Monday, December 14, 2009

The abridged story of our dog ownership, start to finish

How it came to pass that we got a dog:
On December 8, I got an email from Andrew that said, "Tell me you don't want this dog." Attached was this irresistible picture.

I wrote back and said, "I DO want that dog!" Hello - those eyes? You can't deny that is the cutest dog you've ever seen.

So he submitted an application to the adoption lady, Shelly. (Actually, I'm pretty certain he did that before we ever talked about it.) Later that night I spoke with her on the phone.

The next day, Dec. 9, Shelly called and we sent up a time for a home visit the next day.

The morning of Dec. 10, I took the kids to Petsmart to get the dog essentials to prepare for Angel's arrival that afternoon. Angel arrived at about 1:30pm, and when I opened the door I thought I would die with the cuteness of that little dog. I fell in love with her. We spent the rest of that day getting used to her and she to us. I went to bed that night happy and peaceful knowing I had someone there with me.

Dec. 11 dawned (not bright and early, because we have been seriously sleeping in since daylight savings), and I noticed that Leighton might be allergic to Angel. He was rubbing his eyes, getting red splotches all over his face, sneezing, and acting miserable. Benadryl fixed him right up, but I started to wonder about the realisticness (is that word?) of keeping Angel.

Dec. 12 the same thing happened. I talked to Andrew about maybe not keeping Angel.

Dec. 13, yesterday, Leighton was fine. We weren't around the dog a ton what with church and all, but I thought maybe I had been exaggerating his reaction. But my heart told me that keeping Angel was not the best thing for our family. So I sent Shelly an email telling her we would have to give Angel back.

Dec. 14, today. We made the hour drive to meet Shelly and give Angel back. I was a little sad to see her go and I will miss some things about having her. I'll admit that I cried for about 30 seconds. But I feel so relieved and peaceful now - better than I have felt since getting her. The stress of worrying about whether or not to keep her was really getting to me, and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

In summary: We got a dog, kept her for 4 days, and then gave her back. We no longer have a dog. Everything is back to normal.

The end.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Putting it off a little longer.

So I've just not been in the writing mood to tell the whole story about the dog. I will, I promise. Soon. But for now, I wanted to show you the picture that has made my day and turned my frown upside down.
I love that girl.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Munch. Munch. Chew. Chew. Swallow.

That is the sound of me, eating my words. Not only those words, but alot of spoken words as well.

We got a dog today.

Her name is Angel, she is a dachsund whippet mix, she's 2 years old, and I am completely in love with her.

Whole story to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Crayon cookies

Yesterday for our advent activity we did something fun that I thought I'd post on here for all to see. I found the idea on Kiddley, which is the cutest blog that unfortunately doesn't currently post things. Great archives, though.

Anyway, crayon cookies are a great way to use up broken crayons. We have LOTS of broken crayons, as my kids seem to like peeling and breaking them more than coloring with them.
So gather up all your crayon pieces. Dig in all your junk drawers, search the bottom of your purse and diaper bag, and check in all the pen cups throghout the house. Peel off the paper, if any remains, and break them into about 1 or 2 inch pieces. Fill the cups of a mini-muffin tin with contrasting colors. They turn out prettier that way. I read that you should try to use just one brand of crayon melted together, as different brands have different water contents and meltiness. We used all Crayola, because I'm a loyal Crayola lover.

Pop into a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes or until nice and melty. Take them out of the oven to cool for a few minutes, and then put the tin into the freezer for about 30 minutes. After that time, they will be solid and ready to color with.

Eva loves her crayon cookies; she stacked them up and knocked them over for a long time last night, and after a while she was calling them her friends. "Mommy, I dropped my friend on the floor! I like my friends." They get a nice dip in the middle that makes them perfect for stacking, and they color cool thick, soft lines.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Holidays in Hand pages 1-6, not including 2

I had a request from my cousin Lise to put up some of my digital pages, so here they are. I took another Jessica Sprague class called Holidays in Hand, so that's her template on all the pages. I bought the most adorable kit from Designer Digitals called Colorful Christmas by Mindy Terasawa, and that's where all the patterned paper came from. The pages are really simple - all I do every night is drop the pictures in, list everything we did that day, and add it to the book that I'll print out through Blurb. Simple, but awesome. I really seem to go in spurts with digital scrapbooking. Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it. Right now I love it, so there it is. :)

My brush with baldness

It was the night of Nov. 30. I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed and was bent over pulling on some sweatpants. Andrew was standing in the doorway talking to me, and said suddenly, "You have a bald spot on the top of your head." Hmm. My hair must be parted weird. After I walked over for him to inspect it, he declared it was a real bald spot. With panic setting in, I looked in the mirror. Sure enough, on the tip top of my head, there was a round, smooth bald spot the size of a dime. We went through the options of what it could be. I hadn't hit my head recently. It wasn't particularly itchy, so I didn't think it was a rash. Freaking out more every second, we decided to google it.

