Monday, December 31, 2007

Newscaster in the Making

Santa brought Rachel The Flip video camera, which is perfect for our loquacious little girl who offers her constant running commentary on all things in our home. Here's her first broadcast.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Magic

Last Easter while vacationing in the Desert, Cole continually hounded me about the authenticity of the Easter Bunny. Perhaps he had stolen a glance of the Easter Baskets I had secured on a previous trip and had judiciously hidden in the pool equipment closet. He questioned, he coaxed, he prodded and pried. Sensing that he "knew" and growing more exasperated by the minute from his constant interrogation, I finally relented.

"Cole," I reasoned with my logical and very astute, ten year old, "do you really think a six foot tall bunny comes hopping through our front door and hides eggs?"

I will never forget the look of horror that flashed across his eyes. For although he knew the answer, he really wasn't ready to know.

"Well, then." he stammered, "What about Santa Claus?"

But before I could respond he clapped his hand across my mouth, "No, don't tell me! I don't want to even think about it until December!"

So many times in the past six months Cole has amazed me with his insightful heart. At times I am astounded by his charm and maturity. As the Christmas season arrived, I began to wonder when he would bring up Santa Claus. I assumed we would at least have a continuation of our conversation from last spring. But he never brought it up, and frankly, I was relieved.

Then something magical happened. Louie arrived on our front porch. Louie is our own little elf, sent to us by Santa, to make sure we are behaving ourselves. Louie came with clear instructions that each night he would return to Santa with a full report of our good and bad deeds. We could leave notes for Louie, but were cautioned not to touch him.

The kids went crazy for Louie. Several times a day they would embark on an all out search to see where Louie was hiding. It seemed Louie would move from room to room even while we were home. Louie was magic. Even Cole got into it and kept exclaiming how traveling Louie was "freaking him out."

Tony and I were amused...after all, this was the same boy who no longer believed. And yet, somehow it seemed he believed in our little flying elf and he delighted in Louies' hide and seek antics. He was so sincere in his joy, so excited by Louies' presence, that I had almost convinced myself that he was still a believer.

About a week after the arrival of Louie, Cole came home from school and requested a private meeting with me. We took a walk down to the mailbox and he asked me if I was the one moving Louie. I assured him that I wasn't.

"Then is dad moving Louie?"

"No, Cole. I don't think so."

"Well Mom, someone needs to be responsible for moving Louie. I've noticed that over the last few days Louie hasn't moved very much. So I have been taking care of it."

"You have been moving Louie?" I exclaimed in surprise.

"Well, yeah. Don't you think it's important to keep the magic alive for Rachel?"

I was stunned and I was speechless. I honestly believed that Tony had been taking care of Louie, and I'm sure Tony was confident it was me. And all along it had been Cole, single handedly spreading Christmas magic around our home.

He has a certain twinkle in his eye this year, a sense of enthusiasm for the season that he happily shares wherever he goes. I expected this coming of age ritual to be more traumatic for him, maybe because of the way my heart felt in knowing that my first born no longer believed.

Just yesterday he whispered in my ear, "Mom, is Santa real?". I told him that the spirit of Santa is very real to me, that I believe in the Magic that Santa brings.

"So do I, mom. So do I."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

First Haircut




We went kicking and screaming to the hair salon today for Miles' first haircut. Unfortunately, it was me doing the kicking and screaming. I can't believe my baby is big enough to get a big boy haircut. I really had to compose myself as I watched his curls fall. This is seriously the saddest event of the week.
My baby is growing up too fast.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Become As A Little Child

The first snowfall of the season arrived the morning of Rachel's baptism. I love the peace, the calm and quiet of a morning storm. The earth was blanketed in clean, white snow and I found it a fitting allegory for the events of the day.

I was at the sink washing lettuce and found two strong arms around my waist. "Mom, I want to fast before my baptism."

I took the opportunity to teach her the proper way to open a fast. But in reality, it was she who taught me, as she humbly asked for help so that she wouldn't feel hungry and that she would feel of His spirit. Children have an amazing way of simplifying things, of sorting through the teachings and reducing it down to all that really matters.

Like Oprah, I believe that love is in the details. So I spent most of the week organizing a beautiful post-baptism luncheon and party for Rachel. My mom helped me plan a fabulous mexican fiesta complete with pink sprinkled sugar cookies carefully cut out to spell Rachel's entire name. From pale pink roses to hand-crafted favor boxes and programs written in Rachel's very own script. One of my girlfriends created a beautiful DVD of pictures from Rachel's first eight years and set it to Primary songs. Another friend hand made a necklace for Rachel bearing her initial.

Cole and Tony's sister gave beautiful talks. Cousins and friends sweetly loaned us their angelic voices. And of course, I am always so very grateful for the soothing tone of Tony's voice as he performs these sacred ordinances.

I had a very difficult time composing myself during the closing hymn "I Know that My Redeemer Lives". Somehow I managed to say the closing prayer and express my sincere gratitude for Rachel's choice spirit and how she blesses our home in so many ways.

The baptism was beautiful. The luncheon, delicious and delightful. But truly the most wonderful part of the day was the strong spirit which was present. How grateful I am for a wise young daughter who invited the spirit in and who truly recognized the significance of the ordinance. Who understands the promises she made and the blessings she will reap by remaining true to her baptismal covenants. That was the most lovely detail of all.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Weddle Wonderful

Cole was born with Ute blood running through his veins. Around here, being a Ute fan isn't really a choice, rather it's a birth right.

Tony and I have been toting Cole along to Ute football games ever since he was just a baby.

Slowly over the years, I have lost the rights to my season ticket to Cole. He has happily taken over my chair and has developed a loyalty to the Utes that runs long and deep.

His passion for football ignited during the Urban Meyer era. And while he has a great affinity for Alex Smith, he has always been more excited by the play of Eric Weddle.

Along with the Utes, Cole has loved the San Diego Chargers with a passion. Last year when Eric Weddle was drafted to the Chargers, Tony and I heard the news on Sports Radio while we were out on a date. Upon arriving home, we woke Cole to tell him the news. He smiled and drifted back to sleep.

The next morning he came storming into our bedroom, "Was Weddle really drafted to the Chargers or was I dreaming?"

Ever since that day Cole has been dreaming of traveling to QualComm Stadium to watch Weddle and his beloved Chargers play.

When the day finally arrived a few weeks ago, Cole and his cousins all dressed in matching Weddle jerseys and we made the 2 hour drive from Palm Desert to San Diego for the game.

My dad suggested that we park in town and take the trolley to the game, but instead we opted to park at the Stadium and I am so glad that we did. Upon entering the stadium a man noticed the boys dressed in their Weddle jerseys and directed us to Weddle Headquarters.


The boys were thrilled to meet Eric's family and tailgate with fans and friends of our beloved #32. Eric's mom was so darling with the boys and took them right in...asking them for their addresses, asking them to sign a poster for Eric, introducing them to all of the family. I have never seen happier little boys. She insisted they come back after the game to meet Eric.

Talk about dream come true! After watching a fabulous win against the Ravens, and some serious shopping in the team store. The kids went back to Weddle HQ and got to meet Eric. He couldn't have been more darling with our boys. He autographed something for each of the kids and told them a little about his experience in the NFL.

Just as we were turning to leave, my nephew Riley started to sing the Utah Man song. We all joined in, including Eric and his entire family. His cute mom was wiping tears from her eyes as we all loudly proclaimed "A UTAH MAN AM I!"


I listened to the boys talk about Eric Weddle all the way back to the desert and for most of the next day. It couldn't have worked out any better and I was so thrilled as a mother to witness my son have such a wonderful experience and to be so excited about his chance encounter with Eric Weddle. The thing that strikes me as so amazing was that Eric's mother was just as thrilled to witness her son having this experience. She was so overcome with emotion to think that her son had such loyal fans. I guess it doesn't really matter if you're the mother of an eleven year old or the mother of an NFL star, the only thing you really want for your kids is to be happy, experience success and make the most of small moments such as these.

Eric Weddle and Me

This is a guest post from my son, Cole. I am trying to encourage him to write about certain experiences in his life so that he will be able to remember them down the road. I promised him I would post this if he took the time to write it.

