Thursday, July 2, 2015



Six years ago, two dark eyes like chocolate and as old as the sea stared back into mine. Six years ago, everything in our world changed for the better. Your entrance into this world marked a better world for me and your daddy - being a part of your world has changed us. 

You are a remarkable little six year old, not so much little so much as you are tall and grown up - both in spirit and stature. Your heart continues to propel you forward in this world that sometimes makes so little sense. Your heart is such a good one - you are a kind soul, always trying to be good, always thoughtful. 

This year has been such a big year for you - so much growing up and learning, sometimes painful and sometimes exciting, but always you do it so beautifully. I'm so very proud of the little lady that you are. And most of all, I'm so grateful for the friend that you are to me. Happy birthday to the best six year old I know.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

it's been said

I've been storing these up for quite some time. And I'm throwing in some more random photos from the past few months as well. Get excited. Ready. Set. Go.

The dollhouse had moved upstairs during the Christmas season
(to make room for Christmasy things). When I brought it
back down, it was like a brand new toy all over again.

{just after Annabelle wakes up}
Belle, stretching: Yes!
Me: Did you have a good dream?
Belle, grinning: Yes. Carson was in it. {grins some more}
{Carson is a little friend of the boy sort she made in Hawaii.}
{Jess starts doing the dishes}
Belle: What are you doing?!
Jess: Doing the dishes...
Belle: Why? You never do the dishes!
Lou: This costume ouches me!
Lou: Stop doing my hair! It's ouching me! STOP IT!
{during family night, with the assistance of this book, highly recommend}
Me: And who were the older brothers?
Belle: Laman and Lemuel!
Lou: You mean dem cranky babies?!

Just doing some sudoku. Seriously.

Belle: Boys are different than girls. Girls do dishes and boys don't.
Belle: I'm so tired! I'm more tireder than a big ox!
Belle: row-teen = routine (in tumbling)
{after Lou gets half her mouth numbed for two cavities}
Lou: Mom. I hungry.
Me: How about some yogurt?
Lou: How about a cupcake.
Me: You can't really chew...I think a yog...
Lou: Mom! I can handle it!
{by the way, I went home and ate Cheetos directly after having 
my wisdom teeth's possible her stubborn streak comes from me...}
Lou: I smell a good sound.
{she's advanced - don't hate}
{after getting a new car seat}
Lou: When can we go in the car so I can be in my new car seat again?

Pretty sure she needs glasses. Too cute.

Lou: Where's my black bag?
Me: What black bag?
Lou: That black bag that has all my crap in it...
{describing a scene Big Hero 6}
Lou: And den the guy say, "You take everything from me! I take everything from you!"
Me: Do you think it made him feel better to be mean and yell?
Lou {thinks for a few seconds}: Mom. They just needed to share their feelings, huh.
{while watching Annabelle's tumbling class, with a dozen parents 
in earshot, in a particularly quiet moment, and totally out of the blue}
Lou: Mom? I'm giving up on you.
{Jess had been busy cleaning his side of the room for a few days. 
Belle walked in looking for something...}
Belle: Daddy, where are the special papers I draw for you...{looks around} 
Daddy! Wow! You're learning how to clean!
{I'm. Still. Laughing.}
{in the car, after a road trip}
Belle: Mom, I see Daddy's book between your seat!
Me: What book?
Belle: You know, his diabolical one!
{sudoku - and we'd been complaining about a particularly bad diabolical one, hahahaha}

On her first field trip to the zoo. Her first bus ride ever. Not at all excited.

Me: If you can't clean up these toys, I'll put them in a bag and hide them for a week.
Lou: Well...I'll just sneak them out.
{Lou wakes me up from a first trimester nap}
Lou: Mom! You need to wake up! We don't have a mommy or a daddy!
Me: Hey Lou, who do you love?
Lou: Ugh! I tired of you asking me dat! I not love anybody!
Me: Oh, that's super sad. You don't love anyone?
Lou: Ugggghhh. Fine. I love dad. But dat is all I love.
{after bonking}
Lou: I need to put a bandaid on my soul.
{whilst staring at my dying basil plant}
Annabelle: Mom, that's not looking very good. Are you watering it at all?
{ohmygosh she's her father}

It's like there's a tiny bit of baby holding on it that sleeping face.