If you google "bald spot on female head," you'll see why I spent that night in tears. I was sure I was going to lose all my hair from alopecia areata. I was starting to picture my future as a wig-wearer and imagining how I would look balding. My hair is my best feature, next to my feet, and losing it would be a tragedy to me.

After a night of strange, depressing dreams brought on by my anxiety, I called the doctor first thing the next morning to schedule an appointment. Early afternoon I met Andrew on base so he could take the kids and then marched to the doctor to hear my certain diagnosis of premature and irreversible baldness.

The first question she asked upon seeing my spot was, "Do you go to a gym?" Well, you know I do. Instantly she diagnosed the spot not as alopecia areata, but...get ready for it...



There's a fungus among us.

I know. Bizarre doesn't even begin to describe it. Sure, I go to a gym to work out, but it's not like I spend my time there rubbing my head on the locker room floor. How in the world could it be a fungus? No idea. Still, almost a week later, I'm scratching my head over the whole thing. Not only from confusion, but the idea of a fungus on my scalp just makes me itchy thinking about it. She prescribed me with a cream to use twice a day and a special shampoo for fungus-carriers like me.

Every time I lose a hair (and I've always been a big shedder), I silently panic wondering if it will ever grow back. Thankfully I have really thick hair, so there's lots to lose. I hope that means it will take a really long time for it to all fall out.

I've learned to part my hair so that even I have a hard time finding the bald spot sometimes. I'm prepared to start coloring my spot brown with eyeliner if I have to, to camouflage it more. And Andrew promised if I have to wear a wig, I can get one for every day of the week with all different styles.

So let me stand as a voice of warning to all you gym-goers. Beware of fungus, because you never know where it will attack you.

Oh, and let me throw in this randomness: the church has a really awesome Christmas website up right now. There are some great things on there. But my favorite, probably my favorite Christmas talk of all time, is one I found by Elder Holland called "Maybe Christmas Doesn't Come from a Store." I've read it at least 5 times and cried every time. Go check it out.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Our December so far

I am doing a December advent where each day we make something and do something to celebrate Christmas. I have a digital scrapbook layout for each day of the month - already made - so each night I just drop my pictures in and journal about what we did. It's been really fun, as it's forced me to a) be proactive about doing fun activities with the kids, and b) take lots of pictures everyday.

Now that Andrew is gone, I suppose I should start blogging again. I have a really strange story about fungus to tell you when I have more time to write. Believe me, you won't want to miss it.
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Just lying around.

This is us.

Lying on the bathroom floor on a stack of towels while the kids take a bath. As we relaxed on the floor, I thought back to my childhood to see if I could remember a time when my parents laid on the bathroom floor together. No such memory came to mind. I asked Andrew, and he couldn't remember his parents doing that either. I said that our kids will have plenty of memories of me lying on the bathroom floor, because I seem to do it alot.
In fact, I lie on any floor alot. (In my house - not in public.) I am a floor lier. If the kids are coloring, I will lie on the floor to watch them. If I have been standing for a long time cleaning or whatnot, I lie on the floor to take a break (rather than sitting on the couch). Maybe it's because I'm lazy. Maybe it's because we have a ridiculously large bathroom, and nice little patches of carpet in the house that just cry out to be put to good use.
It's really nice to have someone to lie on the floor with me. I am having a bit of anxiety today as I begin mentally preparing for Andrew to start traveling again. I'm not sure I remember how to do this alone. I'm feeling that suffocating desperation I used to feel when we were long-distance daters and we were about to say our good-byes for a few more weeks.
So when he leaves this week, you know where you can find me. Lying on the floor, wondering what to do without him.
{This post is giving me chest pain from my grammatical uncertainty. Is it lying, or laying? Do I lie on the floor, or lay on the floor? My grammar class seems so long ago. Please don't mock me for my errors. Yes, I did major in English, but that seems like another lifetime now.}

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Family pics

My dear friend Melanie took our family pictures last week and she already has some up on her photography website. Go look at them. We are the first family one, there is one under the portrait section of Leighton (did I really have a hand in making that beautiful boy?), and then a few of Andrew and me in the couples section. Can I confess that I think we look amazing? I have been staring at our little family for several minutes and for some reason these pictures make me want to cry. Is that really us? For real? Thank you, Melanie. You are the best.

