Monday, June 21, 2010

I Call Him Fatherest

You know, like "Awesomest" or "Coolest."

My Dad with Jake-Jake at our house on my Mom's birthday.

Hi there Dad!

You may be the very first one to read this in the morning. You, who is usually the one that has to pass news of a new post down to Mom. You, who writes me encouraging little emails when I write a blog post you like (thanks for those, really, they make my day.) I've been thinking for awhile about what I wanted to shout from the rooftops about you...I am one day late, but I most certainly did not forget you on this Father's Day! You know that in recent times punctuality hasn't been my strong suit. =)

World, let it be known that I have an excellent father. My father is so kind and so good. He embodies the idea of patriarch in all the right ways...he is a hard-working, dedicated, loyal, spiritual, good man who leads his family with strength and yet tenderness too. He loves my mother infinitely, I have no doubt he would do anything for that woman...he treats her like his sweetheart and he is always reiterating a piece of wisdom he has acquired in a lifetime of experience (listen up husbands of the world): "Happy wife, happy life." He gave me and my brothers that greatest thing that fathers can give, as the quote goes...he loved our mother. And he continues to do so, strong as ever, 35 years later.

My dad teaches Gospel Doctrine (Sunday School) in his ward. And he loves it. To me this speaks volumes. To me there is nothing more intimidating, more overwhelming than the idea of getting up in front of a gathering of people, many of whom are greatly educated in gospel and scripture, and to confidently deliver and manage a good lesson in Gospel Doctrine. I haven't seen my Dad teach in this most recent calling, but I have in the past, and I can remember and imagine exactly how he is in front of a group of people: comfortable, articulate, engaging, intelligent, and interesting. And, most importantly, full of the spirit. This man loves the gospel and Our Father in Heaven, and he is a great exemplar of Christ. He is a humble man, so he might modestly disagree, to which I would say "Hey dad! Shush! I'm not done yet!" =)

He is also generally a quiet man, but when he is placed among people he has an undeniably gentle charm that is by no means arrogant or affronting. He is charismatic in such an admirably subtle way. I would most certainly call him

a Gentleman.

My dad has always had a talent for teaching, and I'm not just referring to his Church calling or the years he spent as a Junior High School math and science teacher (in Preston, Idaho, at the very school where "Napoleon Dynamite" was filmed. How awesome is that?). I remember many occasions growing up, especially in those dramatic years of my teenager-hood, when some kind of emotional calamity would befall me and I would be lost to the whims of teenaged female drama. (As you can guess, this often had to do with *dumb* boys). On such occasions, the usual parent that came to my aid was my mom, of course. We shared the same hormones, she could understand my feminine ramblings, and it seemed like a natural thing for her to be the one to help me in working through my latest "tragedy." But, my mom and I are highly emotional creatures. At times when my mom and I tried to work through my drama, the emotional quotient would spike and continue increasing exponentially until both of us were left exasperated, upset or depressed. It was at this time that my dad would step in. I usually didn't appreciate it initially. His application of male logic often made me feel he rejected my emotions, that he didn't truly understand or appreciate the feelings I was experiencing. But even in my hesitancy to accept his alternate ways of thinking, I almost always found myself calmed and comforted by the counsel he gave me. It wasn't always easy to accept, oh no. But it was usually very necessary for me to hear, in order to move forward, to take the steps necessary to remove myself from an emotional mire. I don't think I realized it at the time, but my dad was simply trying to teach me to be a strong woman. He wasn't trying to ignore my emotions or act indifferent to whatever I was suffering through...he was simply trying to teach me to make choices that defied negative influences or ways of thinking, to take my life and feelings out of the hands of unworthy, miserable, *dumb* people.

That was one of the biggest lessons I remember being hammered into my head growing up...the concept of "What you give is what you get." That when a person projects positivity into the universe, the universe responds accordingly. So really, choosing to fill up your life with negative thoughts, actions or people is a sad sorry waste, because the universe will eventually just take a poo on you!

Aaaaaaaand we're there.

Sorry Dad.
*Inside Joke*
(Let me just say though, that statement was not planned, I promise it was absolutely spontaneous!)

I'm always working to remember the excellent counsel you gave me through the years Dad, and continue to give. I am certainly not without need of it as an fact I could probably honestly say I need it now more than ever. I'm so grateful for all you taught and continue to teach me, and for all you did and still do for me. I never realized until I became a spouse and parent myself, just how much hard work and effort it takes to truly be the man of the family. You have done it with grace, unconditional love and, I must say, undeniable patience!

(Especially when it comes to potty humor.)


P.S. To The Husband

I promise I didn't forget you! But man its late and my eyelids are drooooooppyyyyy. And you are always telling me to get more sleep. So, please refer to the schmoopy card I wrote you. I do want to say for the world to know, you are a wonderful father. Our little boys are so lucky to have you for their rough-and-tumble daddy. =)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Backlogged Blog

I have been SO lazy about blogging for the last while.....sooooooooooo lazy. The weather finally decided to ditch the schizophrenia and summer has arrived, hallelujah! Life is speeding up and I am falling behind...that is, more behind! Its so hard to feel like blogging when at any one time there are approximately 1,274,891 other things I could be doing. And need to be doing! Seriously, my house, its never clean. It approaches clean and I get all excited, and then it explodes again. I even *think* about blogging, its immediately followed by a thought like "Hmmm, maybe I should make sure we have some clean dishes or clothes first." And its so lovely out now, it seems a shame to spend my free time with electronics indoors.

Speaking of electronics...I am psycho. I finally got my first DSLR camera one week ago....*angels singing*...but have yet to even open the box because I'm having second thoughts about the model I chose. (If anyone has any knowledge of photography equipment, I got a Canon T1i, but thinking maybe I want the Nikon D90 instead. Any insight would be wonderful!) I'm doing more research, looking at the cameras in-store, trying to decide whether to exchange mine or not. But either way, I'm excited that I'm finally getting my new "toy" and hopefully soon I will be gracing this blog with fabulous pictorial gems documenting this lovely summer season!

Anyhoo. There was so much stuff from the last few months that I've written nary a word about, like my baby boy's first birthday almost TWO months ago! And now June is two-thirds over!!! Wha?!? Time, seriously, what is it about you, you just don't stick around!

So I'm going to attempt a little catching up. Here I goooooooo.....

Monday, May 10, 2010

For My Mommy (A Day Late)

(My lovely mommy with one-week-old Jacob during one of those helping-me-get-my-head-screwed-on-after-becoming-a-mother-of-two visits. I think I'm still trying to get my head screwed on straight!)

Hi Mom!

I meant to write this last night.

But guess what? I went to bed!

(I was at my mother's house last night. It was late when we left and before I got in the car she told me to "Go to bed!" when I got home. I am not good at going to bed, even when I very, very, very much should. She knows this and she was doing what good mommy's do..telling us to do what we don't want to do for our own good.)

Okay I confess Mom, I guess I didn't necessarily go to bed...I fell asleep with Tommy while putting him to sleep, and then a crying Jacob woke me up sometime later and I fell asleep in the glider putting him back to sleep. But you know that's a pretty normal night in my book.

But I did not stay up! That's the point. =)

Well no, that's not the point.

This is the point...

This is my version of shouting from the rooftops.

That my mother is wonderful.

I want the world to know how very, very much I love and appreciate her.

(On Mother's Day and always always always.)

My mother is a tried and true mothering expert. She's been doing it pretty much her whole life. No, really. She was born the oldest of 9 children and grew up on a ranch in Montana. (I love telling people that. Just from that you'd know my mom is awesome. I love that I'm half cowgirl.) She was my grandmother's right hand and helped raise my bitty uncles and baby aunts for years before she had her own children. She learned to work hard and she learned how to be selfless for the sake of loved ones much earlier than I think the rest of us do. She is blessed with a particular talent for selflessness, she's an expert at putting other people first. She's TOO good at it at times!

