Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lady Funk

Yesterday, I finally admitted to myself that it's time to get my sorry butt onto the treadmill. In the past five weeks, I have run once. But with my half marathon training schedule staring me down, I gave into the fear. And it's a good thing too because it is truly upsetting how far one's endurance can fall in a relatively short amount of time. I had to walk for a quarter mile after each of my three measly miles.

Even though it took me too long and I probably looked like a fat chicken trying to run on a treadmill, I felt good after my first post-holiday workout. As I stretched in the family room and basked in the glow of freshly released endorphins, my man walked into the workout room and quickly came back out.

"Whew! That room stinks!"
"Well YEAH. I just exercised in it."
"I didn't know you smelled bad when you work out!"
"What?! You've smelled me after a run before."
"Not like that. It smells like a lady gym."

Perhaps I should be offended, but I just feel proud to have made it 8 1/2 years with a husband who thought I never stink.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


...the night before Christmas.
I hope it's magical for you and yours!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Basher Gets Bonked

"Well, I think his heart sounds okay." That's what his pediatrician told me at the basher's 9-month well-check yesterday after three failed attempts at listening to his chest; he just would not sit still long enough for her to hear anything, even with both of us holding him down. It was at this appointment that we learned that my busy boy's weight has decreased from the 70th percentile to the 5th. That's zero-five, as in my baby's knobby knees are wider than his thighs. His height hasn't suffered. He is not underfed. It's just that Mr. Squirmypants burns through every single calorie he ingests.

This morning I listened to him babble in his crib for a little while before I finally extricated myself from my warm covers. As I grabbed my glasses from my nightstand, I heard a loud bump and a big cry, so I quickened my pace to his room. I figured he had been standing in his crib and fallen over, bumping his head on the bars. It wouldn't be the first time. But when I opened his bedroom door, his cry wasn't coming from inside the crib. I looked down to find him sitting on the floor in between the crib and the rocking chair. He had pulled his wiry body up and over the crib wall! I should scratch the stocking stuffers and just get him a pull-up bar for Christmas. His older brother was in a crib for two years and in that time, he never even thought about escaping. Needless to say, 20 minutes later, my man had lowered the crib bed so that won't happen again. We've been watching him for signs of concussion this morning, but he's too busy climbing stairs and pulling toys out of all the drawers to bother slowing down for a head injury.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Three Year-Old Boy

A three year-old boy holds out his hand to feel the purple and pink padded bras as he walks by them at the department store and exclaims, "Oooh! What are these?"

A three year-old boy points at a man pushing his kids in a cart at the grocery store and says loudly, "He's a stranger!"

A three year-old boy coughs up a bunch of phlem and then informs his mama that he "didn't swallow a snail."

A three year-old boy gets out of bed four times to "fix" (rearrange) the lone present under the Christmas tree.

When his mama peeks her head into the bathroom to ask if he is done, a three year-old boy matter-of-factly says, "No. I made one poop. I'm going to make a loooooooot of poops."

The bathtub of a three year-old boy is accessorized by a man-eating crocodile.

Monday, December 12, 2011

12of12: December (Monday)

On the 12th of each month, I take photos to document my day. As today happened to be the day of the punk's third birthday party, it was a fun one to record!
[Click on the block of photos to enlarge]

1. Can you say "morning person?" (I can't; it's not in my vocabulary.) 2. It is important that I allow the punk the space to dress himself, even if that means his pants and undershirt end up backwards. At least he got the underwear on right. 3. I loves me a hot shower. 4. Preparing for his pirate birthday party. 5. After the basher knocked over his full bowl of lunch, I cleaned carrots off the floor, wall, chair, heater vent, window, blinds, and yes, the ceiling. I think it was a clever ploy to get bananas and mixed berries instead. 6. Pirate cake pops! 7. The punk invited 7 little ragamuffins to his birthday party. 8. They played a beanbag toss game, colored pirate ships, sang songs, read a pirate book, ate cake pops and ice cream, and hunted treasure. I love that this present matched our pirate color scheme. 9. My parents and my man's parents were there to help us, thank goodness! 10. After the party, the punk and I took some cake pops to our friends who had brought a present for him when he was napping. 11. Christmas lights! 12. Torture by pajamas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


It is a pleasure to be a witness to their blossoming relationship. The punk can make the basher laugh just by looking at him. He knows all of his brother's tickle spots. He sings to him when the basher is crying. He shares bites of food with him and stands ready to catch him if he falls out of the dishwasher. (Did I really just write that?)

