Sunday, December 12, 2010

I See You

He was asleep in my lap. I was up too late. I'm always up too late. If he had his way, our bedtime would be 7:45 pm and we'd wake up by 5:00. If I had my way, the human body wouldn't need sleep at all, hummus would have no calories and he'd quit razzing me about watching Tivoed Oprahs.

I'd been going all day and hadn't really noticed I had him around. I knew his body was around. I heard him close cupboard doors and thump down the stairs. I'd put a plate of dinner in front of him and asked him about his day. But I hadn't noticed him yet. I ran out of Oprahs. Then I noticed him.

His hand was warm, dead weight as I lifted it to my face. I covered my eye with his palm and felt the heat press through my skin. I kissed his knuckles one by one. I could smell the citrus oil on his fingers from the Clementine orange he'd eaten earlier. I should have done this when he was awake.

What if I were alone? There would be no flannel clad spooning at night. No one to take a heavy purse from my arm and shamelessly carry it through the mall. No kiss after prayer. No soft white t-shirt to bury my face into. No armpit to lay in. Do you know how much I love the smell of his deodorant?

I love my Nicolas.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kicking and Screaming

It's not my fault I've been raised to be a hermit. Growing up at the end of a 5 mile dirt road in the shadow of a mountain does not lend itself to being all that neighborly. When we'd see more than one puff of car dust come of the road per day, the same routine would inevitably ensue. Someone would go the drawer and get the binoculars. That someone would then attempt to identify the vehicle. If the car wasn't familiar, there'd be more squinting through binoculars accompanied by disgusted comments about the over abundance of traffic that day. Like I said, my nature is not my fault.

So today when we got home from church and our neighbors of two months poked their faces over the wall asked us over for some pinata beating, I sort of squeezed my butt muscles and looked at Nic like a creepy man just offered me a fuzzy lollipop. Nic, the consummate Mr. Friendly warmly accepted.

We walked exactly ten steps from our front door to theirs. Franklin was from Dominican Republic and his wife, from Mexico. We were given Capri Suns and plates piled with fresh crab salad, halves of avocados and a salsa so hot I had to secretly keep wiping my water hose nose on my sleeve. It was food from heaven.

They explained to us that though the party was to start at 6:00, Latin people are late so we might be hanging out for a while. In the back yard I sat next to a young girl who escaped from Cuba with her family and who was glad to be rid of government issued food rations of 5lbs of rice and six eggs per person per month. More people trickled in bringing more food: chilies stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon (I'm so biting my knuckle right now), BBQ ed chicken thighs, pans of rice and more salsas....oh the salsas.

A tiny and perfectly manicured man came in with a plaid cap, pink polo, and shiny brown boots. He turned on the irresistible beat of salsa and mirenge music. People got up from their chairs and danced with glasses of wine still in hand. I'm pretty sure I've mastered salsa dancing. It goes a little somthin' like this: Chicken wings out, fists to chest, hips all Shakira style and use your toes to squash, squash, squash the bug MINI KICK! Repeat.

At one point Nic looked over and said, "So do you feel like a total dork shunning our neighbors this whole time?" I said, "Yes." Then I ate another bacon wrapped chili.

Eventually I had to be the wet blanket and tell the kids that 19 Tootsie rolls was the limit and it was an hour past bedtime. I did my best to get them home, scrub the layers of sucker slime from their faces and get them to bed. Then I went in my room and put on the purple muu-muu Nic hates and spied out my window into the neighbor's back yard (sans binoculars). They were still dancing and I was oh so glad Nic made me be friendly.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


(Just so you know, I do not enjoy this flared nostril, hurry up and take the picture so I can find a bush to barf in look.)

I started running because my runner sister -in -law Apryl is so skinny and fit it breaks your heart. That's the truth of it. It was purely vanity.

I thought that if in some universe I could run for miles than there would be no possible way I could remain fat. Apparently even fat people can run for miles. My mistake.

Last Saturday I ran a 5k. I had on spandex and a crinkly paper number pinned to my belly. This was quite a change from my norm. The whole experience was a mixture of elation/humiliation. I was elated to be part of something. There was music, there were teams, there was a balloon arch starting line and I got to run by and grab a cup of water and toss it during the race. (I've always wanted to do that haven't you?) There was my husband hooting and my kids pogo sticking up and down at the finish line. A friend snapped a photo and a random fireman leaned over and clapped me through my last 50 feet. It was heartwarming to have the support.

