Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On The Hunt

I am not a network TV watcher. I don't watch any shows like "Lost" or "Grey's Anatomy" or any of those other things people are always going on about. I am not interested. This does not mean that I don't enjoy being entertained by TV. I just like the channels you have to pay a cable (or, in our case, satellite) bill to see.

It will be no surprise to hear that my most watched network by far is HGTV. And, yes, I do have a favorite show. This is the part that will probably seem strange. My absolute favorite show right now and of the last several months is...House Hunters International. It is fabulous.

I love learning about other places in the world, and this format - a house hunt - lets you know more intimate things about a place. If you watch a Rick Steves travel show on PBS you're going to see a lot of wonderful places to visit, but you're not going to get to tour three average family apartments in three different districts of Budapest, are you? It is so fascinating to me. I love imagining how other people live their daily lives, and this show helps me tremendously. If you haven't ever watched it, give it a try. It's on every night right after the regular House Hunters, which is also not bad, but seeing different homes in Wichita just doesn't have quite the same appeal as seeing three different homes on New Zealand's Hibiscus Coast. Hooray for vicarious travel!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quiz: Do You Know Who Emily Post Is?

Have you ever heard of a thing called etiquette? Apparently, many people haven't, especially the "rising generation". I guess etiquette is kind of old fashioned. It was even when I was growing up. That didn't stop my parents from raising us with a very defined guide to good manners. We did things that certainly none of my friends did. We had family rules for many situations.

Rules for answering the phone:
If it was for someone other than you who was home the conversation went:
You: Hello?
Caller: Is your mother there?
You: Yes, just one moment please.
Always. Always the exact same phrase.

If it was for someone other than you who was not home the conversation went:
You: Hello?
Caller: Is your mother there?
You: No, I'm sorry, she isn't. May I take a message?
Again, no variation here, ever.

(You may notice that in these examples the caller is always requesting my mother. That was usually the way it worked.)

It was for you:
You: Hello?
Caller: Is (insert your name here) there?
You: This is she.
I was shocked in college to her my roommate say "This is her". She had to tape a sign over the phone that said "This is SHE" so she would say it properly.

Just a side note, in Romania the conversation would go like this:
You: Hello!
Caller: Is (insert your Romanian name here) there?
You: I am!
I just always loved that short and precise declaration "I am!". In Romanian they say "sunt". Just one word - even better.

Other ways in which we showed proper etiquette were things like not starting to eat your dessert until the hostess first took a bite of hers. We ended up amending this rule slightly to "unless the dessert includes ice cream" because my mom was notoriously slow at taking her first bite and everyone's ice cream would be quite melt-y by the time she finally settled down.

We also never wore white dress shoes or nylons before Easter or after Labor Day. As we got older we could wear "winter white" or cream, but not true white.

When we finished eating our dinner we always said "May I please be excused?" before leaving our places.

We said "excuse me" when we sneezed or yawned. Other bodily functions were not allowed :).

When we went to bed, we always gave our parents good night kisses on the cheek, and if our grandparents were visiting, we had to give them good night kisses on the cheek too, which I never really wanted to do.

Even when I was an adolescent my peers thought all of this was strange. I was given a nickname by friends of "Miss Priss", because they felt I and my family were so prim and proper. I never minded, and I still don't. I like it. I hope to pass much of it on to my kids, even if other people think it's strange. I feel it will be easier now that we live in Texas. In fact, my kids may be seen as the ill-mannered ones because they don't refer to Tyler and me as "Sir" and Ma'am".

Thursday, December 4, 2008

FYI

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I have another blog where I post pictures of the kids. If you're ever interested in the more traditional "family blog" you can check it out:

www.cutebrocks.blogspot.com

Monday, December 1, 2008

Apple Pie and Romance

Last night we were enjoying some of Tyler's famous shredded apple pie that was left over from Thanksgiving. I know what you're thinking - leftover PIE? From Thanksgiving? How is that possible? Well, maybe it will help you to know that we went to Thanksgiving dinner at Tyler's uncle Wendell's house. There were 22 people there, including all of the little children. We had 14 pies. To be more acurate, 13 pies and 1 pumpkin cheesecake. That's more than half of a pie per person. We just didn't have it in us to make much of a dent in all the pie after the biggest dinner of the year. So, we ended up bringing 2 1/2 pies home.

Eating it last night reminded me of the first experience I ever had with Tyler's shredded apple pie. It was the summer of 2003. Tyler and I had been on a few dates - maybe 3 or 4. He invited me to a bar-b-que at his brother Ryan's house to meet his mom and brothers. He was in charge of bringing pie, and had to make it before the evening festivities.

I offered to help him make the pie over at my apartment. I am not embellishing this story in any way when I tell you that his response to me was, "No...I don't think so. I'm not sure if I want to spend that much time with you."

Can you believe I actually married this person? Truthfully, I think I respected him more than I was offended, because his reply sounded like something I would have said back then. And just 3 months later we were engaged. And he baked these latest apple pies all by himself this time, too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Can You Tell Me How To Get To...

As a child I loved Sesame Street. I remember being very little and asking my mom what channel Sesame Street was on and then holding out that many fingers as I ran to the television so I wouldn't forget.

