…cling to these words:

…dreamed about these brownies last night and consequently will be making them this afternoon. If you are my neighbor, please expect some brownies because I can’t keep an entire pan of these in my house. It’s detrimental to my health:

Recipe found HERE.

…couldn’t get out of bed until 1:30 pm yesterday on account of my bad back. The back doctor will be seeing me in one hour.

… made my grandpa’s recipe for salmon soup for lunch. It’s actually my great-grandmother’s recipe. It’s so simple it makes you want to leap for joy. If you love tuna or salmon or seafood, you would like it. Grandpa told me a few weeks ago that he used to make it in his college days when he was “batchin” it.

… love the way Grandpa talks.

… miss my sister and wish I could call her today. It’s her big #22.

Though I guess it really doesn’t matter seeing as how where she is, her birthday was yesterday. Technically. She’s already in Friday, and the rest of us Americans are stuck here in Thursday.

Love you, Ju! Onto the back doctor I go…

Keeping Up Appearances

We work very hard around here to appear perfect. (she says as she sits in bed at 10:30 am in her nightgown on a heating pad and no, she’s not 98).
Also: snort, we do not.

In truth, we work really hard around here to just keep it together. We usually do okay between the four of us, and generally, sort of come out on top.

My son has been needing a haircut for quite a while. I put it off because, as much as I swore no boy of mine would have long hair (!), I really really really loved it. But on Saturday, my husband decided it was time to get rid of it. I may or may not have run my fingers through it one last time and kissed it.
Okay, I did.

My husband, for the first time ever in his whole life, played the part of barber.

“I used to trim my dog’s hair,” he said as he buzzed away. I guess trimming dog’s hair is great training because it turned out!
“It feels weird,” my son said, placing his hands on his head.

We went to a family party that night, and my daughter suddenly got the urge to really dress up. She disappeared into her room and then my bathroom.
And then she emerged so evidently proud of herself. She’d done everything all on her own, from her hair to her necklace to her shoes.
“Would you like to take some pictures?” I asked.

Both of my kids went to the party 100% SURE everyone would take notice of just how awesome they really looked. And because our family is wonderful like that, they all did.
Mostly because my kids have a way of making sure you notice them or else, but anyway.

Now it’s time for Mom to get back on her feet. I felt so good yesterday that I cooked from 10 am to 5 pm (no foolin) and filled my freezer so I wouldn’t have to burden myself with my insatiable hunger any longer (at least for a few days)… and I woke up this morning hurting from horn to hoof.
At least I have food to comfort me, right? Food and laundry.
Okay, laundry isn’t exactly comforting but the idea of sitting on the couch all day while I fold it sounds like a good day to my back.
At least if I can’t keep up appearances, I can surely count on my awesome kids.

The Proclamation

As a family, we’ve been using a 30-day guide to The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Instead of doing 30 activities in 30 days, we’ve been using one activity a week for Family Home Evening.

The guide we have been using for inspiration can be found HERE.
The first week, we gave each of the kids their own 5×7 copy of The Proclamation. I just printed it from my computer onto printer paper because I knew if I got them card stock copies, they would thrash them. At least with printer paper, it doesn’t matter so much.

They’ve certainly been well loved.
The first week, we talked about how the family is central to God’s plan. We told them we can be together forever so long as we live God’s plan for us. We made a list of things we can do to stay together forever.

And we each drew pictures of our family in a tree.

While I use the other site for inspiration, I end up changing things up a bit every time. This week, we talked about how we are created in God’s image. The other site had the kids painting the most adorable silhouette pictures. While it was cute, I know my kids aren’t old enough to relate it to the subject at hand. They’d mostly just be thrilled to be playing in paint.
So I thought about it as a went about my day yesterday. HOW could I help them to see that we are created in God’s own image? What activity could we do? And then it hit me.
I printed out a family picture that I had zoomed and cropped… our printer is pretty much out of ink, but it got the job done well enough.

I traced each face.

Added a body:

I made one page for each member of the family, and then I chopped our family picture up.
The original idea was to put all of the facial features (eyes, nose, mouth -all cut apart from each other) in a pile on the table and let everyone try and find their own. I cut my daughter’s picture up and placed it on her face just to get an idea…

But that was grotesque-ish.
So I printed out one more picture (poor, poor ink) and tried again.

