Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just sittin' around...

About two weeks into summer break, I'd taken Staten to an Orthodontist who is a friend of mine from college. While taking photos of the tooth situation, Cameron chatted away with Staten to put him at ease and asked the very conventional question: "What have you been doing so far this summer?"

I don't know if Staten was nervous about the Orthodontist visit, or if his mind just drew a flat out blank, but the surprising answer that followed was: "Ummm, just sittin' around."

My face contorted into a surprised "HUH??!!" Because to my latest knowledge, white water river rafting, trips to the beach, swimming and a full week of Cub Scout camp did not translate into Sitting Around. I tried to prompt Staten for a more inclusive answer, but all he came up with was: "And playing with the hose."

Now, there is nothing wrong at all with playing with the hose. I remember plenty of my own hot summer days being cooled off by the wonders of hose water, but it didn't very accurately portray all that had transpired and in the two weeks my son was accounting for, so in that moment I had an epiphany.

OK, it may have been my husband who had the epiphany when I relayed the scenario to him later that evening. I don't know exactly whose brainchild it was, so suffice it to say that "we" (The Royal We I tend to use a lot in my marriage) decided to keep track of everything our family did this summer so the kids could visually see the heaps of fun memories they accrued in the weeks and months that followed.

Because our house is still under renovation, we had the luxury of writing directly on an unfinished wall (a column, to be more exact) with a crisp black Sharpie pen. (I don't want to think about what my 1 and 3 year old may have learned from our example, but so far it remains the only place in the house with permanent ink plastering it, and our fingers are tightly crossed.)

It was so much fun to keep track of our experiences this way, and we successfully filled two sides of the column with one thrilling escapade after another. (Giving fair air time to small joys along with the more obvious adventures so long as each triggered a memory.)

Now we have a great synopsis of our outstanding summer permanently etched on a column in the dining room (that will soon be covered in stone, which is why I have pictures to document), and the problem is no longer recalling what we've done with our summer, but deciding which of our 137 bullet points to include in a recap.

I wonder if this could have the same tongue tying effect on my kids that I saw in the conversation that started this whole thing. Imagine someone asking them now "So what did you do with your summer?"

"Ummm," they would say as their mind tried to sift through the neverending list of documented memories, and just maybe the answer would follow: "Ummm....we wrote on a wall." Which is not much more descriptive than "Just sittin' around," but hey, we had a GREAT time doing it!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

9:09 on 9/9/09, can she do it?

I'm trying to get this posted at exactly 9:09 on 9/9/09. Which leaves me little time to say much, but in a way that's a relief after leaving blog-dom entirely for the whoooooole gloooooorious summer, and owing many lost months their fair share of air time. I will do them more justice in the next entry, but for now there are more pressing matters. 

My morning took a turn when I realized the date, glanced at my clock, and the simmering challenge took over. For the next few minutes of the morning, accomplishment has been redefined. Not by a clean house. Not by good, patient mothering. Not by checking off today's to-dos. No, it's much simpler and way more fun. Beat the clock! That simple. OK I am only one minute away. Wish me luck!!!

And happy 99999 to you too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm a Pencil

I came across this poem yesterday. Staten wrote it three years ago...or at least dictated it while we recorded it with all the seriousness we could muster.

I love how it shows the inner-workings of faith developing...but just not quite to the point of logic yet.

I shared it with the kids today and while Staten and I were cracking up, Windsyr said: I don't think it's funny. So I snapped back into "all the seriousness I could muster" mode because she's at just the right age to see it for the masterpiece that it is. I love, love, love the mind of a kid.


I'm a pencil in God's hands
No allergies
And no regret; with
No teeth.
Because I'm a pencil in God's hands.

I'm a pencil in God's hands
With no wings
With no people
And no house
And no town
Because I have Jesus.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Paw of the Panda Powers Positive Possibilities

Got this email from my husband today. So great I thought I should share. (We've always been big on fortune cookies...)