I had a favorite outfit that was Sesame Street brand. It was bright yellow pants and a rainbow striped turtle neck.

I love the muppets.

I love the set - the row houses and Hooper's store and the fix-it shop and how everything looked a bit gritty and dingy and actually like it may have been in New York City for real.

I love the dependable human characters that don't ever change...or so I thought.

My kids haven't really gotten on board the Sesame Street train, but I did try to expose them to it awhile ago and let me tell you, things are not the same on The Street. Sadly, the show is not what it once was. It still has some of the same muppet characters, but the skits they do just aren't as funny and clever as it seems they used to be. Kermit the Frog is, sadly, totally absent.

They do have some of the same human characters as they had in my childhood days, but they are shockingly changed. Namely, Bob. Take a look at this:

The peppy music teacher Bob of my youth:



The frail looking, age-spotted Bob of my old age:



Susan is gone altogether, as is Linda. Gordon, Luis, and Maria are still holding on, along with Bob.

Hooper's store is still there, although not run by Mr. Hooper, obviously. The fix-it shop became a mail-it shop, which was really lame. Big Bird's nest now looks like a play place at the mall. The tire swing isn't in the courtyard anymore.

The things I miss most are the wacky little segments they would do with the muppets. I loved "This is Kermit The Frog reporting live.." and "Monsterpiece Theater" and the song parodies, like "The Beetles" singing "Letter B". So much fun.

So I ask you, why mess with a good thing? I guess should be asking Wendy's the same thing about why they changed the frosty recipe after so many good years...

Friday, October 31, 2008

This Is Fun Because....?



I, like so many others, love the fall. Growing up I think one of the main reasons I wanted to be mother is so that I could make Halloween sugar cookies and decorate them with little helpers as a crisp wind whipped up a swirl of leaves outside the window of my cozy kitchen full of yummy baking smells. Every year I get excited about the start of the fall holidays with Halloween. But, I have to be honest here. So far it just isn't living up to my expectations. The last two years CT has been seriously ill on Halloween. This year he wasn't sick, but after the first block he started crying and saying "I'm thirsty. I need a drink." Instead of saying "Trick or Treat" he would say with a sob "I"m thirsty" and hold out his plastic pumpkin. To his credit, after a runner was sent home for a juice box he perked up. Of course, by then Lily had reached her limit and started saying she couldn't walk anymore and wanted to eat some of her candy and go home. Disappointing, because I had high hopes for her when the evening began. I thought she was going to pull through. She started the evening out so well. She would always say "trick or treat" and "Thank you" and then as we were walking away she would say to me "We still need to get more candy, right?". I can't think of a time when the answer to that question would be "no". Actually, I don't mind only trick or treating two blocks worth of homes. I just wish we could do it without the inevitable break downs. Maybe next year?

Monday, October 13, 2008

This One's For Amanda

Let me express a few opinions on the topic of giving birth. Actually, on the topic of telling stories about giving birth. This is what I have observed about women who have gone through childbirth: the stories of their labor and delivery are badges of honor. When you gather a group of young mothers the conversation will inevitably turn to birth stories. It quickly becomes a competition. And there are rules about what constitutes a "winning" birth story. Here are some guidelines to follow if you want your birth story to top all others:

1) The length of labor is key. There are two ways to win in this category - having an agonizing and slow labor, preferably with several false alarms, or having a lightning fast labor. The fast labor story seems to be the current trend, so don't think you have a chance of competing in the category unless your baby was born within 15 minutes of parking the car (while being wheeled to the delivery room is preferable). Naturally, if you have your baby IN the car, you are an undisputed birth story champ.

2) The behavior of your husband is an important element. You get more mileage out of insensitive behavior than anything. Things like husbands leaving the hospital to get an In N Out burger and bringing it back to the hospital just in time for the delivery and eating it as you push away because he just can't let an In N Out burger get cold score big points. You get the idea. Stories about husbands amazingly sensitive behavior are impressive, but don't score as many points because people feel you then had an unfair advantage in the birthing scenario.

3) Medication is a must. For discussion, that is. If you had some, it is best to have had some strange reaction to it or some mistreatment during it's administration by medical staff to liven your story up. If you didn't have any, people tend to feel threatened. Not having any is best received when it is accompanied by an amazingly fast delivery story as discussed in point #1.

Of course, after the baby is born the game continues. Contests over who is surviving on the least amount of sleep, whose baby wins the prize for most colicky, and the nursing sagas I have heard are a whole separate category.

My point here, Amanda, is, take what you hear about giving birth, good and bad, with a grain of salt. No one else will have the same story you will have, but in the end, you will be an official player in the exciting game of My Labor and Delivery.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Come Into My Parlor

I love the Little House books. I have re-read the entire series every year of my life since the time I was about 8 yrs old until about, oh, three years ago. You know how sometimes you know a book so well that you know exactly where to go to read the one scene that will evoke the feeling you want to have at a certain moment? The Little House books are full of such passages for me, and in fact, whole books in the series are like that. Every fall I always get the urge to read Farmer Boy. One thing that book mentions quite a bit is the formal parlor of their farmhouse.

