Sunday, May 31, 2009

Relationship musings

I haven't gotten around to uploading the pictures from my trip; hopefully I'll do that tomorrow. But, I was just thinking (read: finding ways to not do the dishes) two things about life.

1. Making friends is much, much harder than it used to be. There are so many more considerations: not only do I have to find someone about my age, plus or minus 5-8 years, but I have to find someone with kids about my kid's age, Who Like Each Other. I had Lillian when I was pretty young, so most people my age are just having their first baby, while I have two. And, Lillian's only social sometimes, other times, she just wants to play with the other kid's toys, and not the kid. I only have one friend, but I'm working on a second.

I feel like I'm dating all over again. I get up the nerve to call and schedule a play date, then I have to wonder how long before I can call again. Did they have fun? I think our kids had fun together, but was it just one sided? Is two days too soon? Are they busier than me? If so, what are they busy doing? Can we come, or is that too much?

2. I sort of wish I could get married again. I was just barely 21 when I got married and I didn't care about a fancy reception. (A few people told me I was WAY too young to get married, and I thought I was very mature and plenty old. Now, I meet other 21 year-olds who are getting married and I think, 'Are you crazy? You're WAY too young to get married'.) My friends were all in their early 20's, most on missions, and as such did not have ways or means to travel long distances to be there. I wasn't very girly, I'm still not really, and I wasn't expecting to get married until I was at least 25, so I hadn't given the whole affair much thought. A small reception was what I wanted at the time, and I have no regrets about it. But, a single friend of mine recently showed me her wedding idea book, and I got a little googly-eyed. I wish I could get married again, now that I'm older and my friends are older. I would care about centerpieces and flowers, and putting candles in mason jars. I guess this is why people have anniversary parties. Would you come if we had a fancy party for our 5-year anniversary next year?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Reminiscences

This morning, we took Tyler to the airport (so he could go on a business trip for 4 days) and we headed off to cross the wide open desert to go to my Dad's house way far away. The drive was long (9 hours, blech) and filled with much crying and many stops. But, with our fancy new car, it only cost $30 in gas. Take that.

All these airplane rides (for Tyler) bring to mind my most memorable airplane trip. My sister Allison lived in Utah while I was in high school; she's 8 years older than me. Because she is a super cool older sister, she would invite me to stay with her during Christmas break. I think I did this at least two, maybe three times. I'd fly out at the beginning of my break, hang out and get a taste of what hip twenty-somethings did in their spare time, then we would fly home together in time for Christmas. I thought my sister was super awesome (I still think this) and so I enjoyed these trips immensely.

One year, we figured out that it is much cheaper to fly on Christmas Day, rather than Christmas Eve. This we did, I think I was 16 this year. We had a short lay over in Las Vegas where Allison (jokingly?) asked if I wanted to play the slots. As was characteristic of my prudish self, I think I replied something like "#1. I'm only 16 and that's illegal. #2. It's a double sin to gamble on Christmas Day." Why she let me hang around with her, I'm not sure. We got into Ontario Airport sometime in the early afternoon and waited out front to be picked up. And waited. And waited.

We had been forgotten. On Christmas day.

I don't think either one of us had a cell phone, this being 10 years ago, so there was quite a bit of, "do you think they forgot us?" "No, they couldn't have. Maybe they went to the wrong terminal? (Ontario has two separate terminals, just to make things confusing)" Once we found a phone and got it all sorted, my mom came right away.

*I hope I'm not making anyone feel bad by telling this story, I thought it was funny at the time (well, maybe the day after) and I think it's funny now.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Migraine Reign

I've gotten migraines on and off since puberty. They were a pain (get it?), sure, but they didn't really interfere with my life all that much. I got exactly zero while I was pregnant with Nora, but since she's been born, I've had probably 5,000. No exaggeration.

Actually, last week, I thought I'd start keeping a headache diary, in case I actually do go see some sort of medical professional about this problem. I've had 1 migraine a week for the last 4 weeks. Most of them are at night, so I can still sort of function during the day. (And by function, I mean I can put Nora in the swing and set it to high while Lillian watches 10 hours of Super Why!, the new favorite that has toppled the long-standing-favorite status of Little Einsteins, while I die on the couch.)