{during dinner, which is particularly difficult for her to sit through}
Lou: I really wanna dance. So I am.
{stands up and starts dancing around the kitchen}
Belle: I gotta go poop! {goes running}
Lou: Good luck sugar cake!
{while walking into church}
Lou: Wait Daddy! I wanna be attached to you!
{she wanted to hold his hand}
Belle: Mom, is "stupid" the S word?
Me: I wish.
Belle: Hey Mom, remember Dad's old phone? It was a floppy phone.

{after dressing herself in an all pink ensemble, above}
Belle: Like my outfit? You can get it at pink dot com.
Belle: I think I want some chicken pon pon.
Me: But you didn't eat any last night? Are you sure?
Belle: Well, I was sick last night so maybe I wasn't hungry.
Me: Okay, I'll get you a few pieces to try.
Belle: I think it's because last night I drunk.
{I literally spewed what I was drinking.}
Belle: I want to do a craft Mom. Can I go on the computer and type in C-R-A-F-T? 
Will the computer know what I'm talking about?
Me, to Jess: So if you go to Wheeler Farm at 5 p.m., you can milk the cows.
Belle: Gross! I am not touching those gutters!
{in Yellowstone}
Lou: Look at the water fottle! 
{water fall, but combined with water bottle I would guess}

Snapped just as she was waking up. Pretty girl.

Me: What's your favorite thing about Yellowstone?
Lou: Bison!
Belle: The hotel!
Me: Let's go see a geyser!
Belle: No thanks. I'll just stay here and color.
{and she legitimately would have}
{just after waking up one morning in Yellowstone}
Lou: You know what's a good idea? This is a good idea.
Belle: What?
Lou, whispering: PIZZA!
{when is pizza not a good idea?}
{during her class at church, during which we were discussing feelings}
Me: Lou, have you ever felt scared? What scares you?
Lou, solemnly: When I see ghosts.
{seriously child?}
{after playing play dough - Lou starts cleaning up and Belle runs away}
Me: Thanks for cleaning up Lou!
Belle, from another room: Sorry! Well...maybe I'm not!
{but at least you're honest!}
Belle: I want a tiny pig for a pet! But when it gets big, we can just give it back...or delete it.

She was so proud that she did this by herself. Belly upside down.
Arms and legs swapped. You better believe I saved it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

half baked

I was a barely four weeks pregnant. I was so early pregnant that most people in my shoes wouldn't have even bothered to take a test yet. But I had a feeling. The whole month, I knew. And so even though I was a few days early, I took the test. There it was. That + I'd waited for for two years. Barely four weeks pregnant. A poppyseed, the Google told me. That was the size of our baby.

Lou had a dentist appointment a few days later, and for some reason I thought to ask. I had to talk in code because Annabelle will pick up on any conversation nowadays. "So, if I'm like super early...with the laughing gas a problem for me?" They said that it could be, and to be safe, I should probably leave the room. 

My heart got panicky and I looked at the girls in turn, mentally calculating how to make this work. This was Lou's second visit, and the first one hadn't gone well - she raged and fought and it was almost comical. But at the moment, she was super calm on her kid cocktail drug, so I told her I'd be right back and began to silently pray that this visit would go better than the last. Then Annabelle piped up, "Mom, I'll stay here." My eyes stung. I told her that would be wonderful, and would she sit right here by Lou and hold her hand? "Sure Mom."

I sat outside of the room, down the hall, listening, sending text messages to Jess in California, telling him to pray for our babies taking on the world one cavity at a time - alone - fighting tears and praying that Lou wouldn't come undone. As I sat and I listened, I didn't hear anything but giggles and the dentist's sing songy "Sweetheart don't move your tongue" and "Silly sister!" and "What is that Gru doing?!" and so on. And then Belle came bounding out - "It's done! You can come in Mom." They hadn't had to numb her, and our dentist is a master of speed and fillings, so it took all of seven minutes. Basically it was a miracle.

I think it was in that moment where I had to let go of my babies, let them be big, for the sake of another whose heart hadn't even started beating yet, but whom I believed in with all my heart, that I knew adding one more to this already perfect unit of four was going to be okay. Already they were making room for the sibling they didn't even know had started it's way earthward. Already they were taking care of each other while Mommy took care of the baby.

