Thursday, July 29, 2010

Think outside the lines.


Lily paused, looking up from her coloring, and asked with sad eyes:

"Mom, do I scrwibble?"

"No Lu! You color beautifully...you don't scribble."

"Jesse* said I scrwibble."

My heart instantly hurt a little. Lily takes her coloring very. seriously.

"Well you just tell Jesse that [you'll scribble her face if she ever talks like that to you again**] you are very creative. I think she was saying that because you are coloring outside the lines a little bit. But that's okay if you want to, we don't always have to stay inside the lines.
You are the best color-er I know."

And that's the truth.





*Name has been changed to protect the little varmit.
**Possible thought, but not really said. I save that kind of advice until they're 10.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sick days.




We've been cursed with the sickies these past couple of days. London came down with a fever early on in the week and last night Lily started with it too. And to add even more drama, Lily got her head stuck in one of our chairs the other evening before bed. Tyler was still traveling home from work, and I could not get her head out for the life of me. She was screaaaaming, sobbing, hyperventilating. London came running in and matched Lily with her own colossal freak out - she thought I was hurting Lily. So I had London shrieking and crying and hitting me from behind, and Lily about to pass out from sobbing, stuck in the chair. It was awful. I remained calm, quickly going through options in my head as I tried to get her out. Call 911, call Daniel and have him come down with a saw, rip apart the chair with my own mother bear adrenaline. I finally got her out by contorting and shimmying her whole body through the chair. London wouldn't forgive me for over an hour, even though Lily even tried to explain.

Poor girls. It's been a rough couple of days. And yet I kind of like the way they slow down and lie exhausted in my arms. Lily gets really sweet and chatty, with her flushed red face and glossy eyes. London just gets grumpy and mean...so I'm glad she's on the mend today. Whew.


I don't handle my children's illnesses well. It's all because I once heard of this horrible book about a couple who lost their beautiful little girl after a completely random fever one night. Just like that. Anytime my girls get a fever I can't help going back to that darn story...I've never even read the book but it still haunts me. So I hold my kids and worry and cry. I cry because I don't want them to ever get really sick, and I cry because I'm so sorry for those poor parents. I'll stay next to them and just hold on and pretend that I'm transferring all of my healthy energy to their bodies (which I sorta believe really happens, call me crazy - I think that's already been established). It's a big, fevery, emotional mess.

I can't wait for it to be over. Until then, lots of juice, popsicles, and movies. It's not all so bad.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Unsolicited.

Words of advice.


On mothering...

Don't ever let your kids watch the old classic "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory". Is it just me, or is the whole communal grandparent bed in their cement block house just a little too disturbing for a child to process? I'm still scarred. Plus, the unachievable bliss of lickable wallpaper and the everlasting gobstopper just leave you hanging - forever - wishing. If someone invents either of those, I may be willing to reconsider.

Um, is this picture from a well renowned children's classic about the wonders of a magical candy-land or a scene from Schindler's list?
You tell me.





On wife-ing...

Barter with sex.*


*I realize that all the so called marital "experts" would disagree, but I'm sorry - there is something to be said for the success of deal executed around 11:45pm that leaves Tyler falling asleep smiling and me with a freshly delivered Taco Bell Chalupa in hand. He's happy, I'm happy. The best phrase to whisper/hear during your last smooch goodnight?...
"It was a pleasure doing business with you."


On Beauty...

The Body Shop's Vitamin E Spray.

Or Vitamin C spray.

I'm totally addicted. I don't know how I've lived without these. No girl's makeup should be completed without it. Just spritz lightly over your finished makeup (foundation, blush...the works) and you'll instantly notice a more supple, natural finish. I especially love the vitamin C spray during the summer heat, bring it in your beach bag and spray away to feel extra luxurious.


On gardening...

Grow one! Ours is getting exciting.




On reading...

I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone with a daughter
(Tyler will now be reading it three times over).
Dr. Meeker provides a wealth of studies and information reminding fathers of how absolutely essential they are to every aspect of their daughter's well-being, from their very birth onward. You'll feel a little freaked out by all the scary statistics, but more so inspired by the very tangible difference a good father can make. Sheesh, after just a few chapters a mom can get a little jealous: girls consistently need their Daddies soooo, sooooo much more than they get credit for. It's a relatively short read, but will leave you and your hubby more convinced and encouraged than ever that to be a Dad to your daughter is quite a magnificent calling, and not one to be taken lightly. Which also reminds me...be careful who your baby-daddy is.




