Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A heart full of....

Last night, after we had a relatively successful Family Home Evening (everyone paid attention, we sang songs, London and Lily "performed" on the piano to an audience who broke out in wild applause...good times), we began shuffling the girls to bed. Miraculously, Lily decided she would forfeit her standard sobbing protests to bed-time, and sweetly walked hand in hand with me to be tucked into bed. This display of astonishingly curious angelic-ness prompted a desire to hang out with her in bed a little longer (you have to understand, the usual 27 requests for different items and ingenious stall tactics usually make it extremely easy to tuck her in to bed and bolt immediately for relief).

I asked her, "Would you like me to tickle your back and sing a song?"
So we sang her favorite (or I should say my favorite song that I've been working since day one to project onto her as a favorite), My Heavenly Father Loves Me.

When we got to the line that says the word "heart", Lily exclaimed:

"Hey, I jus know wad a hert is!!" (Hey! I know what a heart is!)
She held her little finger up and traced the shape of a heart in the air.

"That's right! But do you know what else it is, Lu? It's something inside of us, and it gets very full when we love things. It fills up with the things we love."

I began to feel slightly emotional explaining this to her, wrapped up in blankets and in the quiet of the dark bedroom...oh, what a precious little teaching moment, right?
"You see, my heart is filled with you. And Daddy, and London." I hugged her tighter.
"Ohh!" she sweetly remarked. It obviously clicked.



"So, Lily, what do you think your heart is full of?"

"Chocolate milk."

Friday, September 25, 2009

And a partridge in a pear tree...

*Wiggles Backpack
*Purple dress(up)
*Princess Belle Shoes
*Yellow Sunglasses
*Four toothbrushes
*Two tubes of toothpaste
*Separate purse for dental products listed above
*Hello Kitty Bag
*Dorothy Hat
*"Lip Glop" (Lip Gloss)

Lily's must-haves.
Why it takes me forty-five minutes to unload our car after every errand.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In session

The heels I'm wearing were cool four years ago. The fluorescent overhead light beams over the graduate student teaching, surrounded by the five souls pathetic enough to sign up for Saturday class. A look of mild disappointment on his face is evident as he takes roll and looks up, issuing a request for us all to move to the front of the class to make things 'more personal'. The four other students slowly gather their bags, trudge heavy footed to the front of the room and sit, silent. Unamused.

Typical college students, I think. So entitled. Not even so much as a smile at the stand-in professor, as he awkwardly reads through the syllabus and nervously repeats, "Uh, does that make sense?" forty times.
Yes, yes, it makes sense. I singularly chime in. Or nod in gracious approval, batting the new fake eyelashes I've been trying out.
Forty times.
I used to be just like them. Unaware of the pleasure that time devoted strictly to learning can afford. The luxury of nothing else to do but further your credentials, expand your possibilities.
But not anymore! I am a mother. I know everything now. And not only that, I'm better than all the other everybody's who know everything because I am combining my all-knowing-everythingness and doing something about the everything that I now know. Just look at me, back at school. Staring a degree-less future squarely in the face and saying with brazen courage, "I do not accept."
Noble. Sacrificing. Forward thinking. I march.

I will earn a 4.0 and write a distinguishing thesis in grad school dismantling the credibility of Faulkner's Sound and the Fury with a few strokes of the pen. (Payback for being forced to read it.) I will be hailed by the New York Times as the most progressive conservative mother of six children who somehow learned to do and be all....I will retire in a cottage by the sea with jars of seashell collections sitting on my antique piano, and pen replies on personalized stationary to fan correspondence seeking advice, while wearing all white linen ensembles as Tyler samples the latest chocolate soufflé baked in the kitchen (a technique I mastered while visiting Paris when I was asked to speak at the global Women of Achievement conference)...Matt Lauer will interview me and comment, "You'll have to forgive me if I'm a little star struck, we've just never had the enormously exciting opportunity to interview a mother who went back to school"...and my answers will be uncondescendingly sweet and thought provoking and everyone will love and hate me more....I will....

"Please remember to submit discussion 2 via Webct by Wednesday of this week," the graduate instructs.

