Wednesday, April 27, 2011


My shirt just called me fat.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sweet Snuggles

Aly and MayLee are the darn cutest little girls around.  This mroning, Alyson was super snuggly and lovey. She woke up with a great smile and ran for a hug.  She shared her cereal with MayLee in the car when MayLee ate all of hers and requested 'Te Amo's and 'True Love' hugs when I dropped her off at school.  After I dropped MayLee off in her classroom, I snuck up on Aly and gave her a kiss.  She turned around and smiled really big and said. "Oh thanks Mom!"

And MayLee!  So darn funny.  Snuggly, huggy, kissy.  All with enthusiasm.  You should see her with her little white piggie.  Biiiiig hugs.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oreo Post

First things first.  I'd like to say, "You're welcome".  I've pared this down from the monstrously long post it was earlier. 

As a prelude to the goop, here's some happy to tide you over.
  • Alyson is at the head of her class for many things
    • Linguistics - both English and Spanish.  Yep, our school is fabulous.  The kids are learning some Spanish every week.  Erik and I are helping at home - this is a good refresher for me.  I took Spanish in college, but my class was at 7am, so my memory is a bit rusty.
    • Fine Motor Skills - She's using scissors at a 4-5 year old level
    • Best out-right cackle - you have to hear it in person to truly appreciate her laugh
    • She's darn funny - and she knows when she's being funny.  I never realized that kids have a sense of humor and can make jokes that young.
Now for the goop.  Yesterday was a hard day.  I'm not positive why, but I have a couple ideas of contributing factors.  I didn't feel like myself at all.  I felt physically and emotionally tired.  Bone tired.  I felt like crawling right back into bed as soon as I got up.  Not even to sleep.  Just to curl up and lay there.  Erik had to work that evening, so it was all me. 

Since I'm not 100% sure of what was going on, here's my theory.
  1. Our house is a mess.  OK, big deal - clean it up.  What's the problem?  ... I don't know.  That's the weird thing.  I just felt completely drained when I looked at it yesterday.  More so than the normal - ugh, another mess feeling.  It felt more like oh my gosh, it's all a mess, and it will never be clean, and I don't think I can bring myself to fold another thing and put another thing away and oh my gosh it's such a mess it will never get any better, what's the point in even trying.  I'm sure you will agree - yuck.
  2. I'm excited about my garden, but tired.  It's exhausting to break, till and ammend the soil by sheer will and force alone.  Could I have rented a rototiller?  Sure.  But though I'm glad that my hands are the ones that broke the ground, it was exhausting.  And there's more to do.  Having worked in peat moss, steer manure and compost, I really hoped my soil would look more like soil. But it still looks mostly like sand.  It needs more.  It's always going to need more.  That's a bit exhausting to think about.  And I finally planted my peas.  But they really should have gone in a few weeks ago, so maybe it was a waste of time and effort to put them in at this point.  Who knows.
  3. Maybe it's just the hormones.  I'll just blame it on the hormones.  I remember the first time I felt hormonal during a period.  I was at college.  That year wasn't particularly great for me - it was 2001, my roommates and I were all a bit at odds with each other and I was busy and sleep deprived.  This is what happened.  I was watching tv.  A commercial came on for a hair product.  The model swung her hair around and the light flared just perfectly.  And I started sniffling and my eyes pricked with tears.  What is WRONG with me?! I yelled at myself.  The same thing happened yesterday.  I'm not sure why I felt weepy.  But I did.  Anything and nothing could set me off.  I was really off balance feeling that way - it's been a really long time.
So yesterday was hard.  Instead of getting off my butt, I sat on the floor surrounded by laundry.  Then I sat on the couch and stared off into space.  When I realized that Alyson was silent in her room, I started to get suspicious.  And then she was calling: "I need a towel to clean up my mess."   Off I dashed.  Fresh despair coursing through my body.  She'd smeared lotion in the carpet.  Presumably trying to get it off of her hands.  All of it.  The whole bottle.  It smelled lovely in there.  Somehow that didn't help my mood.  But I didn't yell.  I just wanted to lay down on the floor and have someone else be the disciplinarian for a minute.  I wanted someone else to figure out how to get the greasy lotion out of the carpet before it stained.  I wanted someone else to be the parent for a couple minutes.  I was tapped out and I needed to tap out!

