Monday, August 24, 2009

Right now...

* The girls tuck themselves in this corner when hiding from "bedtime":

*London is obsessed with this Winnie-the-Pooh sing along book: Requests it up to 296x per day. She loves to flip quickly through the sing along pages as I sing out loud trying to keep up:

"Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, ..... PAGE TURNED... twinkle twinkle little star, how I......PAGE TURNED....the wheels on the bus go round.....PAGE TURNED....oh mister sun, sun....PAGE TURNED.....the farmer in the dell.....THE END."

*Lily insisted on bringing 5 - FIVE - purses today to run errands. Three of which were stuffed full of her clothing(?!).
After London pitched a screaming fit I insisted Lily share the small pink one. Lily pitched an even louder fit, explaining that London could have any purse, any purse, but the small pink one. Why? Because she had stolen and hid my entire pack of gum in that one (as we soon discovered).

*London follows Lily everywhere, including trips to the potty. Lily has now requested that I "yock the door" (lock the door) because London stands there watching, repeating " Eeew. Eeew. Eeeeeew." over and over. Poor Lily.

*We painted nails for Family Night tonight and ate oreos with milk. The topic of tonight's lesson: "The joys of being a daughter of our Heavenly Father." (Sorry Daddy.)
(By the way, Lily, that outfit is your absolute favorite. I consider it my lot in life. I have so many other cute selections I'd like you to try! I'll never understand why you hate that darling pink halter with little flamingos on it. The moment you wake up in the morning you search for this outfit. I usually later insist you change before we head out into the 90 degree weather. You immediately change right back into it when we get home.)

*Lily is in love with Zac Efron (sp?) from " High schhcoomusical".

*Lily is even more in love with this guy:

Baby Finn. How can ya not be?!! Look at him! (Lily is such a little maternal lovie too. Melt my heart, just look at them!)

*I adore this picture of London, it's her classic "I just woke up from my nap and despise life at this moment" look:

Just a few of the little things I never want to forget.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Because inside this English student lies a repressed interior designer who can only afford to shop at Ikea (not that she's complaining)...

I am returning to school this fall to finish my degree. It was originally interior design, but I decided it would be fun to set myself back a bit further in the credits department and change my major to English. With the onset of classes approaching (all online this semester, thankfully...I loaded up on any credits for my degree that were offered online first while Tyler finishes up his masters), I have the following two goals in mind:

1. Keep Tyler, Lily, London and any additional subsequent children priority #1.
2. Ignore the feelings of embarrassment and/or shame when I converse with fellow university classmates who were still in the sixth grade when I originally began this journey through college. I am proud of the order in which I do things.

I will primarily wake up early to get my work done, but realize that there will be plenty of times I will need to work on the computer during the day as well, despite my efforts and loss of shut-eye. My girls follow me like lost puppies all day: so sweet that they love and obviously are meant to be with their momma, and so annoying when it comes to accomplishing anything around the house that requires 1) quiet, 2) organization, 3) no distractions. Just getting the banking done via the internet results in torn shreds of paper all over the office accompanied by screaming (either from myself or from the girls, but there is always screaming).

And that's only the first hurdle. The second being the fact that my office is a miserable mess of must. A dark and dismal, depressing disarray. (Oh I'm going to make a lovely English student...did you love the plethora of adjectives I just unleashed? Rarrrr. Nevermind the faulty grammar/punctuation).

I can't spend quantities of time in spaces that make me gag.

My kids need a space in the office where they can play, create, and most of all: leave me alone while I work at my own desk.

I craigslisted my current furniture and reached for my interior design skills with a prayer to the gods of home office organization to help.

They heard my plea, and responded with the trumpets on high:

Iiiiiiiii Kkkkkkeeeeeeeaaaaaa


So I went. And spent.

Got inspired.


And translated.


(Our -Ty & Rae's- desk, and unfinished corner of the wall, don't look close! We're finishing it today)

So far, it should work relatively well while I'm writing papers.
(This is now the view from my desk, much better.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I always tease you about your love of country music. Actually, all music for that matter. I tell people, "The man is a walking ipod. Name a song - any song, any genre, and he knows it - knows it, sings it, bangs his head or clenches his heart and waves his hand in the get the picture."

We don't write notes to each other much any more. Our lives have become stereotypically busy and we are inching into the second half of our first decade married to each other. Children, work, school, and all of life's realities begin to stifle and challenge that original positively naive commitment to keep the romance alive always - to never become that couple sitting at Macaroni Grill not speaking to each other as they slowly fork their way through the penne rustica. Somehow, we manage. I'm still crazy about you, even if our love notes are now mere emails titled "Why it was so rude of you to leave your dirty lunch tupperware molding over in the garage for two weeks instead of bringing it into the kitchen so I'm kindly writing an email instead of calling you at work to yell over the phone" sort of love notes.