They wrestle on the ground together, and it's not only the punk throwing down. The basher is getting quick! He'll crawl all over his big brother and slobber him into submission. It is my hope for them that they will always be close. As the punk says, "He is my bwudduh. He needs me!" It really is remarkable to watch their relationship develop, independent of me. I love it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude Day 24: Thanksgiving Day

Today I am grateful for food, and lots of it! No really. We are so fortunate to have, not only enough to keep us alive, but much, much more than that. We are able to enjoy and taste and choose and cook our own cuisine. I have never in my life gone hungry. Today we enjoyed a wonderful holiday with my man's family. It was warm and lovely and tasty and happy and special. Everything that Thanksgiving Day should be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude Day 23

I am so grateful for good friends, old and new. Tonight we got together with some neighborhood buddies for takeout dinner and a potato peeling party since all three of us have been assigned mashed potatoes for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast. The punk joined all the older kids (his "best friends") for a dance party in the basement. When there are 5 girls and 2 boys (plus the basher), wrestling and sword fights take a back seat to dance parties. He didn't mind one bit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratitude Day 22

My body used to weigh a bit less. It could stand to be more firm, less flabby. Some might say it could use a tan. But my body created two humans. It has run long distances. It is strong and healthy. It can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. And it is perfect because it is mine.

I am grateful for my body.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude Day 21

I am thankful that my man works hard to support our family so I can be a stay at home mom to my boys. It's not an easy job, but it's the one I've always wanted. And seriously, could I ask for two more adorable bosses?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gratitude Day 20

I am thankful to be surrounded by extended family. Tonight we had dinner at my parents' house, where we were joined by my brother, my cousin on my dad's side, and my grandma and great-grandma on my mom's side.

I laughed around the table with my dad, my man, and my cousin, who told animated stories about times when they have been scared, as kids, and as adults. A grown man sharing an anecdote about a time when he has left his (slow, chubby) buddy in the dust to be eaten by attack dogs in a dark cemetery? Or when he nearly clocked a tiny old lady in the face because she was standing there in the dark hallway when the elevator door opened and he is afraid of little things? Hilarious.

I also talked with my great-grandma (97 years old) about her family. She has always dressed very well, no matter what her plans or where she is going. I learned today that this is because, as a child, she was teased by her teacher(!) for wearing hand-me-downs from her mother. Her daughter, my Grandma Valeen, also shared a story about her uncle Eugene, who is Great-Grandma Bell's brother. Valeen and her brother Larry walked to the grocery store with their uncle Eugene. On the way there, he asked each of them which candy bar they liked. At the store, he confirmed their favorites and bought each of those, plus his favorite. Then on the way home, he ate all three candy bars! In front of them! What a meanie.

[the basher and his great-great-grandma]

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gratitude Day 19

I am grateful for Saturday morning cuddle sessions, although a more accurate description would be Operation Stay In Bed For As Long As The Boys Will Sit Still. The little guys are always so happy to see each other in the morning. Then the punk tries to concentrate on his cartoons while the basher climbs all over him, freely sharing intermittent "kisses," open-mouthed with tongue.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude Day 18

I am grateful that my man still takes me on dates, and that after 8 years, we still enjoy talking together (although we have, of course, learned which topics to avoid). Thanks for a lovely dinner, my man!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude Day 17

I am grateful that I have the opportunity to teach music lessons. When I was a young music student, adults often told me that I was lucky to know how to play the piano and violin so I could teach when I got older, and I always resented them for it. How dare they assume that I would want to teach?! I went through the same thing with my Bachelor's degree in Mathematics. "Oh, you're a math major? Are you going to teach?" NO! I hoarded my own knowledge and avoided teaching for many years, but then finally, one day, I gave in and started tutoring math... and loved it! I've had several math students since then and now I call myself a music teacher too. I'm loving it. I guess it was inevitable. I'm grateful to have a husband who supports this hobby of mine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Day 16

I am thankful for days (like today) when we have no plans whatsoever.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gratitude Day 15

I've already mentioned how much I love my mother-in-law. Her partner in crime, my father-in-law, ain't so bad either. (In fact, he is completely wonderful too.) But today I am thankful for the family into which I was born. The Johnsons.