Earlier this year, my Grandpa Bill made my dreams come true by giving me tickets to watch the San Diego Chargers play. We went to the game on November 25, 2007. My cousins Riley, Matthew and Nathan and I all wore our Weddle #32 jerseys to the game. When we were walking into the stadium, some guy yelled out "Are you guys Eric Weddle fans?". We all nodded. He told us that Eric Weddle Headquarters were around the corner.

We headed over to Weddle Headquarters and found his family and friends tailgating. We saw about 20 or 30 Eric Weddle jerseys: white, dark blue and light blue, all kinds. Since we were the youngest kids there, everyone was noticing us. This lady who looked to be in her late 50's came to us and told us she was Eric's mom. We were all surprised. We introduced ourselves and told her we were from Salt Lake. She introduced us to Eric's family and then we got to ask her a lot of questions about Eric. Here are some of the questions I asked:

1. Does Eric like the NFL? Yes, but he still wishes he could play for the U.

2. How much money does he make? $99,000 per month, plus he received a $2.5 million signing bonus.

3. When is Eric's baby due, and is it a boy or a girl? The baby is due on January 5th and is a girl, but they are hoping it is born on January 4th, because that is Eric's birthday.

4. Where is Eric's locker? It is next to LT's, Shaun Merriman's and Antonio Gates'.

5. How many days a week does Eric practice? 6 days a week, 12 hours per day.

Eric's family was so awesome! They let us sign a banner that said "Go Eric Weddle #32". I wrote "Good Luck!! Your #1 fan Cole Parkinson P.S. Go Utes!"

Eric's wife told us that Eric always comes back to Weddle Headquarters after the game and signs things and visits with his fans. I asked Dad if we could come back after the game and he said "We'll see". So Eric's mom suggested that we give her our address and she would have Eric send us autographed pictures and stuff.

We went to the game, which was awesome. The Chargers won 32 to 14. Eric made 5 tackles and knocked two passes. After the game we went back to Weddle HQ and met up with Eric's family. After about 10 minutes Eric's sister came over and said "that's him" and pointed to a guy in a beanie about my dad's size. We went over to him, and yet again, because we were the smallest, all eyes were on us.

I asked Eric to sign my white Chargers hat. I told him that we were from Salt Lake and came all that way to see him play. I also told him that I followed his entire college career and that he was my favorite Ute player. He thought that was great. We got a couple of pictures with him, and then my cousin Riley started singing the Utah Man song. To my surprise, everyone, including Eric and his family started to sing it too.

After that a guy who said he was from the Deseret News interviewed Erick and took a picture of Eric and anyone who was wearing a Weddle Jersey.

It was a great experience going to a Chargers game. Did I mention that Eric makes $7 for every Weddle jersey that is sold? So my cousins and I made $28 for Eric Weddle. What a Great Day! I will never forget my day with Eric Weddle.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Top Priority

From This

To This

My first miscarriage was in July of 2001. Infertility then consumed my life for five long years. Some day soon I will write my story; some day when the pain of that experience is not so fresh. For though I have the most happy of endings, those feelings of longing for this child are still tangible in my heart.

Last week as I was enjoying my final day of vacation, my brother teased me that he had done more in the past two hours than I would do all day. True that he had already run 5 miles and made a few sales calls while I was happily lounging on the patio in my jammies while feeding my sweet baby.

"Maybe so." I retorted, "But this, holding this baby, feeding this baby, is the most important thing I could be doing."

He knows it is true and so do I.

I don't know if I can adequately articulate the happiness our baby Miles has brought to our lives. I knew him before he was born, and yet, in all of my yearning, in all of the moments I spent envisioning him in our family, I never understood the inexplicable and complete joy he would bring to our home. I have delighted in him. Day in and day out. I have savored each moment of his first year, wanting to relish this precious time.

While I have loved each of my babies, I don't know if I fully appreciated them or enjoyed them in quite the same way as I have Miles. I wake up every day, every day, feeling transcedently blessed. I have a sense of reverent, radiant gratitude that is sweeter for having experienced its opposite.

Happy First Birthday my Darling Baby. It's been an amazing adventure.








Saturday, November 17, 2007

On Thanksgiving

...it is not JOY that makes us GRATEFUL;
it is GRATITUDE that makes us JOYFUL.
Brother David Steindl-Rast
I stand in awe at the abundance of blessings which fill my life. Not the least of which is my amazing family who I will be sharing the Holiday with in Palm Desert.
Until Then...In Everything give Thanks.

Simply You


The way you like things 'Just So'
The way your blue eyes Sparkle
The way you Twirl and Cartwheel instead of Walk
The way you sleep with a Water Bottle
The way your Laughter fills our home with Music
The way you sing to yourself in the Shower
The way you Must have a bowl of Ice Cream before Bed
The way you leave Love Notes
The way you Take Care of each of Us
Simply You
Happy Birthday Sweetest Girl!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First Kiss

Long before Miles was born, his bedroom sat empty in our home. I have always felt it was the best room in the house. Two of its' walls are flanked with large windows, allowing an abundance of light to fill the room.

I remember so vividly walking into that room on many occassions when I needed a boost from the woes of infertility. Somehow the open space, the calm, golden toned paint of the walls, the very energy of the sun streaming in, seemed to soothe me. It became a sort of sanctuary for me. It gave me hope when I had none.

As I was designing the nursery to fill those sacred walls, I knew I wanted an overstuffed chair to tuck in the corner by the window. A place where I could sit to rock and enjoy my precious baby.

Each morning, while the house is still quiet, with the exception of sweet babbling from my baby Miles, I take a moment to curl up in my chair and cuddle with my little one. There is something magical about those few minutes together. We have yet to wipe the sleep completely from our eyes; our bodies still warm from the covers and my mind still uncluttered and at rest. While the rest of the world is sleeping, before the sun creeps across the horizon, we sit, and greet the morning together.

This morning was no different. I opened the shutters and showed Miles the frost glistening on the grass outside. We sat and played pat-a-cake. He giggled. He wiggled on my lap and kept reaching for my face. I drew him close to me and told him to give me a kiss. And he did! It was open-mouthed and wet. Yet it was quick and purposeful. He knew exactly what he was doing. But just to be sure I wasn't dreaming, I asked him over and over again to kiss me. And he complied, time and time again. Truly, there is nothing sweeter than the first displays of affection bestowed upon you by your baby. What a beautiful way to start the day.

In this the season of gratitude, I find my heart full of thanksgiving for so many things, so many blessings I enjoy. But today, I am most grateful for the miraculous gift of baby Miles. I am grateful for perfect, exquisite moments such as this, where I am reminded how priviledged I am, how blessed I am, to be a mother.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Just Keep Swimming

I have this little voice in my head that sounds remarkably like Dori, the clown fish from Disney's Finding Nemo. I love the part in that movie when Dori is in the water amongst several sharks and is frightened. To keep herself steady and focused, she sings over and over "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming; just keep swimming....".

Sometimes I feel like that little clown fish, swimming in the dark, being bounced from wave to wave, alone and afraid. Sometimes the only thing I can do is put a smile on my face and just keep swimming.

Last night I was reading in preparation for my RS lesson and I came across this story:

"Agnes Caldwell and her family traveled with the Willie handcart company and suffered terrible hardships with the others. When the rescue wagons came, they took on all the infirm and those who could walk no farther, but the able-bodied still had to press forward on foot. Nine year old Agnes and some of the other children decided to try to keep up with the wagons in hopes of being offered a ride. Sure enough, after a time one of the drivers asked her if she'd like to ride with him, an invitation she gratefully accepted. As she tells the story:

'At this he reached over, taking my hand, clucking to his horses to make me run, with legs that seemed to me could run no farther. On we went, to what to me seemed miles. What went through my head at that time was that he was the meanest man that ever lived or that I had ever heard of.'

I've tried to imagine this scene: I've pictured a little girl who had given everything she knew how to give for a cause she had been taught was dearer than life itself. I've wondered how it must have felt to finally be offered some relief and then have it just as suddenly withdrawn.

Agnes continues: 'Just at what seemed the breaking point, he stopped. Taking a blanket, he wrapped me up and lay me in the bottom of the wagon, warm and comfortable. Here I had time to change my mind, as I surely did, knowing full well by doing this, he saved me from freezing when taken into the wagon.'"