"So I just got back from getting lunch. Drove through Panda Express. Ordered the usual. Orange Chicken, and Mandarin Chicken. Got my order, driving back to my office, opened and ate my Fortune Cookie. Fortune: "Your hard work is about to pay off"

Great thought...seems appropriate...nice fortune.

I like fortune cookies. I think they are a good example of positive affirmations. We only half believe that they are real, cosmic and meant for us. But there are those times when you open one and you think, wow, this is spot on...and you see the panda power pulsing through the cookie pile pushing the perfect fortune into your palm at just the right moment. If our fortune is indeed created by our thoughts, then having a little cookie give us a boost in the right (positive) direction seems a great little game - no harm, only good.

Well today I believe in the power of the Panda because when I got back to my office and opened my lunch... my Orange Chicken and Mandarin Chicken were nowhere to be seen. I instead had Kung Pao and Mushroom Chicken on a bed of rice and chow mien.

I got the totally wrong order, but the absolutely right fortune.

The power of the Panda...believe it! It is more fun that way.

Now we are just waiting to see HOW all that hard work is going to pay off????

Thursday, June 11, 2009


From this entry in Grandma’s diary, stems any woman’s dream:

“One day I got all my work done. I couldn’t think of a thing to do, not one. Having just moved a short time earlier, the whole house was clean. No closets, drawers to work on, washing and ironing was all done and hanging in the closet. No yard work yet that spring. I had food prepared in advance of a visitor we were expecting. Shopping was done and mending was all caught up. I’d done all my spring sewing and not yet having joined the church, I had no lessons to prepare or compassionate service to do. I had all my work caught up. What a joyous day. I’ll never forget it.”

I can’t say I’ve had this experience in my life—but if it could happen just once, I would feel like the queen of the world.

I’m so pleased she recorded her perfect day…but there is one important thing missing from her entry. What did she do when everything was done? Did she read? Did she sleep? Did she go for a walk? Visit a friend? Eat a big, fat peach pie?

What would I do? What would YOU do--if it were ever all done--even just for one afternoon?

plumb love

I think it's really cute that Cairo wanted to hug the plumber today. I have to admit, I feel the same about a person who can make toilets flush again.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Monday, June 08, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Focus faux paus

Once upon a time I went to England for a six week study abroad program, but this was no regular study abroad. The studying--which we did do--mostly took place before ever arriving in England, and while riding on the bus. Every other moment was absolutely and fantastically jam packed with seeing every castle, cathedral, and noteworthy speck of England, Scotland, Wales and Paris. We attended Wimbledon, the Royal Ascot races, the Henley Music festival and Rowing Regatta, Oxford, and Cambridge. We punted the cam, took a boat ride down the seine, and searched Loch Ness for Nessie. We visited everything Shakespeare, Austen, Bronte, Potter (Beatrix not Harry :), Wordsworth, King Arthur or Beatle related. We saw Les Mis, Cats, Phantom, Starlight Express, Shakespeare, and museum hopped like mad. We caved, we mined, we toured ceramic, glass, lace and wax factories. We ate English breakfasts, joined pigeons on Trafalgar square, posed with Royal guards who wouldn't acknowledge us, and paraded around in newspaper hats on the fourth of July. We rode ferris wheels and ate crepes in France, climbed the Eiffel tower and the arch of champs d'ellyse (sp?) and visited a busload of art museums and exhibits to see famous works of art that before then had only existed in books. We took in every breathtaking vista of Scotland and Wales, hiked twelve miles through the grassy hills, climbed Mt. Snowden, dined in castles, shopped at Harrods, and had tea time at the Ritz. We stayed in youth hostels, dormitories, and with host families, rode planes, trains, automobiles, and boats. We stopped at cemeteries, monuments, battlefields, and packed more history into six weeks than I had learned in a lifetime. There was nothing we didn't do or see on this trip, including a view of the Queen mum as she paraded by at Ascot with her tiny, appropriate wave. It was a summer adventure so impossibly wonderful, that it stands out as one of the highlights of my life.

But for all the amazing spectacles I beheld on that trip, there was something I missed. One big oooooops that I will now confess.

