Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing—Benjamin Franklin

In which Bryce's diet takes a turn for the worse

This morning, Little and I sneaked into our bedroom to ask if Bryce was ready to get up or not and found a few bright blue earplugs (life savers for him when sharing a room with Little) strewn about the room. I vaguely wondered at this as we pussy-footed through the room, but when we got to the bed my curiosity was piqued. Sitting next to Bryce on the bed was an ear plug that looked as though it had been eaten by either a dog, or a very thorough rodent, and short of said dog shimmying silently through the second floor window and back out again, there was no way to get into the room, thus creating the mystery. I picked it up and looked at it for a minute before Bryce said in his groggy half awake voice, "I ate my earplug."

I was dying laughing as he explained that sometime during the night his subconscious self had plopped the earplug into his mouth and he had been chewing it all night. When he woke up the morning spitting out bits of bright blue rubbery foam, it was quite the shock. I think law school has brought his sleep antics to a whole new level.
(Christmas post to follow) 

Hello... my name is Haley and I'm a Stress-aholic.

Being a list-aholic, the holidays are proving rather difficult this year. 
I sort of hit a wall a while back and realized that my strange addiction to stress needed to stop lest I end up agoraphobic, if not in a padded white room. Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who acts as a resident therapist and tells me when I'm completely nutty and lets me talk it out until we're both exhausted, not to mention helping me set up parameters to keep myself in check, but following those parameters is growing increasingly challenging the more holidays we go through.
Admittedly, it is ridiculous to be addicted to stress and as with most of my silly, self-created issues, I wish I weren't so serious about it, but I mean it quite literally. I don't know when, but somehow stress stopped being a symptom and started being an outlet. Problem being that it has the unfortunate side effect of making me crazy. Seriously. Ridiculous. My sister and I were talking about it a while back and she told me something that stuck with me: "You are way too careful with your laundry, so you ruin it."
Let me explain... Ever since I started doing my own laundry it has been a cardinal sin in my family for anyone other than myself to do it. Reason being that I am ridiculously careful about following instructions/overly caring for most of my articles of clothing. Yet somehow, inexplicably it always gets ruined anyway. It is a mystery of epic proportion how this happens all the time. But happen it does. And granted, I'm not as careful as I once was (a necessity of motherhood I suppose), but I'm still careful, and it still gets ruined.
So, when my sister said, "Haley, you do this with everything. You are way too careful with your laundry, so you ruin it," we of course started laughing immediately because she almost accidentally stumbled upon a very effective mantra for my life. I spend my time worrying and fretting about something going wrong, making endless lists of possibilities, and doing everything humanly possible to avoid them and then they happen anyway (and sometimes because I spent so much effort trying to avoid it).  Even if there isn't something legitimate to worry about, rest assured, I can find something. In short, it's a never ending cycle of stress. Hence the need to do something about it. 
And now... back to the point: At this time of year when stress is a staple and making lists is fully sanctioned, I am having a backslide, an extinction burst if you will. Blech. I love Christmas, I do, but it turns out it is a challenge for a recovering stress-aholic.
That said, Hooray! for Christmas. I love this season and if I remind myself enough of why we have it, my stresses don't matter one bit. I'm totally not scrooging Christmas; in fact this year I sort of get two Christmases as we're headed to the Lowders for a fun-filled, stress free, three-week Christmas extravaganza, but we don't want to bring our gifts for each other, so we are having a pre-Christmas, and a real Christmas when we get to California. I couldn't be more excited. 
Or more stressed.

I have officially done it

I cranked out 50,000+ words of a novel by the end of November with a miraculously few things to catch up on, my house only semi-looking like a disaster, and my sanity almost intact (but to be fair, it was never fully intact before I decided to take up the challenge, so there is that). I would be lying if I didn't say that I was a little proud of myself. It's a terrible novel at the moment--I'm a little afraid to read it back--but I think it might have some potential. Hooray for being finished! Except for the years and years of editing it will likely require to get it read worthy, but I'm not thinking about that right now. For now, this whole NaNoWriMo challenge has done what I wanted it to do: given me the kick in the pants I needed to start really writing again. So, I'll bask in that little bit of glory and ignore the millions of other things. 

Out of his depth

Being married to Bryce has made me very aware that there are so many simple things I take for granted. The latest? Depth perception. Normally Bryce functions just like everyone, but sometimes he'll do something odd, or make a comment that makes me realize just how many adjustments he has to make for his absent eye.

The other night we are sitting in bed chatting about everything and nothing and he says to me, 
   "Man! I totally miss having a back scrubber."
   "What do you mean?" I ask, "You have one hanging in the shower."
   "Remember," I say utterly confused, "I bought you one for you a while back."
   Pause of confusion before he says, "Wait... Is it clear?"
And we immediately bust up laughing because, as it is indeed a clear back scrubber and because of his lack of depth perception (not helped by the lack of glasses), he can't see it at all in the shower. So for a number of months now it has been sitting in the shower completely camouflaged for my dear husband. 

Kamakazi writing

I wrote about this last year, but didn't end up doing anything about it. The idea is to write 50,000 words of a novel from scratch in the month of November. I've made excuse after excuse--some legitimate, some desperate, some completely unnecessary--as to why not to participate in this and it occurred to me this year that I am ridiculous. When in my life am I ever going to have time, or have patience, or not have a million other reasons why I shouldn't be doing this? So... over the next month I'm going to go even more insane than I already am, but won't it be fun? To be honest, I've decided to pseudo cheat and use an idea I already have, but it is a bare bones outline at best, so I'm not feeling too cheater-pants-ish. I'm also fairly certain there is no way on earth I'm going to make it to 50,000 words, but...Thirty days and nights of literary abandon here we come!