Wedded bliss

I put a little bit of pressure on myself to write a stellar blog post about Andrew coming home. Seeing as how it was the greatest event in my life so far (besides marrying him), I wanted a blog post to match. But after having him back for 11 days now and having that long to think about what I want to remember about this time, I decided to lose the self-imposed pressure. Because all I really want to remember about these weeks is how incredibly happy I am.

When we got married, I remember wishing we had taken a picture of our rings together. You know how people do that - their rings stuck in the bouquet or some other staged photo like that. But a few days after Andrew got home, I got my own, unstaged wedding ring picture. We were in the kitchen doing the dishes together, and the kids were playing nearby. I glanced up on the window sill and saw our rings sitting there together and got the most overwhelming feeling of contentment. We belong together. I am so happy to have my Andrew home.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Homeward Bound

Andrew is on his way home. He started his 32-hour flight this morning and will be returning sometime tomorrow evening.

As I spend my last evening alone, I find myself reflecting on the past 128 days, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. As I said our family prayer this evening, I got teary-eyed as I thanked the Lord for this experience and his protection over all 4 of us.

There were many hard moments, and I did many hard things that I'm proud of. I potty-trained Eva. I flew alone with both kids 6 times, once where we had the stomach flu. I went through airport security alone with both kids 6 times (which deserves its own mention, don't you think?). Most recently, I dealt with all things financial when my wallet was lost. (Thankfully, it is now restored to me, along with my peace of mind.) I mowed the lawn. I nursed sick kids back to health several times. I registered the van and the motorcycle. I went grocery shopping at least 30 times with both kids. I went to church 20 times, and every time I left that 3-hour block I felt like I had just won a major battle (although many times I also felt defeated). I fulfilled my calling in Young Women's. I finished reading the Book of Mormon. I lost 16 pounds. I kept our beautiful children fed, safe, and happy, for the most part.

128 nights in a row, I prayed for our protection. And 128 nights in a row, we were blessed with exactly what I asked for. Now, on the eve of our reunion, I feel grateful and triumphant. I have come to the end of the hardest time of my life so far, and tomorrow it will all be over.

Thanks be to God - we did it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

5 years ago

5 years ago tonight, I fell in love with my husband. You may remember last October when I posted about the first time I met Andrew. Well, this year it's the story of how I fell in love with him.

The point where I left off my story last year was the part where Andrew left Idaho without getting my number. (RUDE.) He had this stupid dating motto, "Don't force it, don't deny it." He eventually got my number from Clay. I had a brief 2 week (lame) relationship with a boy named Jared at the time, and I wasn't interested in Andrew much at all. He had left, and I thought I would probably never hear from him again. But he called a couple times and we had a few conversations. Nothing to get excited about, but we kept in contact.

It came to pass that we were both heading to Utah for Halloween. My little sister Sarah was getting baptized that weekend (her birthday is on Halloween), and I don't know what reason Andrew had. Except maybe the magnetic force of my stunning beauty practically dragged him from Colorado to my parents' house in Utah.

We had talked on the phone a couple times throughout the day on October 29 and had planned for all the boys to come over to my house sometime. It got to be very late at night and Andrew kept not coming, but he kept calling to postpone the get-together. It was getting close to midnight. I had (of course) told my mom about the date earlier that month, but to prepare her to meet him, I told her I didn't like Andrew and I wasn't impressed with him. I told her he seemed to lack any ambition. (If you know Andrew, you know this isn't true - but you also know that's the vibe he likes to give off.) My parents (actually, most of my family, oddly enough) were still awake when Andrew and his friends (Chris, Will...who else was there?) arrived after midnight. There was an awkward moment at the door when Andrew was the last of the group to walk in and I gave him an odd hug. He still wonders why I did that, but I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do.

They came in and sat on the couch (with my whole family present) and chatted away for a good, long while. Andrew, with his natural hilarious sense of humor, had my family rolling. (He still does that every time he talks to them.) After they left, my mom told me how much she liked him. I had been surprised how comfortable he had been around my family as there was so much awkwardness on our first date. We made a plan to hang out the next day, October 30, 2004. Early that afternoon I went to a golf store with Andrew and his brothers Talon and Perry (and Christi). I was impressed by Andrew again - especially with his killer golf swing. We seemed to get along really well and I felt so much myself with him.

