It was 34 degrees when I dropped my son off for school this morning. Which is no big deal, I know so many other places have a REAL winter. But! Thanks to the trusty sprinklers I got to see icicles hanging from trees. I will take that over shoveling snow any day.


the little stinker of the day

I asked a friend to take our family pictures to save money (free works best for me!). She did awesome! My kids during the photo shoot? Not all of them behaved so awesome. I might laugh about it tomorrow. But not today. I had huge expectations because 100% of the families I have ever photographed were more well behaved and had more family photo shoot options to choose from. Us? One shot. One photo and it's only going to work out because it has to. Not everyone is smiling. But everyone is looking. It's hard to not compare- but seriosly- I am the mom that takes good care of this family and I wanted ONE HOUR this whole year for the family to pull together and look at a camera and smile. They didn't even have to all do it for a whole hour- just half the time would have pleased me. But no. That was too much to expect. For some reason. Lame.

The most surprizing thing was the one who was the most challenging was not the one we would have expected. This child is NEVER grumpy. This child is almost NEVER crying. Yet this child totally killed our hope for a great family photo today. She acted like we were asking her to walk barefoot on broken glass in the pouring rain. Okay so it was raining- but whatever- rain in the desert is magical!

I don't know what her deal was. But you know, we love her anyway and we will still keep her. Mostly cos she's so stinking cute. Even when she is pouty cry baby. I love you Sylvia! Next year: please get your act together and be your usual sweet and cooperative self. Thanks!

ps. There are several nice pictures my friend took, but I am posting the outtakes to be dramatic- the goods will be on our Christmas card.


my first

Last night a friend invited me to door bust the mall for the 50% off Gap deal at midnight. It's the only series of clothing that has made it well through all three of my children...OF COURSE I WANT TO JOIN YOU!

We had no idea what to expect. I gagged down a Diet Coke at about 11pm, we hit up some chocolate at a 7-11, my friend got checked out by a guy that wasn't a scumbag so that was awesome.

Then we headed to the mall. We saw a LOT of parking spaces filled. We passed a Best Buy where people were lined up with tents and chairs and blankets. Then we rounded the corner and saw what I can only describe as a Lollapalooza-sized crowd. It was insane. It was filled with teenagers. The air was so cold I could see snowflakes twinkling out of my mouth each time I exhaled. We parked and walked around to scope out the scene.

The line was insane and wrapped around like an S 4 zillion times and then shot over towards the movie theaters 10 states away. What a total disappointment. We then followed some non-teenaged patrons and went right into the mall without waiting another minute. I was so excited I did 7 cartwheels and a David Lee Roth toe-touch in the middle of the air. I wondered how long all those people would wait to get into a mall that had several other access points immediately available. They might have been waiting in line for the $10 gift card the first 2000 people, but there were a LOT more than that waiting. I counted. I am a speed counter. It's a hidden talent, not many people know I have this skill.

We hit The Gap right away and the boy section I needed was well stocked with about 2 other shoppers. By the time I got what I wanted (about 12:15) I turned to find my friend and the store began to fill with more people and the walls/ racks started closing in on me. Suffocation by cotton. It was then I made a mad dash to the little girl section. People, let me tell you something. Mothers in The Gap's little girl section on a 50% off sale are like 50 starving hunters going for the same 2 deer. They were ruthless. Savages. I thought I was in New York for a minute riding the 2/3 subway home during rush hour. Manicured hands were desperately grabbing at hangers, checking sizes, tossing things back and holding their stance so as to not let another shopper near their territory. I had to remind myself several times it was not the night to remember my manners, it was the night I would be fighting like a hunter to get my daughter her holiday outfit. I might have caused a few casualties along the way and I have no regrets. A few eyeballs gouged by hangers- but that was their own fault for not ducking when I shoved by with my armload of successfully collected clothing.

I was shocked, but then impressed by the mothers there with little babies. One was nursing while she waited in line. Oh the line, that's right! How could I forget! The shopping took 20 minutes and the standing in line to pay took about 2 hours. But oh it was worth it. I fully plan on doing it again next year. There's one thing I love more than a stocked pantry and that is my kids' dresser drawers stocked for winter.

It was so confusing to leave the mall at 3am and see a fully functioning food court with loads of people eating as if it was the middle of the afternoon. I would have sat down and had some pizza myself just because everyone else made it look so fun and easy/ normal, but my partner in midnight crime wasn't up for it. So we headed home and I revealed Mike's hidden talent of being magic with his time management predictability skills. It was fun to discover in our conversations how many things are magical at 3am.



