Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Christmas card

Well, I believe I began last year's report with a joke concerning my refusal to join Facebook; so I suppose the introductory joke this year is that my friends will probably be reading this on Facebook.

Besides that most momentous of occasions--mine and Adam's conversion to the cult of Facebook-- 2010 has gone pretty similarly to the three years preceding it: We cleaned up many messes, tried to be nice, got farther into debt and vacationed in Utah. Glamorous right? Other than that, our second son Tate, otherwise lovingly known as Fluffer Nutter, Tater Fluff, or simply Fluff, was born in that was a pretty big deal too. It’s a short report. That being the case, let's discuss the things to which we are looking forward for 2011, shall we?

Adam will graduate from the Loma Linda School of Dentistry in May. He has worked incredibly hard and for many obvious reasons, we are looking forward to it. I have also finally managed to convince him that running is a good idea. Adam is mostly eager to graduate and begin working; we are both eager to follow the advice of propets and economists alike as we begin our ascent out of debt.

Eli is looking forward to perfecting his sharing, listening and being nice to Tate skills on which we have so diligently worked this year. He hopes to amass as many gold stars for practicing those skills as possible. He continually asks me if he can do this or that when his 4…so we have a lot to accomplish beginning April 7th. His tenacity, persistence and energy never cease to amaze us.

Tate is looking forward to being old and big enough to withstand Eli’s attempts to wrestle, smother and generally torment him. He has perfected the speed crawl in an effort to flee his attacker; but unfortunatley his girth, speed, and overall sweet, smiley and adorable temperament have been largely ineffective tools of evasion.

Much of the same could be said for Duane: He spends most of his time trying to avoid attack. Duane’s enthusiasm for running has waned as much as Adam’s has increased. I believe he is hoping to soon become a lap dog…not gonna happen.

All that being said, I am most looking forward to being able to have my boys in the same room without anyone getting hurt. And yes, I realize this could be years away. I am also ready to begin a new chapter in our lives. Mostly I try (try being the operative word in all of this) as often as I can to pause when my boys laugh together, show me or each other affection or do something so hilarious that I am forced to smile and laugh out loud. I measure my level of success as a person and a parent by those moments.

So at this time of year, I have more successes than failures. I think the nature of this most wonderful time of the year is God’s gift to mankind. For that, and countless other blessings, I am indeed grateful. Merry merry Christmas to you; we wish you a more plentiful amount of smile making moments.

Adam, Ashley, Eli, Tate and Duane

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today was a fairytale

Not the courtroom kind I used to dream about. And certainly not the Taylor Swift kind. It centered around baking dozens of cookies for several upcoming Christmas parties whilst listening to the highly appealing background sounds of Christmas music, E accurately identifying alphabet letters on his computer, and Tate laughing while playing with Duane. There was also a Vanilla Coke Zero involved, the delectable scent of french vanilla cake cookies (apparently I am a mega fan of vanilla) and NO, I repeat NO, crying, fighting, yelling or breaking of household items. And for a brief moment, I thought "I am a damn good mother!" and then I realized soon after that I wasn't since I had thought that.

I had a similar sentiment as I was putting together our Christmas cards the other day; that activity also involved some Diet Dr. Pepper and Christmas music which almost always equals a good mood. When we took our Christmas pictures, I looked through them 100 times, slightly disappointed that there was not a perfect one that I loved, and that in each one someone was doing something not to my liking. But as I assemebled them, looking at the picture I ultimately chose over and over and over again, I started to just love it for all of its flaws; because they highlight perfectly the personalities of all of the people in it that I adore. It's like when you spend enough time with someone, you start to love them in spite of--if not for-- their inherent flaws. The more I look at our picture, the less I care that Eli isn't looking at the camera, that Tate is drooling and that Adam isn't wearing a huge grin. I am even over the fact that my hair looks like I got electrocuted and that Duane got my shirt all dirty.

I tell you this not to annoy the hell out of you, (see I'm really not a good mother because now I have sworn twice in one post) but to highlight the wonderfulness of the most wonderful time of the year. In church last Sunday, a lady mentioned that she just loved this season because she could feel the spirit of Christ while wrapping presents and decorating the won't shock you that Adam totally made fun of her for that, but I defended her: I think what she meant is that everything is just easier this time of year. Feeling the spirit is easier, getting along is easier, accepting imperfections is easier, simple things elicit immensely strong feelings of gratitude...and even I can have a fairytale morning with my kids.