This weekend, my parents came over to feed, entertain, bathe, and tuck in my little guys while my man and I went out. When I informed the punk who was going to keep him company that night, he clapped his hands and exclaimed, "Oooh hoo hoo! I'm so happy!" He often asks about each of my siblings - how they are, and more importantly, when they are coming over to play with him. I feel closer now to each of my brothers and my sister than ever before, and I think this increased affection has come with parenthood. Seeing them as an aunt and uncles has made me love and appreciate them even more than before. As the oldest of 5, I am having a great time seeing my younger siblings as my own peers, and more importantly, my friends.

I am so happy that my boys have four interested, involved, loving, entertaining, generous grandparents who all live within 15 minutes of us, and many aunts and uncles (including my man's brothers and their women) who love them. They also have two great-grandpas, four great-grandmas, and a great-great-grandma. Lucky little punks!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gratitude Day 14

I am grateful to live in a place where there are four seasons. We spent our lunch hour at the park. Beautiful!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gratitude Day 13

I am thankful for the power to choose. To set my own goals. And for a new week to start again.

12of12: November (Saturday)

Today I am thankful for my camera. Every 12th day of the month, I take photos to document my day. I like it when the 12th falls on a Saturday because that means my man is most likely in town.

1. Grapefruit for breakfast. Yum! 2. The boys "helped" their dad rake the leaves. 3. Oops! 4. More leaves. 5. Graham cracker snack 6. We enjoyed lots of apples from our tree this year. Apple crisp, apple pie. I even canned applesauce! 7. I took these babies on their maiden voyage. The chilly wind muted my music and tossed leaves in my mouth, but it was nice to get out on the road. 8. Snow. 9. He was content to lie in bed after his nap and watch the heavy snowflakes fall outside his bedroom window. 10. Their dad was out of town all week, so they are enjoying all the wrestle time they can get. 11. Grandma Caryn & Papa Andy brought a corn dog and french fries for the punk so my man and I could go on a date. Everyone is happy! 12. Pei Wei and a movie. (In Time. It was interesting at first, but the plot and writing became weak.) My man loves posing for pictures. Loves it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Day 11

I am grateful to be an American. We enjoy freedoms that so many people of the world do not. We are generally safe, fed, clothed, sheltered, educated, healthy, and able to work to take care of ourselves and our families.

Thank you, veterans, for serving to protect those special rights. Yes, Michael. Especially you.

My marine brother Michael, who served two tours during the Iraq War. Also pictured: Michael and Michael. He's an art student.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gratitude Day 10

While dining out with some friends at lunchtime, we suddenly noticed some commotion around a lady at the next table. I couldn't see her face, but she was making scary strangled sounds, her hands were shaking, and a man in scrubs from another table stood behind her, ready to administer the Heimlich maneuver. A waitress asked if she needed to call 911, but when asked if she was choking, the woman shook her head. She then started gasping for breath. It turns out that she had aspirated some water. As the small crowd dissipated, I realized that I was lightheaded. I don't think I had taken a breath since the commotion started. I had been terrified that I was going to witness an accidental death on a normal Thursday afternoon and that someone was going to lose a wife, mother, sister, friend.

Later, while I was enjoying the peaceful time of night after the boys are in bed, red lights flashed in the darkness outside my window. A fire truck and an ambulance were driving down my street. Again, I felt panic. I went outside to see the lights stop at a house at the end of my street. I don't know whose house was the destination for these ominous vehicles. But I can imagine the occasion was, if not tragic, then at least traumatizing.