And now this poppyseed of mine is kicking and fluttering and the miracle of it all is sometimes overwhelming. God's timing is maybe the most magical thing I've ever been a part of. It's brutal. It's so hard to be human and not understand. But I know that it's real and that God's hand in our lives is more present than we can possibly imagine. And that his plan is not only a good one but the best one. I waited for this baby much longer than I anticipated; but even now, I can see that this baby is coming exactly when we needed it to. And although it's not what I planned at all, it seems to be pretty perfect.

P.S. We had our twenty week ultrasound today. We took the big sisters - Annabelle was able to pick out body parts and squeal at the cute baby and Lou basically made noise and touched all the things she wasn't supposed to touch. So all in all, a success.
P.P.S. As with the girls, this baby's gender will remain unknown until it makes its official entrance. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

kindergarten complete

You may remember that we all thought kindergarten was sort of the pits in the beginning. It was the beginning of the end. The end of an era of babies at home, safe from mean kids and naughty words. I really wasn't excited at all for it. 

But I've spent the better part of the last week trying to not cry about the fact that it's over. (Truth: I've cried about it. Thank you pregnant hormones.) We got really really lucky this year, and Annabelle had not only the most wonderful kindergarten teacher in the world (Mrs. Heldt), but her classmates turned out to be pretty great too. Academically she soared, but more important to me, she learned about herself - how to navigate sticky social situations, how to remember that at the end of the day, you go home, and you're safe there. She made friends, she learned to speak up. She had parties and field trips. She had to say sorry and make things right. She made projects upon projects, spending most of her free work time at the art station (sometimes she veered to the math or reading station). She had the best year. When she went to bed tonight, she could barely make it through her prayer before the tears started squeaking their way out. She asked as she sobbed why she couldn't keep going to school. "If Daddy gets to go to work every day and forever, why can't I go to school every day and forever?" 

Next year, Annabelle will be doing a dual immersion program. For half the day she'll spend her time in a regular first grade class. For the other half, she'll spend it with a French-speaking only teacher. It will be a huge adjustment - full day school, plus half the day in a language she doesn't (yet!) understand. But after this lovely year we've had, I just have to believe it will all work out. I'm sure I'll cry when she starts first grade too, and I'm sure she'll cry for the first week(s) of first grade. But then I'm also quite sure that we'll all cry when it's over, just like we are now.

Watching my babies grow up is the most perfect combination of pride and pain. How grateful I am that this first year of growing was so perfectly lovely. Kindergarten, thank you. You weren't half that bad, after all.

And now for some side by sides. The left photo is the first day of school, the right is the last. Some of my favorite things of note:

1. Her hair is darker and shorter.
2. Her smile is bigger and brighter (her dark teeth turned white again, phew).
3. Her backpack is so well-loved - scuffed a bit, zipper broken. She really wants to use it for first grade too.
4. She and that sister are just as goofy as they were all those months ago. I'm so glad. :)
5. And her eyes are still squinty and smiley. I love those squinty smiley eyes on my girls.

Congratulations baby. You did it.

Monday, June 1, 2015


Tap, tap. Is this thing on?

I really wasn't kidding when I said I'd rather nap than almost anything. So I take care of the things that I'm required to (keeping children alive, work, laundry - sort of), and then I take a nap. Oh I love naps.

But I still have so many things that remain undocumented, things I REALLY want documented. So let's do this thing. Just ignore that most of these are SO OLD. And none of them are in any sort of order. Alright then. Onward we go.

Annabelle had her hair chopped off. Per her request. I was a little nervous that she'd freak out when she saw the result of her decision, but good news - she loves it. I do too. Although she looks like an old grandma now. I'm really not into this growing up thing.

We went to the dentist for check ups and then for cavities to be filled (Belle had two, Lou had three - we're awesome). Look at Lou with the laughing gas. She was SO funny. But then she wasn't. Poor Lou. She was so ticked about her numb mouth, and she refused with the fervor of only a Lydia Lou to put the cotton thing in her mouth. So I had perhaps a moment of genius - I rolled up bread and put it in her mouth. That's right. You're welcome for that Pinterest worthy gem.