Now, I'm not trying to sound fancy, but my house definitely has a parlor. A room that is always kept clean, from lack of use as much as anything else, and only used on special occasions like home teaching visits. My formal living/dining room area is never used as a hang out space for our family, except when I play the piano, or when CT and Lily use the couch cushions to build a lion's den. The room is never off limits to anyone, we just don't gravitate to it. Also, a big factor is that it has no ceiling fan, and it is so swelteringly hot here that we stick to rooms with fans as much as possible. We don't even put our Christmas tree in there.

Sometimes, I feel like it is a big waste of space to have this whole area that we never use, but more often I am very grateful that it's there. It is the first area of our house guests walk into, and I find it extremely comforting that no matter the state of the rooms just beyond it's walls, this room, at least, is visitor ready.

Like every room in our house, it isn't totally finished. I still have visions of crown molding in my head, and someday a big dining room table that our family could actually fit around. And I still need to replace the standing lamp with one that matches and repaint the little dining table and chairs to a cherry-brownish shade.

Here are some pictures, although they don't include my latest acquisition. We bought a nice area rug at a neighbor's garage sale ($10!) that is now under the dining table and looks really great. My favorite things about this room as it is now are: my red lamps that I got at Hobby Lobby for 80% off and my little chandelier lamp shades that I found at the thrift store for $2 a piece. I was a bit worried about the lighting in the room since the shades were all red and gold. I feel there is a fine line between red lamps that look good in a family home and red lamps that look good in a bordello, but I'm pleased with the look of these. I also love our big painting above the couch that was a wedding present from my parent's former bishop who is an artist. It cost us more to frame it than we've paid for any piece of furniture in our home, but I love it. So, you're all welcome to come on over and visit in my parlor, it's always available, unless the home teachers happen to be here...



Thursday, September 18, 2008

You say Jim-Jams and I say pajama-whamas

I have a thing with pajamas. I like to have lots of them. And I like for my kids to have lots of them. Tyler thinks the overflowing shelf of pajamas in my closet is excessive (then again, he thinks the fact that absolutely everything in my closet is overflowing is excessive. The man may have a point.) Of course, this is coming from a man that owns not one single proper pair of pajamas. Old gym shorts and an over-sized gift T-shirt from the blood bank just don't qualify as true pajamas in my book.

Now to a seemingly unrelated story. The kids and I have been discussing Halloween costumes with a greater intensity this week. If it turns out I'm going to be responsible for making something I want to know now - or, more realistically speaking, if I'm going to have time to ask my mom to make something and send it to us I need to know now. We've decided on a Peter Pan theme. CT is Pan, naturally, and both girls are going as Tinkerbell. I considered having Amelia dress in one of those infant animal costumes that look adorable (but sweltering) and having her be a lost boy, but I couldn't feel right about my baby girl's first ever Halloween costume being a "lost boy".

So then the kids ask me what I'm going to be and I say "That's easy. Who do you think Mom could be from Peter Pan?" and they both shout "Wendy!". Then CT says (and here is where the two stories all come together) "But you have to dress up. You need to wear a blue nightgown. But that's no problem. You have enough of those on that shelf in your closet." Yes I do. Not any that I will be wearing to the ward Halloween Party, however. Maybe some sewing will be necessary for my costume as well as the kids...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

That's One Way to Do It

Warning: The following post is another story about CT. If you're sick of these, feel free to check back in a few weeks for something new.

So, on Sunday Lily got pushed by a friend in nursery and was crying hysterically over it. I said to her "Well, did you tell Olivia that you don't like it when she pushed and you weren't going to play with her if she does that?". (As if a two year old would have the presence of mind to deliver a speech like that. But still, I"m hoping there is something to the whole repetition philosophy and maybe in a few more years she might apply it.) Of course she said "no". At which point CT put in his two cents. He said "Well, Lily, if someone is mean to me, then I am just mean to them. That's how I handle it".

Yes, the lesson of retribution is learned early around here. I don't know if it comes across when I write these little anecdotes, but CT has such a funny way of expressing himself. It just cracks me up. His turn of phrase seems very mature.

In case you're wondering, Lily says funny things too. I just seem to have a harder time remembering any right now. Poor girl. I'll have to start taking notes during the day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Avoid Bears

So here is a little piece of my thoughts for the day...it just goes to show on what level of stimulation my environment is that these are the thoughts going around and around in my head all day.

I checked out a DVD from the library for the kids. It's a Berenstain Bears DVD, containing 6 episodes of the PBS show. I actually think the show is kind of cute. I have no issues with the show itself. I have issues with the theme song. The first problem is that, as mentioned, the DVD contains 6 episodes, and the theme song plays before each one of them. Couldn't they have skipped this on five out of the six? I think so. Someone didn't agree with me though, so if you watch the whole DVD you get to hear the theme song 6 times. For a good theme song this might be somewhat enjoyable. With this theme song, it is not. It is a country style ditty sung by none other than LeAnne Womack. I'm wondering if she wrote it herself. For her sake I certainly hope she didn't. The tune is catchy, but the lyrics are just plain embarrassing. I actually cringe when I hear one particular portion which says (and I am not making this up) "They're kind of furry around the torso. They're just like people, only more so." What? What? Where to begin...obviously the thing that really baffles me is how a family of bears could be more like people than people. What does that mean? What did the writer think it meant? It baffles and annoys me. I am everlastingly grateful that 1)this is a DVD from the library, not one I purchased, and 2)DVD's are only checked out for only one week instead of two. I don't know how long it will take to undo the damage this song has already inflicted.