What a treat it was to visit (alone!) my sister and her family in Washington over the weekend. Check out the cute photos I took! Oh, but try to pretend that my awesomely placed bobbypin isn't sticking out in the middle of my head here. How did I think that looked okay? random. Lindsey

We got snow! We ate delicious crab legs. We laughed. Some played the trumpet.
We made a gingerbread house (remember the snow?). Someone played an amazing electric guitar. I checked out some bagpipes. It was probably my favorite visit out to see them ever. It was nice to shower my nephews and niece with as much attention as I possibly could while my own kiddos were home with their dad. I enjoyed taking their family photos and watching them have fun together. Then it got really cold and I was really missing that Arizona weather until my toes thawed in the car.
This is Carter telling us he's ready to wrap up the photo session.


finding myself again!

I dusted off my camera and did some holiday family shots for some friends. It was renewing to say the least. Sometimes I forget how good it feels to splurge in the creative hobby experience. Not enough of that happening in my life lately. I have two more families I have offered to do this season and that's about all I can handle this year before Christmas.

When we lived in New York I was able to have a blast gaining experience shooting friends to build a portfolio I felt good about and had some paid clients. I think it's time to polish it up and figure out how to sharpen my skills and keep at it.

I guess I am wrapping up a long year that left me with little opportunity to indulge in the extras life has to offer by way of free time. My kids are older now, my health is better, my mind is making room for more creative outlet. I'm excited to realize I have more to give besides the childcare/ janitorial services of being a mom and more room to take in some creative juices.
So. You will be seeing a sprinkling of my camera play time in the coming weeks as I edit and toy with shots I love. In the meantime I am off to Washington alone to spend some time with my only sister and her darling children (plus her fireman boyfriend). I brought a special mini skirt to wear while I practice sliding down the fire pole for my family Christmas card (think Bridget Jones and giggle- fair warning R rated clip. The sound of her legs sliding and squeaking down the pole get me every time!).


picture pages

squashing dish soap suds

A glorious day at the park with both of my babies in baby swings!

My favorite November pictures so far.


sweet and salty

It's interesting how the lives others lead (be it chosen or not) can cause so much introspection on what I focus on. On what is a big deal. And what I worry about, speak of, and spend my free time doing.

Today I read something amazingly happy and something amazingly sad to me. I will post them in the order I read them.

I read on my friend Gabby's blog today about a man who quit his job after the Haiti earthquake and knew he needed to help. He found a group of orphaned children living in a field without any adult support system shortly after his arrival (he just up and moved there to help!). He started what has become a non-profit org (Hearts of Haiti). As a young father himself, Matt Gunn decided to help feed, clothe and educate these children. He's been at it for the last 8 months. What an amazing decision and how truly inspiring.

And then I read on my friend's blog about her daugher, Cami, fighting Leukemia. She is such a sweet little girl! It makes no sense to me at all why she has to have this experience. It hurts my stomach to read about all her tiny little body has to endure. Today is the start of a really hard round of chemo.


new neighbors

8 reasons I know my new neighbors will love to live next to us. The brief times we have crossed paths / been home at the same time he has seen or heard this:

1) Me yelling at Evan to NOT PEE ON THE FENCE again!

2) Me on my knees, digging at my gravel in the front yard near the fence Evan pees on. I have on my pink garden gloves and a paint roller (minus the rolling sponge).*

3) Standing out front with another neighbor under a street light in my husband's giant flip flops and pajamas.

4) Yelling at Evan to STOP PEEING ON THE TRASH CANS!!!!!

5) Yelling at the boys to get into the car at 8am while they run down the street as fast as they can away from me.

6) Standing out front with another neighbor while they drive away slowly. I Wonder if it's going to be like the movie The Burbs where I fully expect them to take a bag of trash to the curb and beat the hell out of it with a stick.

7) Riding scooters with Evan in the back yard reminding him to not pee on the trash cans right before he is about to pee on the trash can.

8) Standing out front waiting for the bus. Only there is no visible reason for me to be standing outside alone doing nothing but standing/ staring at the sky.

9) Just so you know. I totally plan to water the trees in my front yard in my tampon costume. And when Evan pees on the fence or trash cans I can just take off my costume and use it to clean up!

*I had to bury the satelite cord that was yanked up from the ground when their fence was put in. I couldn't find a shovel.


the next great idea

I have this really insane idea, but hear me out.

What if. WHAT IF. We had soccer classes for toddlers in a field that was NOT right next to a park?