The small gestures have overtaken the more elaborate schemes. Heartfelt "I love you's" before bed and hand holding while driving the car are more frequent than sappy self-composed love novels to each other. A few days ago, you came in the door after work and said, "There is this new song I want you to made me think of you."

And I'll be darned if ya didn't suggest a fine, country twangin' love song! Oh yes you did. Well yippe yai ya hee haw!

It was Then by Brad Paisley.

I continued scrubbing the dishes as it played through the speakers in the kitchen, and smiled as I thought about the lyrics:

I remember, trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mezmorized
And three weeks later, in the front porch light
taking forty-five minutes to kiss goodnight
I hadn't told you yet
but I thought I loved you then

And now you're my whole life
now you're my whole world
I just can't believe the way I feel about you, girl
Like a river meets the sea,
stronger than it's ever been.
We've come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then

And i remember, taking you back to right where I first met you,
You were so surprised...
Got down on one knee right there once again,
I thought I loved you then

I thought about our "then", beginning almost ten years ago. We were sixteen. I was dating someone else when I found out the shocking news: "O-M-G Rachel, I like totally have to tell you something: Tyler. likes you. Totally."
You were the cute football/basketball player who too many of my friends had crushes on. You had plenty of friends, and plenty of options. No thank you, even at sixteen I was aware of your kind. The too-good-too-hot-to-be-true, take ya and break ya type. I'll just stay put with my then boyfriend from another school, who for lack of a better analysis had "a really good personality". But even in Biology and Bead-art classes, I couldn't resist sneaking notes back and forth. Oh sweet love, high school! Heaven help us all.
Finally, one day a few months later we lingered outside of art class after school had dimissed. You leaned in and kissed me. And that was it.

Four years later I returned to the same spot...only this time the outside walkway leading to our infamous art class was lined with candles and flower petals. And at the end, you. And that was really it.

You asked me to marry you, and five years ago today we said our I-do's and sealed our fate as high school sweethearts.

And I thought I loved you then.

Happy anniversary.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I arrived the morning of the race alone, needing to set up everything before commencement. My family would shortly follow. Trying to mask the anxiety in my voice, I asked a fellow racer (a real tri-athlete), "Um, we don't have to swim to both of those buoys out there, do we? Just to one and back...right?"

"Yes, we do." She pointed and traced a square pattern as I stared at each flex of her arm's pure muscle tone, showcasing biceps and triceps animated from the slightest movement of her fingers as she explained, "First you swim out to that one, then over to the other one, then back to the beach."

With a false hint of assurance I replied upbeatly, "Oh, right. Ok! Thanks."

Ugg. Oh no. The pit in my stomach grew larger, swallowing the remnants of the dry Powerbar I choked down for breakfast. That's a lot further than I thought. So much deep water. Oh boy, keep breathing steadily. It's not going to help if I am panting before the race begins.

I hate deep water. It's the part of this sprint triathlon I was dreading the most. Peering through my goggles into a murky abyss, afraid of the currents and the weird lake creatures beneath me. The fact that it was in Pyramid Lake only made conditions worse: a lake rumored to be haunted by Indian ghosts, ones who are probably still angry and in search of revenge for the invasion of their land. Going into the race, I knew this would be the biggest feat: if I could face this fear of swimming distances in deep water and not DIE.

Motherhood has softened the competitive edge in me almost as much it has softened my rear end. Do I still have what it takes? Instead of looking confidently at my so-called opponents, I stood in fearful admiration of their obvious physical agility and super neato triathlon speedo attire. My one-piece black halter swimsuit with ruching was a dead giveaway of my amateur status. I watched each athlete systematically place their towels and bike shoes carefully next to their bikes, maximising speed and efficiency. I sheepishly tied my grocery bag stuffed with running shoes around the handlebars of my bike rental, hoping nobody would notice the obvious beach towel with large floral print hanging over the back wheel. At that moment I desperately wished for a friend to run the race with, someone who could share a laugh with me over what a joke it was that we entered to begin with.

The whistle was blown and we were all called to line up along the beach. What am I doing? I looked back at my husband and girls, my parents and siblings. Everyone cheered in excitement and at the sound of the second whistle every swimmer pummeled into the water like fish clamouring for the absence of air. My heart was already pounding as I pulled my goggles over my head, took a deep breath, and dove into the water.

I swam with the same approach I realize I unwittingly apply to my entire life and all connected pursuits: less than adequate preparation coupled with confidence that slightly outweighs my fear. My strokes were uneven, I came up occasionally choking for breath, but it is was enough to swim, and keep swimming. The only other option is to drown.

As I pulled myself from the water at the conclusion of the swim and the beginning of the bike/run, I knew I was pathetically lagging behind the front of the race, but it all seemed downhill from there. I did it. I can do this!

