Friday, March 16, 2018

8 Years In.

Dan and I celebrated our 8-year anniversary on Monday. In full disclosure, we celebrated on Saturday by eating hibachi and going to Last Licks. On the actual day, both of us had forgotten it was our anniversary until several hours into the day when Dan received an alert on his phone about it.

The 8-year anniversary gift is pottery and bronze, but the closest thing we got to that was eating our ice cream in bowls instead of cones.

Guess whose ice cream belongs to whom. Man, are we opposites or what. But I need some opposite-of-me in my life.

Before I got married, I was pretty scared of getting married. I felt like I had been bombarded with terrible marriage stories where husbands were living double lives or had secret problems they hadn't disclosed and that then I would be scared and trapped and probably have babies to take care of by myself.

And those things do happen. I have lots of friends who have been through what seems like every possible thing a person can go through, and they are still pushing forward making hard marriages work or they had to get divorced and they are working every day to raise great kids all on their own.

And so while Dan and I had a great courtship and I knew he was a good guy, I also braced myself for whatever was going to happen after we got married--after the so-called "honeymoon" stage was over and all of the truth came out.

But Dan is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person. He didn't hide the fact that he doesn't like to tidy up, but will if asked. He was open with me that he wasn't totally sure what he wanted to do for his career but was sure he would do something good. He was open about his love for the Gospel but readily admitted that there were things he didn't understand.

This picture is blurry to represent how our strong love makes everything else blurry so we can only see each other.

I should've been a poet.

It never even occurred to me that I would be the tough one in our marriage. Not tough as in strong, but tough as in difficult. It never occurred to me that I would be the one that would have a mini-faith crisis when I was pregnant with Gwen or that my anxiety would spin out of control time and time again and that Dan would support me as I received professional help, or that I would become so sick with each pregnancy that Dan would have to be mom and dad for months while I lay perfectly still on our bed, counting down the seconds until I wasn't pregnant anymore. I never thought we would have a kid with special needs and that Dan would come up with a special "shoe hammer" that he would tap all over June's tennis shoes until she thought they fit right each morning while I worried that she was going to miss the bus.

And there are millions of other things, like the fact that he cleans the kitchen every night after I'm already in bed, delivers tearful Christmas morning devotionals to our girls, or takes the girls out in the snow because I hate it, but there's just not enough room to mention them all here.

I love you, Dan. I really do. Thanks for being the best decision I ever made.

Friday, March 9, 2018

In Like a Lion If By Lion You Mean Snowstorm

Can you guys even hear me under the 14 inches of snow our house has been buried under these past few days? We are going on day 3 of no school, and it's actually been our best one yet. The first two I lazed about. I'm not against lazing, but I over-lazed. Today, I got up and made my kids do school work and actually showered and did my make-up even though I'm not going anywhere. And it improved everything. Maybe life is better when I'm not the Snow Day Urchin. You can quote me on that deep thought if you like.

But let's back up.

Last week, some extremely important things happened. First, I managed to put the amazing curl in June's hair ever. It only lasted half the day, but those six hours were blissful.

And I don't know what this is except it's cute.

Dan's closest friend at work is Hindu, and so after much discussion about religion, the two of them decided to switch eating habits for the day. Dan couldn't have any meat (yes, I know that many Hindus eat some meat, but his friend avoids it out of respect of hurting any life form), and his friend didn't drink coffee, tea or alcohol for the day.

I don't know if I've ever seen Dan eat a non-meaty lunch or dinner in my life.

He did pretty well. But by the time he got home Thursday, we had all had really stressful days so we decided to eat the most indulgent dinner ever--ice cream.

That's right. Our vegetarian dinner was at Last Licks. 

Of course it was delicious. I ordered Devil Dog, June ordered Nutella Chip, Gwen had Red Velvet Oreo, and Dan ordered . . . sigh . . . butter pecan.

My Devil Dog wasn't as good as I remembered it, so I asked June to trade me some bites. She's the one you want to start a negotiation with. She loves pleasing people.

Dan enjoyed his butter pecan, but snuck a bite of Gwen's when she wasn't looking. And then realized how amazing non-butter pecan ice cream can be. He asked her to trade some bites, and being Gwen, she wasn't having it.

Lesson--Don't order butter pecan and don't expect to trade with Gwen.

Remember how last post I mentioned wanting to do some spring cleaning? Well, Dan didn't read that. But because we are SOULMATES he decided he wanted to reorganize the kitchen Saturday. This is not characteristic of Dan, so I couldn't stop asking him about it. First off, our kitchen has not been well organized since we moved in. It has some wonky spaces, and we have just made do. But Dan was fed up and decided to come up with a better solution.

