Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Things that make me smile

2010 was a whole lot of eh.  You know what I mean.  It wasn't a horrid year or anything, but it wasn't super fantabulous, either.  It was a shoulder-shrugger, brush off sort of year.  I will not feel sad to see it slip away into the frozen night this weekend.

Still, I know that my family and I have really, truly been blessed, and I have been terribly negligent in my failing to acknowledge it.  For so many in our country, and even more around the world, 2010 was a painful, difficult, awful year.  I should treasure my apathy for the year; at least it wasn't sorrow, pain, fear, or hunger.

There are so many things in my life that make me smile. 

College football, for one:

(Was anyone out there wondering if Bug still looked like her daddy?)
Our autumn Saturdays were full of good food, good friends, and Cougar football.  (Except, of course, for that one glorious day in October when our house stood divided and my Aggies reigned triumphant!)  Since they got married several years ago, we have watched nearly every BYU game in the company of our good friends, the Ortons.  In fact, last year we watched a game at their home and then practically headed right to Labor and Delivery afterward to have our little ladyBug.  Three weeks later, Buggy made one her first trips out of the house to watch another game with our friends.  (She peed on their hardwood floors, and they still invited us the next week.)  We are so lucky to have good friends.  The hurt and struggles of my crazy twenty-six  plus the scheduling challenges of a very small but needy third wheel have naturally affected our social life over the last year.  Without the Ortons, we'd practically be hermits.  Also, I wouldn't have such nice hair.  (Thanks, Stace!)

Want to see a memory that makes me smile?  Over Labor Day, we took the baby and headed to Silver Lake to relax and take in the beautiful weather.

Now, prepare yourselves for this.  Waaaaay back in October 2002, we headed to the same lake shortly after Grandma Nancy passed away to relax and take in the beautiful weather.  Have we changed much?

Weird, huh?  And speaking of young love, Bug went on her very first dates in 2010-- first with an older man:

with Daddy at the aquarium
 and then with a younger man.  (She's a cougar.)

Bug and her ward boyfriend.  They flirt and exchange birthday presents and Christmas cards.
 Basically the only downside is that his parents are funnier and more clever than we are.

2011 is going to be a fantastic year.  I just know it.  I sense it.  I feel it in my heart.  I will cheer and clap and, perhaps most impressively, stay up all the way until midnight  to welcome it with open arms. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I'm not sure what to say about this.

Not to ruin the festive tone of the last post, but raise your hand if you vote for this dude as suckiest Santa ever:

Me, too.

Got himself a cute kid on his lap, though.

Merry Christmas to all!

Hello, everyone! Bug and family had a very Merry Christmas this year!  We got all spruced up for the annual Christmas Eve fondue party at Bunk and Grammy Lu's place.

After hanging out with some of her favorite people, including Grandpa D,

she changed into her Rudolph jammies,

and snuggled into bed, presumably dreaming of sugar plum fairies or other such Christmasy thoughts.

 When she woke up, Santa had been to our house!  Hooray!

Nana remembered her yearly Christmas ornament,
and we all ate delicious food all day long.  What a wonderful Christmas! 

I hope we are blessed enough that each Christmas is as full of joy and happiness as this one was.

Very happy holiday wishes to you and yours!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The beginning of the story is not important.

I handed my heavy, drowsy daughter off to my husband, gratefully trading the sleeper-clad weight of her for the carton of eggs and the cellophane Santa bags I wanted to fill with cookies for the neighbors.  The buzz of hundreds of shoppers waiting in huddled masses for the sale on PlayStations faded into background noise as I noted that the fly on my denim jeans was completely down, and that, due to the way I stand with my hip awkwardly jutting out when I hold the baby, the crotch-region of my pants was bursting open for the world to see in a brass zipper-framed slice of wonder.

The end.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The cruelty of childhood.

But. Mommy. You. Are. So. Unfair.

If Bug knew any of those words, I'm certain she would have used them-- in that order!-- last night.

Here is what I made her for dinner:

A slice of wheat bread
A piece of string cheese
A cup of whole milk
A bowl of chopped spinach mixed with rice cereal.

