Wednesday, July 27, 2011

She plum dun gone and fooled me...

 Today I have some special and very rare alone time with my Ellie belle.

The Grand-folk have the wild, older chillin's.

Ellie and I perused the home department of Macy's and TGMaxx.  I held her tight as we inspected linens and compared prices.

Can you hear it Ellie belly boo? That sound?!!!

Yes!!! Yess! It is called silence
The absence of requests!!
It is the lack of communication between three year-old to five year-old to eight month-old to Mommy Mommy Mommy can we please get this this this this and I'm tired and I'm hungry and I wanna go home and Lily ate my crackers!!!!!!

In the peaceful solitude of the Martha Stewart section I clasped my cheerful wee one, reflecting on how marvelously charming she is.

And gave due credit to...myself:

I am just a zen, zennny, zenlike Mom now.
With my third, I've simply perfected the art. This comfort, this ease of natural maternal instinct, has manifested itself so clearly in the calm collective smiles of this third babe. I get it. I understand now. 


Five seconds later:





She wasn't crying either.
She was... vocalizing? Experimenting with sound? Acting just like her sisters?
I don't know what you could call it. 
But it rang loudly, and wasn't pretty.  Everyone kept staring (some smiling as well, but mostly staring)....And she wouldn't stop.

We promptly exited.

The End.

{I will still keep you.}

Friday, July 22, 2011

The World would be a better place if everyone had...

like mine!

We're going to go spend some quality time with our Nonna, Poppa Don, and Uncle Al. 

So excited. 

Happy weekend to all!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This all began in a carwash.

My brother leaves back to Hawaii today, but not without us stealing him away to snap a few family photos.  Free photos! Yes puhlease.

Admittedly, I'm a a fault. I am never satisfied. Family photo shoots are a nightmare. A sick self inflicted torture session my family must endure for a Christmas card.

Tyler knows what to expect. He allows me to be the monster that I am. The beast behind the smile. 

For us, gone are the days of studio portraiture (thank heavens).

I miss the perfectly posed uniformity a bit, but then again:

 I love raw photos.

Capturing my girls in their uncooperative normal states.

 I prefer family photos of the organic variety.
Showered and clean, but untidy? A bit. 

Do you love my Lily-poser or what?

Melt my heart, I love these faces.

As Tyler and I tucked into bed after the photos, (and after I had repeated my endless lecture of how he spoiled that one. perfect.! photo because he was messing around and trying to grab my boob thinking he was soooOOOooooOOO funny),

we realized it was the 17th

July 17th is our real anniversary.

Eleven years ago.

Oh my. 

It was in a faintly lit, empty self-service car wash on a summer evening that we sat in my car: A&W burgers and rootbeer floats in hand. The sunset filtered through the car windows, half down and ushering a cooler, calm breeze.  We laughed and talked and flirted. Tyler brushed my hair to the side and kissed me. It felt good. It was that night we decided,
 it was us.


Official transcript:

Rae: "So like, are we like....going out or"

Ty: "Uu uuu hhhuhhh hu hu uuuhhh huh...I guess."


Sigh, sweet love.

Did I ruin that for you?


But look at what we did!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Look in a Book.

I regularly bring my girls to the library during the winter months. 

In my estimation, it's another good {and free} living room to destroy. Booohaaahaaaaa.

We have been absent for about two months (good weather cannot be wasted). Late fees have been accruing all the while for a misplaced If you give a Kitty a Cupcake read, found under the girls bed two nights ago. I read it to them and decided today we must face the music: ten bucks?!!!! Eeeeeeeeek!

This post is lame.

{I also went to the DMV today with three children, how's that for exciting?!}

But I do love the library.

And any books by Audrey and Don Wood
Their stories, and illustrations in particular, are bomb diggity.

We grabbed an old favorite, Heckedy Peg.
It has all the elements a kid can really love: a one-legged witch, food, magic spells.

And Mom is the hero.

Love that.

And a new one I have not yet seen (so excited!):  

Feeling like a good parent today,

{knock on wood}
{knock on wood}
{knock on wood}


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Unfit parents.

We are not pet people. 

Scratch that: I am not a pet person.

I have my hands full keeping my own children alive. 
Cleaning their tanks. 
Scooping their poop.
Letting them out for a run.
Teaching them not to bark.
And judging by my performance thus far, I can confidently say that a gold fish/puppy/kitten/turtle/goat/pig/hamster/etc etc etc wouldn't stand a chance in this jungle.

In fact, in the fish department, we are already guilty. 
They should have some sort of Fish Protection Services. 
Fish should never be allowed in the care of my household. I cannot in good conscience purchase something at a pet store that I know we are going to kill. And yet family members keep listening to the incessant pleas and whimpers coming from my girls, and consequently drop entire fish tanks supplied with fish off on our doorstep as gifts (Hi girls! Grandma was just in the neighborhood so I left something on the porch! Go check outside....).

Our latest fish finally died after our longest stint yet.
Somehow, the poor little sucker couldn't muster the strength to withstand Lily attempting to "pet" him and surround him with real seashells from the ocean (um yeah, caught her doing that the other day and had to intervene). We returned home one day to find him floating, his little fish spirit now swimming freely in the celestial oceans of the imaginary world I quickly concocted to console Lils and Lundy.

"He is with his family, many moons away surfing the tides of honihoniwala in the great waters of Nemo, playing with Dori....forever happy....eating cotton candy..... he has a little kitten now....and they are going to fishy disneyland...."

"Will I see him again?"

she asked tearfully,

"Blueberry Blueberry Rainbow? "
(Yes, that was his name - I'm not even sure if it was a him. How do you tell that on a fish? Are fish genderless? hmmmmm. Am I an idiot? hhmmmmm.)