One funny note about these shows: CT asks to watch it every day. Yesterday we watched it in the morning. In the afternoon we are having a conversation about people's names (I'm always quizzing him about what his "long name" is - I want him to be prepared for school when the teacher takes role and calls out Christian Brock). CT says "Mom, in that bear show, there is a brother and a sister, but what are their names?" I tell him that those are their names: Brother and Sister. We go over this a couple of times before he is convinced that I am telling the truth and these bears basically have the dumbest names ever. The more I write about all of this, the less cute I'm thinking that show is after all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Night

So it is 12:12 a.m. and I am posing to my blog rather than soundly sleeping. This is because of two things:

1)C.T. wet his bed and I just finished tucking him in again after the whole sheet changing/pajama changing episode. Luckily this is a very rare occurrence for him.

2) I was watching the Women's Gymnastics All-Around finals of the Olympics. I was so invested in it that when C.T. came running out of his room I just scooped him up and held him until the competition ended. It was only at that point that I realized something was a little damp.

The Women's Gymnastic events are so much a part of my Olympic memories. I grew up believing that the Olympics were really something special. Something exciting. Something everyone watched. Later I realized not everyone watched, nor did everyone feel the Olympics were special or exciting, but still, my regard for them lingers...even as Gold medals are stripped for doping violations from years past.

I vividly remember the 1984 games in Los Angeles. I guess because it was actually on this continent they showed the events all day. I watched a lot of track and field. When Mary Lou Retton had her big moments, I was there for her. Back to back perfect 10's on the vault. That was great. (By the way - when did they change the scoring of gymnastics? I completely missed that transition.) I remember all of the commercials she was in after the games too.

An American girl won tonight, but somehow I doubt ad agencies are going to be knocking at her door with the same fervor. It is obvious that some of the Olympic Magic is gone from the world since Nadia and Mary Lou held the stage. This year's gymnasts probably wont get an enormously popular melody named after them. Still, I wanted to experience again some of the thrilling anticipation I used to feel during the Olympics. I'd say I got into the spirit of it pretty well - after all,I stayed up until midnight and held a urine soaked boy on my lap for fifteen minutes without realizing it. The Olympic Magic is not all gone for me yet...although I admit to not being as excited about this Michael Phelps as I could be. Enough already with the winning and the gold medals and world records. Isn't it someone else's turn? He's just starting to look like a medal hog, don't you think? Did you see the little piece they did on him where they showed that his body is freakishly disproportionate in just the right ways to be an unnaturally good swimmer? I know it really isn't, but it feels like he's cheating with his extra long arms and abnormally short legs. How is anyone supposed to beat that?

Tomorrow, when I am trying to be patient with three very small and energetic children on six hours of sleep (I'm hoping for the best here. Humor me in my delusions that my children will sleep until 6:30) my Olympic Night may not seem worth it, but for now, the dream lives on...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Misty Water-colored Memories

Here's something gleaned from a friend's blog that I thought was fun:

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.

Happy Reminiscing!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

C.T. Again

C.T. and Lily are in the bathroom filling up their water cups. I just overheard C.T. tell Lily "Sometimes I think I'm a genius".

I think he got this from Curious George, but I'm not positive. Sometimes I think he's a crack-up.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pool Side

So, a couple of people said they would enjoy seeing more videos. Here is one of the fun in the back yard pool. I just can't get enough of Lily. That girl cracks me up. And she is so cute and tiny! video

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

ERA For Lab Coats

So Tyler gave me a doctor's white coat as a Christmas present. He is tired of me ruining my clothes every time I paint. I get lulled into this false sense of security that of course a person can paint without getting even the tiniest splatter on their clothes by watching too many redecorating shows on HGTV. I, apparently, can't paint anything, from a small picture frame to an entire wall, without getting paint on my clothes somewhere. I know this about myself, and yet I still feel that changing my entire outfit just to do some quick painting isn't worth it. 15 minutes later I am always thinking how much better it would have been to have just changed my clothes rather than spend the next half hour at the kitchen sink trying to wash paint out of my black capris. Because Tyler knows this about me, he came up with the doctor's coat solution. He figured if I wasn't willing to remove anything, maybe I'd be willing to put something on. I do wear it - sometimes. Usually I put it on over my head - I'm not a fan of needless buttoning and unbuttoning. The other day though I was putting it on and I actually used the buttons for the first time and something struck me. The buttons were on the man's side. Now, I've never quite been sufficiently satisfied with any explanation as to why buttons are placed on alternate sides of men's and women's clothes, but the fact is that they are. I found it -well, a bit offensive actually, that the buttons were on the male side. Perhaps they have doctor's coats in male and female versions and Tyler didn't know this and just got the first one he saw. Somehow I doubt it though. I don't normally consider myself an ardent feminist, but sometimes little things do get me riled up, and truthfully this incident did a little bit. They should just replace the buttons with zippers and the issue would be resolved!(Or use Velcro. What would the world do without Velcro? It's only draw back is the noise. My mom used some super strong Velcro on some activity pages she made for my kids to take to church. Let's just say after one Sunday of repeated "Rrriiippp"s followed by searching glances from everyone in the congregation looking for the offenders they were designated "Not For Church Use".)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Interview with CT

