Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Snow Day

The day after Christmas, the punk asked us to go outside and play. He said, "Mother dearest, I am dying to wear my supercool new coat from Santa, and the fuzzy boots Uncle Michael gave me for my birthday. Can I pleeeeeze? My childhood happiness depends upon it!" So the man and I acquiesced and we all donned our snow boots and walked out into the snow.

Happy wintering to you!

Monday, December 28, 2009

12 Months + 15 Days = My Punk

The punk is officially one year old, and has been for 15 days. And let me tell you, he just gets better and better. Here are some belated birthday photos.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Birthday Balloons

The punk had his first birthday last weekend. I never thought I'd be the type of mom to be emotional at the big life stages, but it was a bittersweet time for me. Having his birthday balloons by the Christmas tree brought me back to last year when he was 12 days old on Christmas, and we new parents were exhausted. I was still sore in several places (don't worry, I won't elaborate), and he and I were still working on getting the breastfeeding down to a science; I wasn't very good at feeding him in public so there was a lot of retreating to the back rooms while our family celebrated without us.

This year, his birthday was a very snowy day, just like on the day he was born. I remember that my parents had to turn around the first time they tried to make the 1-hour trek to the hospital to meet the little guy because the roads were too icy.

I think this Christmas will be a little less exhausting and a lot more fun. Maybe even as fun as playing with leftover birthday balloons with Uncle David...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009


We attend church from 10:00-1:00. The punk usually takes his morning nap from 10:00-12:00. This is potentially problematic. But we have just had to figure out a way to make it work. This means that my man and I take turns sitting out of sacrament meeting every week. We arrive at church, and one of us takes a seat in the chapel while the other heads straight to the "mother's lounge" to give the little guy his bottle and let him sleep. There have been days when I resented this process because I wanted to enjoy the spiritual lesson along with everyone else.

But yesterday...

Yesterday I realized there was no where else I'd rather be than holding my baby, who will turn one year old in 6 days and quit being a baby, and smell his head and watch his eyelids flutter and feel him breathe. When else can I just sit for an hour with the punk in my arms, snuggled in his blanket? So for now, I am thanking my lucky stars that naptime coincides with church, and that I get to spend an hour holding my little guy while he sleeps. There's nothing better.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Greed

In order to kill an hour this afternoon, the punk and I ran some errands. We returned some shoes to Old Navy because he informed me he wouldn't be caught dead in them. And then we went to Target to search for an oval picture frame (which they didn't have; I bought a boring rectangle frame instead), and to peruse the toy aisle. He quickly found the toys that light up and make noise, and entertained the Friday crowds by dancing and bouncing in the aisle. He dances like Elaine from Seinfeld, except instead of sticking out his thumbs, he displays his pointer fingers and shakes his booty.

He chose the most expensive toy as his favorite, and we spent several minutes hanging out and shaking our stuff. Then, when it was time to go, this is how he felt about it.

Thank you, Target, for entertaining us this afternoon. And for housing a Starbucks.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Little Boys

Boogers and bruises and underwear heads...

That's what little boys are made of.

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Thanksgiving Story

Yesterday, as a tear trickled down my cheek while I watched Big Bird and the Sesame Street crew singing Sing A Song during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (a song I used to sing with my youth singing group, Star Sounds, pictured below), I reminisced about my childhood Thanksgivings. It was always a holiday spent with family. Lots and lots of family. And I loved every minute of it. Bulging plates, piled high with the good stuff... and by the good stuff, I mean mounds of stuffing, piles of black olives, beets, and pickes, and maybe a small piece of turkey if it wasn't during the time right after my dad took me to visit the slaughter house filled with grotesque, hanging, skinless carcasses. I became a pseudo-vegetarian for a couple years after I realized meat was actually dead animals.

Anyway, Thanksgiving has always been a lovely, cheerful holiday... except for one year. I was young enough to still have baby teeth. My dad and I were watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. When the Rockettes appeared, I was mesmerized. They kicked so high! Their legs pointed vertically to the heavens! Wow! So when Dad asked me if I thought I could kick as high as the Rockettes, I thought, "I am the most talented girl I know. Of course I can!" So I stood up to show Dad how skilled his oldest daughter was.

I took a deep breath in preparation. Easy as pie. Just kick that leg straight up into the air. And I heaved my leg upward, just like the Rockettes! And then I felt something bash into my face. It was my own knee! I had kicked so brilliantly that my knee hit my mouth, and I felt something small and hard land on my tongue. Yes friends, I had kicked out my own front tooth.

