Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Weekend Brain Dump

Black Friday happened.

I am so excited to say that all of our Christmas shoppong is done! And most of the gift wrapping, too!!! And I was able to do it without standing in the freezing night air, making small talk with strangers, and watching our breath crystalize while waiting for the doors to open to whatever store.

I am so glad someone invented online shopping.

By 10 o’clock Friday morning, the sun pooling on my covers, beneath which I was tucked so cozily, I was able to close my computer and smile that smug smile of satisfaction, which only the pretentious early shoppers get to wear. This is my first year wearing it and I must say, it suits me fine! Our goal was to be finished by the end of November, and we accomplished it. Yay!

Saturday was a truly magical day. My sweet nephew came home from his mission. I have missed the guts out of him. He is a very special boy... er, man now, I guess. He went to Tijuana Mexico and I missed him so much while he was gone. He has a very calm and quiet manner and reminds me a lot of my grandfather. Which is fitting as he was named after him. Very smart and very quiet but so witty and puny. The best of the best, I tell you. I really hope he can find a girl who deserves him, but I sincerely have my doubts.

I got to see him Saturday! They were passing through from Mexico to Idaho, and stopped for a few hours. He is just the same as ever, but now has that amazing missionary glow. It was wonderdul talking with him again. Before I left to my parents house to see them, Jeffrey warned me to not be too upset as I would probably not get to talk with him at all, everyone else would be eager to dominate his time as well.

I got lucky, I guess.

I got so much Matt time, and it made me happy. I love that kid so much!

Sunday we were finally well enough to go to church as a whole family. It was the first time since before Kip was born, and we were even nearly on time!

Yesterday was a rough day. See, when Kip was 2 weeks old he was circumcised. Except due to wrong instructions from the doctor, and me following them to a T, it healed up wrong. When he had his two month apointment last week, the doctor and I had a discussion, figured out where the miscommunication happened, and then realized that we would have to re-do it. It now became a necessity rather than an optional procedure.

So that was scheduled for yesterday. We got to the doctors office at 7:30 am and left at 9. I couldnt believe it took so long. Im sure the doctor wasn’t happy with how long it toom, either, as I’m sure he had other patients. But I am so grateful for fitting Kip in. Yesterday, inderstandably ao, he wanted to be held all day. He slept real well after he got some Tylenol, happily. While he was sleeping I was able to run to the DI and I found a toy chest, and a dresser. I couldn’t believe my luck! I’ve been looking online for a few months foe a toy chest that we could affors. Same for a dresser. So I got them and we went home.

Kip went to sleep, and I started cleaning like a mad woman. Beth’s room has been sorely neglected for months! Faye moved out and into her own room in August, and left it a nightmare! Except I never had a chance to help Beth clean it. With the help of a toy chest and a dresser, though, things are coming up roses. I was able to get her room mostly clean last night, and finished today. 3 trash bags later, and taking apart and reassembling the toddler bed, Vince is officially moved in to Beth’s room, and next week I can get started on Kip’s room. He’ll be moving in there in just a few months!

While that was exciting about today, the real highlight was picking the kids up from school early and going to the temple. One of my very best friends got married last year, and I just love his wife to pieces! We have become very good friends. And so when Shaun and Lisa invited us to their sealing in the temple, well really, how could I say no? It was beautiful, and I cried. I am SO happy for them! While I was in the sealing, my parents watched my kids, and then took us over to the ice cream parlor and treated us. It was so sweet of them.

I think that is basically it. I am filled with so much gratitude and joy for the past few days. So many wonderdul things have happened!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Noir y Blanc Afternoon.


Today, during the Thanksgiving festivities, I had to leave to go check on my parent’s chickens. They have been out of town, and I was in charge of making sure the birds didn’t die.

It’s been glorious out, for the past few days. Bitterly cold last week, but today it was 62*!

I am happy to report, the chickens are all alive.

After I gave them more food and water, and gathered their eggs, I glanced around outside, and a feeling I had been repressing just burst out of me in a giggling free-spirited moment.

There I was, alone, for the first time in about 2 months. I had just fed Kip, right before I left, and I was alone, and in the backyard that I grew up in, the yard that holds so many precious memories for me.