Incapacitated by the second voice-stealing, energy sapping cold in a month's time, I found myself without the gumption to cook for myself or the Hubs.

Here is what I had for dinner:

A McDouble
Small Fry
Diet Dr. Pepper.

I'm going to start practicing now:  You can choose that when you are a mommy, Bug.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Necessity is the mother of invention

A couple of weeks ago, Schmoopsie and I stopped to grab a quick dinner after an evening of Christmas shopping.  (I don't want to brag, but we're probably 90% done with our shopping, and it's all wrapped and under the tree.)(Just kidding, I actually do want to brag.  Also, we bought nearly everything with gift cards from our credit card rewards program.  Boo-yah.)  Anyway, we were in possession of a certain hungry Bug, so I made sure to order something she could enjoy, too.  The creamy cheddar cauliflower soup was excellent.  Unfortunately, the soup spoon was too deep for tiny lips.  (Bug's or mine, to be honest.)

Enter: My new-found Mommy Ingenuity.

I know, right?  Super smart.  Worked like a charm.

And then. 

She finished, and I pushed the bowl out of reach.  I turned away to grab a napkin, and in a flash Bug's stubby little fingers stretch forward, neatly catching the very tip of the straw.  The soupy end of the straw flipped upward, sending a fine, even spray of creamy cheddar cauliflower droplets toward the sky, showering me and my black corduroy jacket from the top of my head to my waist.

Covered my food from my kid's plate?  In public?  Oh yeah.  I'm THAT MOM.

Do you know what my Mommy Ingenuity told me to do then?  Wipe me eyes and run a napkin through my hair and hustle out the door as quickly as possible.  Oh no, wait.  That was my husband, muttering his embarrassment under his breath in a steady stream:  "oh my word. oh my word.  You are covered.  It is everywhere.  Let's GO."

Kids raise the potential humiliation quota for any outing by at least 500%.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Uh, that's a HOUSE inside a TREE.

Me:  Look, Bug!  A tree!  A tree inside our very own house!
Pookie:  Ooo, yeah!  It's like we're the Swiss Family Robinson or something!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snail mail still rules at Christmas

When I was growing up, my mom taped all of the Christmas cards we received on the back of our front door during the holiday season.  (I laughed when I went to the Johnson's house and found that they do the same thing!)  Now that Schmoopsie and I have our own front door, I hang up all the cards we get, too.  Last year, I even taped up the cards from our dentist and the guy who does our taxes.

We've had fun mailing out our own cards over the last couple of years, too.  Last year, the card also served as Buggy's birth announcement, so naturally it's my favorite so far.  I don't want to ruin any surprises here, but I will say this: we need to get some good pictures taken of the Bug now that she's a walking child, and she has an apple green pea coat to wear when we do it.  I'm giddy with anticipation already.

And that's why I'm so excited for this promotion by Shutterfly!  I absolutely love the holiday cards from Shutterfly this year, and was so excited to find a deal for 50 free cards!

I can't wait to choose the perfect layout to use for our cards this year.  So far, I love this one:

I also love the cool winter colors (but not traditional green and red) in this one:

I also like the simplicity of the Merry Blossoms:

(As a side note, I'd also like to pinch the cheeks of ALL of the adorable kiddos in these examples.  So cute!)

'Tis the Season to be jolly!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why, hello there, Buggy!

Ye ol' blog has been severely lacking in the Bug department recently, and I intend to remedy that immediately.  You will not believe how big she is getting.

This is the doll face on Thanksgiving.  Grammy Lu has bravely withstood great razzing from my father for keeping Aunt B's salon set for, oh, the last decade and a half.  She was vindicated in a single snapshot.  I thought her heart would explode with pride. 

Besides the sort of generic 'ma ma ma' and 'da da da' that she has been saying for a while now, Bug has an official first word:  dog.  It sounds quite a bit like "dah! dah!" but you can tell the difference by the excited squeal in her voice.  With the notable exception of her wubby, Lupe has become her favorite furry pal.

This is our family during the Great Bizzard Flop of 2010.  (Wimpy, Mother Nature.  For real.)