When I showed my dad the tooth, he burst out laughing. Then he called for my mom and they howled together at my horrible misfortune. I couldn't believe how uncaring my own parents were! I was humiliated and embarrassed. I thought I was going to look like the Rockettes with their long, straight legs, and instead I looked like a one-girl incarnation of The Three Stooges. So I went to my room and slammed the door.

The end.

P.S. That's me on the top row, left, with the side half-pony and thick bangs. I think the bow tie really brings the look together.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mama Needs a Massage

I didn't appreciate how easy I had it before the punk started walking. Among the many phrases I've (calmly and sweetly) uttered this morning:

"No, little boys don't belong in the dishwasher!"

"No, we don't climb into the fireplace!"

"Ewwww! We don't eat apples out of the garbage!"

And, the classic, "I'm gonna get you... raaaarrr!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A First for Mama

I'm not a big jewelry person. The two pieces that I regularly wear are my wedding ring and a silver Tiffany necklace my man gave me about an hour after bringing the punk into the world. When I dress to impress, I almost always wear these two pieces; however, I don't wear my ring around the house, which is where I am most of the time. So when I left the house to go grocery shopping today, I forgot to don my diamond.

While we were out, the punk and I enjoyed lunch at Cafe Rio. And may I just say, I love Tuesdays at the Rio because the special is coconut shrimp tacos. I feel like I'm cheating the system because I ask for the coconut shrimp in a salad instead of tacos, and every time I do, the person taking my order always looks quizzically at me for a moment before saying, "yeah, okay." And oooh boy, cheating is oh so yummy. Today, I felt like I had won the lottery because, not only did I get the best dish at Cafe Rio just by asking for an exception, I had a full punch card so I got it for free!

Anyway, after nom-nom-noming my coconut shrimp salad and watching the punk gum his quesadilla, we walked out to the car. There in the parking lot, as I buckled the little guy into his car seat, I heard someone say, "Hi!" When I looked up, I saw two men walking out from the restaurant, and I smiled in greeting. The man with a fauxhawk continued, "Are you married?" When I said yes, he said, "Well, you're really pretty. I didn't see a ring." I told him that I had forgotten to put it on. He said, "If you weren't married, I would totally ask you out. Your kid is beautiful too." I've gotta say, this was a totally new experience for me. Being hit on when I'm with the punk? I guess it could have been awkward and irritating, but I was actually kind of flattered. I guess it's nice to know that if my man's plane goes down in a fiery crash of twisted metal and flying body parts, I'll have some options. Or at least one option, if I like guys with fauxhawks.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

These Socks Were Made For Walking

The punk took his first steps with his papa on Halloween Eve while I was tutoring math in the other room. That night, he was so excited that he kept trying and trying to hone his new skill, but failed to remain upright for too long. I think he discovered that falling hurts a bit, so he became more timid in the days following. But now he's got his groove back. Look at him go!

P.S. His Jazz jersey was given to him yesterday by his Uncle Michael. Thanks bro!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Not The Best Policy

I married a meat and potatoes guy (of my own free will and choice) who claims he will try one bite of just about anything, but draws the line at sushi. Glorious, heavenly sushi, the substance of the gods. So, because there is no room in my marriage for the sunset roll, the shrimp tempura roll, or spicy tuna, I am always looking for new sushi buddies.

Enter David.

David is my middle brother, the third of 5 children, and someone who occupies a very special place in my left ventricle. Even though I already love his guts and he has nothing to prove to me, he agreed to try sushi for the first time, with his big sis.

We had a lovely meal and he made the appropriate yummy sounds and gestures, so I think he wasn't lying when he said he loved it! When the check came, I noticed that our server had not charged us for David's Coke. I wondered if it was a nice gesture on her part, or if she had inadvertently left it off the bill. Because I am a she-devil, I didn't really think much of it, but David mentioned that he would ask her about it when she came to take our cards. When she took the little black folder, David and I were too busy exchanging funny stories to remember the tiny detail of the Coke, so we didn't say anything. As she was charging our cards though, David remembered and vowed to make it right when she came back.

In the meantime, the owner of the tiny sushi restaurant came over to ask us how we enjoyed our meal. He was surprised to learn that David had just experienced his first sushi and was pleased that we chose his fine establishment for my brother's premier. As we were chatting with him (and concentrating hard on understanding his words through his strong Japanese accent), we could see our server approaching our table with our cards. This jogged David's memory about the drink, so without thinking, he blurted out, "She forgot to charge me for my drink!"