I guess my gratitude today comes at the expense of strangers. I am so thankful that all of my immediate family members are safe and healthy. I know this will not always be the case, so today I am thankful for this temporary peace of mind.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gratitude Day 9

With my man out of town, I've been missing him this week, and especially today. I have to admit that whenever he travels, I do enjoy having sole control of the remote, and being able to count arugula salad with avocado and parmesan, crescent rolls, and hot chocolate as dinner. (Entrees are overrated.) But in his absence, I am always reminded how much he helps me and how much his little guys need him. He is the greatest daddy I know. He pays attention to the boys, giving them his love and guidance and keeping them in line. He steps in with two extra hands whenever mine are inadequate. When he is around, the boys get more wrestle time, more SportsCenter, and more one-on-one attention from either parent. So today, without him, I am grateful for the man in my life.

Now come home and rub my feet! (Yeah. Like that will ever happen.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratitude Day 8

A couple weeks ago I found a yoga studio that I love. I love the class, I love the teacher, I love that I can get there in 5 minutes, especially when I pull up and realize I've forgotten my yoga mat and have to turn around. I love challenging my body. I love taking 90 minutes to refresh, restore, regroup. I love that, after a quick tip from my instructor on my alignment, my knees feel stronger and more stable as I look ahead to the miles I plan to run in the next few months. Today I am grateful for yoga.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Gratitude Day 7

Whenever my man is out of town, his mom calls me at the beginning of the week to ask how she can help me. Today she took the punk for 7 hours (!) so I could have some time alone with the basher. She also brought me a huge canister of Starbucks hot chocolate mix, which I am now enjoying in the mug she brought me from Hilton Head a few weeks ago. (I have accumulated a collection of mugs, mostly from Starbucks' around the country, and I always choose my mug according to my mood. For instance, when I'm missing Little Sis, I drink from the Serendipity III mug she brought me from New York. When I wish I could get away, I choose the mug I bought on my last girl weekend in Las Vegas.)

The punk "helped" Grandma Lynn organize her attic and played keep-away with the dog:

I worked up a sweat on my cleaning spree, played on the floor with a smiley baby, and made dinner (deep dish chicken cordon bleu, butternut squash, and garden salad), which we later enjoyed together: Grandma, Papa, the punk, and me. Even the basher got in on some of the squash action.

Today (and everyday) I am grateful for my mother-in-law.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gratitude Day 6

I am grateful for the Spirit I feel when I attend church each Sunday. More than the lessons and discussions and hymns and talks, it's the Spirit of comfort and truth I feel that keeps me going back.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gratitude Day 5

On the first snow day of the season, I am so thankful to have a warm house with a cozy bed, fuzzy socks, flannel pajamas, and a steaming mug of hot chocolate in my hands. Days like this make me think of the people of the world who do not have permanent shelter, and who can not tuck their children into bed under a heavy comforter. I am so very grateful to be one of the fortunate ones.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gratitude Day 4

Most days, the basher takes two 45-minute naps. For weeks, this drove me nuts because I need more time to accomplish the things I can only do when he is napping: clean, shower, clean, read a book to the punk, clean, sit my tired derriere on a couch... But I have begrudgingly come to terms with his overwhelming urge to move and see and do, and I just know that I have to choose one task to accomplish during his short snooze. Usually that's a shower in the morning and a short rest in the afternoon. Do you see cleaning at the top of my list? Unfortunately for the other grown-up that lives in this house, no. You do not. (However, I guess my man is lucky that showering made the cut.)

Today I am grateful that the basher took two long naps today to total 5 hours! FIVE! Do you know how much time that is? It's a shower, a clean kitchen (including the stove, which has been re-burning the beans that overflowed when I made chili on Halloween), three clean bathrooms, several books with the punk, an episode of Raising Hope, and a deep breath. Maybe even two.

Yes. I am grateful indeed. Thanks Basher Boy!

