Sunday, September 4, 2011

You'd Better Write That One Down

said everyone I told this story to.

Jenny's room is a disaster. She doesn't know where to put her plethora of toys and they always end up strewn all over the floor. So I hauled out some boxes and gave her a specific place for each type of toy.

Big box for dress-ups. Little box for dress-up accessories. Big drawer for tea party toys. Big drawer for barbies. Little drawer for Pollys. Etc.

It took both of us nearly two full hours of working constantly to get her room clean and organized. And the whole time it was a delight. Primarily because of her attitude.

Thrilled with the novelty of organization and pleased to have some one-on-one time with her mommy, Jenny sang the whole time.

(To the tune of Row, Row, Row You Boat)

I love Mommy. She is so very fun.
And she loves me to.
I love my mommy.

She sang it over and over, with minor improvised variations.

She'd sing a verse, then pause to pick up a toy. "Oh! Polly stuff! So cute!" Then she'd sing a verse as she put the polly stuff away.

I love Mommy. I love her very much.
Because she is so fun
And she teaches me stuff.

I pulled her bed away from the wall and underneath she discovered two rag dolls I had made her that she has named Jenny and Jasmine.

"Jenny! Jasmine!" She clutched them to her bosom. "I missed you so much!" Then she cradled them and looked into their little painted faces. "I will take such good care of you."

Then off she'd trot to put them away.

My mommy is so fun and she is so great.
I love her very much
And she loves me too.

Since then we've turned the song into a call and response.

Me: I love Jenny. She is my pretty girl.
Jenny: And I love you too, you are the best mommy.

Try it with your little one. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Birthday Boy

Peek . . .

a boo!

James is two today. Which seems odd to me because I have thought of him as two for a few months now. But now it's official.

Today he sang to himself "Birday to you, birday to you, birday to you." And you know what? He's just about the most beautiful child I've ever seen. With his shaggy blond hair and his blue blue eyes, his cute grin, his precocious ways, his primitive sentence structures, and the way he always calls me Dad and then corrects himself, he never fails to make me smile.

Except for when he makes me want to scream.

James won't let Daddy out of his sight.

Blowing out his candles

The look on his face when we revealed his new tricycle

Opening a Toy Story dvd. LOVE his face as he recognizes Buzz and Woody and Jesse.

I love that boy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Holiday Weekend

What did I do this weekend? Well, thank you for asking.

I cried when I FaceTimed with my beloved nieces and nephew. I stood on a snow bank. I went to a yurt. I baked a red, white, and blue velvet cake. I watched fire works. I judged my neighbors who must have spent thousands on their fireworks while I simultaneously enjoyed the results of their show. I played Temple Jeopardy. I performed America the Beautiful poorly. I ate pancakes and smoked pork (not at the same time). I got a migraine. I saw a rainbow.


And for your viewing pleasure, here's Jenny singing "You're A Grand Old Flag"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Monday, June 6, 2011


Jenny was spotlighted in Primary yesterday.

The kids love the spotlight. We turn out all the lights and a hush settles over the room. Then someone with a flashlight waves it around the children's faces, much like a search light. Meanwhile, someone else is reading (by flashlight) the spotlight paper. The clues are read, and the children try to guess who it is.

"This person's favorite food is spaghetti."

All the kids think it's them.

"This person's favorite scripture hero is Jesus."

Again, all the kids think it's them.

"This person's talents are baking, dancing, singing, and twirling."

The boys slide down a few inches in their chairs and the girls all still think it's them.

"This person has one brother."

All this time Jenny is listening, sitting on the lap of her teacher, with quiet attention.

"This person's favorite place to go is Disneyland and to get churros and the Tulip Festival."

All the children are stumped. Except for Jenny. She perks up and says "I think it must be me."

"This person's favorite blessing from Heavenly Father is animals because they are fun to take care of and to feed. This person is . . . Jenny!"

She said "I knowed it was me", with a self-satisfied smile.

