Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12of12 on 12/12/12 (Wednesday)

Today is 12/12/12 and here are my 12 photos to document it. For having only 2 things on my calendar, one of which being, "make dinner," I sure found a way to fill the day full of stuff!

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 1. This little peanut had us up from 2-4 am last night with intermittent sobbing. I went in his room 3 times to comfort him and every time, I'd crawl, shivering, into bed, start to nod off, and there he'd go again. Now he's all bed head and adorableness, like nothing ever happened. 2. We found Rudolph (aka Rudy), hanging with the lambs and a donkey. 3. Preparing for the punk's 4th birthday. He's having a party on Friday, and each child will get to paint his/her own apron, then make a personal pizza. My talented and generous mother in-law sewed these for me and my sister in-law and I painted the names. 4. Story time. 5. We lasted 15 minutes in the story room before the basher escaped and I gave up. 6. We met Tia Paula and our friend Ella at the City Creek food court for lunch. She and the punk are so cute together. 7. Then we visited the hot new market in town. It was smaller than I had expected. 8. The basher's favorite book before nap time. 9. I am finally running again and it feels awesome (in the sore muscles, clear head kind of way). 10. Dinner and scriptures. Did you notice that we have 2 extra kids around the table? Tonight, we got a taste of what 2 sets of twins would be like. 11. My man and I dropped all four blond boys at the church for Santa's Night Out, sponsored by the young women in my ward. I should have folded laundry, but I read a book (Pride and Prejudice for the 4th time) and munched on Candy Cane Joe Joe's instead. Time well spent. 12. Bokeh christmas tree.

Monday, November 12, 2012

12of12: November (Monday)

[Click the block of photos to enlarge.]

1. Silly Dad. 2. Purple lion vitamin. 3. The boys "helped" me do the dishes. 4. I spent about 2 hours cleaning this morning and didn't even touch the bathrooms, laundry, or downstairs.

5. Banana time. 6. Five Guys fries. Yum. 7. "I can't put my arms down!" 8. Two feet of snow.

9. Working. 10. I am ashamed. 11. Special Piano Time with the punk. 12. My mother in-law and I attended a photography class at the University of Utah.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The M Word

I remember my very first migraine. I was 11 years old and having a picnic in my front yard with some friends, when suddenly, each friend had only half a face. Laughing, I told my mom on the front porch that I could only see half of her face too! Her smile fell and she told me I'd better come inside. Having suffered migraines herself since the age of 11, she knew what I was in for.

Today, the punk came up to me and started talking, but I didn't hear a word he said because he only had one eye. The feeling that comes over me when I realize I have lost my vision can only be described as dread. In one second, all plans for my day vanish and I know I'll be useless and miserable for the next 8 hours, and "hung over" for the following 24. 

With the help of my man, who took over everything I was supposed to be doing, I have survived yet another awful migraine. (This was by no means the worst, but they are all awful.) My vision has been restored. And it's a good thing too, because when your punk has eyes like the sea after a storm (name that movie), you want to see both of them.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trick or Treat

We had a great time trick-or-treating! That is, until the punk complained that he was cold and wanted to go home, take a bath, and go to bed. An hour early. The poor kid is feverish and miserable today. He has a Halloween hangover without even getting to enjoy his candy last night!

Bumblebee & Dragon

Cuter Bumblebee & Dragon

"Trick or Treat!"

We love our neighborhood friends!

It was a perfect Halloween night. Warm, clear, and bright. My family came over for chili. We had just the right number of trick-or-treaters, meaning I gave candy to a bunch of cutie pies, but didn't have to turn off the lights and hide behind the couch to avoid obnoxious late-comers. I was done with door duty by 8:30! Not too shabby. Now if only my punk weren't currently shivering and sweating under a blanket, I'd be content.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

12of12: October (Friday)

Today was grey and rainy at 58-72 degrees. My college friend Lucynthia is in town, so we met her and her two (of 3) boys at the Discovery Children's Museum downtown. This evening, my man returned from a week in Chicago, and we hosted our girlyfriends for dinner and a movie while their parents went to dinner and ran a 5k. How many of you run races for your date night?