I remember thinking about going barefoot, but I don’t remember removing my shoes. Just suddenly, I was skipping about, my toes digging into the soft cold earth, the grass tickling the soles of my feet, and spinning, my arms lifted to the sky, breathing in the freedom and innocence of childhood that was flooding my mind.

After a moment of sheer joy, I found the new swing my parents had hung on their black walnut tree. I had never sat in it. I was pregnant at the time of its debut, and also, it is always monopolized by the children. I was drawn to the swing. I climbed into it, and lay back, my head resting on the rim, my feet trailing around in the grass. I gazed at the branches, silhouetted by the colorless sky. And as I lay there, I could feel the tranquility, strength, amd peace from that tree flow into me. Calming me, healing my soul, and fortifying me.


It was a black and white world. Memories of my childhood spent beneath those very same branches played on a reel-to-reel in my mind. The walnuts had been grenades we would throw at each other, or at imaginary aliens. The swingset was always a rocket ship until we needed to play Monkey Ball, a very dangerous game we made up. It consisted in one person being on the ground, throwing a ball at the people sitting on top of the monkey bars, trying to knock them down. The people on the bars, in turn, would try to catch the ball and either throw it far away, or as hard as they could at the person on the ground. Looking ar the knots in the tree, the scars, the evidence of our attempts to build a tree house in those branchea. The painful memory of a hammer being dropped on my head came to mind. Summers spent picking up the walnuts, chucking them over the fence and into the fields behind our house, squirming because some of them were full of maggots and were already decomposing. But we had to pick them up because they would poison the grass.


Occasionally the soft cluck, or rustle of feathers would bring me back to the moment as I twisted and swayed beneath the gentle sweeping of the trees. The moment was pure tranquility.

As I lay on the swing the hypnotic ebb and flow of the clouds seemed to put me into a meditative state. Occasionally the quiet hum of an airplane flying hundreds of feet above me would deepen my reverie.

Always, though, my body bobbing in the swing, my feet trailing in the grass below. The swing twisting and swaying. Occassionally I felt compelled to lift my legs above my head, toes entertwined with the ropes, sucking in the feeling of complete suspension.


Finally, as the sky darkened, I realized it was probably time for me to go back to my family and the Thanksgiving festivities at my in law’s house.

I stood up, and suddenly, all my 36 years came back to me. Apparently I am no longer a child who can twist and spin without adverse reaction. No longer can I mess with the workings of my inner ear and equilibrium.

It took me a bit to find my shoes, though. I honestly couldnt remember where I had taken them off, I was so intent on my purpose at hand, my desire to feel the earth beneath my feet. It turns out, I had gone inside with the eggs and left them on a stool. Who knew?!

I stumbled to my car, drove back to the feast, and plopped down next to Jeffrey.

An hour later he asked if I was ready to go.

I told him I hadn’t quite gotten my balance back.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Glass Curry

(not my photo. Google image)
I love Indian food. The way the spices meld together and wrap you up in the aroma and flavor is transporting! The absolute comfort food.

A while ago, I decided to splurge on a jar of tikka masala paste at the grocery store. It was a bit out of my budget, but I was really craving some good curry and since I can’t always throw down the time to go to the Indian reataurant, or the money for a meal, I decided to just splurge, live a little, and buy the six ounce jar of tikka masala paste. Besides, only 1-2 Tbsps were typically used to create the sauce, so I could use it several times over, I justified.

After sitting in my cupboards for about 2 weeks, last night I fInally decided to make it. I chose not to follow a recipe, as recipes are cumbersome and demanding. Ha! Not really, but I couldn’t find a simple one, and I didn’t have a lot of time to get dinner ready before Jeffrey would be home from work. I decided to wing it. And recipes are merely guidelines anyway.

I got out 2 cans of coconut milk, and put that in the pot with a scoop full or two of masala paste. My sister in law had given me some curry seasoning for my birthday, so I dumped a few spoonfulls of that in as well, and mixed it all together. And then I let it simmer.