MUCH better.
When it came time to gather ’round for FHE, I gave everyone their paper (without their face) and said, “Okay, everyone needs to make the body on their paper look like their own body!”
I held out the faces and let them pick their own out.
They glued it to their face, and then we used crayons to color the bodies on our papers to look like our real-life bodies.

She drew her bird on her arm.
After everyone was done, I said, “We just created a body that looked like us, right?”
“Yeah,” they said.
“That’s what Heavenly Father did when he made you! He made you to look like Him!” I said. It instantly clicked. I tried to drive the point home by saying things like, “Heavenly Father has two arms, legs, eyes…” but they looked at me like I was an idiot.
Duh, Mom. Of COURSE He does.
So I gave up and busted out the Jigglers instead.
It was a super short lesson, but the kids got it. They understood, and they really listened when I bore my testimony to end the lesson. I don’t think they’ve ever really listened before. It’s nice to be able to feel the spirit with little ones.

Food Addy

I love motivational speakers who say things like, “YOU are in CONTROL.”
And when I say “love,” my voice is dripping with sarcasm… because really: I’m not. I WAS. I WAS in control in February. And then March hit, and my body became not my own. Before March it did what I told it to do.
It’s the boss of me.

Food is the ruler of the day. All Day I Dream About Food.
“I’m so hungry,” I always to say to everyone, everywhere. The second I wake up in the morning, I have cravings: cantaloupe, hot wings, caramel…

My stomach is growing, my rings aren’t fitting, I’m retaining water, and STILL. I EAT.
Yesterday I put a peach cobbler in the oven before going to a meeting. I thought about that peach cobbler until I got home.
The minute I got home, I dished myself up a bowl and I ate it.
Then I got up, used the bathroom, and dished myself up another bowl.
“Moy?” My husband teasingly asked, using the word our daughter used to use when she was 2 and wanted “more” of something.
“I’m STARVING! You don’t have to make me feel like a pig!” I snapped, harshly.
“I didn’t make you feel that way. YOU made you feel that way. I was just teasing you,” he snapped back, harshly.
“Don’t talk to me like that!” I snapped back.
“Don’t talk to ME like that,” he snapped back.

I set the bowl of cobbler down on the table, hard.
I went to my bed.
I cried.

All the while I sat on my bed, feeling totally fat, utterly starving, and wondering WHY ON EARTH I was acting like a immature child.
And then I laughed. Because the whole conversation was pretty darn funny… It would make a great scene in a sitcom.

Pregnancy is a blessing, and I recognize that.
But it is not my favorite.
Some ladies are awesome at being pregnant. I vote that those ladies have ALL the babies.
All in favor? Come to my house for cobbler.

Rock Bugs

I mentioned a few posts ago that my daughter was grounded from going outside for an entire day.

You need to understand that her not going outside for one whole day is more punishment for ME than her -and I’m not saying that because I’m selfish and like kicking my children out. I’m saying it because my daughter can barely survive one full day without bounding around outside.

As a colicky newborn, my daughter could only be settled down by being taken outside and rocked on my grandmother’s balcony… in February. I hated taking her outside, and I’d bundle her up in fifty (give or take) blankets and make the trek out of sheer desperation… I needed a small break from the crying. It worked every time.

As the day of grounding was winding down, my daughter was a MESS. She was bouncing off the walls, she was whining about everything, she was fighting with her brother… and I was sort of crumpled next to my computer, hoping that if I stared at Pinterest long enough, the kids would magically start behaving perfectly. Riiiiight.

It turns out Pinterest isn’t the worst place in the world to hide out because if you stay there long enough, you’ll inevitably find SOMETHING to inspire you to log off and live.

Enter: rock bugs. I sent my son outside for the gear (I helped, of course, because he can only hunt for rocks for so long before he gets distracted with sticks -aka potential arrows for his homemade stick bow).

We brought the outside in to her, and it made all the difference.

His bug:

Her bug:

My bug:

PS: gluing rocks together is a pain in the beetle.

