Days 2015

Days 2015

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Big Parade






Here are some pictures of Leslie in her Veruca Salt costume, marching in the Lehi RoundUp Days Parade in our ward's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory float. Our float won best costumes award, so that was pretty cool. Leslie looked great but I think the Oompa Loompas won the judges over. She had a blast. Here's a shot of our homemade tent I mentioned before, and also a picture of Boston with the strawberries he helped pick last night. Our neighbor has a huge patch and had been gone for two weeks, so it was bursting. She called us to come pick as much as we wanted. The kids loved it and didn't even realize they could snack on them. We got a gallon ice cream bucket full and one of those pink hospital tubs they give you. The strawberries are really tiny and cute, like in old Victorian paintings. I made Strawberry Napoleons today. Tomorrow, maybe a pie with my rhubarb. Not much else is going on right now. I'm gritting my teeth going through the second worst part of parenthood with Boston right now. Potty training. (The worst part is the newborn sleep deprivation thing where you think you are going to die.) He has been so stubborn and belligerent about the whole thing. He yells and screams when I suggest a skip to the loo. I've pondered several times about why we as a society have to be so nicey nicey when we potty train. We are allowed to be strict with our kids with other things, but I somehow know I'm not allowed to spank him if he goes and hides in the toy room to do the job instead of where he should. We've tried everything, including bribery to the point of new toy cars for frequency and a chocolate Lindt truffle for a number 2. (You're starting to sense my desperation...) But one day this week he woke up and announced that he had to go, so I decided to try again in earnest. As my sister in law suggested, we got a horribly embarrassing and cringe-worthy Elmo video from library for him to watch, and the next day he agreed to wear underwear "like Elmo does". We quit diapers cold turkey. I realize that this method involves much more training of the parent than the child (you have to remember to take them if they aren't inclined to take themselves) but I had to start somewhere. The first day was flawless, without much argument from Boss. We even went to the movies with the kids. My spirits were soaring. The second day I remembered the whole one step forward, two steps back thing. I ask you, what child, except one who you are trying to potty train, has 4 poop jobs in one day?!? I only caught half of them. And now we are out of clean underwear, it's Sunday so I'm not going to the store or washing a load of bleach-soaked whites. So much for cold turkey. Wet turkey, maybe. We'll get back to the grindstone tomorrow. Wish me luck.

A Teenager All Over Again

I'd like to present to all of you some scientific observations I've made these last couple years. I am not very qualified to make a formal study, but I am married to a man who graduated with a BS in Sociology (shhh. It's our little secret...) before he went on to get an MBA. And he speaks French, therefore, has plenty of BS to go around. So here is my informal contribution to the academic world. I am calling my theory the Teenager Echo Effect. I always wondered at the strange behavior of my parents when I was a teen, as did my friends. Now as a parent of small children, some of their motivations are surfacing. Hypothesis: It's all about REVENGE. They want you teens to feel exactly as they felt while they were trying to parent you as small children. Whether they realize it or not, your frustrated, angst-filled being is an echo of their frustration with you, years before. You don't believe me? My observations are actually quite compelling.
*My experiences as a teen were not always typical.
**The typical teen noted does not always refer to my personal experiences, either.
***These are only lightly taken observations, leaving out much of the positive differences. I'm much happier as an adult, really.

The Teenager Echo Effect

You've all heard that having children makes you feel young again. Personally, my kids make me feel like a teenager. That's right. Here's why, in no particular order:
1. They never let me do anything.
2. They throw a fit if I'm not home by bedtime, and it's the same thing for all my friends.
3. I speak a different language than grownups. The original teenage years used strange words like "rad", "the bomb", "my bad" and "total hottie". Now in my echo teenage years, there's a lot of, "Did yo brudder bang you on yo chinny chin chin?" And "the bomb" refers to something much nastier.
4. I have to drive a nerdy car. Then, an old beige station wagon (ha ha Michelle!). Now, an old silver minivan. With a broken taillight. (We leave it that way so I can pick it out from all the other Honda Odysseys in the WalMart parking lot...)
5. Cute boys are crawling all over me. (Wait a second, this didn't ever actually happen the first time around. Scratch that one. But hey, they still talk like cavemen and burp a lot.)
6. They wake me up way before I'm ready. And they always seem really happy about it, too, that's what gets me. This one I think I will really enjoy taking my revenge on.
7. Back to that different language thing. Did your parents ever try out the "in" vocabulary and it came out totally misused? That works in the echo years, too. Mark gave Boston something at the table and Boston patted him lovingly on the hand. "Thanks fo' be my wife."
8. They bug me to get off the phone and interrupt me whenever I'm trying to carry on a conversation with a cute guy. (Mom....Youth Conference...1995....)
9. I try to tell them that it's the weekend and I should get a break, but they still make me do all this work.
10. Someone's always crying at the dinner table. (Um, Darcy? Hope you've stopped that habit now that you're in those echo years yourself.) The bad news about the echo years is that whoever is crying is generally too young to threaten with having to do all the dishes if they don't quit it.
11. They don't like what I wear. But in the echo years, instead of just giving the raised eyebrow, they completely destroy the wardrobe before I leave the house.
12. Oh, and they make me spend my money on responsible things like socks and underwear, and when I do finally get to go shopping for some new clothes for myself, they manage to completely embarrass me in the dressing room. (My mom wasn't crawling around into other people's stalls while screaming, but she still managed to get the job done thoroughly.)
13. They cry when I leave home. My parents are still trying to pull that one on me and I'm almost thirty, so I'm thinking I must have been a really attached baby.
14. Someone short with cold feet and sharp toenails is always crawling into my bed for nightmare recovery. (Hmm. Brooke would be the original guilty party on this one.)
15. I have to change diapers. Mom, working at the nursing home was not good practice for motherhood, no matter how many times I tried to tell myself that. It was just more diapers.
16. I have big plans for when I (I mean they) grow up.
17. The potty language I am surrounded by is way beneath me.
18. My friends and I have gone through wild hormone changes and are trying to recover by telling each other repeatedly how skinny we are looking.
19. Their mouth is movin', but I ain't pickin' up what they're puttin' down, if you know whaddimean.
20. They love me more than anyone and I know they are here to teach me to be like Jesus. So I guess the echo years aren't so bad, either.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dream Big....