PS Allison, these are what the cookies were supposed to look like

Monday, November 22, 2010


-Just took the boys to get pictures taken. They turned out all right. I will not go back to JCPenney though, and granted, they probably don't want us back either: They were an HOUR behind schedule and I used a coupon and only bought two pictures. And Eli broke a decoration--seriously, that is what they get for being behind... who puts breakable Christmas decor right outside the portrait studio??? Get a clue. I told them I knew that was what would happen if I was there for more than 20 minutes; so that is what they get for making me sit there and try and keep my kids happy and cute and clean for a flipping hour.
-Our external hard drive and both computers pretty much all croaked at the same time. The laptop still functions. 800 bucks to recover all of our pictures. Fortunatley I have most of them uploaded to Costco and printed out in books. And we can limp along with one special computer until Adam graduates. Oh and our car needed a bunch of work too. Microwave is dying a slow death... Good timing right?
-I have become obsessed with Yoga. I joined the Yoga Room gym as my Christmas present (early) from my mom and Adam. I love it. I am a late convert. I used to go in high school and get so irritated when I didn't sweat or raise my heartrate and then the instructor wanted me to lay there for like ten minutes and relax! But now I think my kids just thoroughly stress me out enough that I like someone to force me to just chill out for a few minutes. That, and this place is awesome. My original objection to yoga-that it is not a sufficient workout-is addressed here; I sweat from my freaking eyebrows and toes.
-Adam has been a total champ in school and work and everything; we are both working-he is editing dental boards study cards and I am editing a health blog. We actually both bring in money each month! Not very much. But it feels really good to be taking baby steps toward self sufficiency.
-Tate is all over the place. He is crawling and climbing everywhere. I think it is a self preservation skill. He is Eli's little brother after all. He is sleeping better, mostly through the night until 5 or so. And he is as sweet and smiley as can be. He has one tooth, is still ginormous and is skeptical of Eli each time he would be too if you were regularly sat upon, covered and wrapped up in a blanket or knocked off a chair onto a hard tile floor. Most of my day is spent isolating and occupying the two of them in separate sections of the house so that Tate doesn't sustain any permanent damage.
-Eli is loving school. We have embarked on a new star/reward system which combined with the structure he is receiving in school has done wonders to help him, uh, behave. Thank heaven for the dollar spot at Target...4 gold stars=a new Target toy. He loves Tate and never intends to be mean; he looks eternally forward to the time when I get after Tate for climbing into the dishwasher or the fireplace.
-Last weekend we went to St. George to get away for a few days. Adam's parents came down and played with the boys and it was so so nice. We actually went out to a movie and running by ourselves. And we played in Snow Canyon and what not. I remarked while we were there how grateful I was that while God was creating that beautiful place with all of it's jagged up and down rocks, that he slipped in a few flat parts that are perfect for kids to crawl and climb on. I love that place.

What else...Homeowner's association stuff, kids and work mostly. Adam takes boards in December and March. Graduates in May!! I scoured my house today, and I am now sitting in front of my fireplace (since it is 65 degrees outside and I am now a California cold weenie) in my comfies while I sip on a DDP, listen to Christmas music and enjoy the otherwise quiet hour or so that both of my kids are asleep; at the moment, the world is right.

Monday, November 1, 2010


November 1st. Halloween is over. You know what that means: Time to pull out the Christmas music. Yes!

This Halloween was way better than last year because 1-Adam was not in St. Louis 2-I was not pregnant 3-Tate is awesome 4-Eli is way awesome-r than he was last year, at least at listening to me and not running aimlessly away.

Really, our only complication was that Duane did not enjoy his Cat in the Hat costume.
He walked like a crippled crab with the socks on his feet and we laughed at him quite a might gather from the pictures how dejected and damaged he looks. Oh well, we had fun.

Also, This is what Eli does in our driveway...

we have had ongoing construction in our special little cul de sac pretty much since we moved here. This makes it inconvenient to go anywhere. However, sometimes watching the cement mixers and tractors holds Eli's attention for an extended period of time, something for which I am always looking. And obviously, throwing rocks and climbing dirt hills never gets old. I love boys.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Things I have realized that really should have been obvious

-Eh. I need my haircut.

-Taking funny face pictures with friends was fun in high school; it's still fun to do with your kids.
-Every child is different. It doesn't matter that I read this 500 million times or that 500 people told me. I have tried every which way to fit Tate into Eli's mold--because that is what I know. He does not. In many ways, this is wonderful. He is his own adorable little sweet person who has smiled in 6 months 90% more than Eli has in almost 4 years. But he does not sleep through the night. He does not take consistent naps. And I have tried everything including moving him, drugging him, letting him cry, rocking him, etc. They are different...unbelievably enough.
-"Slimming" tank tops only work if you are already slim; you never see a fat girl modeling a tank top that is supposed to make you skinny because it doesn't, much to my dismay.
-Making plans for the next day when you are awake in the middle of the night with a crying baby is a bad idea. The middle of the night is the worst time to be making sound plans. Or speaking for that matter. Mean things can be said to people who deserve no such thing.
-Most of the money we will make one day will go to tithing, taxes and loan payments before we even see a dime of it. So I am trying to temper my excitement for Adam to graduate with a measure of discipline and realism.

-Brothers are mean to each other. They don't mean to be mean. They just kind of are.
-Growing your own food, er, having your husband grow your own food is totally satisfying. These are from our humble little garden, pretty huh?
-Fat babies are just absolutely and completely endearing. I don't know if there is just a shortage of babies in general here, but absolute strangers seriously think it is ok to come up and not just remark on, but pinch and squeeze Tate's fat rolls...and I sort of can't blame them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Princess Leila

Isn't she adorable? I can't wait to meet my newest little niece. Personally, I don't think she looks much like a princess; I think she is going to be a sassy, tough little chica who likes to play in the dirt with her boy cousins. But that's just me. Leila, I am so glad you are finally here and I forgive you for waiting so long because now I get to come hang out without my boys next week. Wahoo!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Facebook doesn't suck THAT bad and Fall exists outside of California

I still have two profiles on Facebook. But at least now I can log onto one of them. Still not sure about the whole thing.