Monday, May 9, 2011

If I Were In Charge: Mothers' Day Edition

If I were in charge of Mothers' Day I would change it to a Saturday. That way Dad would be home instead of at work or at church meetings and he could take the kids all. day. long. One whole day away from my motherhood would make me appreciate my motherhood more. I could spend the day shopping and getting a pedicure or reading or whatever. Alone. Or with my sisters. And when I got home the children would be playing happily in the backyard and the kitchen would be clean.

If I were in charge of Mothers' Day and couldn't change it to Saturday, I would cancel all church meetings other than worship services. The token parting gift would either be chocolate, or in lieu of gifts the money for said gifts would be donated to a local women's shelter.

If I could speak in Sacrament Meeting on Mothers' Day, I would not speak about how to be a better mother.

I wouldn't talk about sacrificing all things for my family or being more present in mind rather than just present in body.

I wouldn't talk about paying more attention to my children or turning the audio/visual babysitters off or ensuring we have family dinners together or planning fun activities.

I wouldn't rub salt in the sounds of the unwillingly unmarried or infertile.

And I most definitely would NOT perpetuate the nonsense about how women are more righteous and celestial minded than men (hence why all those carnal and weak men need the priesthood to elevate themselves to female levels of perfection) and that's why women are more nurturing and called to be mothers.

I wouldn't reinforce stereotypical gender roles that alienate those who don't fit the mold.

Instead, I would talk about love. Love for ourselves. Mothers give and give and give and mostly it's hard and mostly it goes unnoticed and unappreciated. But the hardest part of motherhood is how hard we are on ourselves.

I would talk about being good enough. Being a perfect mother, always patient, always kind, is impossible. No person is perfect and therefore no parent is perfect. We're all going to screw up. It's expected. It's supposed to be hard. You're supposed to fail in little and maybe big ways every day. But that doesn't discount the many successes that are to be had each day.

I'd give credit to all the times I want to yell at my kids, and don't. I'd give credit for the three nights of the week that I prepared a decent dinner, and forget about the ones I didn't.

On Mothers' Day, of all days, mothers should be made to feel like they are okay just the way they are, instead of being lectured to about idealized mothers and instructed on how to be a better mother.

We know what we need to do to be better mothers. We're doing the best we can.

I may not be able to be a perfect mother. But I can be me. And that, I believe, is what my children need most. Just me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Of A Certain Age

Youth and maturity are all relative. I've heard that "old" is whatever age you are plus ten years. I seem to think of myself in a state of perpetual 26-years-oldedness. I'm sometimes surprised when I look in the mirror and see how six years and two children have changed me. And I'm sure that feeling will only intensify as more years and more children come to pass.

A while ago my doorbell rang on a Saturday night and for some crazy reason I decided to open it. Usually I ignore people at the door, but this is becoming increasingly difficult as my four-year-old delights in visitors and screams in joy every time she hears the doorbell. I'm trying to teach her to hide when the doorbell rings, but she isn't in full agreement on the necessity for that.

When I answered the door it was two or three 15 year old (ish) boys from my husband's sunday school class. They were collecting donations for an Eagle project. (Side note: why are there no Eagle projects anymore that require any actual work or leadership or original ideas of how to serve and contribute?) We chatted for approximately 45 seconds during which one of them said "Your daughter is so pretty. Can I date her when she turns 16?" To which I emphatically said "Not a chance." He laughed and then they were on their way.

The next afternoon my husband told me that those boys thought I was hot. During his lesson the boys were laughing and sharing some sort of private joke. Brent asked what they were talking about, hoping to draw them back into the lesson, no doubt. One of them said "Well, let's just say that for her age, your wife is quite attractive."

While I appreciate the compliment, I'm a bit mystified at the qualifier. Who knew I was of a certain age? Maybe I'll have to rethink my life career as homemaker and redefine it as a cougar. Ah, the possibilities.

My Girl Turns 4

Four years ago at this very moment I was lying in a hospital bed with 30ish stitches and a gorgeous and perfectly healthy little baby girl.

And now she's a sassy preschooler with enough brains to manipulate her mama regularly.

Plus she's totally gorgeous. When she's not dirty, that is.

We're doing the whole cake and ice cream thing on Saturday when Daddy comes back from his business trip. But she knows that TODAY is her birthday, and she seems to think she should get to open presents and eat cake today and on Saturday.

