Octubre Uno

Last month was October, and October of 2013 turned out to be pretty amazing for Alicia Deets.

My husband has been out of town during the weeks for work, so we crammed a lot of living into our weekends. My weeks have been full of a gigantic appreciation for single moms and single working moms. The majority of my pay has gone to sitters and we’ve eaten a lot of stuff we shouldn’t (Ramen) and hardly anything wholesome (broccoli).

I’m going to catalog the first half of the month by weekends.

The first weekend was my 10 year class reunion. I love my class -I’ve been looking forward to the reunion for a long time! It was so great to hang out with some of people I truly care for. They’re creative and funny and only 67% more tired than they were on our Senior Class Trip. As we ate sandwiches and chips and crepes at the park, we all stood around under the sun and visited while children ran around yelling and having a blast.
The kids had all the energy in the world. Yes, THE CHILDREN took our energy. And it’s okay. They’re going to need it more than we will I think.
We went to the Homecoming Game where everyone froze their buns off except Alice Michelle.

Around this time, my Dad was still in the hospital so I was pretty absent blogging-wise. I was also very absent housekeeping wise, and my sweet sweet sweet angel aunts came and filled my house with their goodness and cleaning skills and apples.

Because my house was clean and wonderful I was able to have Rial and Lisa over which means I was able to have Ronan over which means Alice is betrothed.

The first weekend in October was full of worry, memories, smiles, love, and General Conference.
The second weekend in October was dedicated wholly to Just Us.
It involved driving a pick-up into the wild blue yonder and shooting stuff. I shot (camera) a picture of my littlest looking her absolute littlest against a background I like to call The Vast Expanse of the Arizona Desert. Mira:

It also involved an on going sand fight and ended in us taking a picture the only way we could get everyone in… everyone’s shadow and Alice’s legs. Ole!

It did not involve make up.

But he still looks good without it.

We spent our evening making popcorn balls using the Rice Crispie Treat Method. Melt butter, add mallows (eat a few first) and then add popped popcorn. Have the kids pretend the stick of butter is lotion (they will either love or hate this) and then have them shape the gooey popcorn into balls.
No candy thermometer needed.

The kids went bonkers over the tiny root beers. We all sat together and watched a movie. What movie? I have no idea. It was THAT good.
The third weekend I boarded a plane. It sounds SO simple, but really. It meant packing up three kids and driving into the sun with double vision (the Dr. says my left eye and right aren’t in alignment which is a very Alicia condition to deal with and matches my stumpy right leg). My nerves were a big fat bundle of fun…. and by fun I mean “fun.” I used almost an entire bottle of my tummy-ache essential oils and single-handedly (is that a word?) drank nigh-unto-a-gallon of Sprite. But it was all worth it because I arrived in Utah unscathed.
I saw D. Todd Christofferson in the SLC airport, so when I say I arrived in Utah I mean… I ARRIVED in UTAH and was promptly safely deposited into the hands of my very best friend, Tia.
Which means I was deposited into the hands of Illa’s Mom which means I’ve arranged for Alice to have a very best friend as well… a different kind of betrothal.

Tia fed me the minute I walked into her home, and then she fed me again a few hours later… treating me to my first ever Cafe Rio experience.
AND THEN she treated me to my very first ever Salt Lake Temple experience which was life-changing for me.

My little sister joined us, and we took the opportunity to wander the halls a bit. So BEAUTIFUL! I highly recommend wandering the halls of a Temple. We were even able to peak around the room where the brides dress. It made the little girl in me do cartwheels.
The next morning, Tia treated me to my very first ever Mickey Mouse waffle which was also life-changing in it’s own special way:

After breakfast, we hit up Temple Square (something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time).
There’s a MUSEUM full of CHURCH HISTORY. Can you imagine? Do you even KNOW?! I don’t even know how people in Utah don’t die of excitement and splendor.

We all took turns at a pulpit built just like the one they speak from at Conference. It felt natural. And by natural I mean silly.

Tia snapped a picture of Julianne and I looking at a display in the visitor’s center. It reminded me of Zoolander… “What is this? A center for ants?! It needs to be at least… THREE TIMES this big!”

And then she snapped a picture of my sweet sister and I standing right where we wish we could be always. She’s always been the Mary to my Martha.

