Thursday, December 29, 2011

Five Years

.....And I'm still trying to figure out 
how I beat all the other girls in line 
(and believe me, there was a line!).

Happy Anniversary, Honey.
You're my Best Everything!!
How I love you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"...and pondered these things in her heart"

(Isn't this picture really great?!
 By Alice Havers.
This Mary looks like a mother:
Dark circles under the eyes, tired.
But holding her little boy close.
But at peace.

I've decided that I like being pregnant at Christmas time. 
I like where it sends my thoughts.
How it focuses me inward, in a good way.

I begin to think, what better gift?
What could someone wrap and put under a tree
that could ever come close to a child?

And yes, I say that with sincerity....
Knowing full well that gift cards are quieter,
jewelry never leaves a mess,
my favorite movies always go where I want them to,
and good sushi never disappoints.

I just stop thinking about what else I could be getting,
what else I want or need.

I'm getting a child.
Which was the first gift.
And the greatest.

And so my thoughts turn to holier gifts as well.
Gifts given to me that I can never repay.
Gifts of hope and purpose and joy and eternal family.

From a child.
At Christmas time.

So Merry Christmas to me!
To us!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Good Friend

I have some brown bowls.
Really more of a chocolate color, dark and lovely.
Wide, deep bowls. Ceramic. 
The good stuff.
(I would post a picture, but our dishwasher
is cruel to the outside of our dishes;
just wouldn't do my bowls justice...
Still the nicest things I own,
hard water spots and all.)

And I love them.
Love to eat from them.
Because every time, without fail,
the memory comes to me
of where they came from....

A big garage, full of stuff.
Really packed!
We were cleaning, my good friend and I.
And the treasures we found!
Amazing things! Beautiful things!
And she gave some to me--
Like my bowls--
Like it was nothing to her.
Like she had plenty.
Like I deserved anything my eye fell upon,
even for a moment.

Because that is my friend.
She gives things, food, flowers, friendship, love,
Like she has plenty;
Like I deserve it all.
I do not remember the time before her friendship.

I remember her camera,
taking pictures of my friends and I in fancy dresses.
Made us feel like princesses.

I remember her hiring me to clean her house,
not because she needed the help,
but because she knew I could use the money
and the opportunity.

I remember her walking into our home
with bags of Trader Joe groceries--
The Good Stuff--
while my mom rested in her hospital bed downstairs,
dying of cancer.

I remember her last minute touches
to my wedding flowers.
Placing the wreath around my head.
How the flowers were perfect.
Rich and bold and beautiful.
And when I wanted to thank her that night,
at the reception, 
I discovered she was home with the flu,
feeling awful.
But had pulled herself out of bed
for my flowers.

That is my friend.
She gives. She loves. She is.

And even for my friend,
lovely and strong,
life can deal out blows.
Heavy, hard blows.

And I find myself fantasizing these days
of throwing my kids in the car
and showing up on her doorstep.
Being there for her,
Like she was for Momma,
Like she has been for me.

And I would have a carton of cookie dough.
And some good movies.
And she wouldn't have to get out of her sweats,
if she didn't want.
And I would clean her house
(for old time's sake).
And we would lay on the couch
and do nothing.

And she could talk.
Or not.
And I would listen.
Or be silent.

I just want to be there.
I want to say to her--
My friend,
A Good Friend--
"I don't know what you're going through.
But I know what hurt feels like.
And loss.
And you don't have to be strong.
Not with me.
And you can be angry.
Or sad.
Or tired.
And I love you!
Because I know you....
My friend!
My Good Friend!
The Best Kind!"

And maybe someday
(soon, I hope)
I can give in to my fantasy
and show up on your doorstep.
But until then, my friend,
I am not far away.
And it's okay with me
if you let your hair down.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sometime around May 26th, 2012.....
Welcome, Short Stranger.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Playing Catch-Up: Brooks Summer Concert Series

Well, what a fabulous year for concerts! Hooray for Swire Coca-Cola perks!

It all started August 13th, with Josh Groban...... Some thoughts:

I was surprised at his stage presence. Really engaging, and quite hilarious, actually! Also, way more talent than just singing (and on a side note, he does have a tendency to sing flat live--the rumors are true. Still a lovely voice!): He rocks on piano. He wails on the drums?! He writes a lot of his own stuff, composes, etc. A rather impressive performer.