I was my mom's only daughter, smack in the middle of four brothers. Being the only other estrogen-bearing member of our family, I always had an extra little piece of her time and a little place in her heart that no one else did. Growing up I didn't always appreciate what a blessing that was. I know better now.

I always say my mom has a heart of gold. She's sweet, kind, gentle, and so so forgiving. She just wants people to be happy. She's kind to everyone, amazingly kind. She serves people, and she wants to serve people. She is humble. She doesn't always get me and my brother's weird jokes and sense of humor, but I love that about her...She's demure, she's a lady. She is lovely and always looks nice. She says the most sincere (and longest!) prayers I've ever heard. She is faithful and loves the gospel. She is the best housekeeper on the planet (and I don't care what anyone says, including you mom, that is DEFINITELY a talent!).

And my whole life long, she has always praised her children and expressed her love for us openly. That is invaluable. I have come to realize more and more as an adult just how invaluable.

I have been a mother for less than four years and a mother of two for barely a year. I feel like I can barely keep up with my two kiddos most of the time, but yet I am nowhere near understanding all that she did for me and my siblings. The capacity of my gratitude and admiration for her continues to grow daily and I am always trying to find ways to give back to her. And yet she never expects it. She goes on giving and giving and giving and I know she always will. Because she is herself. I don't think she could possibly be happy unless she was giving to others.

Despite all the headache and heartache and exhaustion and frustration and repetition and work and time I imagine it took to raise 5 children (one of whom she is still raising...she has T minus 4 or so years left with my teenage bro), my strongest memory is that she raised us with joy.

And we are her greatest joy still. She tells me all the time, but I already know.

And that is why I am one seriously, seriously lucky girl.

I love you dearly mommy.

I have more I could say, much much more, but...

I have to go to bed!!! =)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

And It Wasn't Even Mother's Day Yet

Its sometime shortly after midnight and I just got home from a night out.

Without the kids.

I love my kids, oh do I, but evenings out without them are a lovely, lovely thing!

Whenever I have those nights I tell myself I really need to have them a tad more often. But then I always forget.

I really need to stop forgetting!

Me and my mom and sis-in-law Amber chowed at Red Robin and then saw Iron Man 2. (Ironically non-feminine for a Mothers Day celebration, right?)

Dinner without children to wrangle and a movie (that just came out) in a theater?

Two very lovely and very rare things.

(And about Iron Man 2, me likey. But it could have something to do with Robert Downey Jr....I got a crush on him way back in high school with "Only You." If you haven't seen it, do. Tony Stark can also play a bumbling, endearing, romantic shoe salesman. And its set in Italy, c'mon now!)

(But ya know, back to Iron Man 2...the "you complete me" snippet from the trailer is not in the movie! That irked me. And Amber too. I don't know why those movie-making-people always decide to cut the best little nuggets from the trailers out of their finished, full-length features! Irked.)


After the movie we all said g'night, and I even enjoyed making a quick late-night stop to Smith's for a couple things. Alone. Without kids, running inside really quick really was just running inside really quick! And I bought myself a magazine I always want but never buy. Whether I'll find the time to read it is another question, but I felt spoiled buying it anyway!

Heck, the radio even spoiled me. It treated me all the way home with great tunes. I loved that I could turn it up as loud as I wanted during "Hey Soul Sister," "Just Haven't Met You Yet" and "If Today Was Your Last Day." No sleeping babies in the car to worry about, no toddlers begging to watch a movie. ("Hey There Delilah" was in the mix too and it made me happy, even though for awhile there I and the rest of the planet thought that song was getting really old.)

When I got home, it was "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" playing and when I pulled into the garage where Ryan was being manly and working on his dirtbike, I rolled down my window so he could hear it. And then I got out and danced before turning the car off.

I think he could tell I had a good time. =)

And, no tired grumpy babies for me to worry about scooping out of carseats and into bed. They were all tucked in and snoozing soundly.

The night was lovely. Lovely lovely lovely.

(I really like the word lovely.)

And now I'm typing this and listening to Michael Buble.

And eating cookies I bought at Smith's.

My batteries are charged!


I can't forget to mention that I got roses too. Yesterday! Fire & Ice, purdy. Thank you darling. I also can't wait to get my Mother's Day gift. The one I've been pining after for quite some time now. Shortly, I will finally be the proud owner of this baby!


Happy Mother's Day all!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Little Somethin'

Almost halfway through April, and I haven't blogged once.

(Well, I did, technically, but then refrained from posting. More grumping about the weather. And really, how many posts can I write about the weather?)

(I need to write about Easter. Coming soon.)

But I just wanted to record a cute lil' nugget from this evening, courtesy of Tommy.

(I've been awful at recording the interesting and entertaining thoughts of my going-on-four-year-old lately.)

Tommy's favorite color is red.

Tonight at bedtime he told me, somewhat soberly,

"I wish my bed was red."

I reminded him his bed had some red on it.

Not satisfied, looking quite dismayed,

"Its just white and black."

(He left out blue. His comforter is blue, with construction trucks all over it. And some have red in them.)

He went on,

"I wish my room was red. I wish the door was red. I wish the..."

and so on.

And as I tried to close the door he had quite the grumpy face.

"I'm just mad that everything is not red."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Almost Breaks My Heart

The one year anniversary of the day of your birth is close. I've said it and thought it again and again and will keep saying and thinking it...I don't know how it can be. You turned 11 months four days ago. I can count on one hand the number of weeks until your first year of life is gone forever.

It is coming too soon.

Much, much too soon.

A year since that evening in the hospital? A year since I first saw your face? A year since I first held you and kissed you and named you and brought you home?


I want to write about you, all about you, one more time before you pass that huge mark.

I haven't been nearly so dedicated at writing about you all these months as I would have liked to have been. There was so much, so much I should have, could have written. But, two little boys makes for one busy mommy! Though not all the memories are in type or on paper, they're all in my mind and in my heart, and they are my greatest treasures.

I lived each day with you and loved you to my heart's fullest, and that's what counts.

You are such a beautiful boy.

So beautiful with your blond hair and your curls. I've let your hair grow and grow and it is becoming quite wild. In the last couple of days you've been mistaken for a girl twice. I should probably consider busting out the scissors soon.

But I am struggling to cut those baby curls off forever.


I know whether I do or not,

1 year gone is coming.

Haircut or no haircut, there's no stopping it.

I am struggling with losing my baby forever.

After 1 year old you will still be a baby,

And yet, not.

That word, "toddler"...I don't know if I can use it to describe you, I just don't think I can bring myself to do it.

But you are most certainly on your way to toddling.

Not that you are walking yet...not quite yet.

Your preferred method of transportation is still crawling. And boy, are you quick! I always seem to underestimate how quickly you will get from A to B. How quickly you will get back to that thing I just took away from you in the room clear across the house that I just carried you out of. (You hate it when I do that.)

Though you're not walking just yet, you are certainly working your way there. Pulling yourself up on things and lowering yourself back down is old hat to you, easy peasy. You cruise along the furniture here and there, this way and that, but you're not cruising circles around the living room just usually hit all fours whenever you really want to move. There have been a few very brief moments where you've let go of whatever you were holding on to and stood there unsupported for a tiny second before plopping back to the floor. We haven't witnessed you make any attempts at steps yet, at least on your own.

And that is just fine with me.

I am not going out of my way to encourage you to take steps on your own just yet.

I am not ready for you to walk.

I am not ready for you to grow up.

You can take as long as you want, I am in no hurry.