That night, Andrew, accompanied by dateless Will Graff, Chris Culver, Chase Webster, and Mike Graff, picked me up and we headed up to Salt Lake to Rocky Point Haunted House.

I HATE haunted houses. I hate anything remotely scary. Why I agreed to go here is beyond me. But it was well worth the scares. Andrew kept his arms wrapped tightly around me the entire time. (It wasn't really his choice - I was clinging to him so hard he was sore the next day. I would not let him let go.) It was far from a romantic atmosphere, but that was the beginning of one of the things I love most about Andrew: he makes me feel so safe.
We left the haunted house and headed back south to drop me off. It started snowing during the drive, and I remember looking over at Andrew driving and then looking at the snow and feeling this twirly feeling in my stomach. I felt giddy, but yet so calm. We didn't talk much on the way home - I didn't have much to say. I was so happy in the dark with the snow falling and this handsome boy next to me. We got to my house and he got out of the car to say good-bye. He gave me a hug, and the feeling of his arms around me made my stomach flip again.

With the ending of that night began our long-distance dating period. I was in my last few months of college at BYU-Idaho, and Andrew was still imprisoned at the Air Force Academy. But I knew I would stick with him as long as he would let me.

In December I decided to give Andrew a gift of the 12 days of Christmas. I worked for several days on finding cute little things (like a skiing man magnet that is still on our fridge) to give him and writing lame little poems to go with them. I was sitting on the floor of my apartment wrapping all the gifts and thinking about how excited I was to see him again. Suddenly I got this strange, strong feeling that I was going to marry Andrew. I knew it with my whole heart. I can't really explain it, but it was a feeling I went back to many times over the months ahead.

I graduated from college and moved home to Utah. We dated long distance until July, when I decided enough was enough, and I moved to Colorado. But that's another story for another time. Maybe next October. :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My body thanked me today.

Because I didn't give birth.
According to the space of time between Eva and Leighton, and if I had been insane enough to do that spacing again, I would have given birth today.

Thank heavens that didn't happen.

I am happy to report that I am still a mom of just two, and Leighton is still my baby.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Could there be a nastier name for a sickness? It gives me the mental image of kids walking around Walmart barefoot and then sucking on their feet to get the disease.

But it is confimed: Eva has it. And considering its highly contagious nature, I was assured by the doctor that Leighton will get it too. Which means at least another 5 days of being quarantined in my house with crying children. Awesome.

On a high note, I discovered the miracle that is Tylenol suppositories. With Eva's severe aversion to oral medication, I decided that was the only option. Within an hour of "administering" said suppository, she was back to normal. No more screaming and crying - she happily colored at her art table with me for an hour, drank some milk, and even ate a graham cracker, which was the first food she's had in days. So for now, all is well.

But that may change in the middle of the night when Leighton wakes up with a fever again.

Oh, hand, foot, and mouth disease, I abhore you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One of those days, times 93

Today was one of those days where:

We woke up around 9am after a night of very little sleep.

We stayed in our pajamas all day.

I didn't clean my house at all, and I didn't dirty any dishes.

I realized as we pulled up to Jack in the Box for dinner that I hadn't brushed my teeth yet.

Leighton fell off the table (why was he standing on the table?) and started bleeding from the inside and outside of his little cheek.

Eva cried ALL day and couldn't eat anything without screaming in pain. Pretty sure she has strep throat.

We almost finished off a bottle of Motrin.

I thought of every possible way to disguise Motrin, but Eva is no easy target. She can smell medicine from a mile away and starts a temper tantrum at the mere mention of the word.

I called my mom crying.

I called to ask a friend for help, which I HATE to do, and had her husband run to the store and get us some chewable Tylenol. Which Eva still wouldn't eat, despite my telling her it was candy.

The television was on almost all day. Barney, I'm so sick of you I could throw up in your face.

I put the kids down almost an hour early, and I'm gearing up for another night of hell.

17 more days until Andrew comes home. And if that's not an eternity, I don't know what is.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sick season is upon us in FULL force.

Tonight I was making a last-minute dinner of pancakes, and both kids were freaking out wanting me to hold them. (Oh, how I love dinner times without Andrew. Cooking a real meal is no small miracle.) I appeased them with frozen blueberries (their favorite treat) and enjoyed a few minutes of silence.

Then Eva came in the kitchen and said, "Mama, I'm sick. But I don't want medicine." And then added cheerfully, "Thank you, though!" I laughed harder than I had all day. I hadn't even offered her medicine. That girl sure HATES medicine.
Midway through FHE at our friend's house, she started running a fever (I think) and got really lethargic and tired. We immediately left for home and I put her down to bed.