Then on August 31st, we went to Usana to see Heart and Def Leppard.... Heart being the love of my life, this was a fantastic night for me! My second Heart concert--and after nearly a decade, they still wail! Talk about talent! Ann can still sing like a rock star, and Nancy is still a smokin' guitarist.... loved it! Basked in it!

And Def Leppard was a lot of fun, too.... They actually sing a lot more songs that I recognized than I was expecting. And a really excellent light show behind them, which always adds to the rock experience for Chad and me.

But, in all honesty, Heart had me at hello. :)

Then back to Usana September 23rd, where we saw REO Speedwagon and Styx. Okay, couldn't have cared less for REO Speedwagon--they have never been my favorite. So I bore through their opening act for another of my deep musical heartthrobs: Styx! Oh, I've seen them four times now, I think.... Love 'em every time! Every time! I especially love all the antics of their highly entertaining keyboardist, Lawrence Gowan.
(PS. This picture isn't mine--I borrowed it from For some reason, we cannot locate all our Styx footage--travesty!)

And finally, the Brooks Summer Concert series came to a close--in very un-summer-like weather (ahem, rain and almost snow!)--at the X96 Big A** Show at Gallivan Plaza in SLC. Talk about a fantastic final to our concert stretch.... over ten bands, lots of local acts and big names. Everything streamlined to perfection, so you never had to wait for the next act. Ah, beautiful!! So here are the bands we saw, and a few little thoughts about the show. And oh yeah, all of these next pictures came from the X96 website, from their Big A Show photo archive. So thanks where it's due:

She Wants Revenge: Man, I could hardly focus on his music, because his happy hands were doubling me over! :)

The Airborne Toxic Event: Okay, loved the girl because, while I did know she was the moving violin part in "Sometime After Midnight," I did not know she was also a tambourine aficionado! Ha! So great! And the lead singer.... so much fun to watch! And for some reason, all Chad and I could think was, "Andy Bernard?!"

Anberlin: They were the surprise of the day, for me. I like them, and I enjoy many of their songs. But to see them live just ramped up the love! The lead singer, Stephen Christian... Holy Job Satisfaction, Batman! I've never before seen anybody so obviously in love with what they do, and it was so infectious! The energy was incredible, and he had us riveted the whole hour!

Switchfoot: These guys ended up being the surprise act for Chad.... Later, when we looked at the video footage he took, we realized about two-thirds of it was of Switchfoot. Chad couldn't believe how much he loved them. Really fun. Really interactive with the audience, too, which is always nice.

Neon Trees: These kids have a special place in our hearts, because we all grew up in the same city. Same stake, actually. So it brings us joy to see them out doing their thing and having all this success. It's also really quite entertaining to see the swarthy, eccentric, Bowie-esque Tyler Glenn in his element.... Love it! And the drummer--she's pretty fabulous, too!

Panic! At the Disco: Well, they were the show closers, the big finale. I was so excited to see Brandon Urie and the whole Vaudevillian gang up there on the stage, and all the grandeur of their show.....

..... But wait a second! Isn't that Tyler Glenn? What the--?! 

Yes, Brandon Urie had malaria. Malaria, my friends. And was in the hospital. So the rest of the band showed up and did their utmost best to give a rocking show without their utterly fantastic and truly irreplaceable (as we all learned that evening) frontman. It was actually really a noble endeavor, despite the obvious void caused by Brandon's absence. The guitarist sang a couple of the songs himself. And then they opened it up to the other performers of the day. So Tyler Glenn came up and sang a couple. Brogan Kelby, King Niko, and some chick (who was not my favorite stand-in of the night). They fondly called it "Malari-oke Night." And really, it was lots of fun anyway. An incredible day overall! And I was wiped out after six hours of non-stop on-my-feet blissful rocking!

Ah, what will Brooks Summer Concert Series 2012 bring?? I can only imagine..... 

Playing Catch-Up: Halloween 2011

Well, the theme this year was Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland...
And here we are in our costumed glory!
The Mad Hatter, The Red Queen, The Cheshire Cat, and Alice.

Sadly, we did not win this year--
a shame, because Chad really, really rocked his getup!
(Wish I had some close-ups. Dang!) 
However, even we ourselves were pretty blown away by the competition:
A White Trash Wedding!
And they even performed the whole wedding!
So hilarious!

Still, it was a really fabulous Halloween.
And actually much less stressful, for me, than it usually is.
That was nice.