I love it when you crawl toward me, sit up on your knees and reach your arms up for me. Or pull yourself to standing on my jeans and cling to my leg until I pick you up.

That never, ever fails to warm my lil' heart. (No matter how inconvenient the timing might be.)

Being needed by you is always nice.

You are getting your top 4 teeth in...maybe even a 5th or 6th too. Such a cute toothy boy, you. But you grind them! Stop grinding them! I know that little discovery is probably very interesting to you, but dear baby, please stop grinding your teeth!

You wave, and oh its cute, it kills me every time. For awhile your wave was a silly sort of leg-slapping arm motion, but now it really is a wave. You wave when you hear "Hi" and "Goodbye." I will never get enough of it, you can wave at me forever.

More things about you...

The desire of your heart is to get to the bathroom.

So you can get to the bathtub.

You love the bathtub and you love baths.

If the door to the bathroom is left open, and especially if anyone is in the bathroom, you make a beeline to get in there and immediately go to check out the tub. You like to pull yourself up and look in the tub, and you're tall enough that you could just lean over and fall right in! Hence, the reason we keep the door shut. =)

When its bathtime and I sit you on my lap and start to run your bathwater you squirm and struggle like there's no tomorrow to get into the is honestly, physically difficult to keep you from diving in headfirst! Once you're in you splash and splash and make a mess to rival those of your big brother.
(Between the two of you I think more of our bathtowels are used to mop the floor than to dry human bodies.)
Changing your diaper is not a pleasant experience for either of us. You are too busy and you are upset the moment I place you on the changing table. You twist and squirm and cry and protest in every way possible until I finally get your bum covered!

I always joke that you are a scavenger. You find the tiniest, and I mean most miniscule little bits of anything that are on the floor and try to consume them. I try to keep those floors clean, but boy, guaranteed, if there is a crumb or anything bigger hiding anywhere (or some remnant of a snack that your big brother left out and within your reach), you will find it. And then when we try to catch you to fish it out of your mouth, you take off running...well, crawling (as afore-mentioned). But run-crawling.

So little, and you already know when you're busted. Its so cute.

Other hobbies of yours are playing with shoes (ew....sorry I always take them away), watching the washer or dryer spin and trying to climb into or pull things out of the dishwasher when its open.

Oh yes, and hanging out with that brother of yours. You watch him intently and seek to do whatever he does, play with whatever he's playing with. He doesn't always like sharing with you, but he loves you to bits. He is always asking to hold you (but of course you squirm away). He is always trying to hug you (but of course its more like tackling you).

Tommy can get a little rough with you sometimes, but you're pretty tough. Little-brother tough.
Watching the two of you play together is one of my favorite things. I can't wait to see you grow together. Though I'm sure that breaking up fights between you might become a staple of my every-day-life before too long, I know you will love each other and be best buds.

I love that you both have a brother.

And boy, does your daddy love you. It never ceases to amaze me how your sweet-tiny-beautiful-human-being-cuteness can turn your broad-shouldered, rugged manly-man of a father into a marshmallow. He lights up with a huge grin when he sees you after a day away. He's over the moon for you. (And you are always excited to see him, take off run-crawling when you hear his voice coming through the door.)

Your daddy is a fun-rough-and-tumble sorta Daddy. Though you're still a little small for rough-and-tumble (as I'm always reminding him), Daddy always finds a way to include you in the action. You particularly love jumping on the bed (with Daddy's help) with your big brother.

(I think mommies are supposed to object to jumping on the bed...something about monkeys comes to mind...but I don't so much mind. Some of the best times we 4 have are jumping and rolling around on the big pillows and blankets of me and Daddy's big ole bed, dontchya think?)

(By the by, Daddy's a little bummed sometimes 'cause you're a bit of a momma's boy. I secretly sorta like that you are a bit of a momma's boy, but hey, give your daddy a few more of those snuggles. And what the heck, let him put you back to sleep at night too! ;) That would be nice...
...Cause you are not such a fabulous sleeper at night. Nope. We need to work on that little buddy.

But, no matter how many times I end up falling asleep with you in the glider in the middle of the night and wake up hours later with a sore back, or sore neck, or sore legs, you're worth it.

You're worth anything. You're worth everything.

I love you with my life,

my sweet one who is

almost one.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Equinox Thoughts

Spring is officially here, so the calendar says.

I guess the real official day was Saturday. I thought it was Sunday.

I believed it on Sunday. It was lovely on Sunday. The sun shone. No need for coats. My wearing of flip-flops was starting to feel normal and beyond reproach. (I am often chided for I wear them the year-round, whenever I can get away with it without getting frost-bite.)

We got to make our usual trip to Grandma & Grandpa's for Sunday dinner. The sickness of three-quarters of our family had us confined to our household the previous two weeks. (Somehow the plague of our household passed me by, praise be to the heavens.)

Yes, Sunday was lovely. Sunday deserved the title of a spring day.

As for today...meh. Wind and more wind, making that noise that makes me restless as it blows through the eaves of my house. Gray skies again. A little rain, but not the strong, sweet, refreshing kind I adore.

(Come ON, March. Go out like a lamb already. On to the showers and flowers, please.)

But even though there are still days like today where (despite what the calendar says) Winter is hanging on desperately by its fingertips, I can feel that dreary season really is departing. I can feel its final, absolute exit coming soon.

It's like the anticipation of finally getting a deep, prolonged breath of air after being plunged underwater again and again and again.

The spring-cleaning bug is starting to flutter around in my brain. Incessantly. It feels much like the nesting urge that honest-to-goodness attacks me in my late pregnancies. It nags at me constantly, it won't let me rest. I must get things done, I must clean, I must organize, I must awaken and refresh this house after being holed up in it these long months.

Even when I don't have time to do those things (which is, ahem, most of the time) I look around at my home and dream the impossible dream...the dream of all papers thrown out or filed away, cupboards and closets cleaned out and re-organized, clothing and toys and neglected things sorted through and donated or sold or put in storage, surfaces cleared off and dusted and washed and polished.

Ah, the house in my head is a lovely place. A place where every thing sparkles and shines and the only thing left to do is throw open my windows and let the spring breezes carry away the final traces of winter mustiness.

And then I come back to earth and see before me the dishes and laundry and the normal stuff that still isn't (and never truly will be) done.

(Still, its a lovely and inspiring dream.)

I keep thinking, "I can't wait for Jacob's first summer, it will be so fun!"

And then I stop myself and realize his first summer was a year ago.

Really? Yes really.

But he was just 2 and 3 and 4 months old then. Even as a 2nd time mom, I wasn't too keen on venturing out with him in the sun all too often. Especially alone and with my toddler in tow. And I suppose I was just busy. After Jacob arrived in late April and I became responsible for not one but two little human beings, I believe time began to exponentially increase in speed. Here I am nearly one whole revolution of the Earth later, and I honestly feel baffled by how that is possible. Its like I was beamed forward in time somehow and have sustained some kind of partial amnesia...the memories of last spring and summer with my baby have begun evaporating already. (I am getting old. Or I am just not getting enough sleep.)

This spring and summer will be different.

Jacob will be the robust age of 1. (I still can't get over it.)

There will be oodles of trips to the park and the swimming pool and anywhere else fun, picnics and road trips and family reunions and vacations.

And visits to the farmer's market too. I've never been to one of those (I can hear some of my friends saying "REALLY?" Yep, really.). I want to bring fresh, delicious, home-grown things into my house, and I myself am not a gardener or any approximation of a green-thumb bearing human being.

I've been dreaming about experimenting and concocting some fantastic smoothies for the hot days. Mixing up fresh, sweet, cold homemade treats that give my boys colorful mustaches sounds delightful for summer. (I've never made my own smoothies before. I'm excited to try a particular one that involves not only fruit but also spinach...ya know, to sneak in some veggies for the kiddos. Other combination ideas, anyone?)