Meanwhile, I pulled out my rice cooker and my pressure cooker. I threw in a couple of chicken breast... and some drumsticks. We ran out of breast and that is all I had left. But cooking is about improvisation, right? I dumped some more curry seasoning in on top of the frozen chicken pieces, and let the pressure cooker do its thing.

I poured some chicken broth and a few Tbsps of butter in the rice cooker with some rice, and then went to play with Vince and Beth while everything cooked.

I also sneaked several... many tastes of the curry sauce, to check for perfection. But really, it was because it was so good, and I couldn’t help myself.

The pressure cooker popped, the rice cooker dinged, and dinner was ready. I called everyone together, and we all sat down, greatly anticipating this comfort of all comfort foods.

Except dinner didn’t go exactly as planned. A few delicious mothfulls through, and I suddenly lost my appetite. There were glass shards in my food. I had tried soldiering on, but after I found a disturbingly large one, I knew dinner was over.

(google image)
What had happened apparently, was that Faye had accidentally broken the jar. But it was such a clean break, it was scarcely noticeable. Also, because it was so cleanly done, no jagged edges or anything, I thought we would be okay.

I was mistaken.

There weren’t many shards, mind you. Nor were they really much larger than a grain of sand. But they were there. Immediately my throat began to hurt. I imagined it had been cut while I unknowingly swallowed. I imagined my insides being slowly torn apart as my body attempted to digest.

And so, with worry tearing apart my sanity, just like the piece of glass I imagined was tearing apart my innards, I set about putting the kids to bed. Beth was an angel and put herself down. I love when she does that. Faye and I sat on my bed while I alternately rocked Kip or Vince to sleep.

Jeffrey and Keith got home from an outing they had gone on, and I put myself to bed, all the while, throat still hurting.

Imaginations of my rush to the hospital, emergency surgery, but it was too late. My subsequent death, funeral, burial, and my kids, growing up without their mom.

I admit, I got a little carried away.

A bit.

Hypochondria at its finest, folks!

Right before I fell asleep, I got up to get a drink of water. I went into the kitchen and saw the slightly broken jar of curry paste on the counter. Waiting for its fate. I picked it up and looked at it, weighing it in my hands, thinking. Oh how delicious it was! Again, the memory of the flavors wrapping my tongue in a big hug came to mind. Also, my whole morbid play in my head flashed through my mind.

And then I threw it into the trash.

Because $5 of curry paste is not worth $100’s in doctor bills, or my children growing up motherless, no matter how delicious it was!

The good news, though, is that Jeffrey has already made a request for it again! Just not laced with glass from a broken jar next time.

Oops!

***It is important to note, I am not a hypochondriac. I am not morbid. I didn’t dwell on those thoughts, I merely let them come, pass, and then I laughed at how ridiculously melodramatic it all was.

A Not-So Quiet Afternoon


The boys got their immunizations yesterday. Vince is fine. Like water off a duck’s back. Kip, however has developed a bit of a fever and really would prefer to be snuggled and loved on all day. He let’s me know of his disapproval when I put him in his bed. As such, it is noon and I am still in my pajamas and in my room.

Instead of baking pies, rolls, and jello for the feast tomorrow.

Beth was having a horrible moment. She was screaming and slamming my bedroom door. Not once, mind you. Not twice, either. She stood screaming in my doorway, opening and slamming the door as hard as she could 8-9 times. I couldn’t do much about it because I was feeding the baby. I did finally manage to get her to go to time out...


in my shower.

I couldn’t think of anywhere else to put the banshee. So she stood and screamed at me from the bathtub, eyes shooting daggers, lungs exploding with four year old expletives such as; “I hate you! You are the worst mom ever! When I grow up I will never visit you! I am never talking to you again!!!” and I calmly ignored her and continued to feed the baby.

And then I heard a mournful wail coming from the living room.

Let’s recap here.

Beth is screaming at me from the bathtub. Kip is super fussy and not eating well because his nose is stuffed up and he has a slight fever. Which tranalates to a crying baby.

And then Vince came pitter pattering down the hall, wailing like an 80’s glam rock guitar, with Keith and Faye close on his heels. Guilty looks painted across their feigned cherubic faces, full of counterfeit ignorance.