[Click the block of photos to enlarge.]

1. Cold cereal just never sounds good in the morning. 2. Melancholy days make me happy! I guess that's a bit ironic. 3. The basher played with the colorful magnets while the punk tried to steal toys from his new friends. 4. Lunch on the roof. 5. Math nerds. Is it just me, or do we look about a million years older than when we graduated 8 years ago? 6. Cleaning the bathrooms during quiet time. 7. After reading together on the couch, the boys got physical. They miss wrestling when their dad is away on business. 8. Preparing to win our neighborhood pumpkin growing contest. 9. He's home! 10. Buddies. 11. I borrowed this hot air popper from my friend and may never give it back. I'm never going back to the microwave crap. 12. Mary Poppins. (I wanted to capture their glow-in-the-dark bracelets, so I kept the lights off and increased my time value. The two wiggly monkeys in the middle were blurry in every single picture.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

We Have Takeoff!

Our first butterfly has emerged from his chrysalis! When we got home from church yesterday, the punk came running downstairs to let me know that we had a butterfly!

The punk and his pet.

The basher examining our specimen.

Come out, little guy!

He stayed on the grass for over an hour, presumably hardening his wings to prepare for flight.

The next chrysalis, waiting for his turn.

Goodbye, Friend!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


This weekend, the Bells have been sick. Both boys had double ear infections in addition to their colds and, even though my man was out of town, he and I had similar symptoms of sore throat and general ickiness. I reluctantly cancelled all my weekend plans - work and play - to take care of the little guys and try to rest myself. It's fortunate that I had already made arrangements for someone to cover me at work on Saturday morning because at about 5:30 am, after getting up to change the basher's diaper (he was crying, "oooowww... oooowww" from his bed, and it turns out he had a very red bum bum), I actually passed out and bashed my face on the toilet. I have a big red, scabby nose to prove it. It's pretty.

Don't worry, it's nothing serious. After visiting an instacare the next morning, it turns out I was probably just dehydrated. Ridiculous.

Anyway, while I was sipping my hot water with lemon and honey the night before the face-bashing incident, I was thinking to myself that I wish my mom were there to take care of me. I'm 31 years old. I have a husband and two children of my own. And I still want my mom?

When I texted my parents that morning that I needed their help, my dad immediately texted back, "We're on our way." He took me to the clinic while my mom stayed with the boys. After I came home, she took the boys to a park so I could take a nap. Later that evening, my mom- and dad-in-law picked up the punk and the basher and took them to the State Fair so I could rest some more.

It is incredibly comforting to know that I can count on BOTH my parents AND my in-laws anytime I really need help. Not only are we geographically close to both sets of parents, they are both supportive and loving and involved in our lives.

After the boys came home and I had bathed them and put the basher to bed, I was tucking in the punk. We read a book and he said a prayer, then as I placed the covers over him, he asked me if I would rub his back. This took me back to my childhood when I shared a room with my brothers. Every night, we asked for a back rub, and my mom would make the rounds. We all got a minute or two of the best kind of comfort there is. Tangible love from our mama, through her fingertips. So at the punk's request, I smiled and tickled his small, smooth back with my fingertips, and found comfort myself in knowing that I was able to show this kind of love to my sweet boy because I had been taught by my own mom what it means to take care of a child.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

12of12: September (Wednesday)

Today was a tough one. The boys and I like to get out and do things most days, but today we stayed in. All the live long day. Both little guys were not feeling well. The punk seemed to improve as the day went on, but the basher was pretty miserable. Hoping for clearer noses tomorrow.

[Click on the block of photos to enlarge.]