I interviewed CT last Sunday about his Grandpa (my dad) thinking it would be a fun part of my Father's Day gift to my dad. At the very end CT asks me to sing the song that my dad sang to them every night at bedtime when we were at their house. My dad would do a little dance when he sang it, and CT likes to do it too. Here it is!

video

HaHaHa

I found this on another blog so I did it and the results cracked me up, as I'm sure they will you too...it doesn't bode well for the validity of this personality test does it?




You Are Basil



You are quite popular and loved by most people.

You have a mild temperament, but your style is definitely distinctive.

You are sweet, attractive, and you often smell good.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Pool is The Place

I bought the kids a fairly large blow up pool for the back yard this year. I figured thirty dollars was worth many minutes of happy distraction for CT and Lily. CT loves it. Lily stays in for about ten minutes, then she's done and wants to get dressed and have a snack. Amelia hasn't been in yet - too much crazy splashing and "dives" going on, but she really enjoys watching from the sidelines. So do I.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yes, I'm a Ghostwriter...

*A pre-emptory explanation: Any of you who did not live in the Chino/Upland/Rancho Cucamonga area of California any time between the years of 2000-2007 will not really know what or who I am talking about in this post. To all of you I say - I am sorry. Sorry that this post will not be interesting to you, and sorry that you didn't experience the great times that were had by all in that golden age of kindred spirits.


I keep waiting for Gina to post something on the family blog all about her wonderful visit with me. Accompanied by, of course, a photo of the two of us doing my patented picture pose. Apparently I am waiting in vain...that pesky detail of us not actually being blood relations may have kept me from making the cut on the family blog. This being said, I have decided to write her post for her. So, here is Gina's account of our visit as written by me:

Wow! We had a super busy mother's-day-weekend, but it was also super fun! It was great to have a day to appreciate our moms. Another highlight of the weekend was getting to visit with Wendy and to see her three adorable kids. CT is so big! Lily is so cute! And Amelia is everything a Gerber baby should be. I was also happy to be able to introduce Chris to Wendy's parents. You know if Wendy stopped being our friend (which we know she wouldn't - who could?)we would still be friends with Bi and Suz...and Teri, our best friend from Wendy's wedding. I think Chris got a taste of why we enjoy them all so much, so I'm glad about that. Wendy and Chris and I went out to dinner and just chatted our time away. Chris was worried that all Wendy would want to talk about was a bunch of girl talk, but I assured him that Wendy was much more broad in her interests, conversational skills, and general knowledge to limit herself to one theme. We did, however, manage to talk about each of you. On the drive home Chris and I agreed that the trip to Logan had definitely been worth it. I'm so glad Wendy and I had a chance to visit in person! We should all do it. What's the status of that Round Robin Reunion again?

Sincerely,

Gina (a.k.a. Wendy the Ghostwriter)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Time Flies

I am not a conscientious blogger. That, I'm sure, is abundantly clear to all of you. I honestly can't imagine that anyone really cares...but then I get so much pleasure from reading your blogs that I have to assume some of you would actually like it if I wrote more often.

You may know that I spent nearly the entire month of May in Logan at my parents house with the kids while Tyler was off in India training the people who are taking over the jobs of all the people who recently got laid off at Citigroup.

It was a good visit. The kids were spoiled, obviously. Now that we are back people keep saying things like, "You guys were gone for a long time. Aren't you glad to be back?". People seem a little taken aback when I reply "No, not really". I don't understand their surprise. I mean, sure, I like it much more when our whole family is together and Tyler comes home at night, but now that we're back he's still traveling for work. He's in Baltimore this week and next, so basically I'm just on my own here. It was great having two full time nannies at my disposal. I also feel like it's really important for my children to develop meaningful relationships with other people - for them to know that there is a wide circle of people to love and from whom to receive love. C.T. is at an age when his memories may actually remain with him for life, so I am happy that he's had this experience with his grandparents to hopefully remember.

I made a slideshow for Tyler that I e-mailed him while we were in Utah of things the kids were up to. I'll have to e-mail it out because I can't figure out how to get it to link on this post. Then you can all say how big the kids are getting. It's true. I know it won't happen for 8 more months, but just the thought that C.T. will be FOUR on his next birthday seems absolutely crazy to me.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Confession

I have something to say that I know many of you will not like. Here it is: I do not enjoy the television show The Office. I have watched possibly two full episodes and portions of several others, among them the big season finale of the show last night. I understand the point of the show. I know what they are going for. Frankly, I just think there is too much (call me a prude) inappropriate material on the show. And the ineptness of nearly all of the characters is really annoying. It's all too much for me. Trying too hard to be different. There are moments that are truly entertaining, but they are too few for me to devote whole half hours to it on a regular basis.