Immediately, we knew this was the wrong thing to say, or rather the wrong person to whom to say it, as our server bowed her head in defeat and stood like a dog with its tail in between its legs. In the owner's chipper voice, he said, "That's okay; it will come out of her tip." Thinking for a split second that he was joking, I laughed, "Ha!... oh." And she said in a defeated voice, "Yeah, it'll come out of my tip."

David and I exchanged embarrassed glances and anxiously twiddled our thumbs as we stammered our apologies and tried to let the awkward moment pass. I guess sometimes honesty is not the best policy after all.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Babes a la Mode

A couple months ago, my friend Brittany and I decided on a whim to go see the movie Julie and Julia. It's not often that I do things spontaneously anymore; call it old age, motherhood, or marriage to my man. So our rash decision to go to an 8:00 pm showing was ca-razy! It made me feel giddy, selfish, and wild.

We both loved the movie and walked away feeling inspired. We decided in the parking lot of the movie theater to form a monthly cooking group with our girlfriends. We wanted to challenge ourselves into becoming more adventurous cooks. And so, Babes a la Mode was born. View the blog here!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First Snowfall

The first snowfall of the season is a magical time. This is my first year since kindergarten that I was able to do exactly what I wanted to do on this blessed, snowy day: stay home and wear sweats! When I was in school or working, I always WISHED that I could snuggle in bed with some hot chocolate and watch the magic happen from my window. Today, that lifelong wish came true. To top it off, I also made cheesecake. For the first time. From scratch! More on that later.

The punk also enjoyed watching the snow out the window, so I thought he should see it up close. I bundled him up and took him out in the back yard.

He was having such fun sitting in the snow that I thought he would like to feel it. His gloves are actually just one fuzzy little pocket; they don't even have a separate space for the thumb. I guess this is because the hands that fit into them do not yet have the motor skills to fashion a snowball. So I took off his gloves and let him feel the cold, white stuff.

I guess he'd rather wear the gloves.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Afternoon Snack

The punk and I took a walk to a small park near our house today. We sat on the little bouncy animals, went down the slide, and crawled in the freshly aerated grass. But the most important thing he learned today was how to blow a dandelion. When I demonstrated, he laughed and laughed. It was great fun. Then it was his turn to try...

I don't think he quite got it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tastes Like Duck

For the past couple weeks, the punk has been making his afternoon nap a bit difficult. I like to rock him to sleep because I enjoy that time with him, so I hold him and rock him for about 10 minutes and then put him in his crib. Lately he's been opening his eyes when I set him down, smiling, and jumping up to a standing position as soon as I leave the room. Then he'll proceed to talk to himself, becoming increasingly frustrated the longer I leave him alone. So then I would go back in, wrap him up, give him his binky, and rock him for another 10 minutes. After several days of performing this nonsensical ritual, I decided it was enough. He needs to be able to get himself to sleep. As much as I love our rocking time, I don't love it enough to do it over and over every day.

Of course, as soon as I declared that I would no longer be coaxing him to sleep multiple times, he stopped requiring it of me. He started going to sleep easily. Even if he opened his eyes when I laid him down, he would just roll over and go to sleep. Hooray!

...Until today.

I put him down in his crib and left his room. As I was putting up my Halloween decorations, I heard him making noises. I let him go for about 20 minutes, but it was apparent he wasn't going to stop. So I opened his door. There I was greeted by an unpleasant stench and a little boy with no pants on. I guess he was being helpful. Knowing what he had done in his diaper, he assisted me by disrobing.

As I lifted him out of his crib to change his diaper, I noticed that he had something in his mouth. It looked like paper. I wondered where he found a scrap of paper in his crib. Hmmm...

When I fished around in his mouth and pulled it out, I discovered that it was his Daffy Duck band-aid from his recently vaccinated thigh.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baby Zuri

Did you know that a baby elephant consumes a few GALLONS of her mama's milk every day? She will nurse like this for a few years. This, after growing inside her mama for 22 months! And I thought 40 weeks of pregnancy and 12 months of nursing were long. Poor mama.

At least they can both eat at the same time!

On Columbus Day, the punk and I went to the zoo with our friends Sally and Daniel. Baby Zuri was playful and active. She was so fun to watch!

The boys also had fun watching each other.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chocolate Despair

This is what happened to the punk's countenance when the cookie we were sharing was gone.

He's definitely my kid.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One Day At A Time

I've been asked what a regular day looks like for me. To be honest, most of my days are pretty darn awesome. I am my own boss, which is a blessing and a curse, but mostly a blessing. I set my own schedule and I determine how much I accomplish. This becomes a curse when my personal demons rear their ugly heads and I sink into laziness... but for the most part, I feel fulfilled and incredibly lucky to be able to do what I do. There are ups and downs to each day as a stay at home mom. Take today for example...