Annabelle chose one of those popper toy things we used to play with from the dentist's treasure chest. She thought it was hilarious that it would suction to her head. She didn't find it as amusing when she looked in the mirror and saw that she'd totally destroyed her forehead. She looked like an abused child. She was mortified. (So was I. But send her to school I did. CDC never did show up...)

Annabelle won herself a Bobcat Award at school. Each grade has a different list of age-appropriate requirements to check off (e.g., for Belle - all the sounds of the alphabet, her address, how to tie a shoe, etc.). Every year you complete the requirements, you get a special medal and the PTA lets you choose a book. In this child's case, I'm not sure which was better - the medal or the book.

Also, that's the Butler Bobcat. Not some prehistoric cat creature from the depths of the ocean. What the.

Grammy has the most epic treasures in her basement. Time stands still there. Including the MUSICAL Mickey Mouse sweatshirt from the seventies that STILL SINGS. Even after I accidentally washed it. Please note - she wore that sweatshirt for a week straight. 

So my mom write books. Don't you? Anyhow, she gave the girls a little children's book she wrote and illustrated a few years ago for Christmas. And one day after reading my mom's book, Annabelle wanted to know why SHE couldn't write and illustrate a book. And although I am not so crafty with actual scissors and tape and such, if it involves a computer, I can make it happen. We sat down together and she told me what she wanted each page of her book to say. Then I made her a list of illustrations I needed. I uploaded all of her illustrations and made a (cheap) photo book at It turned out mighty cute, and she was mighty proud. :)

So this happened. And when I brought Lou up to talk about it, she said, "But Mom. It's a really good L-O-U!" When she's right, she's right. 

Plant time! We planted in early spring, meaning big tubs of plants lived in my kitchen until it got warm enough for them to go outside. We're hoping for peppers, tomatoes (two varieties), sweet peas, and strawberries this year.

We took the girls to the Utah Symphony's production of Peter and the Wolf. Before the performance began, they were letting the kids try out a myriad of instruments. I carefully steered my kids toward the not spitting instruments. Sanitizer can only do so much, amiright? I chose well - look at those babies. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself here but #musicalprodigies.

Just your every day Lou get up.

And let's go all the way back to snow. During the winter, Jess promised the girls that "next time" it snowed, they'd make a snowman. Well it never snowed again. So when we got that freak snow storm in the spring, the second he got home from work, they ran outside to build that snowman! 

Of course, it melted quickly. But don't you worry - Belle filled the part just fine. And then she made a tiny squatty guy out of the leftovers that I'm pretty sure is the cutest snowman in the history of ever.

And we'll end with this. (Not that I'm out of photos.) These dresses were contenders for my mom's wedding, but we found more tealy options. But still. These sisters. Sisters are just my favorite.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

happy mother's day!

Jess went to London a few weeks ago for work. He was gone from a Sunday to a Sunday. In the middle of the week, I got news from our PTA that I needed a door size poster done in two days. (I'm the room parent for Annabelle's class.) The original instructions hadn't made clear when we were making this poster and it had merely said "a poster." Given my utter disdain for scrapbooking and using scissors in general, I figured I'd just whip one up on the computer and have it printed. No big deal. But door sized and right now? Not the same.

I got out the measuring tape to calculate just how many posters I would need to have overnight printed to make a door sized poster. Too many. It would cost too much. And I realized I suddenly had a whole ton of work to do. This isn't my first run in with our PTA's inefficiency, and I was frustrated. Add in my single parent status and my hormone overload, and I came undone. Had a full blown breakdown.

The girls each looked at me and ran away quietly. Lou came back first with a small paper with L-O-U (the only thing she can spell) scribbled above a little blob person. In the way that is only Lou, she gave me a hug before I could blink and told me she loved me. Belle was right behind her. She smiled her no tooth smile that is so very much her and handed me a note that read, "I rilly want you to be happee uhbout the big poster. Love  Annabelle." Then out of her small hands tumbled a dollar bill and 76 cents in change. Her own money to pay for the poster. So I could be happy again.

Yeah, I lost it big time.

These babies of mine are my best friends. We were without our daddy, but we were together, and when I wasn't taking good care of anything, they jumped to my rescue. They knew what I needed and were happy to help. I truly can't believe how lucky I am to be their mommy. They're growing up so fast, and it's so bittersweet, but how I love that they are my friends, that we talk and giggle, that we take care of each other.