Somehow, and they still haven’t disclosed the details, Keith got Faye’s fart putty all over in Vince’s hair.


I am so proud of myself for not losing it and screaming at them. I did scream into the air in general, but that can be considered a battle cry, right?

Right?!

So I had a screaming Beth, sobbing Kip, and realy irritated, angry, and confused Vince, all being extremely vociferous, while Keith’s face is suddenly guilt stricken and Faye is looking smug.

I did what any mom in that situation would do.

I ordered pizza.

Not as a reward, mind you, but as a survival mechanism. I knew there would be no way I would be able to get lunch made at the rate things were going. And as soon as tummies were filled, I could send kids to bed. And possibly get dressed! Maybe even tackle the pies, rolls, and jello i need to make before tomorrow.

And I laughed. After sending pictures to Adrienne, of course. I knew she would appreciate the chaos I was living.

And so, with Kid’s Netflix, butter, a fine tooth comb, and lots of patience, I managed to get Vinny’s hair clean. Er, clean from putty.


He now smells delicious! Very buttery and reminiscent of rolls.


It looks like baths are in the cards for the kids again today.

My day was too quiet, anyway.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Goodbye October


Groggy eyes.
Subdued voices.
Sleepy hair.
Sticky faces.

These are all symptoms to a sugar hangover, and children all over the country are suffering from it. I’d almost go as far as calling it an epidemic.

Halloween and birthday month have come and gone, and as usual, I didn’t take many pictures. On the 16th Keith became a decade old. He really wanted a party, and I was concerned about that since my life still isn’t put back together from having a baby. But he told me he just wanted 4 friends over to play Super Smash Bros. and eat pizza. That is a party i can easil get behind! Since it required nothing from me, I let him do it. I didn’t even worry too much about my house. I figured, since Keith can never see the mess when I ask him to clean, hopefully no other 10 year old will be able to see the mess either.


It was a smashing success, his party! One of his friends even went as far as calling it epic. And the boy got to celebrate all month long! A week before his birthday a package arrived. He opened it. It was his gift.

Keith has since learned the importance of not opening packages. We had a long conversation about that. From the begining of October, through the end of December, it is best if he, and the rest of the children, just leave packages alone. Otherwise surprises will be spoiled.

Since he had already ruined his surprise, we let him chose if he got his gift, a Legend of Zelda backpack, that day or if he wanted to wait until his birthday. He chose to wait.

The morning of Keith’s birthday was a very busy morning! Beth and I went to the city to see that delightful play, River.Swamp.Cave.Mountain. as previously noted. I rushed home and arrived just in time for his party.

However, I still havent had time to make the boy a birthday cake.

Luckily, Macey’s carries lovely cheesecakes, so we sid indulge in that. And then a few days later Adrienne brought me a gorgeous 3 layer pumpkin spice cake for my birthday. It was absolutely lovely!

Jeffrey took me out for my birthday. We went to Barnes and Noble and he let me indulge in my hobby. He’s an enabler of the best kind, you know. I came home 5 books richer and so excited! Especially since i got some that have long been on my list of books to read.


A week later we went to my inlaw’s house to celebrate all the October birthdays. My brother in law, my niece, Keith’s, and my own. Keith really just wanted to see his cousins so made rhe request for a family get together. We also did one with my side of the family. Same scenario, Keith’s birthday, my birthday, my dad’s birthday, and my great niece’s birthday.

October is a busy month. A birthday month. A sugar induced month.