I've used up all the narcotics that I had left over from my delivery and have moved back to the old stand-by of Diet Coke and 2 Tylenol. I hate it. I hate everything about it. At least it isn't as bad as my sister, who got a migraine while in labor. Yes. That is the worst possible thing that could happen to anyone ever.

But, Nora slept through the night last night for the first time. So that was nice.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Blanket Fort

Unlike Tyler and Lillian's previous forts, I was allowed in this one.

The white blanket in the back was my suite.

Those guys are silly.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Can We Build It?

When we purchased our house, it had paper blinds. These, as you can imagine, let in a lot of light, and a lot of heat. We've finally gotten around to getting real blinds. But, that's not the story here. The blinds (which you can see on the windows in the background) came wrapped in bubble wrap, which necessitated many Ace Ventura reenactments.

The thing I'm looking forward to the most with the new blinds - making my children's rooms like caves so they'll be tricked into sleeping longer. Like birds. No more 5:30 mornings for me, suckers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday Reminiscence

With Tyler's trip to Utah, I was remembering my many visits to the Motherland.

The last but one time I went to Utah was the summer after my senior year of high school. It was late in the summer and Big D and I were working at The Ice Cream Parlor. We were set to go into the UC system, which starts at the end of September and all our sucker friends who were going to BYU had already abandoned us. Life was extremely dull without them.

So, one day at work we had a clandestine meeting, probably over purloined cookie dough ice cream, and decided that we'd just quit our jobs two weeks early and take off to seek out Provo. I'd never driven farther than LA before and neither of us had a car. It was gonna be a great fandango.

After explaining our plan 5 different ways to our boss (he did not speak English), borrowing my mother's car (which was really nice of her, now that I think about it), and my Father giving me some money and lecturing me about what lanes to drive in through the desert, we were off. Part of our plan was the element of surprise. We knew that we had some friends in Deseret Towers, but what that was, or where it was, we had no idea. Also, we wanted to return our friend C's cup which he left at the Ice Cream Parlor when he left.

We got underway and after awhile, we realized we had forgotten our music. In the car, my mom had two cassettes: Fame, and The Lion King. We listened to these over, and over, and over again. So much so, that we made up car choreography for them. Yeah. We were cool.

Once we got to Provo, after an unexpected stop in Alpine to look at Big D's grandma's cruise pictures, we found BYU, or rather, we could see it. We drove up one street, and down another, but we could not find a way to get in. We were driving parallel to the school for at least 30 minutes before we stopped at a gas station. We walked in, fully aware that we looked like two dumb blond California idiots, and asked how to get to BYU. The gas station attendant pointed to the street to the left and said, "You take that road."

"And then....?"

"You take that road, that's it."

Thus confirming that we were, in fact, dumb blond California idiots. I've never felt so dumb in my whole life.

We did end up finding everyone and had a really great time, but I've never gotten over that look from the gas station attendant.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Girlie time

This past weekend, Tyler flew to Utah to pick up the newest member of our family, leaving me and the girls. Alone. For two days. What to do when you're 3 girls alone with no male influence? Hello, make brownies and watch girly movies, of course.

I'd like to thank my new best friend Miss Nemesis for the North & South recommendation. (She doesn't know we're best friends, mostly because we've never met, and I'm pretty sure she has no idea I exist.)

It has everything you'd want: self-actualized female lead, brooding male lead with dead sexy facial stubble, beautiful English countryside, mutiny, misunderstandings, and so on.

For some reason, the girls did not enjoy it as much as I did. Huh. Maybe they don't have enough estrogen in their little bodies to appreciate Richard Armitage's facial hair, and, let's hope it stays that way. I had to finish watching it after they went to bed, but the final scene was worth staying up late for.

Also, this movie reminded me of a roommate I had once when I was in Santa Barbara. She was some brand of drama major and during the time I lived with her, she took a circus performing class (in which she learned how to juggle and balance things on her chin), a mask making class (in which she made masks out of papier mâché and laundry baskets), and an accents class (in which she had to learn various accents (at this point I seriously considered switching majors)). While in those first 18 years of my life, I was vaguely aware that there were different accents contained within England, but I pretty much thought that there were just two: Mary Poppins and Bert. This roommate had to learn a few British ones, including the Queen's English and practiced by saying "Haady Pottaa." Also memorable was her practicing a monologue about Toxoplasmosis from Trainspotting.