Maybe the scariest Halloween Little will ever have

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays (just behind St. Patty's Day). As it turns out, it is even more fun with Little. Seriously. We have had so much fun. It started with us roping Bryce into carving pumpkins with us (a tradition that I was going to let him forgo now that Little is interested in partying with me, but when he offered I couldn't refuse). It turns out Bryce is a master pumpkin carver. I totally cheated and used a sketch for mine, but he decided to make his law school appropriate. "Nemo Dat" has been an inside joke for us for a while now because he came home and tried to explain it to me one day--the full term means roughly: no one can give what he doesn't have--but as so many things about law do, it went right over my head and the only thing that stuck was "Nemo Dat." I thought it sounded rather gangsta and so have adopted it as my pet phrase and when he starts going over my head I assume my best gangsta stance and claim "Nemo Dat." Anyway... the point is that pumpkining was a blast and our house is properly festive. 
Our ward Halloween party was fantastic. Chili enough for an army, costumes, games, and trick-or-treating. Great fun. The best part for me was how Little's costume turned out. We've been planning on making him Richard Simmons for a long time (who could help it with that fabulous head of hair?), mostly because we can do it to him now and he won't be able to complain/refuse/remember what we subjected him to. It took us a while to figure out how to make it all work, but after some creative sewing and quite a bit of coercion to get Little to keep the headband on, the masterpiece was complete. Not entirely complete as I guess he was missing a fake tan and chest hair, but we did what we could. 
The crowning even of the night: Little man lifting weights with our friend. Hilarious. 

Rock-a-bye baby... like a HURRICANE!!

Little man has had an exceptionally difficult time sleeping lately, for the last few months really. He usually wakes up around 2:00am or 3:00am, sometimes screaming/flailing, sometimes crying, sometimes happy as a lark and singing to himself. He then stays up for an hour or two and battles it out with me as to whether or not he will actually go back to bed. Translation: both Little and I are borderline crazy sleep deprived lunatics these days. We've tried everything under the sun, so any suggestions on how to remedy this would be much appreciated. 
We went up to my sister's house tonight to visit them and my mom (who is visiting for a while, hooray!) and help get their house ready for the realtor, so we were running around all day. We were dying of tired to begin with so apparently a busy day did my poor little monster in. When we finally called a cease-fire on the Windex and hung up our mops, I was challenged to a round of Guitar Hero. So fun. Loud, banging, rock-songs-full-blast fun. In the midst of this--after dancing like crazy--Little found his way to the floor right in front of the drum set and to the calming sounds of Aerosmith was lulled to sleep. He slept on for about an hour while we (no less noisily) kept rocking out.

We've decided instead of singing lullabies at bedtime, from now on it's 80's rock ballads all the way. 

Kung Fu fighting

Two things I think are worthy of note: One, Bryce and I had a shadow fight the other day. Mostly our shadows were strangely huge on the wall and suddenly it occurred to me that my shadow could perfectly karate chop his... so the fight began. I think Bryce's shadow won.
Two, in helping get Bryce ready for all his interviews I've been asking him all the probing questions and what not. He's had some pretty good answers for most of them, but oddly enough the one that stumped him was "Tell me about a time when you failed at something." It took my dear husband three full days to think of an answer (and even then it was a lame one). Am I wrong that most people can think of at least three possibly more like 300 times they have failed right off the top of their heads? I certainly can. Welcome to life with Bryce.  

By small and chigger things are great things brought to pass

Or how God shows his love through chigger babies

The story begins on a lovely August day while we were having a mountain adventure. It was a fun filled day all-told: good company, excellent views, flora, fauna, a swimming hole... who could ask for more out of a hike? However, not so fantastic are the hitchhikers who came home with us.
Let me preface this by saying that I hate chigger babies. And not just hate. I loath them with all the fiery purple passion in my little being. This hatred has been completely unfounded (and admittedly still irrational), but let me just put it out there that any species where the babies pose the threat doesn't get my vote.
And so... on with the story. When we got home that night we put Little right to bed, so when I found our little monstrous friends--while sitting on the bed no less--I was freaking out. Completely irrational. How many are there? Where are they hiding?  What dreaded diseases could I/my family now have? Had I put my baby to sleep in a bed of chigger babies? Had they already carried him away to eat him? I wish I could say that my thoughts hadn't gotten that far, but that wasn't far off. I told Heavenly Father that I knew it was a silly thing to ask, but that I needed to know what to do about the stinking chigger babies and how to calm down. Immediately I felt better and I knew what to do. Sadly it required waking up Little and another half hour or so of insuring no chigger babies were left unsmooshed, but we escaped the experience with only one chigger bite (thankfully on me, not Little). Anyway... it made me think just how much Heavenly Father loves me and even more, how well He knows me. Anyone would know I needed help if it was some big ordeal, but who needs rescuing from small insects? To the average person, chigger babies are not the end of the world. I wasn't bleeding by the side of the road. The proof is in the small things. The fact that He loves me enough to give me comfort when the only person it is a big deal to is me. Isn't that a lovely thought? 

Making the laws of the universe simpler

A good friend once gave me a bumper sticker that said: "Simplify--Henry David Thoreau." Anyone who knows me probably knows why that one word proves she is a good friend and I don't need to say much more on the subject, but for those who aren't aware, lets just say it's never been my forte. The are times when it's been a downright nemesis. However, today I was vacuuming the one remaining rug in our otherwise tile covered apartment and it occurred to me: I'm finally learning to take Thoreau's advice (or at the least I've started to realize the need for it). I'm a far cry from where he was, and I can safely say I have no plans to go live in a shack alone and write poetry at any point in my life, but I am learning that in many aspects of my life, less is unquestionably more and "simplify" is pretty much the best advice anyone could give me. Whether it be possessions, personality traits, silly habits I hold on to, or any of my ridiculously hypothetical fears and what nots, I need to purge a lot in my life and I am sometimes the biggest complication/road block in my life. Unfortunate. The closer we get to real life--and by real life, I mean a real job, home, and fingers crossed, a semi-stable existence--the closer I get to realizing what matters. I'm not saying it's the best advice for everyone, but I think it's safe to say, that lately that one word follows me around impersonating my conscience; completely unbidden, but oh so pertinent. So thank you Mr. Thoreau for reminding me. Not to mention Toni for putting us in touch. 