Halloween day was busy. The kids had their Costume parade at school. I then had to go get pumpkins, and got the kids from school. We went to Warren’s for the free kids meals, and then to my mom’s to carve pumpkins. We hurried over to my grandmother’s house and visited for a bit, and then back home again. Jist in time to throw some food onto the counter and ask Jeffrey to cook it while we left to go trick or treating. I had the baby strappes on in a wrap, but after doing the cul de sac and a few houses outside of it, he was conked out, so I rushed him back home and gave him to Jeffrey. I knew my back would be killing me by the end if I didnt. And then the kids and I went around, very hurriedly so as to hit as many houses as possible before we had to go home so I could feed the baby. We really only did our street before we turned around and came back, but after just our street, their buckets were bursting. I dont know how we could have done more as there was no room left! It probably was Vince’s fault. He would stand at the door holding his bucket up and say, “Please!” Everyone would get their candy and turn away from the door, leaving Vince, in all his adorable glory, standing withhis bucket still held out hopefully, and the sweet little baby voice ringing politely in the air. People just couldn’t resist that cuteness. They would always give him extra. To the tune of a handful or more. Keith calls it Vince’s super power. The power of cuteness and people just succumb and are under his control.


Oh! For Halloween Keith went as Arthur Dent (from the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I was so proud), Faye was a monster slayer. She came up with her costume entirely on her own. Beth alternated. She was Heidi (from the book. Heidi of the Alps. Which isnt the name of the book, but i thought it might help clarify a bit. The book is just Heidi.) and she was Belle. And Vince was a dragon.


While Halloween and October are my favorite time of year, i am glad it is over. It isnt the easiest time with a newborn. These next few months are going to be do fun! I just have to prepare so i can enjoy them with a tiny baby.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Shower


I took a shower today. It was about time, too. I felt yucky and dirty. It had been a few days since I had last showered. That happens to me a lot. I just have a hard time finding a convenient time because I don't trust Vince or Beth around Kip while I am otherwise occupied. And I worry that Kip will wake up and cry and I wont be able to hear him. Also, I tend to take long showers. It is my alone time, sometimes the only alone time I get during the whole day, so I tend to take advantage of it.

But today! Today was a turning point. Vince and Beth were sitting on my bed watching My Little Pony, and Kip was in a bouncer in the bathroom. As I enjoyed the hot water pouring over me, relaxation with every drop spread over me, and I took a great big breath of steamy air. I could do this! It could be a daily practice. I thought back on the luxury of showering every day, and was so happy with the thought that I had figured out how to implement that once again. Kip was happy and the other kids were occupied.


And so my shower stretched on as I was lost in my thoughts. Enjoying the brief quietude.

I got out and dressed. I went into my bedroom and Vince came running in, a pleased look on his face, and a purple sharpie in his hand.


A purple sharpie in his hand!


This did not bode well.


“Picture!” He exclaimed excitedly. He took my hand and pulled me after him into the living room.

There, on the wall, in dark purple permanent marker, was His masterpiece.


And with that, came the realization that my dream of showering every day is still just that. A dream.

At least I have something I can look forward to.

Later, after cleaning up the sharpie (rubbing alcohol is like magic, did you know? I didnt even have to scrub hard!), he came to me covered in soot. He had discovered the fireplace. Go fogure.

Ironically, today Keith gave me a hug, and it was suddenly, eye wateringly clear, that it is time for him to start showering at least every other day. He showered Friday night, and up until recently, that would have been good enough. And since I don't get that luxury right now, Keith is going to step up to the plate. Having that conversation with him, though, was wonderfully awkward. I love awkward. I think it is hilarious! Jeffrey was uncomfortable talking about it. Keith was uncomfortable hearing about it, and I was sitting off to the side observing it all, and laughing to myself. Of course, I am sure if Keith knew I was writing about this, he would have my head! But that is the privilege of being his mother, I get to document things that may embarrass him now, but I am sure he will thank me for it years down the road. And anyway, it isn't like he reads my blog frequently anyway! Back on point, though, so Keith showered tonight, and then we presented him with his very first stick of deodorant.

He wouldn't let me take pictures.


But I did get pictures of him pretending to shave the other day. That will have to work as documentation of my little boy beginning the first steps of puberty.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

River.Swamp.Cave.Mountain


Last week I had an amazing opportunity. I was invited to go see a play with one of my kids, and then write what I thought of it. 