I was also served the fattest slice of humble pie I've ever choked down! Oh. It hurts me. I expected to have the majority of the runners pass me in the first few minutes. I did NOT expect said runners to be literally (I lie not) 80 years old and wearing a very visible diaper under their running shorts, or 100 lbs heavier than me. Pushing a double stroller. Nor did I expect to look behind me mid race and see not ONE person running. All of them were walking. I sort of wanted to run right off of the course and go into someones yard and hide under a trampoline.

Okay, so I'm not as awesome as I thought I was. Okay, so I haven't lost one single pound. (Whoever said runners can eat whatever they want - dirty lie.) Okay, so I'm sort of nursing a throbbing black eye from reality punching me in the face. I haven't run once since the race. I'm in a kind of "what now?" funk.

The truth of it is that I can't compare myself. I have to appreciate how far I've come. I remember wringing my hands and waking up all night the night before I was to conquer a huge hurdle on my beginning runner's program. The task: Run four minutes. I was POSITIVE I couldn't do it. Then, I did it and I cried like a little baby on the side of the road. That is something my friend. That IS something.

Now I can run for 45 minutes. I can't run fast. I don't look good in my spandex, that's for sure. But I stuck with something for once. I ran for 6 months straight and I'm not giving up. I dread these cold dark winter mornings coming up, but hey. It can be done. I get what I want and I want to be a runner.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Hope You Know

It was after she had poured a bowl of tomato soup on her head and after I had cleaned it off with a questionably smelling dish rag that I lifted her up to help stir the cake batter. Evan was up on the chair too and he marveled at how robotically fast I could whir the batter around into a whirlpool with nothing more than a whisk and my mom muscles. Evan and Jemma took turns back and forth stirring, and I devised a little song to let them know how long their turn was - hoping one would not claw off the other's face in impatience.

"Oh yes we're stirring,
stirring up the cake" (repeated 3x's)

There was a moment when my hand was over Jemma's helping her to stir while I was singing that she looked at me with complete amusement and joy. Time stopped. My heart squeezed. It was a perfect mom moment that you pray happen more often. (As opposed to those mom moments you cringe over and cry in the closet about.) It got me to thinking. She likely won't remember anything about this day.

She won't know that she has some special anus radar that causes her to poop at the exact moment I'm late to leave for somewhere important. She won't know how tired I am of reading that blasted ladybug book over and over, but I do it anyway because she loves it so much. She'll never know that when she is sick I check for fever against her forehead with my lips because it seems like the most temperature sensitive thing to do. She won't remember every tiny fingernail I clipped or song I've sung while she clings to wakefulness against my chest.

But someday, she'll be a happy grown woman. It will be the drops of my love in the bucket of her being that make her so.

When I die and am in heaven, I want certain things to happen. I want to know who killed JFK. I want my husband to know what 3 months of pregnancy nausea really does to you. (I fantasize about the day he falls at my knees and thanks me for the combined 9 months of misery I went through to give him babies.) And I want my children to magically comprehend how ridiculously I loved them.

If Evan turns out to be some sweaty, wife-beater wearing butt scratcher, I swear I'll stick my head in the garbage disposal and flip the switch myself. Motherhood is too much work to have it blow up in my face. My biggest hope for them honestly, is that they have the opportunity to love a little child the way that I get to love them. That will tweak their souls in the way I think God wants them tweaked. Making people. Caring for them. It is one crazy ride. Can I get an amen?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It came to me at a stoplight on Charleston

I was at a stoplight thinking that I'd never seen a summer swirl by so fast. Is it getting older that does it? Like being on the outside edge of a spinning merry-go-round. It goes so fast you hang on for dear life. But being in the middle is like being young. It creeps and you wish it would go faster. You wish for something exciting to happen. I remember those summers.

Summers that were measured in boxes of mac-and-cheese eaten, levels of Tetris conquered and number of sun burns that peeled. Summers when I waited til 8pm to shower because that's when all the fun stuff was going to happen anyway. Summers waiting for that boy to visit and when he did, he kissed me by the pond and then drove back to where he came from.

Back then summers meant something. Your life could be totally different after the summer. You could read teen magazines and reinvent yourself and swear that "this year" would be different because you mastered the fresh face makeup tips on page 23. You could find that what's his name's voice changed and he grew three whiskers and now he isn't what's his name anymore. You could go from 12 to 13. And that's totally different.

Now, summer seems to be a few days of crossing off calendar squares. It's a count down to when I need to buy pencils and new shoes. It's packing marshmallows and sweatshirts for the beach and then coming home and washing that sweatshirt...feeling like I JUST packed that.