On exercise...

Avoid gyms that have exercise rooms equipped with windows to the men's weight room (ahem, Gold's Gym). There is no reason to have a open view into the swimming pool. Seriously. I know what they were thinking...the original architects, as they master planned a gym where they envisioned muscle ripped men pumping iron while having their testosterone levels increased tenfold as they watch some sort of Megan Fox babe in a string bikini dive in and out of the lap lane. All that extra perspiration produced over taut, tan flesh and flexed biceps... what a way to attract customers, right? Genius. However, it was a terrible clash with reality the day I showed up in my goggles and maternity swimsuit wearing my kid's arm floaties. But trust me, watching some guy with massive rear-sweat attempting squats with an entirely too ambitious amount of weight hoisted over his shoulders is no picnic either.
The disappointment is mutual.










That's it for today....The end.






















Top of the mornin' to ya.




Lils and I were the first ones up.
So we slipped out to pick up donuts.



To share with these lazy bums...


Wanna know the best alarm clock technique to wake Miss London?
Simply say the word "donut"



And she wakes right up...miraculous.





Happy Saturday Morning.
{I feel like I'm going to barf now.}

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer eats.




I



really



love


Farmer's


Market.








And ...
my newest cookbook checked out from the library (the library is the best place for cookbooks)...




He's super simple, which is what I like about him. And the fabulous English accent. Did you watch his "Food Revolution" special? I loved him even more while watching, especially when he responded to the ultra-defensive radio D.J. berating him

DJ: "I don't want to eat damn lettuce all day!",

to which he replied in his uber cool cockney accent

"I'm not gonna cook ew' (you) a let-uss!"

Oh my heart, I just loved the way he referred to it as "a" lettuce.

Anyways, when you have the best and freshest ingredients (thank you summer), you don't need to get all fancy schmancy. So he's a perfect go to right now. Summer is the best time for simple salads and pastas, nothing too heavy or heated for my taste buds.
Tonight, with our pickings from the market, we had a slight variation on this (click on titles for recipes)...

1. Spaghetti with Sweet Cherry Tomatoes, Marjoram, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
(I added some sauteed garlic chicken)


And I plan on giving this intriguing salad a try sometime this week, it sounds like a real dance on the palate - and a new spin on the same ol', same old:

2. Globe Artichoke, Pink Grapefruit, Frisee and Pecorino Salad

Ps...I totally had to google search for an online version of this recipe and stole this off of some guy's blog. But...if you follow the link, you'll find a tasty looking pizza recipe to go along side it. Thanks random blog dude.


Happy eating!








Saturday, July 17, 2010

You should know...




Dear Lily and London,


It is Saturday morning. Lily spent the night at Gamma and Pop's, London is pantiless in the living room watching cartoons, Daddy is enjoying a much needed break golfing with his buddies, and I am working my way clockwise through the house barefoot and half-dressed trying to catch up on some sorely necessary cleaning. It's often when I'm cleaning and listening to my Pandora mix that I think and think and think. Usually about you. And occasionally during these thought bursts, I know I need to sit down and record them before they go. I've already missed too many opportunities to sit and record what I want you to know about this life - right now - raising you both.

Thank heavens for this blog. It's been such a good outlet for me, allowing for quick moments of memories that I can upload and record without too much effort. It has spared a boat-load of guilt for not being a scrapbooker, or in depth journal keeper. By the time you're old enough to appreciate any stories about yourselves as toddlers, a "blog" will probably be a laughable antique. And I will try and keep it from you until I think you're really old enough to appreciate these little stories and moments, because they are such. a. treasure. to me.

I sat in Relief Society*(see below)* a couple weeks ago at church, crying. I am the Laurel's advisor (which is the adult leader for girls 16-18 years old). Once a month, we join the Relief Society during church. This particular day was one of them, and I sat lined up with all my teenage girlies. They all frequently roll their eyes and occasionally protest at the idea of joining with the Relief Society...there is simply too much adult woman emotion and sentiment and conversation flying around for a 17 year-old to process. And as a previous 17 year-old myself, I understand.