To state it simply, I am beyond excited about the warmer, lovelier days ahead.

I don't think I've ever craved the spring and summer months as desperately as I do this year.

Jacob's daddy carried him outside on our lovely Sunday afternoon to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, and to look at the tree that stands outside our home's office window.

A red-headed finch has been visiting that tree. We think he might make a home there. This week we are going to get a bird-feeder for him.

Jacob's daddy put him down on the grass of our front lawn.

I think it was the first time my little one has ever experienced grass.

I was a little sad. It was not soft, tickling green grass. It was stiff, yellow and brown, not yet revived from its months in hibernation.

Jacob didn't want to put his hands on it. He didn't crawl around or explore. He sat in one spot, looking slightly perturbed while tentatively touching the course, strange carpet of our lawn, only to pull his fingers away each time.

That is one of the things I am longing for most...the green, when will the green come? When will the snow on the mountains finally disappear, when will the trees get their leaves and blooms and when will I start hearing the hum of lawnmowers? This is unusual for me to say, but I can't wait for grass that needs mowing. I want to smell through my open windows the scent of fresh-cut, rich, beautiful, vibrant green grass that grows so quickly we can't keep up with it.

A signature of real spring.

No matter what the calendar says, its not quite here yet.
But...its getting there.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erin Go Bragh

I love Ireland.

I've never been there, but I've already decided I love it.

Those green, enchanting, rolling hills.

(...that so far I've only seen in movies. Ohmigosh, P.S. I Love You. I can't get over that scene, where they first meet on that country road, when she's in Ireland for the first time and know which one I mean.)

The music.

(I've probably been listening to Enya longer than any other musician on the planet. Though her music felt too mellow today...I was really wishing I had some Riverdance-type stuff to listen to. I Riverdanced for Tommy anyway.)

Those lovely Irish Blessings.

The history. The culture.

And hey, they have castles.

(We have a lot in the U-S-of-A but we don't have castles.)

I fully plan to visit the Green Isle one day.

(...on my dream tour of Europe that will also include England, Scotland, Spain, France, Austria, Italy, Greece, and maybe just a few others.)

But for now I will wear green on St. Patrick's Day and tell my little boys about leprechauns.

(See how I love you Ireland?)

(I love those neighbors of yours, but I don't celebrate any of their national holidays!)

We didn't have any kind of a big to-do about St. Patty's Day at our house, but I found it was a wonderful excuse to make cupcakes.

With green frosting of course.

(I just bought food coloring a few days ago. It is the first food coloring I have owned in 8 years of marriage. It felt momentous...)

Oh yes, and we dusted them with sprinkles too. Tommy wanted not only green but also pink, blue and orange.

(And leprechauns are all about rainbows, right?)

I am always trying to find excuses to make cupcakes lately.

I love 'em.

The husband prefers cookies.

And cookies will always have my heart,

But oh, Betty Crocker, I am into the cupcake thing these days.

And I hear cupcakes are "In" right now.

(Not that I really know or care much at all about what is "In." Don't you know me?)

While I was busy mixing the frosting into a lovely shade of green, Tommy said emphatically to the cupcakes,

"You're gonna get frosted!"

(Kinda like a warning.)

And then a moment later, he said to me,

(very matter-of-factly)

"I speak cupcake."

(I kid you not.)

Boy, did I laugh.


I took some mighty cute photos of me wee leprechauns to post but the computer is telling me some rubbish about how it can't download me photos for whatever odd reason....*and I make a growling-type, irritated noise here)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh wow oh wow...

My baby is just ten days away from turning 11 months

That is practically One.

I'm freaking out. I'm freaking out.

This first year went by so, SO much faster than my first baby's first year.

I can hardly believe it.

It almost doesn't seem fair.

When you have two kids it is a lot harder to just sit back and soak it all up.

All the moments.

I suppose I should get used to it, because this family will definitely have more kids someday!

(At LEAST 4.)

(At least 4 TOTAL that is, not 4 more.)

(But you never know I guess!)

I'm very sad I haven't written more about my sweet baby Jake in these first months.

Every month I've thought,

"6 months! I need to write!"

"9 months! I need to write!"

And now his birthday is quickly approaching.

Same thing with Thomas.

4 years old in July.

So much about him hasn't been written either.

It would take volumes.

He came in to tell me about his victories with Play-doh just now.

I gave him great big squeezes and told him about all the fun things we're going to do this spring!

The day is still slightly chill and snow is still on the mountains, but the sun is out and

OH, it is glorious.

It makes me feel my love for my children even deeper in my bones.

I just want sun and green and blooms and to go out and walk around in it all.

With my dear, beloved, sweet, beautiful little boys.

(Life is not perfect and parenthood is hard, so hard at times,

but I love my boys,

Oh do I.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Church, Boo-boos, and Hockey

(It drives me crazy when I'm not timely with writing! I started this over 2 weeks ago but never finished. That's what happens when I get long-winded...)

Tommy gave his very first talk in Primary on Sunday, February 21st.

His teachers sent him home with a little slip a couple weeks beforehand with the date and topic. It felt surreal to me that my first baby was already old enough to give a talk in Primary! I've still been trying to get over the fact that he's old enough to be in Primary. Ever since Tommy graduated from Nursery to Primary at the beginning of the year, I've been a little nostalgic...It was surprisingly hard for me to have to watch him leave Nursery forever! No more toys and playtime, no more snacktime. Its just the first of many ways he's leaving behind being little. He always loved Nursery and I was so worried that Sunbeams would disappoint him when he realized how different it would all be. He did have a hard time saying goodbye to us when we dropped him off the first several Sundays, but I think he's starting to get pretty used to it now.

*Sigh* He's growing up at lightspeed and its starting to freak me out. Although all the milestones are fun to watch, its hard for me to see him leave each one behind forever, and then move so quickly to the next!

Anyway! The talk, the talk. The subject was "Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved." Wow. The Atonement. Heavy topic for a Sunbeam. Okay. I just wrote a simple little talk for him, keeping it very basic, and we brought a favorite picture of Jesus that we keep in the house to show the Primary. Tommy did great. He repeated the words I whispered nice and clear. It was adorable. At one point when I was listening to him say the words I kind of choked up a teensy, tiny bit for a split second because it was so, so cute and sweet. I was so proud of him.

*I'm so bummed that I didn't get a picture of him before or after church that day!*

I'll confess I was a little nervous about how his talk would go. He was very excited about it and we practiced and had several discussions about it and everything, but I had been worried he would do one of two 1) Freeze up with nervousness and refuse to say anything I whispered to him, because he can go from being a ham to being shy in a nanosecond. Or, 2) He would get all silly, ignore what I was telling him to say and start putting on a show up at the microphone...because he is a ham! He has been dying to talk at the microphone ever since he started Primary. He's tried to escape his teachers during sharing time and wander to the front trying to get to the podium. The Primary Presidency told me they've even let him sit with them up front a time or two.

He was even a bit naughty before his talk...he got to sit up front while he waited for his turn, but several times he got out of his chair and snuck behind the conducting Primary Presidency member to draw on the chalkboard. I wanted to intervene but I was sitting in the very back row, so calling to him or going up front to sit him back down definitely would have been disruptive. So Ryan and I just exchanged amused/embarrassed glances with one another until the Primary Pres. Member realized she had a little artist behind her and sat him back down. Twice.