I had Aly sit on her bed while I ineffectively tried to clean up the carpet.  Eventually, after making the obvious mistake of smearing it around, I sprinkled a bunch of baking soda all over the affected carpet.  This should have been a quick process.  It took me about 45 minutes to get that far.  No joke.  I was more or less useless.  It was exhausting and disorienting and really sad to feel that way.  I hated it.

But it got better.  I managed to get us out of the house to church.  Both Alyson and MayLee were exhausted - none of us had had a nap, and we all probably needed one.  MayLee was just so tired she was miserable.  She kept trying to get to the snacks she couldn't have (peanuts and corn nuts - why in the world did I bring those?) and was furious when I kept taking them out of her hands.

Aly, bless that child over and over again, was so good.  She was happy to sit down in Primary for the first week.  In the past, it had been a struggle just to get her to sit down so I could go to class.  But this time she did and gave me a kiss and asked me to stay.  I love her.  MayLee and I went back to the chapel for Sunday School where she fell asleep.  And I got to listen and read and be touched by the Spirit.  Maybe I was just in need of the Spirit and Sisterhood and Fellowship.  I felt so much better.  So much more renewed.  More able to cope with and deal with the responsibilities of being a parent.  My favorite thing said was that the small and simple things we do every day are the ways we clothe and arm our children with the Armor of God.  It's how we prepare them to withstand the cloying, sneaky evil that is rampant in our world. 

It truly is amazing that though I was still tired, body and spirit, I felt better.  I was able to function.  To be the Mommy again.  To enjoy my girls' smiles and play games with them.  To discipline when needed and tickle just because.  I am so glad to be back to my old tricks.

OK, so for the other side of the fun? 

At church, MayLee sustained me when my name and calling were announced.  She saw everyone holding up their arms and she did the same.  Straight up went her litte left arm - a great big grin on her face.  She couldn't have known how much it meant to me.  She didn't know that it helped heal my heart.

When waking up yesterday morning, MayLee gave Daddy kisses and responded to his "I love you" with "Yay-Yay-oh".

Friday, April 22, 2011

This morning

MayLee gave Daddy a kiss:

Daddy: "Nice kiss MayLee.  Maybe a little too much teeth."


And 15 minutes later, I was in the bathroom and heard someone moaning plaintively in the hallway.

Mommy: "What's going on out here?"

Alyson: "I couldn't see you."

Mommy: "Well I was in the bathroom honey.  You could have said 'hello' to Daddy."

MayLee: "I.  I!!!!!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On an unrelated note

Erik got us some fabulous mats for the bathroom.  They feel like standing on a teddy bear.  Delightful.

Almost Forgot

I almost forgot a really good one from yesterday. 

Aly saw me wearing a pair of Daddy's pajama pants.

"Those are Daddy's.  You shouldn't be wearing them.  You don't get in his drawer.  You SHOULDn't."

True story.

A day of gems

Oh man, it just kept getting better and better.

On the way to the store with Daddy, she said:

"Daddy, you need a baby in your belly."

"Honey, I can't have a baby in my belly."

"Why not?"

"I'm a boy.  Only girls can have babies."

"No-ooh" (disappointment) ... "I'm a girl."

"Yep, when you're much bigger, you can have a baby."

"...I want Ethan to come over to my house... Ethan's a boy... He can be a daddy."


Then later arriving at the mall...

"Is that the store?"

"It's the mall."

"...That starts with 'Ma'... Mahs are bad... Sometimes they come in the house.  We have to put them back outside... That's where they live. That's where their stuff is."

If you didn't figure it out, Mahs are moths.


Even later, at home...

Alyson: "Where's my pillow case so I can wear it?"

Mom: "Maybe it's downstairs."

Alyson: "Maybe not." (with skepticism)


Blankie Truck

I love my Aly Pie.  She's so darn cute.

This morning, getting out of the van, she saw a big bus - all red with a wavy yellow checkerboard on it. I don't remember who was advertising what.  I do remember Aly seeing it and saying:

"That's a Blankie Truck."

And you know what, I think she's right.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Good Tilled Earth

"But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet and good tilled earth."
The Movie
Adapted from the work of JRR Tolien

I have to say that I agree. 

Having recently broken ground (the old fashioned way) for my garden, I take a lot of pleasure in the sight of the crumbly brown beds.  I can't wait to tuck in my cool weather goodies!

First on the list?