I smiled when I read this story thinking of all of the "running beside the wagon" moments I have had in the past few years. I too, have given all that I have to give, ready to collapse at times from the sheer exhaustion of it all. I try to remember the promise the Lord has made to lift us up and yet I often find myself frustrated, wondering why He doesn't just pull me into the wagon.

Maybe He is as the wagon driver. Maybe I am like Agnes, not fully aware of how He is trying to save me. I need to remember that He knows what I can bear and that my trials will not exceed my capacity. Perhaps, if I continue to hold on for just one more moment; if I keep putting one foot in front of the other; if I can just keep swimming, how great will be my reward.

"I have to trust that the Lord knows what he is doing with my life, even in those hard moments when I can't possibly see what he has in mind."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007

My Better Half



Every now and then the sound of your voice carries up the stairs and I find comfort in remembering that you are just a few steps away if I should need you.

Every now and then I catch a glimpse of you loving on our little ones and playing with the reckless abandon of a child, and it makes me smile.

Every once in awhile I find your arms around me because you sense that I need it.

Sometimes I find an email in my inbox or a text message on my phone, for no other reason than just to say I love you.

Most of the time I get too busy to acknowledge how blessed I feel to have you in my life. I fail to tell you how the little things you do make me happy; how you, more than anyone, can turn my day around because of who you are and how you treat me.

So today, you should know that you make my heart pound. You should know that I am grateful every day that you were born, and that you are such an important part of me.

Happy, Happy Birthday!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween


Yesterday was a great day. Rachel and I spent the morning in the kitchen cooking. "It feels like Christmas!" she kept saying.

Last year on Halloween I had been put down on bed rest. I was nursing a horrific kidney infection, having mild contractions and battling toxemia. I didn't make halloween cookies, I didn't make dinner for my family, I didn't help them carve pumpkins or go trick or treating. Basically I just sat on the couch and felt sorry for my self. Oh and I passed a very large kidney stone. I did do that last Halloween.


What a difference a year makes.

This year, twilight found my children running around the backyard in the almost balmy temperature, and jumping on the trampoline in their costumes. Baby Miles giggled every time he caught his reflection in the mirror. We shared dinner with well loved family and friends. The house was a bustle of activity all night. Clam chowder, carmel apples and chocolate popcorn for twenty. And one bowl of Spaghettios.....for Tony, we ran out of soup....sorry Babe.


I love having people in my home, gathered around my table. I love hearing my mom's laugh at Boo's funny stories. I love that Jamie stopped in to drop something off, and ended up staying for an extra hour, forgetting his car was idling in the driveway.

We ended the evening with the kids sorting through and trading their candy. I am the lucky recipient of all of their tootsie rolls. Then Tony donned his fairy wings and tutu for the 1st Annual DNA Cycling Haunted Halloween Night Ride.



Sometimes we don't appreciate family traditions or our health until they are taken away from us. I have a renewed love and affection for Halloween after completely missing it last year. It may just have something to do with watching the excitement in Miles' eyes as he takes it all in. Oh, how I love this boy!





Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tasteless

Monday, my brothers and I had a meeting with my Dad's oncologist. I like our Doc. I like him a lot. It wasn't an easy conversation. The reality is sobering to say the least, and yet Dr. W. handled the situation with grace and empathy. I listened to him gently explain the prognosis and patiently explain the oft times confusing diagnosis. He is my age...37 years young, and is dedicating his career, his life really, to this most hideous disease. I have great respect for him and really can't adequately articulate how much I appreciate his bedside manner, his professionalism and personal attention to us in the most difficult of circumstances.

Fast forward to Friday night where I attended a 70th birthday party in honor of my father in law. There I was approached by a friend of my father in law, a man I know of, but don't know well. He too is a doctor. He inquired as to how my dad was doing. It took me back as I'm not certain that he has ever met my dad. I gave a short answer, assuming that he was inquiring out of concern for Tony and I.

"So," he said, "how long is it going to take? When is he going to die?"

I think I was in such shock at the boldness of his inquiry, that I fumbled around for an answer. And then I walked away in utter disbelief.

Not that my dad's condition is any of his business, but if he was going to ask about him, he should have tried to have some tact or at the very least, some respect for what Tony and I, not to mention my dad, are going through.

The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Angry that he would be so brazen, so arrogant, so obtuse. But more angry at myself that I couldn't come up with a wise comeback to put him in his place. Something like "Gee, my crystal ball seems to be broken today" or better still, "I don't know, when do you think you'll die?"

I'd like to take this man on a walk through the infusion room at the cancer center. I would introduce him to the bald headed beauty who rocks her new baby while the noxious chemo drugs feed into her veins. I'd show him the young children receiving chemo, their faces puffy from steroids, their eyes glassy from pain meds and anti-nausea drugs. I'd point out to him the many faces and families affected by cancer, the stress so evident in their weary smiles.

And if he was really lucky, I may even introduce him to my dad. I'd show him how he smiles through the pain even with tears staining his cheeks. I'd let him watch my dad tease his nurses and cheer on other patients. I'd share stories of his bravery, of his positive attitude and tenacious will to keep fighting even though his once strong and vibrant body cannot outwit the errant cancer cells.

And finally, I would remind him that cancer does not discriminate and it could just as easily be him spending 8 hours every other week with an IV in his arm. I might tell him about all of the horrible side effects the chemo brings and how even his own body will betray him, of how at times he will wish for the relief that is death. But then again, I have more tact than that.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Reality Check

A few years ago my sister in law lost her dad to cancer. I remember watching her go through this tremendous trial. Many times I worried what to do to help her, what words to say or what act of service might ease her burden. She didn't talk about her dad a whole lot. I didn't know if her silence came from stress, or sadness, or possibly out of simple respect and honor for her dad.

Going through this same trial now, I am beginning to understand how she may have felt. I read my cute niece Carlee's blog this morning and felt the tears wash over me yet again.

I find it difficult to talk about my Dad. Sometimes the words elude me. And yet my brain is running at warp speed. I find tears in my eyes on most days. And yet I rarely give in to the intense emotions beating against my heart.

Those closest to me tell me I am strong, that I am coping well, that I am positive and resilient. But I am none of those things. What I am is overwhelmed.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gratitude Check

Every now and then my life kind of stresses me out. Okay, who am I kidding....my life is complete chaos right now. But I recognize that when I focus on being positive and grateful, good things happen to me. Studies show that people who express gratitude are happier, which can cause them to think better. Research also shows that when we are thankful we are more resilient. It's almost as if gratitude acts like a shield against stress.

With that in mind, each night I try to remember a moment or two during the day that made me happy. Something that made me smile or laugh, something that lifted the darkness from my heart, even for a brief moment. While there are many things rolling around my brain which I feel a need to write about, today here are a few things which have brightened my week.

1. I have a habit (Tony would call it a bad habit) of walking around the house in nothing but my undies and my shoes. My closet is on one end of the house and the ironing board is on the other end of the house, so sometimes when I need to iron my clothes, I get all dressed (shoes, unders, jewelry) and walk to the other side of the house to iron my clothes. Once the clothes are pressed, I slip them on and then walk out the door. I have a system and it works. Tony and the kids always make snide remarks reminding me that I need to wear pants to the grocery store, etc. Monday I was rushing to get out the door to get Miles to Primary Childrens for his eye check up. I put on my undies and my clogs and marched across the house to iron my clothes. Tony couldn't contain his laughter when he saw me.

"What? You don't find this sexy?" I smirked

"You do realize it's supposed to be high heels and a thong, right?" he answered.

Whatever it was "supposed to be", it sent me out the door laughing.

2. Cole has been sweet on a girl in his class for over a year. I think the attraction is mutual and he is always full of sweet stories about his first crush. But lately he has been talking non stop about another girl...we'll call her "Susie" for the sake of this blog. Susie this, Susie that, yada yada yada, blah blah blah. Finally I say to Cole "What about "Jenny?". I haven't heard about her for awhile...I think you kind of like "Susie".

"No mom. "Susie" is just my back up plan."

Nice. I still laugh every time I think about it. Wonder how "Susie" would feel knowing she's second string.

3. Rachel, the Note Fairy, has resurfaced. Leaving little notes for me all over the house. On Sunday she made place cards for all of us for dinner with a little note tucked inside. I just can't explain how happy my heart is when I put my hands in my pockets and find a little love note from her, or when I open the drawer to brush my teeth and find a picture from her. I miss that little bug so much because her schedule is so crazy and she is rarely home. Having a note from her is like having a little piece of her to carry around with me.