One of the great stops on our adventure was to the famous Sherwood Forest (of Robin Hood fame). I remember walking around a really pretty garden, enjoying the peace and quiet of the place. I had chosen on this particular stop to stay by myself, which was unusual. I always buddied up with at least a few other people on any given adventure, but this place was very conducive to solitude, and I chose to wander alone. It didn't take much time to see it all, so I spent a long time just sitting and absorbing the peace and quiet.

Then with plenty of extra time on my hands, I went to the gift shop to select my bookmark (the trademark token I had chosen to collect from each stop of the trip.) How cool, a bookmark from Sherwood Forest. Wow. What a place, what a place. Then it was back to the bus. As people slowly joined me in the bus (it seemed I was back earlier than everyone else) they were abuzz with what can only be described as pure wonder. Nobody could seem to get over Sherwood Forest. I kept hearing phrases to the tune of "felt like being in a dream" or "ancient" "magical" and "can you believe a place like this really exists?" And then somebody said something about mist.

Mist. I hadn't seen any mist. There definitely and most assuredly had NOT been any mist in my Sherwood Forest. And then I started to put two and two together. That garden had been awfully empty. All that peace, quiet and solitude I absorbed was perhaps a little uncanny in retrospect. Were we not a group of 30? Should I not have seen other students wandering around? I'd been so lost in thought that this hadn't even crossed my mind.

So I asked a few simple questions of my fellow tourists, and they were an interesting combination of shocked, horrified, and amused to realize I had never made it past the gardens--which surrounded the visitor's center, but served only as a sort of entry way to Sherwood Forest.

"WHAT??!!" There was an actual forest??????? Where?????? How did I miss it?????? How did you get to it?????? Why didn't anyone tell me????!!!

I had been right there at Sherwood Forest, a Royal Forest in Nottinghamshire England, the stuff of legends and the home of Major Oak--a 1000 year old tree--one of the seven wonders of the Midlands (and Robin Hood's main hideout) --and I missed it all. (Couldn't see the forest for the trees, or more accurately, for the garden beside it. Duhhhhh.)

As our bus pulled away, I felt sick. In fact I had to fight frantic compulsions to leap out the window and go back. I had missed the sight we were there to see, and there was nothing I could do about it.

I have replayed this episode many times in my mind, trying to figure out just how I missed the forest. (F-O-R-E-S-T!!! Not exactly a needle in a haystack!!) Short of being a glaring idiot, which I never thought myself to be, it seems impossible that I pulled off such a feat. I would give anything to rewind and redo, to allow myself to see the thing I thought I was seeing, but wasn't.

And then a few weeks ago, it happened again. We were cruising the waters of Fort Myers, FL by boat to explore two remote islands in the area (Captiva and Cabbage Key). Three dolphins were playing around our boat and I was thrilled with the footage I was snapping on my camera. Then somebody pointed at something very near the boat and I got my camera focused on the area they had pointed to and waited to capture that National Geographic moment in all its glory. Then sure enough, the moment came.

What I saw: A tiny rectangle of water through my little viewfinder. (aka NOTHING.)
What everyone else saw: A huge stingray jumping out of the water full spread only feet from our boat. He shot up several feet high, diving back in head first and causing a huge splash in the water and an even bigger commotion on the boat.

My brother has lived on Sanibel Island for years, is no stranger to boats and sailing and said he had never seen anything so spectacular. Some were rendered speechless, others said they had chills, and everyone understood it was a sight you are lucky to see once in your life.

Me? I missed the whole blessed display of beautiful, raw nature that took place right before my eyes, and I can't get that moment back.

Knowing I had missed whatever it was that had our boat gasping, I turned my camera to the sound of the splash, and, click! came up with this:

Talk about a day late and a dollar short.

I'm not exactly sure the point I want to make with this post. The only culprit to blame for missing these two majestic would-be's in my life is me and my focus faux paus. I was innocent and extremely well meaning in both cases, but that doesn't change the fact that when my focus was on the wrong thing (even if I didn't know it) I missed some pretty important opportunities.

