Sunday, January 25, 2009

Friday with Daddy, and Other Stories

We’ve done a few interesting things this week, and my camera didn’t have batteries for any of them, so here are a few shots from Anna’s camera (sorry so fuzzy). 

We had a fun playdate this week with Sahara and Gavin and their mommy.  Anna and Sahara are friends from nursery, and they enjoy playing together.  It’s fun – and frustrating – to see these little ones learning about making friends and what a friend is.  I think we none of us learn everything about being friends, but it’s interesting to look back at the beginning steps and think, “Well, at least I don’t hit.  Usually.”


Also this week was Mariah’s 15-month check-up, and our girl is tall and skinny for her age, so yipee.  She’s also smart and active, just like she should be.  Anna was still so shy at this age, but Mariah mooed, baaed, whinnied, and pointed to her ears for the doctor, so she was in fine form.  She also got one shot, and the silly thing barely even noticed.  By the time she realized what was going on, it was over and there was a pretty bandage on her arm.  Afterward Anna was explaining to her that she was going to get a sucker now, but I told her that only big girls get suckers.  She looked sympathetically at Mariah and said, “Can I have it then?” 

In other news, Anna has worn big girl underwear for six days now.  Last Sunday afternoon I decided I was done waiting for her to tell me she was ready.  She’s been waking up dry for weeks, and she knows HOW to do it, so I decided it was time.  I’ve been so afraid to push her at all that I just haven’t worried about it.  Monday morning she argued with me for about three minutes about the panties, and since then there’s been barely any resistance.  Apparently I could have just done it weeks ago.  But hey, I’m actually glad I waited.  We’ve gone 6 days with hardly any accidents (most of which have been my fault—this involves some parental training, too), and I’m sure a lot of that is because she’s so old.  I’m definitely never going to push a kid into this.  IMG_0011

The most fun we had this week was our “Friday with Daddy.”  Adam’s team has been working so hard that they all got to take a day off last week, so on Friday we spent the day having fun.  We went to Costco and Molbaks (fun for Mommy and Daddy), but we also went to Jump Planet.  It’s one of those inflatable ride places, which we already knew Anna liked, but after she figured out what was going on, Mariah LOVED it.  She loved the big slides and the crawling through big tubes and the jumping around and getting knocked over.  We all had a great time, and for $6 (can you believe it was so cheap?!?!), it can’t be beat. 

The stress of the week was waiting to find out about layoffs, and although we’ve had some friends affected, most people we know still have a job.  I slept much better on the evening after they were announced than on the evening before, but I do believe that even if Adam had lost his job, we’d have been okay.  A friend this week said, in reference to a son she was comforting about her husband possibly losing his job, “I told him not to worry: we pay our tithing; we try to live the commandments; and your dad works hard.  We must have faith that the Lord will take care of us, whatever that means, and STOP WORRYING.”  It’s a bit of wisdom that’s good to remember. 


Sunday, January 18, 2009



These are what Anna called our “Africa dresses” this week.  The Barney movie she got for Christmas has a girl in an African outfit coming to tell a story, so she wanted to put on some African dresses, too.  Sorry I didn’t take a picture of my own gorgeous dress—you’ll just have to imagine it—because it was a brightly colored fleece blanket topped by a too-small cowboy hat.  It was classic. 

Below you can see another of this week’s favorite activities: the sled.  I explained to Anna that Santa’s sled is pulled by reindeer, and when I was watching Anne of Green Gables, she saw a sled pulled by horses.  Then I explained that sleds can be pulled by other animals, too, even dogs.  She got so excited that we helped her construct her own sled using the baby rocking chair and some strings.  The photo you see is an early version.  The later adaptation involved a 10-foot medley of ropes, strings, and ribbons tied to each other around various other objects (a used CD, a spinning top, a small broom, etc.).  That one irritated me for a whole 3 days before I told her it was time to put it away.  It took me almost 30 minutes to untie all the knots.  *sigh*


In other exciting news, last Monday night, Adam and I finished the first puzzle we’ve done for almost three years.  We used to love puzzles, but after Anna got big enough to be curious, we couldn’t leave them out for long enough to get them finished.  A few months ago we finally bought a Stow-and-Go mat so we can put it away before we go to bed, and Adam finally didn’t have to work every evening, so we pulled one out, listened to Inkheart (by Cornelia Funke – kinda fun) on CD, and had a grand old time.  Here’s the result, and we’re very proud. 


