Saturday, October 31, 2009

To you...

Happy Halloween!


Lon-tildy the Witch


Lily-Lu the Ladybug

(On their way to the church Halloween party - we didn't forget to dress up this time.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Missed the Memo: A Horror Story

We arrived at story-time five minutes early (a miracle for me). I've purposefully been trying out my new theory on "rushing". Every time I am in a rush to get somewhere, I can just feel the tension and negative energy transferring to my girls. They begin acting outrageously, finding every possible way to thwart any progress being made on getting out the door on time, thus leading to more intensive rushing and absurd behavior (I think I've even been known to respond to my daughter's request for baby Cinderella - the 80th request of the exit routine- with, "She's dead. Now get in your carseat.")
Before I know it I have a headache, we've made it nowhere on-time, and I've acted like a monster of a mother with two mini-monsters for children. It all starts with me. It must stop. So, I make a conscious effort to walk meekly around our home, casually picking up toys and giving my children gentle nudges towards the door.

"Come along, darlings," I sweetly coax.
The whole morning ended up being very pleasant. We breezed out the door, and I was once affirmed in another theory I've been developing: the "I am a good mother" theory.

Until we arrived at storytime. We found ourselves instantly swarmed with little costumed Tinkerbells, Fairies, Sharks, Spiderman(s), Ponies, Chickens, and one Strawberry Shortcake. My children stood there, holding hands - in their old navy sweatpants - surveying the giggling children decked out for a
Very Special Halloween storytime.

I was confused. It took me a moment to process the bombarding stimuli in every direction, and the sobering reality that am a horrible mother.

"Girls, I'm so sorry...I didn't know we were supposed to dress up."

Lily looked up at me with sad, distraught eyes.

"Oh, come on, don't want to be like that lame little ladybug over there. Just look at her costume. It's ridiculous and ill-fitting. If I didn't know any better I would have guessed she was a beetle. Really. And look at that chicken. Who wants to be a chicken for Halloween anyways? Her Mom must not even like her..."

I was at a loss to explain Strawberry Shortcake. Nobody could deny the splendor that was the 9 pounds of pink toule Strawberry Shortcake. I hung my head and moved towards the back of the room. I scanned the crowd, hoping to find other pathetic mothers like myself. No such luck. My gaze briefly halted, catching a woman eyeing London up and down, with a squint, as if trying to figure out her ensemble with her insinuating stare and crooked smile, "Oh...Hi, poor little girl, what might you be? Where is your mother? Do you have a mother? Is she a part of a fundamentalist religious sect?"
She's the younger sister of the older sister who are both not dressed up but instead wearing the exact same outfit due to their mother's matching fetish. Booooo. Creeeepy, isn't it? So stop staring at my kid before you get a candy corn shoved .... ..... .....

I did find a Grandpa with his grandson in regular playclothes. But Grandpa's are always clueless about these things. It's their job.

We still ended up having a good time, trick-or-treating around the library and singing Halloween songs.
This in spite of the fact that, as spooky as it may seem, I am the sole winner of the
Big, Bad, Halloween-Reject-Mother of the year award.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quit Day.

Do you ever have Quit Days?

A day devoted to quitting whatever it is you have going on.

I am lucky enough to get them every now and then. Usually Tyler, or my mother, takes over and I get a few hours (and sometimes an entire day) to quit.

( Sidenote: I remember when my Mom used to take those occasional days. Tired from the exhausting insanity of raising her eight kids and running a business with my Dad, she would look around our messy house and sigh, "I wish I could have a good fairy come and help me."
Sarah and I would usually catch the hint, and went about excitedly cleaning the house while she took a nap. We couldn't wait for her to wake up and see the results of our sneaky labor. She would come down the stairs later and squeal and act surprised, "OH! My good fairies came!".)

It is on theses days that I just quit everything. Motherhood, house-cleaning, self-maintenance (and grooming - eeww), reading, writing/blogging, phone chatting, school-work, church activities, working, catching up.

And I sleep.

I am fantasizing about excessive, gluttonous, guilt-inducing, intoxicating sleep at this moment. The type of sleep when you occasionally awaken only to read a few more chapters in your favorite book, make yourself a big plate of gooey nachos, and fall back asleep. I've been dreaming about this since sometime yesterday afternoon. Wrapped in the comfort of my white sheets and cushy down comforter.....aaaahhhhh.

Only Tyler is at work, and I can't get a hold of my mom.

Mom, where are you?!!!?

Help! I need a good fairy.

P.s...It is now 7:30pm (6 hours after original post). My fairy came earlier. I finished my book. Thanks Mom, what would I (or have I ever done) without you?.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yeee haaw

Lily constantly talks about "choo choo trwain wides" as of late. So we decided: what could be better than a trip to the Wild Wild West to experience a first train ride?!