And I guess I just don't want it to happen again. Not in my travels. Not in my family. Not in the day to day charm of life. I want to see the forest and the stingray (and the rainbow, and the dew drop, and the sunrise). I don't want to miss the magic in the newest Lego creation, the butterfly painted with a potato, the toothless smile, the chubby arms reaching up to be held.

When my husband read through this blogpost, he said "it's a good reminder to check your focus sometimes. But it's also important to focus on what you DID see and not worry about what you didn't see." He's always the glass-half-full guy, and he makes a good point.

On the days when we botch it, all is not lost. Because we still "went to England" and we loved "our time in Florida", whatever those might translate into on any given day.

We get several chances to choose the right focus. Maybe only once in the actual moment, but the rewind and redo comes into effect as we choose to see the glass half full and focus on the good, the joy, and the wonder in the memories and moments that make up our journey through life. And isn't the journey AMAZING!!???

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Down Bangs

There are many things I love about my hairdresser.

#1. I love how she cuts my hair (a very good thing to like in a stylist.)
#2. I love our conversations and how we can pinball from Hollywood hot topics to serious spiritual discussions to what's the latest good read to how to raise moral children-- with no need for breath in between. If I get my hair cut often enough, we will for sure figure out solutions to all the world's problems.
#3. I love that she is a cheerleader/ sounding board/ and therapist when needed for my novel-in-progress.
#4. I love that she understands the importance of Flat Edward.


#5. I love her hair vocabulary!

See, the problem is I'm like an American in Paris when it comes to salon terminology. I can't speak the language of hair (and if you didn't know this language existed, read on) so I can not articulate my hair needs in any sort of functional way. I know it's true because no matter how much I think I'm describing the haircut I want, for years I have left the salon with the same hair do I came in with. BUT NOT ANYMORE.

Natalie is able to blast through the barrier of hair communication with vocabulary so perfectly descriptive, it can only be attributed to her status of mad hair pro. She comes to the rescue of every fumbling 'uh,' ummm', 'like', and 'ya know what I mean' that spills out of me so unspectaculary, and she does this with polished ease and fabulous-ness. Her range of hair vocabulary alone is enough to keep me coming back.

Me: I need more layers. But not just long layers, more like...
Natalie: "Va-va voom?"
me: Yeah, va-va voom sounds good.

Me: And I need some blond highlights, but not too light, just kind of, I don't know...
Natalie: "Sunny?"
Me: "Exactly!"

Me: I wear my hair both straight and curly, so it would be good if the curls could be...umm, sort of...
Natalie: "Beachy?"
Me: Yeah. Beachy.

Me: My ends are looking thin, do I need to cut back on the layering or can I keep this, uh...
Natalie: "Shag?"
Me: Oh, yes, SHAG. It has a name. I'm good then.

Natalie: I'm going to give you hippie hair today.
Me: Hippie hair?
Natalie: Hippie hair--straight with down bangs.
Me: Down bangs?
Natalie: Yeah, like mine. Bangs that are straight down, not swooped to the side.
Me: Ooooh, down bangs. Go for it!

So I thought you should see the down bangs. (In color, black and white, and with a cute husband who makes everything look better.) You'll notice a slight gap and wisping toward the right in the last picture. Natalie, if you read this, don't get after was my first day of self styling. Now that it's day four I have the styling down better and they are straight down, I promise. :)

But Natalie doesn't stop with cool hair terminology and fun haircuts. She follows up with Facebook messages like the one I recently received: "Just checking on your bangs..."

Don't you love a hairdresser who has your back like that?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Something good happens

One year and one day ago:

I remember waking up in the early morning hours with labor pain five days before my scheduled c-section. Brian was already awake, getting ready for a business day trip. We had to determine if this was really "it" as I'd been having false labor in the days leading up to it--so we prayed to make a good decision about sending Brian off for the day or not. 5 minutes later my water broke, so we made a good decision.

Me: But it's April 23rd. He can't come on April 23rd. Nothing good happens on a "23rd."

Brian: Nothing good?

Me: Nothing good.

Brian: I was born on a 23rd.

Me: ......Oh. You're right. Well that's something good.