But I couldn't help it this day as we all sat in class. The emotion just came, and I sat privately trying to quickly wipe the tears rolling incessantly down my cheeks. Don't let the girls see this...Don't let the girls see this....Don't let the girls see this.....

The topic of the day's lesson was helping our youth understand their worth and value. Leading them down good paths as mothers, church leaders, and friends. We discussed the seemingly insurmountable challenges every young girl seems to face in this world, and the instructor briefly elaborated on that golden time - from birth to around 8 years-old - when children are relatively free from the realities of the world. The time when we, as mothers, have an easier upper hand of influence on our children. She looked at me with a smile as she spoke of the joy contained in that brief window of time when you're raising little ones and said, "Right Rachel? You certainly know what I'm speaking about right now."

Enter floodgates of emotion. Oh boy do I. My mind instantly flashed to a day last month when Lily asked to go ride her bike with her "friends" down the street. It was the first day I really allowed her freedom to go out solo, on her own, suited up with a helmet to roam our street with a group of children. Sarah was visiting, and we both walked out and watched her ride excitedly in the distance, peddling as fast as she could to keep up with the 'big kids', smiling from ear to ear. It was the cutest and dearest sight, her bright red cheeks and princess bike cruising along, and yet I turned to Sarah and said, "Why does this make me want to collapse in fetal position and bawl my eyes out?!"

There she was, my soul on training wheels, riding away with her friends. And me left, standing there watching in the distance, muttering every prayer of protection and love and security to always blanket her. And I felt it. The time is closing in. She's growing up so fast.

I promised myself I wouldn't take this time for granted. These few years of small children in my home, exhausting me to no end. I wouldn't let the monotony or the peanut butter on the walls win over the larger perspective of how utterly delightful this time is. I would soak in every. moment. And I am proud to admit, barring a few days here and there, that I remain firmly aware of this sacred time I'm living. I want you, my Lily and London, to know that. I am excited (and a little fearful) of all the wonderful things the future has in store for you, but I'd also be perfectly content with time slowing down to a more eternal crawl.

I can't remember all the details. In fact, it infuriated me the other day as I watched baby Finn crawling through the house, and couldn't for the life of me really remember what it felt like to have either of you doing the same thing. The memories fade so quickly, and my mind is so inadequate.
Which is why I consequently blog. It remembers so many things for me. So many things that I hope will convey the ultimate message: that so far in my short existence in this life, I have been surprised to find that the belly laughs and the deep seated joy and the engulfing comfort have arisen in the oddest places.
It's in London's naked bottom sitting on the couch with her sippy cup as I type this, the way she says "I shorry Mom, I shorry", or Lily soaking up the story of Rumplestilskin and looking for "Lithzards" at Gamma's, or the weeds taking over our backyard as evidence of Tyler and I's fatigue in this pursuit of life and all its opportunity. It's in the fact that Tyler and I can both sing, from memory, the theme to the CareBear's soundtrack. Or our excitement over escaping to the movie theaters tonight together. Or watching you two squeal in as you slid down the water slide at Wild Waters on Thursday. It's walking around my home...my very own home, cleaning up and feeling Ellie kick at the same time.

It's in these moments that I'm recording to the best of my ability for you, where I'm happiest. You may not even find much entertainment in them, but I do. And someday, my greatest wish for you (among the many) is that you will experience it too. I wish for you both to have little you's. And then maybe, someday as you recall sitting uncomfortably next to me as a 17 year-old in Relief Society, you'll understand why I cried so much.




Love,

Mom





** (Relief Society is the women's organization for all women 18 and older in the LDS church and meets every Sunday as a part of our church services. More info here).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Put yer' feet up.



It's HOT today.

We've spent enough time this week out in the sun and water. Regardless of repeated sunscreen applications, I'm convinced my children will become the newest flavor of beef jerky if I allow them to bake anymore.

Time to stay indoors and crank up the A/C.

And take a 3... hour... nap.

That's one of the perks of being a stay-at-home Mom: declaring naps for all and cozying up with my girls in bed with a big fan blasting us. We leave the phone off the hook and snooze to the sound of the whirrr whirrr whirr on a lazy afternoon. Poor Tyler. During moments like these, we often talk about how lucky we are to have such a hard working Daddy, out in the hot day, just so Mommy can be here with the girlies.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Take comfort.