Potty Training: Fear and Loathing in the Bathroom

Incriminating, I know, but I think it is worth mentioning that Little went to the potty for the first time. I got the it mostly because he is just so darn interested in the big one and I thought it might give him something to be distracted by, plus he's constantly announcing, "Diaper, Mommy! Diaper!" when he has soiled his pants, so I figured... what could it hurt to try? And lo and behold, he skipped right to #2. Too much information, and I'm fairly certain/crossing my fingers it was a fluke as I'm not ready to tackle potty training just yet and I don't think he is either, but I guess we'll see if he keeps being interested. As it is, every time I go, I give him a chance to try it as well, and of late he's insisted on having a book (usually one of mine) to keep him company.

Raising cane

So... we're back. And hopefully that means back to blogging. I make no promises, but I will do my best to make sure it isn't a month before the next post. Not that I have anything terribly relevant to say other than "we're back," but since when has that stopped me from blogging, eh? 
So for lack of something better to share, let me share the oh-so-fantastic surprise we found upon our return (and yes... that is indeed a seemingly unimportant and utterly pointless cane hanging in the tree outside of our apartment).
To explain the joy of this we have to go back about a year to a Halloween party. We bought aforementioned cane to complete Bryce's costume, but afterwards couldn't quite figure out what to do with it. It floated around from place to place in the house, and even down to the storage unit a few times, but in a moment of purging, it was finally decided that we no longer needed to keep it around it for our not-so-geriatric selves and I told Bryce that he could go ahead and throw it away. We went about our business, cane-less and perfectly fine with that until a few days later when I looked up at the tree outside of our apartment, and there it was... our very own cane hanging from the branches. Bryce had apparently been waiting for me to discover it. I got a good laugh and left it there until I could go out and return it to the dumpster the next day. However, upon waking up the next day I found that it had moved. It was still in the tree, but in a different location. And thus it has been every morning since. Every now and again we'd see the neighbor kids playing with it or see it on the ground around the yard, but always it ends up back in our tree. I said my final goodbye to it as we headed out for the summer (I didn't really, but we did have a conversation about the slim chances of it being there when we got home) and then I promptly forgot all about it. That is until we pulled into the apartment at 2:00 am and saw it sitting in our tree, a little worse for wear, but still welcoming us home. Melodramatic, I know. However, the impressive part of the tale is that we had a storm to beat all storms the other night--lightning, hail, trees blowing over, etc. When we woke up in the morning, outside of our apartment was a disaster. There were tree branches everywhere and all sorts of craziness, but there sat our cane, like it hadn't noticed a thing in the night. We've decided it's a land mark. 
So there you have it, a needlessly long story simply to say that I'm glad to be home and I think I might really miss it if my poor little weather beaten cane were to one day disappear.

Being a turtle is not so bad

I sit here listening to my little man attempt to take a nap (which comes with sounds somewhere between Tarzan and Xena Warrior Princess) and it occurs to me just how much life has changed since we left Utah. Driving back here was a bit of a whirlwind and I didn't have time to notice much of anything, but as we've been in Utah longer, I'm realizing how much has changed. Not only in Utah itself, but in me. Hang tight, I'm going to wax sentimental.
There are the usual things I find when I haven't been home for a while: the neighborhood changes, having trouble finding my way around because of all the new building/freeway expansions, etc. And having been out East for a while there are new things to notice: the different color of the trees here, just how big the mountains are, the dry air that makes it hard to breathe if you move too fast and makes you realize the vital importance of lotion.... But the biggest thing I've noticed since I've been here is how I look at all of it. I love Utah--who can help it when you are surrounded by such beautiful mountains and fabulous people?--but I'm a visitor now. Which leaves me asking, when did it stop being home to me? I mean, it will still always feel a little like home because it holds so many memories, family, and friends, but now home is a different feeling all together. Home is waking up to little yells of "knock, knock mama" from the other room, and the pitter patter of little feet and growls as he comes to "surprise" attack your knee caps, and listening for silence because that means he is up to something he shouldn't be. Home is knowing my husband will be back at the end of the day with a kiss and a rescue attempt from the insanity that is life, or a silly song when I'm feeling not-so-hot, or staying up until all hours of the night talking and laughing about who knows what. Home isn't attached to a place anymore for me. Home is what I carry with me everywhere I go. When did I get so lucky? Maybe it's because we've turned into nomadic turtles who can load our entire house on our back at a moments notice and make do if the need arises, or maybe it's because my priorities have completely changed, or maybe I just don't have enough brain capacity to focus on both people and a place being home anymore. Whatever it is, I'm grateful for my little home and my little men who fill it up with love.

Portland of the Free

We ended up taking a trip up to visit my sister for the 4th of July and had a blast. Other than Little having a rough time both to and from (apparently we're prone to carsickness in motorhomes), there was plenty of fun to be had by all. Here is the highlight reel:

 The Tilamook Cheese Factory. A fabulous place full of the best tasting ice cream, cheese, and chocolate milk on earth. And who doesn't love a giant plastic cow?

The kids spent plenty of time cooling off with the slip-n-slide and Little loved every second of it. He parked himself right where the splashing was the most intense and didn't stop laughing until I pulled him kicking and screaming from the beloved pool because he was about frozen.
 Lauri, being master of ceremonies for the 4th of July, made sure we all had appropriately patriotic painted nails and she may just be the record holder for getting Connelly to hold still for the longest. It's amazing what you'll do for sparkly blue nails. 
 Cannon beach. Beautiful. Cold. Worth it. 
Fun with fireworks and marshmallows and family. Between lighting off fireworks and having semi-all night bonfires, the fire pit was well used. 
And last but not least, Little taking after his father (Bryce used to carry around a "sword and banger" when he was little) and attacking anyone who would allow it, which mostly meant Jonathan because he was such a good sport the whole time and is the best cousin anyone could ask for. 