Being a mom is basically my favorite thing. Ever. The best job, the hardest job, the most rewarding and sacred job. And I'm so grateful. An infinite amount of gratitude is owed to my mom, the one who did this first, who gave me the chance to try to be just like her.

And how grateful I am for one more chance as well, for the tiny thing stretching out my belly, a visible and daily reminder of how lucky I am - to be a mom. It's the best.

Happy Mother's Day y'all.

Photos from my mom's wedding (!) in April. I look sort of like a pioneer, I know. But there's a ten week (food baby) belly I'm attempting to camouflage. :)

Saturday, May 9, 2015


When we were in Hawaii in January, Jess and I both agreed we needed to try and get our butts back to the beach in 2016. It's the most amazing place in the world and we just had to try. We decided that if we started saving and planning now, it was doable, and the only thing that would stop us is a nine month pregnant me or a tiny baby. So realistically, looking at our odds, we started planning on Hawaii 2016. 

One morning in March, I sat down next to Jess. He was perched on the side of our bed, sliding his (almost) matching socks on. "I don't think we'll be going to Hawaii next year." My comment came totally out of the blue, and he turned to look at me. "Whhyyyy..." I tried to be serious, but my face about fell off from the smiling. "Whaaa...wait...are you...are you pregnant?!"

I had tested early because that's what we Hashimoto's people do. I'd been testing and testing and testing early for two years. But this time I knew it was different. The whole month I knew. I woke up at 3 a.m. and I knew. And I was right. And I was so happy I couldn't sleep. I got up no less than ten times to stare at that plus sign, the one I'd been hoping for. This was real?! And even though at the time of the first test, our baby was the size of a poppyseed, the happiness was tangible immediately. Another baby?! We get to do this again?!

We get to do this again!

+ The baby will be about three months old at Hawaii time. Given the germs, we're out. Not to mention my (emotional) recovery and the hormones that shoot out my eyeballs with wild abandon. I'm basically a walking human hazard.
+ I've been soooo tired. Thus the lack of blogging. I seriously would rather sleep than almost anything.
+ I've been barely sick at all this time around! Not a single puke! Just super hungry constantly. I've had to change up my diet because of kidney stone indicators (I think it's sort of bogus), but what's new? I love not eating what I want when I'm pregnant! Doesn't everyone?! Not cool kidneys. Not cool. 
+ This bean will make an appearance in October. I'm technically due October 31, but I find that holiday to be the most distasteful day of the year and will be doing aerobics to bounce the kid out a week early. (Seriously.) Or I will cross my legs until November 1 if that's what it takes. No lie.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

best day ever

Ummmm. Yeah. So about that catching up. Before I do that, I want to talk about today.

Today I took the girls to This is the Place State Heritage Park by myself. This isn't really remarkable except that I can't remember the last time I took the girls to a museum or park or something of that nature without friends. Without a mom to gab with and a gaggle of kids to run around with. It's my favorite way to catch up with friends who have moved - not too far away, but just far enough away that we don't see each other enough.

But today, it just so happened that the weather was perfect and the girls were dying to see the baby animals and I had nothing else scheduled, and so we went. Just the three of us. And it was perhaps one of the best afternoons I've had in ages. I had hours with just the girls to talk. To giggle. To answer their funny questions about pioneer life and stinky animals. To duck into the historic homes and agonize over which craft to do. To sit with them and focus. To listen. To listen. To listen.

We took our time, wandered around, made friends with the artists helping with crafts. We waited for the train and when it rounded the corner I laughed myself silly at how happy they were to ride a train on wheels. They were so happy to be there, just being there. 

When we got in the car to head home, Annabelle said, "I'm going to go home and draw pictures of everything we did today. So I don't forget." And Lou got to ride a horse - finally. In other words - best day ever.


This is probably my favorite photo taken of Lou in the history of ever.
So happy.

Baby chicks. Maybe the cutest things in the world. 

Note that there are three arrowhead necklaces. Yes, I made my own. What.

They stamped leather here. It's kind of hard to see from the photos, but it was a huge hit with these two.

Their instructions: just stand normal. Oh that Lou. 
Yes, trains are that exciting. :)

Oh how I love these people. :)


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