Yes I told her! I do believe in some sort of cosmically beautiful, abstract way she can indeed reunite with Blueberry Blueberry Rainbow one day. So it's okay. 

In the mean-time, we have many other fish to fry (pardon the pun).
Up next are horny-toads, as pictured above.


Horny Herbie.

Lol, it has nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

She's in the jailhouse now.

Ellie Jane,

It is bed-time. 
I don't want to hear another word about it. 
Babies need schedules. 
Third babies ESPECIALLY need schedules.

I've been through this thousands of times before....

I've learned that parenting is not for the weak, the L-7 weeenies....

You've tried this look before.

And you are still trying it.
 You wanna know why?????


it works.

(But, I'm pretty sure you won't be this cute as a teenager, so watch out: revenge is mine!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I grew up listening to family dinner conversations. Large amounts of people surrounded enormous quantities of delicious foods, cousins running to and fro, buffet-style seating lined up on a Sunday afternoon, adults laughing and discussing a myriad of topics. I loved listening to them. And as an overly confident and foolish child, I occasionally chimed in with my inane and often short-sighted opinions. That was okay though: my parents, most of all, never made me feel too silly for it and encouraged my experimental attempts at conversation and ideas.

In this big, fat, opinionated family of mine, such conversations would often {easily} escalate. What began as mere banter over minor issues morphed into WWIII. It was so fun to kick back and observe! To an outsider, it might seem to be dysfunction at its finest. But to us, ideas and passionate conversation were the very bread of life, the substance that made you want to stick around and enjoy a second slice of pie at the kitchen table. On any given crisp Autumn evening, you could easily down two slices of texas sheet cake with a cold glass of milk AND listen to the Aunts and Uncles duke it out over the election season. Sweet!

However, as time went on, I realized that the mark of the best conversations were the ones where emotions were left at the door. A rare occurrence indeed, but when witnessed it was impossible to ignore a very profound lesson:

In any dinner conversation it is the idea, the issue at hand, that should be served up on a platter and dissected. Not the people.

This is hard in practice. Very hard. If it did develop into a battle scene - once the cannons ceased fire and everyone retired to their own pursuits - we were mostly quick to forgive, forget, and resume life and love as usual. The overall paradigm of a family attempting imperfectly to love each other usually could override disagreements.

I still love conversation. I would hardly call myself a 'writer', but the feedback I have most frequently received back on my writing style is that it is 'conversational' or, 'it's like I can hear you saying it'. This is basically a really polite way of telling a person they are a complete amateur at best. I run with that. I write the way I speak.

Enter the world of blogging, which I view on one level as a form of dinner conversation. Only with better, smarter people who you can custom pick to surround your table. Awesome! I chime in to some conversations, very intermittently and on rare occasions. What I type in a comments bar is similar to what I could see myself contributing in an exchange with my brothers over Mom's meatloaf during a family gathering. At home during such a scenario, if I feel I'm being interrupted, spoken over, or mis-characterized, I will simply shout louder. The only problem with this method is that too quickly everyone is shouting. And soon nobody can hear the ideas over all. that. noise.

I forgot that the world of blogging is one enormously large dinner table. Hardly a family of siblings who can simply shake off a harshly spoken word. Reality is skewed in a fog of infinite clashing paradigms. And your words can be immortalized. That thing, that darn thing that you spoke too quickly is not easily forgotten, and there is no simple hug that can resolve it on your way out the door.

I shouldn't have balked that she simply "go join an Episcopal church". For one thing, I respect the Episcopal church and the good it does, and for another I am hardly a proponent of unleashing some sort of Mormon gestapo force on a fellow member who questions the status quo or breaks rank with the doctrines of their faith. We need good people, we need smart people, we need thinking people: and that variety and caliber of humankind exist at almost every angle of an idea.

I felt sick this entire weekend. For one thing, despite my upbringing, I am no fan of conflict for the sake of conflict. In interactions with my children, with friends, and other members at church, I felt a bit hollow and hypocritical.  However, on the other hand, I do not always believe that the absence of such conflict is the most accurate measure of a well-lived existence. There is a time to fight, a time to take a stand. But I still couldn't shake a nagging sensation that something was profoundly lacking in my conversations with others. And it hit me later as I reflected on this ridiculous affair:  after a few brief exchanges, the ideas were gone. In a subtle progression that too often happens, we turn from the ideas on the table and instead devour each other.

I am sorry for it. I apologized to her personally for hurt feelings. However, it doesn't seem right that since this went (entirely too) public that I do not also offer up a public apology to the large amounts of visitors (my site meter has now suggested) I have visiting my dinner table.

The ideas can stand on their own merit. Yes, I was hurt by the claims of ignorance and craziness and douchebaggery, but I own my part in muddling the conversation with my yelling, and by responding to others' yelling.

And for that, I am sincerely sorry.

This is done.

I can now return to my job of being an imperfect woman, an imperfect mother, an imperfect fellow Mormon, and a hopefully inconspicuous and very much amateur blogger. Peace, my friends.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sweet Life Presents:

Sunday Morning 
and Rae's Easy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Prepare your preferred box-mix pancakes or pancake recipe (We like Krusteaz).

1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Lemon juice
lemon zest

Mix and make your pancakes.

Blueberry Syrup:

2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 lemon juice
lemon zest
2 tbsp water (and possibly more dependent on how thick you like your syrup)

Mix above ingredients in pot and slowly bring to boil, stirring often.
Remove from pot and blend in food processor, unless you like your blueberries whole.

Pour warm drizzly gooey syrup all over and pile on the butter.

It's Sunday!