Think about it for a moment.


Because then. THEN. Maybe my kids will actually want to learn a sport instead of running away to the park. Repeatedly. For one hour.

Just an idea. You know. For the sake of the kids. And the moms.

Call me crazy. But it just might be a better plan.


if i wish upon a star

Look at this amazing building. Something about the shapes and the colors.... yellow/ blue/ gray appeal to me. I want to peek into that room behind the arrow window up top! It reminds me of the amazing work I have seen of Sixx Design. I wish I knew the inspiration behind its design. It was very different than anything else in the area.

Not sure if this would be the area I would prefer to live in within Tokyo, but for sure I would love to own up this building.
We passed it every single day as we stood on the moving walkway toward the subway station. It was a nice way to start the day: a dreamy smile thinking of how I would decorate what I imagine might be magical on the insides.


What Have I Done For Someone Today?

I am posting this today because I have gotten out of the habit of talking as a family during dinner time about each person's nice thing they did for someone else during the day. Zane would often smile as he told me about giving his teacher a hug. Evan always told me with a head tilt and smile that he played trains with Grandma G. even if she was not over that day. I think Evan confuses it with his favorite thing to do. So I give him clues about a specific thing he did nice that I observedl. It is usually something related to Sylvia or sharing with a friend. Sylvia will often be reminded of her kind smiles and generous hugs she offered her family.

Speaking of the topic- my mom has been a superhero at helping me and doing a bazillion nice things for my family. Playing with my kids, cleaning my house, folding my laundry changing diapers, putting laundry away, dishes and more dishes just to name a few. I think last week was the motherload, I believe every single dish was dirty and she walked in the door like a cleaning tornado and did them all! I wish my sister lived here, too, so she could be blessed by all her help. I feel selfish having her all to myself! What a great example she is to our family of doing nice things for other people.

Here is the talk from the prophet What Have I Done For Someone Today?

This part inspires me:

A few years ago I read an article written by Jack McConnell, MD. He grew up in the hills of southwest Virginia in the United States as one of seven children of a Methodist minister and a stay-at-home mother. Their circumstances were very humble. He recounted that during his childhood, every day as the family sat around the dinner table, his father would ask each one in turn, “And what did you do for someone today?”1 The children were determined to do a good turn every day so they could report to their father that they had helped someone. Dr. McConnell calls this exercise his father’s most valuable legacy, for that expectation and those words inspired him and his siblings to help others throughout their lives. As they grew and matured, their motivation for providing service changed to an inner desire to help others.

Besides Dr. McConnell’s distinguished medical career—where he directed the development of the tuberculosis tine test, participated in the early development of the polio vaccine, supervised the development of Tylenol, and was instrumental in developing the magnetic resonance imaging procedure, or MRI—he created an organization he calls Volunteers in Medicine, which gives retired medical personnel a chance to volunteer at free clinics serving the working uninsured. Dr. McConnell said his leisure time since he retired has “evaporated into 60-hour weeks of unpaid work, but [his] energy level has increased and there is a satisfaction in [his] life that wasn’t there before.” He made this statement: “In one of those paradoxes of life, I have benefited more from Volunteers in Medicine than my patients have.”2 There are now over 70 such clinics across the United States.


I could have stayed another week. Or three.

Tokyo Revisited: Tsukiji Fish Market!

This was our number one favorite experience. If you go to Tokyo- make this a top priority. Plan to get there early (5am) for the tuna auction. There are a ton of electric carts buzzing all around delivering fish from one place to another. It felt like we were in a live game of Frogger. We were for sure in their way. Nearby alleys sold pottery, cooking equipment, cutlery, and packaged foods. I got these awesome bowls. I had much desire to poke fish eyeballs.
Then we stood in line for an hour to have super fresh sushi for breakfast- SO worth it!

I am normally not a big sushi fan, but it was an amazing experience. It was all so fresh it melted in my mouth like brie. You could have zero teeth and eaten this sushi easily. There was even one piece still moving when he cut it and placed it in front of me! Everyone laughed when I asked 'is it going to try to crawl out of my mouth?!' I don't think the sushi chef knew what I was saying with my words, but my hand pretending to crawl out of my mouth and look of horror on my face must have tipped him off. He was well pleased when I ate it.

I attached a video of Mike eating the fresh sushi at the bottom. I think his eyes rolled back into his head a few times. Sushi would be his other wife if we practiced polygamy. He would like to make sweet love to the fresh sushi. You know, if it was proper.