Bless their hearts, those Primary Presidencies. They're so patient and tolerant. I've never had a calling in Primary at all...Nursery, but never its been years and years since I had been in a Primary sharing time. As I sat there in the few minutes before Tommy's talk, watching these dear women trying to run sharing time through all the commotion made by wiggly, restless, talkative little ones, man did I appreciate them. It appears to me a very overwhelming, exhausting calling! I hope I never, ever get called into a Primary Presidency. And, I just doomed myself to getting called to one someday, right there, just wait and see...


It turned out to be a weekend of not just one but two milestones for the Tommy-nator.

Because, the night before Tommy gave his first talk in Church,

He got his first set of stitches.

5 of 'em, in his chin. Yep!

There's really not even an interesting story to it! He was just playing in our tile entryway, crawling around down on all fours, and he stumbled on his own arms, fell and *SmAcK*...split open his chin on the tile. We didn't know there was anything wrong with his chin at first because he buried his head in his daddy's shoulder and cried for several minutes, and wouldn't let us look at his face. I was worried he'd knocked a tooth out...he's already come close to doing that once. When he finally pulled away and I saw the blood on Ryan's shirt, of course I did the mommy thing and freaked out a bit. I freaked out a little more when Ryan told me Thomas had a gash on his chin and almost immediately thereafter, "I think he's going to need stitches."

Stitches scare me. I've never had them and so I've always imagined all kinds of scary things about the experience. For the longest time I didn't know that they numb the area before they stitch it. I thought you just sat there and lived through the pain of being sewn up with needle and thread. Was extremely glad when I found out that wasn't true.

We studied the war wound a bit (which surprisingly wasn't bleeding that much) and decided to send a photo to Ryan's Mom on her phone...she's a nurse and we're always calling her with medical questions. As soon as she saw it she told us it would definitely need stitches. It wasn't a very long gash, not even an inch, but it was gaping pretty wide open. We showed Tommy the photo of it on Ryan's phone and he said it looked like a "little mouth." Ha!

Aside from being sad about Tommy's busted chinny-chin, I couldn't believe the bad timing. When Tommy fell, we were *literally* about to walk out the door to go my brother Travis' last college hockey game ever. He plays hockey for BYU, he's graduating in April, and it was the last game of the season. We'd been particularly lousy at going to his games...we had only gone to one other game the whole season. So I was bummed not only that my little baby had to get stitches, but because we were probably going to miss my brother's very last game. But hey, we thought, at least we were already ready to walk out the door to go to the doctor!

And though it was a Saturday night, we were able to get right in to get Tommy stitched up. I love our Pediatrician's office, Utah Valley Pediatrics. The office we go to is actually one of several sister clinics all over Utah County, and each clinic takes turns being open on holidays and weekends. We were able to call in and get an appointment just about an hour and a half later. And our co-pay for an after-hours visit was just $25. I was so glad we didn't have to go to the Instacare or heaven forbid, the ER. I've never had to go to the ER, but I've heard nothing but horrible stories about how awful it is to take your kids there, especially with how long you have to wait.

So after a trip to the McDonald's drivethru for dinner and to cheer Tommy up, we took him to see the Doc. The clinic that was open for afterhours wasn't our regular clinic, but everyone there was fantastic. When we showed up they just put a numbing gel on Tommy's chin and let it sit for about 20 minutes while we watched Curious George on their TV. Tommy was totally fine and happy, and even Jacob was a trooper and stayed conveniently asleep in his stroller the whole time we were at the doctor's.

The numbing gel they used was actually a preparation for the numbing nice because after the 20 minutes Tommy's chin was already so numb that when he got the shot he didn't feel it at all. Ryan had warned me that the worse part of stitches is getting the numbing shot, and I was not looking forward to Tommy's screaming when he realized he had to get a shot. Even though his chin was already numb and he didn't feel it when they gave him the shot, we had a lovely, kind young nurse who kept Tommy's attention on her and he never even saw the needle or knew he got a shot at all.

And he was such a big kid while he got stitched up. The nurse and doctor asked him all sorts of questions about himself and he laid so still while they gave him "whiskers" (their cute nickname for stitches). Tommy did awesome. I was truly so relieved when what I always thought would be a scary, painful, traumatic experience wasn't really that bad at all.

BUT, that doesn't mean I want to encounter stitch-inducing calamities with my children again...I'm all worried now whenever either of the boys play in the tile entryway. I shoo them away onto the much softer hardwood of the kitchen.


Oh yeah, and we did manage to make it to my brother's hockey game....for the last 6 minutes of the last period anyway. Oh well. At least I got to see him play one last time! And the Cougars WON! Against Boise State, 3-2. BOO-yah!

Band-aid chin boy was in high spirits, even though he had just barely come from getting his stitches. (Jake is MIA in my pics because he continued to be an awesome little trooper, sleeping in his carseat pretty much the whole evening!)

Love my bro. (Don't he look dapper? He always dresses up after the games.)

These guys love my bro. (No one's hotter than Kotter, yeah! and that's D-"Fence" if you're wondering =)

Tommy loves his uncle.

Tommy loves the Zamboni.

Afterwards we all celebrated with my bro over a late-night breakfast at IHOP, like so many times before.

Gonna miss that. =)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Again, to March

I think I just might be doomed to loathe you for all time.
(I am trying oh so hard not to use that word, hate...)

I had hope for you this year, you arrived with such sunshine.

But then I remembered,
you are you.
you quickly did what you always do
you fickle, tempestuous month

You bombarded us with cold new snow
and blank grey skies
then teased us, again, with warmth and sun
for a day or an hour or a second or two
only to withdraw it
and these last few days you've tested my patience
with your delivery of cold, hard winds
that shake the very panes of my windows.

But NOW,
you've completely abolished any desire I had for a truce with you
by deeming it necessary to bestow
one last heartless dose
of particular misery
upon our household

All three of my dear boys, one by one, have become feeble and infirm thanks to you.

My husband has an official case of pneumonia and the poor man wheezes all day and night.

My two wee ones are not nearly so bad, but they have hot little foreheads and their lungs bark in protest to what we call "the germies." I am taking them to see their Doc tomorrow.

Tonight I hear each poor boy coughing in turn,
tossing in their beds
struggling for rest
And I venture continuously to the room of my dearest little one
to cradle and rock and soothe him back to sleep.

You couldn't even spare him, you rotten pack of days, you.

It is probably a MIRACLE that I am not sick myself
But I think deep down its because I refuse to give in
to your last efforts at torture.

I have 3 boys to take care of.

I don't have time for your tantrums.

Get thee hence,
thank you very much.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dear March,

Usually I disdain you.
when you arrive each year
I sigh impatiently
in grim anticipation
of your lingering winter
and long procession of
you behaved yourself rather well today.
There just might be some hope for you.
Keep it up with the sunshine, if you please.
Thank you very much.

Picture of the Day

love him.

I know I said this was picture of the ~day~
but I can't leave out my first boy
So here is a picture of the day
from last week.
at 3 1/2
is already working
on perfecting the art
of the self portrait.

love it,
love him.

Hooting in my Kitchen

I love this music from my head to my tippy-toes.

I say its like musical candy...

as sweet and scrumptious to my kids

as it is to me.

I like to put on these tunes and dance with my little guys

before lunchtime

or in the restless evenings.

I bounce and spin with baby Jacob in my arms

while Tommy runs circles around the island.

A favorite is

"Hello Seattle"

- The Remix -

It starts out gently, quietly,

very pretty

then slowly builds into a fantastic


irresistable dancing beat.

Tommy says

it "runs out of air"

at the end.

Many songs are catchy and quick,

others are lovely and heartfelt,

But this whole album is perfect

for this stay at home mom

who often needs a way

to shake off the stress.

Aside from my love for the music

I am also particularly impressed with

the artist of this album

for his writing.

He is wonderfully inventive

with delightful, witty, whimsical lyrics

about beaches, hot air balloons,


even toupees.

