Monday, April 29, 2013

dirty little secret

When I married Jess, there was one thing I did not know about him. In fact, no one knew this dirty little secret. And it's literally dirty. As in dirt. You see, he loves plants. They follow him home, I swear it. This Christmas, when they were about to throw the office lobby poinsettias out (because they were pretty much dead), Jess brought them home. All of them. A herd of poinsettias in my kitchen. (And he has revived all but one, it should be noted.)

We have the plant I gave him for our first Valentine's Day (his first plant). We have a plant from his grandpa's funeral (a giant leafy guy) and a plant from his aunt's funeral (a beautiful orchid that he miraculously keeps growing ALL YEAR). (These two are my favorites as they are little reminders of the people we love so much.) We have the orange plant I gave him for our last anniversary. There's the TREE (huge plant) that he underestimated size wise that has no real place in our home and gets rotated around in a desperate attempt to fit in. There's the little guy that Home Depot was getting rid of and Jess said, and I quote, "He needs me!" Belle adopted him and has taken charge of his water and food. There's a plant that was dying at his mom's house, so of course he volunteered to bring it back to life (and he did). The plants go on and on. 

And when I give these plants pronouns, it's no joke. They're as good as pets in this house. (Actually, they are our pets.) He makes sure each of them have what they need in terms of their various water needs, and the girls get in on the action too, which is pretty adorable, and follow him around with their spray bottles and watering cans. When one starts dying, he takes it personally and researches its guts out in an effort to save it. I think to date, he has only lost one plant (and considering we literally have dozens, this is a pretty good statistic). His parents laugh because they never saw his green thumb coming, but he takes it seriously. And he really does love it. (I secretly think it's in his blood. His grandma with her lovely garden and yard must have passed some of her magic on to him.) 

Just this weekend, we started planning out our yard. The fact is, we bought a dead yard. The grass is long gone and overtaken by weeds, or a FLOWER GARDEN! as Belle calls it, and this yard needs a little (read: a lot of) sprucing. We went and bought our first gardening tools on Saturday, which I imagine is just the beginning. Because if this yard gets the kind of care that our indoor plants get, it's going to be lovely. 

And truly, I'm grateful. We're so lucky to have a yard, and a yard that will be cared for. The girls are going to have such a good summer of running and playing and digging and growing. And I love that they've learned so young a certain respect and love for God's good earth. It truly is lovely.

Friday, April 26, 2013


This winter came softly, but stayed heavy. The snow and the cold is always so magical through the holidays, as though it belongs there, blanketing everything in sparkly goodness. But then it never goes away. And the twinkling white snow gives way to the never ending deluge of sludge and grey. This winter felt like an eternity. The gloom and grey of outside seeped in, and I know everyone in our house felt it. Trapped in our house, trapped in our minds. By the end of March, we were all claustrophobic. 

And so yesterday, when Jess got home, and said, "Wanna go for a hike?" We dropped everything. Literally. Meals unfinished, dishwasher half loaded. And we went. 

The world in its seasons is a pretty spectacular thing. But what is the most spectacular - I think - is the way the beginning of each new season is quite literally a relief. First we crave the sunshine. The snow is gone, and lovely blossoms take its place. This eventually gives way to a longing for cool, crisp air and crunchy leaves. And then back to the snow, the magic of the holidays - food, family, tradition. And then we repeat.

For our part, this trail (Temple Quarry Trail, at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon) is also a repeat. We go repeatedly. Sometimes several times a week. It's not really a hike (as evidenced by Annabelle's choice of hiking clothes), but it's hike enough for the girls. And it's nestled next to towering canyon walls, craggled mountains that last night pronounced from Belle a cocked head to the sky and a simple, "Wow."
Welcome spring. We have been waiting. :)

{This one is going on the wall.}

And now for nostalgia's sake, Annabelle every year, at the same place, on the same trail. She really is no baby anymore, is she.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

it's been said

So I've got a handful of cute pictures left over from DC. 
And I have a handful of hilarious things my kids have been saying. 
I thought I'd throw the two together, and here you have it. :)

{while playing with the play kitchen}
Belle: Here Lou. I made you some breakfast!
Lou: Cake coo!
Belle: You're welcome.
Lou, tasting a fake eggplant: Ewwww gross!
{Belle dies laughing}
Belle: Okay, what should I draw?
Lou: Puppy!
Belle: Okay, how's that?
Lou: Oh cooooot. A cat.
Belle: You want me to draw a cat?
Lou: Uh huh.
{and so on...}
{while playing restaurant}
Belle: What can I get you?
Lou: blsdkljfrlankelnflks;as;dlkjf {Japanspanglish}
Belle: Oh, french fry salad?
Lou: Uh huh!
Belle: Okay, I'll go get it.