While I'm on the topic of Miss Ellie, I should mention that I've also been littered with random moments of apprehension. Shaking up the status quo, altering the four-some manageability (Tyler - you take one, I'll take the other), and a summer finally spent lying poolside, literally lying there - as in no longer rescuing a drowning toddler every five seconds or breastfeeding an infant or swapping out swimmer diapers - has left a certain shortsighted slice of my persona feeling a bit nervous. I wonder if you ever stop being plagued with doubts of what will be versus what is. Us humans are rather silly folks. What's beyond the horizon is far greater than the pitily pastures we wallow in, and yet we'll too often allow ourselves to stand still and believe that this, this, must be as good as it gets.

But I'm lucky this time. I felt similarly when I just had my Lily. It felt almost evil - like some sort of maternal sacrilege - to imagine that I needed more. And yet I did.

I was pregnant with this little ball of sunshine...

This lovely, sticky face...

This nudie, tantrum throwing bandit...




Who serves as daily evidence that there was most definitely room for more.
She is our happy reminder that in just a few months from now, we will once again feel red-faced and baffled that we ever could have thought life was complete without our next little set of fabulous tan lines.


Love you Lundy-girl, oh so much.













Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts on Ellie.


That's what we plan on calling her. Eliot Jane.
But we'll call her Ellie, or Elle.
Elle Jane.
Ellie Jane.
Eliot Jane.

Eliot because I simply like the name. Jane, because it's a total English classic. Like the author, like England. Poetic and simple. Strong but not overstated. Timeless without being old-fashioned. At least in my opinion.

I feel a little weird releasing the name before she's born, like a bad jinx. Not to mention opening Pandora's box of opinions from every person whose ever known/loved/hated a person (boy or girl) named Eliot, all before they've seen our little bundle of perfection wrapped up tightly and elevating the title before they have time to protest.
But we've released the name of our pre-born babies with each of our girls, so why not Miss Ellie too? I've had more negative feedback on this name than I did with Lily or London. But I don't care. It fits. And Lily loves it so, and consequently every baby doll in the house is named Eliot.

Eliot Jane, we are so excited for you.

Today I fantasized about her a lot. Feeling her now regularly kick connects her to my daily doings, and I love the reminder. I can't wait to just smell her and her milky baby breath. It's better than the scent of a warm loaf of baking bread in the oven while snuggling in a newly washed blanket next to a freshly cut Christmas tree as a vanilla bean candle burns nearby - all at once... it's that good. I'll nuzzle my nose deep into the folds of her soft neck and listen to her rhythmic, newborn breath as her teensy belly rises and falls. With her little fingers curled into a tight fist, and itty bitty fingernails covered with mittens. Her groans and grunts as she stretches her baby back in an arch, with her small bum in the cutest mini mound. Sigh, what heaven.

I love how primal you get with your baby. How you just want to lick them all day, like a cat.
Happiness is the biggest open mouth kiss with your slobbery baby.
Or blowing rasberries on a fat belly with the accompanying baby belly giggle.

Larissa accompanied us to the pool this afternoon and I was given the rare opportunity to swim laps (you know, in an attempt to add some minor tone to my new double arms and buttcheeks). I could
live.
in.
water.

when I'm pregnant. Nothing is more relaxing than the release of all the pressure as I paddle through cool water on a hot summer day. I came close to asking the pool director if they rented the pool out for water births. I figure if a kid can take a crap in a pool and they've found a remedy for that, then surely a placenta would require only an extra teaspoon or two of whatever disinfectant they have on hand.

I've also been beginning my mental nesting list. All the things that must be in order before Ellie makes her grand entrance. They include, but are not limited to:

1. Carpets cleaned.
2. Blinds cleaned.
3. Windows cleaned.
4. Baseboards cleaned.
5. Find both companies and the funding to do items 1-4.
6. Repaint, touch up all of Lily and London's artwork throughout the house.
7. While I'm at it, find a company to do that as well.
8. Re-do, re-assemble Lily and London's room.
9. Finally paint that unfinished blue corner in the office.
10. And fix the crooked blinds that broke in there as well.
11. And touch up paint the messed up corner of the playroom.
12. Buy new crib (old one is already too trashed).
13. Find a good hutch to refinish and convert into an awesome baby center.
14. Shop for next year's clothes at the sales - this time for THREE girls.
15. New carseats.
16. Make laundry room more functional, including a good shoe cubby system.
17. Clean out closets.
18. Box up season's clothing - create a closet system for two girls and a baby.
19. Reframe photos above our bed (that still only hold photos of Lily - how sad! We didn't even update them after Lundy!)
20. Enjoy my last bit of mostly uninterrupted sleep before a newborn once again enters the mix.