Maybe some of you like it for the same reason I enjoy watching "John and Kate Plus Eight" sometimes. Tyler always asks "Why do you want to watch a show about a house full of crazy kids and parents feeling overwhelmed when you live that everyday?" And the answer is, "Because it makes me feel better to see other people feeling overwhelmed and seeing other children breaking down. It makes me feel not as alone in the world". So, those of you who are office bound could feel the same way. Perhaps to you the sight of all of the completely incompetent characters on that show makes you feel better about your work lives filled with incompetent co-workers. Those of you who don't work in an office, I have no justification for.

There. Now you know. Are we all still friends?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Read This

First, hello to my new readers who have found me through the magic of the internet. It's good to hear from you!

Now, on to my subject for the day...

I've been thinking a lot about reading lately, because it's something that I really enjoy and don't get to do too much of. Some days I feel that I will burst if I don't get to fill my head with someone else's ideas and I scan my shelves for a book - any book- that I have read fewer than three times. You see, I'm a re-reader. I have read some books more than twenty times each. I use reading in much the same way I used to use music - to invoke a mood, a feeling, to bring me back to a good place. I'll read a favorite passage here, a funny scene there, and feel better about life. But, as much as I like re-reading, there are moments when I yearn for something not as familiar. Since I rarely peruse the library these days I'm stuck with my limited at-home library. The other day I picked up a book I haven't read for a couple years and read it over again. It was fantastic. I remember thinking it was good, but it was better than I remembered it.

It's a book my friend Mendy sent to me some years back. One year we exchanged books for our birthdays I think. (Side note: No one is to feel offended if they have never received a birthday book from me. I'm not proud of it, but I never remember birthdays now and haven't for quite some time. Mendy can attest to the fact that this book is the only birthday present she's ever gotten from me.) I sent her "At Home in Mitford", which is a fabulous curl-up-on-a-rainy-day-for-a-cozy-read book/series, and she sent me "A Woman Of Independent Means", which is a fabulous book. I highly recommend it for all who have not read it, especially Sara as it deals with some husband management issues and wifely concerns that I think are timely, even though it takes place two generations ago.

I'm currently reading a recommendation of Rachel's: L.M. Montgomery's "The Blue Castle". I just got it at the library today (being in Logan I can go places like that by myself. It's super). I can't imagine not having read it, since I thought I had covered all Lucy Maude's territory years ago. This book does seem vaguely familiar, but so far it's new enough to make me wonder if I've read it or not. Either way, it is great. I plan to read several of the books recommended from all of you...as soon as I get the time!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lily's Big Day

So, my petite flower turned two in March. She loved being the center of attention, finally. She had a butterfly birthday party with a whole bunch of little friends from our church baby-sitting co-op. She had a great time until present opening, when all the children wanted to play with the toys she had just opened. That led to a lot of pushing and grabbing and crying by all involved.






It was a fun day. The highlight was the play kitchen she got from Grandma and Grandpa. She loves to cook away and then yell out "Dinner time! Dinner time guys!" I wonder where she learned to do that?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Views on VIEW?



So, did anyone else watch "A Room With A View" on PBS last night? I was excited about seeing a new version, but quickly became disenchanted in the opening segment when I realized the filmmakers had done what they are so fond of doing and altered the story arbitrarily. I cannot stand it when they do this! Why do they always feel compelled to add war sub-plots where none were ever intended (need I mention the debacle that was the final installment of the Anne of Green Gables movies)? Not only do I love the Merchant-Ivory film version of this story, I have also read the book, and this whole World War I caveat is not even alluded to by E.M. Forester. And the way they ended it with her and the carriage driver was just plain ridiculous. Frankly, I felt affronted by their assumption of my gullibility. Why do they think this contrived and false-feeling ending, that they may have assumed was somewhat "happy", is any more worthy than just leaving it at the other "happy" ending supplied by the original author? I also thought their overt references to class multiple times were unnecessary additions to the original plot. I like the way in the book and the REAL movie that the Emersons are just wacky, happy-go-lucky intellectuals instead of lower class untouchables. Also, there is no doubt that George is much more dreamy looking in the original film. And Daniel Day Lewis makes a much more hilarious Cecil than this chain smoking, overcoat wearing blondie. Who did he remind me of? I can't put my finger on it, but maybe you can. This version wasn't without enjoyable moments. The character of Lucy was much more sympathetic and assertive in this version, which I thought was good. And I was glad I didn't have to deal with Freddy's annoying hair in this version.

So, those are my two cents. I'd love to hear yours!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Montage

OK, so it's not a montage, more a collage, but I enjoy the word montage so much more. CT turned three on Feb. 3rd so I thought I'd post a couple of birthday pictures.

Just to prove he got his 2 year old molars before he turned three...He calls this his "monkey face".

Here's the cake. I'm no Katie, but I do my best.


A couple of weeks age he got invited to go to a day of preschool with the four and five year olds. He was so excited to pack a lunch and wear his backpack!


I can't resist putting in one of my cute girls.

I would add a collection of me in multiple poses, including several close ups, but I'm saving them for self-submission to be a contributor on "What Not To Wear".

Monday, March 3, 2008

So, back to me...

I haven't been into the computer thing for quite awhile. Today I went and read everyone's blogs for the first time in who knows how long. It's nice to be able to feel like I can "visit" with you whenever I want just by looking at your blogs.

