Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Two Visitors

My mom came last week, and there was much rejoicing in all the land. Grandma Sandy makes everything around her better. I can't tell you how many baby/bridal showers she has thrown, how many funeral lunches she has planned, how many confused and sad young women she has taken to lunch or how many seminary lessons she has taught that her students still remember. She makes every single person around here feel important, and she's always looking out for someone to help. She's just that kind of lady, and we're lucky to have her.

She arrived on Wednesday night, and the girls knocked themselves out making welcome signs and cards for her.


She slept in the basement, where June had placed several drawings for her. And a sign on the freezer with an arrow pointing to the bed, you know, just in case she couldn't locate the bed.



Thursday, we took Gwen to swim lessons and her little music class at the rec center.


While Gwen worked extra hard to please Grandma Sandy (GS) during her swim class, she was NOT having music that day. No, sir. A class she normally loves, but I think she was tired and just wanted to hang with GS instead. So her teacher recruited me to help Gwen get into the spirit. Clearly, her teacher knows nothing about our relationship because there was a direct correlation between my increasing participation and Gwen's increased insistence that she have nothing to do with any of it.



Miss Cindy said I was really good at jumping to the beat.

Afterward, I was finally FINALLY able to get my hair done. It had been way toooo long, and I was getting embarrassed. 


In the above photo, you can see the other visitor of the week. The biggest, most painful cystic zit on my forehead. I hate to even post this picture because it really makes a molehill out of a mountain. You can't even see how big it is. It is extremely large and almost omnipresent. It's so bad that when Dan came home that evening, he said, "OH NO! HOW DID YOU HIT YOUR HEAD!?!?!" 


Finished product. This is my "selfie face" unfortunately. I don't know what look I'm going for here, but it's not my favorite. But I do love the hair. I had gone darker the last few times, but didn't feel myself. I'm a blonde! There's no denying it.

The next day, Big D and I were able to go to the LDS Philadelphia Temple to do an endowment session. Our temple is Manhattan, but it was closed for cleaning. I was actually glad because I enjoyed the extra time chatting in the car.

We tried to take a pic before we left, but we couldn't get the kids out of the photo.

Here I am looking adoringly at my husband.


Here he is looking even more adoringly at me.


We are so in LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE.


Yes, that's Dan's "in LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE" face. The love is so powerful he has to shut his eyes.

True to Heather fashion, by the time we arrived back home from Philly, I was about to die from car sickness. I am the WORST traveler. I have gotten carsick riding in a car to the grocery store before.

So I went to lie down in bed, and about 20 minutes later Dan informed me that my mom and I were going to a movie. He said that he had told my mom to go ahead any buy the tickets even though I wasn't feeling well because the only other option was for a show was after 7, and we all know I can't make it through a movie starting after 7.


So just to recap--I get carsick going 2 miles from my house and I can't stay up past 7. Invite me to all of your parties. I'm a real blast.

I haven't been in a movie theater for a year. It was fun to be out with the cool people, especially all of the tweeners. I lived at the movies when I was a tween, and I couldn't help but giggle watching and listening to the tweeners in our theater.

We saw "The Greatest Showman." It was fine. I liked some parts. I didn't like others. I know I'm the only person in the whole world who feels that way, and I'm okay with that. But I loved seeing a movie with my mom, and I really really love that Dan made me take a blanket. He knows me so well. I took off my shoes and sat back in this awesome recliner (since when do theaters do THAT? I told you it's been a long time) and snuggled under my blanket and made jokes with my mom. A wonderful evening, indeed.

Saturday, we decorated our V-day boxes. We're totally early, but we make V-Day a pretty big deal around here, and I knew the girls would love doing it when GS was in town.


Turns out oversized t-shirts and baggy pants are not a flattering look for me. Sigh. My go-to!

And here I am starting to wave around sharp objects while I talk. Must have been making emphatic points in my argument.


Then we took June to swim lessons . . .


 where Gwen found an old chocolate Santa's head in my mom's purse, and I was an attentive parent who cheered June on. Or just looked at my phone.


Then my mom and I went to the Edison Museum. My mom has always wanted to go, and I'm so glad we went!


Thomas Edison invented so much stuff that I don't understand anything about. And there were young kids asking our tour guide questions that just baffled me. I felt like I was accidentally placed in a tour group for people speaking a different language. I didn't understand any of it, but I can appreciate what he did.

That night, GS took us all out to Chuck E. Cheese. Man, that place is crazytown! Have you been there lately? There were 923847923742897328947 kids at this one. Our kids had a blast. And I had a coupon! Everyone wins.