So I pulled some orange rolls out of the freezer for breakfast and stuck some candles in one of them. I told her they were her special Birthday Rolls. She got very excited and danced about. I love how simple it is to make a child happy.

Well, sometimes it's simple.

One of Those Moments

I couldn't sleep last night. I was lying awake around 2:00 a.m. when my baby started crying. He's not a baby any more, but I still see him that way. I'd better procreate again soon or my son will be doomed to a mother who stunts his development.

He sounded sick.

Now, normally when James wakes up in the middle of the night calling me, I wake up grumpy. I find sleep to be an elusive companion, and I resent anything that interrupts our time together. I usually lay there for a minute or two, listening to my son cry, giving him a moment to see if he'll just go back to sleep.

This was not one of those times. I could tell he wasn't just having a momentary waking, but needed comfort. Then I surprised myself. Rather than feeling resentful at my loss of sleep, I realized that I actually wanted to go into the nursery and hold my boy. Perhaps it was because I was already awake, and thus sleep loss would be less of a burden. Perhaps it was because my husband is out of town and my bed was feeling awfully large and lonely. Regardless of why, I craved to feel the weight of James' limp body in my arms.

I went in and performed the tortuous nasal syringe ritual and then cuddled him close. He just melted into my arms and it was as though he really was a baby again, wanting nothing more than to be close to his mother. His hair smelled good. His fingers clasped mine. His head lay heavy in the crook of my elbow. His chest rose and fell against mine as his breathing became deep and regular.

I whispered to him "I love you, James."

A pause. Then a tiny "Too" muttered from behind his binky.


These are the moments that make it all worthwhile. These are the moments I must cherish now while they are still abundant.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm Not Depressed. Really.

I've been sleeping a lot lately.

A lot.

Like 10-12 hours a night. (Not including the 2-3 times I wake up and have to take care of little ones who cry at ungodly hours.)

It has been fabulous.

I like to luxuriate in the comfort and warmth of my bed in the mornings for as long as possible. The sexy man I am married to rouses me when he gets up to shower. But I still lay there. Sometimes I doze. Sometimes I just revel in laziness. And I don't like to get up until my children wake up and I HAVE to.

To, you know, do mom stuff.

So when Sexy Man goes off to work, I'm barely out of bed and looking my most fetching.

Then I spend the day taking care of little helpless ones that have endless needs. And I try to remember to take care of my own needs. Like eating. And occasionally bathing. Once in a great while I even dry my hair and put on makeup so that I don't look like Medusa. Although, if I'm being completely honest, I don't usually get around to demedusifying myself until about two o'clock. Because that's when the tiny one is napping instead of pulling on my pants and crying "Hoe jew!" (toddlerese for "Hold you!"), or writhing in my arms and banging his skull against the bridge of my nose while screaming "Nooooo! Uh-huh! Nooo!"

I spend my days wiping a myriad of things many times. And bending over. I am forever bending over to pick things up. Toys. Paper. Crayons. Bits of sandwich. Children. Clothing.

Living the dream, right? I am, actually. This is my first choice. To be a virtually unappreciated stay at home housewife. I certainly am not going to let anyone else raise my children, thankyouverymuch, and since children need constant supervision, that's my job. Well, I'd let Brent be the stay at home parent, but he is capable of making a lot more money than I am. I have a lot of skills, but none that anyone would pay me for. And so we have fallen into traditional gender roles. And happily, too, I might add.

But just because my life is exactly how I would choose it to be doesn't make it easy.

And so after nine hours of being SuperMom I start to lose it. I lose my patience. I yell. I cry. I hide. And while I am yelling and crying and hiding, I sometimes try to pick up the rubble and occasionally cook dinner too.

And then Sexy Man returns home. He comes home to a disheveled and rapidly deteriorating wife. And suddenly the demons that have been possessing my children for the last one-hundred-and-forty-eight minutes (not that I'm counting) exorcise themselves and two cherubic smiles beam brightly.

But my face? Not so bright. And the very moment my children are behind closed doors in darkened bedrooms, I head straight for my own sanctuary. My blissful bed.