17 Weeks

Can you believe I’m almost half way done with this pregnancy?
Yesterday, the girl said “Mom, that baby is coming and we don’t have any baby things like bottles or diapers or anything!”
Oh, my sweet girl. Believe me, I KNOW.
Usually I’d be stressed to the nines over it, but for some unknown reason I’m calm. Maybe it’s because I’ve had two babies before and now I know that whether you have diapers or bottles or not… the baby comes anyway. It lives. It PROSPERS, even -and everyone is generally sleep deprived and slap happy.
That wasn’t all my daughter said.
“Mom, you’re getting really fat.”
“Mom, you’re really not good at playing Angry Birds.”
(so what? I had to fill the gaping empty space facebook left…)
“Mom, you’re crazy.”
At the end of the day, I jokingly said, “Okay, I’ve been called fat, crazy and no good at Angry Birds. If anyone has any more insults to hurdle my way, now’s the time!”
I was joking, of course.
And the “insults” weren’t really hurting me at all -mostly because I knew my daughter wasn’t saying them to be malicious. But then she started talking about “Vecki.”
Vecki is actually my friend, Beki, who happens to be the mother of my daughter’s best friend.
“You love Vecki, huh?” I asked.
“Yeah,” my daughter nodded. The entire family was snuggled up on our huge-o bed, taking turns playing Angry Birds.
“Do you want her to be your mom?” I asked.
“Yeah,” my daughter nodded.
“I want Vecki to be my mom too,” I said, “She’s the best.”
“Hey!” My daughter looked up at me because she’d just got a wonderful idea, “You could just die!”
“Okay!” I said, “I’ll make sure that I’m dead tomorrow.”
“Okay!” She said, excited to have Vecki as a new mom.
“But that means no more nail painting with me…”
“I can paint my own nails.” She said.
“No more girl dates with mom…”
“I can just go on dates with Trent,” her New Mom Plan was not to be derailed.
“I’ll make sure mom is dead in the morning,” my husband said, joining in, “Will that make you happy?”
“Well, I might miss her.” The thinking wheels in my daughter’s head started turning.
“No, you WANT me dead, remember?” I ask.
“No I don’t…” she started thinking straight.
“It’s fine, it’s fine… you’ll see me again someday when you die.” I say.
“I DON’T WANT TO DIE!” She cried out.
“So you want me to be alive tomorrow?”
Oh, girls. They will never make up their minds.
And for the record: “You could just die” is probably the meanest thing my kid has ever said to me, and I might have been offended if I felt that she meant it. But I knew she didn’t, and I couldn’t help laughing out loud.

In other news, I’ve been eating Fruit Loops for 2 out of every four meals (what, you don’t eat four meals a day?).
The baby is moving around like mad.
I get to wear super savvy knee wrap because every time I kneel to pray or try bend my knee at a 90 degree angle, I am put through agonizing pain.

We go in for THE ultrasound on August 3rd. We get to find out if we’re having a boy or a girl.
When I was very first pregnant and didn’t know it, I had a dream that I had a little baby boy… however, in that same dream I was swimming in a lake with dead zebra carcasses, so take from that what you will.
My daughter has had several dreams about a baby boy.  The Chinese Calender tells us we’re having a boy.
And I would go absolutely bonkers for another boy,

BUT a baby girl would be divine. Either way, we’re happy campers. We’re also terribly excited to SEE this growing baby and find out if it’s of the he or she variety! And maybe after the ultrasound, we’ll go buy some diapers -just to ease the girl’s mind about the whole thing.

The Girl

I am fiercely in love with my daughter -truly, I am. The best way to describe her personality is to describe her birth: dramatic with an audience.
She also has a life motto. She doesn’t know it -she doesn’t know what the word “motto” means. She’s still learning basic English (this morning I had to explain to her what a “tube” was). But she lives by this theme:
It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.

I started noticing certain difficult trends in her behavior when she was just a baby.

She just LOVED doing stuff like that -pulling things, emptying things, breaking things… just to see WHAT would happen. I thought she would outgrow it. It’s been a frustrating few years, and guess what? She’s tempered it, but I still find her ripping dollar bills in half, breaking her brother’s toys, biting fingers off of her dolls… you get the point.