Gwen is such a Mowgli in this picture, and I love it. Crazy hair, she don't care!



Dan counting all of the kids. He lost count after 60 trillion.

Sunday, we went to church. Dan went early for ward council, and Mom and I tried to take pics with the kids.


Of course, as soon as GS stood up to switch me places and take my picture with the kids, Gwen staged a walk out in protest of GS not being in the picture. She would NOT take a pic with me. My heart is broken. Or whatever lives inside of me where that heart thingy should be.



Even Harris didn't want to be with me. I can't blame them. GS is the best.


Every second we were home, GS was reading 238947 stories to the kids or playing another round of Chutes and Ladders where my girls make up the rules as they go or playing hide and seek where my girls would always call out and tell GS exactly where they were hiding before she even had a chance to look. And when it was GS's turn to hide, June would do an expert job of looking for her. Like picking up a pencil off a desk to see if GS was hiding underneath it. We aren't very good at hide and seek.



And GS couldn't believe how much Gwen loves grapefruit. I love eating a grapefruit every morning, and you'd think I'd have finally found something safe that I didn't have to share. But Gwen LOVES them and fights me for mine every day. Even if she's had her own.



We love you, Grandma Sandy! We love you like Gwen loves grapefruit. Except that we won't resort to violence in order to have you here. But we would pretty much do anything else.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Post With No Sense.

(10 Jolley Bucks if you can guess the reference I was making in the title. It's a bit of a stretch.)

I read somewhere recently that January is the Monday of the months. Yes, it is. I do see the irony in setting a goal to blog more during the most boring month of the year, but I'm determined to keep it. So here comes more nothingness.

Remember when you were a kid and you were sure you knew what kind of parent/aunt/adult you would or wouldn't be?

I thought I would never dress my kids the same, but I do. It's cute and easy and they love it.



I don't know if I ever actually thought this out, but I think everyone thinks they will read to their children. And I do. I'm sure I thought I would read good books to my children. But I don't. Twice this week, I have read books that I thought were supposed to be great but they were scary books about death and execution and being hanged or whatnot. Twice.

So I'm going to start reading the books to myself before I read them to my children. No I'm not. You know I'm not.

For example, last week we read Little Red Riding Hood.


We all gasped in horror when we got to this page.

I didn't think June was going to make it.

To be honest, Gwen was a little delighted.

It was at this point, as with another book we read this week, that I turned to June and said, "Should we stop? Are you too scared?"

With solemn large eyes, she responded the same we all do when we are scared during a movie or book.

"No, Mom, we have to see if it gets better. Keep going."

Better it did not get.

The wolf swallowed her whole. There were a few more pictures with Little Red sitting calmly in the wolf's belly, probably contemplating why she thought a hood with a cape was a good idea anyway. Cult chic couture?

The book ended with this picture:


So you can see the woodsman and assume he is approaching, although there are no words on this page. And it is the very last page and picture. No picture of Little Red being saved or even the wolf getting hacked to death (which one would expect after that whole head-in-Wolf's-mouth gruesomeness. So I just kind of made up some words to make it resolve a little better, with the girls wondering aloud what I was reading if there were no words.

Sweet dreams, kids.


I should have just blown this up to poster size and hung it up on the ceiling above their beds. That would have comforted them.

And here's June being completely unsatisfied with Harris' ability (or lack thereof) to roll a ball back and forth with her.


We've actually been enjoying a little extra morning time before church this year. I normally only like going to the earliest schedule, but we have decided to read a talk or two before church. I don't know why everyone has to be on the same couch for it, sans Dan, who gets to sit on a chair all by himself. The things I'm jealous of these days.


There's that floral nightie again. Ruining marriages for centuries.

And now something to spice up the January-ness of this post. A top 10 list! Dan always says he does not understand my taste in movies. I hate a lot of cheesy things, but sometimes there is something cheesy I love. I am brutal in my critique of acting skills, but some people are just likeable despite their terrible skills. I hate things that are too intense but also things that are just frivolous. You have to make me laugh and cry. 

I guess the only way to classify my criteria is--I like what I like. Dan thinks I'm the hardest person to see a movie with. Ever.

So here are my Top 10 Underappreciated Movies. Not the best movies ever, but really good movies that don't get enough credit or discussion.

In no particular order:

1. A League of Their Own. (That scene with Marla and her dad at the beginning. Good night, nurse. Put me to bed. I'm crying so hard I have hives around my lips.)

