Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Punk And His Daddy

My man has been traveling quite a bit lately in order to take care of business before the bambino arrives. When he returned home yesterday after 5 days on the road (or in the air), he and the punk enjoyed hours of bonding time: wrestling, playing with balls, tickling, and more wrestling. And I enjoyed watching them.

Very few things make me happier than witnessing the giggles, squeals, and bright eyes of a little boy playing with his daddy.

So today, when we awoke to 8 inches of fresh snow and my man invited his boy outside for some sledding, I couldn't resist joining them. As a spectator of course. A fat, awkward spectator with a sore back and a coat that won't button.

First they tried sledding down the cinderblock steps. It was a little bumpy.

So my man made a circular path in the flat section of the backyard and pulled the punk around and around. The little guy repeatedly yelled, "This is fun!"

Then my man lead the punk under the apple tree and showed him what happens when you shake the trunk.

The punk also enjoyed a lesson on the merits of eating snow.

This is what marriage and family is all about, and this is why I married my opposite in almost every subject. I can teach the punk to sing, but his daddy is in charge of all kinesthetics.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Earlier this week, this sweet-looking munchkin and I took a little jaunt downtown to buy some gifts at Anthropologie. We found a parking spot on the street about 2 blocks from The Gateway, bundled ourselves against the nippy wind, and walked at a toddler pace to our destination. The little guy had just been to his Kindermusik class, which he loves, and was in a good mood until the minute we walked into the store. As we stepped inside, he exclaimed, "I don't like this store!" and tried to turn and run back outside. What is it about Anthropologie that made him uncomfortable? The pleasantly rustic atmosphere? The vivid colors? The steep prices on the unique pieces of clothing I lust after but can't afford? Whatever it was, he was unhappy.

As I was wearing a heavy coat, carrying my large diaper bag, and sporting a giant frontal protrusion with a heavy living creature inside, I let him walk. I kept a close eye on him while he picked up the candles to smell them, and I held him at a safe distance from the more breakable objects in the store. After only about 3 minutes of trying to browse, it became clear that I really didn't have much time to deliberate. He didn't want to be held, or even hold my hand, and there are way too many fragile items all over the store for me to let him run loose. So I quickly decided on the 3 items I wanted to buy. And that's when the meltdown happened.

"I'm hungry!" he shouted.
"Okay buddy, I have some raisins for you."
I sat him down on a nice, plush bench and gave him his raisins, thinking I could leave him to enjoy his tasty treats while I paid for my items. As he stuffed the little morsels into his mouth, he stared whining, "Help me!" I wasn't sure what he needed help with, so I reached for the tupperware of raisins, thinking maybe there was a large cluster that he would like me to separate for him. Because we all know how traumatizing a cluster of raisins is. There's really no reason to live if there is a cluster of raisins in one's tupperware. As I reached for the container, he pulled away, shaking the raisins. I grabbed his hand so as not to allow a sticky shower of wrinkly bits to descend on the beautiful pillows nearby. And then, of course, he lost it. He wanted help with something, but I had no clue what. I don't think he even knew. He just knew that he was incredibly upset with the combination of me, Anthropologie, and the raisins, and that he was going to make sure everyone within earshot knew of his distress.

Snot and tears covered his face and half-masticated raisins threatened to dribble out of his mouth. His body convulsed in a disturbing way. I wiped his face, put the raisins away, and took my purchases up to the register. The nice lady behind the counter tried to comfort him and converse with me about the blessing in my belly while he was screaming and kicking and draining the last ounces of my maternal patience. Seriously lady, just ring me up and let me escape.

We finally made it out of there, my kicking, crying punk and I. I had planned on treating both of us to a lovely lunch, but had to forego that plan in favor of getting us home immediately. So I carried the diaper bag, the two Anthropologie bags, a writhing, puffy coat-wearing punk, and a very large tummy that happens to be attached to me the two excruciating blocks to the car.

And that is why I haven't been able to stand upright for two days. My back is rebelling against the toddler's tantrum. I've applied heat, I've taken a bubble bath, I've tried Tylenol, I've applied ice... I even made my brother massage my lower back when he visited today. And still, my hips are crooked when I try to stand straight. I look like a 90 year-old when trying to get out of a chair. Actually, my 96 year-old great-grandma could run circles around me right now. I am now going to grab the ice packs yet again, and while I'm at it, I'll grab a bowl of Girl Scout thin mint ice cream, and lie on the couch until the punk wakes up from his nap.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Solo Date

My brother David is an angel sent from heaven above. He called me last week to set up a time when he could come over and play with the punk while I took some "me time." That time turned out to be for an hour this morning. I wasn't in the mood to run the errands I had planned, so instead, I grabbed my camera and took off into the canyon for my solo date.