Sick kids - the bane of my existence. I know it's terrible, but more than feeling sympathy for Eva I feel resentment that I'll have to miss boxing class tomorrow. I'm sure I'm supposed to learn something from all of this. Patience, maybe?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I did it.

After a couple months of hard work, I finally got back down to the weight I was when I got married. (Not to say that it's is my ideal, but it was a big goal of mine.)

On a whim, today I pulled out all my old "small" clothes I had been saving. I decided to try them on, just for fun. There was my favorite skirt from college, a pair of shorts I bought for my honeymoon (including the ones in the honeymoon picture above), and a couple other shorts from years gone by. One by one, I put them all on. And one by one, I was surprised when they fit. There was no tugging of the zipper, no disappointment upon looking in the mirror. Only a thrill of pride when I saw that I had a bunch of new, old clothes.

Unfortunately, they are all summer clothes, and we are well into fall now. Guess I'll have to go shopping.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

We miss Grandma

My mom came this past Wednesday and left this morning. Eva is so sad and keeps asking for her, and I'm feeling a bit lonely myself. We had a wonderful time with her here, and she put my life back in order. Mowed my lawn, weeded my jungle (which used to be a garden, but it doesn't qualify as that anymore), got my new sewing machine up and running, helped my complete a plethora of sewing projects (including the kids' Christmas pajama pants), did my dishes, entertained my kids, slept in Eva's bed with Eva every night, let me go to the gym and take my sweet time working out alone, sat in the car with the kids while I grocery shopped, and many other helpful little things. To all you who live close to your moms, count yourselves lucky. Come back soon, Grandma!

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

100 days

Today was a landmark - 100 days of deployment.

It was a really hard day with lots of tears. Not because of the deployment or missing Andrew(unfortunately, I've gotten used to that) but because I just felt so overwhelmed with everything I had to do. I stood in the kitchen, surrounded by messes everywhere I looked, with a view of my overgrown, neglected garden and backyard, with both kids screaming after Eva peed her pants again, and I just cried. I didn't know where to start or what to do next. Dishes, laundry, cleaning, the soap scum on the kitchen sink, picking up Leighton's food he flung all over the dining room, the filthy toilets in all 3 bathrooms, sorting through the mail, unpacking from our trip...How could I even begin to tackle all that was looming over me?

So I said a prayer, turned on some Christmas music for the first time this year, lit my new delicious Scentsy candle, and got to work. The kitchen is clean (not the floor yet - there's always tomorrow), 1 and a half toilets are clean, a load of laundry is washed and in the dryer (including Eva's wet clothes) and I'm feeling a little better. My mom is coming tomorrow, and I guess if I don't get it all done, I'll just be glad it's my mom and not the prophet coming to visit. Although the prophet might not notice the cleanliness of my sink. My mom most certainly will.

Thankfully, I only have 30 more days of doing it all alone. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

P.S. If anyone knows a teenage boy in need of some extra cash, I need a lawn mowing and weeding guy. No price is too high to get that off my list of things to worry about.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Header

Let it be known that I was as surprised as you were to see my blog's new look. I clicked "publish" last night, and when I saw my blog I thought there must be some mistake. It looks like my husband had some extra time on his hands. Is that really what I look like, honey? I guess I'll keep it for a while, just for fun.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Home from NM

We're home! Here's what we did on our 12-day vacation.

-Flew to NM, enjoyed seeing all the Webbs. Leighton got horrible allergies and broke out in hives, most likely from the dog, but after much prayer and fasting, he was healed and didn't have as much of a reaction the rest of the time.

-Ate lots of yummy Mexican food, which we don't have here in the Pacific Northwest. If any Mexicans read this and want to come start a restaurant here, I will totally support you.

-Ate lots of food, period. Undid a little of my hard work in losing 11 pounds, probably gained back 2. But I still managed to work out consistently, even though I was probably doubling my normal calorie intake. What is vacation for, if not to send you home begging to go back to the gym?

-Scrapbooked with Chelsey, went to Hobby Lobby a few times and bought a "few" things. Why on earth don't we have that store here??

-Watched TV with Christi and Perry, and Brittani and Grant. Felt thankful to have family members who watch my same favorite shows.

-Saw my kids fall in love with all their cousins.