The past few days have left me so frazzled I can hardly think -so I don’t.
When she was a little one, I would just give her a scolding for not-so-good behavior.
“No, no” I would say, “We turn AROUND to go down the stairs. If you walk off of them, you will fall all the way down.”
“No, no,” I would say, “We don’t color on the walls.”
“No, no.”

“No, no.”
“No, no.”
I tried spanking.
I tried time outs (she loved those).
I seemed to make no impression what so EVER on my little angel. My little angel isn’t little anymore. Her independence is now working more for GOOD than evil, but it still rears it’s rotten side now and then. The past few days, it’s been rotten as a bad apple. I think I’ve found out what works.
Oh who am I kidding? What I really mean to say is that I’ve tried EVERYTHING and now I’m working with what’s left.

And I’m praying for inspiration in those hard moments when I have no clue what to do next.  After all: I’ve never been a parent to a five year old before.

A couple of days ago, she left one of her favorite books, “Green Eggs & Ham” outside -during monsoon season. She brought it in, and Dad was none to happy. Because I hold Dr. Seuss in high reserve (right there with Robert Frost. Probably higher), I bought a really nice copy of the book which meant my husband had to PAY for it.
He was not happy to see the book he’d paid for soaked, and he let her know it… especially because she had been told specifically NOT to take books outside.
I watched him get after her, and I noticed her eyes darting around. I could practically hear her thinking, ‘Can I go now? Are you done yet?’
Without saying a word, I took the book to my bathroom and blow dried the pages for a few minutes. Then a light bulb came on over my head.
I took the book and the blow drier to my daughter, taught her how to keep the “cool” button pushed down and sat with her as she blow dried all 60+ pages.
The first 15 pages were fun, you know. Using mom’s blow dryer is really, really fun.
After 15 pages?
“Mom, my fingers hurt. Mom, I’m tired. Mom, mom, mom…”
I just said, “When we leave books outside we have to take care of what’s happened to them. It’s your fault they got wet. Should we leave them wet? Or should we fix them?”
“Fix,” she sighed heavily.

“Is it my job to fix or yours?”


I’ll put her in the corner only to have her try to reason her way out with excuses.
“I needa go potty SO BAD!”
And she won’t let up, no matter how much I ignore her. If I really make a point of ignoring her, she’ll just walk herself out of the corner, thinking I’m not paying attention.

At dinner a few nights ago, her stomach became too physically FULL. She couldn’t possibly eat any more food… what’s more (she put her hand to her forehead) she was SICK!
I sent her to bed with a bowl -excusing her from dinner, which was what she wanted -and told her sick people had to lay down and nothing else.
“Can I watch a movie?” She asked.
“No,” I said, “You’re sick. Sick people just have to lay down. And I’m so sorry you’re so sick because Grandpa and Grandma are coming over to eat dinner.”
Oh she couldn’t stand it! Her lie had gotten her into trouble. It was all her own making! And now she couldn’t play with Grandpa!

“Trent,” I heard her say to her brother, “Go tell Grandpa that I am sick and I need a treat.”
“NO!” I called out and went into her room, “Sick people can not have treats because they might throw them up. They just have to take care of their stomachs.”
She’d been foiled again.

These short stories are the tip-top of the ice berg, and I’m down right exhausted trying to parent this child. I have to put a lot of THOUGHT into handling each situation just right, and at the end of the day when she’s coming up with excuses to not get ready for bed and reasoning them all with me with the expertise of a professional lawyer… I just want to bury my head in my pillows and pray that the child in my uterus will be kind to it’s mother.

The dinner lie, which she finally (after coaxing) admitted was a lie, got her a day of grounding from being outside, from playing with her birdie, from watching having friends over, and from watching Netflix… for ONE day.
The very next morning, she appeared by my side with her parakeet on her shoulder… and she was smiling.
The “Forgiveness not Permission” smile.
So she’s grounded from birdie again today, and I’m TIRED.