Buy it, I say.

Do it now.

Go to iTunes or Amazon or the nearest place you can buy media

Snap it up

and you will discover so many more treasures

than the two they are playing on the radio.

(Get the Deluxe version.)

If you don't like it

I would have to say

To each her own

(or his own)

But I would also have to say


The child at heart in you

just needs a little nudge.

The Computer and I

Around 7 pm

still awaiting

the hubby's return from the day

my toddler is watching cartoons

and I slip into the office

to squeeze in a few minutes of email-checking

and blog-stalking

while wrestling the baby on my lap

with one arm.

The baby wriggles and grabs

at everything in sight

so I relent

and place him on the ground.

Then I have T minus thirty seconds

before he tries to escape

underneath the desk

to check out the garbage can

and power cords


he discovers the stack of Daddy's rolled-up houseplans

stuffed in a corner

and threatens to rip them up


he escapes into the living room

where his big brother will no doubt

tackle him


until he cries

and I go to rescue him.

And when I go to take the baby away

his big brother begs,

"I wanna hode 'im!"

And I let big brother give his little buddy

one more hug

until I must remove him

so he doesn't suffocate.

Then I escape into the office

to steal a couple more minutes

with the baby in my arms

and it all begins again.

...I really need to get a laptop.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Tonight we had a fun, simple family night.

(Even though its always our goal to have Family Home Evening on Mondays, we are not always awesome at pulling it together. So its lovely when it does come together!)

Cheeseburgers for dinner.

(Cooked by Ryan, poor guy, out in the freezing cold. I have designated him the grillmaster...I've never used the BBQ.)

Boys playing tractors on the floor with Daddy.

(I love watching Jacob play with his big brother...he's so interested in everything Tommy does and wants to do it too. So darling. Can't wait to watch them become even better buddies as Jacob grows older.)

Danced around the kitchen to some of our favorite tunes.

(Specifically, tunes from this album. Love it. I could write a whole post about it. I just might sometime.)

Sang a couple primary songs.

(Tommy requested the birthday song, the primary one. He's always talking about his birthday lately. Its not til July! He has informed us he wants a Transformers party. We also sang "I am a Child of God" for good measure.)

Had a short, simple lesson by Daddy. He chose the topic "Telling the truth." He made up a very cute story to keep Tommy interested.

(The story involved a piece of cake belonging to Ryan. I was the villain of the story. I ate the cake but then blamed it on Tommy. We talked about how its not okay to say things that aren't true. Tommy was pretty into the story. He kept saying, "But I didn't eat it!" We had to remind him it was just a story and that he wasn't in trouble!)

I put Jacob to bed to the soft sounds of his lullabies.

(These lullabies. Bought this album to listen to in the hospital after Jacob was born. My favorite album of lullabies ever. I particularly love "Goodnight My Angel"...its the most beautiful version that I've ever heard.)

Had brownies and ice cream.

(It was just a mix but they were gooood. We gobbled the whole pan in about 10 minutes.)

Then we watched "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."

(Cute, but WHOA, a little weird, too. We have the storybook...Tommy loves it and I have fond memories of it from elementary school days. But the movie was sooooo different, it bugged me a bit. I'm sort of a purist I guess!)

Then Daddy and Tommy went to bed, and here I sit.

(I promised myself I would go to bed earlier tonight. I promise myself that every night. I just cannot conquer my inner nightowl...)

I come to learn more and more how much joy there is in the simple things. Having children especially has taught me that. They bring out the "Child at Heart" in me. Any little treat can make a day or an evening special or exciting now, like just making brownies or watching a movie together. A simple, easygoing night spent together with my three boys, just eating, playing, dancing, talking, giggling...its one of the greatest blessings of my life.

(And I'm trying to count that blessing more often lately.)

(I like writing in parentheses. Could ya tell?)


Okay, so...

...I don't know that Spring is really so much in the air just yet.

But boy, do I wanna believe it.

I don't know if I've ever been as desperate for spring as this year.

Spring in Utah is such a tease, though...

I don't know if spring in Utah even exists. The gross late winter seems to linger around forever, snow and slush and mud, coming and going, coming and going.

By the time it really goes for good, its practically summer.

This winter in particular just seems to keep going on, and on, and on...

Yesterday it was chilly and windy and in the late afternoon we had a freak blizzard that was quickly coating everything in white again.

Me = Not happy.

But after an hour or two it stopped and now its all melted away.

The sun is shining and I heard the delightful sounds of little birdies outside the window this morning.

So there is hope!!!


Friday, February 12, 2010


My two little sons are very different in one way...

that fluff atop their heads.

They're both blond like their daddy.

But man oh man, do their manes have different personalities!

My little Jake-boy inherited not only his Daddy's color but his daddy's curls too. They are becoming more curly and more unmanageable as they grow and he currently has little "wings" above each ear, but I love it! I have no plans to cut it soon. I am too afraid that once I cut them off, the curls may disappear forever! So I am enjoying seeing the crazy patterns his hair often ends up in.

In fact, the hairdo he was sporting when he woke from a nap this morning (see above and below) is what prompted this whole post.

Jacob, the mad scientist!

"Greetings, readers of Mommy's blog!"

Sooooooo, so so so cute. I almost love his hair messy better than I do combed! Its great fun to play with.

And seriously, I love those "wings..."

Tommy's hair, on the other hand, is stick straight and pretty much always has been. There was a time when it would lay down upon his noggin and could be combed nice and tidy, with a part.

(Tommy at about 9-10 months...same age Jacob is now.)

Now...not so much.

(As you can see, he's in dire need of a hair-snipping lately. And how 'bout that cheesy grin? He's all too talented at those.)

Thomas' hair just grows up. And up. And up and up and up...Its got this kind of stiff, course texture to it and it seems to be immune to the effects of gravity. His hair in the very front lays flat, but all the rest of it sticks up, especially in the back, at his crown...I always say the tuft in back (which grows up and up and up more than any of it) reminds me of a duck!

Trying to comb it down when its this long is pretty much out of the question. I could try to plaster it down, but I am not big on using large amounts of hair goo on my little ones. Some have suggested I just let it grow out and it would eventually lay down. Personally I think it would just end up being a fantastic fro! And also, despite the fad, I'm not a big fan of longer, shaggy hair for my boys. Partly because I'm lazy. I don't do a whole lot of combing. Especially with Tommy, I like his hair nice and short so I don't have to worry about it. I just leave it alone most days, and once in awhile for church or pictures or a special occasion I spike it with a little gel. Easy.

So I just have to get Tommy's hair cut all.the.time. It grows like wildfire. We go to "Cookie Cutters," one of those fun kid-specialty hair shops where they can sit on a car/train/plane and play a video game/watch a movie whilst getting their ends snipped. And they get a balloon and a sucker at the end. And they have a slide and video games for kids to play if they have to wait for their turn. Its great for those younger ones who are afraid of haircuts, but now Thomas is just utterly spoiled...he loves it there. He's always excited when its time for a haircut and then within days starts insisting that he needs a haircut again. Who knows if I'll ever be able to take him anywhere else again!

And as for me, I don't do haircuts, nope. I've never been one of those women with a talent or an eye for cutting hair, and I have absolutely no desire to learn. I don't enjoy being responsible for how good someone does or does not look when I'm done.

(For the record, I did try. Tommy's very first haircut as a baby was by me, and despite all my caution, I knicked his ear...he bled, I freaked out, I was done! Now I'm simply too nervous with a pair of scissors in my hand.)

I always say that I don't want to wish my boys' youth away, but I can't help but feel curious and excited to see what they'll look like and be like as the months and years pass, and to see the ways they'll differ from one another and how they'll be alike.

All I know is, they're both handsome!