I've been working hard lately on trying to be myself in our ward. I feel like even though we've been here for 10 months no one knows the first thing about my true personality, and that's my fault. Tyler is always so happy when I have one on my "Wendy Moments" and my old self comes through. Last week in Relief Society I made the RS Pres change the lyrics to a little song she had written for our Stake Enrichment activity because it wasn't grammatically correct. A small thing, but it made me feel like I was being true to myself in a strange way.

It is so weird moving to a new place as a family. It is like you had no life before you were a mom. People ask how many kids you have, possibly how long you've been married, and that's about as far as they go in getting to know anything about you as an individual. Oh, they might ask if you scrapbook. It discourages me that this happens. What I find even more baffling is when I ask other people about their life before kids they don't really have much to say. Maybe this is because I got married "late" and I did have a history on my own...one that I am very grateful for the more I get to know other women who didn't have that opportunity. Anyway, I just wish sometimes that so much of who I associated with wasn't based on the fact that we have the kids about the same age, rather than on the fact that we have complimenting personalities or similar outside interests or something. Maybe someday I can get this new role of mother to feel familiar and totally fulfilling, but right now I am still working on it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tagged

Mendy passed this to me, so here goes!

What time did you get up this morning?
4:00 to feed Amelia...5:00 to get Lily out of her room when she started screaming and crying and trying to knock the door down...6:00 when I actually got in the shower to get ready to go to the temple at 7.

Diamonds or pearls?
I find I need both. In simple stud earrings. Fakes are fine with me. If anyone ever gets my name in a gift exchange, this is good information to know. I have a habit of losing pearl stud earrings, so I always need them.

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Juno

What is your favorite TV show?
Of all time? The Facts of Life, Gidget, and Little House on the Prairie. Current? Umm...let's just say I like HGTV and Food Network a lot. I also get hooked on Dancing With the Stars whenever it's on.

What do you usually have for breakfast?
Eggo Waffle

What food do you dislike?
Anything from the sea

What is your favorite CD at the moment?
This mix CD I made years ago when I was just beginning to date my husband. Hearing those songs brings so many memories.

What kind of car do you drive?
Dodge Grand Caravan as of December. I feel so fancy now in my mini-van.

Favorite Sandwich
Turkey and Avacado

Favorite item of clothing?
fitted jackets

If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Europe with my husband

Favorite Brand of clothing
Prada. Just kidding. I just said that because this is such a funny question for normal people. Who really looks at brands that much?

Where would you retire to?
Somewhere with a big yard for gardening and a craft room...I want to have room to do the things I will hopefully have the time for then!

What is your most recent memorable birthday?
two years ago when my husband arranged a little surprise gathering for me with some close friends. I've never had a birthday surprise party before!

Favorite sport to watch
Football

When is your birthday?
April 4

Are you a morning person or a night person?
I'm an eight in the morning, eight at night type of person. Earlier than that or later than eight is not optimal.

What is your shoe size?
5 and a half

Pets?
No, because let's face it - cleaning up after living things is gross. I already have three kids three and under. Why oh why would I want a pet as well?

Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
Tyler is probably going to India in May for a couple of weeks to train the people who are taking over his job. He is excited about the prospect of going there. I would take the kids and spend the two weeks at my parents if he goes, and that would be fun .

What did you want to be when you were little?
A CEO

How are you today?
I started out really groggily, but I've perked up now...just in time for bed.

What is your favorite candy?
Red Vines, Cinnamon Bears, peanut M&Ms, Kit Kat bars...I could go on.

What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
April 3rd - Tyler is taking me on a little weekend getaway that weekend for my birthday.

What are you listening to right now?
Tyler watching the nightly news.

What is the last thing you ate?
A Brownie

Do you wish on stars?
No

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
I'd like to be yellow. But I'd probably really be gray-blue or something.

How is the weather right now?
A little chilly.

Last person you spoke to on the phone.
A woman in ward saying her family couldn't come to our ward sponsored mini-dinner group tonight.

Favorite Soft Drink
Sprite from a fountain with that small ice - like Sonic ice.

Favorite Restaurant
Mandarin Garden in Logan

Hair color
Brown

What was your favorite toy as a child?
All things Barbie and my Cabbage Patch Doll

Summer or winter
Winter. I can't stand to be hot.

Hugs or kisses
I love a good hug

Chocolate or vanilla
Chocolate

When was the last time you cried?
Today. I went to the temple after all. I saw couples waiting to be sealed...that always gets me.

What is under your bed?
Some picture frames and stray toys that have rolled under there.

What did you do last night?
I folded laundry and watched 20/20 about ethical dilemmas. I get sucked into those shows.

What are you a afraid of?
The list is too long to go into...I am an expert at imagining the worst case scenario for any given situation involving my loved ones.

Salty or sweet
Sweet

Favorite day of the week?
Friday because I still have hopes that the weekend will be a nice change of pace...