Whew!, what a list for a pregnant gal. And yet it keeps me nice and occupied, which is good...because in case you can't tell, I'm really, reaaally excited to finally meet her.


















Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Do you hear what I hear?



Lily excels in selective hearing. I can practically scream at the top of my lungs for her as she sits one room over, and she'll claim she didn't hear me. But when the chime of the ice cream truck rings 4 miles away?... she's already on the front lawn with her collection of coins...waiting.

The only problem is our ice cream man has been rather selective in what streets he patrols. Lily has anxiously waited, listening to the torturous tunes in the distance. She begs me to hop on our bikes and chase after him. I assure her that if she waits patiently, he will come. It's one part strategy and two parts utter laziness on a hot, sticky afternoon.
I failed to realize she would wait three. days.

Until at long last, for all the children on our quiet street - the bells finally rang loud and clear.





Victory.












Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Three things to love.

1. Children out of the house at a friend's + two piano lessons cancellations = one hour to sit on the couch and devour an entire bag of Twizzlers Cherry Nibs and chips and salsa and watch trashy T.V.....alone.

"Doc, I swear, I have no idea how I've gained another 10 pounds in three weeks"...slow pregnancy metabolism I guess.

2. You want an easy dinner?
Well I'll give ya an easy dinner.

Best summer meal ever.

Marinate chicken breasts in a hefty dose of Pesto (I like Costco's brand the best - don't bother messing up your food processor). I buy the big bag of frozen breasts at Costco, then take out a few and thaw in big ziploc bags covered in the pesto.
Slice up a ton of veggies, any choice you like (I went for zucchini, roasted red bell peppers, red onion, squash, and potatoes).

Throw the chicken and veggies all together on a big foil sheet.


Add another dollup of pesto. Get crazy with a little minced garlic and salt & pep.
Wrap up.
Toss on the grill for around 30 minutes on medium-low heat (or until your chicken tests done).
So yummy.
No dishes.
You're welcome.

Ps...You know, you could switch out the pesto for teriyaki sauce - add a few slices of pineapple to the mix, and have a gen-u-ine foil covered luau. Sorry, I can't be stopped...the ideas just keep rollin'.


3. New blog to check out. Just discovered this one, and of the millions that you come across, it's always neat to have one that you find yourself returning to. Be prepared to feel woefully inadequate, and yet surprisingly inspired by this Momma's amazingly awesome sewing creations (scroll down until you find the skirt made of old lace trimmings. Seriously. To die for. You'll want to shoot her for how she fits in it too. I'm jus sayin'.)
Her blog also assured my heart that I can indeed have five daughters if the fates so deem it. Their names are so fitting. Darling.

Click here

The Dill Spiel













Monday, July 5, 2010

Land that I love....




I love America.

And Lake Tahoe.

It was a perfect 4th of July weekend.



"To breathe the air the angels breathe - go to Tahoe."

Mark Twain



BeAcHes....



AnD SwImMin'....



AnD ThE WhOlE gAnG...



aNd SaRah reqUeStiNg PhOtoS oF HeRsElf...




AnD gRiLLE MaStEr HAaCk (sExY)....


aNd PaTriOtIc FrUit TaRts....



aNd CuCumBer MaNgo SalSa...



AnD FiNn...



aNd LoNdOn's DeFiniTioN of HaPpiNesS (juSt LiKe heR MaMa)...


AnD CaRd GaMes (in mY AwesOme FlaNnel jAckeT)...




AnD PoP ForEgoiNg a DaY of CamPaiGning tO wOrk with hiS
MoSt ImPorTant ConStituenTs...





AnD FiReWorKs.....


AnD My CreAtive GenIus wiTh tHis CapiTaLize/LoWer CaSe COolNesS.
aRe YoU AnNoyeD yEt?



AnD UnPaCkinG...


AnD IcE cReAm...




AnD LaSt BUt NoT LeAsT....



LoNdOn PeE'inG on SaRaH.




Yes, the PeRfEcT weekend.




(Thanks Mom & Dad)