-Went to take a picture on our 3-month anniversary of deployment and found that my CAMERA IS BROKEN. It is flashing "ERR 99." If anyone has a Canon Digital Rebel and knows what that means and what I should do, please tell me. Hence, no pictures of the ENTIRE TRIP.

-Bought the PERFECT pair of brown boots, which broke after 2 hours of wear. Sadly, left them in NM to be returned. Back on the hunt for the perfect pair of brown boots. Also bought 3 cookbooks and a gorgeous pair of red heels, only to have them completely disappear. All you New Mexicans, please keep on the lookout for those things, as my frustration at buying them and not having them to enjoy mounts hourly.

-Welcomed my studly brother-in-law Johnathon home from his mission to Ukraine. (Not "the" Ukraine, I learned.) Wished Andrew would dress like his little brother just a little bit.
-Drove to UT (without a DVD player - yikes) and bade farewell to the Webbs with much sadness. Spent 2 days with my sisters Kim and Cami (and their new husbands), my dad, and brother Tim, who is also a stud. Watched conference, ate at Cafe Rio, and enjoyed the cool UT weather.

-By the end of the trip, Leighton had managed to lose all his shoes. I have 2 right feet of two very different pairs of shoes, but Andrew put him on a shoe ban. What to do? This trip was seriously not a good one for shoes in our family.

-Worried about going overweight on my baggage because of all the awesome things I bought, and felt very relieved to see that my heaviest bag was still only 40 pounds. Made it home safely to beautiful Washington. Loved every day of our trip and so glad we went. Happy beyond belief to be home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pictures on the porch, then and now

This morning, I dressed the kids up cute and went outside on the porch to take pictures. It marks 12 weeks of deployment, and I wanted to show Andrew how cute they looked for church. Of course, they weren't very cooperative, but I managed to get a few decent ones. (Eva's outfit was the star of the show, in my opinon.) Tonight, I sat down to edit them and send them to Andrew. While looking at them, I remembered some pictures we took last year on the porch, and I thought, "I bet that was almost exactly a year ago." So, using handy Picasa, I scrolled down to September of last year. And sure enough, it was September 6, 2008. We were pretty new in our house, although it still doesn't feel that long ago to me. But it absolutely shocked me to compare the kids then-and-now pictures.

They've only gotten cuter with age, wouldn't you say?
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Won't you be my neighbor?

(Warning: This post contains rather graphic mental images. If you are easily offended, please click away. If you want a good laugh, please read on.)

Tonight the kids were playing happily, so I took that opportunity to go use the facilities, as civilized people say. Seconds after sitting down, Eva came in. "Mama, you going potty?" I told her that I was. Leighton heard the conversation and came toddling in to join us. Within seconds, a fight escalated between them, and they both were crying at my knees. I growled in annoyance and said loudly while looking to the heavens for an answer, "Can't I even poo in peace?" Then I looked over and saw that my window was open. I guess even my neighbors can't have peace while I poo, since I'm broadcasting it to the whole neighborhood. That was slightly mortifying.

But the story doesn't end there. No, the fun continues. Just as I was finishing up my business, the phone rang. Thinking it would be Andrew, I dashed from the bathroom to grab the phone, hopping over my kids' heads, with all my clothes down around my knees. (It was a slow, cumbersome dash.) So you can imagine my anger when I saw that it wasn't Andrew, but a solicitor who has been calling at the worst times for the past week or two. I answered the phone with every intention of yelling at the telemarketer. But alas, I was denied even that pleasure as it was an automatic recording. I growled again and slammed the phone back down.

I hobbled back to the bathroom to see my kids staring at me in confusion. Eva said, "Mama, are you naked?" I pulled my pants back up and said, "Yes, Eva. I'm naked."

Bet you're glad you're not my neighbor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Runaway Shopping Cart, starring Eva

Yesterday we went to Target to purchase the most adorable brown boots I've ever seen, for Eva. Of course, that wasn't our original intent in the Target trip, but it was our best purchase.

We were in the parking lot getting ready to get back in the car. I left Eva sitting in the cart while I strapped Leighton into his carseat. When I looked back to where I had left the cart, at the bumper of the van, it was gone. More confused than panicked, I ran back there. No Eva. I looked over to my right, and there she was, floating away across the parking lot with the most confused look on her face.

It was the funniest thing to see, and I just laughed as I chased after the runaway cart. She had gotten pretty far away and would have knocked into the cart parking thing, so it was a good thing the parking lot was fairly empty. I told her how funny it was that she was just rolling away, and she couldn't stop talking about it for a little while. "Mama, I scared you. I was rolling away!"