Sometimes Lupe finds Bug as delicious as I do, but she resists the urge to swallow her whole.

Tonight, I finally managed to pack up Buggy's bottle stash.  I've been putting it off in case she decided to shrink a bit and stay my little peanut forever.  She didn't, so I put everything into a neatly marked box, smiling as I thought of the next time I open that box and boil all the contents in nervous new-mommy eagerness.  (Does that happen with subsequent babies?)

While I packed, Bug ate hot dogs (grody) and grahams in her seat.  She hollered from time to time because she didn't have her sippy cup of milk.  It was her own fault, though.  She threw it off of her tray with great force and purpose of heart.  Call me a mean mom, but in my book, the first toss is free, while the second toss is a keeper.

After dinner, I put Bug in her jungle jammies and turned on some Mozart so she'll be brilliant.  (I'm pretty sure this makes up for the whole play with razors issue, right?)  I tried to capture the perfect shot of the way she wrinkles her nose in her adorable little grin, but it's tough.  Normally, I'm helpless against the urge to grab her and smother her in kisses immediately.  This one was pretty great,

and then I caught this cute one:

Ultimately, though, I think you'll find this one meets your expectations in the smoochable department:

Don't worry.  I won't blame you for nibbling your computer screen.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The post where I am a bad mother.

Turns out a mobile child is much more work than one who stays where she is put. 

Last week, MJ and I were visiting in the front room as the Bug toddled about.  She wandered down the hall and into the bathroom, shutting the door behind her. 

Now, the house we live in is more than 50 years old.  The drawers located just inside the bathroom door are more than 50 years old, too.  They are deep and heavy, and they don't roll on any sort of track.  It's just a bunch of big wooden boxes inside a big wooden frame.  They stick, and they're hard to move, especially full of all the crap that inevitably ends up inside rarely used bathroom drawers.

Bug must be a body builder in secret, or something.  Using her tiny biceps, (I'm imagining this part, of course, because it all happened in the blink of an eye while I was... elsewhere) she managed to wrangle one of the drawers open just enough to block the bathroom door from opening.

Just so we're clear:  my thirteen month old locked herself in the bathroom.  ALONE.

There goes that Mother of the Year Award.

Kim and I sat outside the door, looking at each other helplessly.  Imagining her pulling a curling iron onto her head or drowning in the toilet, I took a quick trip to Idiot-ville.

"Sweetheart!" I said, in my best sing-song voice.  "Could you please shut the drawer?  Push the drawer, Bug!" 

Right.  Like my baby is going to contemplate that set of instructions and then happily call out, "you're right, Mama.  I'll shut it right now!" and give the drawer a neat little bump with her hip.  Right after she finishes composing her text message and writing in her journal.

The hinges on the door are on the inside, so we couldn't just take the door off altogether.  I might be a complete doofus when it comes to rescue ideas, but I wasn't so dumb as to consider shattering the tiny window from the outside and showering my little peanut in glass shards.  I was out of ideas, and getting ready to hop on the train from Idiot-ville to Panic City.

Aunt Kimmi to the rescue.  She wedged a butter knife through the open crack and jammed it into the wooden side of the drawer. Using it like a sideways lever, she scooted the drawer shut just a hair, and then pulled it out of the wood and wedged it in again.

Thunk, scoot.  Thunk, scoot. 

And finally, finally, the door swung open.

Care to guess what Buggy was playing with in there?  Hmmm? HMMM??

Give it a real good guess...

Oh yeah.  A RAZOR. 

It was a new one with a cover and everything, but still.  STILL. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Schmoopsie and I believe in family.  We believe there are three ways to get family-  some we are born to, some we marry into, and some we choose.  This morning, as I sent out a few text messages to friends and family, I smiled to myself thinking, over and over again, "They should really be in the 'I love you, family' text."  The different surnames, skin color, hair type-- it doesn't matter.  I believe in family, whether we are legally related or not.

I am thankful for faith.  The year of my crazy twenty-six may have brought its share of tears, but it was purifying, strengthening, fortifying.  There is a piece of my spirit that is more refined, more solid than before.  I can physically feel it in the center of my chest, swelling, taking my breath away sometimes. 