"Um, excuse me...when is discussion 1 due?" I raise my hand and confidently ask, nibbling on my new pencil in between words. Glancing down and side to side at the other students, You see this kids? This is called being proactive. Asking questions. Engaging the learning process.

"That was due last week. They were graded and returned, and you should have a printed copy ready to discuss today. This was laid out in instructions pamphlet you were supposed to read when you enrolled for the course. Um, does that make sense?"

Yes, I replied. No smile.

The students pull out their prepared assignments, and class begins.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Munchkins.

“...in the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels.”

Lily and London,

I have felt this coming on. I felt it last night. It was a build-up, a growth of emotion that was on the verge of oozing out all over the kitchen floor. Good emotion though. Full. Your Dad had already gone to bed and I proceeded into the kitchen to polish off the last of the pumpkin bars. I steadily scraped the cream cheese frosting off of each bar (I'm not big on frosting) and stuffed each moist, deliciously dense cake like concoction into my greedy mouth (Mmmmm. I love food). It was quiet, and as I sat all by my lonesome I stared at your toys lying on the living room floor. Every day I pick them up. Huffing and gruffing to myself that all I ever do is pick them up. I tell you playroom toys should stay in the playroom. And yet there I am - again - picking up little pots and pans and blankees and baby dolls, and everything you have been setting up house in the living room with.
I love those toys. I really do, despite the huffs and gruffs. These representations of your presence in our home. The reminders of what makes it a home to begin with. My home is full. It feels so good.

I yell too often. Give the impression that you two make me angry. I hope the balance is found in my hugs and kisses throughout the day. And I'm sorry for the yelling, but I swear you both have a "disperse and destroy" mechanism built in any time I'm attempting to make progress in any other area besides coloring with you. I yelled today when I found that London had colored all over my new wooden, white mail holder that was to be mounted in the office. I loved that holder, and I got it for 50% off! London, your cute face just looked up at me with your classic "uh oh" look and your dramatic sobs came, and soon I found myself apologizing for being mad that you had ruined MY stuff.

A few weeks ago I came home late after an evening of running errands. I don't remember the details of the day, but it was a stressful one. I had been gone most of the day and you had a babysitter. The heat of the day matched the stressload, one that had nothing to do with the two of you (other than the probable guilt I felt for leaving you for so long). Daddy had just tucked you both in bed when I walked in the door. I peeked my head in, and your favorite lullaby cd was playing in your dark, cool bedroom. Lily was already asleep, but London peeked her head out of her crib and held her hands out and sweetly, excitedly, called "Maamaaaaaaaa." I immediately walked to you and picked you up and held you. It felt so good I cried. I stood there, holding your round pudgy body and kissing your fat little face while you hugged me back in the darkness. I rocked you back and forth to the sound of the music, enjoying this perfect moment that brought everything back into perspective. I hope I never forget that.

You two are also the most hilarious people on earth. And girly too. Oh my, you are funny. For example, while typing this, London came in and handed me a sheet of my piano stickers (the stickers my students put in their song books as they pass their songs off - you know, those small, awful little "A+!" and "Good Work" and "Stellar" circular adhesives). After she handed them to me, she lifted up her shirt and pointed to her protruding belly. She wanted me to stick them on her belly. So I stuck four around her belly button, she smiled up at me and I said "Oh! So pretty!!" after which she happily toddled out to play.
Yesterday, I was blowdrying my hair in the morning - getting ready for the day- when Lily entered and climbed onto our bathroom counter and began dancing to the music I had playing on the stereo. We all began dancing together. London jumped up and down on the floor, I threw my head back and forth while lip synching, and Lily was shaking her little hips and twirling her hair and admiring herself in the mirror. Lils, your hair was matted bedhead and you had mismatched clothes on, but the look in your eyes as you stared admiringly at yourself was one of pure satisfaction. That's my girl.

Do you see what I'm saying?
You are so funny.
So fun.
So happy.
My kind of happy.
And I love you.

And I'm sorry I can never properly articulate it. I hate writing about my feelings for you both because I come up so short on words. So blah compared to what is really there. I am thoroughly enjoying being your mother. I will never experience anything greater, of that I'm sure.



Monday, September 21, 2009

It's a Family affair.