Maybe I'll write a children's book: The Runaway Shopping Cart. Like unto the runaway bunny, but with a more materialistic (we were at Target) and modern twist.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The never-ending search

There are two things I am constantly looking for.

(Not the fountain of youth, or the answer to mysteries of life.)

Henry the frog, and the remote control.

Tonight I looked for the remote for at LEAST 30 minutes - forcing me to pick up the toys and crap littering the floor - and do you know where I found it?

In my bathtub.

The one great thing about kids being immobile would be that I would never find a remote control in my bathtub.

(Other things that are also always lost: Leighton's shoes. My cell phone. Matching socks for both kids. Eva's pacifier. Wipes. My mind.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

I just can't get it right.

Last week, after my nasty blister incident caused by the gym's boxing gloves, I decided that by next class I would be the owner of my own personal pair. I took a trip to Sports Authority to try some out. I tried on the same kind my boxing friends had, and they looked great. After trying on a pair, I put that one back and grabbed one from the back of the rack. You know, I never buy anything from the front of the stack - I always reach in the back to find one that nobody else has touched.

So tonight as I was on Skype with Andrew, I decided to show him my gloves. I ran to grab the bag from my bathroom and put them on for him. I punched the air with pride and imagined how cool I would look tomorrow morning in class. Then as I unstrapped them, I saw on the wristband: L/XL. What? There must be some mistake. I had gotten a pair of S/M gloves.

Sure enough, on the bag it was clearly marked L/XL. Crap. Apparently in grabbing one from the back of the stack, I got the wrong stinking size. Which means tomorrow morning I'll be wearing the stinking gym gloves, AGAIN. When my battle wound from last week is just barely healing, with a 1/4-inch-thick scab.

Looks like the stink and I will be battling it out again tomorrow. But by Thursday...mark my words. I WILL HAVE MY OWN PAIR OF GLOVES. A pair that fits. Dang it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Andersen Sisters take on Martha Stewart

You've probably seen (if not, then at least heard of) the new movie called Julie and Julia. Allow me to tell you my history with this movie, and how it came to influence my life.

Back in July, I was visiting my family in Houston. My sister Lindsay was there, and we decided to take advantage of a convenient babysitter (my mom) and go see a movie. At a theater. It was a very big deal. While sitting in the theater, we saw a preview for Julie and Julia. It was a moment of epiphany for me. I felt like that movie just fit in my soul, and I knew that nothing in the world would stop me from seeing it the day it came out. So our scheming began.

So it happened that last month Lindsay and I again found ourselves together - this time in Utah, with all our other sisters as well. After all our anticipation and planning, we took a sisters' day out to go see the movie. On the day it came out.

It did not disappoint. It may well be my #1 favorite movie I've ever seen. But that's not all. It got us all talking, and we decided that we wanted to do that same thing. We wanted to cook our way through a cookbook - together - and blog about it. Not to get famous, but to have a bonding experience, through food, across the country.

Back at home, I started racking my brain thinking of what would be the best cookbook for us to do. We are all at different levels in our cooking lives, and we all wanted something a little instructional in nature, where we could learn new skills along with making good food. I settled on Martha Stewart's Cooking School, and everyone agreed. We got our books ready, I made a syllabus for us (with my obsessively organizational nature, I couldn't just dive right in without the whole thing planned through the end!) and started our blog, and off we went.
Today was recipe #1 - chicken soup. (You may have seen the post if you use Google Reader - I accidentally posted it on here first.)

If you would like to follow along on our journey through Martha's world, or even join in the fun, check it out. But be warned: Martha Stewart University is no place for the faint-hearted. Just ask the poor chicken I hacked up today.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oh, siblings.

Just when I'm convinced I will never be able to foster any sort of happy relationship between these two, I see this.
Maybe there is hope after all.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sick over what might have been

I was on the phone with Melanie, sitting in a rocking chair, when Eva ran in with wide eyes and a flushed face.

"Mama! I dropped my sippy outside! I dropped my blue sippy outside!"