I am thankful for love.  My baby in her high chair with her sleeves rolled up, cheerfully filling her cheeks with mandarin orange wedges-- that is love.  Schmoopsie fast-forwarding to show me all the good plays in the Jazz game while I am curled up beside him-- that is love. 

I am thankful new haircuts, new shoes, and new sheets.  I am thankful for black beans, white bread, and cheese of any color (except blue.)  I am grateful for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

I love Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for my good life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Turkey Day and my little Turkey Head

Did you know that Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday?  It is.

On an unrelated note, here are some things I have found myself saying recently.  Motherhood is full of unexpected moments.

"Oh, we don't eat cheese out of the trash."
"Guess what! We don't play with our dirty diapers."
"We have to get you dressed.  In fact, you have to get dressed pretty much every. single. day."
"There is no reason to holler right now."
"We don't poop in the tub at our house."

I'm not sure why I choose to use the inclusive pronoun so often...

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving.  I love football.  I love food.  I love family.  I have a special love for mashed potatoes and gravy.  In fact, I can't think of anything not to love about Thanksgiving.  I plan to spend the day after Thanksgiving listening to the Christmas music station I have perfected on Pandora and trying to find enough flat surfaces in my house that are out of reach of chubby fingers to place all my nativity scenes, which I will promptly segregate. 

I am so grateful for the swamp of blessings I am fortunate enough to live with every day.  I am drenched with wonderful things for which I cannot take any credit-- blessings of the temporal sort, the spiritual sort, and the sort that stumble around in diapers with graham cracker crumbs stuck to round cheeks.

Recently, I've had a few of those truly valuable experiences that prick my heart with guilt.  I see others awash in grief, and the small pangs I can borrow from them remind me to open my lens and widen my perspective.  Less eloquently, what I am trying to say is that I have been reminded to put up and shut up, because my life just really isn't all that bad.

In fact, it's pretty stinking incredible.

And here's the big moment you've been waiting for-- the part where I attempt to tie all of these random thoughts together:

There is nothing I am more grateful for than the blessing of crawling into the arms of my love at night and giggling together about the fact that we had to remind our daughter not to suck on the vacuum cord.  Repeatedly.  And this is forever. 

Thanksgiving, indeed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Food foliage

I would like to propose a toast, a shout-out, yea even a 'what-what' on behalf of the lettuce from In 'N Out Burger.  Who's with me?

Let's be honest.  Lettuce on a burger is usually a sort of filler, particularly when it comes in the form of a mit-full of limp, warm shreds slapped on by some yahoo in multi-colored fast food polo shirt and plastic gloves.

Enter lettuce from In 'N' Out.  An entire leaf, first of all, and delicious.  Cold and crisp next to the warm, juicy, cheese-covered beef... mmm.

 (I haven't had lunch.  And, come to think of it, I missed breakfast, too.)

At this time of Thanksgiving, I would like to express gratitude to the individual who decided it was finally time for my fine state to be granted a couple of In 'N Out locations.  What a bountiful harvest.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wherein I compare my eternal companion to a breakfast burrito.

The day before my twenty-seventh birthday was a rough one.  I wore my favorite coral sweater and best makeup (outlook and outfit, you know), but still found myself locked in the bathroom stall at work with tears threatening to drag my new eyeliner down my cheeks. 

I am stronger than this, I thought.  And I am.  I bravely plowed through the day, and held myself together until well after dinner. 

That's when, unexpectedly, the tears overwhelmed me and streamed down my face in wide rivers.  Spluttering and gasping for air, my words came out in choking sobs, barely understandable through my hiccups.

Here's the truth:  twenty-six was exhausting.  It was wonderful and busy, full of dirty diapers and new teeth, first steps and late nights.  It was joy and pride, frustration and fear.  It was post-baby euphoria coupled with post-baby crazy. Twenty-six was tattooed with the pain that comes from knowing all is not right and being unable to fix it.  Twenty-six was hiking with a pebble in my boot, pressing into my skin.  I shook my shoe between steps, trying to find a safe spot for it.  I stopped altogether several times, sitting on the trail attempting to shake it out, but when I put my shoe back on, there was the stone, rattling about, irritating my sole.  (Soul?)