Coren spent the month singing "And I, Jack, the Pumpkin King.... 
That's right, I am the Pumpkin King!"
And watching Michael Jackson's Thriller.
And pointing out all the yards in Halloween spirit.
What a fantastic little dude!

Risa even got into it and walked herself up to the doors, 
holding out her little plastic pumpkin.
Which made the adults just ooh and aah, of course.
She's a cute one!

A great Halloween.

Monday, November 7, 2011

We Are Women

(My Boys! Love them, love them, love them!)

Hey, back in August, I guest posted on a friend's website, the Well, they asked me once again, so I wrote a little something this week. I'm a guest poster! Isn't that kind-of neat?! I think so, anyway. :)

So go check it out here: "Guest Post: Passionate"

And then look at the other posts on the website. Beautiful and inspiring experiences and thoughts from women in all different places in life. They talk about real woman concerns, and they share wonderful personal discoveries about life. I love it! It makes me feel hopeful, part of something, understood. Anyway, go read some. Lovely.

And yes, I am going to get on those other posts... Life is a bit of a whirlwind right now, but I feel the wind and debris finally settling. We will get there! :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Another Yawp!

Hey folks! It's been a crazy month, and I haven't really updated for a while. And next week I'll have some great posts on the Brooks Summer Concert Series and Halloween (fantastic!).....

But for now, these are the thoughts--really, the declarations--that have been running through my head this week.

And because this blog is more for my children than anyone else out there, this one will be a little personal; and it actually may not make any sense to anyone else. But I need to get it written down; declared, as it were.

Let's call it My Mommy Mantra.

For those of you who have read very many of my blog entries (or who just know me well), you know that I really can fret about my motherliness (is that a word?). There are fantastic weeks interspersed with weeks where I officially decide I have zero maternal instincts, and my poor children would be better with--well, frankly, with my sister down in New Mexico (but really, everyone's children would be better off with her, even the ones with great moms).

This fretting, I know, is not new or unique to me. It's a mom thing. And I realized (perhaps re-realized) some things this week--a revelation, really. The revelation I had this week actually started with some scriptures from Isaiah (this is where it may not make sense for a moment or two--bear with me, I shall explain):

"But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.

"Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments...

"Shake thyself from the dust; arise.... loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion."

Confused yet? Let me see if I can illuminate it for you the way it was illuminated to me....

I do this! I listen to amazing, accomplished women tell me that I'm not living up to my potential because I sit at home and play mom every day of my life. That I'm wasting my brilliance (and I'll admit it, I am rather brilliant) with meaningless tasks. They never come out and say motherhood isn't noble--even most of the worldly women recognize the importance of mothers--but they say it isn't enough. I'm not doing enough; I'm not being enough. I should be mother and career woman and community chair and PTA president and a scholar and..... on and on. I shouldn't just be a housewife.

And I buy it. They criticize my role, they say, "Bow down, that we may go over." And I do! I "lay my body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over." All too often I agree with their criticism. I say, "You're right. Look at everything you're accomplishing in this wide world. I'm doing nothing." I bow down. I let them walk all over me.

And this last week, after much pondering and discussion with dear friends and watching the beauty of my children--mostly after just watching my beautiful children--I was jolted. I was awakened!

My children--my 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, all-consuming job called Coren and Risa--they are my strength! Yes, they wear me out; but they vitalize me too. When they learn new skills, accomplish new tasks, they want to tell me about it. Their mother. When they need to feel loved in this big empty world, they come to me--and no one else will do. I am their mother. I am their love and their strength and their confidence. What CEO can claim that kind of primal importance? What professor or PTA president is that irreplaceable? What more beautiful garments are there for me to wear than those of motherhood..... Yes, of exhausting, monotonous, unrecognized, menial, enabling, empowering motherhood?! And if I have fulfilled that most unpraised of roles, I will have helped to create strong, able, decent people that will change the world. I can never do that as a scholar or a career woman or a community chair or whatever--not at such depth; not with such power. Only, only as a mother.

There is a fantastic quote by E. T. Sullivan, one that vibrates in me every time I hear it, that straightens my shoulders:

"When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn't stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in some simple home of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces of the world are not the earthquakes and thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies."

I am that obscure mother, creating that thunderbolt of change, one weary day at a time. One beautiful day at a time. One irreclaimable day at a time.