My Dad owns a plumbing company.

My brother and I both work there (well, I am extreeemely part time).

He's leaving to medical school this January.

And what I'm going to miss most are these:
The random emails from the pre-med student who earned his bachelor's in English who also manages a plumbing company....

I was examining Dad's outfit this morning and he looks pretty good, but he could use an update on his tennis shoes. He's got old cheap brand tennis shoes and should have some better looking ones.

I'll get him a pair or Rachel you can go... let me know.
Shoes are the make or break component of any outfit.

"Costly thy habit as thy purse can be,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man..."


Ira Hansen & Sons Plumbing

Danny boy, you (and your ridiculous - and funny - 'business' emails) will be missed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Genesis revised.

And on the Seventh Day...

He baked.

We take this commandment very seriously.

Worship, Rest, and Pumpkin bars with Cream Cheese frosting.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Privacy? Really?

I keep toying with the idea of "going private" with my blog. The endless stream of paranoid thought runs in a pattern like this:

Me post pictures.
Life looks good.
Serial killer becomes obsessed.
Begins stalking.
Planning the perfect abduction of posted beautiful children.
Murder of blogess.
Blog becomes the next Dateline NBC:
The happy mother, wife - living the American suburban dream
life - a life suddenly shattered on a dark Summer night
Or even worse: the bishop of my church finds out
I swear and use the word "spank"
(in reference to my husband - not children)
Am I freaking you out as much as I freak myself out?
And what is the point of a blog anyways?
To join the staggering deluge of every other blogger attempting to carve out a page in the universe?
What do I care?
If this is about a record for my kids, I should keep it at that: a record for my kids.
Private it is.

Then another stream of thought enters:

But... I like attention.
I like to be noticed.
I have an ego with the inflation capacity of our current US dollar.
I have opinions.
And think they should be heard.
When I snap a cute picture of my kids, I want the world to see it.
Well, not the world...just you. I want you* to see it.
Because you seeing it helps me see it more clearly.
I view my life from an outsiders perspective.
And decide it is a good one.
One for the record books.
Or the blog book at least.

*(Unless you are the aforementioned serial killer - then just be prepared - I will kill you. I WILL kill you. You will die a miserable death, a horrendous one. A torturous one.)

And thus,

The war rages on.

But the fact that it continually weighs on my mind says something. And I've made my decision: in one week's time I will be setting this blog to "PRIVATE".
So please, I beg you....if you are not the serial killer I am supposing you could be, attempt signing in to the blog. Even if I don't know you directly (I still love you. In fact I adore you, and you are the ones I'm worried will think you're no longer wanted. You'll be like me, and feel like a loser to admit that you must 'ask permission' to enter someone's blog who doesn't even know you. But I like you, and you are invited. It is the SERIAL KILLERS only that aren't allowed. And you're not a serial killer, are you?)
You will be granted permission, I promise. And I will be flattered that you still care to read....that someone still notices.




P.s. You can also email me your email address, I will add you to the my permission's list, so email me at thaack99@hotmail.com.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The NeWest MaGiCaLiSt wonders.

I love that children come customized.

Unique. Individual.

Special orders.

(Licorice face)

Often imitated.

never duplicated.

(Just up from a nap, and with her very special "Bee Bee")

Mine are not like yours, yours are not like mine.

I hate it when I have the same stuff as other people. Don't you?

(On the way home from the lake, London was crying in the car with her hands covering her face, then fell sound asleep - just like this)

So each one is cause for excitement.

And celebration.

Lily had her first gymnastics dance class this last week, and as I watched her twirl and whirl with her leotard squished between her bum cheeks, I thought,
"Oh, how perfect. You are perfect."
Then I squeezed my London, who was watching and eating the entire pack of mini-chiclets Gamma had brought for her. I kissed her fat cheeks. Yes, perfect too.

As I continued watching with Gamma, both of us squeamish with delight over Lily's somersaults and trampoline jumps, I noticed the other parents staring.
At their children.
Their little customized orders. Their little perfect people.

(Pic taken as Lily anxiously awaited to leave for class. She had herself buckled in her car-seat an HOUR before it began. And of course, insisted on bringing her famous feather purse)



Thursday, September 10, 2009

To want.