Because we kept the punk out too late last night, he overslept by AN HOUR this morning! Do you realize how glorious that is? This means that I also slept in, and I am a girl who luuuuuves to sleep in but rarely has the opportunity anymore, even on weekends! Yes, yes, life is tragic. But not today because the punk slept in!

I made myself a semi-naughty breakfast. The naughty part was the fried eggs and two slices of whole wheat toast with butter and apricot jam. The semi part was that I overcame the temptation to make hot chocolate. I had orange juice instead. And, of course, I shared with the punk, as I always do.

The little guy usually takes his morning nap from 10:00-12:00, but since he got up at 8:00, he wasn't quite ready to go down at 10:00. I kept him up for 30 extra minutes, hoping that would be enough. It wasn't. I put him down in his crib after rocking and singing for a while, but I knew he wasn't going to fall asleep. After spending about 20 minutes on the phone with my bank, I went back into his room and found him standing up in his crib (as is usual if he's not asleep), but he had taken his pants off! I didn't know he could do that! It was immediately apparent that he needed a diaper change, so I picked him up to fix his business, but noticed that an unpleasant green substance was threatening to squish out of his diaper onto his legs, and my hands. So into the bath he went! I figured this was just his way to make up for his neglected bath last night. I laid him down on a towel on the bathroom floor to undress him. After cleaning up his green mess (and may I just say - yuck!), I turned on the water in the tub. After finding the perfect temperature, I looked down at the naked punk who was peeing all over the tub, the floor, and the towel. I just nodded. Yup. Sounds about right.

After his warm bath, he slept and I showered. Then I ate lunch (peanut butter and honey on whole wheat with an arugula salad) while he danced to his singing toys and begged for pieces of my sandwich. After I fed him his lunch of cheese and bananas, we set off to run some errands.
Store to buy bigger bottles? Check.
Pharmacy? Check.
Bank? Check.
Stamps? Check.

While I was out, I must say that I was a rock star at avoiding all the temptations in my way. I gave Starbucks (hot chocolate) the cold shoulder. I bit my thumb in the general direction of Red Mango (plain yogurt blender with blueberries and Ghirardelli dark chocolate). I scoffed at McDonalds (apple pie) and Wendy's (frosty). Yes, this is what my life is. A series of seemingly life or death decisions about treats.

Then it was time for the punk's afternoon nap. Trying to put him down was the highlight of my day. After changing his diaper, I started tickling him a bit. He was giggling so much that I couldn't resist! I got his chubby thighs, his little toes, and the soft spot under his chin. This spot elicits a deep belly laugh that makes my heart sing. So naturally, when I wrapped him up in his blanket and expected him to close his eyes, he was still grinning at me, expecting fun time. When I kissed him on the cheek, he laughed. Then as I stood, rocking back and forth and humming a lullaby, he threw his head back so it was upside down and laughed as I moved from side to side. I couldn't be mad at the little grinning thing. I had started it! It's times like these when things aren't going according to the plan or the schedule that I step back and just smile. I have the best job there is.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

High Society

Have you read Pride and Prejudice? If not, I demand that you do so immediately. Twice. If you haven't read it, I'm going to assume you've at least seen the movie. Or maybe Sense and Sensibility or Jane Eyre or Emma.

In these books, the characters maintain a very distinct lifestyle. The womenfolk are completely dependent on their men for their livelihood. The opening line of Pride and Prejudice states:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

This may have been said with a hint of sarcasm on the part of Jane Austen, but it is at the center of the plot of P&P. The everyday life of the women in this book baffles me. How unfulfilling and dull it must be to have nothing to do all day but sit around with good posture, doing needlework! The only occasions that broke the monotony of sitting were when an acquaintance came to "call," or when someone in the neighborhood hosted a ball. Although many of these women were educated and talented, they were unable to put their skills to use because, why would a woman need to work? Her only profession was to find the wealthiest man who would have her and "form an attachment."

As I watched segments of Sense and Sensibility about 7 times in 3 days last week, I couldn't help but compare my life to those of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Whereas I used to scoff at their lack of profession and their complete financial dependence upon men, I now find myself in a similar situation. My most pleasurable days are those on which I get to lunch with friends. I currently bring little money to my relationship. I drink tea [Diet Coke] in the afternoon. I take a daily stroll around an expansive garden to refresh my mind and body [I go for a run on Wasatch Blvd. with the jogging stroller]. The biggest differences are that I cook, clean, and take care of my child instead of relying on servants to do those things for me, and I get to wear jeans and slouch.

