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!


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


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. make really good sugar cookies. I miss you and wish I got to see you more often.

Happy 26th!


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.