It was just me, the blue skies, the icy trail, and the ferocious, charging dog with different colored eyes. I didn't get a picture of the mutt because of the ferociousness and the charging. But I did get some shots of the other stuff.

It was windy. So very windy.

I had to get a belly shot:

I loved the shadows on the trail.

When I left my house, I didn't think about wearing good shoes. That there would be snow and ice on the trail didn't even cross my mind. So I just rolled up my pants so they wouldn't get wet and hoped I wouldn't end up on my pregnant butt.

The solo date is one of life's best experiences. I recommend that you incorporate this blessed activity into your routine. Amen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On Sleep and the Lack Thereof

The punk has been shouting in his sleep every single night around 4 am. So every night, I extricate myself from my prison of pillows (two for my head, one for my back, and one between my knees and under my belly) and grunt my way out of bed to stumble into his room. There I find him sideways in his bed, uncovered, so I tell him to lay his head on his pillow, cover him up, give him a kiss, go back to bed, and say a silent prayer that he will sleep until 7:00.

Why is he doing this? Is he having the same dream every night at the same time? Is he shouting because he finds himself uncomfortable and a little chilly, but not aware enough to right himself? Is he just trying to prepare his mama for the misery that is nighttime with a newborn?

Yesterday I found myself thinking about how little time I have left in my pregnancy with the little bean, and instead of being scared or wary, I finally felt jubilant. I caught myself feeling extremely excited to meet the punk's baby brother. This happy feeling was a welcome change from the status quo of the pregnancy so far. Don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy with our decision to have a second child. But as most of you moms of multiple children know, the second pregnancy has been quite different for me, in that I have a better idea of what I've gotten myself into, and I am aware of the havoc this little bean is going to wreak in the Bell home for the first month or two of his life. So, it is a happy development that I've found myself becoming eager to meet the bean.

Then, after laying down my tired head after last night's 4 am ritual, I suddenly realized that in 5 short weeks, I will be stumbling around the house at not only 4 am, but midnight, 2 am, and 6 am every night. And not just to reposition the punk and give a quick kiss, but to stay up for 45 minutes taking care of a squirming, hungry, poopy, wrinkly bean.

So today, I am basking in the luxury of only one nocturnal interruption and bracing myself for what is to come.

Valentine Oreo truffles * finger painting * the palette

Saturday, February 12, 2011

12of12: February (Saturday)

On the 12th of each month, I take 12 photos to document my day. Are you joining me in my 12of12 challenge?

(Click on the block of photos to enlarge.)

1. Lunch at the Mount Olympus Stake Women's Conference. I sang in the women's choir for this event; the (fantastic) keynote speaker was Ardeth Kapp. My lovely little sis attended with me.
2. Green eyeliner.
3. Sunny, clear, and 52 degrees. Not bad for February!
4. Waking up from his nap.
5. Making ants on a log.
6. The punk's friend Charlie invited him to his 2nd birthday party at Jungle Jim's Playland.
7. Smiles on the swings.
8. Cupcakes for cousin Miriam's first birthday. (Yes, we attended 2 birthday parties today!)
9. Me with my best girls: cousin Brooke and sister Rachel.
10. The birthday girl with her people.
11. Bathtime! And my man's attempt at a modesty patch for the punk.
12. I will never tire of this incredible view from my balcony. Goodnight Salt Lake City!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Curves In All The Right Places

I am now carrying a creature in my abdomen that is 18 inches long and weighs as much as a cantaloupe. This doesn't seem very heavy, but by about 6 pm every day, my hard-working body starts to protest. Yesterday my man looked at me while I was merely walking (read: waddling) across the room and said, "You look uncomfortable." He's very observant.

Know who else is observant? Everyone at church. And my family. And my doctor. When I saw my doctor last week, she walked into the room, took one look at me and said, "Wow! You've really popped!" I guess because I see myself every day, I haven't noticed a significant or sudden change. I just know that I'm big and tired. Then at church on Sunday, I was the recipient of so many comments, I stopped counting. Everyone has started to ask when I am due, and when I say that I have 6 weeks left, most of these well-meaning people blurt out, "That long? I thought you were due this month!" No people, I still have a month and a half of growth for you to witness. Watch out. If you get too close, I might poke your eye out with my belly button. At one point, as I was walking across the room to my seat after playing the opening hymn on the piano, the entire room started twittering and whispering and I just knew they were talking about my large belly. Have you ever sensed the eyes of an entire crowd following you across a room and heard their hushed exclamations to each other? This is what celebrities must feel like, but instead of an eating disorder and Botox, I have squished lungs and a sore pelvic bone.