(Have I mentioned I love these boys?)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Are You Looking for a House in Billings, Montana?

My brother Zane and lovely sister-in-law Amber are selling their house and I'm helping to spread the word!

5237 Sacagawea Dr.
Billings, MT 59101
* Built in 2007
* 2184 sq. ft. (fully finished basement)
* 4 Bedrooms (all with 4x5 walk-in-closets)
* 2 Full Bathrooms
* Beautiful Hickory Cabinets
* Large Walk-in Corner Pantry
* Large Family Room
* 2nd Family Room in Basement
* Central Air Conditioning
* Fully Landscaped
* Underground Sprinkler System
* 2 car garage

To read more details, see more photos or to get contact info, go to:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I have created my first ever, good ole' homemade header for this here blog!

It turned out purdy cute, if I do say so myself.

This is my first real attempt at digi-scrapping. I've never really all. I was never blessed with a talent for crafts, but I have long desired to become learn-ed in the ways of digital craftiness...I've proclaimed this for several years now. I have been tempted, oh have I, by those shelves and rows of touchable, lovely papers and all the fun scrapping goodies at Archiver's. But then I remember.... "Glue? Scissors? Glitter? Um, no thank you." I've been saving my energy and my sanity and my pennies for the digital scrapbooking world.

And gall-darn-it, I am finally (sorta) on my way.

Because a few days ago I finally downloaded the Photoshop Elements software my husband sweetly gave me.

For my birthday, in July.

In 2008.


(Procrastinate much? No, not me.)

Thanks honey!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In Memory

Yesterday I attended the funeral for my Great Uncle, Merrill Briggs.

Uncle Merrill was my mother's uncle, the youngest brother of my grandfather. He had down syndrome, and lived to the age of 61. How amazing is that? He lived a very full and very happy life. He loved life and he loved people. He was an incredible man.

I usually only saw Uncle Merrill once or twice a year at family reunions. He was always happy, always joking around and teasing everyone. He was always a big jokester. My mom's family is a ranching family, and Merrill was a cowboy through and through...he loved horses and riding, and for as long as I can remember he always wore cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. He wanted to get married someday and have his own ranch. He loved going to church and he went through the temple. He loved the Boy Scout program and got his Eagle Scout. He competed several times in the Special Olympics. He had a job and worked at the same company for almost 40 years. He loved to knit and crochet and was always making things...I have a several pot-holders that he made for me. He loved music and he loved to dance. I remember dancing with him at reunions many times over the years.

His funeral was practically a family reunion in and of itself. Many of my vast extended family came to his funeral service, and there were so many sweet and wonderful memories shared. Many were stories I'd never heard before, and it was a blessing to learn more about Merrill and his life. There were many many tears at the service of course, but a general feeling of happiness too...we all knew without a doubt that his life goes on, that his disability has been removed from him, and that he has been reunited with his beloved father and mother, my great-grandpa and great-grandma, who passed away many years ago. They loved him dearly and were such amazing parents to him.

My great uncles and great aunts told wonderful stories about my great-grandparents at the funeral. I never got to know them well...I was only a baby when my great-grandpa died, and my great-grandma died when I was still very young, though I do have vague memories of visiting her and Merrill in the years before she passed away. I imagine it was very different raising a child with down syndrome in the 1940's and 1950's, but my great-grandparents always loved and encouraged Merrill, and stood in defiance of doctors who told them there were things he would never be able to do, like walk or talk. He did so, so much more than that. I'm so grateful Merrill was blessed to come to a family with parents and siblings that loved and cherished him and encouraged him to do anything he wanted to do.

At his service they had a table filled with pictures of Merrill, things he owned and things he loved. I didn't bring my camera in to the funeral with me, but I wish so badly I had gotten a photo of this cool little tribute to him. They had displayed his little cowboy boots and cowboy hats, which gave a particular tug to my heartstrings. There were also many of the things he had knitted and crocheted, his Special Olympics medals, his Boy Scout sash, and also a bowl full of chocolate candy. I learned that Merrill always loved chocolate and particularly Reese's...he and I are kindred spirits there!

I will always miss Uncle family reunions it will always feel like an important part of us is missing. I will feel a tinge of sadness whenever I think about him. But I'm grateful for the wonderful life he lived, for the amazing example of hard work and happiness that he was, and for the knowledge that he lives on.

When I spoke to my mom on the phone after first hearing of Merrill's death, we both cried. But then we started talking about what he must be doing now, and what he must be like. My mom said she thought he'd be tall, just like his brothers, and handsome, and a "womanizer." We both laughed. He was and is a sweet, good man, and I have no doubt that he's a hit with the ladies.

And I have no doubt that he has returned to the presence of Our Father in Heaven, and is strolling happily through heaven at this very moment, with a big grin on his face.

*Uncle Merrill in the News: "Ogden Loses Its Favorite Cowboy"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Early Morning Thoughts

At about 4 am this morning Jacob woke up for probably the 4th or 5th time since bedtime.

Though my littlest still does not sleep through the night anyway, he had shots at the doctor yesterday afternoon and I think they were not providing for the best night's sleep.

As I fed him, he started fiddling with my fingers. I just sat looking at those tiny fingers next to mine, and I thought about how very sweet my baby boy is. I always think he is sweet, but I had one of those moments of overwhelming love...the love you always feel for your children but that sometimes hits you in highly concentrated doses and makes you feel particularly content.

I thought how nice it was to be needed.

So much of the time I am racing through the day, trying to take care of the children's needs as quickly as possible so as to move on to other tasks...sometimes I forget to stop and bask in the glow of the blessing it really is to be needed, so much , by a little someone. By two little someones!

Right now their world is small, and I am such a big and important part of that world. Not a day goes by that they don't need me, greatly. With each passing year their world will grow and grow, and my part in it will fade, bit by bit. They'll start to find a thousand other things in their lives to devote their attention to, and eventually their need for me will be all but gone. Someday they will even be gone. And then, where there was once a busy, messy, noisy household with needy children that often tired out or frustrated a young mother, a quiet, tidy, childless house will have taken its place, and in it will sit a woman who is just anxiously waiting for phone calls. I try to remind myself of that all the time, especially on the hard days...I think, "These are the days I will miss someday."

I want to make more room for that kind of contented-ness in my life...I want to carve out more moments in the day where that overwhelming warmth of love can settle in and melt away the anxiety of constantly trying to complete a to-do list which will never truly be done, anyway! Someday my sons will be men, but right now they are my babies. I want to hold onto the moments with them as carefully and lovingly as I can, for I know that all too soon, in years that seem like seconds, these days will be gone forever.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

These Boys

I love these boys. Oh do I love them!

(And I love that photo, I do, but I would LOVE it with capitals if Jacob looked a little happier!)

Jacob is almost nine months. I'm already starting to think about his first birthday party. That freaks me out. I dread the day when his sweet baby smell fades away forever.

Thomas officially passed the 3 and a half year mark this month. He's now closer to 4 then 3. How am I the parent of an almost four-year-old? Has it really been that long since my first-born was laid in my arms?

I need to write more about these boys (and post more photos, more often) as the days of their littleness slip through my fingers. I vow to do it soon.

Here's a story from this week (forgive me if this grosses you out):

Poor Tommy had some kind of sudden stomach bug a few days ago. He told me he wasn't feeling good and I gave him his pillow and my Snuggie (ya know, the blanket-with-arms that is really poorly named) so he could just lounge on the living room floor and watch cartoons for awhile. But as he was getting situated, with no warning whatsoever, I suddenly realized he was vacating the contents of his stomach all over said pillow and Snuggie. Ryan and I commenced the cleanup process, and unfortunately Thomas felt pretty equally awful the rest of the evening. Poor guy.