A fun tidbit: this week, Mariah started saying “thank you.”  It comes out more like “Yeah-goo,” but it’s clear in its intent.  Who’d have thought the little fireball would be so polite?  Also, last Sunday was the first day she went to nursery.  She’s only 15-months old, but when the older kids moved on to Sunbeams (which Anna mostly likes), there were few enough kids that I can now take her with me.  Adam likes Sundays a lot better now.  :)

And now my favorite story of the week.  For Christmas, the girls got a little set of Veggie Tales board books.  Anna loves them because they have songs (for which Adam and up make up the tunes – they’re different every time), so we’ve read them several times.  There’s one called, “Where’s God When I’m Scared?” about Junior Asparagus learning how to not be afraid of the dark because God is bigger than all the monsters and things that go bump in the night.  So now, on Thursday afternoon I was making tomato soup and cheese sandwiches for lunch.  Mariah was playing with the magnet letters on the fridge and Anna was climbing up and down the small stepladder she uses to help me make the sandwiches.  The ladder was placed to keep her hands at least a foot away from the hot stove because she always makes me nervous.  I started the soup heating, then began sweeping under the table (to make room on the floor for the lunch crumbs).  I got busy cleaning up and setting things out, and a couple of minutes later I suddenly heard a horrible sizzling sound.  I jumped into immediate panic mode, imagining tiny blistered hands and an ambulance, and I cried out and turned around in a flash.  I ran to the stove only to realize that Anna was still several feet away from the stove and the tomato soup had boiled over, making the sizzling sound.  I pulled it off the burner, turned on the vent, and turned off the element, then checked to make sure Anna hadn’t been splashed.  She was sitting very still on the top step of the ladder and looking concerned.  I smiled at her and said, “Oh, dear.  When I heard that noise, I thought you had been burned.”  Suddenly her face cleared, she smiled back beatifically, and said, “It’s okay, Mommy.  God watched over me.”

I realized a few minutes later that, although she’s an intelligent girl, that hadn’t come directly from her—it was a quote from the Veggie Tales book.  The last line of the song is “God is watching over me.”  And I am ever grateful that my little girl believes God can protect her from something as simple as splashing soup.  I think I need to spend more energy recognizing the times when he protects me from all of life’s hot soup. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Here’s to the Winter Solstice

Although there will be many more pictures posted in this entry, I chose to give this one first place.  Anna took this with her new camera, and it was supposed to be a family picture.  I think it depicts rather well my general impression of our Christmas vacation: a little crazy, slightly out of focus, and somehow we’re still mostly having a good time.  IMG_0018

A few nights before we left for Utah, it snowed in Seattle.  For anyone who knows anything about Seattle, you’ll know what that sentence means (hum the theme music from Psycho, if it helps).  Needless to say, the entire town shut down for two days, right when Adam most needed to be at work and finish up his project.  It was worrisome for us in terms of traveling.  However, to cheer things up a bit, the night before we left we took some time to play outside in the snow with the girls.  They loved it! 


To answer your questions, yes, the diaper box (above) was our homemade sled (what use would we have ever had for a sled in Seattle?), and no, that’s not a hill at the park (below).  That’s our driveway.  


We left on our 850-mile drive around 9:00 AM Friday morning, and we made it to Boise that evening without too much trauma.  There was some serious blowing snow in the Blue Mountains, and the road was pretty slick in some places, but from what we’ve heard from others who made the same drive, we got pretty lucky.  We visited Adam’s grandpa in Boise that evening, stayed at a hotel, which Anna LOVED, and got to Lindon the next afternoon.  The most eventful part of the trip, oddly enough, was getting stuck about 1 mile north of an accident scene just south of Brigham City, Utah.  We waited for about 45 minutes, watching the NINE ambulances flash past, and as they finally let us through, a highway patrolman helped us pick our way through the wreckage of nearly 20 separate minor accidents, all probably resulting from one driver not understanding icy roads.  There were 11 other wrecks on the northbound side, probably from an original rubbernecker.  It was incredible.  Luckily there were only a few minor injuries, we learned later.  Anyway, it made us grateful that we hadn’t been five minutes faster. 