But Dan hates cleaning. I couldn't quite put it together, and so I kept asking him about it until we got to the bare bones of it. And so last Saturday, I learned something new about my husband. The reason he hates cleaning is that it's so temporary. Everything gets messed up again. But he likes a reorganization project because the effects are long lasting. It sounds ridiculous, but I felt like it actually cleared up 90% of our marital misunderstandings. 

So while he did about half of our kitchen, I reorganized our bathroom closet, linen closet and went through the kids' clothes. I have to be stealthy because my kids don't want anything thrown away ever. I can't tell you how many times I have thrown something away and then June goes to dump the food off her plate after dinner and upon finding said thrown out object in the trash, screams in horror and brings it to me.

"I don't want this pink crumpled up piece of paper to be thrown away!" she exclaims. "I need it!"

At which point I feign total ignorance even though everyone knows I'm the big meanie who insists on throwing away perfectly good pieces of crumpled up paper. What can I say? I was born evil.

Also on Saturday, June had her swim lessons. Her teacher, Miss Cathy, is honestly a miracle worker who has stretched June to swim better than ever. And she takes a lot of crud from her students, my child being no exception.

Once, while she had June floating on her back, she told June to count to ten and then she could be done. Upon arriving at ten, June screamed the number and pushed her head back as far as she could for emphasis, nailing Miss Cathy in the jaw. Miss Cathy laughed it off.

Another time, June swam to Miss Cathy, who was a considerably farther distance away than usual. By the time June reached her, she had her arms stretched as far in front of her as possible, ready to cling on to the first thing she could grab. And she did. At which point Miss Cathy said, "Grab my shoulders, not my boobs."

Or the time that Miss Cathy had to tell June that there was a limit of 16 hugs per class. And no, I'm not making up that number. June loves hugging people to death.

And yet she still loves June. And so I love her forever.

Miss Cathy wanted to take a funny photo with June this last class. But June could not understand that she needed to open her legs.

Until another teacher stepped in and helped June out.

I'm pretty sure Miss Cathy wanted June sitting on her shoulders, not her head, but it was close enough.

Saturday night, we went to see our neighbor girls in their high school musical, and I actually GOT READY and so I had to document.

I'm glad I'm finally at a stage of life where I'm at peace with my broken nose. That's the best thing about being in my 30s. Lots of peace with things I didn't like before. Is it peace or exhaustion? You be the judge.

The play was "Once Upon a Mattress" and it was surprisingly good. I was really blown away. Their lead girl was called back for a Broadway musical at one point in her young career. And all of the other soloists had great voices too. It was awesome entertainment.

My neighbor Sarah was one of the ladies-in-waiting, and she did a great job.

And her sister, Emily, as well as an Emily from our church group were in the pit.

Sunday, June gave a talk at church. Here is Dan helping her practice:

She did a great job, but my favorite part was when she hushed some kids in the back. Looked at them, pointed and said "SHHHH!" Right into the microphone.

Which brings us to this week which can only really be summed up by--snow. Snooooooooow. Or should I call it sNOOOOOOw. Because I'm sick of the snow. It's March. Winter needs wrap it up.

Dan left for Chicago on Monday and was supposed to fly back Wednesday, but was able to come home last Tuesday when the weather reports showed he wouldn't be coming back for a looooooooong time if he didn't hurry. I was so grateful he was able to come home.

So we received 14 inches of the stuff. One lady from church has 22. Lots of my friends lost power, but we've been very fortunate in that area.

So there's been lots of playing. Here the girls are using "birds" (clothespins) and feeding them "worms" (pipe cleaners).

Yesterday, Gwen took a nasty, nasty fall down our terrible basement stairs and has sustained the biggest goose egg injury known to man.

It's a lot smaller but a lot purple-r today.

Last night, Dan took the girls out and made a snow cave. He once spent the night in a snow cave. It was his favorite scouting/camping experience. Kind of like my favorite camping experience, which is when I didn't camp at all ever.

And like I said, today we have been doing schoolwork and June has been writing one of her famous "chapter books". She illustrates the pictures and dictates the story, and I serve as scribe.

Her book, complete with bookmark.

I wish I had captured a picture of the title of the book, which is Heart World by Grumpy Dumpy-Dump.

Right now, I'm keeping Harris from typing on the keyboard by holding him back with my leg, so I guess I'm done now.

The End.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Is Done Really Better Than Perfect?

Here's an opportunity for you to weigh in on something. At the end of my last post, I said that my new motto for blogging and some other things is "Done is better than perfect", meaning that if I wait and wait until I really have time to blog, it will never happen, and so it's better just to get it done and do a less quality job than not at all.

Is it? What do you think? Because in my mind, I want to blog some really great things. Not just slap pictures from the past week and make ridiculous commentary on them, making it up as I go, but really think about the things we've done and learned and present it all in a way that's thoughtful and fun to read.