The night before my twenty-seventh birthday, I heard my husband whispering to my baby in the other room.  She toddled out, awkwardly stumbling a bit from side to side, with a package of sour worms clutched her chubby little hands.  She didn't bring it to me, of course, but I didn't mind.  Behind her was my sweetheart, with a card that made me laugh and a gift that made me cry.  (Again.)  Twenty-six year old me cried a lot.

Here's more of the truth:  I didn't deserve a present for my twenty-seventh birthday, but I'll tell you who did.  A thousand of his own birthday gifts won't repay my Paddy for surviving my twenty-six.  That he can tease and laugh and love me after this year-long hike with a rock in my shoe is a testament to the kind of man his mother raised. 

Lest you think that my family and I are entirely defined by my crazy twenty-six, let me tell you about the first day of twenty-seven.  I wore baby blue and plum because I believe in outlook and outfit. I was busy applying my best make-up when my Schmoopsie galloped back down the stairs after leaving for work several minutes before.  His dazzling smile, which has left me slightly dizzy for the last decade, was illuminated by the flickering of birthday candles stuck into a bacon breakfast burrito from Betos.  (As an aside, I adore cheap Mexican food.)   He sang, and rubbed in the fact that, for the next 5 months, I am twenty-seven while he remains a youthful twenty-six.

 Hours later, we had the following exchange via text message:

Me:  Saw an old guy driving straight with his blinker on.  That's practically me now.
Paddy:  Seriously.  You shoulda followed him to the senior center.
Me:  Heard they're serving meatloaf.
Paddy:  Blended up, though.
Me:  Good thing.  Forgot my dentures.

On the first day of twenty-seven, I wore the pearls my grandparents gave me when I graduated from college.  I had never found a good enough reason to wear them before.  I decided the first day of twenty-seven was the day. 

I am certain that twenty-seven will have moments of crazy.  I still have a rock in my hiking boot.

But I have my bacon breakfast burrito, and I'm wearing my pearls. (Some version of a 'pearls before swine' reference is bouncing around in my head, but I'm not witty enough to craft it.)

Happy birthday to me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't worry, though. I'll live.

I don't want to exaggerate here, but I'm slogging through what amounts to the most horrific cold ever to grace my phlegm-filled nasal passages.  I'm hacking up fluid, my ears crackle when I attempt to blow my completely plugged nose, and these crazy Nyquil dreams are really freaking me out.

Don't worry, though.  I'll live.

This morning, I held 4 different tan colored socks in my hand.  None of them matched.

After franticaly searching through clean laundry bins (and, in the interest of full disclosure, my bedroom floor) this is how I ended up going to work today:

Don't worry, though.  I'll live.

I have to work late next week.  ON MY BIRTHDAY. 

Don't worry, though.  I'll live.  Probably.

When I'm unsure about my future survival, I remember this:

Oh yeah.  I'll live.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hey there, Jazz fans!

The Love Muffin and I had a chance to go see a Jazz game last week with free tickets, courtesy of Bug's PopPop.  The seats were great!

Tipoff was past Bug's bedtime, so we left her at home with Nana and snuggled in for a wonderful and much-needed date night. 
We did learn one important lesson, however.  Basically my entire family works in one section or another of the arena, so we often stay after to visit with them and chat about the game.  What with the late tipoff time, we ended up scooting back to our vehicle well after midnight.  Just the two of us.  Downtown.  In the dark.  It was SCARY.  No more visits after late games, guys. 

I know what you're thinking here. 

That's great and all, guys, but don't you have any over-exposed pictures of the Bug in her skinny jeans and new D Will jersey practicing her walking skills for us to look at instead of  your boring mugs?

Why yes.  Yes I do. 

It's game day.  Go Jazz!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I mean, really.

Remember how I was unsettled?  And then my rollercoaster cart derailed and exploded?

New analogy:

This ship is sinking directly into a pile of steaming crap so quickly that my ankles are covered in poo.  And trust me, the flies are everywhere. That means that I'm standing a lot closer than I'd like to people who are gingerly lifting their poo-covered feet one at a time and shaking them around in an effort to dislodge smelly chunks from the treads of their boots.  Poop is in the air. 