4. Today as Tony closed the door to leave, Miles dissolved into a pile of tears. I scooped him into my arms and tried to console him, but he would have none of it. Finally in desperation, I called Tony on his cell and asked him to talk to Miles. Sounds silly, but as soon as Miles heard Tony's voice on speaker phone, his tears stopped and he squealed and giggled while patting at the phone. I love how he can so easily be soothed by the sound of his daddy's voice. I love that he recognizes that voice and knows it well. Simple, but it brings joy to my heart.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sweet Slumber

To say Miles is not sleeping well would be an understatement. For the past month or so he has been waking two to three times a night, rising at the blessed hour of 5:30 am and trying desperately to give up naps. I'm lucky if he gives me two half hour cat naps each day. I'm tired, he's tired, and we're both grumpy.

When Tony and I built our house we decided not to install a lot of bathtubs; I hate to clean them, don't really love soaking in them, and shower curtains kind of creep me out. We really only have one tub, which is a large whirlpool bath in our master bathroom. The expanse of the tub makes it difficult to bathe a baby in, so Miles has been bathed exclusively in the kitchen or laundry room sink until a few months ago. Since that time he has been a shower baby.

Everytime I turn the shower on he gets excited and starts pounding on the glass door. We get in together and I scrub him first, then set him down on the shower floor to play while I clean myself. He LOVES the water and gleefully crawls in and out of the stream, splashing and opening his mouth to catch errant droplets. He is so happy in fact, that usually I get myself out, dry off a bit, and bundle up in my robe before I retrieve him.

Today was no different. He happily played while I shampooed. I jumped out, brushed my teeth quickly and grabbed a towel to bundle him up in. I opened the door and found him sitting right beneath the full stream of water, completely sound asleep. Just for a moment I wondered how much hot water was left in the tank...I mean this kid REALLY needs a nap. And even though crawling back into my own bed was very appealing, the mommy in me quickly scooped him up and felt guilty for leaving him, though it was only for a minute.

I fully expected him to wake up having caught his five minute power nap, but when I layed him down to diaper him, he sighed and threw his arms up over his head. He was out cold. I carefully lay him in his crib, not wanting to risk waking him by putting his clothes on. I added an extra blanket to ward off the morning chill and quietly watched as his features softened in peaceful slumber.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Dirty Mistress

I awoke early this morning around 1:30 am and found myself all alone in my big king size bed. I stretched my arms out wide hoping to find Tony curled up on his side. I left the comfort of my warm quilt and got up to check for him, but found the house quiet and the kitchen light still on. He was gone, out again, enjoying the company of his girlfriend: a 22 pound, scandium aluminum mountain bike, with a single gear and twenty nine inch rims.

Over the past six years I've grown accustomed to sharing my man with her. I take small comfort in knowing that there is only one of me, while at any given time he is courting two or three other "women". We have the pretty road bike, a titanium Lightspeed with golden tires which highlight her beauty at high speed. Then there is the dark green Niner One 9, a single speed Mountain Bike. Not to be out done by the Raw color Niner Air 9 (pictured), a geared Mountain Bike. Every time I turn around, it seems Tony is upgrading models, or switching out her parts, investing in the latest and greatest. He is fickle, and has easily owned a dozen of these little beauties. I can hardly keep up with their names, let alone the saddles, pedals, and components he buys for her. But gratefully, he hasn't yet turned me in on a new model.

His wardrobe advertises his love for her. Our mailbox is flooded with magazines all about her. We take her on vacation with us. Heck, we plan vacations around her. What free time he has is spent either with her, talking about her, or dreaming about and planning his new acquisition. I wonder if the other girls hanging in our garage feel a wee bit envious when he chooses the other girl to ride. I wonder if he worries about giving each of them equal saddle time. At least he spends equal time in keeping each of them groomed and pretty. I've witnessed it myself...using a toothbrush to clean the hard to get spots, gently lubing the chain, carefully polishing the frame with Pledge until it sparkles; a cleaner set of bikes has yet to be found.

Up until this year, Tony was pretty careful about the time he spent with the dirty mistress. I usually only had to share him on weekends and for after work rides. But this year he discovered the beauty and peace of mountain biking at night. The first time he took her out for a midnight spin, he came home gushing about the cool mountain air against his face, the brilliant stars lighting up the canyon sky, and the peaceful quiet, with only the sound of his own heartbeat as background music. The moon was full that night, and he described his adventure with such passion that it almost sounded romantic. I admit to feeling a bit envious. There are very few things that would keep Tony out until 2 in the morning, and while I'm sure he enjoys the camaraderie of his buddies and the post ride chill at Village Inn, it is her company that he craves.

And so it goes. Once or twice a week, Tony will tuck our children in, kiss me goodbye and quietly head out into the night air to enjoy a few hours on his bike. While I miss the warmth he brings to my bed and the steady rhythm of his breathing as he sleeps, I really can't blame him for taking this time with his other girl. She brings a passion to his life that I cannot. She eases his stress, she clears his mind, and his anxiety is washed away with each stroke of her pedals.

He returns to me refreshed and anew. He is home and he is present. Ready to be fully engaged in our lives. She helps him to be a more attentive husband, a more patient father. I see how happy she makes him during a thrilling ride with the boys, but I also recognize that she takes the brunt of his frustration after a grueling day at the office. Sure there have been many days when I have rolled my eyes or felt despair at his insatiable need to ride. But we seem to have reached some kind of balance. Maybe it is that I have finally come to realize that she is not the enemy, but rather we are playing on the same team. She helps me by helping Tony. He is simply a healthier, happier, more complete person for having her in his life. And I am grateful.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tagged

Okay, so I've been tagged a few times and I'm always too pre-occupied or lazy to respond. But I've had a bit of a whirlwind week and I don't trust my emotions well enough to actually write a new post. So...here it is, and I'm tagging some of my new blogging friends.

1. Best thing you cooked last week.

Turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy. We had my mom and Tony's sister over for Sunday dinner.

2. If money, time and babysitting were no object, where would you go and with who.

Italy and Spain with my sweetie pie.

3. When was the last time you cried.

About 30 minutes ago. My girlfriends husband called and asked how I was doing. When I told him "fine", he responded "liar". I know he "gets it" because he's been there. I'm grateful for my tender-hearted male friends.

4. 5 things you were doing this month 10 years ago.

Enjoying my sweet one year old son Cole....his first word was bird.
Working part-time for my pop.
Putting in our yard at the Curlew Circle House.
Traveling to San Diego to take Cole to Sea World and the Zoo.
Helping Tony start our business.


5. 5 things on your to do list today.

Take Mr. Miles to the doctor to see about his ears. Maybe an infection.
Schedule Rachel's birthday party at the Lion House.
Write a Thank you Note to my momma and my sweet friend Michelle.
Find a babysitter for Saturday Night.
Buy new jammies for Miles.

6. 5 favorite snacks

Barbeque Potato Chips
Chips and Salsa
Diet Coke (not really a snack, but more of a food group)
Home made chocolate chip cookies
Popcorn

7. 5 Bad Habits

Swearing.
Diet Coke.
Wasting time on the Computer
Falling asleep before Prayers
Making a mountain out of a molehill (that one's for you babe)

8. 5 favorite foods (food again? makes me hungry)

Mexican
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mexican
Nachos from Porcupine Grill
Cafe Rio Salads
Did I mention mexican food?

9. 5 Places I've been

Paris
London
Portugal
Scotland
US and British Islands

10. 5 Favorite Memories

My Wedding Day
My Honeymoon in Hawaii
The births of my sweet babies
Finding out I was pregnant with Miles
Trips to Maui with my kiddos

10. 4 People I'm tagging

Melissa C.
Rachel J.
Christine B
Jenny S.


I'll come up with a better post tomorrow....or maybe I can get Melissa to write one for me since she's become an obsessive blogger. Just Kidding Mis, love you.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Remember

For quite some time Cole has been a tad bit obsessed with the San Diego Chargers. I could go into great detail here about the breadth of his obsession, but alas, this blog is not about him.

But I digress, because of said obsession, he has been hounding Tony and I to take him to see the Chargers play. I am sure if you were to ask Cole he would emphatically state that this is his biggest heart's desire.