I normally guilt myself into misery any time I catch myself yearning for something that is temporarily, or permanently out of my grasp.
The small seeds of fearful thoughts or impending desires too often form the original roots of my nightly prayers, springing forth and serving their usual purpose in the culmination of an extensive order placed to God.
Until I remember gratitude. First, I must express what I'm grateful for. Then I can get to the good stuff: the I want I want I wants, please please please give me give me give me more more more this this this and that.
I begin my grateful list, and it grows. And grows. It really does. Wow, even on the usual routine night of exhausted, can-barely-keep-my-head-from-hitting-the-pillow prayer, I impress myself with the list of everything I have to be grateful for - a list that grows exponentially as the mention of one thing leads to another (I'm so grateful for my house...yes, my house...and come to think of it being inside of that house during the rain...and the smell of rain...and my children's wet heads after going in the rain...oh their cute heads, i love their heads...London's fat head, Lily's curls...I'm so grateful for a girl with curly hair and one with stick straight hair...and aussie hairspray...I love the smell of good hairspray...YOU GET THE IDEA). Even on a bad day. Suddenly my want list doesn't seem so important.

But enough of that balance and perspective. I'm not praying right now. And I think it is good to know what I'm wanting, what I'm hoping and aching for right now.
The simple and the sacred.

I want a camera. A good camera. The kind everyone else seems to have, with the photos to prove it on their blogs.
I want a creative eye, so I can actually snap a good photo.
I want my children to remember me as a good mom. A great mom. One they couldn't have lived without.
I want to shop at Whole Foods.
I want to be finished studying for my Chemistry exam.
Or I should say I want to stop using this blog as a procrastination/distraction tool to keep me from studying the conversion of milligrams to decigrams to nanoseconds to who the he*! cares. I cannot be locked in this office for much longer before Tyler discovers that I am NOT studying, and he is folding laundry and watching the girls so I can blog surf and become envious of other folks' photography.
I want my husband and I to always like each other, not just love - but really like.
I want a kitchen with white cupboards and yellow walls and wooden floors.
And I want to change out my window treatments to complement the seasons.
I want my children to have the best education.
I want my Aunt Mary and Uncle Keith to not hurt so badly.
I want to always have good friends. Real friends.
I want cures for cancer.
I want to have a chicken coop. And two acres of well manicured land.
I want to enjoy food.
I want to be an English Professor.
And an Interior Designer.
And an aerobics instructor.
And a medieval princess in distress who gets rescued by a man (shirtless) on horseback.
I want to know, really really know God exists. And that everything I believe about Him is true.
No doubts. I want no doubts.
So I guess, I want no faith either.
I want to live part of the year in London, England.
I want to never stress about finances. But never be rich enough to forget how good it feels to have them under control.
I want to be grateful.
I want my children to have lots of cousins to play with.
I want them to play pioneers someday and have as much fun as I did.
I want to read more good books.
I want to savor the goodness of Autumn.
And Halloween. I love Halloween.
I want to know the biological/physiological/environmental/etc. origins of homosexuality.
I want to have time.
But not feel bored if I receive too much of it.
I want to be nice.
Not crazy.
I'm a little crazy.
I want the world to stop the idiocy.
Seriously, do you feel like we have the most insane epidemic of idiocy?
It makes me angry.
But I don't want to be angry.
I want to be nice.
Not crazy.
Did I mention that I'm a little crazy?
I want my want list to dwindle.
But I also want to have a want list.
Because if you don't want something, then what else could you want for?
And not wanting something is boring. You've exhausted all options?
You should never exhaust all options.
Then that would be really ungrateful.
And that's not what I want.
I want the things I won't list on a public blog. The things that even I'm not courageous enough to admit I want. The little things, the private things, the most revealing things: the things I'll save mention of until later - for that special order I'll place shortly before my head can finally hit the pillow.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Magic begins....

It's official. We've booked the trip.

The relief I felt as I clicked "Place order" on our Disneyland package tickets trickled down my spine and I got all tingly with excitement.
Now we're real parents.

Or at least really in debt (but not for too long because we really have been saving for this since the beginning of time...whew).