Just before leaving, a sister missionary took our picture for us. A wonderful, memorable weekend that I will NEVER forget.

I hugged my Julianne goodbye and waited at Tia’s home for my Steven to come and get me… and was challenged to play a game which made me feel wholly inadequate when I lost and extremely BOSS when I didn’t lose.

Steve took me out on the town and -true to the nature of every host I encountered on my Utah trip -FED me. It was so great to be back with him. He’s the Frost to my Robert.

Yessir, he is wonderfee.

At this point, we’re going to play Intermission. Depend upon it, there is an Octubre Dos just around the bend. Batten down your sombreros.

It’s Own Kind of Typhoon

Have you read in the news about the Typhoons overseas (because I can’t spell Phillipines Phillippenes FILL-IH-PEENS)? It’s heartbreaking. It can make you cry tears of sorrow, worry and joy. There’s so much good rising out of the muck.

Sometimes I read about Typhoons and wildfires and I hate myself. I think about how ungrateful I am, about how what bothers me doesn’t really merit being bothered. My mind begins forming a smug little ball of self-loathing that grows and grows and collects more self-hatred as I walk along.
All it takes is a few days for me to start feeling like the living embodiment of PPMS (Perpetual PMS). I’m grouchy day in and day out. It doesn’t matter if I’ve taken proper care of myself or not: no amount of yoga and green drinks and detox baths and crafting and writing can make me behave any better.
The truth is: when I hate me, I hate everything.

The news never stops streaming stories about problems bigger than mine, and I never stop grovelling in my own loathing.

But there’s something I believe in now that I didn’t believe in a few years ago, and that’s simply (forgive me if I’ve said this before) “comparison is the thief of joy” applies to trials as well as blessings.

And I’m pretty sure ANY woman who has been through a typhoon would still have her panties in a wad after the two days I’ve had.
Can I just tell you about them and toss a few pictures in? Please?

Let’s begin our story with Alice. It’s important for you to keep in mind as I go on telling my story that she is teething.

She doesn’t discriminate when it comes to teething toys. All are equal in her eyes.

Teething is a sort of stage, right? It comes and then it goes. Lacy is going through some stages right now as well. School has been awesome for her -she’s motivated and driven. Lacy excels in so many ways.
But Lacy going to school has been bad for me. Why? Because Lacy feels and has audibly admitted that she knows better than Mom sometimes.
A few weeks ago, she asked me for a drink. I handed her the cup I’d been drinking out of which still had a good amount of water left in it.
“Hey, I can’t drink that,” she said.
“Why not?” I shrugged.
“Because!” Her expression was one of obvious surprise, but it shifted quickly into pity, “Oh, you don’t know about germs…”

And then I had to prove myself to a six year old.

She argues with me constantly over HER way of doing things because it is superior to my way. It kind of reminds me of that one little girl who argued passionately over the name of the Flower Plant.
“It’s the POWER PLANT honey,” her mother insisted, “It’s where we get our lights and electricity from.”
“It’s the FLOWER PLANT,” she said, “It’s where flowers come from.”

And that little girl was me.

Lacy is forever correcting me.
“You’re chewing with your mouth open, Mom.”
“You just bonked the baby’s head, Mom.”
“You just got water in her eyes, Mom.”
“That’s not the way to brush my hair.”

This also means that when I ask her to do something, she will argue with me about it.
And speaking of stages Trenton has decided to regress to being two. Whenever he is told “no” he bursts into tears, falls flat on the floor and cries.
He has mastered glaring -really, it’s an art for him now -and he has little desire to eat anything that looks “weird” which means he eats bread.

No, you can’t watch TV today because you’ve been watching too much and Lacy, PLEASE don’t make me ask again… put your backpack on your doorknob and take your coat with -TRENTON GET OFF THE BABY! SON! She can’t breathe when you sit on her but I bet she would appreciate her bottle if you don’t mind, Lacy where is the baby’s bottle? Can you get it? No! Don’t RACE each other. Guys, STOP! This is ridiculous -stop hitting, no fighting, go to the corner, and if you….
Now, I’ve had enough! Both of you go to bed.

Tears commence.
Guilt ensues.
And the baby is still crying.

I was able to put together a rather decent dinner and an even better apology for the children. They accepted the apology but rejected the dinner:

(French bread pizzas, how could they hate it so much?)