Twas the night before Dad's Day and all through the house, not a gift was delivered, not one for my spouse

It is Father's Day in two days and I am officially the worst present giver in the world. In my defense, Bryce is the worst present receiver in the world (for various reasons that would take far too long to discuss in this post), but all the same, he will not have one present to open on Father's day. Here is my problem: I ponder and ponder for months in advance until I find the perfect gift for the person, I purchase it right away (usually still months in advance), then get excited--full to the brim with the thought of giving my perfect gift and what joys it will bring, then I spill over and somehow (whether intentionally or no) spill the beans to the person, then I have to repeat the process all over again so that they will have an actual gift on the date. Why don't I just write a card as a reminder of said gift? you ask... because a gift isn't a good gift if you already know all about it. So say I. However, for this Father's Day, I was going to be smart. I decided to wait until the last minute to get the gift so I wouldn't give it away. And now I sit, the day before Father's Day-eve and his gift is still in transit. Curse my gift giving tendencies! Good thing Bryce knows we love him anyway.

Lots of good things

Two things...

Item One: I went with my sister to help 
her with a class she teaches for Poppyseed Projects and fell in love. Seriously. Fantastic. I am not much of a scrapbooker--and by "not much" I mean, my attempts usually look more like a kindergarten art project gone awry. Sewing, cakes, wire, even wood, those I can get at least a salvageable product with enough time and effort, but no matter how much I try to scrapbook, it always turns out the same. Give me yarn and paint over paper any day. So, needless to say, I was a little wary of making one of these because when I heard about it/saw a project I thought it would be every scrapbookers dream (read: my nightmare) to make, but it wasn't. It was absolutely doable and now I understand what all the hub-bub is about because every single project turned out looking fantastic. There is nothing to make you feel more crafty than something that takes you 2 hours (or less) to put together and looks like it took days (or more). I didn't even make one for me and I felt slightly triumphant at the end of the class just seeing all of them. I'm going to go make one on June 25th and if anyone else wants to, my sister has plenty more room in the class. I'm so excited to have a picture of the temple up (to replace the dinky little one we have sticky tacked to the wall that barely even counts). Anyway... The point of this is to say I have missed being in the land of two-story craft stores and do-it-yourself everything and it is going to be a challenge to not bring home my body weight in sewing patterns, craft supplies, and crafty doings.

Item Two:
This was posted on one of the blogs I follow and I thought it was worthy of sharing. http://www.newsweek.com/2011/06/05/mormons-rock.html  
It just makes me happy to be Mormon, you know? Not that I wouldn't be pleased as punch to be a member of what Bryce's former boss refers to as "the club," even if it had the worst publicity in the world, but it warms my heart when I read articles like this and see good LDS people getting good recognition and helping others who are not of our faith get a real view of who we are. Hooray!

Slow and unsteady...is just glad to finish

We are finally in Utah. Hallelujah. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. 

After a road trip that was just short of apocalyptic, we made it with only minor bruising to show for it. We should've known this road trip was going to be an event of epic proportion when it started with a turtle semi-rescue wherein I made Bryce jump out of the car to rescue a turtle that had taken it into his head to cross the road in the middle of a busy intersection near our house. After that turtles were everywhere. Seriously. One was even crossing the freeway in the middle of Nebraska with no water in sight. So strange.
The car looked like a war zone from day one, courtesy of Little man, but we were prepared for that disaster so it didn't faze us much.

However, when our car started making some not-so-comforting noises just outside of St. Louis, the worries began. Thankfully I have a daddy who can diagnose the problem when I say, "It's going duh-duh-clickety-clunk" and warn us that it is the brake. And even more thankfully I have a husband who listens to when the Spirit tells him we had better stop for the night and have it looked at. The Midas man (who is my new favorite human) said it was a miracle our car stayed intact as he discovered that when we had the brakes replaced the day before our trip it somehow slipped their minds that they might need to tighten the lug nuts. I'm still saying constant prayers that Heavenly Father looked out for us that night and kept us all safe, not to mention the fact that the Midas man will get a lifetime supply of cookies from me because he is my hero. Really, if you ever find yourself needing car help around Fairview Heights, IL, go see Denny Sleeper at Midas. The end.

But really that was only the beginning. After that we had the great floods of Iowa/Nebraska. We turned in to get some food and found all the restaurants closed and people frantically sandbagging. It turns out they had opened a spillway in the Missouri river and the whole place was about to be underwater. We were told that the highway was still safe, but when we got about a mile down the road and found the lane next to us entirely covered in water, we decided to take a different route, adding an hour to our trip, but ensuring we got there. Didn't get any terribly good pictures, but you get the idea. Even with our alternative route we watched the flood waters threaten the freeway through half of the state.

As if that wasn't enough, we finally found a Subway (to provide Little with some fresh veggies since that is about the only thing he'll eat at the moment, which makes road tripping rather interesting) and as soon as he finished his meal, it promptly… came back up. After many tears, towels, and outfits, he felt a bit better, but we decided since we were going to be up all night anyway, we'd push on through the night and make sure that he had a bed waiting for him at the end of his blechs.

After that we had exploding drinks, more turtles, a brief stop in Kingdom city, a herd of wild horses, and last but not least, arriving to find Utah frozen over (not implying that Utah has any similarity to the bad place).  In the end we were looking around every turn for locusts. 
But all is well now and we are in Utah safe and sound. The first thing we did was start to unpack and the first thing Little Britches did was prevent us from doing so, mostly by attempting to play the laundry game which we invented to be a distraction for him so I could get things done at home, but this time it was in my suitcase so it was less than helpful. 
I think he enjoyed the unpacking though because he has picked up a new habit since we've been here. He runs around "putting stuff away." I use that phrase loosely as his version is more like hiding things in random drawers where I will never find them or closing doors/cupboards while I or he is still in them. All the same... I will definitely encourage the impulse. 