Brussels Sprouts
and I'll throw in some beautiful Nasturtiums for color

Erik removed the sod for me on a beautiful, huge plot.  It's 28' by 9'.  I have it shaped as a keyhole and will be planting it as a cottage or kitchen garden.  This combines herbs, veggies and flowers all in the same space resulting in beauty and increased pollination.

The first day, I broke ground.  At first, I tried with just a hoe - but that was harder and I couldn't break the ground as deeply as I needed to.  Truly, since I'm going to be packing in so many things per square foot, I should have applied double digging.  That involves removing the first 12 inches of soil, breaking the soil beneath that and replacing the soil with amendments.  For a couple days, I was all gung ho to do it.  But then reality set in.  I'm a weakling.  One with two girls that don't necessarily find double digging as interesting as I do. 

After I realized that the hoe wasn't doing what I needed it to do, I broke out the spading fork.  It looks like a medieval instrument of torture.  But it got the job done.  I can tell where I used just the hoe and where I used the spading fork.  There's about an 8' stretch that will have to be broken some more - it's only about 4 inches deep.  

Well, this is getting long, so I'll try to wrap it up.  I broke ground for the rest and added some of the amendments to the top.  Compost and some composted steer manure which will act like time released plant food. Today, I just finished working that in with a hoe and added another two bags of compost.  Seriously - the soil I started with was just glorified sand.  I have a big compressed bag of peat moss to add too - I'll put that on top before I finish preparing the beds so it doesn't blow away.  The peat moss will help to hold in the water so the plants can get the food and the water they need.

The last thing I'll do is to use a soil rake to spread the soil evenly around.  The result will be soft, crumbly comfy beds for my veggies. 

*PS.  Both of the girls have already learned to stay off of the beds.  I'm so impressed with all of us!

Monday, April 18, 2011

This Old House - Part 1

It's been more than 20 years since we (and by we, I mean my family growing up) moved from the "Old House" to the "New House".  The funny thing is that I still think of them with those names.  The New House my parents live in will always be special to me for countless reasons - maybe I'll talk about them too someday.  But for now, I want to reminisce about the Old House. 

My parents had a beautiful garden - full of veggies - peas, cabbage, tomatoes - all of the good stuff.  We also had two beautiful apple trees in the back yard.  They were perfect for climbing in and playing under and eating from.  All along one side of the house, raspberries ripened and sweetened, waiting juicily to be picked by grubby fingers and popped into greedy mouths.  In the front yard, I remember perky yellow daffodils around the trees and the red gerraniums in the box along the porch.  Idyllic.  Perfect.  I'm going to assume my memories are pitch perfect and correct - even if they're not.

Behind the garden plot, there was a dog run.  I don't remember there ever being a dog in there.  We got Daphne when we moved to the New House. (Oh, nostalgia - Daphne.  Another day).  Dad used part of the dog run for the compost pile.  One day, he showed me how it worked and warned me about how hot it can get inside.  Layers of grass and veggie peels.  Sunshine and water.  Magic.

One of my most fun memories is of playing in the garden with the neighborhood kids.  Specifically, ransacking the pea vines and giggling "God made dirt, so dirt don't hurt" with them.  I happily ignored the bad grammar (knowing even then how bad it was) and pop them into my mouth.  I've loved snap peas and fresh pea pods ever since.  There's nothing like them.  Right now, I have about 20 pea plant seedlings started inside - waiting for my garden to be ready for planting.  I can't wait for my girls to see how they grow and help me harvest them.

There's something about starting my own garden - my first as an adult that makes me better appreciate the hard work it was to take care of a young family, a yard, a house and a massive garden.  I look forward to that adventure too and tip my hat to my mom and dad.  Thanks for peas in summer and home made applesauce.

* Assignment: Mom?  I need pictures of the Old House showing the yard and garden.  Can you and Rachel scan some for me? 

Coming up next: The Sandbox

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Of Orange Juice and Bubble Baths

Last night was a little rough.  Aly and MayLee had a little picnic in my bedroom with their goldfish and orange juice.  That in itself should have seemed like a bad idea to me.  I should have been in there with them or brought them back into the family room.  But no.  I let them be and about 2 minutes in, I heard MayLee crying. 

Alyson had her sippy cup tipped upside down and was sprinkling MayLee with her juice.  And it was all gone.  Poor MayLee was wet and sticky and unhappy. 