I shook myself from the dust this week. I arose a mother. A happy mother. Loosed from my band of fear and failure and inadequacy. I am a mother, and I hope I give honor to the title. I am a mother, and I hope I never take a day for granted. I am a mother--isn't that marvelous?!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Happiest Place!

Well, we took a little trip, 
took a little trip, 
took a little trip... to Cali! 
And it was so lovely! 
I could have stayed another week, it was so lovely!

We did many things and had much family fun. For sure!

But the highlight of the trip was definitely Disneyland.... So fantastic!!

The longest lines were a half-hour--beautiful! 
The weather was nice. 
It was really a perfect day for Disneyland.

Oh, and it was decked out for Halloween..... 
which means we got to see the Haunted Mansion in all its Nightmare glory!! 

And is it eerie that I'm so proud that the ride my son wanted 
again and again 
was "Jack"? 
And that he was so excited to go talk to Jack at the park? 
Fills me with joy.

And perfect timing for our family, too--both kids were free. 
And still, Coren could go on pretty much everything at the park.... 
And he did. 
Tower of Terror. Soarin' Over California. Thunder Mountain. 
Loved it all! 

In fact, he loved the big ones the best. 
A little thrill-seeker.... he's going to be an expensive teenager. 
But I'm glad he doesn't shy away. 
Glad he loves the big and the fast and the slightly spooky. 
That he takes life by the horns. 
Love it!

It was a really happy day at the Happiest Place on Earth.

(And to all of you wonderful people in CA
that we missed this trip.... Sorry!
We will get you next time.
There's just never enough time in Cali.
But we love you all!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Face Plants Galore!

Because Risa must try everything her brother does,
it was only inevitable that eventually
she would take her own train ride down the stairs.

Unfortunately, it was our porch stair.
And though it's a shorter fall,
it's a harder landing.

And the picture just doesn't do it justice.
Her lip was huge.
Like a Who down in Who-ville.
Or a gelfling.

And it took some serious consoling for this injury.
My poor girl.

Why this happens to my children all the time, I don't know.
But I've been informed it's rather normal.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Okay, I want my mom.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Here's to You:

To you, who makes me feel like a new woman every day. 
Who makes me laugh out loud and count the hours till 5:30 p.m. 
Who takes me at my worst, 
and makes me my very best.

To you, who makes me pull my hair out in one moment, 
and the next my breath is gone, 
because you are everything. 
Who brought me to the mysterious joy that is motherhood.

To you, who made me change my mind about the delight of little girls.
Who snuggles into me and fits like a perfect heart transplant.
Who brought the rain.

To you, who knows everything and gives everything.
Who taught me to be smart and deep and unmoved by worldy nothings.

To you, who made me feel important and confident.
Who showed me what a mother is, 
and how she quietly changes the world.

To you, who made my dad happy again.
Who gave me space and time and unconditional love.
Who mothers my brothers and sister, so they were/are never alone.

To you, who moved forward in faith years ago...and have never stopped.
Who gave me a giant among men.
Who hugs me like a daughter.

To you, who misses me after just a few days of being apart.
Who stays up till three a.m. to talk with me about everything.
Who calls me up for advice about her younger, cooler friends.
Who makes me laugh till I want to pee my pants.
Who listens to me vent and then gently gives me greater wisdom.
Who teaches me to let go and just be.

Who makes me feel connected to something large and warm and deep.
Something that feels like home....

In Long Beach and Eagle Mountain and Rexburg and Spanish Fork and Germany and Oklahoma and Murrieta and Highland and California and New Mexico and everywhere that you are.

Here's to you!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Domesticated Me

Look at that! The wild Charity Tree is finally being domesticated!

Chad and I have been thinking a lot about self-sufficiency and emergency preparedness lately.... Some friends have been hit kinda hard this year, and we thought, you know, you just never know if/when it's going to be you. So we've been stocking up on food storage, etc. But, as a result of said conversations, I have also decided to try my hand at the self-sufficiency side of life, which I am subtitling The Domesticated Side of Life. Because I feel like a pioneer. I feel like I'm learning all about living off the land and preserving food old-school style, and such. 

It's actually quite liberating! I like the Domesticated Me!

Like this... Look at what I have grown!
And that's just a week's worth of garden pickings! I've got about 30 tomatoes just waiting to turn red. So we shall be doing some canning of diced tomatoes and homemade salsa very soon.

And as an aside, look at these:
You may or may not be a beet fan (I love them!), but you have to admit--they are a beautiful vegetable!