P.S. I took a picture of a sleeping punk to commemorate my thankfulness because he can sleep through anything. The basher was cursed with his daddy's light sleeping habits, and pops his head up as soon as he hears the doorknob turning. He brings himself to a standing position even before he can focus his eyes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gratitude Day 3

I am grateful that my punk has adorable friends with generous, supportive parents and grandparents. The area in which we live is not overflowing with children like some other areas of the city. But the kids that do live here are so sweet, so fun. I can see the punk walking to school with these friends, arms linked, singing and skipping... Wait, am I living in a musical?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gratitude Day 2

I am grateful for Discovery Gateway. I borrowed my friend's pass to see if I could handle the two boys by myself, and if the timing will work with nap schedules. They had a blast and we had just enough time to play, play, play, and get back for naps. The boys were so busy exploring, playing, splashing, reading, and sucking on germ-infested plastic toys that they wouldn't have even known if I had left to get a pedicure. We will buy our own pass next time. It will be the perfect distraction during the cold, wet days ahead.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gratitude Day 1

This month, I am going to attempt to be more aware of the things for which I am grateful.

Today I am grateful for yesterday's gorgeous fall weather. We enjoyed the most beautiful, sunny, warm holiday. Today came the snow. I'm just glad it waited until the trick or treaters' plastic pumpkins were full.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Calvin and Hobbes

This may have been my favorite Halloween ever!
  • Improv Thriller dance party; the punk has some serious moves!
  • Family lunch at Five Guys, where the punk loudly wished the adjacent table full of missionaries a "Happy Halloween, missionaries!" and elicited an "Aaawwwww!" from the sisters, who then shook his hand.
  • Soaking in the surprisingly warm sunshine before naps. Last day in the '60s?
  • Trick or Treating with the punk's two little buddies. The punk loves his friends, and could the weather have been any nicer?!
  • Chili, cornbread, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and chocolate cake with family.

Monday, October 24, 2011


The punk had recently done his business at the grocery store, in the "unisex" bathroom where I could fit myself and the basher, who was strapped into the obnoxious spaceship grocery cart full of purchased groceries. So I knew that after we read our nap time story, he would just be able to lie down and go to sleep. I left the punk lying cozily in his bed and fed the basher his afternoon meal of mixed grain and squash. Then we retired to the rocking chair for a final thirst quencher and a descent into dreamland. It all sounds so magical, doesn't it?

Well, as the basher was finally dozing and I was about to detach him and place him in his crib, the punk opened the door and smiled, as if to say, "I'm cute. Therefore, I am exempt from punishment." In a whisper, I instructed him to go back to bed, to which he loudly replied, "WHAT?" Luckily, the basher was tired enough that he only fluttered his eyelids, but did not wake up. After I made silent strangling signs, the punk understood. Just kidding. But he did go back to his room. When I tiptoed out of the dozing basher's room, the punk had come out again and was placing his stool by the toilet so he could get to it. He demanded that I let him do everything himself, which takes forever, but okay. It made him happy to accomplish something so magnificent. With his business done, I again led him back to bed.

Finally, a deep breath. I put the groceries away and picked up a few things. I even managed to resist the java chip ice cream I just bought; all I wanted was a minute on the couch and some silence.

Right when I sat down, I heard a door shut loudly upstairs, a shrill, tired cry from the basher, and the punk's footsteps down the hall. Awesome. The basher had slept for 30 minutes and the punk, not at all. Only 3 more days until my man returns home. No, that's too long. Only 5 more hours until bedtime? No, that doesn't work for me either. Only 2 1/2 more hours until my brother comes over to wrestle with my boys and make yummy noises as he eats dinner with us? Yes, I can deal with 2 1/2 hours.

After all, they have their cute moments too:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Let's Hear It For The Girls

Friendship. It's on my mind. Tonight I find myself incredibly grateful for my girlfriends. There was a time in my life when I didn't feel like I needed my girls as much. Namely, during the dating and newlywed phases. All I needed, all I wanted, was my man. I didn't care about chatting with friends I had known all my life when a brand new man was in my arms and on my lips.

But I am now 8 (lovely) years into my (perfect) marriage. (Ha!) The honeymoon is over (just barely) and I have rediscovered how much we women need each other. For support, for inspiration, for ideas. For running, for food, for conversations about boobs. For laughing, for crying (sometimes in the same breath).