I'm measuring this summer by the soggy yet luscious bottoms of Cafe Rio salads eaten, number of rooms painted in a color that sort of spazzes me out. Measured in the days I can make it past noon before cartoons come on. This is the summer I couldn't make it to the grocery store to save my life. It's flying by. It's speed is going to rip me from the merry-go-round and all of the sudden I'll be picking that pumpkin in the back yard that is only a soft yellow flower right now.

I'm going to do some more things that will mark this summer. I don't like it when days blur together and all of the sudden someone's lost a tooth, someone has five new words and someone already needs a haircut and I had no idea how we got there.

Excuse me...I need to go make this the summer I invented the best Fro-yo combo ever, not the summer I farted around the computer.

Friday, May 14, 2010

When Dr. Phil Shaved His Moustache

I remember the first time it reared it's head. I had been dating Nic for quite a while and was pretty comfortable with the fact that I was going to marry him. I had gone to Walmart to buy some high quality fashionable summer duds on my GAP employee budget. I settled on a pair of elastic waisted blue stretchy capris. We were at his parent's house and I was walking up their purple carpeted stairs and Nic was behind me. He must have wondered how to phrase it, finally choosing: "Whatcha wearing?"

The truth was, I chose those capris out of the granny section. The section where they sell button-up tops with embroidered butterflies and right next door - a dazzling display of mu-mus. I felt safe in the fact I had snatched me a man and now felt okay shopping in the granny section at age 23. I defended myself by informing him that capris are all the rage! They are a perfect mutation of shorts and pants...all the stylish Mormon girls are wearing them now etc... He looked at me and proceeded to tell me about a lady he knew growing up who somehow told herself it was ok to come to church in a house dress with a zipper. I know he was picturing me 30 years from then in my Sunday mu-mu.

I'm talking about The Rut. Did I like how I looked in those capris? Not really. Would I have worn them on a hot date when I first met Nic? Nope. It's just easy to get into a rut. *DISCLAIMER: Do we all need a day in sweats and no makeup? Yes. Do we have to be smokin' hot mamas all the time? No. That's not what I'm talking about.

The other day on Oprah, Dr. Phil was saying everyone should do something that wasn't the norm to feel more alive. To demonstrate his point he shaved off his moustache that he had worn for the last 40 years! I was inspired! (Snort, giggle) Yes I was! When he turned around and revealed his new face, he looked great! He asked everyone to consider doing something they hadn't imagined for themselves. Why not?

What are your ruts? I have my routines, some necessary, some REALLY not. I wondered what I could do with my time that would be better.

Guess what? This girl who hasn't exercised since college recently became a runner....jogger...okay shuffler. For the last 6 weeks I have worked myself up to almost three miles. Never in a million years imagined that for myself. I still have voices that tell me I'm a fool. That I should succumb to the elastic waist band and give up any notion that I can be an active person. That rut feels mighty deep sometimes.

It's exciting to challenge your rut. I want to find more ways to do it. I have more moustaches that need shaving! Why not?

What fleeting dream do you have for yourself that you never thought you could do? Say it! Tell me!

Friday, April 9, 2010

On Being Manly

An innocent little post. ALL I said on facebook was that I was cooking dinner and my husband was playing Taylor Swift songs on Evan's green recorder. What's the big deal, right? Well, he started receiving phone calls at work. Heckling phone calls that put into question his manliness. Impossible!

This morning I was singing in my best soul sista voice in the shower and Nic called me out. Oh yes he did :) How could I throw him under the bus like that? I made him look like he was some wood elf, skipping through the forest playing leprechaun songs on his pan flute! How could I fail to mention that he was working out the notes for Afton who was wanting to play a Taylor Swift song for the school talent show? (Because it wasn't as funny if I said it that way, but I didn't tell him that) Now his friends are calling him and questioning his manliness!

My sister has been threatening to post a video I made of myself in college called "Hot Dance Moves". Now Nic is behind her in this quest purely for revenge. So now I feel I need to call off the dogs by touting my husband's masculine qualities. Why do I feel like I might be more in trouble after this post? thing ever. Couple weeks ago we biffed it by miscalculating what time we needed to be at an important event. We were dying, writhing in embarrassment trying to work up the nerve to call and say basically "we suck". So I told Nic, "Just blame it on me. Tell them I screwed up." I'll never forget him looking over at me while driving with his one hand (sexy MANLY thing he does) and saying, "Babe, I would never throw you under the bus like that, never." MANLY!