Anyway, in the movie, the actors do a good job with the accents. That was really my only point.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wicked Smarts

OK, I think I've figured this out. When driving home from Utah, We'll go to the theater where I will meet Nachel (if her husband watches the baby. Which, Nate, please do this. Your wife has been smarting for years over her missed chance, I bet. So, do it for her so she can make peace with her past) and Tyler will drive home. After the show, I will go home with Natchel in her car.

I love this plan. Nora will be able to eat close to the time of her normal last feeding. Lillian will get to sleep in her own bed. I get to see Wicked.

Also, I tried feeding Nora breastmilk in a bottle, and no amount of coaxing could persuade her I was not, in fact, trying to poison her. I tried a Nuby and she just chewed on the tip so milk leaked out perilously fast, filling her mouth, spilling out to cover her face and drench her shirt before she could even swallow.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Help me figure this out

Wicked is coming to Tempe. I am excited but I'm running into some major roadblocks.

The biggest and most major is explained by a conversation I had with my sister this morning over AIM:

Me: Wicked is coming to Tempe and I want to go and Tyler is only halfway supportive, so figuring out a way to go has been tricky


Nora won't take a bottle

we tried yesterday and when I finally went upstairs, I saw that her face was beet red and she was screaming, she was so mad [she was about to start vomiting fire all over Tyler, she was that mad]

that was formula though, I think I'll try again with breast milk, and if that doesn't work, I'll have to give up

Sister: well I know how that goes all too well

Me: so, If we can't get her to take breast milk, then it doesn't matter if Tyler will watch the kids for a Saturday or not

Sister: yes, that doesn't matter


If I can't get her to take a bottle, the only other plan is extremely convoluted and involves going on our way back from Utah while Tyler and the kids hang out at Hottomily's house. That way, I could see a 7:30 show and would only miss one feeding, instead of 4 or so. This way, we'd probably have to spend the night, which Hottomily said, preliminarily, would be fine. I worry about Lillian, though. We all know how well she does not sleeping in her bed.

Here are the numbers:

The show is running July 1-26 in Tempe which is roughly 100 miles north from where I live. There is a 7:30 show every night and on weekends, there's a 2:00 matinee.

We are beginning our trek to Idaho via Utah on July 1st and returning July 7th or 8th, depending on how it goes.

We will be driving right past Tempe when we drive back (and when we drive up, but we'll be driving past at like 4 AM, which is no good to me.)

Can anyone figure this out for me? And, does anyone want to go with me? (I asked my husband and he said he's only interested 2.5 out of 10. I think that means he doesn't want to go.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday Reminiscences

A long time ago, my mother and I were talking about our creativity, or lack of it. I have a lot of talents in this life, but creativity is just not one of them. "I'm a good copier," my mom said. "People think I'm creative, because I can copy other people's ideas really well." Same for me. Bridget has Flashback Fridays, and I think this is a good idea, so I'm copying it. But, it's going to be on Tuesdays, because it's a boring day where I have nothing else to do.

This Tuesday brings us back to Mother's Day, 2006. I was 7 or so months' pregnant with Lillian and my belly was pretty big. For my present, Tyler planned a picnic up in Poly Canyon's design Village, a place where architecture students can build their senior projects, or something like that. It's beautiful and really cool.

The Design Village is about a mile down a wide dirt road which can only be accessed by car if you have the code to the gate which one of our friends (Liz?) obtained at some point during our college career. How Liz, or whoever it was, got this code is still very much a mystery to me. Code in hand, we drove right up to the entrance, unloaded our picnic and hiked up a little ways until we found a nice spot to put our blanket down.

We were there for about 5 minutes before Nature started pressing down on me. Pollen started working itself into my system which, as it is known to be irrational like that, began releasing massive amounts of histamines into my blood stream. The mucus. The itchy eyes. And, the sneezing. Oh, lots and lots of sneezing. It started small, and then I couldn't talk. I sneezed probably 200 times before we decided to pack it in.