One went off to bed because that’s the choice he made (don’t listen if he tries to tell you different, it just isn’t true). The other joined me for a few Charlie Brown episodes while I crocheted and the baby tangled my yarn.

We watched a Mormon Message:

And then Lacy said family prayers.
“And please bless Mom to not be on the naughty list even though she’s mean…”


The great thing about “mean” days is that they end. They are not eternal. I woke up this morning determined to have a “nice” day. I took the kids to work with me.
The baby cried.
The boy cried because he wanted to go play with his cousin Kylie, who -by the way -loves my kitten, Prince, and insists he look at the camera when his picture is being taken.

We made it through our morning shift and came home. Coming home is glorious unless you’ve left wedding pictures out.
“Awwww, these are from the days when you were skinny and now you’re fat, fat, fat!” Trenton said.
I wanted to cry, but the baby was… so I hid my tears behind the words, “Having babies makes Moms bigger. I had three babies and my body is bigger.”
It was my passive-aggressive version of, “YOU DID THIS TO ME!”

He didn’t understand and therefore didn’t apologize which I took personally.
Not really…

Instead I phoned a close friend and had a soul-searching conversation in the which I realized just how much I’d been hating on my po’ ol’ self, and I hung up the phone with firm resolve to eat a brownie in it’s entirety before facing the world again.
I put the three children in the car and noticed my son carrying around a Pringles container.

I asked him what was in it. He didn’t want to show me and insisted on guarding it with his LIFE.
“Son, if you don’t tell me what’s in there, you can’t have a treat at the store.”
So he SHOWED me…
Of course I had to ask him to get rid of it, and when he refused I had to REASON with him. He finally agreed and got rid of the mouse by emptying it the exact same way someone would throw water in someone else’s face.
Luckily I wasn’t standing directly in front of him.
But you couldn’t tell by the way I screamed…

I jumped into the driver’s seat and quickly started the car.

It died.

Of course it died.
Cars always die. Working as a mechanic’s secretary has made QUITE the morbid out of me. If you need me, you’ll find me hunkered behind the desk with pale skin and black lipstick.
“Cars die to feel…”

I loaded everyone up in our old pick-up truck and drove them to the shop where I reported my battery issue and was handed an envelope. I opened it to find a GIFT CERTIFICATE for a massage.

You know that feeling when you turn over the Monopoly “CHANCE” card and it reads, “Get out of jail free”? Multiply that feeling by one hundred billion… and that’s how I felt.
Every fat, mean mother with a cranky baby deserves a massage!
(and you CAN quote me on that, but um… don’t.)

Today I am grateful.
Yes, I’m grateful I’m not enduring the awfulness of typhoon aftermath. But it’s okay that I’m even more grateful for Subway, Infant Tylenol, and a mechanic who makes house calls, gives massage gift certificates, and dishes out TLC in the form of chocolate milk to grandkids in need.
And did I mention he gave me a cookie? Gosh, I’m grateful for Dads.

Stay tuned and I’ll tell you about The Oak Ridge Boys concert he took me to. Danny heard them for the very first time and hasn’t stopped singing “Elvira” to me… only he uses my name.


But Only For Free

I went out with my husband the other night (to Stake Conference!) and as I got dressed I realized something nutty.
I only never buy clothes.

I’m really picky about my style, and I never buy clothes. NOT because I’m picky but because I’m cheap. On any given day, I can put an outfit on and some part of it is sure to have been free. The rest is from the clearance rack. Or Goodwill. Or Linda Miller’s yard sale (I told you: I’m picky).

As it turns out, it isn’t just clothes. It ANYTHING. If I have to pay full price for anything, I end up hating whatever I buy… and myself. It’s easier for everyone (thinking of the children, here) if I just make it myself or find something similar at a yard sale.

Guess what I did Thursday?
(But first watch this video and only this video because Catherine Tate can get prrrreeettty, um, tasteless):

Guess what I did Thursday? (It’s just a bit of FUN!)
I cleaned. I went to work and then I cleaned. This means that by the time Monday came, the house looked worse than it did on Wednesday. Naturally. Monday was a holiday, so I was able to spend the day with my kids. I even -with some hesitation -took them to work with me. Sometimes when they tag along, it’s sort of like That One Kid Movie where everything goes so wrong that you rue the day you pressed the “play” button. What’s it called again? Jumanji?
But yesterday they were awesome. Lacy took it upon herself to bring in customers, and Trent tagged along with a weapon (which I promptly took away).