A few weeks before Cole's birthday, my dad called and asked if it would be okay if he gave Cole Chargers tickets in honor of the big day. Admittedly, it took me a few days to call my dad back. My dad is always so very, very generous with us, and this gift seemed a bit extravagant. Finally, I relented and agreed that my dad could surprise Cole with tickets.

Last Tuesday, on Cole's birthday, I told him that I would check him out of school so that we could go to lunch with Grandpa and celebrate. As I was doing the morning dishes, Tony and I got to talking about how excited we were for Cole and how much fun it would be to see the look on his face when he opened the tickets.

"This will be a wonderful memory Cole will always have of your dad." Tony whispered in my ear as he kissed me goodbye.

And that is when it hit me. My dad is dying. I actually had to say it out loud, as if vocalizing it would somehow make it feel more real. I know the reality, my heart knows it's true, and yet, I tend to cope with it by trying not to think about it.

I cleaned and I cried. I mopped and I wept. And I wondered if this was possibly the last birthday Cole would have with my Dad.

The kids and I have a bit of a game we play that helps us deal with the ambiguity that is my dad's cancer. "Will Grandpa be here for Christmas?" Oh, yes.

"Will Grandpa be there for my wedding?" No. "When I get my Eagle?" I'm not sure. My dance recital? My mission? Easter? And so it goes. We mark the time in events rather than in days, and somehow the inevitable, the unthinkable, becomes easier to accept.

I had a difficult time maintaining my composure as Cole and I drove to Apollo Burger. Twice my dad called to confirm the location and directions. I recognized his "chemo brain" and patiently guided him to the correct spot. I grimaced as I witnessed his severe pain in walking only 20 feet to our seat. I pretended not to notice his trembling hands, his translucent skin, his puffy face. It saddened me to look at the card he had written for Cole, and see how his once beautiful penmanship had turned shaky and uncertain.

The moment came and he handed his gift to Cole explaining that he didn't know what to buy him, so he hoped that Cole liked gift cards. I saw the familiar twinkle in his eye as we both watched and waited for Cole's reaction.

It sounds so silly to write, but I can't remember a moment so beautiful. I watched as Cole squealed in delight and then began crying tears of joy. Not just a few courtesy tears, but streams and streams of happy tears. A real dream come true for my little boy.

Before long Dad and I also were crying happy tears...right there in the middle of Apollo Burger, over our onion rings and hamburgers. I watched Cole throw his arms around my dad, and marveled at how big he seemed against my Dad's thin frame. I smiled as sweet baby Miles climbed into my Dad's lap and alternated between patting at his cheeks and laying his head upon Dad's chest. I savored the moment.

Over the course of lunch, Dad told me that he had gone to get his "obituary picture" taken. We laughed a bit at the absurdity of it all, but his comment stayed with me. I thought about it the entire day and most days since then, and the conclusion I have come to is this: When the day comes that Cole and I look back on my dad's life, I hope we don't have to look at his picture and try to remember him. Rather, I hope that the memory we have of Apollo Burger and the Chargers tickets will be emblazoned on our hearts. I hope that Cole's 11th birthday with my Dad will be a memory that is imprinted in his mind forever. I hope he remembers his grandpa, an imperfect man, and yet someone who loved him beyond measure.

And I hope that my Dad can take the memory of this day with him as well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fringe Benefits

Part of my Sweet Happy Life includes amazing friends who nurture me, listen to me and love me on my most unloveable of days. I was reminded of how blessed I am today when I read Laura and Ashley's blog. Laura wrote about an article she read in SELF magazine regarding how important our female friendships are to our actual existence. The magazine sites a study which suggests that the special bond between certain women "soothes our tumultuous inner world, fills the emotional gaps in our marriage, and helps us remember who we really are."

I have many friends who lift me and, as Laura so eloquently wrote, "breathe life into me" on my darkest of days. But today I am thinking of my sweet friend Brooke .

Last week she had me over for lunch and spoiled me with the most amazing Filo Tomato Tart and Raspberry Coconut Bars. She listened to me, she fed me, she loved me; and I left her home feeling my spirit regenerated.

I don't believe it's an accident when those who so easily see into our hearts, come into our lives and make a profound difference. Again, I am humbled by the outpouring of blessings I have in my life. The best thing about this blog is the ability it has to make me take notice of the richness and fullness of my life.

Big Dreams

I often marvel at my Rachel girl. Monday was hectic, as usual. Rachel ran in from school, changed into her leotard and we immediately left for gymnastics.

"Mom, I need a note for gym. We're having a backhandspring contest and I've done 428 of them since last week." She hands me the note to sign which she has already written. I notice that she has taken time to write neatly and everything is spelled correctly.

I suppose I should be surprised at the number of handsprings she's thrown. But I'm really not. Her teacher has asked her to do 100 per day and she works at it continually. 100 sounds impossible, but it really isn't if she has the time. But the thing is, she doesn't really have the time. She is quite possibly the most over scheduled 7 year old I know. From gymnastics, to dance, soccer, art, school and friends. And yet, she thrives on the schedule. I worry over her constantly, and am always watching for signs of stress and exhaustion. But happily she rolls along.

From gymnastics, we did another quick change for her soccer game. I watched her in the mirror as I pulled her hair back into a pony. In constant motion, and in constant conversation she demonstrated the 5 (or is there 6?) ballet positions to me in the mirror. Happily she turned pirouettes down the hall as we hurried to the car. I only scolded her once as I feared the twirling in her cleats might just scratch my hardwood floors.

From a fabulous soccer game with an intense defensive effort, to homework and then bed. Only to begin again the next day. So many things come so easily to Rachel. She is smart, she is talented, she has amazing artistic and athletic ability. At times her physical ability amazes me, only to be more astounded by her mental toughness and determination. I recognized long ago that Rachel has set her own path, she is directing her life; and I, I am only here in a supporting role. For as talented and capable as she is, she is also very stubborn (she did get something from me). I have had to learn to let her lead, to step back as she willingly takes risks, to hold my breath as she makes choices and finds her way.

As we were driving home from soccer, she calls out from the back seat:

"Mom, when I grow up, I want to be a Slurpee girl or a gas station girl."

Tony and I snicker in the front seat and Tony responds "Go for your dreams Rach."

I can hardly contain my laughter and carefully ask her "Exactly what does a Slurpee girl do?"

"She gets Slurpees for people. Duh! Well, maybe I'll be an Orthodontist."

Relieved, I answer "That sounds like a great goal Rachel."

"No mom, not the orthodontist, orthodontist. I mean the orthodontist girl. You know, the girl that changes the wire?"

And so it goes, my ever so capable, talented and smart little girl, aspires to be the Slurpee girl or the Orthodontist girl. And that is the way she rolls.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Put Your Game Face On

Today was Cole's fourth football game of the season. That's right, once again I'm blogging about Cole. Ahhh....Cole. He's just so darn yummy right now that I can hardly resist. Next week I'll blog about cute Rachel or Silly Miles or grumpy Tony or a myriad of other things, but just for tonight it's about Coley.

So we head clear out to Grantsville to watch Cole play in the pouring rain. As we were packing up the car to leave, Cole asked me to grab the camera. I declined telling him that I didn't want to ruin it in the rain.

"But Mom" he lamented, "today I'm going to get a touchdown." Yeah. Uh-huh. Sure you are you little first timer you. It's not that I don't have confidence in Cole or in his abilities, but he is, after all, a beginner.

Imagine my surprise and delight then, when Cole was handed the ball and proceeded to take a beautiful 15 yard run right into the end zone. Touchdown! And then of course instant tears pricking at my eyes.

Tony and I laughed as we watched him celebrate with his team-mates. He immediately searched us out on the sideline trying to secure eye contact. Tony gave him the thumbs up, I blew him a kiss and he grinned from ear to ear.

On the very next possession, Cole had another great play as he caught a very-lopsided 10 yard pass securing the first down. Again, the grin and the twinkle in his blue eyes so bright I could see the sparkle from clear across the field.

It happens every time Cole makes a good play, a happy little smirk curls against his lips and slowly a smile creeps across his face. Offense, defense, blocking, tackling, catching, running, it really doesn't matter; he simply loves being out there and the joy is evident on his face each and every time he plays.

During half time, Tony teasingly told Cole to "try and look a little mean out there." But I honestly don't think it's possible for Cole to put his game face on and play the part of big, tough football player. He's having too much fun.....As are we.