It has taken me a LONG time to admit, but I'm pretty sure Nic is quite a bit smarter than me. It's pretty sexy. (Okay, this may not score manly points with the dudes, but I think it is awesome) I caught him up late one night watching calculus videos on You Tube....for fun.

This boy also feels the need to die apparently. Ever seen him on a motorcycle? Every time I see him ride I want to smack him or kiss him...can't tell which.

He is a different kind of guy. He read Twilight with me. He sings like an angel. He draws and paints. He does not watch ESPN every second of the day. But he's all man:) The most manly thing is that he mans up. He cares for his kids, is loyal to his wife and works his butt off for this family. It's all he cares about. He drives the older car to let his wife drive the nicer one. It's getting harder and harder to find a man like that. So no worries...I can smell his testosterone from here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Uncomissioned Portrait

I think it is time to get dressed. Afton just brought me a portrait of me entitled, "Mom in her underwear with hairy legs". She has taken artistic liscence because I know my leg hair does NOT look like Daniel Boone fringe. Does it? Does it?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thumbs up kind of Wednesday

I love the days when things just go your way. Yesterday was NOT one of those days. Today was though. Yesterday was a forgot it was picture day, can't find a mystery diaper in the house before two separate groups of guests arrive, key stuck in the the ignition, string of beads breaking at an annoying time type of day. But today....ahhh...deep breath....a good day.

My hair worked out even though I was in a huge rush. I de-crumbed my car and cleaned out the trunk while the baby slept for once. I picked up Nic from work with my kids and ate at Wendy's. We ran into missionaries and random family members. My salad was much more delicious than anticipated and my once a week diet coke tasted like the nectar of the gods.

I went to Deseret Book and while there I noticed Evan had split from the herd and was examining a beautifully done bust of Jesus. The sculpture happened to be right at eye level for Evan. He smiled and smiled at Jesus and then leaned in and gave him a kiss. (Commence heart melting). I asked him, "Evan, do you love Jesus?" He said, "Yep." Then he gave him once more kiss and skipped away.

Jemma was snoozin' again so rather than move her, I parked at the park and let the kids tackle each other on the grass for a few minutes. I read a book that inadvertently pointed out all the ways I can be a jerk and made me want to instead work on building confidence in others with every encounter. I forget how much power we have in the way we treat each other.

Jemma woke up and I got out of the car and felt that white, warm sun on me that feels like Spring Break. After being cooped up for a few days I love to turn my face straight to the sun and close my eyes for as long as I can stand it. Fills my happy cup.

There were a couple of teenage boys at the park and I spent a good deal of time contemplating how I could politely inquire as to how boy number one keeps his pants up when they are belted around him below his butt cheeks. I formulated many ways of asking, but decided against it in the end.

I heard a country song on the radio about a dude appreciating his old car that still ran, a few bucks in a coffee can, (mine happens to be a peanut butter jar), dinner in the oven, a good woman's lovin' (love that cheesy rhyme), ticker still tickin' , etc... That song was me. It's a good life.

Friday, January 29, 2010

It is what it is

I'm rarely primped and coiffed by kindergarten drop off time. On a normal day I am woken by Jemma before the sun comes up. I moan. Nic goes and gets her and potato sacks her to me. I nurse her and try to sleep. Afton then wakes up at an unholy hour and comes and stares at me. I can hear her breathing through her nose. I can feel her breath on my face. I pretend to sleep. I'm getting pretty good at the subtle fake snore and at not squinting my eyes. Once Jemma starts whispering "ta- ta" and "dee- dee", I know my gig is up. Soon will come the face patting, nose pinching and head butting. Rise and shine.

My mom always tells me that there are keys to successful mommyhood. A couple of these keys include doing at least one load of laundry a day and getting up way before your kids do. I know it's possible because I see the other moms at school show up with a fresh blow-out or damp pony tails. They manage somehow.

I pour cereal and gather backpacks in my p.j.'s. I dress and comb and herd children from room to room. "Did you go pee pee?" "Did you eat all your food?" "Uh-oh, we only have ten more minutes" "You can't wear your snow-suit". "No, you don't need your snow boots." "Yes, I promise you Friday is and has always been a school day".