“Welcome to aer (our) Hansen Auto Repair Shop. Phone: 288-3769 Cars only. Tips. 1 Penny Will Do.”
(Apparently, I passed my cheap genes on?)

(Check out the tip jar sitting on the ground!)

After working a little in the morning, I came home and started picking up this and that, washing down this, throwing away that, holding a shirt, taking out the trash… and the entire time, I was getting after the kids.
Stop that, do THIS!
(There’s a lot of this and that at my house, okay?)

I finally sat down in a huff and texted my husband my frustration: All I do is work and then clean. I have no soul and life. I can’t live like this anymore. I can’t stay ahead of anything in this house.
And then my hormones hit “SEND”

He texted back, “I’m sorry you’re having a rough day”
To which I did not reply but put my phone down and let the kids run rampant, as all children ought to do from time to time. I picked up a framed painting a friend had given me a few days earlier.
I took the painting out (because I hate cactus, I don’t care if that somehow makes me an disloyal Arizonian) because the frame had amazing potential (even though it is chipping away). I tossed the painting in the trash can (it kind of felt good) and then I came back inside to stare at the frame until my parched creativity came up with something.
Which it did.
And so I went back outside, pulled the painting from the trash, and painted OVER the painting.
“Every good woman should have flat black paint on hand for days when the children are running rampant.” ~Alicia Deets

I texted that picture to my husband and he replied, “Cool. Where did you put it?”
Note: school husband in female lingo. Powder room = Potty room.
While I waited for the black paint to dry, I took a wire hanger from my closet and (wow, this is getting embarrassing) went to my trash to get the empty frozen lasagna box.
(The Safeway brand is so good. No foolin’)
I bent the hanger into a circle (of sorts) and cut a circle from the box. I hot glued and packing taped the two together. Then I went to my garden and picked a bunch of corn that had dried up.
I went to work with my hot glue and ambition:

So many times during the 40 minutes it took to make this wreath, I almost gave up completely. Because apparently I’m cheap AND impatient.
Lucky Danny.
But I soldiered on into the very LAST glue stick and…

It won’t last through the season, but at least I have a soul again.

And Alice? Alice has new tricks (thanks for asking):

We Are Family

Last year, I took family pictures pretty soon after Halloween. Because I was pregnant and due during the Christmas season, I put our tree up pretty fast. I made and assembled the traditional gingerbread house. We took pictures in our home wearing what we felt comfortable in.
I will forever treasure the pictures from that photo shoot. My aunt Cat worked so nicely with us as we wrestled in our front room and took a time out to take pictures of my big belly.

This year, I didn’t have the energy to do pictures of my natural life. I didn’t have what it took to clean my house so we could live in it because the baby has been born and within the last month or so, she has gone seriously active.

This year, I was firm in my decision to put myself 100% in Cat’s hands. I wanted her to do the posing, the location, the everything. I went to Wal-Mart and bought a few new shirts that were void of stains and glued some fake eyelashes on myself because I’ve learned from past experience that stains show up in pictures and eyelashes do not.

In 45 minutes, Cat produced some phenomenal (Lacy’s new favorite word, in case you were wondering) family pictures. I’m so proud of them!
I love the location. I love that our clothes aren’t so matchy-match that they distract from everything else (I’m only saying that because I don’t actually know how to matchy-match). I love that there’s no stains (for ONCE!) and I love that you can see our personalities.

There’s Alice Michelle who was teething and more excited about fallen leaves than the camera:

And who gets mad when OTHER children are allowed to dig in and play but SHE has to be HELD (the audacity of some parents)…

There’s Trenton who is a boy. and five.

He’s also handsome and funny, if he’d ever let you have the chance to see that side of him.
I love him.

And Danny loves him.

There’s Lacy who smiles and poses always. And who wants nothing but two front teeth.

And there’s us. The us that made them.

The us that laugh when the other whispers, “I farted…”

The us that loves them.

And when we all come together, it looks a little like:
Carefree Lacy
Laughing Trenton
Disinterested Alice
Concerned Mama
Proud Papa