Alta Crimson 26 Grantsville 6

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Secksy Birthday

Happy 11th Birthday to my sweet son Cole.

Sunday he told me to wear my high heels because he thought they were "Secksy".

Tonight as I tucked him in I told him how I loved his cockney accent, the way he cuddles his brother, the energy and laughter he brings to our home. I love his tender heart, his goofy stories and silly impressions. I love his easy affection, his dedication, his compassion.

"And Mom" he said, "I love you because you're Secksy."

I can't decide if I should be flattered or worried. I know he just says it to make me laugh, and the word itself probably feels a bit naughty to him. But really, it just makes him seem so old.

Stop growing up already.

Monday, September 17, 2007

LOTOJA



Just over a week ago, Tony and his DNA Cycling Team finished yet another Lotoja bike race. Exactly what is Lotoja you may ask. Lotoja is the longest, one day sanctioned bike race in the United States. Encompassing 206 miles and traveling through three States, over 1,000 riders partipated in this years' 25th addition. Participants begin in the pre-dawn hours in Logan, Utah and cycle through some of the most gorgeous, yet grueling terrain before they reach the finish line in Jackson Hole's Teton Village.


For the past four years Tony has participated in and finished Lotoja. The first year was his best finish time as he placed fourth in his category. When I met him at the finish line we both had tears streaming down our cheeks. The accomplishment in and of itself was amazing; a courageous display of determination and physical ability.


My friend Whitney and I got our feet wet supporting our husbands. We only got pulled over once by the Idaho State Patrol, mastered the art of handing off Musette bags and miraculously made it to every feed zone while still caring for a two month old baby.


Tony's second Lotoja was the infamous ride of 2005. Temperatures on the course would be recorded as one of the coldest in race history. As I waited at the Montepelier Feed Zone which was at the base of the 7,424 foot Strawberry Summit, I saw rider after rider suffering from hypothermia and needing assistance from EMT's. Scary is an understatement. Finally, Tony arrived and I was certain that he would abandon the race. I will never forget the snowflakes scattered through his hair beneath his helmet and clinging to his eyelashes. I urged him to get off the bike and warm up, but he refused, insisting that if he got off the bike, he wouldn't want to get back on. Only 424 riders finished the race that year and Tony was one of them. Watching him recover from the ordeal, I honestly thought that he would never again ride Lotoja.

But alas, we were back in 2006. With the DNA boys, if one of them decides to do a race, it almost becomes contagious, and soon several of them commit to the ride. Such was the case with the 2006 Lotoja. Certainly it couldn't be worse than the SNOW we encountered in 2005. Right? Wrong.

Tony and his teammates (Adam, Rick, John and Justin) committed to stay together throughout the course of the race. Cycling is indeed a team sport and riders rely on each other to take pulls at the front of their pace line while the others conserve energy behind the lead rider through drafting. The boys seemed to be doing well, everyone was in high spirits...until the last feed zone in Alpine.

We decided to take our kids along to help support Tony. They loved the excitement and energy of the race as much as I did, and were anxiously waiting for their Dad in Alpine. We waited and waited and soon I could see the concern on each of my friends' faces as they worried over their husbands. Soon riders were entering the feed zone talking of a huge wreck just a few miles back. Deep down inside I knew it was our boys.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, our boys coasted into the feed zone slowly. They had had a wreck in their pace line where Justin had cross wheeled a teammate in front of him, and Tony went down on top of him. Aside from a bit of road rash and being tangled in his bike, Tony was fine. Justin, on the other hand, had broken his collar bone and sustained serious damage to his bike.

Justin was determined to go on, so Gina, our resident sports medicine guru, quickly bandaged up his wounds and loaded him up with percoset, and they were off.

The last 50 miles were torture, with Justin in incredible pain, soft pedaling his bike, now with only 3/4 of a handlebar and unable to change gears. To add insult to injury, he flatted twice and twice his team stopped to help him, and then continued to accompany him to the finish line. When they finally rolled across the finish line together, we were all relieved. I had never had such an up close and personal experience of watching team work in action. My respect for these men increased tenfold as I realized how much they cared about each other and what great friends they were. Although their finish time was disappointing, I was so impressed with how they were able to put competition aside to be team players.

This year the DNA boys decided to do a Lotoja Relay. I celebrated this news all summer! Riding in a relay allows you to enjoy all of the fun and excitement of Lotoja without spending the entire summer in training. I watched Tony enjoy his mountain bike all summer, hardly clocking any miles at all on the road bike. The kids and I delighted in his time and attention. We took a family vacation, we goofed off and spent many Saturdays at the pool instead of on the bike.

Tony rode the second leg of the relay which was a climbing stage from Preston, Idaho to Montpelier, Idaho. His portion of the race was 45 miles in length with a total of 3,400 vertical climbing feet and included the infamous Strawberry Pass, which was dusted with snow just two years ago. All of the boys did very well and DNA took 2nd overall in the relay race.

It was so great to spend a day alone with Tony in the car. It was very enlightening for him to witness the race from the support end rather than the cycling end. Lotoja is magical in so many ways. You see so many different types of athletes from those who are competitive cyclists to amateur athletes riding the race as a personal goal or to support a cause. You witness suffering, elation and despair. Each year I am inspired over and over again by the strength of the human spirit. Each year I marvel at the beauty of not only the scenery, but the view of the colorful peleton, working together towards a common goal. Each year I love our team and their wives, my sweet friends, just a bit more. I love Lotoja. I can't wait for next year.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

By Number



13 Years

156 Months

4745 Days

1 Condo

2 Homes

3 Children

1 Dog

9 Cars

8 Bikes

3 Degrees

4 Jobs

1 Business

4 Lotoja Bike Races

7 Kidney Stones

2 IVF's

2 Ruptured Achilles Tendons

1 Problem Liver

Thousands of Joyful Moments

Inifinitely More Laughter than Tears

2 Imperfect People

Creating

One Sweet Happy Life

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Forgiving at Segullah

I'm a guest writer over at Segullah today. Check it out here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Poet in the House

I hesitate to post this lest my blog turn into an ongoing tribute to Coley. But I can't resist sharing this poem Cole wrote as part of a class assignment:

COLE

Lazy, Funny, Athletic, Crazy

Son of Tony & Jill, Brother of Rachel and Miles

Lover of sports, Utah Utes, and the San Diego Chargers

Who feels happy, confused and energetic

Who needs sports, playstation, soda and food

Who fears aliens, hobos and crazy people in straight jackets

Who admires Ladanian Tomlinison, my Dad, and Lance Armstrong

Who would like to see the San Diego Chargers play, the Tour de France, and Australia

Who likes to wear basketball shorts, t-shirts and hats

Who finds happiness in monkeys, squirrels and my little brother

Resident of Utah

PARKINSON


Saturday, September 1, 2007

On the Gridiron

It's official. Life as we know it is now over. Football has begun and we are officially, endlessly, tirelessly engaged in the craziness that is Alta little league.

Tony is off to Jackson Hole enjoying the long weekend, while Cole and I stayed behind so that he could play in his first ever football game.

I've never seen a kid so happy to be on the field. Last year he attended a one day clinic with Morgan Scalley and Luke Staley and he has been hooked ever since. He's developed a mad obsession with the Utes, the San Diego Chargers, Madden 2007 for PlayStation, and of course, plays in a fantasy football league with his buddies.

Every day at recess for the past two years he has played two hand touch and likewise, every night he has begged his dad and I to let him play football. The final push came when he had to write a persuasive letter for a school assignment. Diligently, he set forth to write, in no less than four pages, a letter to his dad detailing all of the reasons he should be able to play football. Finally, Tony's resolve was softened and he relented.

However, trying to use his desire to our advantage, we agreed to let him play only if he earned the privilege by reading a certain number of books this summer. Cole is a very reluctant reader, and not wanting to miss my opportunity for a good bribe, this seemed like a win-win for both of us. Cole gets to play football and I got to see him spend some serious book time this summer without the usual moaning and groaning.

The entire month of August has been spent in nightly practices and I have yet to hear him complain. He has worked his tail off trying to get up to speed on the plays and catch up to the boys who have two years of playing experience under their belts. It's a huge learning curve and I'm proud of him for sticking with it, for persevering and for putting his whole heart into the game.