What in the world could she be talking about? We were upstairs, clearly with no entrances to the outside. I got up and followed her to her her window. She had popped her screen off and thrown her sippy down on the driveway.
My mind did a Minority Report thing and fastforwarded through the mental images of what could have happened if she had leaned further out that window. I shuddered, and banned her from all window associations for the rest of her life.
She is now grounded from her window. I am keeping it locked shut no matter the temperature for the rest of the summer. I'm thanking my guardian angels that it was only a sippy cup that went out that window.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The cost of a perfect morning

Waking up to the rain: free, and glorious

Vanilla Bean frappucino from Starbucks: $3.50

A few hours of perusing books at Barnes and Noble: free (but I would totally pay admission if they charged it - it's THAT great)

The purchase of one book entitled On Writing Well: $16.34 (although I was kindly reminded that a member would have paid a mere $14.84)

A delicious lunch at Panera Bread, including half a turkey artichoke panini, a cup of broccoli cheddar soup, and a baguette: $8.15

3 hours of a good babysitter: $15

Good conversation with a dear friend: free

Having that dear friend get hit on by a 60-year old man: PRICELESS

Friday, August 28, 2009

2 months

Today marks two months into this deployment. Which means we should be halfway done, but we're not quite there. Where are we now?
Andrew has just moved to a new location, which he compared to a resort. Apparently anything is better than the desert from whence he came. He has been working out and appears to have bigger muscles and hotter arms than before. I'm looking forward to seeing those in two months.
I am working out every day and waking up at 6am to do so. (And do scripture study.) My new schedule has brought me much more peace with myself and I think I'll keep it up. Although my house isn't always as clean as it once was, dedicating time to developing myself spiritually and physically everyday is rewarding. And I really love being ready for the day and having alone time before the kids even wake up.
Eva continues to challenge me every day. She seems to have a personality like her dear father's, where she loves to tease and torment those closest to her until they scream and cry, and even then she doesn't let up. She just laughs in the face of the tormented (Bubba) until I lose my patience and send her to time out or slap her hand or yell at her, or try some other uneffective form of punishment. Nothing seems to get through to her...but I'll keep trying. At least I know where she gets that aggravating tendency. She has started drawing people (a circle with a line going up towards the ceiling) and tonight she drew a rainbow. It really looked like one, too! She memorizes the storyline of books after hearing them once or twice and will sit there and "read" it back to herself. She seems to have the gift my sister Sarah has for memorizing songs and things she hears. Aside from her moments of strife, she is a thrill to be around.
Leighton is walking, but not wholeheartedly. He's still undecided about whether or not walking is the quickest mode of transportation. Every day he gets better, but he still crawls most of the time. It continues to surprise me when I turn around and see him standing there. He is obsessed with his giraffe, D. Todd, and says, "Dah! Dah!" every morning while showing me his giraffe. He sucks on the limbs of his poor animals until they are soggy and gross - not sure how that habit started. Or how to break it, because it's disgusting. He loves fish and makes the cutest fish face and sound. He has started signing a few more words and still just stares at Eva all day long and copies everything she does. He hits himself when she hits him, and makes himself cry, but then keeps doing it. This behavior confuses me greatly - self-destruction already? I don't get it. But he has changed so much in the last 2 months - I can't wait for Andrew to come home and see his new little man.

Now that we are on the downhill slope of this, I am confident we can make it through. I am used to the single parent thing now and grocery shopping and bathtime no longer stress me out. Dinnertime...still haven't gotten that one down yet without wanting to lose my mind. But I have 2 more months (and then some) to figure it out.

The Memory Keeper

{ This picture is totally unrelated to this post; we took it on a trip to Orcas Island in June. I just think it's funny.}
Two Sundays ago, a man in our ward stood up and gave a talk. In introducing his talk, he said something I found highly inappropriate. He said, "I hope nobody will crucify me for saying this, but..." and then went on to express his disapproval of one of the general authority's talks from last conference - the very talk he was supposed to be basing his talk on. He basically said that he felt he could have written the talk better than Elder ____ and that the talk felt to him like the introduction to a 900-page textbook on the subject - but the general authority had neglected to write the rest of the book. Blasphemous, I know.

But the most shocking part to me was the word "crucify." It stunned me, hearing it used so irreverently from the pulpit. But the worst part is how that word has stuck with me these last 2 weeks. I have found myself forming sentences in my mind that use the same phrase. I am repulsed by it, and yet it still comes to my mind before I can stop it.

Why is that? Why is it that things that disgust us stick with us for so long? It's like a scene in a book (a terrible book, that they are now making a movie of) that made me close the book in horror...and yet I have never forgotten the exact wording of a particular sentence. It comes to me periodically to haunt me.

I know that I can't go through my life avoiding bad things, as they are inevitably all around us. I am trying my best to exercise the mental power to cast out those thoughts as soon as they enter. But darn that man in my ward for putting that word into my mind in the first place. I will forever think of that word when I think of him, and I will forever think less of him.