A lot happened in Utah: some crazy-big family gatherings…IMG_3110

some time outside in the snow…IMG_3091

IMG_3120 a visit from Santa… and his helpers…




and some time with the people we love best.  We also spent a fun evening in Salt Lake (the Gateway and Temple Square) with Audrey and Emily (and their parents :)), and between the Trax ride, the McDonald’s toy, and the pretty lights, we had a darn good time. 

I would, however, like to lodge a complaint with the office of He Who Decided Christmas Should Replace the Solstice Festival.  Those decision-makers long ago should have left the Solstice Festival alone – everybody come together and share your food (since it’s running out) and your company and get drunk (to keep yourselves warm)—and celebrated Christmas in the spring.  Or the summer.  Then I wouldn’t have to dread Christmas as the time when I just KNOW my kids are gonna get sick.  Sure enough, they were sick through almost the entire vacation, which made them much less cute than their normally sweet, adorable selves.  It’s always at the least appropriate times that my kids end up with snotty noses, fevers, and coughs.  It made for bad sleeping, and it turned darling, precocious little Mariah into an over-attached, grumpy, night-banshee.  And here we are now, home for three days, and sure enough last night she slept through the night and went to bed without even a cry.  And not only did everyone probably think she was a nightmare, but carrying her around EVERYWHERE I WENT for 2 1/2 weeks made me a bit of a banshee, too.  But to prove that I still love her despite all, here’s a picture of us on Christmas afternoon. 


See?  I do like her. 

So now we’re home, after a less-harrowing-but-longer-and-more-miserable one-day drive, and it’s good to be back.  I was worried that it had been such a stressful vacation that I wouldn’t even feel like I’d had a break, but apparently just doing something that’s not my everyday routine, combined with seeing so many people we like, has rejuvenated me.  I’ve spent two-and-a-half days alone with my girls again, and I haven’t even yelled once.  :)   Hopefully the new cheerful energy lasts for a while.  It’s easy to get beaten down by this motherhood grind, and sometimes all it takes is a break to pull myself together again.  Plus, a break as crazy as this one was does make me grateful that our lives, while monotonous, are quiet, peaceful, and predictable. 

Yesterday we were painting the girls’ room (did I mention that we put them in the same room when we got home? I’ll report on that success/failure after a few more days of trial) with pretend paint when Anna suddenly declared she was the mommy, Mariah was her “Life’s First Baby” and I was her “Life’s Second Littlest Baby” (don’t ask me about that phraseology) and it was time for me to take a nap.  So she led me to my bed as I crawled through the house, showed me how to climb into my crib (my bed, luckily), and told me to go to sleep.  And as I lay there, snoring like a chainsaw, I looked through my eyelashes at my girls.  They were standing side-by-side at the side of the bed and both gazing up at me with huge grins, giggling at my ridiculous snoring, and I was overwhelmed by the innocent pleasure of making those beautiful girls happy.  I felt warm all over knowing that I had put those smiles there.  It was so easy, in that moment, to do it, but I also realized why sometimes it feels so hard: just like the pleasure is so easy to bring, it’s so easy to lose.  They were thrilled by my pretend snore, but in the next moment they were hungry and in the depths of despair before we could even walk to the kitchen.  It’s exhausting to keep trying so hard for the smile that doesn’t last, to be instantly confronted with abject misery or blatant disobedience.  That’s why sometimes it’s so hard to just sit down and play, because although you love the purity and joy of the reward, you also know it’s fleeting.  So, sometimes play is a chore, which is easy to procrastinate.  I suppose that’s where the love comes in—we play anyway, because we love them.  It’s also where the wisdom comes in—we play anyway, because we know from our own memories that the things they’ll remember are those few moments of warmth and not the tantrums.  So I’ll keep playing, even when it’s boring or frustrating, and 200 times a day, I’ll get a smile worth facing the tantrums for.  :) 

Happy New Year.