I also went to the park and collected a bucketful of crabapples and made syrup.... it's rather delicious, actually! And some neighbors let us come pick bowls of apricots and apples. So apricot jam and applesauce are also on the horizon!

Domesticated Me. Who would have thought?! And that I enjoy it! I am discovering this deep (and surprisingly large) part of myself that feels grounded--almost like being at peace with myself--when I am surrounded by good earth, by green things growing, by the natural beauties of this world. 

And I have a hunch that I'm not alone.... I'm starting to think we are wired that way; and maybe we've just lost that. Which is (part of the reason) why we feel frenzied, materialized, etc, etc. Nothing is more calming than having hands covered in dirt and arms full of sunflowers/corn cobs/tomatoes/peaches/daisies/you fill in this space. 

We are stewards of the earth, aren't we?.... Funny there should be a connection....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yes, They Do Too!

My little Summy is married!

(And as an aside, isn't it thrilling to have such fantastic in-laws 
that I can securely call my little sister-in-law my Summy? 
Love it!!)

She is wonderful. And she married someone wonderful. Someone so perfect for her. 
Who makes her loud when her shyness wants to kick in. 
Who introduces her to Guster and Fiona Apple and other great artists she won't hear on the Disney channel (ha! Sort-of kidding, Summy!). 
Who makes her stand up proud and feel beautiful and be confident.

I am so, so happy for her. 
And I think he's really very lucky. 
Really lucky.
And I wish them all the best. 
And I'll miss them in Oklahoma.

And isn't it beautiful how the Lord moves us toward that person 
who is right for us in every way?
The yin to our yang?
The macaroni to our cheese?
And we get to walk this life together, hand in hand?
Is there anything more beautiful in this universe?

Congratulations, Summer and Chris!
Here's to the start of a breathtaking journey!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just Plain Stubborn

Sometimes I wish everyone could spend a day with my son. One full day with Coren.

Then they would understand stubborn. They think they know now...

I used to think he was a normal two year-old, with normal craziness and such. But almost a year--and countless comments--later, I understand that he's on the far end of the two year-old spectrum (two guesses for which end I'm talking here). People that I know, people that I trust, people that have had multiple children themselves, have commented on the....individuality of my son. That's when my own personal suspicions were validated.

Now let me say this: I am grateful that Coren is an individual! 

He has some unique characteristics that just make me grin, that fill me up with humor and pride. This incredibly vivid imagination has just started to emerge from his little mind... and it is spectacular! And I know, growing up, the individuality of my son will be a blessing and a wonder.

But add the two year-old's quest of asserting independence, defiance, busy-ness, space-out-ed-ness, whatever, to the individuality.... well, that also makes for some great fireworks sometimes! 

And, and...can I say this? The other tricky part is that others' advice doesn't work. It is hard to discipline when  time-out, taking away privileges, and spankings elicit zero response. Contrariwise, it is hard to motivate when treats, rewards, and toys also elicit zero response. So when someone says, "Well, this always worked for my kids...." I try not to, but I zone out. Almost immediately. And I think, "Yes, it probably did. Because I've seen your child. They respond sometimes." 

What I really want is some exhausted parent to come up to me and say, in perfectly blunt honesty, "You know what, my child was psychotic. Nothing worked for him. He's fine now. But I don't really have any good advice for you. Sorry."

Then I would know: That parent had a child like Coren. 

I got that once. When I was venting about the impossibility of Coren one day, my dad--man who loves to talk, who knows just about everything, and whose advice I can swear on about ninety-six percent of the time--grinned and said, "Yep."

Maybe was an individual. Maybe there's hope. Maybe we'll reach three.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guest Post

(Frank Morrison's Dream Catcher, from the Soul Sistas Collection)

Well, today's blog entry can actually be found on an entirely different blog. Interesting, you say? It is, rather.

I have a very dear friend here on my street, and she is a member/co-manager (is that what you call it?) of a blog called We Are Women ( It's really a thrilling blog for me because:

1. It is written by ordinary women;
2. These ordinary women have extraordinary talents; and
3. The mission of their blog, the We Are Women Project, is to empower women to be happy being whoever they want to be, forgetting about the messages of illusory perfection we are blasted with everyday; oh, and
4. They talk about their strengths and weaknesses, which makes it all more real--thus, hopeful--for me to read.