We just got back from a ten day excursion to Utah and New Hampshire. Hallelujah for the season of Fall. We got to go dirt-biking and boating in Utah,

walk the "Freedom Trail" in Boston, eat at the impressively delectable "Quincy Market" therein and generally take in the beauty that exists in New England. It was wonderful and a completely positive experience; Tate was so so good. And Eli was partying it up with Nannie and Grandma while we were checking stuff out back East. We also spent time with Marcus before saying goodbye for two years. Between the two or us, Adam and I now have three brothers on Latin-American missions. Pretty sweet.

Anyway, so now I am home. It is a hellish 110 degrees today. Uh. I want to go back to a land where Fall, and Winter, for that matter, exists. I felt like a FedEx coordinator-going back and forth between two houses while we were in Utah, then sending part of my stuff one place, my kids' stuff to other places and then collecting it all again, bringing it home and sorting through it. And now I have to put it all away today. Bother. Oh, and I should probably work since I blew that off for an entire week. I am also especially crabby because my (no doubt adorable) niece Leila failed to make an on time appearance. She was supposed (according to my well laid out plan) to be born the day before I got to Utah so that we could get to know each other for a few days before I had to leave. But noooo... And then she was supposed to debut while I was in New Hampsire and I would stay for a few days extra to hang out. Also, a no go. In fact, she is still not here. She should be here by tomorrow, as her mother is currently attempting to forcefully vacate her through induction... that sounds harsher than I meant, but you know what I mean. So anyway. I am not very happy with her but nonetheless still dying to meet her. I am going back to Utah next weekend to hang out which will actually be more fun since Adam will keep my boys--wahoo, my husband is such a rock star. Good luck to you Chels; I doubt there is anything in the world as wonderful as having a baby, especially your first. My thoughts are with you today, tonight and tomorrow (hopefully not longer than that!!!) Chel.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Facebook sucks

I knew it. I gave in. I tried. I received like 55 friend request emails, two "Welcome" emails from Facebook itself, and I allowed myself to get all excited to see what the big deal was but OH, wait--I cant login. Facebook doesn't recognize my email address as linked to my profile and their super unhelpful customer service sent me directly back to the "Help" page which was also nothing but a hugely unhelpful timesuck. So basically my profile exists on Facebook but I cannot do anything with it because I cannot log in. I have managed to waste all kinds of time on Facebook, trying to figure out how to solve this problem, without even Facebooking!!

So anyway. My long awaited arrival to the Facebook was a hoax, even to me. I apparently won't be socializing there.

We are heading to Utah tomorrow and I am finding myself sort of freaking out that Eli is going to miss a whole week of school. I know, it's preschool. But it just kind of reinforces that nagging feeling that I have had ever since Tate was born..."Ok, I am a real mom now. Whoa."

Here are some pictures of his first day that I forgot to post. He loves it. And when I picked him up yesterday, his teacher enthusiastically greeted me with the encouraging words, "Oh, he just keeps getting better every day! He didn't bite any friends today and he brought his listening ears." Music, I tell you; you will never understand how happy this makes me until you have an Eli. Needless to say, he had a bit of a rough start but I think preschool is definitely starting to serve its many purposes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The summer in review

Just posted my whole summer. Or the things I can remember anyway, which isn't very reliable because I'm going on nearly six months of sleep deprivation...yeah, my tank child still wakes up at night. Don't get me started. Here are some other bullet points and pictures worth mentioning:

-Two kids is no joke. But I am starting to understand why people have multiple children: Tate and Eli are beginning to be best little wrestling buddies. And now that I am mostly over my anxiety of Eli hurting Tate, I enjoy watching them play so much.

-Tate is not very small. He wears all of Eli's 18 month clothing. The kid weighs 22 pounds. We call him Fluffer Nutter after my Aunt Stephanie's peanut butter and marshmallow cream sandwiches. Appropriate, no? So I think he is ready to fend for himself.

-My family, with the exception of pregnant Chel and Britten, came out for one final hurrah before Alex left. We had so much fun-swimming, beach, eating, pool, Angel's game, etc.

I bawled when they left. And I have been a disaster ever since since it JUST NOW occurred to me that I have to send my boys away someday. He left for Brazil last Wed and all of us were pretty much blindsided by how hard it was to say goodbye. But, upon receiving his first email yesterday, I can already feel the blessings that pour when a family has a missionary out.

-Eli started preschool. He loves it. And I have time to work and generally collect myself three days a week. What a little punk.

-Things are good. I can't brag too much about how awesome Adam is doing in school...but he is. He'll technically be done with graduation requirements in about a month. And he is no longer stressed about patients or procedures-- ESPECIALLY since football started last Saturday! Hooray, finally. We look forward to sitting on our couch, eating food like rednecks and literally watching football ALL DAY long. Let the games begin.