All-in-all, we saw some fun things on the way, but we are glad the road trip is over. 

"If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic." - Lewis Carroll

I had an epiphany the other day; and this time it wasn't one of those I've-lost-my-mind-isn't-it-laughable ones, it was a real, legitimate epiphany for me. It started because I had a moment of divine intervention about something that has been on my mind a lot lately and in reporting it to Bryce later realized that the reason I pegged it as revelation was because it was a logical/reasonable thought process. It made perfect sense in my head, so it must be revelation from heaven. Now, this may simply mean that I have crossed the line from quirky to completely insane, but I'd like to think that it just means I have some mental work to do. 
Bryce is always the logical one, this is no mystery to anyone, but because of this I've let what small amount of logic I have slip out the window. With every time I've spent three hours trying to figure something out in the only way I can think to do it and Bryce has come home and showed me a much faster/easier way to do the same thing in 5 seconds or less, I find myself doing those things less and less. I don't tax my brain anymore or even bother to try to figure it out because I know if I wait for Bryce to come home, he will do it better. There are 2 major problems I see with this, a: Sometimes Bryce isn't around much/doesn't have the time and b: I am quickly losing the ability to use the logical part of my brain. Not to mention the fact that it is placing a large handicap on my confidence level. It sounds silly, but I am absolutely serious and slightly dreading the fact that I am going to have to put my logical mind to use despite how much it grunts and groans about it after so long of sitting generally dormant.

In other more exciting news, we've almost survived finals. There have been quite a few sleep-related incidents, and being woken up in the middle of the night to Bryce spouting law reviews or Latin terminologies explaining that he's just finishing the conversation we were having (a conversation that never existed as it is 3 AM and I was sound asleep), but other than that we are unscathed. We also found out the other day that we are going to spend part of the summer in Utah. And though packing our stuff and getting us all ready to leave in 2 weeks is not my idea of fun, it will be a good experience. 
Little britches is still running around and I swear he gets faster everyday. I took him to a petting farm the other day and that was one of the funniest things that has ever happened. (Pictures to follow as soon as I get the real computer back from Bryce)

Our life... the Easter egg hunt

A toy in the closet, cracker in the couch, a flip flop in the bottom of the stroller, and recently we've added actual Easter eggs to the list making it a bit more excusable, but still... We've officially decided that our life is one all-encompassing Easter egg hunt. Things are hiding everywhere. In one way it's an adventure a because life is full of little discoveries, on the other hand, half the time you can't find anything because Little has taken it to one of his hiding places and you end up tearing apart the house in an effort to find it again. The latter view tends to take over my mentality. Good thing he is so cute. 

Also, though it has nothing to do with anything, please to note my bunny bum cupcakes that I made for our Easter picnic. It's almost embarrassing how proud I am of them.

Piracy is alive and well

 So Little has a fisher price pirate ship set that has pretty much been his sole entertainment since my sister gave it to him a month or so ago. He particularly dotes on the cannonball. He carries it around everywhere he goes which means that at any given moment you could find yourself sitting on, kicking, dislodging, or being otherwise accosted by a cannonball in our house.This morning it was on the kitchen table for some reason and as Bryce moved to do something it somehow flew off and hit him in the gut. He caught it and immediately yelled out, "We're under SIEGE!!!" looking around frantically. Few times in my life have I laughed that hard. 
 Also... I was remiss in blogging his actual birthday so I thought I'd add some more piracy to this post. Of course it was a pirate birthday. I'm not sure that you can read it in the picture, but we made him a shirt that says, "Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of milk" and my sister's kids outfitted him with a pirate hat so that he could be truly piratical for the day. I made a treasure island cake and we played find the treasure on the map and tattooed ourselves silly. Much to our surprise, Little ate the cake pretty daintily and barely got a touch on himself, which was terribly unpiratical, but we'll work on that later.

Dinosaurs and disillusionment

Not that I ever had any grand illusions about this, but I can't spell. This is a recent rather disheartening discovery. If we're being honest, I can't say it's entirely recent as I've been attempting to find comfort in blaming my deteriorating mental state on motherhood for quite some time now--and yes, there has been a serious decline in brain functionality since Little's been around; however, apparently my problems are much deeper. I hit a new low when, while walking in the baby clothing section, I had an epiphany (as much as I wish it weren't the case, the amount of awe and shock I felt can only be classified that way). There is a word, not a very common word, but one everyone knows (read: should have known how to spell from the third grade). A word seldom seen in print, but simple enough to be placed on a baby's t-shirt. A word that has caused me to question my existence as a college graduate. A word that I am way too embarrassed to actually mention. I took one look at that little baby shirt with aforementioned word printed on it and realized that my entire life I've been spelling it wrong, and not just wrong, egregiously so. It starts with a completely different letter for heavens sake! Now, I recognize that this post is ridiculously over-dramatic, but there really is no doing justice to the trauma I felt when faced with the staggering reality of my mental state. Ok. Dramatics done. Simply put: I would lose horribly if I ever played "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" and I find myself wondering how on earth I expect to write a book (or even a coherent sentence) in my current state. 