{while drawing}
Watch how brilliant I do this Mom.
{while eating a chocolate chip cookie Daddy brought her from work,
and she's being dead serious}
It taste-es like...seaweed.
Excuse me, does Grandma Lichelle have a guitar?
{she does this "excuse me" thing all the time}
{while playing with dolls}
Doll One: But we're your friends!
Doll Two: Yeah you are, but you're not the the kinds of friends I want to sleep with because it's Wednesday.
Doll One: Well, what kind of friends do you sleep with?
Doll Two: I'll sleep with you on Saturday.
Hey Mom. I wanna read...uh....Green Peas and Meat. 
{Green Eggs and Ham}
Belle: I hate going to sleep.
Me: Why's that?
Belle: Cuz I just like playing.
Something terribly happened to Blue's Clues!
{the Internet froze, thereby freezing her show}
{while playing at the playground}
Jess: You make me nervous playing like that!
Belle: Then don't watch me!
{after I put together a Lego rabbit, normally her daddy's job}
"Mom, you did it! Well done!"
{which is exactly what Jess says to her while they play Legos}
{after running through the rain to our car}
Holy cow! That was cold degrees!

{after a long day of DC walking}
I'm so tired after that long winter.
{which is partially a line from one of our favorite books}
{bringing me a dandelion}
Smell this flower! It smells like joy of love!
{while driving in Gettysburg}
Me: Man, it stinks in here!
Belle: It's my feet. Sorry 'bout that.
{at bed time}
Me: Time for prayers.
Belle: But why?
Me: Because we say prayers every day.
Belle: Well, this is night time, not day time!
Me: Touche.
{while rolling on the hotel bed}
Belle: Smell this bed!
Me: Um, why? What does it smell like?
Belle: Candy hearts! It smells SO GOOD!
Me: I'll take your word for it.
{as I serve up dinner}
Does that have gluten free in it?
{I love that "gluten free" is an ingredient in our home, like gluten}
{while in the car, listening to the radio}
Belle: Can you change the song, Mom?
Me: Sure.
Belle: Did you think I like that song?
Me: You used to love it.
Belle: Yeah, but that was when I had short hair.
Belle: Mother, I want a room that's big like yours with a bathroom in it. 
Me: Well, you have a great room. And maybe when you're a mom, 
you can have a bathroom in your room.
Belle: Well, what about when I'm an aunty? 
Because my aunties have bathrooms in their rooms.
Me: Ummmmmm. Why do you need a bathroom in your room?
Belle: Because I hate walking all the way down the hall to the bathroom.
{if you know the layout of the house, this is even funnier, 
as the bathroom is like five steps away from her room}
{at the end of yet another cold spring day}
Uggghhhh! I'm soooo bored! When are we going to get out of this tiny house?!

{while pulling her dress over her head}
Peas! Nakee! (Please, can I be naked?!)
Me: Hey, do you love Mommy?
Lou: Daddy!
Me: Awesome! ;)
seer-lee = cereal
shu-a-dough = shut the door
poo-coo = Blue's Clues
up-down = escalator
button = elevator button
pane! = airplane, flying overhead
Leakun = as in, Abraham Lincoln

spite peas! = Sprite please! 
{Thank you Annabelle.}
Boo = Annabelle (as well as Sissy and Ah-belle)
I-ub-oooo. = I love you. 
Me, pointing to Lou: Who's this?
Lou: Lou Lou!
Me, pointing to Annabelle: And who's this?
Lou: Boo!
Me, pointing to myself: And who's this?
Lou: You! {giggles} Mommy! 
{while she drops a bomb in her dipe}
Mom: Hey Lou, you should poop in the potty.
Lou, while walking away: Oooohhhhkaaaaay.
{after bumping into us or strangers, 
which was SO HILARIOUS while traveling}
Oh, sawwee. Sawwee. 
{strangers died laughing}
{If a certain sister's feet touch her, she goes beserk.}
Puss! Puss!
{when Annabelle pushes her or when she thinks someone is being pushed,
usually when Daddy and Belle are wrestling}
{while handing you a toy dog}
Pep! = Pet!
{while handing you a toy or her blanket}
Lubs! Lubs! = As in, give it loves.
Lub me! = When she wants you to hold her.
Hold you me! = Also, hold her.
Me: Hey, give me that bink!
Lou: No, my bink!"
{as she walks downstairs, pantless and grinning}
I pants off. 
{grins with pride}

Friday, April 19, 2013

cherry blossoms: to be or not to be

So the cherry blossoms. We went to D.C. for the cherry blossoms. The night we arrived, we drove straight to the Tidal Basin, just to see. And we saw a whole lot of nothing. Tight tiny buds on cold, wind-blown trees. We didn't give up hope right away, but as the cold days kept coming, we knew our chances were slim. The rangers were predicting a couple more days. We thought our extension of four days would do it. Nada. The fates weren't having any of it. That said, by the last day, there were a few trees in bloom. When I say a few, I literally mean a few. Five at most. But we strolled under those naked trees and meandered through the festival happenings. And we still just loved it all. 