I feel a little bad as I had intentions to go straight home and write about it, but it happened to fall on the day Keith had his birthday party. So I got home and had to get ready for birthday festivities. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The play is designed for children between the ages of 4-8. I decided I would take Faye since she and I don't get a lot of one on one time together. For some reason, about half an hour before it was time to leave, Faye decided she would rather stay home and clean. Whatever. That was probably better for Jeffrey, anyway. And Beth was more than happy to fill the sudden vacancy! So we got ready and ran out the door. I was extremely apprehensive as it is a 45 minute or so drive to the city, and I had just fed Kip right before we loaded up the van. I just prayed he would be quiet through the whole thing.

We got there, barely in time, and with Kip strapped to my chest, we headed in to the theater, not knowing anything about the play other than the title.


As it unfolded, I was very impressed. It is a play about 2 kids (cast: 2) who have recently lost their grandmother. Isabella is 8, and her little brother J.J. is 5. Together they go on a journey, an adventure, as they sort through their feelings about grief and death. I thought it was very cleverly put together. The play was full of high energy and incredibly relatable for kids. The play explores the theme of death from a child's perspective. As they went on their adventure the relived their memories of their grandmother, and the things they taught them, which ultimately helped them through their grief. 



I found it interesting that each place they went was relatable to a stage of grief. The river was sorrow, the swamp was anger, the cave was guilt or fear, and the mountain was acceptance.



Beth just glowed through the whole performance, and loved it, even though she hadn't had any recent experiences with death. After the play was over, we did get to talk about her two cousins who had died when they were babies, and her great aunt Mimi. When it ended, Sharah (my friend who had invited me to the event) went up and invited all of the children onto the stage where each of those feelings were talked about, and then we did a feelings Hokey Pokey. Beth had a lot of fun!



Surprisingly, Kip stayed asleep through the whole thing! When the play and activity were over, out in the foyer they had set up tables with art supplies on them. There were cute little tags that the kids could decorate. Grief tags, they were called. They looked like luggage tags, about that big, maybe a little bigger. There were also papers they could draw on, and the 2 actors came out and mingled with the kids and talked with them.

What a great experience for the kids! I am so excited that they are touring! It is with Plan B Theatre. The show is specifically for grades K-3 but also great for 4 year olds. You can catch it here:

Public performances, Salt Lake City Library branches (FREE, no tickets required)
  • Thursday, October 19, 2pm- Main Library Story Room, 210 E 400 S, SLC
  • Friday, October 20, 2pm- Glendale Branch, 1375 S. Concord St. SLC
  • Saturday, November 4, 11am - Sweet Branch, 455 F Street, SLC
  • Saturday November 11, 2 pm - Chapman Branch, 577 S 900 W, SLC
  • Saturday November 18, 11am - Marmalade Branch, 280 W 500 N SLC
  • Saturday November 18, 2pm - Anderson-Foothill Branch, 1135 S 2100 E, SLC
Public Performances, Davis County Libraries, Presented by Davis Arts Council (Free, no tickets required)
  • Thursday, October 26, 4pm - Centerville Library Auditorium, 45 S 400 W, Centerville
  • Friday, October 27, 4pm - Central Davis County Library Auditorium, 155 Wasatch Drive, Layton
  • Friday, November 17, 4pm - Roy Library Black Box Theatre, 2039 W 4000 S, Roy
After the play, while Beth colored and drew pictures on the Grief tags, I was able to feed Kip. We visited with some of the people who made the play possible, and then we headed for home.

Traveling with a newborn really is quite tricky. I had to time everything between his feedings. We stopped at Kneaders for lunch, and talked and enjoyed each other's company. I like, when I am out with my kids, to give them my undivided attention. I try really hard to focus on them, what they are saying, and their experiences. Beth is really funny and kept talking about the Sweet Tooth Fairy because I had taken her into that magic shop on our last Beth/Mommy date. She is such a special girl, so full of happiness and smiles! Of course we went there, and got a cupcake for her, and then a cookie for Keith, Faye and Vince. And then we went home, because we still had to get ready for Keith's party.

I am so happy I was able to go to the play, and see (and learn) such a great way for kids to process their grief, or even any other big emotion! I love that they talked about sometimes we feel big emotions and so we want to express them in a big way, and that is okay. Big emotions are sometimes scary, but are always okay. I hope that Beth could feel the biggness of my love for her on our little outing, though!