But I don't feel like I have time for that, especially with my new year's resolution to blog every week. It's one of the goals I'm doing best at, and I think that's because I know people are going to notice if I don't actually keep it.

So I blog weekly, but don't feel good about quality of what I'm blogging. IDK. What do you think?

Anyway, that's my almost-deep thought for the week. Back to this week's episode of "Don't Be Like Us"--

We had a day last week that was in the upper 70s/low 80s. It was glorious. I felt like an inmate temporarily released from the prison known as "Winter". We had a park play date, and the minute June stepped off the bus that afternoon, I threw her backpack into our van so that we didn't even have to go inside the house, and I forced everyone on a walk.

The girls do/don't like to go on walks. It takes some convincing for June to go because she's tired after school. Gwen, my little Mowgli, would sleep outside if I let her. So off we went. It's our tradition to stop at every mailbox and name the numbers. Gwen can name them individually ("There's a three and an eight!") and June can put them together, mostly. ("That's thirty-eight! And there's forty-zero!" That's the 'mostly' I was referring to earlier.)

The problem with walking is that everyone realizes they want to be done when we haven't turned around yet. So we finally turned around and everyone bellyached the whole way home. We were gone for 90 minutes, and everyone was toast by the time we actually stepped inside our home. But no one fought me on bed that night.

Dan and I attended an adults-only dance at our church that had an 80s theme. The 80s are my jam, (or jelly? like the sandal? terrible joke.) and I found a great dress on Ebay for $7! 

Seriously, every picture I took for the night looks like this. I'm obviously extremely excited to go as you can tell from my eyeballs popping out of my face!

Dan was a sport and agreed to go as my favorite TV personality from the 80s. This next picture should give it all away.

Blast, that's a terrible clue! So blurry. Okay, he's Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties. I love APK! Dan complained that no one would get the joke, but someone did and it was all worth it for that.

I loved this awesome backdrop they made for us to take pictures in front of. I cannot dance at all, but I still danced my little heart out. I even recall possibly flapping my wings like a chicken at one point? Yeesh. Dan doesn't like to fast dance very much, but he did bring back his signature move from high school--handstand into The Worm--and it prompted other men to relive their glory days of doing The Worm, and it was an awesome sight. 

After we danced for awhile--like 15 minutes--we were SO tired and couldn't believe that we had ever danced for hours at a time as youth. Which is why we left and went to Last Licks for some ice cream.

It's Spirit Week at June's school, and so far we have participated in Hat Day . . .

and Wacky Sock Day.

And Gwen doesn't have Spirit Days, but certainly insists on dressing herself for whatever Spirit Day her mind is celebrating. This week, there was Pink Day.

Before I took these photos, she was actually wearing pink shoes and a pink coat as well.

I would love to tell her what to wear but I value my time too much for that argument.

Prayers. Awhile back, we taught June how to pray. We helped her come up with things she was thankful for and things she wanted to ask for, and then set her loose to pray on her own. But, she just says the same things over and over, to the point where she has a memorized short prayer and a memorized long prayer, and she has to recite both of them before any of us are allowed to eat anything, and she says them as fast as she can and in a single breath. No one can understand anything she is saying. So we have been working on saying things that are in her heart right at that moment--not memorized phrases. This has brought about some interesting prayers, such as

A. "Please bless that Mom and Dad will love each other more" right after she witnessed a very mild disagreement between Dan and me.
B. "Please bless that Harris won't go into the bathroom." This has become a regular phrase now because Harris is at that disturbing age where the toilet is fascinating, and I'm always retrieving him from the bathroom and closing the door so he can't go back in.
C. "Please bless our puppies that they will be happy." There are no puppies. We have no puppies!

Gwen has also been saying prayers from her heart, but they consist of the same phrase over and over again. For example, right before we work on her preschool workbook, she prays, "Thank thee for this workbook. And for this workbook. And also for the workbook. Please help us work on the workbook. We love the workbook. Amen."

I was holding June on my lap during one of Gwen's prayers, and I kissed her on top of her head. So June turned and kissed me on top of my head. And then held my ear to her mouth and whispered, "butterfly cake butterfly cake butterfly cake butterfly cake" for the duration of the prayer.

So I guess you could say that the prayer lesson is going well at our house.

Also this week, Gwen stuck her tongue out at June's bus driver, and June and I had a major kerfuffle concerning whether Ron is a boy's name or a name only old ladies can have. I'll let you guess which side I was on.

And finally . . . more goals that will be more of a nuisance than an aspiration!

I am dedicating March to decluttering/Spring Cleaning. I have written out all of the places that need help. Even if I only declutter five of these areas in the whole month of March, it will be a huge improvement. Who's with me?!?!?

The End.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Washington, D.C.