And a real life stagecoach ride?!(Pulled by real horses, just like out of a Well's Fargo ad - shooting down the dirt hills and around the town...ok....the ride lasted only 3 minutes and was 12 lousy bucks per person: worth every penny. I told Tyler I was willing to spend up to $100 for at least 45 seconds of such adventure. Have I ever told you, in addition to desiring to be a medieval princess, that I've always wanted to be a pioneer too?)

Just look at these faces...

My life's dream, fullfilled (well, one of them):

Later, we finished off with a cozy lunch in a cafe in the back of an old saloon. We sat on the balcony, eating under a warm heater and enjoyed the crisp fall weather in the old ghost town of Virginia City. It was a goooood day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Little Child of Mine...

She snuck her favorite blankee into the bath today.

She climbs out of the crib now. It started two days ago.

It is a terrible day for any mother: the day they learn to escape prison. The day it first happened, I had put her down for a nap, was finishing dishes in the kitchen when out of nowhere she suddenly appeared. I stared, in horrified disbelief. How did you get here? Nooo, nooo, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo!

I found her a total of SIX times tonight after I had tucked her into bed, out in front of the television. Tyler was at class, and I turned out all of the lights and locked myself in my room in an effort to curb her desire to get out of bed. What good is escaping bed if the house is dark?
Naaa naaa naaah, that didn't deter this child. She knows how to turn on the hall light. Walks down the hall, turns on the television, and plops herself down with her bottle.

She was watching Jon Stewart re-runs each time I found her (she still can't work the controller).

I would hear the buzz of the television, exhaustively pull myself away from my book and bed and head down the hall. Pick her up, tell her "No.", and put her back to bed. Six times.

And yet it still makes me want to eat her up all the more.

*Photography courtesy of Lily during our spontaneous photo shoot the other day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Great Matter

You have noticed I didn't go private, right?

I did it for about two hours, decided it was lame...

I missed a bunch of names to allow entrance (including my own mother - you didn't send me your email address!)

Plus it caps out at 100 people...and I think we all know...I have THOUSANDS of followers.

That was a joke.

I'm going to be safe-guarding the blog in other ways (ways I cannot tell you, because you might be the serial killer).

Other than that, I'm taking the risk. My life is officially an open book.


(Immediate family, i.e., my followers, i.e. the reason a capacity of 100 viewers just isn't going to be possible)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Product of Insomnia

It's almost 4am, and I can't sleep.
I also can't find the book I'm supposed to be reading for school anywhere in the house. I think I left outside on a chair (and there's no way I'm going out into the dark to get it).
Occasionally, these sleepless nights result in a flash of genius: thoughts I need to record, a decorative idea, or a purposeful goal worth penning. But not tonight. As I thought of insightful titles I could potentially blog about about in the coming minutes all I could think of was This Week's Dinner Menu (sans the recipes) or Why the Deepest Pockets of Hell should be Reserved for Pageant Moms.

Yep, there is obviously no flash of genius tonight coming from me.

But I do have a picture of my girls.

Oh, how I love these girls. We had a lovely week:

*We took this on a crazy cozy, rainy day last week. Such a perfect day. The house was warm and lit, Salt City Pumpkin candle burning (my must-have-every-fall candle splurge), and we were just soaking it up waiting for Tyler to get home.

*Earlier today (or I guess yesterday), we met Tyler for lunch. As we sat waiting outside the restaurant, Lily watched a rather tall, dark, lean man (of I would guess Middle Eastern descent) walk past us. As he passed, Lily shielded her mouth with her little cupped hand as she whispered very matter-of-fact into my ear,
"Mom, dat's Bawack Obama."
This, and the fact that she wrote her name all by herself this last week (hip hip hooray!), both confirm the fact that I am dealing with a real genius (nevermind the fact that it was a case of mistaken identity - she knows that a President exists! Or that she included A's in her name -
L A i L Y A - she loves the letter A, it was included purely for aesthetic reasons). Isn't that impressive for a three year-old? Sorry, had to brag. I'm her mother. It's my job.

*London is officially the cutest munchkin known to mankind. I'm not kidding. I especially love how she and Lily have been playing together lately and I find it hilarious. From what I observe: Lily pretends that she is "the baby" while London plays "the mom". Lily pretends to cry and crawls around the house and London runs and grabs blankees and binkies, scratches Lily's back and sweetly coos, "Ohhh, beee beee! Beee beeee! Hunna hunna beee bee." She kisses her and hugs her and it just about sends me over the edge every time. Could you be any sweeter?!

*Pop and Gamma took Lily to her gymnastics class this week. They came back with reports like, "Lily was little out-of-control during class, but in a good way" (only Grandparents would say something like that) and "she put her leotard on backwards but I just couldn't change it because it was too cute".