The sneezing wasn't really the reason I decided we needed to go, IMMEDIATELY. Well, not the sneezing alone, but the sneezing wasn't really helping my... stress incontinence. I already had a baby resting it's head on my bladder, and now my diaphragm was putting even more pressure on top of that, and I just couldn't do it. We hadn't been married for that long, so I wasn't all that comfortable with saying, "We have to go because I'm peeing my pants and I can't stop," besides, I thought he would be able to take one look at me and see what I thought was obvious. It was probably the most embarrassed I had ever been in front of Tyler. I just kept saying, "we need to leave, we need to leave. Pack up faster, we have to go."

On our hike down to the car, we passed some people going up and I was probably quite a sight: 7 months' pregnant, sneezing uncontrollably, face beet red from embarrassment, and wet pants. Right then, I wanted to die.

Tyler, in his usual this-is-no-big-deal-we'll-figure-this-out manner got us back into the car, and took us home where I immediately went our bedroom to change and hide for the rest of the day.

I was so mortified by this that it wasn't until two years later, Mothers' Day 2008, that I could talk about it. I brought it up and was talking about how incredibly embarrassing the whole incident was and Tyler said, "You were embarrassed that you couldn't stop sneezing?"
"No," I answered. "I was embarrassed that I wet my pants."
"YOU WET YOUR PANTS? No wonder you were so upset." That whole time, he had no idea. I guess it wasn't as obvious as I thought.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lunch with Lillian in real time

Scene 1: Eating Lunch. Lillian is eating peanut butter and honey, Amanda has a PB&J with her homemade jam that set up beautifully (if you were wondering). Nora is sitting nearby in a bumpo-type chair.

Lillian: (laughing) Nora made a shovel. She made a shovel.
Me: What?
Lillian: I'm eating my sandwich in my own chair. I have my own chair. That's.... I WANT TO WASH MY HANDS!
Me: OK, let's go to the sink. (Walks to sink)
Lillian: I need soap.
Me: Are you finished with your sandwich?
Lillian: No, thanks. (Walks back to the table starts eating again) You're drinking Daddy's sicky water, I'm sicky, I'm a big girl. I have juice. My juice is for Nora and you have Daddy's sicky water. [When I was sick, I drank from a certain water bottle and called it my sicky water, so she would know not to drink from it too. I am currently drinking from this bottle.] Please flowers... (she says to my Mother's Day flowers on the table) I'm trying to get up.
Me: What do you want the flowers to do?
Lillian: Eating sandwiches. Do you need some, flowers? They need sandwiches. Need sandwiches. She growed up.
Me: Who grew up?
Lillian: Nora! Nora growed up.
Me: Just now?
Lillian: Nora growed up. (Nora spits up) BURP cloth, BURP cloth!
(I wipe Nora's mouth)
Lillian: MOM, MOM, MOM, MOM
Me: Yes?
Lillian: Do you want to share your water? Come on, it will be fun.
Me: You have juice.
Lillian: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, yum, yum, yum, yum. Mmmmm, bread. (She takes a bite then starts to pretend cry)
Me: What's wrong?
Lillian: Yum, yum, yum. I can't reach you. (She pretends to try to reach me with her legs) I can't reach you to tickle you.
Me: That's silly.
Lillian: I want to wash hands.

End scene.

Working at the car wash

Lillian loves helping and not wearing pants.

My two favorite people.

The only problem with taking pictures of Lillian is that she always wants to look at them immediately after you take them. Often, she's quite adamant about it and gets quite sour when I don't let her do it.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A first for Us and Things

I love these shoes.

I wore them everywhere: to work, to school, playdates. They are so comfortable.

Then, I had baby #2. For some reason, even after the baby and I have gone our separate ways, my feet are 1/2 size bigger than they used to be. These lovely Anne Kline heels are a size 7, and sadly, too small for me now, by slightly more than a tad. (If I was really honest with myself, I could admit that they were a smidge too small to begin with. If I was honest.) I've tried to power through. But, a few weeks ago, Tyler and went to see a show at the U of A, and on the way back to the car, I chose to walk a quarter mile barefoot rather than wear these shoes. I can't fool myself anymore.

