good source for used, in addition to ebay or Guitar Center (see posted ads, talk to people there). Take time to really evaluate what you can/ want to spend in the event you really suck and hate it- this will be key for your search.

3) Find a teacher. A friend, a stranger from craig's list or again, someone from Guitar Center might be able to hook you up with a connection. Local community colleges or community centers might be a good source for basic lessons, as well. There are also great free sources on YouTube or videos you can get from music stores. Sounds lame, but one of my drum instructors told me these are useful sources to assist with learning technique.

4) Be honest with your skill- you are a beginner. Figure out what kind of time you can allow to practice and make a schedule. The amount of practice time will determine how quickly you get better.

5) Playing with other musicians is the only way you will learn how to play with other musicians. Right before you feel brave enough, seek out other musicians to play with that are open to a beginner. If you have a hard time finding other people to join, consider putting the band together yourself! There have to be people at or above your skill level that are looking for the same thing. Again, Craig's List is a good source. I would avoid people that are not at or above your skill level. This could mean opening your search to other towns a little bit of a driving distance away.

5.1) Be aware of your musical influences, the kind of style and sound that appeals to you. Have a list ready to share of bands that inspire you. While being in a country band or metal band would still allow you to learn and grow, you might not enjoy doing it as much as your desired sound. Be selective with who you are spending this hobby time with. Know the personalities you blend well with (i.e. no druggies, please) and available time you have to get together and play (how many times a week, for how long?). This will take time to find, but it will be worth it so be patient. You may also need to be prepared to fork our a little money for a rehearsal space. We only paid $15 each for a 3 hour spot once a week. The guys paid more for storage space to keep their amps on-site.

6) Continue to seek music to play- learn songs you love. This will help you develop a rolodex of styles to blend together until you eventually develop your own.

5.06.2007

secrets

Frank,
I am graduating from eighth grade this year. My best friend and I are going
to separate high schools. Over the past few months, I have felt our relationship
growing more and more distant as we both make new friends. Her birthday is this
Sunday. I've decided that, instead of mailing in my secrets, I am going to put
them all in a book and give it to her as a gift.



I read this on the post secret website today and it made me tear up. It's so interesting that at every age of my life I have made dear friends that never leave my heart. Most of them live somewhere far away from me and many I have lost contact with for over a decade, but I will always remember each of them forever. It makes me sad to know that none of them know how important to me they were and that I still think about them from time to time and hope they are happy. Each of them deserves a book of my secrets.

5.05.2007

exactly

the home and location and space and yard and paint color and scent and length of grass and roof tiles were found perfectly in place for a home to snatch up this afternoon at 4:30 pm.

that is.......until i read the details once again on the house that would be mine. the price changed by $450 a month. what the $%^~@&?

after weeks and hours checking craig's list and on the phone with agents the only thing I want to do is call the agent so I can scream into her ear EFF!



5.04.2007

apron

The only apron I have ever owned was a gift from my sister. She sent me a cute denim one with her kids' painted hand prints all over it. I regret to inform her it has been lost in the shuffle of all the moving we have done over the years. I know it's here somewhere, just have no idea what shelf or storage bin it was tucked into.

So....I don't get to play the apron game, I waited too long to purchase and send a photo of my apron. I did find the one I should have ordered. But let's be honest here, in my home, take-out is becoming the dinner wave of the future with my appetite and energy diminishing.
In another state of mind I may order this darling apron from Etsy.
I mostly love it cos I could wear it with nothing under it on a night the kiddies are nestled in their beds so I can properly greet The Mister after a long day of work. THAT, my friends, is an important part of apron shopping.

5.03.2007

administrative business

Once when I was working at the call center as a supervisor I got a new team. It was full of experienced reps that knew how to do their job well. I was baffled when I reviewed their stats to see how poorly they performed compared to other teams. I thought they were burned out or needed motivational tactics such as contests, etc. What it ultimately boiled down to was a lack of productivity goals. I met with each person and talked through the department expectation of their weekly stats and worked with them on realistic goals and tactics to help them achieve success. Each person had a plan, a goal to aim for each day when they came to work.