We all know women in labor must not be held accountable for anything said or done while in it, and I blame my oversight on compromised mental faculties. But I'm grateful for the two very good things have happened on the 23rd.

One year and 8 months ago:

It's strange how the hardest physical thing I've ever done required no movement at all.

Some people run marathons, jump from planes, lift cars, climb Everest. Not me. I laid in bed. 100% immobilized by the suffering that is HG.

But look at the amazing trophy I got in reward for my effort.

There's not a day of my life that I don't appreciate my baby in a sacred sort of way, knowing the process of getting him here was monumental. It definitely took a village: TEAM CAYMAN. We all played different parts, but it took every one of us. Him. Me. The family. The prayers. The friends that swooped in and helped us live our life in my "absence."

I don't like to bring it up too often, at the risk of sounding 'woe is me.' (Or 'woe was me.') But yesterday marked Cayman's first year of life, and I feel I pay tribute to the hallowed time spent creating that life when I reflect on the experience. The feeling may be akin to a cancer survivor who values life just a little more for having faced the real possibility of losing it. The battle with HG is different because you are not facing death literally, rather the mental battle of relentless suffering. And this battle does not always end well.

Ashli Foshee McCall suffered Hyperemisis Gravidarum so horribly that she terminated a pregnancy over it, a decision that haunted her from the moment she was rid of the suffering, and one she will always regret. She has spent all of her years since engaged in helping mothers who suffer the same illness to endure it well, to know their medical options, and never to give up. I admire her so much for turning her own heartache into positive energy that can change the course for others.

Her book was my lifeline during this time: Beyond Morning Sickness. And Ashli herself sent several personal emails to encourage me through the darkest days. She will never know the difference she made for me in my little corner of the world. (Or the bedroom, in this case.)

I marvel at the miracles that are children.

I have never felt closer to death than when sick in pregnancy, but have never felt more alive than when holding them for the first time. I have never been more exhausted than I am every day as a mother, but nothing energizes me more than my children.

A look, a smile, a laugh, an I love you, a pudgy little hand in mine...the greatest joys I've experienced. Their tears, their wounds, their heartaches...the most hurt I have felt.

Opposition in all things. You must know the bitter to experience the sweet, and there is nothing sweeter than little eyes reflecting back to you your deepest and purest love. It is worth anything it takes to get them here.

Now the fun part....


Just a simple family party. The kids were 'decorating and games' committee--they were awesome.

He liked the cake coming toward him when we sang and he cried when we moved it back to the table for his siblings to blow out the candle for him. Just you wait, kiddo...

See, you get your first piece of birthday cake!! (Wait, that was child number one. You've probably had cake five times already, but this time you get a piece of your own.) Could there be a better happy birthday?

Hmmm....nobody's taking it away from me. I could get used to this.

Darn. Cake seems to be gone. What should I do next?

Lick the plate clean, of course.

And since nobody's giving me more, I'll just go ahead and eat the plate.

Oh, it's so good to be ONE. And mommy is so glad dad is taking me straight to the shower.

Now onto the presents! You never thought you'd see this face clean again, did you?

That about sums it up. We love you, Cayman!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I wear flip flops.

My husband and I laid in bed feeling very introspective last night, the eve of our 10th anniversary. We were evaluating the years of our life together, and at one point he asked me: "What if you woke up tomorrow morning and it was 1997, we had never met and all of this had been a dream?" I know it was hypothetical, but please refer to #4 of my random things list (below) and you'll know I had to suffer physically for a minute anyway, just at the thought of it.

Because WHAT IF it had all been a dream?

My first panicked thought, strangely, was that I needed to edit my list of random things. I needed to erase #23 into total oblivion. Let me quote myself:

"I wouldn’t trade my age and stage of life for anything…but…I do miss the carefree feeling of younger days and less responsibility."

Backpaddle, backpaddle. I think I overstated. I'm sure it seemed true enough when I made the list--in fact I'm sure there was much responsibility in the way of laundry, dishes, poopy diapers, etc., piling up as I made the list-- which may have influenced the sentiment. But I will take every speck of dust in my house, every patch of grime on my children, and every last item on my daily list of to-do's if it means I get the last ten years of my life...and the joy of home and family.