1. After bathing the punk in an attempt to clear the kid's stuffy head, my man took off for his annual golfcation. 2. Breakfast. 3. We spent a lot of time cuddling today. 4. Washing our hands before we make cinnamon rolls. 5. One dose for each boy. 6. The finishing touch: maple icing. 7. "Special piano time." That's what we call practicing. 8. What? Doesn't everyone place their multiple windows exactly the same distance apart at a 45-degree angle? 9. More cuddling. I actually fell asleep like this for a few minutes. 10. Poor sicky. 11. The only way I could play frisbee with the punk while holding the basher. Rolling it! 12. Late night pasta: linguine with lemon cream sauce.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Only Pet I'll Ever Love

I've done it. I've found the impossible pet. One that I actually like!

Yes, it's true. I am evil. I don't like dogs. Or cats. Or ferrets or guinea pigs or hamsters or horses. I am not a pet person. I've had every opportunity to become a dog lover. I grew up with dogs; my parents have a dog now and so do my in-laws. Although the former is a bit scraggly and the latter is slightly neurotic, these dogs are nice enough. But I just don't have the animal lover gene - the one that encourages people to snuggle their smelly animals and allow themselves to be licked and scoop their poop and nurture and train and care for these creatures.

But now... I have found the ideal pet.

 My parents brought three caterpillars from the ranch for the little boys to observe. Calvin named them Milkweed, Jady (because at the time, he was in the shape of a J), and Idy. (Can you guess which letter he resembled?) Shortly after these little guys received their names, Jady moved and became Ody for a minute. But then he moved again and his former name was restored.

Jady has already spun his chrysalis. I think Idy will spin tonight. Milkweed is still chowing down on his... you guessed it... milkweed.

Listen to me! I am just as invested in the happiness and wellbeing of these striped worms as the little boys of the house. They don't leave hair on my furniture or poop in my grass. They don't require love and affection, nor training, nor exercise. As long as I keep a constant supply of fresh milkweed coming, they are content. And, in a week or two, after the novelty of having real live insects on our kitchen table wears off, they will emerge from their green and gold enclosures and we will set them free!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

David and Natalie

My brother's wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life. Ha! Yes, the day belonged to the newly-crowned Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, but it was so joyful for me to be part of the beautiful and meaningful ceremony, and then to celebrate with our family. I am thrilled that my little brother chose the lovely, happy, generous, smart, silly, kind woman that is my new sister in-law. They are so happy together. Hooray!

Here are some of my favorite shots of the wedding reception, held at the home of Natalie's friend. They had a crepe bar, a trail mix station, a jazz band, and croquet. They had three wedding cakes: a chocolate torte made by my parents, a lemon bundt cake made by Natalie's parents, and a white frosted cake made by David and Natalie themselves.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Shameful Shed Shenanigans

I am a royal idiot.

Yesterday afternoon, I was playing in the backyard with the little guys while our man was at a church meeting. We were having a lovely time examining the growing pumpkin in the garden and running around on the grass. Then the punk asked me about the little glow stick that his primary teacher had given him. I cracked it for him, but in the bright sunlight, we couldn't see the mild orange light emanating from the stick, so I had a brilliant idea. "Let's go into the dark shed, Buddy, and I'll show you how it glows!" So, with my camera strapped over my shoulder (it is attached to me all day on the 12th), I led my 3 year-old into the hot, dark tool shed. The basher was busy playing in the dirt, so I didn't bother disturbing him; we would only be a minute. I pulled the wooden door closed behind me so we could enclose ourselves in darkness to marvel at the magical glow that was looped around the punk's wrist.

"See, Buddy? Pretty cool, huh?"
He nodded.

Then I pushed the door and immediately realized that I was the dumbest person on the planet at that moment. The door had locked behind us and there is no latch inside the shed. The basher had just realized that we had gone into the normally forbidden tool shed without him, and came over to yell at the door in hopes that we would include him in our game. As I foolishly tried to figure out a way out, his yells turned to cries and then sobs. I knew we were okay; my man was due home any minute, and we had ample air. We even had plastic chairs to sit on. The basher was physically safe. He would not leave the other side of the shed door, and therefore, was unable to get into any mischief. But the poor guy was completely distraught. With the latch securing the very top of the door, I was able to push the bottom out a few inches in order to hold his hand, which gave him minimal comfort. With my words of comfort and my soft touch, he was able to stop screaming and just breathe in hiccups like one does after a very hard cry.