That night as I tucked him in bed (with a bowl next to him, just in case) he said to me, with the sweetest sincerity,

"Mom, I'm sorry I puked on your Snuggie."

Is it weird to say that my heart melted?

I hadn't been upset at all about the mess, and hadn't said a single thing about my soiled Snuggie.

My little boy is growing up.

And I have now promised myself I will keep an on-going list titled,

"Things Heard 'Round the House This Week."

Should make for great entertainment in the future. =)

*photos from our family session in early November 2009. Jacob has already changed so much...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Respite in the South

My husband has decided that Utah is not all bad in the winter. There are places that still have 50 and 60 degree weather in January, and that's enough to make us say "Hallelujah!"

St. George was a great two-day reprieve from Utah County's winter. I could be talked into moving there. I was actually a little bummed that we didn't have time to drive around and look at houses and maybe check out some model homes, just for fun.

Our trip was short and simple, but nice.

We stayed at a newer, pretty nice hotel, which is always kind of fun (though pretty much any hotel room on the planet is too small for young children).

We threw our "Eat Better" resolutions to the wind for the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed our hotel's fantastic breakfast buffet. Their sausages were gooooood, I ate way too many.

On Saturday we hiked through Snow Canyon for a few hours, Jacob on his daddy's back.


We took a lot of breaks on our hike, by request of Thomas and his tired little legs.

Thomas said: "These are comfy rocks" (haha!)

We lunched at Pizza Factory, which is and always will be a favorite of ours, but an all-too common occurence, occurred once again...I was brought an Alfredo Chicken pizza instead of my beloved Alfredo, Tomato and Ham pizza, ARGH! But we didn't feel like saying anything to our waiter about it. (I practically filled up on their bread twists and ranch dip anyway...mmm)

We swam in the hotel pool...well, Daddy and Tommy swam in the hotel pool. I relaxed in our hotel room with baby Jake and dinked around on Ryan's laptop.

We went to see "The Princess and the Frog" (I was impressed!) and it was a relatively successful outing for our first time to the movies with both of our younguns.

The movie made me wish I had a daughter
to buy cute "Disney Princess" things for!

We stayed up late watching a movie on Ryan's laptop (with earphones) after the kids went to sleep. (It was the last segment of Return of the King. We've been trying to re-watch all the Lord of the Rings films over the last week or two, but only after bedtime so our little children don't get nightmares from them...)

Sunday we walked around the grounds of the St. George temple (my first time there) and chatted with the Sister Missionaries in the Visitor's Center.

We lunched at In'N'Out, the second time that I've ever eaten there. I agree its quite good, but man I do not understand the craze surrounding that place. We just got two in Utah County and people were camping out and lining up days before it opened. Its a burger, people.

We drove home, and poor Jacob cried and cried from being stuck in that car seat so long. Poor little guy. That part was not fun.

But then, what journey home from a vacation is?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

One Year Ago Right Now...

...Ryan, Tommy and I (and Jacob-still-in-my-tummy) were in Hawaii.

Warm, lovely, beautiful Oahu. A whole week of it.

We were there for a Christmas celebration with Ryan's family. It was a fantastic week and particularly glorious to escape the bitter cold of Utah.

I'll never forget how our car got stuck in the snow just minutes after we left our house, headed for the airport. We were already running late, of course. We had to make a stop at our mailbox (the kind with little lock-boxes for everyone in the subdivision), and despite the large snowdrift surrounding it, I requested Ryan drive up as close as he could so I could just roll down the window and slip our mail quickly into the "outgoing" slot. When we went to drive away, our Jeep (a Jeep!) slid and squealed but didn't budge, no matter what we did. Ryan had to push us out. He had dressed to walk off the plane into Hawaiian weather, so while I stomped on the gas pedal he stood ankle deep in the snow, pushing, wearing his shorts and leather sandals. His feet were numb when he finally got us out and climbed back in the car.

Utah's Winter seemed determined to hold onto us.

I remember when our plane finally lifted off the runway in Salt Lake City, I looked out over the snowy, mountainous landscape and thought how different my view would be in a few hours. Beaches, palm trees, warm, balmy breezes!

The 14 of us stayed in a lovely house in a quiet residential neighborhood in the small town of Ka'a'wa, only a 2 minute walk from a gorgeous beach. It was 15 minutes to Laie (home to BYU-Hawaii) and 30 minutes to Honolulu/Waikiki. It was the perfect way to experience Hawaii, and it was definitely a tempting taste of what it would be like to live there.

And boy, does my husband want to live there.


If I agreed to move there he would put our house up for sale tomorrow I bet.

'Cause, you see...he hates winter.

He hates it and he's always hated it and it gets worse every year...this year he's been threatening to move us away from Utah forever.

So we're off to St. George this weekend. Its not Hawaii, but we hope to find a little sunshine!

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year Letter

Hello Family and Friends!

Happy New Year! I missed sending out a Christmas card or letter (again!) in time for the holiday season, but I still wanted to write to each of you to say we're thinking of you! Ryan and I feel so blessed to have so many dear friends and loved ones. We hope your Christmas was filled with family, friends, feasting, fun, and all the joy that comes with remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Its hard to believe another year is already over! Ryan and I recently celebrated our 8th anniversary, and the years just seem to fly by faster and faster as we get older! We are really looking forward to 2010 and the chance for a fresh start and a renewed commitment to our goals and dreams.

Our biggest news of 2009 was a new addition to our family! Our second son, Jacob, was born in late April and is now a busy, crawling, babbling 8-month old! Its so fun going through these baby phases again and watching as he explores and discovers everything around him. He is a healthy, handsome baby boy and has always been a very happy, mellow little guy. His smiles and giggles just melt our hearts! He has been a shining light in our family and we are all absolutely in love with him.

Thomas loves being a big brother and is very loving and sweet with Jacob (the majority of the time!). Tommy is almost 3 and a half now, and we have been amazed as we've watched him turn from a toddler into a little boy, all arms and legs! He is growing like crazy...he definitely got all the tall genes from both sides of the family! He has boundless energy, a dash of attitude, and he continually impresses us with things he is learning. He loves building or fixing things and helping his daddy whenever he has work to do in the garage.

Ryan is a great dad and loves spending time with his two little guys. He runs his own drywall contracting company, Premier Drywall, and we are grateful that he has continued to find work despite the poor condition of the construction industry here in Utah. Ryan also worked as the general contractor during the building of our current home in Saratoga Springs, Utah, which we completed about a year and a half ago. It was a lot of hard work and a difficult process at times, but he did a fantastic job. It was our dream for many years to build a house, and we feel very blessed to be here. When he has time Ryan goes dirtbiking at the nearby motocross tracks or the Little Sahara sanddunes, and in 2009 he got a chance to travel and do a bit of snorkeling, another hobby he loves.

I have been busy, busy, busy with our little boys and learning how to be a mom of two. I love watching them grow and learn...they are a lot of work and a lot of fun! I have plenty of things I love to do whenever I find a little free time. I've taken a break from college classes at BYU for a few semesters, but I love learning and am determined to complete my bachelor's degree. I plan to pursue a Bachelor of General Studies through independent study and night classes, with an emphasis in Writing. I also love playing the guitar and am thinking about taking lessons. I would really like to try my hand at songwriting, but I think I need to know more than 5 or 6 chords! And on top of it all, I'm learning to digital scrapbook so I can finally do something with the hundreds of photos I am always taking of my cute kids!

We hope this message finds you all happy and well! Please keep in touch, and if you have a blog, facebook account or new contact information we don't know about, please let us know! We wish you all a wonderful new year, and hope it will be your very best year so far! =)

All Our Love,

The Laidlaws
Ryan, Darci, Thomas and Jacob