She’s really the best. And I guess I should have known she’d be the one to test my limits and sanity to their utmost when I watched the pediatrician try and put a catheter in her when she was just weeks old (to test for a UTI). The pediatrician could NOT do it.
My daughter screamed and pinched her chubby brand new legs together… no catheter was given.
“These are the ones we like,” the pediatrician shouted at me over the screams as she put her equipment away, “The strong ones.”
I was proud of her then and I’m proud of her now.
But I need a pat on the back, or something.

Maybe what I really need is an entire pep rally… the teenage years are commmmiiiiiiiiiinnnnngggggg.


Ah, the Fourth.
Tons of family.

(thanks to our rampant heritage, everyone in the background of this picture is also family: distant cousins and a great aunt and what not)

Tons of food.

Tons of fun.

It rained on us all through the fireworks which might have been a problem had we not been PINING for rain and PRAYING for rain and absolutely soaking up every drop.
On the down side, my husband somehow parked the car in such a way that I narrowly avoided death-by-cactus.

On the upside, I passed the 16 week mark with flying colors. Four months down already!
**Thanks be to my cousin, Lindy, for unselfishly sharing her abundance of pictures with me**

Jar Date #1

My husband drew our first date out of a jar, and it turned out to be the one we both wanted to do the most… walk around downtown Flagstaff and eat sushi.
It must here be mentioned that neither of us likes sushi, but we both like eating it. Because it’s different and fun. But if we’re starving… we’re more likely to land ourselves in the land rife with hot wings. Downtown Flagstaff is full of history. There’s historical plaques mounted to almost every building and lists of famous guests that have stayed/dined at said buildings.
Zane Grey wrote a novel in the same hotel where Franklin Roosevelt AND Randolph Hearst stayed.

There’s a haunted hotel that offers tours around Halloween time.

There’s a seemingly endless bounty of little shops: candle shops, spa shops, outdoorsy shops, boutiques, bead shops, restaurants.
We always have to stop by the used book store. The back room at “Starlight Books” is filled with hundreds of paperbacks from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. We love these books. We never BUY them, but we have as much fun with these books as normal people do in a card section at the store.
“Read this one!”
“Check this one out!”

They’re all smut! smut! smut!

And we get the biggest kick out of the covers and book descriptions. We huddle in the back room at the store and giggle like a couple of 4 year olds who just made up their own nonsensical knock-knock jokes.

As we were walking out, my husband picked up a book because the cover was so… grabbing.

It turned out to be a blank notebook. Isn’t that the greatest thing you’ve ever seen?! Best notebook cover ever. We even thought briefly about buying it. As we left the store and walked toward a courtyard to sit down, I confessed something to my husband.
I’m ASHAMED of this confession, so it wasn’t easy for me.
“You remember how I told you words were important to me?” I asked, “How if you want to show me you love me you should write it down or say it to my face in a meaningful way?”
“Yeah,” he nodded.
“Welllll, it’s changed a little. I mean, it still means the world to get notes from you. THAT hasn’t changed. But… It would really mean a lot to me (*at this point I was choking on my words because they went against everything I thought I was as a human being*) if you would buy me things.”
“The truth comes out!” My husband was mockingly shocked.
“Not BIG things. I’m not talking about diamonds or anything like that… just if you’re in a store or passing by and you see something and think of me and it’s not too expensive, snag it up and bring it home. It’s the idea that you’re thinking of me while you’re away.”
“Okay, you got it.” He said, and that was it.
I hate admitting that. I had even gone so far as to admit to him a few years ago that I wasn’t into THAT… I wasn’t into getting gifts as a form of love. My love could not be bought!
Well… now it can.
It’s humbling to be so honest.

We sat on a bench and watched an EXTREMELY fit young man give a workshop for children. He was using a fancy tambourine and using Spanish terms and doing donkey kicks so high that his six pack would reveal itself under his loose-fitting shirt. My husband would sort of scoff… the way I sort off scoff when the Phoenix Suns cheerleaders prance on the court during time outs.

When our feet had recovered from walking enough to soldier on, we headed toward our lunch destination, stopping on the way to take a couple of pictures. My husband is really good looking (this we know), and I pretty much feel like an ugly duckling following him around.

Anyone who watches “Friends” will get this. I couldn’t resist… it wasn’t on purpose. I just happened to snap a picture when he was making this face, and I laugh every time I look at it.