I tried to feed a rope with a hook over the top of the door in order to catch the latch, but it was on the other side of the door jam, and unreachable. I even tried wedging a shovel in the door like a crowbar, and using my supermom strength to muscle the door open by breaking the lock, but 1) we weren't desperate enough to do that kind of damage to the shed and 2) the basher would not leave the door, and would have been knocked over if I had beaten the door down. He kept sticking his fingers and even his arm in the space that I created when I pushed from my side.

We were stuck in that stupid shed for a good 45 minutes while our cheeks reddened with heat and the basher's cheeks reddened with despair. 

Finally, my man pulled into the driveway. Through my 1-inch view, I saw him come straight from his car to the backyard. He had seen the basher and thought we all must be hanging out. Then, as he told his mom while laughing so hard he was crying, he saw that the basher was standing at the door of the shed by himself. Then he noticed that the door was being pushed from the inside and a hand was sticking out. He heard, "TIM!" and the hand from the shed waved frantically. I saw his face, bewildered at first, and then understanding dawned and he burst out laughing. I laughed sheepishly from inside the shed, knowing what I must look like to my man who likes to tease. 

He freed us, gave the boys a hug and a kiss, and laugh/cried while he called his mom and attempted to explain the idiocy he had just witnessed.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

12of12: August (Sunday)

Every month on the 12th, I take 12 photos to document my day. This month, we started the day at Grandpa's ranch near Vernal with my family and ended the day at home.

[Click on the block of photos to enlarge]

1. Miriam couldn't resist a morning cuddle from her brother Martin, who slept on the deck under the stars. 2. The view of the cabin from the bridge over the stream. 3. My punk and my cousin (and best friend)'s daughter were inseparable this weekend. I saw him twice put his arm gently on Miri's back and sweetly say, "I love you." He probably just appreciated that, as the younger cousin, she deferred to him in all matters. 4. We enjoyed lots of aunt and uncle time this weekend. Here, my brother Michael and his girlfriend Paula help my man wrangle the three little ones on the bridge. 5. Getting ready for the journey home. 6. Goodbye, ranch! 7. The basher was lulled into an early nap in the car. 8. Then he enjoyed a delicious milkshake at Granny's Drive In in Heber. 9. I win the Idiot Award for locking myself and my punk inside the backyard shed while the basher was stranded and sobbing outside and our man was at a church meeting. Shameful story to follow. 10. "Cheese toasty" with mozzarella, pepperoni, fresh tomato, and garden-warmed basil for dinner. The boys had canned soup. I win! 11. We returned Grandma Lynn & Papa Bob's camping gear (to the punk's chagrin - he wanted to keep "his" sleeping bag), and enjoyed the view from the deck. 12. My attempt to remove campfire from every pore.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Natural History

I loved growing up close to my cousins. They were some of my best friends, and still are! We played together often and knew each other well. During the summer, my cousin Brooke and I would take the number 40 bus to and from each other's houses. (Can you even imagine sticking your child on a bus by herself these days?) Every time our families got together, we would play Barbies for hours, and then, when it was time to go home, we would beg our moms to have a sleepover.

My boys have exactly one cousin. And he lives 5 hours away in Boise, ID. So when James came to spend a week with Grandma and Papa, we squeezed in as much cousin time as we could. We spent two afternoons at the pool, and one morning at the new Natural History Museum.

As an only child, he's not used to having to accommodate weird little kids, but he is a sweetie, and he let the punk talk his ear off and poke him with puppets in the car.

Bell boys

I love the architecture of this building.

Run, Grandma! He's getting away!

You look surprised to see me.

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