I have been trying to write this blog post for three days. I have organized and uploaded photos, thought about what to write and have sat down in my office to do it many times. Every time, I get interrupted. My boss needs something or the kids need something. Right now, Gwen is entertaining herself by playing the very highest notes on the piano over and over while Harris sits at her feet and watches her. This beautiful music will inspire me. I have 30 minutes before June gets off the bus. Let's do this.

Last Thursday, I took Gwen and Harris to the zoo with friends. It was an overcast and rainy day, but in the 50s, and after months of cold, it seemed like Bermuda to me. It reminded me of every winter semester I had at BYU. It would snow and be cold constantly, and then toward the end of the semester, spring would come and there would be a few weeks where I would wear a skirt and sandals around campus and feel like Bob in What About Bob? ("I'M SAILING!"), even though it was finals week and my sleep schedule had become non-existent and my previous 5 meals had been slices of cheese from a huge block I was finishing off before moving out of my apartment for the summer. The weather really affects me! Warm weather after a long winter makes me feel like I can do anything!

Gwen was waaaaaaaaaaaay more into the statues of animals than the real animals and that's where she spent the majority of her time.

On Saturday, we took June to swim lessons and then went directly from the YMCA to Washington, D.C. for President's Day weekend.

The Washington, D.C. temple is closing in March for two years while the Church renovates it, and we really wanted to attend the temple before it closed.

Plus, we really needed a weekend away. Dan works every day, comes home for dinner, helps to put kids to bed and then works late into the night while I go to bed early to rest up for Harris' early wake-up call. It's a good life we have, but we really needed to recharge.

I interned at DC the semester before I went on my mission. I love DC very much. The running joke over the weekend was how nostalgic and sentimental I was and how I couldn't prevent myself from mentioning my old DC life at every street corner, waxing poetic when walking by a restaurant I had eaten at or reporting the minute details of what time I would wake up in order to run to the monuments before work or my various important intern tasks of answering phones and sorting mail and giving the occasional tour of the Capitol building. I was reliving my glory days BIG time, and Dan would patiently listen until I could see the corners of his mouth curl up in a small smile when I would then realize that he was laughing at me because I had started to reminisce once again despite my many claims that this would be "my last story, I promise!"

He's a good sport.

We made decent time driving there, even though it was snowing the last hour or so. We brought audio books, and the girls enjoyed Stuart Little. Everyone began to be antsy toward the end, and just like many mothers before me, I tried to keep the peace by reminding everyone how much fun we were going to have at the indoor pool at the hotel that evening.

We arrived at the hotel, and the pool was under repair. And the TV was broken. Kind of a nightmare scenario.

We even got dressed up in our swimsuits and headed down to the pool when we saw the sign on the pool door. So, like many mothers before me, I attempted to salvage the situation by playing up how fun it would be to take baths in our swimsuits that night!

I don't know if anyone really bought into the garbage I was feeding them, but they humored me for a little bit.

After a semi-restful night in a hotel room with three kids, we got up and went to church.

If you're wondering why Gwen is in the pack and play and Harris isn't in the pack and play, the answer is I don't know.

We went to church, and it was a sweet experience. It was especially touching because the stake president there had died unexpectedly from carbon monoxide poisoning two weeks earlier, and there were many sweet tributes to him in the talks given. What a painful experience for a family and stake family to go through, and yet it was amazing to see how many lives he had touched in a positive way.

After church, we drove into DC and walked the national mall.

We decided to be really honest with ourselves what our kids could handle, and we determined that walking around outside was pretty much it. There are a million things Dan and I really wanted to do, but guided tours and the like would be torture for our crew and everyone else in the tour group.

Despite snow the day before and heavy rain the day after, the weather Sunday was great, and just walking around ended up being fantastic.




White House!


All of the monuments are great, but the Lincoln is always a spiritual experience for me. I love it.


We also went to the MLK and FDR monuments, but I can't find my pictures for them. They were really cool, too.

And the last monument we saw was the WWII monument. Each member of our family took a picture with the pillar bearing his/her birth state's name on it.

 My Nevadans.

 My Florida girl.

My Joisey boy.

And little ol' me.

 It took about three hours, and by the end June was beyond tired. We only brought two single strollers, and she walked a ton. By the end, she was creative in hitching a ride on the stroller so she could rest.

And was a super champ because she managed to feed Harris while hitching said ride so that we didn't have to stop because our parking meter was up.

The next day, I was able to attend the temple early in the morning. 
It was jam packed due to its upcoming closure. It was awesome sitting in a completely full session at 7 a.m.

And while Dan took his turn, I took the kids to the visitor's center.

This was right after June shouted for the entire visitor's center to hear: "I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE REAL GOD!" referring to the Christus statue.

I have more to say, but no time left. "Done is better than perfect" has become my mantra the past year or so, so I will just settle for this and hope to do better next time.

The end.