They rocked. They not only passed their goals, but they were excited and more alive each day. They cared more about the work they did. They took pride in the weekly productivity report and engaged in healthy competition with their peers.

Some days I reflect on my successes of the week and find a messy house, a bored child, few home cooked meals, and little to no personal time for me. I have been lacking my own productivity goals and excitement for each day.

This month will be better, I have some goals for all aspects of my job that might stretch a little beyond realistic, but it's feeling nice to put more control and structure into my life. It's nice to create a To Do list and check some things off. I think I need this order in my life more than I care to admit. Here is my list for the month of May, each will be jotted into spots within my weekly day planner so it's not so overwhelming and the time-sensitive ones are handled well .

****

dmv/ soc sec: legally change last name (I know, it's been 8 years)
network with headhunters in AZ to assist with Mike's job hunt (5+ contacts)
think about potty training
read scriptures at least every other day
dentist appointments for me and Zane
keep up blogs, all 3 of them
learn 2 new songs on my drums
house hunt/ decide if we will stay here or move to a new home
if above answer becomes move- start packing and disregard this list entirely
research next stage car seat for Z
send thoughtful package
send mother's day gifts
register Z for swim class and preschool
visit my 2 elderly friends Margie and Joann
weekend park days as family (at least 2)
magnify my calling as committee member (prep for activity this month)
FHE once a week
schedule a photography session with a family for June or July
get at least one new Cd
play cards with Mike at least one time a week
2 date nights (one for the temple)
budget/ financial planning weekly with Mike
create and follow meal plans
create and follow daily/ weekly cleaning schedule
try, try, try to not have typos when leaving comments on other blogs

5.02.2007

chocolove


The chocolate portion of the bar is rich and dreamy. If you are looking for a toffee fix, stick with Skor or Heath (in that order).
Love the packaging.

5.01.2007

such promise

Looking for a new place to live is such an arduous task. Why do I always think it is going to be fun, why is it I forget what a serious pain in the @ss it is?

It's sort of like trick-or-treating. You go from location to location and the front of the home gives you an idea of what you think you might - or hope- to get from the inside. Green grass, cute yellow paint, let's hope it's FULL SIZE candy bars served up in a pretty basket. Then you get a tootsie roll. Or a master bedroom that used to be an attic. With midget doors to midget closets and ceilings that do not permit you to exhale, they are so close to your face. Another bust.

*photo from craigslist

tin foil

I want to puke when people write on and on about how cute their spouse is and all the great and wonderful bla bla bla puke vomit bla boring bla. Yesterday I was one of those people and today, again, he is my topic of thought. So go ahead, start the dry heave.

In my family growing up we didn't really use tin foil, we were a saran wrap family. It's easier to see the leftovers that would eventually grow fur and get tossed, completely logical.

Mike's family, apparently, was different.

I worked the late shift at the call center while we were dating. One evening he told me to come over after work and he would have a picnic ready for us to enjoy at the nearby park. I imagined he was going to pick up subs or KFC (this is before celiac diagnosis). Turns out he cooked a hot meal all by himself. I arrived at his home just as he was arranging the food on the plates, complete with stuffed mushrooms on the side. Then out came the tin foil. He ripped off about 30 feet and began wrapping and wrapping and wrapping those plates as if we were going on a rocket ship. Cos tin foil totally belongs on a rocket ship.

After we got married, he must have done some of the grocery shopping as somehow we had tin foil. I was still working the late shift and got home after 9pm. My favorite nights were the ones when I opened the front door and saw him watching t.v. on the couch. Following his suggestion to check the oven, I cracked it open to find my cozy plate of food tucked nicely with 30 feet of tin foil wrapped all around it. Eating dinner was like a mini Christmas, it took me a good 5 minutes to get to the prize.

I smile every time I open the kitchen drawer to get a baggie and grin at the huge roll of tin foil we always seem to have.
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