We've been enjoying the fabulous weather in the evenings lately. (Afternoons are on the hot side now, but the kids have had plenty of sprinkler time. Sometimes they get two baths a day.) Sunday evening we went on our first official family bike ride. The air was warm, clear and bugless (that means perfect). The boys were good in their little trailer and Leslie rode a long way without complaining, over around some ponds by the Jordan River. It really felt like summer. I've been trying to cram in a lot of everyday summertime experiences for my kids to remember; things that we just do a lot when it's summertime and a little lazier. Going for walks and bike rides, making and eating homemade popsicles (we're on our third batch in two weeks), running through the sprinkler, playing baseball in the backyard. Trying to remember a few more that I did as a child, I even made a fake clothesline tent with some twine strung between my deck's stair post and fencepost. I'm sure everyone driving by thought we were total white trash with the orange and pink flowered bedsheets hanging over a clothesline in the backyard. The funny thing was that I didn't even have any clothespins so I had to use those metal and plastic paper clamps. But it made great shade, the kids played in it all morning and picnicked there for lunch, and when I laid inside the breeze came through, billowing the sheets and making that warm Downy+grass smell that made me just a little homesick for my own childhood. (Of course, to make it historically accurate, I really needed Jake or Duke to run by at full speed and douse me with a squirt gun.)
I decided not to let the kids have all the summertime fun, so I planned a fun date for Mark and I. We mooched off of neighboring city Saratoga Spring's splash days celebration by attending their free evening concert after the kids were tucked in bed and with a babysitter. It was Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband, a local strings-instrument band now nationally famous for their big hit last year, Dream Big. Some friends of ours were also there and reserved us prime picnic blanket spots. The concert was in a big park up in the Harvest Hills neighborhood, so while we watched the concert and the sunset, we could see Utah Lake a little and the lights of Lehi below us. Once again, the weather was fabulous and perfect (that means bugless). The music was great and every once in a while a stray balloon from one of the families around us would magically drift up to the stars. Sigh. It was beautiful and we stayed for the fireworks afterward. That part actually made me laugh because I am not used to watching fireworks with a big ole set of amps behind me, blaring out a soundtrack of classical music and patriotic songs. The only soundtrack I've ever heard while watching fireworks on the fourth was my grandma oohing and aahing with us grandkids (I'm sure she was so bored of our amazement by the end of the show) with frequent accompanying bug slaps ("there was one one your face. Honest.") up on airport hill over the tiny town of Choteau, MT on the 4th of July. It really threw me when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir came on at the end. The fireworks ended before the song, and I wasn't even sure if I should cheer or clap because I didn't know if that would be reverent! Living in Utah after 10 years still brings a few suprises.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Leslie Wonka