I am living the life I always wanted and the thought of anything else makes me feel so empty, so hollow, sooooo sad.

I'm thrilled to be celebrating ten years of the man I love, the family we have made, and the life we have built. I'm ecstatic that when I woke up this morning it was all real. Yes, two of my four children greeted me with the same morning news: "Mom, I wet my bed." And yes, my husband and I are both sick on our big day, and yes, I have spent the first three hours of my day-o-love tending to all that 'responsibility' that can be so tedious...

but I have been able to take it all in stride because of that horrid question: "What if it had all been a dream?"

So happy anniversary to the man of my dreams, and here is the official, no regrets amendment to #23 on my list of random things:

#23 I wear flip flops 90% of the time.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

25 Random Things about Me

This flies around Facebook and although I haven't posted there yet, I'm making a valid effort to blog more often, so I thought I'd share here first.

1. I can’t leave short messages on phones. I talk to the person almost like they had answered and usually get cut off by the beep.
2. I am too interested in too many things to be great at any one thing.
3. I am paranoid of anyone ever feeling left out, and as much as I love a good party, it’s hard to host one at my house because I can’t fit everyone and I don’t know how to narrow my invite lists.
4. I feel things to the extreme no matter who they happen to. Every sad story in the paper or on the news affects me and I can spend days in a funk when something sad or bad happens to a perfect stranger.
5. I know the proper grammar for #4 would have been “no matter to whom they happen” but I have a strange complex about using too proper of grammar.
6. I sneeze like a cat and I always sneeze in fives.
7. I think ‘spooky action at a distance’ is the coolest concept ever and I experience it often.
8. I am the princess and the pea about my bed. I have a fantastic mattress, then memory foam on top of that, and I unabashedly claim the only expensive pillow in the house. As a teenager I prided myself on my ability to sleep anywhere, and I never thought I’d be the mom who took an air mattress camping…but now I see no glory in sleeping uncomfortably.
9. I secretly believe I am married to a superhero.
10. Raising children has taught me more than anything else in life.
11. I love reptiles just as much as anything cute or furry.
12. It absolutely, positively gives me the willies to have anything touch my belly button. And yet my daughter—who never took a bottle or a pacifier, has used her finger in her belly button as her soother from the time she first discovered it. I call this God’s practical joke number one. Practical joke number two was having to get my gallbladder removed—the biggest incision being made in my belly button, of course.
13. Thirteen is more than my lucky number, it is magic for me, and has never let me down.
14. I have witnessed too many miracles not to believe in God.
15. I can’t remember the ending of books, the story line of movies, the punch line to any joke, or what I said five minutes ago, but the lamest facts can stick in my head forever (like a phone number I haven’t dialed in 25 years, or something I read once about how after age 40 you should wear cream instead of black, etc.)
16. One of the guys I dated in college called my feet water skis. Ouch. But that's OK, I've obviously forgotten all about it. :)
17. I am super proud of the fact that I overcame my spider phobia. It was really extreme, and I feel triumphant for tackling it. I don’t kill them anymore—part of the new pact between us.
18. I can’t imagine life without one of my senses. Seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, touching…all huge to me. I can imagine life without laundry, though.
19. Best foods: Thick chocolate malts, goat cheese, red peppers, hot In N Out fries, dark chocolate covered strawberries, cinnamon bears, kalamata olives, the gourmet meals my husband makes on mother’s days, Los Hermanos chips and salsa, and ANYTHING from CafĂ© Rio.
20. In my life, I have been surrounded by the world’s greatest people.
21. Sore ribs from laughing hard is the ultimate satisfaction.
22. I love heartbeats. Hearing my husband’s heartbeat at night lulls me into the most comfortable, safe kind of sleep. Mine happens to beat irregularly, but it keeps on beating, and that’s what matters.
23. I wouldn’t trade my age and stage of life for anything…but…I do miss the carefree feeling of younger days and less responsibility.
24. I have eaten rattle snake, cliff dived, bridge jumped, skinny dipped in the red sea, galloped bareback, ridden a Harley, a dirt bike, an elephant, a camel, raced 120 mph in a car, rock climbed without ropes, gone caving many times, four wheeled in a Fiero, been trapped under a raft in white water, been blamed for a forest fire I didn’t start, sent an Iguana through the mail, seen a UFO, rock repelled, visited Chitzinizu and the pyramids of Giza, punted the Cam, climbed the Eiffel tower, sang in front of the statue of Liberty, visited England, Scotland, France, Wales, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Dubai, Canada, Mexico, and more states than I can name….BUT….
25. ….I have never been to Hawaii, and I am afraid to open the Pillsbury crescent roll cans that pop.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Happy April 'I'd be a fool not' to Day!