Last night at our pep rally, his coach pulled me aside and told me how much he enjoyed coaching Cole because he is so teachable, and he truly wants to learn because of his love for the game. He said "There are three types of boys who play football: those who play because they have talent, those who play because their dad's want them to play, and those who play because they truly love the game and want to be on the field. Cole is the first and the last. He has a lot of ability and he has a great desire to play."

I couldn't ask for a better compliment for my boy. He was so nervous for his first game that he had a hard time sleeping last night. This morning he told me he felt like he was going to throw up because he was so anxious. And yet, when he set foot on the field this afternoon, he was all smiles. Love seeing him so happy, love watching him work so hard, and love, love the fact that he has enough guts to go after something that he really wanted.


And just for the record: Alta 35 Tooele 13. Go Alta Crimson!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Back to School Blues

Cole and Rachel started back to school yesterday and I have to admit, I'm a bit lonely. The madness of the morning rush with it's cacophony of sound and flurry of activity, makes the house seem that much quieter and still once the front door closes behind them. While I am happy for the return of the routine, I will miss goofing around with them in our jammies until 11 am. I will miss grabbing lunch or heading to the pool. I will miss the conversations, the giggles, the sheer chaos and mess of having them home.

I knew I was in trouble on Wednesday night as I packed their school supplies into their backpacks. Somehow I had made the mistake of buying Cole fine tip markers without the names of the color written on the marker. This is a bit of an issue for my color blind boy. And yet, instead of having a meltdown, he just rolled with it and calmly asked if I would use a Sharpie to write the colors onto the markers. Easy enough...I thought. But for Cole it isn't enough to simply write "light blue" or "dark blue". His brain doesn't understand the subtle nuances in shades of color. So we had to get creative.

I sat with him at the counter coming up with names for his markers as I tried to describe each color to him. "This one is Charger Blue, like the San Diego Chargers retro jerseys. This one is Red, like Utah Red. Ohhh, and this one, this one is Crimson like your football team, Alta Crimson." And so it went as Cole and I created names for each of his thirty markers. It was fun, it was silly and it was amazing to me how grown up Cole has become. For just a year or so ago, this reminder of his color blindness would have been a sad moment, a complete frustration. But now I think he realizes it is what it is, and he has come to accept it. He is growing up and it makes my heart hurt just a bit.

We did the normal back to school routines: waffles for breakfast, Fathers' blessings, new shoes, and notes tucked into lunches. The kids could hardly contain their excitement, but I, I was a bit more reluctant. I know I can't keep them little for long and I even realize that the older they get the more expansive my relationship with them becomes, and yet I hate to see the changes come. Soon my days will be filled with lunches and errands and appointments and the hours that they are in school will feel like a flash, but for today, I miss them; I miss their voices, their warm bodies, the energy they fill our home with. 3:15 can't come soon enough.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bragging Rights


Just received a sneak peek from the photographer of our recent photo shoot. Wow! I may be biased, but I've got me some cute kids!







Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Grueling, Stressful Life

This is a guest post from my gal pal, my earthly angel. It is exactly her tongue in cheek, sarcastic view of my life which makes me laugh and gives me courage. She really needs to get a blog of her own because her outlook on life would be a blessing to so many....but in the meantime, I'll let her be my guest-star anytime.

I woke today trying to figure out if it was really 10 am. I am usually up with my bright-eyed 9 month old by 5 am, and if not him, then the other two children in my life. It has been an incredible day with many happies. The kids are in school and I don't see them until 9 at night. Rachel got herself dressed and did her own hair today. Cole ironed his clothes, showered and made breakfast for the two of them. They walked hand in hand to school, paying attention to all of the street signs along the way. They got all of their homework done by themselves and set up their own carpooling schedule for gymnastics and football.

Miles has begun to crawl and is beginning to find his own food and feed himself. I have not heard him cry once today. I was able to sit on the couch for quite a spell and enjoy hand-dipped strawberries my neighbor brought over for me. I haven't heard from Tony in over 8 hours, his work is crazy right now and he is really bringing in the dough (if you know what I mean). He is so busy at work that I doubt he will even go for a bike ride this whole week.

My mom is doing so well, as usual, and there are no troubles with any of my siblings or their spouses.

.....sorry for the pause. I just had to wipe some strawberry juice off my shirt, dang it, ugh! I just hate it when something throws my day off like strawberry stains.

Oh, and by the way, dad has decided to move to Paris, France where he can enjoy his life without compounding any stress in our lives. He has decided not to divorce mom, but rather live in peace and harmony for the remainder of his life. What more could I ask for?

Life like this sounds nice. But then you sit back and realize that the 5 am meetings with Miles are really the only time the two of you share alone. Being woken up by the other two children in your life and their demands are what fill your life. That if you didn't get a phone call from Tony, who is downstairs, every hour, you would feel a void in your day. If you couldn't just listen to Oprah down the hall while you were ironing, it would let your mind wander, and then you would realize how much you really need to focus on the days tasks. If Mom was always doing well, would you hear from hear so much? And the biggest one of all. If dad really was living in reality, would you really appreciate your life, your beautiful children, and you quirky but wonderful husband? Would you have started a blog? Would you sit back and ponder about all those who do love you, and why they are a part of your life? I don't think so! So thank Dad, put forgiveness aside for a bit and focus on what he has made you more aware of! I think it's called SWEET HAPPY LIFE!

Love,

The Earthly, Silly, Angel

Earthly Angel

I was in a bad place yesterday and really I'm not sure why. I have been reading The Peacegiver, which really is a life changing book and I highly recommend it. I'm actually on my 3rd reading because I have a lot of forgiving to do. Grrr. I continue to struggle with the decisions my dad has made and the person he has become. Yesterday, Dina McGreevy was the guest on the Oprah show. Mrs. McGreevy is the former wife of New Jersey's gay governor. When Oprah asked her if it hurt to watch her husband go on with his life in such a manner, she replied "No. He is not the same person I fell in love with. I'm not sure who this man is anymore."

These words rang true for me. Sometimes, most times actually, I feel as if I don't even recognize my dad anymore. He is so different from the man I knew him to be and it saddens me. I find myself grieving for him, for who he was, who he used to be, maybe even who I wish he were. Yesterday as this hurt rolled around inside of me I kept remembering a passage I read from The Peacegiver: "Being mistreated is the most important condition of mortality, for eternity itself depends on how we view those who mistreat us."

Somehow I need to get from where I am today to forgiveness. Again. And again and again. I think forgiveness is an ongoing process, a daily choice even, and currently I'm a bit bogged down in the mire. I've been thinking so much about it, that when Brooke asked me to write a guest post for Segullah, I immediately felt prompted to discuss the intricacies of forgiveness. (Brooke also taught me how to link my blog. Fancy schmancy.)


I am incredibly blessed with a sweet friend who I believe has a direct line to my heart. When I called her yesterday for a totally random reason she said "Your ears must've been burning. I was just going to call you and check in."


We chatted and most importantly we laughed. She checked in with me a few more times yesterday and magically, she always seems to know the right things to say to make my heart feel light.


I walked in the door last night after Rachel's soccer game against the Blueberries and found a gift from my darling friend sitting on my cluttered counter. She left a note which simply said "Because I love you."

A small but powerful reminder that my life is blessed beyond measure by people who love me and so unselfishly serve me. I will probably always grieve over losing my dad. I will always feel that void. But it is helpful to know that I am surrounded by loved ones who will help me to mend this hole in my heart.

Thank you Angel girl.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stalling




I cleared my entire schedule so that I could take my kids to Seven Peaks today with their cousins. But alas, this crummy flu bug, what I now know to be cryptosporidium, in still invading every ounce of little Cole's being. Poor guy. I don't think I have ever seen him so sick, including last nights battle with high fever and hallucinations. I think he's lost five pounds in two days. So I'm offering our germs, free of charge, to any parents out there who are trying to get their boys' weight down for football.

So here I sit with a wide open day and a chore list a mile long, but somehow I just can't seem to muster up the motivation to actually get anything done. Grrr... I hate feeling like that. I feel kind of mopey, not depressed really, just kind of blah. It might have something to do with one very sick little boy and another little boy who likes to get up at the crack of dawn.

Miles and I shared an Oreo after lunch...the site of which made Cole sick to his stomach. But really, what doesn't make Cole sick to his stomach these days?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Brookie!