I am a mother. I am soft. I've lost some will to compete. A hopeless amateur.

But... I can still cross a finish line. Yeah, that's right, #519 crosses the finish line.

And it feels good.

(Mom, my biggest cheerleader. Always.)

*Disclaimer: that is a shadow, not armpit hair, that you are seeing under my arm.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

What girls (or boys) do.

Mallory and Larissa caught this photo and I loved it regardless of its grainy nature. Cinderella and cheerleader sharing a hug (or headlock).

Last week, at the car wash, the friendly checker boy handed me my receipt and as we pulled into the wash, Lily - with a furrowed brow of curiosity mixed with alarm- proclaimed:

"Mom, dat boy has eawwings!" (Mom, that boy has earrings.)

"Yes, he does."


"I don't know."


"I'm not sure."


"Because it is his choice."


"Because he likes it."


I thought about this final answer,
"Because some things are gender neutral."
but immediately knew that the words gender and neutral would open up a whole conversation of questions and answers that no three year-old really needs to be thinking about, let alone would understand. I could go on with, "There was a time when women only wore skirts, and thought it innappropriate to wear denim. Tyler is technically a boy's name, but I used it as your middle name because I like the balance of masculinity to femininity. Sometimes boys use that same license to do things that were originally thought of as 'girl' things. Some think earrings are fine, most still put their foot down when it comes to eyeliner."

Instead, I opted for continual "I don't know" answers to avoid sounding too critical while searching for a more gray, three year-old appropriate answer. When I can avoid spilling overwhelmingly strong judgement on minorly important situations with my child, I do. I'm black and white in enough areas, so when I come across gray ones, I bask in the opportunity to remain in the comfortable "I just don't know" camp. My personal opinion is that the boy's earrings weren't cute. If he were my son I would wonder who he is trying to impress and worry, after demanding removal. I think Jon Gosselin looks like a loser with his (thirty something year old men who have just abandoned their wife and kids never look good with really is that black and white). My preference is men without jewelry.

But, at the same time, I grew up in close proximity to another family who constantly gushed enough judgement and hatred of those who differed from their ways of living that by the time their children were 4 years-old, they would have been able to forcefully answer Lily's question with something like,
"Cuz he's a Commie pinko sissie and should be shot."

Whoa. Talk about something even uglier than earrings.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A market morning

We woke up with the residual traces of our nasty little head colds still lingering in the sinuses. The worst was over, and after a good night's sleep - recovery awakened us with the renewed hope that I may soon be able to breathe again through both nostrils. Ahhh.
(except for poor Tyler, who has just fallen victim to this lovely little virus)

I surveyed the damage that a 24-hour motionless stint of illness produces. We had crusted noodles stuck to the kitchen floor and walls, the scent of garlic and old diapers meandering through the halls. No clean sheets. Dirty toilets. Oh the joy.

Rather than spend my first morning feeling in the 90th percentile of good health mopping floors, I abandoned my usual "clean the house first, play second" obsession and got myself and the girls quickly dressed. We threw open the windows, left Tyler in bed with a box of tissues and Dayquil, and promptly escaped for a drive by viewing of our darling new cousin/nephew, little Finn (we didn't want to risk getting him sick, but Dan and Ali kindly agreed to bring him out into the front yard and allow us to peer at his cuteness through cracked windows - slightly, itty bitty cracked windows - click and read all about his edible-ness here), then headed onto Farmer's market.

This market is in Reno, a bit of a drive but completely worth it because it is a true farmer's market (Sparks hosts a market on Thursdays that is more akin to a big frat party with corn). Nonna had previously been and recommended it directly to us, and indirectly by including her plump heirloom tomato purchases into her famously delicious Gyros last Sunday. (Heirloom tomatoes: You. Complete. Me.)

It was a glorious 80 degree day as we browsed up and down the aisles, stocking up on fresh strawberries, blackberries, rasberries, and our precious beefy heirlooms.

Lily and London treated the open stands like a free for all food-fest, attempting to sample every piece before I could scold them. Luckily the kind, I'm assuming grandparent folks running the stands didn't seem to mind too much.

We ended with a large cinnamon roll from the House of Bread, and concluded our escape from monotonous Saturday morning cleaning drudgery.

Now it is Saturday evening, and I'll be scrubbing toilets. But, I'm much happier about it now.


This is the price I pay for this blog. I just clicked publish, headed into the playroom and found this:

Lily found a bottle of baby powder, and as you can see, went to town:

The tears quickly came after she first attempted to nervously smile when she saw me grab the camera. As she quickly gleamed and tried to squeeze in a desperate "Cheeez" she was tartly reprimanded and told this was not a smiling picture.
No smiles allowed.

There, that's better.