Welcome to Spring

We've been doing some serious spring cleaning. And by "we," I really mean I semi-conned Bryce into staying up until all hours of the night rearranging and cleaning out for days on end. He did get a new desk out of it, not to mention a much better feeling house, but all the same... For him it ended up being less of a "Hooray! Spring break!" and more of a  "Spring break... now get to work!" Being the fantastic husband he is, he never complained and we got everything cleaned, rearranged, and bought a few little things to spruce up the apartment. It's amazing what a few new pillows can do for the sanity. Anyway... the point is that this spring cleaning extravaganza has made me realize just how much junk I haul around with us. Bryce and I have the same conversation every move (and plenty of times between moves):
     Bryce: "Hey, lets get rid of everything we own when we have to move again and just get all new stuff." (When we actually have a job of course)
     Me: "But that'd be so expensive!"
     Bryce: (insert some reminder about the cost of moving and storage)
     Me: "But...but...but..."
and so forth and so on. I always win of course, but not because I have any sort of logical reason to keep any of it. I mean, yes the furniture works, but none of it fits together in the least. Yes, the kitchen stuff is limping along, but most of it is really worn out and crappy. Yes, the bookshelves are great for storage, but what bookshelf isn't? I don't have any excuse for most of the stuff in the basement storage, so that I win on pure sentimentality--which would be fine if it was all pictures and love notes, but most of it is extra kitchen stuff and decorations, or that thing that I keep saying "someday I'll use" but never have yet. I realized the other day that with every move, and every thought of moving, Bryce wins me over to his side by doing nary a thing; he just sits back and lets logic slowly seep into my brain (which is far more difficult than it should be).
My conclusion: the sentimentality/usefulness of a thing is directly proportional to a: the distance it has to be moved, and b: the amount of times it has to be moved. 
Also... Dear Spring, I'm so glad you are here again. Oh! How I've missed you!

One happy little man

I officially have a one year old today. Crazy! If you would have told me a year ago when I was completely miserably in labor that I would barely even remember it now, I would've called the loony bin on you, but I really don't. I can tell you how many hours I was there and how much I hate pitocin, but only because I remember thinking that at the time, not because I remember feeling it or being uncomfortable in the slightest. So strange. From the second they put him into my arms the world started changing and even on my worst days knowing that I have my amazing little man makes things not so terrible.
We didn't do much for him today (other that Bryce sharing his ice cream sandwich which made Little happier than I've ever seen him); we're postponing birthday shenanigans partially because we are all sick and partially because we are headed up to my sister's on Saturday for a real celebration (pirates included of course). Holidays are going to get a lot more complicated when he actually starts understanding how dates work. 
Anyway... Little has been in the happiest of happy moods lately, bordering on cloud 9 constantly if not there. He squeals and giggles himself to sleep, shouts at me ecstatically all day long, is always laughing at his own private jokes and/or me (which is great for the self-esteem), and is pretty consistently being a goof ball in some way or other. We are loving it. Truth be told he's normally a happy little camper, but lately he's been taking it to a whole new level. 

My favorite part of this? When I come to get him in the morning, as soon as I crack open the door he scurries (literally scuttles along his bed) to the other side of the bed as fast as humanly possible, throws himself on his back, and pretends to be asleep (eyes wide open with a goofy little smile on his face, but fake snoring all the same) until I say his name and he bursts out laughing like he is the funniest person on the planet. I suspect that may indeed be true.

Good news for goals

Anyone who has read this blog more than once will realize that I make a new goal practically everyday and end up with a list of goals as big as myself; and not just little I-want-wear-socks-everyday goals, but big overarching ones like writing a novel, or becoming a master cake decorator (at least passable), or learning every species of bird out there. Turns out goals like that take a lot of time. Anyway… the point is that I make all these goals and try to work on them one at a time, but find myself slowly taking on more and more until I am working on thirty-six life altering goals simultaneously and not able to focus on a one of them and I end up feeling like I am not improving at any of them. Not to mention the lack of time issue. The other day I was lamenting this fact and thinking, “Man alive! I’ve got to get a better system.” However, it dawned on me, through this frenzied goal extravaganza I really have made some improvements.
Cooking-wise I'm miles from where I was. The other day I whipped up some complicated recipe for falafel which may not seem amazing to some, but something that was entirely out of my casseroles-are-my-only-specialty hands a few months ago, and I’ve been making my body weight in some seriously rockin’ desserts lately (go to http://www.bakerella.com/ for the best/easiest cake balls of all time), we’ve had more variety in our food (and healthy food at that) than ever before, and I use fresh ingredients whenever I can these days. I don’t decide what to cook based on easiness factor anymore. I don't shy away from recipes because they look complicated. I even find myself taking those recipes and making my own improvements and experimenting. Fantastic. As it turns out, food is much better when you make it just the way you want it. And for the record, always cut the garlic in half for pesto recipes and fondue is one of the easiest things in the world.
 Idea from: http://cfabbridesigns.com/blog/
A fabulous blog for non-crafty crafters like me.
I’ve had an influx of those cutesy crafty ideas coming my way and tried quite a few of them to pretty passable success. As a result, the house is actually cute. Not kitschy cute, but legitimately cute. Some of the outcome of these crafty escapades will never see the light of day, but most of them I’m actually quite proud of. 
The other day at church my skirt split right up the back so I rushed to the bathroom, whipped out my handy-dandy sewing kit, and patched it up before anyone was the wiser. 
I saw an adorable little crocheted head wrap in our wanderings the other day and decided to have a go at making some thing akin to it myself. At first it was a semi-disaster, but with a few flowers and some fiddling it actually turned out wearable. 
There are some seriously cute craft ideas out there and I've always been afraid to try them, but let me tell you that Valentine's Day gifts (or any holiday for that matter) are much easier when you aren't afraid to make things. Especially when you don't have much of an income. 
I wish I could say that I've made some serious progress with my writing, but that remains to be seen. I have definitely learned a lot though. 
I have been working with my blog and trying to get it formatted the way I like and fix all the little details of it. Surprisingly enough, with a vast amount of research and lots and lots of fiddling I managed to almost get it the way I like, including dealing with all that—as we’ve not so affectionately termed it—website “garbledy garble” (aka html). I admittedly had to send out a plea for help for some of it, but still… I managed to figure most of it out all by my onesie.
Anyway... this has turned into a long list just to say that this has made me realize: I can do things! Hooray! I am making progress, I just don’t notice because I’m in the middle of it.  And yes, the system would be 10 times as effective with a little revamp/simplifying, but at least it’s hobbling along. Eventually, I will write my novels one word at a time, I will meet my neighbors one cakeball at a time, I will become a crafty person one craft at a time, etc, etc. Just because it is slow progress, doesn’t mean it isn’t progress.