2. Dan in Real Life. ("I'm going to focus all of my thoughts on your flaws.")

3. Meet Me in St. Louis. (If you haven't seen it, watch it. The Halloween sequence is soooo weird, but I honestly love every single minute of this movie. Best Judy Garland ever.)

4. Fiddler on the Roof. (I guess this one isn't really underappreciated as it won a ton of awards. But it's super old and nobody watches it anymore. I cry so hard every time we watch this that Dan always has to pause it because he can't hear over my sobbing.)

Okay, I couldn't come up with ten. But there are four really good movies. Please feel free to debate me on these in the comments. But you're wrong.

And some movies that everyone else likes but I don't.

1. The Princess Bride. I guess you have to grow up watching it to appreciate it? Because I do not appreciate it. If I hear someone go into the "mawwage" dialogue one more time . . .

That's it. I just had to get that off my chest.

Until next time.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Resolutions.

Snow Day today!


We've been busy working on workbooks and coloring and doing June's speech homework and cleaning, and I have just waived the white flag of surrender and the girls are watching tv while I blog.


Love that tongue hanging out while she concentrates.

And Gwen waiting for June to finish yoga last night. Being the younger sibling stinks sometimes.




Here's my tip to have greater success at keeping goals--try them out before you officially set them. If I am trying to start a new habit, it never goals well for me to dive into it, full speed ahead starting on such-a-such date. No, sir.

What works for me is to test the waters here and there a bit. For example, I tried a new way of eating last year. So I cooked a few meals within my new guidelines over a few weeks before I completely forged ahead. It was helpful to get my feet wet.

So here are some goals for this year--goals I've already tested out a bit and they seem to be doable and positive.

1. No Yelling. Even as I type this, I chuckle a bit to myself because it seems ridiculous. Absolutely no yelling? I am the world's best yeller! What I don't mean by this is that I will stop using a firm voice. Because I won't ever stop using a firm voice. And if my kid is about to get hit by a car, then yes I will yell. But there's being firm, stern, intentional--and then there's absolutely losing it. And I have lost it too many times.

I was at the YMCA with June last Saturday and overheard a man totally losing it with his tiny kid. The kid might have been 3. And that age really is tough. The kid was hitting his dad over and over, and the dad LOST IT. But there's such a difference between a 3 year old losing it and a 33 year old losing it. Though I am not one to talk, I wanted to go over to the dad and tell him to shake it off, to put himself in timeout for a minute. Because the way he was acting toward his totally unruly son was making me absolutely sick to my stomach. And I've been there before, and I cannot continue to go there.

The thing is--I know I'm going to mess up on this one. But even an improvement would be huge.

2. Preschool Gwen. Preschool in NJ is just too expensive, and Gwen needs some attention from me, both emotionally and academically. I bought workbooks and letter/number magnets, and we have been plowing through the alphabet and numbers and shapes and a bunch of other things a few days a week. It doesn't happen everyday, and I don't care. I have seen great progress from her, but more importantly, she loves it and it's something we do together--just us.

3. No Zillow. This one smarts a bit. I am a zillow fiend. I love that app. The big problem is that we know our time in NJ is limited, and we know a few possibilities of where we could move, so I have spent copious amounts of time looking for houses in places we may or may not ever live in. It has become such a distraction that I am banning myself from the app until we really have to make some serious decisions (which isn't for at least 9 months, probably longer). I miss my friend, Zillow, but this has already been a really good thing for me. My goal here is to live in the present.

4. Pay Half of our Student Debt. We took out a loan for Dan to complete his MBA, and it's time to pay the piper. It has become ridiculously easy to justify making minimum payments on this thing, but no more. Let's get it done. Going along with my own zillow ban, I am also not shopping unless I really need something. We are renting so I don't need to constantly browse furniture or decor for a house we won't be in for much longer. We have clothes. We have food. I love buying books for my kids, telling myself we are building up a our own library. But we have a library down the street, so that will have to do for now. Time to cut back on the extras.

5. Read aloud. I have been reading articles and listening to podcasts on the benefits of reading aloud to children. So I have been trying to read an hour every night. This can be hard, but we're doing it most days.

6. Blog. Blog once a week. I may blog even more this month. I was thinking that since the winter is so long and boring, maybe I'll dig up some old high school photos and blog embarrassing moments or something.

7. Podcasts. Listen to podcasts while I drive. Not everyday, because sometimes you just want music. But podcasts are helpful too. What I'm listening to right now--Guardians of the Family (a great podcast about the role of women), Presidential (one podcast for each U.S. president) and Read-Aloud Revival (about reading aloud to kids). I also like to throw BYU devotionals in there.