Two minutes before departure, I take the stairs two at a time and find my clothes that are rumpled accordian style on the floor next to my bed. Exactly where I left them the night before. I always have a fleeting thought of, will the moms notice this is what I wore yesterday? As an afterthought I pull Nic's hoodie we bought on our honeymoon off of a hanger and throw it over yesterday's shirt. Perfect disguise! I look in the mirror and use my knuckles to scrape yesterday's mascara crumbs out from under my eyes. I tell myself, "I gotta get up earlier!"

Drop off, kisses, waves, "See you in a couple hours!" "Run! Don't look back!"

When I got home this morning, Jemma was ready for her nap. I took her upstairs and rocked her. I know when she is asleep because she breaks into a sweat just like her dad. This morning's sleep sweat warmed up her face, turned her cheeks pink and made her smell of the maple syrup I hadn't cleaned off of her face yet. I layed her in her bed. One of her legs had escaped her jammies and was hanging bare outside of the yellow flowered terry cloth. That image was a metaphor for my mom-ness...Everything is fine, people are happy, but nothing will ever be put together perfectly! Amen.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cat Fight

I was in a sterile-like room with a shower cap and rubber gloves on. I was standing across from my sister. She's five years older than me and she looked ridiculous in her get- up too. We'd driven 45 minutes across town in the rain with a Stake Relief society president in the back seat to go can our beans, dry milk, rice...and anything else we would live on if "the big one" ever hits. I looked around the room. The other women were slightly pot-bellied like me from having babies. There were crows feet, eyes with day old mascara, outdated wedding rings, successful and not so successful attempts at being fashionable. Just a hodge-podge of Mormon women at the cannery.

I thought back to my days as a teenager. I thought I was so, so (did I mention so) so cool. I could barely breathe because of how awesome I thought I was. I laugh so hard now at what I thought made me like that. Clothes? Music? Boyfriends? Good report card? Lame. I was harmless, but so vain. LOL! I'd die if you could see in my head and understand how important I thought I was.

So standing there in the cannery with my sweats and plastic apron, I just started to giggle. Then that turned into laughing. Which turned into uncontrollable laughing which fetched me some wayward glances from the potato pearl posse. My sister said, "What's so funny?"

I laughed more and pointed to her shower cap and then at mine and back at hers. Then I skipped across the packing room and sang, "Wee! Let's go to the cannery!" My sister understood. We talked about being such fierce big haired teenagers with a world of hearts to break and now we are among the leagues of the unglamorous. I saw myself in the reflection of the squeaky clean windows. I was a pretty frumpy lookin' mamasita. Oh...a full circle moment.

Don't get me wrong. I love my life. I love my babies. I love my house that is sometimes clean and I love my bills getting paid on time. I love folding my laundry GAP style and vacuuming my car mats. I love God and singing and praying my guts out to be better. I love my life. It's just not a glamorous life. And the vain me sometimes misses the cocaine-like draw of pointless and meaningless attention. I's a fault. But this is my blog and I can talk about it if I want.

So, this morning while my husband was swishing with Scope, we had a conversation. In that conversation, I told him that all I require is his awe-like reverence for my womanliness. He choked on his mouthwash, getting some on his tie and told me the house wasn't big enough for my ego. For the most part though, he does give me the paparazzi attention I need. (I still want him to gush about how amazing I look when I'm pregnant...and how could I possibly give birth in such a fertility warrior way...and darn if I don't look downright RADIANT!) It's a work in progress.

I guess it is balancing the housewife with the diva in me that sometimes gets in a cat fight. So, I'll wear lipstick when I pick up my kindergartner, and I'll put perfumed lotion on before bed. I'll still use my thumbnails to scrape cereal off of two day old dirty bowls, and I'll doctor diaper rash with stinky creams. I'll sock away food storage because I love the prophet and will do what he says. I'll pray and sing and watch over the blessed rug rats at church in my new calling. I'll write because it's the only thing that is truly my own anymore. Somewhere in there, I hope I find homeostasis.

Ladies, we rock.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Garth (not Brooks)

Garth Abbott loved my husband even when he dyed his hair blue and came to church with it like that. Garth Abbott cares for his 90 year old mother and family member with down syndrome. Garth Abbot has a wife, children, and grand children. He has the biggest meaty hands I've ever shook and an even bigger heart. He was my bishop when I was in college and he gave me acceptance, love and a better view of how much God loves me, loves us all. He knew my name in a sea of faces. He has aggressive cancer. He can't pay for the treatment. You can do a good thing by donating an item, service to an online auction for him or just donate money. Email his daughter-in-law at to see what you can do. I didn't think I had any talent or item to share, but I can make a killer Valentine's Day gift basket! What can you do? Check out the details at