Apparently we aren't the only ones who have trouble with seemingly harmless rodents


The latest

So... we just got back from a week of vacation. A glorious family-filled, don't-manage-to-get-dressed-until-noon-most-days vacation. Bryce was studying away and had a big paper do so me and Little hightailed it to visit the family. Hooray! So we spent a week and a half surrounded by family and friends and doing whatever on earth we wanted to do. 

Little learned some very important life lessons while we were there.
1. How to strike fear into the heart of your younger cousins (and sometimes the older ones too) 
2. Jack Jack will come when called (even if that means he gets whacked repeatedly with whatever object happens to be at hand)

3. Grandmas, aunts/uncles, and cousins are the best (all the way home he was crying for "ba-ba" aka: Jack Jack and mmmm-ma aka: grandma)
4.  It's only exciting when someone else is doing it (a lesson that proved very unfortunate for me)

5. Hugs often mean strangulation and/or getting an eye poked out for both parties, but that doesn't seem to matter much                                              6. What real snow looks like (thanks to the huge storm that blew right in and out again while we were there)
7. How to be a concert pianist (he takes his music very seriously)                                                                     8. Who needs toys when you have water bottles and spoons? Leaving me to question: Why on earth did I pack all those toys and what nots?
So in essence, hooray for trips and families and fun. 

There is still no cure for the common birthday. ~John Glenn

My birthday has always been a deep dark secret. I avoid thinking about it at all cost, steer clear of anyone familiar on the day of, go to unimaginable lengths to keep it hidden, etc. But here is my confession: today is my birthday. And I don't even care who knows it. I think I'm growing up.

Also, my aunt got this form me when I was about 7 years old: http://www.captainzoom.com/personalized-birthday-music-CD.html I made Bryce listen to it this morning and discovered that not only do they still make it, they have wedding, anniversary, and Christmas versions as well. Hooray! One guess what Bryce is getting for our anniversary this year. 

Thank you Def Leppard, now all my neighbors think I'm crazy

Sometimes I sing. Sometimes I sing at the top of my lungs. Sometimes I sing at the top of my lungs to 80's rock ballads. Sometimes I sing at the top of my lungs to 80's rock ballads and forget that the window is open and all my neighbors--who already think I'm a nut--can hear until my husband comes home and informs me that he could hear me two parking lots away... literally. Sometimes I feel sheepish. 
The only good part in all of this is that I've never seen Little laugh so hard. 

These Boots are Made for Walkin'

We went to church yesterday and there was a little girl--probably around 9 years old--with the cutest boots on. The sad part of this story? I own the exact boots. Not similar boots, or the adult version of the boots... the exact boots. Probably the same size too if we're being strictly honest. Bryce and I were laughing every time we saw her. 

Time Is On My Side (at least it is when I say it has to be)

This just in: I will never ever have time to write again in my life. There is just way too much going on in life and that looks to be the case for at least the next 50 years. Thus I have decided that I am going make time. As much as I wish this meant I could open a few cans from the storage cupboard and whip up a good batch of time to use whenever I run out, it doesn't. This essentially means that I have proclaimed one day a week project day. Wherein I work on whatever projects have been sitting around waiting to be done because there is always and will always be something more pressing and/or requiring immediate and all encompassing attention.

I have a bunch of lovely magnets* to place on my calendar board every day/week that tell me that today is laundry day, or floor cleaning day, or errand day, etc. and they really are lovely (everything is better with cute magnets to move around). They do keep me on track concerning the never ending household to dos for the most part, but today I added the newly deemed all important "Project" magnet and I'm pleased as punch. I really think this is going to give me a shot at getting at least one of my books done as I will likely use this largely for writing.  
So research has commenced and I'm writing again. I've checked out my body weight in helpful books from the library** and it's full steam ahead (for at least one day a week). All-in-all I think this is going to be a very helpful development both for my writing and my sanity. 

*Thank you Shannon for the fabulous idea. It may or may not have literally saved my life. 
**Thank you to anyone who commented on the best advice books/advice on my previous blog post and if anyone has anymore ideas they are still very welcome. 

Best Baby EVER

It’s official, I have the best little boy in the world. He calls me (or growls at me) whenever he needs something rather than crying, he informs me when his diaper needs to be changed, he tells me when he is done eating rather than spitting it out, he listens when I tell him no, and the latest? He asks permission. If he is going for something he knows he is not supposed to have he turns to me and lets out a quick “Uh?” to double check and if I give the go ahead he’s in attack mode, but if I tell him it isn’t ok he just sits patiently in front of the object of his desire and asks again. Granted he does this about 50 times before he gives up and finds something else, but he usually doesn't go for it when I tell him it’s off limits (This of course doesn’t mean that he stays away all the time when I’m not in the room, but I’ll settle for what I can get). I don’t know what I did to deserve such a good kid. 

Goodbye Bink

We decided the other day that it was about time to do away with the binky. Not that we think Little is too old or that a pacifier is a terrible thing or anything; it just seemed like it was time. He doesn't really need it anymore and the only time he ever wants it is nap time, so... out with the binky. 
I thought this was going to be a horrid process of weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of what few teeth we have. As it turns out, no. It is not. I put him to bed last night sans binky and he did his usual thing--a few moments of whining that turns to growling that turns to half hearted grunting that turns to sleep. Not a peep about the absent binky. That has been the trend all day today as well. In fact for his afternoon nap he laughed himself to sleep. Fantastic. I have a sneaking suspicion that I have the best baby in the world.
Also, speaking of said adorable little man... 