Really, how is my life different from that of the 18th Century women I pitied?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Punk's New Trick

I can't decide if he looks guilty or just proud that he learned something new...?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beautiful Morning

One of the major benefits of living in Olympus Cove is that we are 1.6 miles from the trailhead to Neff's Canyon. If I were really ambitious, I would stick the punk in the jogging stroller and we would just run there instead of driving, but "just running" there would mean running 1.6 miles up a mountain. No thanks. Instead, the punk and I drove to the trailhead and then got out for our morning workout.

The air was crisp, the leaves are just beginning to change... almost. And the sun hadn't yet climbed over the mountain. All was quiet. I felt refreshed and rejuvenated.

Something tells me the punk felt differently.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Duck Tail

The punk is trying. He's trying real hard to grow hair, okay? He is embarrassed by his bald head, his pasty white skin, and don't even get him started on his elbow dimples. So, in an effort to someday look like his idol Fabio, he has mustered all the energy he could, and sprouted some hair. Unfortunately, it's all in one place on the back of his head.

We call it his duck tail. (Woo-ooo-ooo!)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Punk and His Great Great Grandma

My Great Grandma Bell is sassy, quick, and funny. And she is 95 years older than my punk. I wanted to celebrate this happy and unusual circumstance by asking a professional photographer to capture our five generations. During the photo shoot at Trolley Square, strangers approached us to offer their congratulations and remark at how lucky we are to have each other. I agree!

Jamie Lynn Christensen was our photographer. You can view her blog here. Isn't she great?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Will Run for Food

This morning, I was seriously lacking the motivation to go for a run. The two reasons that got me outside were my new running mix that I uploaded to my iPod last night after about 2 years of the same music, and this:

Free Bagel Friday at Einstein Bros! Is my workout void if I stopped here on the way for a chocolate chip bagel and cream cheese schmear?

After picking up my breakfast and heading home, I was rewarded with this:

What motivates you to do the things that are hard?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where The Sidewalk Ends

The majority of my neighborhood lacks sidewalks; however, once in a while, one will appear out of nowhere, then disappear into some bushes.

Saturday afternoon, I took the punk for a walk. He wasn't enjoying the outing as much as I had hoped he would, so we were on our way back home when (soon after taking this picture,) I heard a man moaning and groaning. I noticed that the older gentleman who had been sitting on his front porch when we passed him going north was no longer there. It puzzled and alarmed me a bit, but I was more curious than afraid. I left the punk in his stroller on the driveway and ventured down the side of the house towards the moaning.

Narrow cement steps descended from the front yard to the back yard, and lying across them were some tree branches. A man ("Mr. X") was stumbling down the last two steps and he had obviously had some kind of accident. His shirt sleeve was torn, and he was bleeding from his elbow and his head. I said, "Sir? Excuse me, Sir, are you hurt?" All the while, he was still moaning, more from shock, I think, than anything else. I asked him if he would like me to call 911, but he refused. Besides being scraped up and a little frightened and winded, he seemed okay. So, after retrieving the punk from his stroller, I met Mr. X inside his house where he attempted to get a hold of his wife while I got him a glass of water. Now that I think about it, it was odd that I was in a stranger's home rummaging around his kitchen trying to find the glasses (which were in the last cupboard I opened, because that's always how those things go), but at the time, it was the most natural thing in the world. A nice gentleman needed my assistance and I was there at the right time. It turns out, he was trying to carry branches up the cement steps to the garbage can, but somehow lost his footing and tumbled down the unforgiving terrain.

I called my man and asked him to come over to help me make sure Mr. X was alright. On his way over, he brought the neighbors who live across the street from the man. These are the same neighbors who helped me when I locked myself out of the house the week before. They are busy people, rescuing everyone around them from crises.

The next day, Mr. X's wife, Mrs. X, retold the story over the pulpit in testimony meeting. Because I was in the mother's lounge with the punk, I only heard bits and pieces, but was commended later for coming to Mr. X's rescue. Apparently, a story becomes better and better the more it is told because today, when a friend in the neighborhood learned that it was me who had "found Mr. X," she was greatly impressed. She had heard that he was lying on the ground when I came to his aid. I'm hoping that as the story circulates, I'll eventually be the girl who, upon finding poor Mr. X at the bottom of a ravine in a pool of his blood, which was pulsating from his severed arm, made a tourniquet from my bra and reattached his limb using my MacGyver skills and grass woven from his overgrown lawn.
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