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!

Happy Campers

After a couple of lovely days hanging with the Mel and the Sue and the Shorty, we headed back home. Chad and I had to come home Sunday night to get Chad packed up, so he could turn around and leave for High Adventure in the morning. The rest of the fam stayed for another couple of days. We met back up on Wednesday, ran some errands, took the van into Jiffy Lube for a tranny flush, got packed up, then headed back out, this time south toward Payson. We were headed for the campgrounds in Nebo Loop. A lovely place to camp.

I was so happy. We missed the camping season last year (I was ten and a half months pregnant). I have been craving a camping trip.

It was lovely. There were clouds of mosquitos, an exorbitant amount of food, a night of crying kids, a night of peaceful kids, fragrant port-o-potties, a beautiful lake, rock-chuck hunts (and Preston even spotted a deer!), sitting and joking around campfires, sudoku matches and bean duels... everything you need to have the perfect camping experience (although we missed Sue and Mel, who were supposed to come, but then had car problems of their own. Bummer).

Really, really lovely.

Hey, Tom Sawyer!!

The moment the mold was controlled, we jumped into showers, jumped into cars, and headed up to Rexburg.

Of course, the trip was once again delayed by our van's lovely transmission, which started to freak us out right around Salt Lake. So we detoured to the nearest car rental place, left the van there, jumped into a tiny clown car, and continued the journey.

We headed up to Idaho to see my brothers in a community musical, Tom Sawyer. So great! It was really fun to see them up on stage, as the Reverend and the Mayor, shouting hallelujahs in church and prosecuting before a jury. It made me want to run out and audition for a local play here at home. And I was rather fond of the group numbers, when Sue and Shorty would enter backstage and stage left and find each other, arms across the other's shoulder, belting out together in brotherly cameraderie, "Hey, Tom Sawyer!" The best part.

Good Old Oomycota

It was another one of those blocks of adventurous time for us here, so I have a bit to catch up on here....

First, my fam came up (hooray!!), and we had a rather exciting week. And the excitement actually started immediately, the moment Dad came into our house.

"I smell mildew," he said. "Do you guys have a leak downstairs?"

And then he proceeded to whack out the bottom half of the drywall in our hall and bathroom. There it was, Excitement #1: Mold! Ta da! So we threw away a trash can full of black soggy drywall (how did Chad and I not notice this?!), and we bleached the devil out of the studs and floor boards for the next hour! Three days later, rinse and repeat. A week later, rinse and repeat.

Our mold has been repelled! Victory! Now we just have to let it dry. And dry.... and dry..... and dry....