So, I want to give them away. I thought of donating them to DI, but I just can't do it, I'm not sure why. So, if you wear a size 7, and want these shoes, leave me a comment and I'll send them to you, just like that. If there's more than one of you, I'll pick from a hat. Goodbye shoes.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Great Jam Fiasco

My mother-in-law makes jam every year. She gives some of this jam to us. She never gives us enough, and I get that: she's got better things to do than enable my jam and roll addiction. Last year (or two years ago?) I asked her to teach me how to make jam, and it seemed pretty easy.

Begin by buying a flat of strawberries. Our flat consisted of 4 2-lb cartons. Then put them in your french door refrigerator that you argued you'd need for platters and flats of strawberries.

I was really excited for jam. I cleaned and prepped the strawberries the day before we made the jam. When Tyler got home, he asked if I had "done the thing [my] mom did with the apple slices." What?

After a bit, I gathered he was talking about Fruit-Fresh. Way back in the way back time, my mom would line up seven brown paper bags every morning and make our lunches. Bless her, she cut up our apples and put them in a solution of water and Fruit-Fresh so that they wouldn't go brown during the day. Wasn't that nice? These are the types of things you don't think about until you get older and think, "wow, that was a lot of work." Also, these are the types of things that I'm not sure why I told my husband. When did this come up? Have we discussed Fruit-Fresh before? And, why does he remember this? Does he secretly wish I put his apples in Fruit-Fresh?

Anyway, Darlene discovered the secret to keeping your strawberry jam nice and red over the months is to dip the strawberries in a Fruit-Fresh solution and then in water before putting them in the food processor.

Too late. I guess we'll just have dark jam. This is lesson #1: Fruit-Fresh.

Here we are, day 2. I may as well mention lesson #2: Do not make a double batch in a single pot, you'll see why in a minute. I should have consulted Darlene on this point, but I didn't and it was pure folly.

Take 6 1/4 C crushed (it says in big letters on the recipe DO NOT PUREE) strawberries, one envelope of SURE-JELL pectin, and 1/4 C fresh lemon juice and heat it over med-high heat until you reach a steady boil.

Once you reach a steady boil, you need to add all the sugar at once, so have it measured out and ready. 7 3/4 C. This is double, remember. Also remember that this is a bad idea.

Add the sugar all at once and then return to a rolling boil. Once it hits a rolling boil, the mixture will roughly double in size and if you decided to make a double batch, it will overflow.

Here was our problem. You are supposed to boil this for EXACTLY 4 MINUTES, skimming any foam off the top with a metal spoon. How do you keep it boiling when it's overflowing?

We took that towel, the one on the left with the burned strawberries on it, and wiped down the stove, and then set the pot back down and boiled it for 3 min, 30 sec, and prayed for the best. Tyler fashioned a funnel out of a juice jug and we ladled away.

Put the jam into the jars (oh, you've been simmering the lids this whole time right? Good), wipe down the rim and the threads, put a lid on it, screw a ring on and then turn it upside down for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, turn them right-side up, and let them sit for 24 hours. I'm hoping that my jam will set up. It's been about 18 hours and it's still a little jiggly. I don't know if this is normal, but I'm suspecting we might have what the recipe calls SET FAILURE. Ah, live and learn, I guess.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Character Story Time

Lillian's pretty fearless, right? She likes Where the Wild Things Are right?


The first Saturday of every month, they have what they call Character Storytime at the U of A. We've never been, probably because we hadn't liked any of the characters they've had or the books they've come from. Yesterday was Where the Wild Things Are a book Lillian LOVES. So, we decided to go.

They read some stories, sang some songs, and it was all well and good. But, as soon as she saw that guy coming from around the corner, it was all tears and "No, no, no, no, he's scary, no, no, I want to go home!" This was as close as we could get, and it was pushing it.

Incidentally, there was a little boy in front of us who was also scared. His older sister, maybe 6 years old, said, "Look, you're four years old. You are way too old to be scared of some guy in a suit. Pull yourself together."
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