*Ty & I's Friday date night included a trip to Chili's for their 2 for $20 deal. We're big fans. Another thing we're big fans of: each other.
If you think about it, a case could be make for the sick narcissism created by two people in love. 1) Boy meets girl and 2) they fall obsessively in love, 3) obsessively talk about their love for each other all day 4) eventually create miniature human versions of themselves who they then transfer obsessively talking about loving obsessively. Think about it.

That's all I can remember. It's now 4:17am, and I think I can fall back asleep now.

Goodnight (or morning).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Sweet Life Presents:

Apple Pickin' at the Andelin's

Little girlfriends: Lily, London, Toad & Tad (DiEtte, Kinlee)

Lundy...scared of the dog roaming around.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


A new artist has recently cropped up in the family:

I'm going to learn to treasure the aesthetic destruction that is the result of having children....I'm going to learn to treasure the aesthetic destruction that is the result of having children....I'm going to learn to treasure the aesthetic destruction that is the result of having children....

(is that a booger I'm seeing on the wall?)

I watched an Oprah a few months back that was all about "Confessions of Everyday Moms". During the episode, various mothers dished on their secret revelations of the absurd things they'd been known to do as mothers. They included things like feeding their kids nothing but Cheerios all day, using socks to wipe dirty noses, etc.
Not that big of a deal, but still humorous.
The details are a bit fuzzy, but I remember after a few candid confessions, out of nowhere came this unfortunate mother who spilled about her experience leaving her kid in the same diaper for like 4 days. You could see it in everyone's eyes, including Oprah's, as they tried to force a little laugh. But in their heads (as well as my own), we know we were all thinking, "Wow, that one really isn't funny. More along the lines of serious neglect."

I'd like to draw a quick parallel to our living situation today. I could plaster pictures of our house and say, "Oh how funny! Look where London emptied our electronic pencil sharpener all over the bed! Look at the poopy diaper hidden under the couch, Lily and London had rice crispy treats for breakfast! Check out my face!"
But if I actually posted the evidence. I don't think you'd laugh.

So I'll leave it at the pictures above as I'll admit right now that London's face and that wall behind her are about the two cleanest things in our home at this minute.

I'm going to be remedying the situation for the rest of the afternoon, so don't worry, and please...laugh about it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

sAlSa SaTuRdAY !!!

Armed with fresh ingredients...

And Mom Alexis' TOP SECRET recipe...

Late one Saturday night the men got to work in the kitchen (where they belong...boooo haaa haaa.)...

To create THIS:

(The girls worked extremely hard too, I might add. Judging salsa can be difficult : so many terms to remember: mild, medium, hot, so hot it'll knock your socks off, it takes a real man to consume this bad boy, and if you try this you will visit the bathroom for the next 48 hours a total of 97 times as your bowels evaporate, etc.)

We each got jars from the above categories.
They won't last long, I can tell ya that much.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pics to come and a random thought.

We took some family photos a few weeks ago. I'll post them when they are ready. However, now that there has been some time and emotional distance between that day and now, I can laugh about the following person disturbing the pictures....

Hmmm, who might that be?

I happened upon a most insightful passage in the book I'm reading:

"...whatever she is doing, makes me feel sweetly rewarded, bound up with a full-souled woman, a lover of daylight and dense life, the miscellaneous swarming air of families..."

Gosh, I hope I make you feel that way too.
Unfortunately, I think your passage would sound more accurately like this:

"...whatever she is doing, makes me feel slightly anxious, bound up with a full-souled woman plagued with endless requests, a lover of drama and insane life, the miscellaneous swarming air of a group of in-laws too large and too loud."

But deary, it is my dream that you will eventually feel the former. I'm working on it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Made aware.

I found a lump in my breast last week.

There are spaces that exist, tiny pockets filled with momentary glimpses, pockets suspended between what is and what was and what will be. Occasionally in life I get trapped in them. Stuck - wondering, wishing and hoping that what will come next will resemble what already was - the gloriously happy and uncompromising time I didn't realize I was inhabiting until now. And now, I don't know what will be, and am so suddenly grateful for what was. Stuck. Stuck in that space.

This doesn't make sense. Duh. Let me try a better way of explaining it: have you ever experienced the horrible sensation of having your ears terribly plugged when passing through a higher elevation on an airplane? Before this experience, you are completely unaware of the blissful pleasure of unplugged ears. You were simply living your life, strolling through daily minutia, oblivious to the unstuffed sensation you were experiencing. But, now, as you wither and squirm through this throbbing annoyance, you yearn for that moment of release with manufactured yawns while covering your mouth and nostrils attempting to force exhalation. You swear that once the pressure is released, you'll never again allow yourself the shameful luxury of ignorance regarding the unclogged status of your normal eardrums. My regular ears were so good....soooo sooo good. I want them back. Give them back. Please, Please, Please....pop already.