This is a picture of Rachel and four of my five nieces on Christmas Eve. My niece Brooke, on the far left, lives in Valparaiso Indiana, working to put her cute husband James through law school.

Brooke is one of about six people who actually read my blog, so I thought I'd give a shout out to her for her birthday. Except I missed her birthday because it was yesterday. But I hope you had a wonderful day Brooke. I thought about you all day and was remembering babysitting you when you were a baby. Your mom and dad would go bowling every Friday night and I was the designated sitter. I loved you then and I love you now. You are smart, talented, beautiful and completely genuine and sincere. Plus...you make really good sugar cookies. I miss you and wish I got to see you more often.

Happy 26th!

Toast

I'm tired.

10:00 pm: Tony and I crawled into bed both dog tired from a stressful day. I fell asleep before they finished talking about the miners on the news.

12:09 am: Miles is up with teething pain. Spent 25 minutes rocking him, feeding him and finally whipping out the infant tylenol.

2:11 am: Cole comes crashing through our bedroom door "I'm going to throw up!". Why that kid comes all the way upstairs to throw up in our bathroom rather than in his own bathroom RIGHT NEXT TO HIS BED, I'll never understand. Luckily he made it to the toilet this time.

Spent the next 45 minutes laying with Cole in his bed rubbing his back, trying to get him to go back to sleep. Listening to Cole tell me all the reasons he hates to throw up and feeling sicker by the minute...yuck, too much of a visual.

Finally, sleep comes and as I tip-toe out of the bedroom he whispers "Thanks for laying with me mom."

2:57 am: Back in my own bed but consumed with thoughts of all the disinfecting I must do in the morning, all the places Cole has touched, the things he's played with, the things he's layed on. Also feeling terribly guilty because I purposely rubbed his back instead of cuddled with him...trying to avoid getting flu germs on me. I'm a complete germaphobe and I'm ashamed to admit I have a hard time showering my kids with affection when their puking their guts out. That's Tony's job...and he does it very well.


4:44 am: Miles is cooing and writhing in his crib. I spend 45 minutes trying to cajole him back to sleep. Two bottles, two rounds of his musical mobile, two walks around the house and 20 minutes in the rocker to no avail.

5:35 am: Tony relieves me and takes the baby. Ahhh....sweet slumber.

7:45 am: I'm up, albeit a bit groggy. Lysol and I have a date.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Iron Chef Inspired

The night before last, my friend Brooke (I don't know how to do that cool linky loo thing, or I would link you to her FABULOUS blog) and I were judges for the young women as they competed in an Iron Chef competition.

There they sat, at least 20 sweet young women, eager and anxious for our critique of their creations. It was a bit odd having so many people watch every bite you take, trying to read your face for some sort of approval. I was doing my best to maintain my composure and eat like a lady, but Brooke kept giggling. Which started me giggling. I assumed eating in front of everyone made her as nervous as it made me, but then she leaned over and whispered to me "I think they chose us to be the judges because we are the only women in the ward who like to eat!".

Sadly, I think she's right. After all we do live in this Utopia that is Draper, where workouts, dress sizes and boob jobs consume many a conversation. Gratefully, Brooke is another foodie like me, and therefore appreciates a good meal every hour or so. But I do agree with her theory....after all, we both DID get invited to the same place for Sunday dinner. Word must be out.

Anyway, the secret ingredient for the Iron Chef competition was peanut butter. The YW made a chicken peanut sate with noodles and some sort of oreo, peanut butter and marshmallow concoction. There was also some sort of peanut butter goo, I mean soup. Pretty decent results for inexperienced cooks.

But the whole peanut butter thing got me craving thai food. I don't have many thai recipes, but this is what we had for dinner last night and it was delish. Enjoy!

Thai Chicken Wraps

3-4 cooked, shredded chicken breasts
1 cup chopped, seeded, peeled cucumber
3/4 c. julienne carrots or red bell peppers
1/3 c. roasted peanuts
3 T. sugar
2 T. minced peeled fresh ginger
6 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. soy sauce
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
4 T. water
6 T. fresh chopped cilantro
Large flour tortillas (Tortilla Land Fresh tortillas from Costco are best)
Chopped Romaine Lettuce
Cooked Rice

Combine chicken, cucumber, carrots/peppers, and peanuts in a bowl. Set aside. Place sugar and the next six ingredients (sugar through garlic) in a blender and process until smooth. Add peanut butter and water; process until smooth. Add peanut butter mixture to chicken mixture, stir well. Add cilantro and toss. Wrap in warm tortillas with lettuce and cooked rice.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Three More...

I have a TINY bit of stress going on in my life right now. The kind of thing that keeps me up at night with feelings of anxiety and sorrow. I'm testing the whole "gratitude journal" theory to see if being grateful lessens my burdens. So I offer three more moments of happiness:

1. This morning Cole spent some time with me going into elaborate details about the scary dream he had last night. Unfortunately, Tony and I were quickly killed off and it was left to Cole to defend his younger siblings. Here is where I mention that Cole has a lot of football practicing testosterone on deck. I smiled when Cole told me he tried everything to get the bad guys to stop shooting....even hugging the main guy. But to no avail. Finally, he ran as fast as he could pushing Miles and Rachel in the stroller (think football...running sprints)to the lake where he quickly rowed them away to safety. A happy ending.

"But Mom," Cole lamented, "Three kids is a lot of responsibility."

Yeah, Kiddo, some days the thought of taking care of three kids kind of freaks me out too.

2. Yesterday Rachel insisted on going with me to the Doctor and to run a few errands. Knowing it would be a long morning, I tried to discourage her. But she insisted: "I don't want you to be alone Mom. I think you need my company."

Happy tears this time as I know she so clearly sees my aching heart and tries to bandage my feelings with her bright disposition.

Rachel happily chatted with me all morning long; she did her best to help load and unload baby Miles and even wanted to know if she should hold my hand during my doctor visit. Happy am I for a sweet daughter who so lovingly mothered me yesterday.

3. This morning, Miles, my very reluctant eater, ate an entire jar of Gerber's Banana-Apple-Strawberry blend. He was as a baby bird, quickly swallowing and opening his mouth for the spoon over and over again. He chirped, he cooed, he sneezed a mouthful of bananas all over my shirt, and then giggled in delight at my surprise. After he finished he found two dime sized drops of baby food on the granite counter and delicately fingerpainted through the food with his index finger. He has just discovered his pincher grasp and it is amazing to watch him manipulate his tiny fingers so carefully.

Three happy things, three beautiful children. More than a happy coincidence, of this I am sure.




4. One more for good measure....I had a homemade brownie and a Diet Coke at 9:00 am this morning. Stress eating at it's very finest, but hey, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Three Things

These three things made me smile today:

1. I received the funniest email from my friend Heather. It wasn't a funny forward or joke. It was just Heather being Heather....offering her running commentary on a screwy situation I have going on right now. She just nailed it, she got it right and it made me laugh out loud for a good ten minutes. Not just a chuckle, but gut busting, tear rolling, hand slapping laughter. Love that girl, my sister from another mister. Love that she can so easily see through to the heart of the matter and alleviate my stress with a few well timed, well chosen words.

2. As I was driving to Park City to pick up Rachel from her dance convention, a major storm was blowing through the area. Rain was coming down in sheets. The kind of rain that makes you happy to be safe and dry in your car because even your windshield wipers can't keep up. It was torrential, and included clapping thunder and lightning. Just above Kimball Junction I spotted a flashing sign on the side of the side of the road that read "Severe Drought. Conserve Water." I giggled at the irony. As I got closer to the sign I could finally see through the rain and noticed a bunch of teenagers posing for a picture with the sign. Classic.

3. Cole and Rachel haven't seen each other since Monday night. Tonight, as Cole walked in the door from water skiing with friends he immediately called out to see if Rachel was home. I took a minute to eavesdrop on their conversation as they caught up with one another. It reminded me of two old friends sharing a story. Later as I was folding laundry, Cole lay on the bed playing with Miles.

"Did you miss your sister?" I asked.

"Mom, I'm sad to say that I really, really did." he replied, a bit embarrassed.

I'm not sad Cole. Not one bit. So glad to see a genuine friendship forming between them. Not just a we have to tolerate each other because we're siblings relationship, but an honest to goodness, true blue friendship.

A nice ending to a long day.