This is how he spent the ride to the temple and then back. Sheesh! He's cute. 

 We also discovered this little gem on our way back from the temple. This is what we're doing to Vera next year for Christmas.  
Oh, and I chopped off my hair. This isn't the best picture of it, but you get the idea. It's amazing how much faster you can get ready for the day when you have half the hair. 

Granny Godiva

Granny Godiva in the marble
This just in: Lady Godiva is officially my 38th great-grandmother. Amazing. I am so so pleased. Apparently I still have distant relatives living in the castle (very very very distant, but relatives all the same). I think I should go drop in on them, after all... we're family.
My mother told me I'm not allowed to go running around naked in public, but it's ok because Bryce volunteered to do it by proxy. Granny Godiva would be so                                                                  pleased. 

Greeks and Germ Warfare

I had hoped to have more time to work on my writing this year. In fact, that was one of my big goals. I'm not going to lie... at this point it doesn't look terribly promising. So far this year we've had a lovely cold that turned into the croup, some sort of a stomach bug, and currently what may or may not be roseola, not to mention having been in a state of teething constantly. Poor Little can't catch a break. I end up shaking my fist of fury at nothing in particular quite regularly these days so that these silly bugs will lay off for a while at least. Not surprisingly, it has done no good thus far. (For the record, we are on the mend now and miraculously only have some residual sniffles from the aforementioned croup cold and are waiting to see if the roseola rash shows up or another illness comes our way, but other than that we've come out with lungs intact, significantly more tired, but relatively unscathed.)

Anyway... as a result of the lack of time (which I don't see improving anytime soon even without every germ in the world in attack mode) I've come to the conclusion that I want my stories to write themselves. How is it that you can have the contents of an entire book in your head, but not seem able to get it onto paper? It seems a bit messed up. Maybe part of my problem is that I want to read my books more than I want to write them. I mean, I love writing, but sometimes I wish my books would spring forth out of my forehead fully formed Athena style.

Items of import

Two things. One: I never gave the Christmas update. I just skipped right to New Years Day. Two: Little bites and Bryce is funny.
So without further Ado... Christmas. 
It was a blast. Little loved it. We ended up doing our Christmas on Christmas Eve because we were headed to my sister's house to share the festivities and we didn't want to drag along our gifts. We were surprised that Little didn't like the wrapping paper more, but he did love all of his gifts. My mom gave him a Fisher Price Farm house and from the second it opened to when we left for my sister's house he was mooing as a result of the cow that came with the farm. The other big hit was a pooping squirrel that Mama Lowder gave us (which was pretty much the funniest thing anyone could have done knowing our history). After every gift was opened and he'd played with it for a minute, Little would come over and give me a hug and kiss as if to say, "Thanks, Mom!" I loved that part the most. He is such a tender hearted little dude and I get the benefit of it for the most part.

After our "Christmas" we headed to my sister Mikie's house and shared a great couple of days with them. There was some great snow and good times were had by all. We had our traditional stuff-yourself-until-you-aren't-sure-you'll-be-able-to-eat-ever-again Christmas breakfast. We played games and watched movies and vegged. Just how Christmas should be. I think Little was the only one who managed to get dressed and that was out of necessity because he soiled his pants. 
Some of the best faces of Christmas: 

Oddly enough, most of our favorite gifts to each other came after Christmas. We came back with the need for a bird feeder (because Mikie has one and it is amazing how many birds we saw), so we went and got one the day we got back and are now the bird capitol of the world. I literally jumped around and squealed like a little girl when I saw them all flocked around. So much joy. We have at least 7 different kinds of birds who have become regulars (not the least of which are 3 cardinals and their wives who are arguably my favorite), so we sit with our bird book at the sliding glass door all day and watch. Little sits with his head plastered against the door and periodically turns around to flail his arms at me in excitement and make sure I'm seeing it too. The birds are all over the ground most of the time and they are getting used to us being around so it gives him a lot to look at. He sometimes gets a little too excited though and slams his head and hands against the door, frightening the birds, and then turns to me crying as if to say, "Make them come back!" There are also a few cats that have started frequenting our place and they are so fascinating for Little that I can't quite find it in me to shoo them away. They have yet to have a successful hunt though, so I suppose it's ok. 

The other thing we got (on impulse for $5 in the 50%-off-attempting-to-get-rid-of-Christmas aisle at CVS) was this little gem: 
Gourmet Trends Perfect Pancake Puff
I almost wish I were kidding when I tell you how much I love it. We made mini pigs in a blanket and I was yet again literally jumping for joy. I mean, can it get much better than little baby pancake puffs? I highly doubt it. It's not just pancakes of course. You can make cream puffs, and corn bread, and what nots, but still.... Baby pancake puffs.... Seriously. Amazing. We have great plans my little Perfect Puff and I. 
Also... With all of Little's teeth coming in, it has unfortunately brought out the cannibal in him. Whenever he wants something or just happens to see some available flesh he gives it a good chomp, not maliciously or anything, just a good hard chomp. I am less than enthusiastic about this as he seems to bite me more than Bryce. 
It's been nice having Bryce home over the break. Little is going to be heartbroken when he has to go back to classes. He weeps and wails every time Bryce leaves (or even gets in the shower) as is. I may get all the hugs and kisses, but he is definitely a Daddy's boy. 
As an aside: Bryce is pretty much the funniest human being on the planet. The other day I was trying to convince him to pick up something to eat because he was hungry and he responds: "Being hungry never killed anyone." Ummm... actually.... We were laughing about that for quite a while. The other funny Bryce moment was when Bryce had a bit of mysterious glitter on his face. His explanation? "I must have been hanging out with Anne Frank again." (I look at him curiously until he realizes his mistake) "Oh! I mean Lisa Frank. More unicorns and rainbows, less Nazis." 
So the conclusion to this way too long blog post is that Christmas was a blast, pancake puffs are the best, and we're all rainbows. 

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