For days, I was in that space. In between the initial discovery and the doctor's visit, the trip to radiology for the final answer. I was in that space as I Googled and researched and assessed and reassessed. Night after night, I would toss and turn, alternating between presumptuous optimism and distressing fear.

Do I have breast cancer?
Could this possibly be the worst news of my life? Impossible, I am 25. I've given birth twice. I breastfed. I grew my own garden of produce this year. These are fully functioning (albeit, small) glands. I am about to make a purchase of two handsome, burnt orange window panels for my autumn decor. I have a husband and children and a future. One full of bright opportunities and graduations and trips through Europe. Yes, impossible.
Or no. No. Definitely possible. This is the story. It is always the story. The happy life. The contented - knocked down, kicked and dragged. Best sellers on the New York Times lists. Lifetime movies. The exploited victims of tearfully paltry Saturday afternoon entertainment. This is who we are. We exist.

I would mumble a prayer in the darkness to try to calm myself down, feeling the lump - over and over- as if an agitated massage would somehow make it disappear.

Dear God,
Please. Please. This cannot be the plan. And if it was The Plan, I am asking You to change it. I don't care if I originally agreed. It was and is a horrible plan, and if it was or is to be my destiny, it is a mistake. I don't care about the lessons, the meanings, the journeys of potential introspection and growth. I don't want heaven. Not Yours. Not now. I didn't know. I didn't hear Lily's voice or London's laugh, how it would feel to touch their cheeks and wash their dirty hair. I want the laundry, all the blessed laundry. And the dishes and the Sunday mornings. I want the smell of Tyler's sweaty body after a workout. I want the work and the goals and the fatigue. And if you take it from me... if you take me from it, I won't know who You are...will I ? An All-Loving and Ever-Present Father, or some sort of sick pubescent kid who loves nothing more than to perfectly assemble intricate houses made of paper - delicately created with all the details of his sister's dollhouses - and then filled with his favorite roly-poly bugs, only to gleefully torch it and watch the desperate disintegration, the melting and scattering of his perfect order?

I don't mean to sound like a spoiled child...but if you can't give me this one thing...I'm never going to talk to You again. Amen.

(Ok, it wasn't that bad.)

A couple days later, I walked into the second story of the hospital. I carried my new purse, a fabulous purse. The office assistant checking me in happened to be an old acquaintance:

"Rachel! How great to see you!"

Great to see me. In Radiology? Seriously? Nothing could be worse. How dare you.

"You too! How are the kids?!"

I was ushered into the patient room with an ultrasound technician. I looked into her eyes as she scanned the screen. She couldn't tell me anything (hospital law). With every lift of her brow and glance down towards my breast, I'd try to read her mind. Is it "Poor girl, she has no idea what she is about to face"...or..."What a wimp, she thought this was something to be concerned about?"

She left the room, and I changed back into my clothes in the cool, sanitary shell of the hospital room. Cold tiles, light violets mixed with chalky blues interlocked geometrically on cheap wallpaper. A generic Monet hung in a brass frame slightly above the gray examination table. What was this designer going for? Indifference? Sterility? The absence of merriment? Why is it that spas spend enormous amounts of dough creating the perfect environment for wrinkle elimination - bamboo plants and crisp linens, oils and fresh scents - while hospitals charge forty times as much and can't even provide a gown that hasn't been previously vomited or urinated on? Can you at least provide some sort of 'Sounds of Nature' C.d. playing through the hospital intercom? Something to remind me of life. A place created that doesn't coax you into death just in order to find an exit.

Knock, Knock.

"Hello Rachel, I'm Dr. Micheals."

My heart sunk and raced at the same time.

"You're fine."

"I am?"

"Yes. There is definitely a palpable mass, but upon inspection it looks like a perfectly normal build-up of tissue. Just keep an eye on it, and report any big changes to your regular doctor. Everything looks perfectly o.k. to me."

He quickly exited, off to deal with more important patients. Patients who really had cancer. Patients - not me.
I sat weightless, the emotion and relief flooded my being - only to be quickly replaced with a sense of guilt for those who receive the other kinds of answers. The sort of news that leads to the questions, the introspection, the yearning for the lives they had before they entered Radiology on the second floor. Left in that pocket of space where I no longer linger.

I left. I kissed my kids and visited Tyler at work even though I had a million other things on my "to-do" list. I love my "to-do" list.

I made an pathetically small donation to a Breast Cancer Foundation.

It's Breast Cancer Awareness month. Boy, was I aware.
I think I'll be adding pink to my list of autumn decor from now on.

You can donate here, too.