How many towns have you lived in?
12 - Austin, Tallahassee, Lubbock, El Paso, Logan, Provo, Bucuresti, Brasov, Philadelphia, Rancho Cucamonga, Irving, Justin

Do you make friends easily?
If I try

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Boggart

For some reason the thought just pooped into my head the other day of what my personal boggart would be (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, read Harry Potter would ya' already?) A vivid picture came into my head of a killer whale (because of my marine life phobia) standing upright holding out a can of refrigerator biscuits (because of my opening the can by pressing a spoon on the seam phobia), followed by an infinite number of other killer whales holding cans of biscuits just like him (because of my fear of any living thing in large numbers. The word swarm used to describe a number of animals sends a chill up my spine). So, what would your boggart be?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Amelia's Blessing

Here are some pictures from Amelia's blessing day, Jan 20. It was great to have my parents come out for it. I think Amelia looks so cute in her very large bow. For some reason it makes me think of Pollyanna.



Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend

So, I seem to have lost my wedding band. Well, lost isn't exactly accurate, because that would imply that I don't know where it is. I do know where it is. However, it is completely inaccessible. Where is this place? Why, it is in my clothes closet. This area is inaccessible not because there is a huge mountain of discarded clothing items strewn about the floor (although until about eight hours ago that would have been true), but because the ring, through a series of unfortunate events, fell behind my very heavy dresser. What happened was this: I keep my rings on top of aforementioned dresser when I'm not wearing them. I know some people wear their rings 24/7 and never take them off. I am not one of those people. You will not catch me 20 years from now having to have my rings cut off of my finger because the flesh has grown over them and the circulation has deteriorated to the point of strangulation of the digit. So, the rings were on the dresser. For some reason that is still a mystery to me, I chose to actually iron some item of clothing one day. I put the iron back in its rarely removed from spot on the top shelf of my closet, but I guess the shock of finally being used was too much for the iron to handle and it tried to make a desperate leap to the ground. In the process of it's descent it knocked over the can of spray starch, which knocked over my empty temple clothes bag, which fell on top of the dresser creating a backlash that sent my rings flying and one of them, the wedding band, ended up in the dark and secluded crevice between the wall and my dresser. I still have my engagement ring, so that's something. Not like my poor friend Mendy who, in a tragedy involving bread dough that truly could bring tears to your eyes, had her much loved oval diamond engagement ring ground up in the garbage disposal by an unwitting friend and washed down the drain, never to be seen again. If you're reading this Mendy, post a comment about if you ever got a replacement...last I knew you magnanimously refused your friend's offer to pay you back for it and were doing without.

I do miss having the band though. I like the idea of the symbolism of wedding bands. the symbolism of engagement rings I don't enjoy as much...that whole idea of a man claiming you and "marking" you as his through a piece of jewelry while he walks around unmarked as an engaged man raises the hackles in the stridently feminist little portion of my heart, but I do like owning a real diamond. It makes me feel fancy. Although, technically I've owned a real diamond since I turned 16. It was a tradition in my family to get a birthstone ring for your 16th birthday. This worked out wonderfully for my sisters who got beautiful amethyst and aquamarine rings, respectively, but when it came to me my parents were a bit worried. I'm an April baby, so my birthstone is a diamond. They kept to their tradition and got me a ring with a real diamond in it, although to tell you the truth I'm not sure it scientifically meats the qualifications to be called a "stone". I think it might more rightly be called a "fleck" or perhaps a "chip", but stone is a bit ambitious a term for it. It is smaller than even one of the prongs in its setting, but I still love it that my parents gave it to me. So now I feel extra fancy, remembering that I actually own TWO diamond rings! (Plus a wedding band with tiny diamond inserts, if I can ever retrieve it...)

Monday, January 7, 2008

ABC's

Some things definitely improve with time. I don't know how many of you have enjoyed a bowl of alphabet soup lately, but I have! And let me tell you that the quality of the letter shaped pasta has improved dramatically. When I was a child I remember fishing out blobs of pasta and saying to myself, well, that could be a "W", or maybe an "X" - then again maybe it's an "H". It made spelling your name with your lunch kind of a challenge. Now the letters are big and distinct. And this was Great Value brand soup (you anti-Wal-Mart people might not know that's their store brand). I can only imagine the alphabetical delights that may await in a can of Campbell's soup. (I say this even though I'm pretty sure they would use the same pasta. I am convinced that store brands of most things come off the same lines as national brands and just get a different label. My mother strongly disagrees with this and says that all store brands contain national brand rejects and aren't fit for refined tables. Admittedly, some store brand items are distinctly different from their national brand counterparts. Cheetos, for one thing. Yogurt, for another. Creamed soups are never as good from anyone but Campbell's. I'm sure you can think of several more.)

On another note, here is a picture of what my children did while I was putting away a basket of laundry the other day.

They drew all over themselves with white board markers, and boy were they proud of it! We have a Christmas tradition that Tyler and I each make one gift for the children and give it to them on Christmas Eve (so as not to have all our hard work unceremoniously brushed aside in favor of the toys from the Jolly Old Elf). This year Tyler's gift to them was to put up these white boards in our game room for them to draw on. They each got a package of markers and their own erasure. I was so proud of the way they were following the rule to draw only on the designated board after an unfortunate carpet incident, and then this happens. Oh well. It took days and days to fade away. White board markers certainly aren't washable. At least, not from skin. I was just thankful they kept to areas of the body that are always covered up!

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