When we booked the tickets, we were informed that we could receive a "complimentary" phone call from any Disney character of our choice. Complimentary....boo ha. I've just prepaid my kids' future college tuition on this vacation. Everything is wonderful at Disneyland, I'll give you that. But nothing...nothing is complimentary. Even your vacation's supply of Mickey mouse shaped churros are going to cost a week's worth of groceries.

We picked Mickey to call us. Classic. You have to go classic on the first go round. We gathered around the phone, anxiously awaiting its ring. Lily sat in glorious anticipation of "a very very very special person" who was going to call her any minute.



It's your Mom.

Can't talk right now, waiting for an important phone call.

Sitting. Sitting. Fingers tapping. Silent phone. Everyone huddled around silent phone. More fingers tapping...

Ring Ring. California caller ID.


Brief silence, a few clicking sounds...and....Disconnected.

WHAT THE ?!!!!!!!

It's too late, what are we going to do? It disconnected but shows up that we received the call!

Lily's sweet face and big eyes, brows furrowed with innocent concern, looking up at the two of us. Tyler and I stared at each other in misery and disappointment, yet still undefeated.

Call your Mom. Have her be Mickey Mouse.

Hey Mom, can you quickly call the house and pretend to be Mickey Mouse to Lily?

Sure! Hows this: "Hey Lily! It's Mickey Mouse!" (Voice is a mixture of The Little Mermaid on drugs and Nemo's Dad - high pitched yet freakishly manly).

No no no. That won't do. I'm sorry....try it more like this (I plug my nose and muster as much saliva into the crevice of my inner esophagus - ok, not exactly physiologically accurate, but you get the picture -):
"Hey Lily! It's meeeee....Mickey Mouse! Say, you wanna come inside my clubhouse?!"

Hey, that's pretty good, why don't you do it? Just go into the garage and call from Ty's cell.

Oh right, good idea.

Ring Ring.


"Hey Lily! It's me, Mickey Mouse! Say, you wanna come inside my clubhouse?!!"


Total success. Can't wait for the real thing.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beauty, we call you Beast.

London my love,

After surfing through a few old posts, I realized that someday - when you look back on this blog's record of all of your darling photos - you will not be able to understand how we could have possibly adoringly referred to you as "beast" on a regular basis.

I hope these help. The Lundy Lu (a.k.a. The Beast) we know and love:



Sunday, September 6, 2009

Finally uploaded the photos.

The Sweet Life Presents:

LiFe's A bEaCh.
Lake Tahoe Family Vacation 2009

The world's best cooking ever. Courtesy of Nonna and Aunt Mary.

This would be the part where Tyler suggested we buy a swimsuit that fit Lily a little more "appropriately":

And this is what happens when you tell Lily to pose for a picture:

Cute cousins

Cute London.

Thank you Nonna and Papa.
As you can see....we had a great time.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Everyone is sleeping.

We were camping out in the backyard tonight. Really, I was prepared to do it.

I catch a lot of flak around these parts for not being gung-ho over the idea of camping - that is "real" camping. I make no apologies: mankind has spent the past, oh, thousands of years attempting to form a decent civilization....we've barely mastered indoor plumbing and now I'm supposed to abandon it all, pack suitcases full of clothing and provide my own food and cook it over fire and arrive home only to unload a car full of dirty, smoked infused linens and camping attire, then drag it all into my perfectly clean, modernized home with air conditioning and all the amenities? Mosquito bites? Tick inspections? Really, that's what you call vacationing? And I'm the weird one?
Tyler tries to explain, "Rae, it's all about the experience!"
What experience? Hell? The Ice Ages? What experience?
I suppose there are those little details titled "nature"...."the great outdoors"...."man vs. wild".... yeah yeah yeah, just sleep with your hotel window open, and request a room near a bush. You'll be fine.

But I really did love the fresh air, under the stars in my backyard piled into a tent with fresh bedding from the house. I loved it so much I was prepared to happily sleep squished between Tyler and the girls. But then London continued crawling over each of our heads for the next 45 minutes as we tried to sleep. She would stick her face directly into mine until our noses squished together (as I tried to fake that I was sleeping) , and hoarsely whisper,


"Maaa...(getting louder)... maaA...(louder)...MAAA...(now it's painful)...MAAAAAAAA."