And this routine is what has led my husband to believe that something needs fixing.

Wife crying? Needs fixing. Husband jumps into SuperDrive and takes over the wiping and the cleaning and the parenting.

Wife in bed at eight o'clock? Something wrong. Wife must be depressed. Hormones? Need drugs?

No. I'm not depressed, My Love. I'm just very, very tired. And THANK YOU for taking over the wiping and the cleaning and the parenting, by the way, and not coming home expecting me to serve you chicken pot pie on a TV tray so you can unwind from your own stressful day by ignoring your family that desperately needs you. I'm sorry all you ever see of me is a woman barely conscious or barely holding it together. Someday when we're independently wealthy you can quit your job and be home during the day and then you'll see that the happy and vivacious woman that you married does still exist.

She does. I promise. I just need to find her.

Is it bedtime yet?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentines and Mean Girls

This morning Jenny and I were preparing her valentines to take to school today. Jenny wrote her name on each one in the "from" space. Then I inserted the temporary tattoo that came with each one and folded it. Next Jenny removed a heart sticker from the sticker sheet and taped each valentine shut.

During this process Jenny said "And maybe when Vera gets a tattoo she will like it and then she will be nice to me."

I started crying.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What goes on her head?

Whilst sitting on the toilet and talking about how her bum is hurting, Jenny, with no segue, said:

"Mommy. I need you to not ever ever tell anyone that I'm a magician. But you can if you need to, but I'll have to not let you."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It Has Begun

I received my first door-to-door solicitation of the year today.

Isn't it a little early for that?


Oh, and happy Groundhog Day, y'all.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Just What I Think

I've been disturbed lately. Well, by lately I mean the last few years or so.

Disturbed by loving, devout, wonderful people who love God and Jesus and his word and use their interpretation of that word as a hammer. Or a measuring stick upon which they judge others.

Here are a few examples of things that have disturbed me:

1. I have a friend that I genuinely like and think well of. She believes that no "good" mormon (since that's what we are) could be a Democrat. Now, I'm not a registered Democrat, but neither am I a Republican and I certainly can't understand members of the LDS church who follow the Republican party the way they follow the prophet.

2. My sister's roommates told her that since she voted for Obama that she was a "baby killer". I voted for Obama. And as far as I can tell I love babies and think they should be given the chance at life.

3. A kid in my sunday school class said that since the demise of "don't ask don't tell" that he wouldn't risk his life for a gay member of his platoon. If, that is, he ever joined the armed forces and there was a gay man in his platoon and they were in a life-and-death situation.

To which I responded: "Even if this gay man was a good man? An honest, hard working and loyal soldier who would be willing to risk his life for yours?"

Then another boy piped in and said "No gay man could be a good man. That's a contradiction in terms."

I was flabbergasted. How could he think that one facet of a person's identity completely defined him and negated all his other qualities?

Yes, the scriptures say homosexuality is a sin. But they also say that we should love our neighbors like ourselves. When we hate a person for something he is how is that any different from hating the Savior? "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Right? Don't we believe that part of the Bible too?

What about the bit about "judge not that ye be not judged"?

And don't forget that when the Savior was asked what the most important commandment was he replied "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Now I don't know about you, but I believe that God created all of us. And I believe that he loves all of us. ALL of us. Not just middle-class Christian White Americans like me. He loves the Jews. He loves Muslims. He loves Blacks. He loves fat people. He loves homosexuals. He loves Republicans. He loves the French. He loves the poor. He loves drug addicts. He loves porn stars. He even loves those Enron guys, Dick Cheney, and Bernie Madoff.

I don't have a lot of answers. And I'm sure glad that I'm not the one to judge the wrongful actions of others. But this much I know: I am to love my neighbor as myself. I am to refrain from judgment. I am to worry about the kind of person I am and the way that I treat others. Anything that divides us as the children of Christ ought to be eschewed. We ought to be One.

So when I support gay marriage and any other legislation that protects the civil liberties of my brothers and sisters under Christ, don't judge me.

And I'll try to return the favor.

For additional reading of one of the most thoughtful and articulate essays I've ever read, check this out.