This won't come as a shocker if you know me, but I'm a really big fan of holidays. There are no small holidays in my book, and any and every holiday should be celebrated. (I'm even up for holiday poaching, which is why I celebrate Catholic Lent and have tried to figure out a seamless way to give my Mormon son a Jewish Barmitzvah when he turns 13, but that plan needs some work.)

I am sometimes consistent in the way I celebrate a holiday, repeating the same tradition year after year, but as you may have guessed by the flaw in the phrase "sometimes consistent" that I can also be very liberal with new ideas, new rules, and new ways to celebrate.

And today is one of those let's-tweak-the-norm-just-a-little-bit examples.

First you have to understand that my family of origin is serious about April Fool's Day. I believe a blog post in April of last year documented what I mean by that, but let's just say that in my family you are highly esteemed if you pull a clever prank and "get" someone on April Fool's, especially since we are all on our guard. I have even learned the hard way that April Fool's Day starts officially at midnight, and the wee hours of the morning are fair play. (Harrumph, Adam, you still have it coming to you for that one.)

This devotion to April Fool's Day has naturally carried over into my new little family of 6, and believe me, my husband has plenty devious genes of his own to bring to the table. So of course I've been racking my brain over the past few days to think of the perfect joke to play on him or anyone else that has it coming to them.

But in my planning attempts, I kept getting stuck on the word "fool" itself, and realized the day could be about more than just playing jokes. So I would like to share with you this year's approach to April Fool's Day. It's been an interesting combination of selflessness, productivity, indulgence and fun--which all in all has made for a pretty great day.

This year I have morphed the title April Fool's Day into the phrase April 'I'd be a fool not to' Day, which has dictated how I've spent the day. Here are some examples to clarify:

The selfless part: My husband has been getting nice little love notes all day to the effect of: "I'd be a fool not to thank you for..." or "I'd be a fool not to tell you..." etc.

The productive part: I've gotten little projects done today that should have been done a long time ago--all in the name of "I'd be a fool not to... finally put the leaves in a trash bag that I swept into a pile three weeks ago" for example.

The indulgent part: I decided that the rules of celebrating today's holiday override the rules of celebrating the holiday I've been in since Lent started, and after several weeks of no sweets I thought: "I'd be a fool NOT to eat chocolate today", and so I did. Just for today. See, the beauty of making up holidays is making up the rules about celebrating them.

And lastly the fun part: I still get to play tricks, because, after all...(you guessed it) I'D BE A FOOL NOT TO.

And this blog entry? Well, doesn't it just make sense to catch up on my blog on a day when I'd be a fool not to?

Hope you enjoyed your day as much as I've enjoyed mine!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

To have Cairo

is to have more abundance in my life than I could ever imagine.

He makes me melt all day long everyday.

He says 'Batman and Robinson' and 'Thomas and Jerry'.

He calls Lucky Charms "Cocoa Sauces" and thinks it was his birthday on St. Patrick's Day because the leprechauns left a fun table all decorated and ready to eat "cocoa sauces".

He calls any group of people "boys" (I think it comes from the expression 'guys') including mom and dad. It's always cute to hear him ask about Staten and Windsyr, "Where are the boys, mom?" or say to Brian and I, "Come on boys!"

He dances anytime he hears a beat and plays drums on the food storage cans--but can NOT play without some sort of hat on.