The girls drew pictures on the Friendship Mural. The idea was that you paste a picture drawn by Japanese children next to yours, but mostly it was just a giant free-for-all with kids drawing all sorts of randomness, mine included.

They also posed in the beaver booth, which kind of cracks me up. This little beaver is the representative of the festival. He reminds everyone to NOT PICK BLOSSOMS. Yet, you'd be surprised, which always drives Jess and me crazy. The blossoms have a tiny tiny shelf life. Drives me nuts to see them pulled down before people can enjoy them.

Even though the Tidal Basin wasn't in full swing like years gone by, we still loved it. We're sentimental fools when it comes to these trees, and we were just happy to be there.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

more documenting d.c.

We were scheduled to return home from Washington, D.C. on April 2. As we not-so-patiently waited for the blossoms to pop (that's literally the verb the park rangers and all other people at the Tidal Basin use - "pop"), we toyed with the idea of extending our trip. But we thought the cost must be astronomical.

Our flight left in the evening, so we extended our check out and headed out to see a few things before leaving. We went to Arlington and watched the changing of the guards. Lou Lou was miraculously quiet, and it was - simply put - awe inspiring. Such strength and reverence. 

As we headed back to the hotel, we started what iffing. What if it cost less to extend this trip than to chance it next year and try again. And next year, we'd have to pay for Lou Lou's bony butt as well. So I called up good ol' Delta and asked. When the cost to extend per ticket was surprisingly low, we had a mini pow wow, and decided that yes, we'd stay. My only condition was that we find a washer and dryer because those green pants you see me in in every photo? That's no joke. Also, the pee. Lou and the pee. That's all I have to say.

We also asked our hotel if we could extend our stay. They said yes, and named their price, which was a little high, so we said we'd consider. When we called back to do it, they said, "Just kidding. We're booked tomorrow, but you could come Thursday." Well, that's useful. So during a very stressful hour, we packed our stuff up and parked it in the lobby. Jess got online and rented a car, and while he shuttled to the airport to pick it up (we stay in Crystal City, two minutes from the airport), I found a hotel near Mount Vernon.

Just before Jess returned, Lou, who with her sister had been wreaking havoc on the hotel lobby for an hour straight, asked for her blanky. I went to reach for it in the normal spot, and it wasn't there. It wasn't anywhere. Panic. That's what started coursing through my veins. I immediately went to the front desk, and they escorted me to our room to look. It had already been cleaned, and that precious blanket was most definitely NOT there. They told me to wait at the front desk and ask to talk to house keeping.

As I stood there waiting, a tall, friendly man - Charles - stopped to ask if he could help me. Maybe it was the sad baby on my hip. Maybe it was the almost tears in my eyes. But he happened to be the regional manager, and he went on a hunt. He spent twenty minutes searching the spots that he could. With no luck. He took my phone number and told me he would find it. He told me he knew how important it was, and he would find it.

I went out to the car, retrieved the back up blanket I'd packed (yes, I bring a back up), and gave it to Lou. "Banky?" she asked. I started bawling. It's the only thing she loves. And my mom made it for her. It's worn and it's tattered, and the pink L in the corner is almost faded to nothing, but it's hers. The one thing in the world I allow her to keep all for herself. No sharing required. I pulled it together as quick as I could as I had a little Lou saying, "Mommy sad?" and assured her we'd find it.

Jess quietly motored the car to the National Zoo. We had a few hours before closing, and it seemed the perfect place to walk the stress of the day away. The girls went crazy over the water animals. While we were there, my phone rang. It was a Virginia area code, so I answered immediately. "I found it!" That Charles hadn't stopped looking, and he'd found her blanket. I could've kissed him.

We finished up at the Zoo, stopping at the panda exhibit. When there were no pandas to be seen, the girls spent a half hour talking to the panda statue and climbing in his lap. And Jess and I stood and counted our blessings. Especially the two little brown-eyed blessings before us. And the blessing of that blanket. 

By the time we got home that night, we had two very worn out girls. And both with their blankets.

I took a suitcase full of dirty clothes up to the coin op washer and dryer, narrowly beating out a Southern man with an accent thick as honey and an armful of dirty tighty whities. But with clean clothes and two blankies, we went to bed happy. And ready for more.

Stay tuned. ;)


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