I am fortunate to have many different girlfriends who have been in my life for different amounts of time, but who are all important to me. Last week I brought post-surgery dinner to a friend I've had since before Kindergarten. We have always been chums, but there have been times in our lives that have brought us closer than other times. As children, we jumped on the trampoline and had picnics in the front yard and played barbies. Now we talk about kids and husbands and our changed bodies. The kind of longevity that our relationship has is remarkable. I love her and always will.

Yesterday a newer friend delivered some chocolate cake to my house while I was away at a yoga class. (I am kind of, but not really, embarrassed to say that I ate all three pieces before going to bed.) I have known her for only the two years I've lived in her neighborhood, but her presence in my life has taught me so much about friendship and motherhood, photography and running, loving oneself and loving others.

Tonight I had dinner with some friends I've known for 14 years. At the end of the night, I said goodnight to a fellow redhead and was reminded that we will always be there for each other when we both need it. A couple years ago, we were going through similar difficulties with our families. Through our pain, we found comfort in our friendship and even now, we can rely on the honesty, the healing, and the faith that we found together during that time.

Because of my friends, I am stronger, more creative, more giving, more inspired, and more full of chocolate cake than I would have ever been alone.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I'm tired. I'm tired because I have fallen out of a solid workout schedule. (I'm also tired because the punk thinks getting up at 5:30 am is the right thing to do.) I'm tired so I don't work out. I don't work out, so I'm tired. We've all been there, right? Even though I hadn't run (or exercised at all) in 2 weeks, I joined my friend Brittany in running the Murray Moonlight Run (whose worthy cause is to fight online bullying).

It was a perfect night for a race. Temps in the mid '60s, a nearly full moon... Perfect! I really do love running at night. We all wore glow sticks and glow in the dark body paint. I had jammed two glow sticks in my shoes, which was uncomfortable, but necessary. Necessary because it was awesome. Brit sprinted off the starting line and never looked back, so I ran alone. Just the way I like it most of the time. We both accomplished new PRs (personal records). Brit beat my time by nearly 4 minutes, but we were both happy. And there was pumpkin pie at the finish line!

I got to bed around 11:00, then got up with the basher at midnight. The punk waltzed into my room at 5:30 this morning. I'm tired.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

12of12: October (Wednesday)

1. The basher now happily crawls all over the house. The punk thought it would be fun to join him on the floor during breakfast. 2.
My great friend Brittany offered to take the punk during the basher's morning nap so I could have a break, as my man has been traveling quite a bit. However, the basher has been taking shortened naps, presumably because he wants to practice his new crawling and standing skills. I was counting on more time to clean, but decided to make the most of his wakefulness and enjoy some one-on-one time with my baby. 3. My man called with some good news: he will be home from his current business trip one day early! (This photo was taken long before I met the guy. Yowza!) 4. I went to retrieve my punk and join Brit and her girlies for a delicious lunch of roasted red pepper soup and grilled cheese. This is my lovely little friend D.

5. The kiddos painted pumpkins from their great-grandpa's garden. 6. This photo is misleading. It shows what I was going to do after I cleaned and before the boys awoke from their afternoon naps. Again, the basher had different plans. No break for me. 7. Although the leaves have turned on the mountain, our yard is still holding on to summer. 8. I am loving my new role as piano teacher. I even paid my babysitter to stay 30 minutes longer so I could practice, uninterrupted.

9. The boys and I went on a short walk in Millcreek Canyon. It turned out to be colder than I had anticipated and the punk wanted to go back to the warm car. 10. But the colors were so beautiful! 11. This gorgeous sunset welcomed us back into the valley. The orange clouds swept the entire sky. 12. My friend and neighbor does a weekly dinner swap with me. I cook for both our families on Mondays. Tonight was her turn to cook: beef and broccoli, garden salad, & pear and raspberry tart. I enjoyed my dinner while watching Modern Family after I put the boys to bed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Astrological Observations

While on an evening walk, just the two of us, the punk observed, "The moon doesn't have glue. It just sticks [to the sky] by itself."

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