Leslie is super excited today because she got asked to play the role of Veruca Salt, the bossy rich girl on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for our ward's float in the Lehi Roundup Days parade. She gets to wear lipstick, lots of curls, a pink dress and fur stole. (That is, if I can scrounge up enough scraps of Boston's old Big Bad Wolf costume.) The gal in charge chose Leslie to do the part because they actually look alot alike. She had a picture of the girl from the movie and Boston thought it WAS Leslie.
Father's day went well. Mark got to take a nap AND have a nice lasagna dinner with peaches n' cream pie for dessert. I gave him some pictures of the kids, (since I realized that we have, like, none.) Here are the results of my photo shoot. Don't they all have the most gorgeous blue eyes?
Saturday night we went on our first family venture into American Fork Canyon. We got this cool magazine a while back explaining all the fun places to go there. So we got a pizza (the kids were too hungry to wait for a campfire) and took it up to Tibble Creek Reservoir, a little mountain lake, where I figured we would picnic and Boston could throw rocks 'til the cows came home. I've been to little mountain lakes before, you see, and they are always pristine, serene, and have no chlorine. I knew just what to expect. There was one huge flaw in my expectations. I am from Montana. The Last Best Place. The Big Sky Country. Lots of square miles. No...ah... people.
Sigh. That poor little lake was like WalMart the day after Thanksgiving, but with dogs and smokers, too. The view was beautiful and it was nice to be out of the house, and those were the remarks I tried to limit myself to while in earshot of the children. They don't know any better. Boss didn't get to do much rock throwing because we were worried he'd take somebody out. It's a good thing we weren't counting on a campfire. Every picnic table within 10 miles was swarming. I had brought a picnic blanket, but was kind of dumb about the whole thing because I've forgotten that I now have three children. (My picnic blanket is the one Mark and I used for sunset picnics on campus before we were married.) So Mark sits down, Leslie sits down, Boston squeezes in, I get Coopy out of the stroller and then ... all three of them look up at me like, "So where were YOU going to sit?" It was pretty comical. There wasn't a square inch left. Coopy went back in his stroller and I sat on a big boulder with a gopher hole under it to feed the baby his jar of food. And everyone's crusts. I guess Leslie and I need to finally start cutting up the old jeans I've been saving for years. Time for a new blanket!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

House of Heavy

Boston was cute yesterday. The wind blew hard all afternoon. He hates wind. He won't go outside to play if there is any. (He would have had a miserable Montana childhood...) So, as we were enjoying the sunshine in our red room, he stands out the window at the tempest and muses, "We have a good house." I grin that he is realizing his blessings and agree with him. "Yes, Boss, we do. Our house keeps us safe and warm and dry. It takes good care of us." Boston nods happily, but then gets a little swagger as he walks over to the side window. He points his finger at the house next door and shakes his head. "That house...too heavy." Whatever that is supposed to mean. I need to go wake up Cooper but I am dreading it. The last month or two have been difficult with him. He doesn't want to play all nice and contented anymore, even if he is well rested and fed with lots of toys available. I think it's because he has entered his big time clingy stage. Mark paraphrases this stage by singing, "I only have eyes...for....you!!!!" So we get lots of crankiness (both of us) and following me around, standing up and holding to my legs. I think he would love it if I just carried him around all day, in fact, I think this may even be his primary goal in life right now. I hope he goes back to pleasant, mellow baby soon.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Wanna Be Like Marjorie...

This week has been a little slower paced with some head colds in the family. Cooper and I are about the last ones (I hope...). Mark had a long day at work yesterday but came home in a subdued mood. He had just been on the phone for a long time with one of his business acquaintances who I met as we were checking out of Primary Children's after Cooper's last surgery. They were there with their daughter who had a double cleft palate. This daughter also had hips that never connected well and heart problems and others. She had been in the hospital for four months, and when the doctors tried a procedure to help her esophagus deal with some bad acid reflux, she had a cardiac arrest that left her partially brain damaged. Now she is home, but the doctors have said she probably has about 8 months to live. After a long day, it is so wonderful for us to look around at our boisterous, loud, whole and healthy children.
I've been reading the book Glimpses about Marjorie Pay Hinckley. I've always identified her with my own grandmother (also named Marjorie) who, although a tough-as-nails Montana tomboy, also had that fabulous gift of having everyone under her spell, telling her all their problems and feeling like they were the best, most important person in the world to her. I definitely do not have that talent, yet! Hopefully I can practice being more sweetmouthed and generous with my praises. I also need to be a better listener. I love a story in the book about Sis. Hinckley's daughter-in-law. She and the Hinckley's son were living out of town for a time, and they received a call from Pres. and Sis. Hinckley every Sunday night to check on them and share their love. Then, every Monday morning, when the men were safely tucked away in their offices, Sis. Hinckley would call her daughter-in-law again. "All right now, let's have some girl talk. So how are you really?" They became very close through those Monday morning phone calls.
My grandma heard lots of problems and secrets I don't think my parents ever caught wind of. My panic attack after my first solo drive when I couldn't remember which side of the road I was supposed to be on. (Hey, it's not so easy to remember when there aren't any other cars!!) My first big crush. My frustration at being a pre-teen girl placed in the Blazer's (for boys 10-12) primary class in our branch. There were only two students and they had asked my grandma to teach it. She actually refused this calling, I think because I was so upset. The name of my first child, whispered, the last time I saw her when I was 9 mos pregnant. No one else in the family knew.
I wonder what kind of tabs she keeps on me now. Anyway, I've definitely had lots of good examples to learn from, so there is no reason I can't change for the better.