He has as many teenage friends as he does kid friends.

His favorite TV show is Ninja Warrior, and has he got some ninja moves!

He can't stand messes or sticky hands, puts everything he ever plays with into straight lines and claps when I organize the fridge. (OCD?)

Though he has his own bed, he hasn't used it much since Cayman overtook the room. But Cairo is so cuddly, the kids fight over who gets him in their bed at night.

He is so gracious. 'Thank you' was one of his first expressions, and he uses it generously.

He is all boy, and anything ball shaped or weapon related is pretty much awesome in his world.

He was so proud of this soccer ball snowman.

He lives for chocolate milk, but "chocolate milk" usually refers to a few drops of french vanilla creamer in regular milk.

He was the shortest kid on the scout field trip, but I think he is pleased by any operation that removes trash.

Anytime the camera comes out he says: "Take a picture 'bout me, mom."

He is the most social and gregarious member of our family. He loooooves people and often spearheads introductions in the way an outgoing adult would. It is always cracking people up.

He is more computer savvy than me--but his photography skills need work.

He hasn't yet caught the vision of underwear.

Or pouring the syrup on your pancakes instead of drinking it.

One day I called myself mommy and he corrected me: "No, your superhero mommy." What could be more endearing than that???

He is more life, energy, and personality bundled up into one sturdy little package than I knew could exist. I honestly ask myself daily: "How did I get so lucky to be your mom?"

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Out with Flat Stanley, In with FLAT EDWARD!

It started with a white elephant and a few crazed women. Now it is the gift that will keep on giving...and giving....and giving--whether the recipients like it or not :) because....

Flat Edward has started his journey!

Learn more about Flat Edward, track his adventures, and add his blog to your links! We want to see how many people he can get to and far he can travel. Go see more at

Edward came along when several of us took our husbands (good sports that they were) to see Twilight at the dollar theaters. He came to Ruby's. He's been to a Valentine's dance and multiple baby showers--and this week he is with Kelly....probably the truest Twilight fan of them all. It'll be fun to see where he goes and what he does. At some point we're hoping he can spend a week with Stephenie Meyers!


The things that entertain me.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Return of the 80's!! (In more ways than one...)

You'd think that living in sunny Southern Cal would numb me to the glory of the sun-- that at some point I'd take it for granted, or come to feel a sense of entitlement to it. But I am here to tell you that a beautiful sunny day thrills me just as much after 300 of them per year as it ever did in the less seasonally challenged places I've lived in. After a small run of rain and cold this week, today has returned to delightfully warm and sunny and I had all my windows and doors open for the interior version of basking in it! I looooove it! Of course dramatic weather is exciting and each of the four seasons has its place in my little weather loving heart, but the SUN is therapeutic for me. I know it. I feel it. And I thrive on the medicinal and psychological effects from a good dose of Vitamin A even after soaking it up consistently for six years. Wrinkled prune though I may be...

But this is a side trip. What I really meant to do is post pictures from Valentine's day--aka the awesome 80's dance. Behold, the pleather, the mullet, the neon, and a proper tribute to Jon Bon Jovi...(brace yourself)...

What a RIOT! I kind of have a soapbox about the lack of dancing forums for married LDS adults. We dance and dance and dance while we are single and then we get married and...nada. I have literally been to two church sponsored dances for married couples in ten years of marriage. YET, if you are an adult and find yourself single all over again, what do you do? You dance. Like my mom does. One of my funny memories is of Brian and I sending pretty grandma Kippy off to her dance at 10 pm a few years ago and watching a nice little movie while we waited for her to report back. When she checked in with us again...which was oh, say, 1-ish, we laughed about the fact she had never left the dance floor in that time period and we had never left...the sofa. Yes, she was the swinging single mom and we were the "Who needs to dance? Not us, We're married!" couple collecting calories on the couch.

So clearly I was thrilled that our Elder's Quorum hosted a Valentine's dance this year, and the fact that it was 80's just made it all the more fantastic.

So that's about all I'll say about the dance. The pictures can tell you the rest!