I believe the dress I wore on Sunday accentuated the baby bump, and that was the reason for the sudden interest in my protruding figure. But yesterday, while wearing something a little less curvy, I had the following conversation with my man:

Me: "Do you think I look less large today than I did in my Sunday dress?"
The Man: "No."

Unfailing honesty. I can always count on him for that.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Exercises

Can you sense the punk's relief when his ruthless trainer stops at 10 crunches instead of going on to 20?

Now it's payback time! (Insert whip-cracking sound effect.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Toddler Love

I'm just going to say it. Valentine's Day sucks. And I'm not even single! It just ranks up with there with New Year's Eve in terms of the distorted ratio of expectations vs. reality. No matter what we do to celebrate, the festivities never live up to the hype that surrounds this blasted holiday.

Enter the punk.

All holidays have become much more enjoyable now that this kid is in my life. This afternoon, his friend A joined us for just one hour of play time, so we decided to make Valentine's Day cards.

While the paint was drying, the two friends cuddled up together to explore the contents of A's Dora backpack. They really did choose this snuggly spot on their own. In fact, as they were settling into their seat, I caught the punk with his arm around his lady.

A shared some treats with her guy. She gave her purple Pez to the punk and ate the pink herself.

As I was gluing A's cards together, the two lovebirds were chillin' with their Pez. I then heard the punk say, "So cute," and I looked over to see him caressing A's face. It was so sweet and funny that I just soaked in the moment with a huge grin on my face, wishing someone else had been there to witness the display. Then I grabbed my camera (phone) and asked him if he would reenact the moment:

There's no denying it. Love is in the air!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Food, Glorious Food

Do you ever wish that you just didn't love food as much as you do? I have.

My mom is the kind of gal who eats for no other reason than to sustain life. I've heard her say that sometimes it's a nuisance to stop what she's doing to eat. When she does eat, it's usually something simple. She'll grab a piece of fruit or eat a plain baked potato. No butter, no salt, no sour cream. When I was growing up, I did not enjoy spaghetti. I didn't understand why everyone else loved this pasta when all it consisted of at my house was noodles and tomato sauce. When I started dating my man, he would frequently make dinner for me in the evenings. When he announced one night that he was making spaghetti, I was a bit disappointed, but as a poor college student, I was in no position to be choosy. When he brought out a large plate of noodles with meat AND flavor, I gobbled it up. So THAT'S what I had been missing!

Yes, my mom eats out of obligation. I eat for pleasure. This can be a problem.

My days largely revolve around my meals. I wake up thinking about what I should make myself for breakfast. Sometimes it's as simple as a bowl of cereal. Other times, I'll make a buttered, toasted demi-baguette with from-scratch hot chocolate. Or even a couple slices of buttered whole wheat toast with thick, creamy Greek yogurt. Lately I've been enjoying experimenting with fruit and yogurt smoothies (often with the nutty, nutritious addition of flax seed). Whatever it is, I don't eat out of pure habit or obligation. I take my time, I think about what my taste buds are telling me, and I lovingly create my meal.

Sometimes I wish I were more like my mom in her relationship with food. It doesn't consume her thoughts. The dark chocolate doesn't call her name from the cupboard. She can go hours without thinking about food, until she stops to wonder why her tummy is growling.

However, I have had a nasty cold for a few days. Suddenly, food is no fun. I can't taste anything, and even if I could, I have to choose between chewing and breathing. Last night after kissing the punk goodnight, I loaded up a plate with 3 chocolate cookies and brought them downstairs so I could indulge while watching a girly movie (the man was at the Jazz game with his pops). It took me about 20 minutes to eat the first cookie because in between bites, I would have to put the thing down and take a series of deep breaths. After I finally forced the last bite into my belly, I looked down at the two remaining cookies and said, "Forget it." They weren't worth the effort.

So the moral of the story is I am grateful for my love of food. It is a pleasure that I am fortunate to enjoy. Yes, I may have to constantly remind myself that I really don't need three cookies - one is enough. But if I had to choose between ruh-heeeely enjoying my food and just enduring it... I'm going to choose the pleasure I experience when I bite into a yummy morsel.
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