So go check out the blog, if you feel so inclined. It's a wonderful pick-me-up on the days when you're just not feeling like... enough. You are! Don't worry so much! Smile! And go eat a whole watermelon, for goodness' sake! The world always looks rosier with an entire watermelon sloshing around in one's stomach.

PS. Go look at Frank Morrison's Soul Sistas Collection! His work just moves me! Doesn't this woman look empowered?! Anyway, go look:

And PSS. That watermelon comment is in no way connected to the Morrison painting.... I just happened to eat a whole watermelon yesterday; and then today I looked for art that depicted empowered women. No connection, don't freak out.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Neighbors

It's always nice to make new friends...
...And yet I struggle welcoming these guys right into my yard.
Maybe there's a humane relocation option?
A bald-faced hornet suburb?

Still, you have to admire the detail on their home....
Pretty spectacular.

In other news,
Look who's getting close....!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tu Has Cumplido un Ano Mas!

And Risa is One!!! The Big One! We actually had quite the shindig, which is odd for us non-partyers, but it was rather a lot of fun. We ended up inviting a bunch of people for the simple fact that her cake was large, and I don't even love cake; so there was no way we were going to finish it alone. Chad's fam was over (minus Toddums), and my Uncle Dan and Aunt Natalie and the kiddos, and our neighbors/buddies the Astins. It was a swinging little party. And we were loud and happy. And she's one. Can you believe that? I feel like we did her first year in half-time compared to Coren's first year. Madness!

And she's oh-so-cute!!! She has really started to come out of her baby-ness in the last month. She feels like a toddler to me--with all her opinions and dramatic tendencies (good and bad) and jabber and such. She is a treat! I think I never wanted a girl only because I could never imagine Risa. She is most certainly a girl. But she is magnificent!

Some things about Risa at one year:

-The only words she says so far (which, technically, are not words, but sounds) are "oh" and "uh-oh." But the "oh" is my personal favorite, because she very deliberately puckers her lips into a perfect round O every time she says it. Love it!
-Although she doesn't say words yet, she is a random mimicker. And we have heard her copy us a few different times, aping such phrases as "I did it" and words like "hola."
-She will "clap it" or "dance it" upon command. And she breaks into a huge smile each time. She will also wave upon command, but this is almost always done with a stoic face (for some reason, both my children are masters at the stoic face. Is this normal? It can be a little unnerving sometimes, it's so impassive).
-She can open her mouth wider than I've ever seen a baby do. Huge. Gaping. You wouldn't believe it unless you saw it yourself... I swear she must unhinge her jaw like a snake. It's big. Really big.
-She has a serious water fetish--which doesn't really surprise me. Coren loved water from birth as well, it seemed. But she takes it to new levels. We had a thunderstorm the other day, and she crawled off the porch, out into the middle of the pouring rain, and just grinned while she got soaked. And yes, I know that's fabulous parenting on my part, but it was pretty warm outside. She never got pneumonia.

-She is also super picky about the temperature of her body. This is one area where the girliness makes itself manifest. She will not sleep in a warm room. She will throw a fit if she starts to perspire. She will keep herself up at night until we've 1) turned up the air conditioner and turned on the fan full blast, or 2) relocated her to the downstairs, where it's 10 degrees cooler. She will pull at her clothes if she's getting too warm--that's the sign for me to take them off (even if it's just a onesie; sometimes even that is too much). She will climb out of her sleeping bag in the middle of the night, in a tent, in the mountains, and sleep on top of her blankets in blissful stupor, even though by morning her legs are freezing! She's hot-blooded, apparently.... What does this say about her as a teenager? I shudder to think!
-She does some very thespian things. She can turn a tantrum on and off immediately. She pants when she's excited about something. She has perfected the melt-your-heart coy moves, like snuggling into a shoulder or turning away with a demure smile. And she does all of things in a very affected way. Like she's practiced them, and it's a show. Is this normal?
-She loves fruit (like her brother)--she will stick an entire cluster of grapes in her mouth, chew for a second, then pull out the empty stem; pretty awesome, actually! She loves ice cream (shocker), pasta of any kind, eggs, more fruit, beans, crackers, and fruit.

We love the girl. She is a force to be reckoned with, as Coren is learning and beginning to respect. She is chunky and happy and sassy and a little more high-maintenance, and she's really good at winning people over in about ten seconds flat. She makes life even brighter, and she is constantly cracking us up. I'm humbled to be her mother. I'm grateful she is here. Happy 1st, Missus!