Finally, I would cave:

"What London?!!! Go to sleep baby. Lay down."


Nose squish (again).


This repeated about 9 more times until we were banished from the tent. And now I'm blogging on a computer. I'll have to try again next time.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's a wonderfully FULL life. Really.

My somewhat overly dramatic tirade in the previous post (me? dramatic?) cannot be left sitting as my current entry for too long.

It would be wholly mis-representative of the usual good to bad ratio of my life.

To shed a little enlightening perspective on a crazy week, I hope I'll never forget that amidst the stress of the occasional cyclical insanity of life, I am so glad it is a full one. When I lamented to Tyler the other night that all I want is the simplicity of a day that revolves around nothing but a trip to the park and decisions about what to cook for dinner, he responded, "Rae, we want like SIX kids, there will never be simplicity."

Oh, right.
Then we got it on. (Ok....kidding. I just love throwing innappropriate tidbits of information into my blog. Forgive me.)

A blessedly full, busy, beautiful life.

Tyler, Lily and London are baking cookies in the kitchen right now. Seriously, how cute is that?! It's his first night at home this week after classes. The cupboards are clanking and I can hear the sounds of the iron whisk against the steel bowl of my fabulous sassy red Kitchen Aid mixer (thanks again and again for that one, Nonna). It will soon be filled with the deliciousness of fresh chocolate chip cookie dough. Lily will beg to be able to lick more than the spoons, Tyler will eat 1/4 of the the entire bowl, and Lundy will scream to get in on the action.

I'm off to get my hair done (glory be!), and Lily already gave me a big hug and said, "I'm gonna mish you shoooo much." Melt my heart right now!... I am so hopelessly in love with these people.

I'm a lucky girl indeed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I left my Dad's office and headed into a dark parking lot that screams "Please, abduct us." with my two children en tow (or is it in tow?) at 9:30pm this evening. I had to finish working on a few print-outs for piano tomorrow and needed the copying capacity there. It was dark and freaky. I called my parents and had them wait on the line until I had safely loaded the girls into the car and locked the doors. Tyler was still in class (until 10:30pm).

The girls were a positive disaster. Fed Taco Bell for dinner (at 7:30pm, a good hour and a half past a normal dinner hour), wallowing in the accumulated dirt on the office floors, eyes red from lack of sleep, London's nose crusted with boogers (boogers I'm not permitted to clean as often as needed, as she screams in agony at any attempts to touch her nose).

Instead of heading home, we still had one more vital stop that had to be made for items that were needed by tomorrow morning. We ran into Walmart at 10pm, loaded up on 10 boxes worth of sugar cookies, liters of soda, and ice for tomorrow's recital. London began screaming in drooling anticipation at the sight of the sprinkled sugar cookies. I would have opened the box and gladly bribed her into silence, but I held on to my one last scrap of pride. It is 10pm, my baby is screaming and crusted in mucus, my three year-old is covered in black soot marks and wearing the baby's shorts, and our cart is filled with cheap, highly enriched, processed white flour and sugar. I can't allow myself to dig any deeper and allow consumption of the cookies in front of everyone, can I? The lines were long (at 10pm?!), and my desperation got the better of me until I finally opened a box of The Little Mermaid fruit snacks. London and Lily ate four packs each by the time we left the checkout.

It was at that moment, rushing out of the store as people stared and I tried to hold back tears when I thought:

It's official. I've arrived.

I'm the white trash Walmart mother.

And it wasn't funny. Not tonight. I'm overwhelmed. Tired. Emotional. Sick of the constant push of having to move forward. The miserable host of things to juggle daily and the never-ending desire to do everything well.
I briefly looked at another blog of some darling mothers, hosting a wonderful forum on ideas to make life richer....and for a moment, just a moment...I wanted to say piss off. Take your little slim JCrew figure-esque, positivitely crafty, organic cooking, money-pinching, brownie-baking, educated, perfectionist tendencies and go fly a kite.

I'm going to bed.

But I'll check back tomorrow.

Until then, goodnight.