He snapped two of me, and all I could think of when I looked at them was the line in “Julie & Julia” where Julie is complaining (what’s new?) about the article her friend wrote and the picture that went with it.
“I look fat,” Julie says.
“Just your face,” her friend says, trying to make her feel better.
Too bad the picture WAS just her face.

Pregnancy swelling, may you burn in Hades.
Lunch wasn’t the tastiest, but it was the most fun.


After sushi we were going to share a discount (read: they messed up making) caramel apple, but we forgot. By the time I remembered, we were half way to our car and my husband was ready to head for home.
I’m still sad.
We hit up Sam’s for shopping. I don’t remember the last time I went to Sam’s with just my husband and no kids. It was SO easy! We were done in no time at all!
The kids were happy to see us when we got home, and we had a great time. Sunday night we drew a new date out: spend an evening working in the garden.
My husband is thrilled, mostly because we had to use all of our babysitting money on our Downtown Date.

Yesterday we had to go back into Flagstaff for doctor visits, and the drive over was nice. We spent time together and talked… and then we went to my appointment. While in the waiting room, my husband told me that, he’s very sorry, but we won’t be going to the BIG city to find out the gender of our baby. Our finances dictate we wait for our “regular” ultrasound. I was surprised at how disappointed I was… and then I went into my appointment and my OB asked me if I had any questions.
Of course I did.
This is the weirdest pregnancy I’ve ever had, but every time I throw a weird symptom at her she tells me, “that can be common…” and I relax. When I listed my latest Weird Pregnancy Thing (my heart sometimes tightens up and when I take deep breaths, it gets really painful), she got really serious and said, “next time that happens go straight to the ER.”
Oh, boy.
I was a bundle of worry the entire drive home. I was worried and cranky and impatient and suddenly everything around me was inconvenient.
The minute I walked through my own front door, I went straight to bed to take a nap. Surely a nap would snap me out of it.
But it didn’t because I couldn’t fall asleep.
Hours later, my husband texted me asking how I was feeling. And I sent him this text:
“I know I need to sleep, but I can’t. I’m tired and cranky and hungry and all I want in Fruit Loops and bananas.”
I sent it and then read it over.
I was being SUCH a whiny baby! A literal BABY! BABIES need Fruit Loops and bananas and naps when they’re cranky.
I called him later on and apologized for my behavior, to which he replied, “I understand that you’re stressed about the heart thing. It’s no big deal.”
That evening, we walked through the door with a frozen pizza, frozen jalapeno poppers, two GIGANTIC bags of the store brand of Fruit Loops (my favorite) and a bunch of bananas.
I cried with joy.
No really: I cried with joy.
“I just thought you’d appreciate me buying something when I was thinking of you.”
Oh, he’s darling.

Reality Feels Wrong

I did happen to wake up yesterday, but it felt wrong on so many levels. I opened my eyes, and my body instantly told me “turn the alarm off, you’re not to be out of bed today.”
Of course I had to ignore it -I had church. I made it through church, came home, walked in the door, walked to my bed, and I didn’t leave that spot for three solid hours.

Starting on July 4th, my life has been a physical representation of Robert Frost’s Poem, “A Time to Talk.”

A Time to Talk

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Robert Frost

I’ve had visits from family and friends, and I’ve dropped everything to just… talk with them. I’ve been able to catch up with two of my best friends from high school, catch up with family I haven’t seen in years, visit with my brother and his wife for a few hours before they took off for a long vacation. I’ve taken the kids horse back riding. I’ve gone to a baby shower. I’ve eaten fajitas, and I’ve even eaten a Thanksgiving-style dinner. Our entire family has been repeatedly devoured my mosquitoes, and we’ve made a million memories that have included two fireworks shows and a small family pyramid made by our Dad and his siblings.

Somewhere in the middle of all of it, my husband and I escaped the hustle, and we went on our very first drawn-from-the-jar date: we walked around downtown in the city and ate sushi together. Our first date in neither of us can remember HOW long.
A million pictures to come.
For now, I’m back on the road to doctor visits. But the minute I get back I have a date with my computer and my couch. After that, I’m tackling my neglected house.
You see: I’ve been talking with family.
And family won’t keep.