In other news. The Sumida-Gawa river water bus= totally LAME. We passed under a bunch of different colored small bridges. After living in New York, a bridge has to be REALLY amazing to wow me. Apparently it was laundry day in Tokyo because that was all we saw. Oh! And the back side of many apartment buildings. The most hilarious, okay the only hilarious part, was that the tour guide was talking the entire time (in Japanese). What could she have possibly been talking about and for so long!?

Oh and on your right is some laundry hanging out to dry!

Let's count the windows on the back of the building together, shall we? Ichi, ni, san, shi.........
On your left is a building with a golden sperm on it.

Here comes the green bridge. Yep. The bridge is green. Will you look at how green this bridge is. And now we are under it. Oh and now we are past it. That was the green bridge. Green. Oh green is such a wonderful color. Don't you think so? Green.
On your right will be another apartment building. If you look closely, you will see laundry drying in the breeze......


( picture from the summer archive)

This week I delivered a meal to a mom new to having 3 kids. It brought me back to that transition time in my own life. It seems like that was decades ago. But really, it was just one and one half year ago.

I remember dropping Zane off at preschool one morning with Evan at my side. He had the desire to scramble into the room and be part of the train table group. This desire was so strong that I knew it would be a huge battle leaving me with bruises should I allow him to indulge even if for a moment. So I held his massive body on my hip, snuck a reluctant and not-yet-diagnosed Zane in through the door. One of the teacher's helpers identified me as being Mormon somehow, like her, so she thought that meant I would want to talk to her at length about the 'do you know this or that Mormon family?' game or my personal favorite 'are you related to The Fullers that live in town X, Y, or Z?'
Let's not forget, Sylvia was growing strong and steady in my tummy at this point, so my spine was cracking from the weight of both children held up at once. While this woman wanted to chit chat about things I did not care about. It was Evan's time to nap, so I had to race back home and get him what we both needed. Rest for both of us.
I remember one day doing the Evan juggle and having to head out next to a doctor's appointment for a routine check on the baby. That day the school psychologist caught me in the hallway dropping Zane off. The man was impossible to get in touch with, so this was a golden opportunity! He wanted to introduce me to the speech pathologist that would be evaluating Zane and it gave me a chance to finally meet one of the people at the school I had been needing to meet to undersand Zane's needs better and get him the support he needed.

I made an instant decision in that hallway to take care of that situation while the opportunity presented itself.
When I got into the car and buckled Evan in my eyes flooded with tears. Evan missed his nap. I missed my doctor's appointment to check on Sylvia. All three of my kids had an important need at the same time. I made the decision I felt was best at that time with the information I had, however, it meant two of my three kids had to be put last. And that broke my heart in half. It was the first time I realized this was my new life: tending to the needs of three important people. The realization set in that this would be such a heavy job, at times, to make decisions on behalf of all of them every day.
Mostly. I cried because I didn't want to make the wrong choice. Like...... ever! I had a new person to juggle in the game of guessing what's best for everyone at any given time and that game scared me. I could use many more doses of confidence in motherhood, but I do realize my motherly instinct is usually kicking in gear when I need it most. Experience is also helping me fine tune and adjust rapidly.
A wise friend gave me excellent advice recently that I remind myself of when I start to get strung out about doing it wrong. She told me it's okay if it's not perfect. Motherhood. It's okay if you don't do it perfectly! The times you don't do it exactly as you wished, learn from it, but let it go. Don't beat yourself up about it or dwell on it. It's okay to be imperfect.

Today when Zane was late for school for the second time ever (amazing considering who his mother is!) I felt myself going to that place of frustration for my lack of time management skills. But I remembered it's okay to not be perfect sometimes. Tomorrow he will be on time! I knew where I slacked in the morning and how to do it better tomorrow. I drove off without it being that big of a deal and had a great morning. If I had not remembered my friend's advice I might have cried and held on to the guilt and disappoitnment in myself for hours. But that would not have done anyone any good at all.

Hooray for wise friends!


Each year I am amazed that people take the time to get Halloween baggies, put a couple pieces of candy in them, staple them, and hand each trick-or-treater one stapled bag.

1) Really? Who has time for this?

2) It's not even filled with candy! It's always TWO pieces! What would have been so hard about just grabbing two pieces and handing it out without the bag?

3) These people need to use their time better. They need to come on over and fold my laundry or something.

In other news- it looks like we all got the Costco bag of mini chocolate candy bars. Which sucks for the kids. Fun sizes were small enough, weren't they? Now we are jipping them even more? Might as well start handing out pennies.