And then I made a mistake.  I sent Alyson to bed.  At 6.  Her bedtime is normally 830.  I told Erik that he could go in and give her good night kisses and why she was in bed.  So he did.  And she wasn't happy about it.  She wanted to get down and play.  So there was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.  All kinds of drama.

Meanwhile, I gave MayLee a bath to remove the orange juice from her hair and skin.  She had a grand ol' time.  Her trauma was quite forgotten while surrounded with bubbles and bath toys.  After she was positively squeaky clean, I dried her off and got her dressed.  Daddy was talking to Alyson again.  It seems she found a book and lifted her blinds a little to read.  Maybe this would have been fine if it was our idea.  We took it away. 

And then we started doubting ourselves.  Was this going to be effective at all?  Was it going to cause bed time battles?  Should we leave her there and take her a book or her piggie so she could pass the time?  Arrgh!  I was so frustrated with myself for starting it in the first place.  Lately, time out has not been very effective - she'll just tell me "No!" and won't go sit down.  If I put her in time out, she gets out of it.  So I let her sit on her bed until she's ready to listen and go to time out.  But man!  What a mess.

So Erik and I decided that we'd get her out of bed and let her snuggle with him on the couch until bedtime.  She was calmer when I went in there to talk to her about what happened.  We discussed why she was in bed.  What she should have done differently.

"But MayLee started it!"

"And Alyson, you're the big sister.  You should have told her, 'No MayLee, we don't tip over our juice,' and helped her pick it up instead of pouring it on her.  And if she cries, you have to listen to her.  She doesn't like what you're doing."

"But MayLee did it first."

"I understand..." (Repeat, etc)

So after we talked, I got her out of bed and snuggled with Daddy.  I don't know which part of last night was my biggest mistake.  I know I made some.  But man!  Three is definitely harder than two.

And at the same time, it's infinitely more fun.  This morning, Aly woke up a little earlier than normal and I was snuggling with her in my bed when MayLee started wimpering. 

"Aly, I'll be right back - I'm going to go get MayLee."

"Stay... Daddy will be home in a second.  He will get her." (cooing, sweet and convincing)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sinkies and floaties

Daddy shared a drink of water with MayLee a couple days ago.  Upon retrieval, he discovered not only floaties, but sinkies.  :)

I love it when he makes me laugh.

100th Post!

My cough just. wont. die.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


In the tickle pile this morning, Aly blurts out:

"Don't touch me! I'm delicate!... I'm glass!"

True story

Friday, April 8, 2011

A fun new Photoshop Elements technique

Check out Rachel and Matt in the new comic book technique I found online.  It was by far the most complex set of alterations I've made to a single photograph, but the instructions were great.  See for yourself!

Here is the original. 

Try for yourself if you have PSE! 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Spot of Cheese

Have you ever gotten an idiom wrong while speaking in a British accent?  I have.  Or well, I just did.  My adorable sister was a witness to the madness or I might not have even noticed it until later. 

Alyson and I were leaving the store after returning a couple of movies (MayLee was already in bed, Aly was heading there) and I was talking on the phone to her Aunt Rachel.  In a British accent.  Because that's what we do.  You don't?

At any rate, we were discussing the benefits and downsides of purchasing the new Harry Potter movie when it comes out now or waiting until the final installment comes out to get the (sure to exist) special edition double pack.  It was at this point that my darling daughter looks up at me with confused eyebrows and stares at me perplexed.  It was the same expression she used when she heard the accent for the first time 18 months ago. 

So I said: "Am I talking funny?"

Silent nod

Do you want to try? "Say, 'ello love"

Whispers "I can't"

I tried a couple more times ending with "Say, 'ello gov'na.  Care for a spot of cheese?"

At which point Rachel started laughing because of course, it should have been tea.  It should have been TEA!  Gah, how could I have gotten that wrong. 

Of course it was all gibberish to Alyson, so she didn't call me on it.

Upon Reflection

I have found that though you may feel better than you did yesterday, you probably shouldn't spend the day cleaning the house.  You will end up feeling worse again.

I have found that though you can set my computer to defragment on a schedule, it won't.  But it will make rude noises at you when it feels like being a diva.

I have found that though you cough and cough for three weeks straight, you will get your voice back.  And be able to sing a lulluby to your baby for the first time in almost a week.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I love

that my girls are friends.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cara as a Kid

Cara in Sundance
Look look!  I was a super blondie!

My Mom at home in Cali

Just like my Mommy.