8. Scriptures before anything else. Best way to start the day.

That's enough for now. Let me know if you have any good podcasts I should be listening to!



Monday, January 15, 2018

Bland-uary

Driving home from church yesterday, I asked my girls, "What did you learn in primary today?" June quickly responded, "Mom, I don't want to be a log." Whatever that means. I asked Gwen a second time what she had learned, and she screamed "I DON'T LEARN NOTHIN'!"

Then June began to sing "Choose the Right Way" but her lyrics were as follows:

Choose the Right Way
Or You'll Be Killed.

As you can imagine, Gwen didn't appreciate that song very much. And repeatedly screamed for June to stop. Finally, I yelled back to June, "June, maybe we could sing this later." To which she replied, "But I'm singing to Gwen to help her feel better!" I told her Gwen didn't like it. So June said, "Okay mom I'll just sing a song to you instead," and the singing and screaming continued all of the way home.

I think our efforts to teach our children the Gospel are really beginning to bear fruit.

Here's a picture of the girls before church when they were (a little) more intact. Though with church starting later for us this year, we are already losing it before get there.


Gwen is joining the primary ranks as a Sunbeam this year, and she hasn't mourned the loss of nursery like I feared she would.

I'm still working on forming my New Year's resolutions. I have ideas of what I want to do but am trying to make them measurable and actually maintainable. I think it's actually a hit to my self-esteem when I don't keep goals so I'm really interested in setting keepable yet challenging goals this this year.

Our New Year's Eve was exactly what you would picture for me. We actually had plans to see friends who were visiting from Tampa, but they had to cancel last minute. So I fell asleep at 8. And then woke up at 10:00. This little nap gave me confidence that I would actually see the ball drop this year. Until I fell back asleep at 10:30. It's just as well. I want to start out my 2018 well-rested.

Ready for New Year's Eve church service:



Besides, the only thing I really care about for NYE is being able to sing "Ring Out Wild Bells" at church. It's the best. A spooky church hymn? YES PLEASE!

Here's a picture I caught of Dan closing our van doors in the freezing cold last Sunday. We looked at our living room windows to realize that we had left all of the doors to the van open after coming in from church. Three hours previously.


Because of that weather you can see in the above photo, we've been pretty cooped up lately. The excitement over the snow and snow days and sledding and hot chocolate have been replaced by irritation over windshield scraping, crying from children when the wind hits their faces and a general cursing of Daylight Savings. What are we saving the daylight for anyway? I'd rather it be light at 5:00 p.m., thankyouverymuch.

But we have managed to spice things up by doing lots of indoor art projects and also hosting some game nights.

Does anyone else remember drawing on these black scratch papers growing up? This is June's favorite snow day activity.


Another art project: Pig on a plate.


We left the kids with a babysitter and went out to eat last weekend, and we came home to find that the girls and the babysitters had decorated our paper plates. Which is great by me. But Dan and I do find it a bit disheartening when we finish off our slices of pizza to find a pig face staring back at us. We agreed that this could be a helpful weight loss product, if you're into shaming tactics.

June also recently wrote this note to a boy she likes in her class:


Valentine's Day just might be spicy around here.

Look at these awesome giant Uno cards our friends brought over. Playing with the regular deck just isn't as great now.



And Dan had a bunch of people over to play Risk, including some people who had never played before. Dan LOVES playing Risk. I love Dan playing Risk with other people. It's a win for me, but every time I walked through the room, there was definite tension. Hopefully we still have friends after this one.

June isn't the only one expressing herself lately. Here is an outfit Gwen pieced together. I like to call it "Hit Me Baby One More Time."


And here is June's outfit for Decades Day at school. Some moms sew poodle skirts. Other moms affix a poodle onto a skirt with velcro. I won't tell you which mom I am.


And for the lightening round: MISCELLANY!

Harris and I are ready for church:

June and Gwen wearing bunny pajamas with bows in their bunny ears to help others know they are GIRL bunnies and also aprons because we are cooking for our game night.


I don't know what is happening here.


Gwen is tired so she'll hug me.


June doing her best Jim Carrey "the claw" impersonation.

Harris puts up with another family outing. This one was a pancake breakfast fundraiser at Applebee's for June's school.

 The rest of the fundraiser participants:


June fell (again). The nurse at school called me (again) to tell me that June tripped over her own feet in the bathroom and her poor head slammed against the tile wall. This is not the first time we have had this conversation.

I really don't know what is happening in this picture.


 Hearts/stars tights.

The End.