Trust me, people.  Fighting the poo is useless.  This ship is going down.  Just roll up your pants and try to enjoy the warmth around your toes until hopefully--HOPEFULLY--the Coast Guard sends in a rescue helicopter to lift you out by your armpits. 

Luckily, I have buddies in the Coast Guard, and I can almost hear those chopper blades in the distance.  Watch out.  When I shake these boots off, it's really going to rain.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy birthday, baby.

Dearest Bug,

Your aunt Megan has an American girl doll that looks just like her.  I always sort of wanted one when I was growing up because they even have matching pajamas. They have magazines, you see, where you can pick out all the features for your very own doll with matching outfits and freckles and skin.

One month
Sometimes I envision myself standing in front of a similar catalog, only for my real babies.  If there was such a thing, you are the exact baby I would have chosen.  Round cheeks and chubby fingers.  Long legs with rolly thighs.  Straight, shiny, hair the color of copper in the sun on the top of your head with soft, golden curls in the back.  Huge, merry, starry blue eyes and a sparkling personality to match.  A toothy grin when you wrinkle your nose in delight. 

Two months
You are the exact baby I would have chosen.

Three months
Other times, I like to think that maybe you chose us, too.  That maybe you wanted a dad who could make you laugh all the time with his jokes and silly made up songs.  A daddy who tickles and teases and pokes you until you throw your head back and squeal in frustration, and a daddy who snuggles you and kisses you and loves you.

Four months
Maybe you chose to come to a family with a big, slobbery, floppy-earred dog who licks your face and sniffs at your diapers and otherwise ignores you, but who might be your very best friend in the world someday.

Five months
 Did you pick our family because of all the wonderful Grammys and Nanas and PopPops and Bunks you'd end up with?  Because you wanted lots and lots and LOTS of aunts and uncles to spoil you rotten?  (Because, guess what.  I was at your party.  If that was your plan, you totally nailed it.) 
Six months
Sometimes I wonder if you decided to come to our house, even though it is old and the floors squeak and the doors stick and the windows are ugly.  Did you know that we would paint and scrub and sand to make it nice for you, and succeed only some of the time?  I wonder if you knew it would be messy sometimes, but you picked it anyway.
Seven months
 Sometimes I wonder if you picked our family so I could be your mommy, too.  I don't know if it's true, but on the long days, it helps me a little to think that maybe once upon a time you knew all about what you were getting yourself into.   Maybe you knew that I couldn't be home with you all the time yet, that I'd have to leave you and go to work while someone else fed you applesauce for breakfast.  Did you know that I don't scrapbook or sew, and that I don't own any holiday-themed window clings?  Did you know that I would be so far from the mama that you, my perfect baby, deserve?
Eight months
I'm not sure how it all works, really.  I'm not sure whether you chose me or I chose you, but I have a theory.  Maybe we didn't need to choose each other because we--you and I-- were always connected.  Before and now and forever, we were and are and will be connected to each other.

Ten months
 I am your mama, and you are my baby.  Do you know what that means?  My heart pumped your blood.  You are mine.
Eleven months
And I am yours.

And now you are one.  You are just beginning.  I am so proud of you, and I can't wait to see where we go from here. 


Happy birthday, baby.  I love you to the moon and back.


PS- Sorry we forgot to take your 9 month picture.  Remember?  You chose me. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's a party!

Alternately titled, "Finally, a post with some pictures."
Alternately alternately titled, "I judge my worth as a mother by my baking skills."

We celebrated Bug's birthday today! 

We ate lots of delicious food, including

 this adorable ladybug cake that Grammy Tina made, and

these cupcakes, which I made.  Whew.  Being a crafty mom takes a lot of work.

It was worth it, though, because Bug loved the whole celebration!

Ever wondered what a baby in a bathtub full of red velvet cake and frosting would look like? Now you do.

Assuming, of course, you were hoping to know what the most beautiful baby in the world would look like in a tub full of red velvet cake and frosting.