Saturday, September 29, 2007

Michal's Post Picks

I have been internet impaired this week as our home computer died. Jared has been generously leaving his laptop at home for half a day each day, either leaving it until lunchtime or bringing it home to me at lunchtime (I love that he works one mile away. It is so much better than his previous 50 minute each way commute.) Anyway, I haven't had time to blog and the computer all at the same time.
I'm only slowly getting caught up on reading some of my favorite blogs, but I thought I'd give a few highlights to check out.
First, you have to see the video on Mahina's post about her younger brother. He's dancing on stage at a Bare Naked Ladies' concert in a green dress. What is most amazing is how long they let him stay on stage and sing along with him!
Next, check out the love story continued on the Pioneer Woman's blog. If you haven't been keeping up with it, you'll be tempted to go back and read the other installments. Trust me, folks, there is surely a bidding war going on over the movie rights to her story.
Then, there is a feast for the eyes on Vanessa's blog. She's Morgan's sister (of One More Moore) and she just got married. She posted some gorgeous bridal shots. The photography is breathtaking and the dress (made by her oh-so-talented mother) is fierce! And if you read down a few posts, you can also catch her story of meeting her husband. (Seems to be a recurring theme. Kimberly is also doing a soap opera version of her own love affair. Who needs chick flicks when you can read great blogs?)
Dawn over at Because I Said So shares her thoughts on love, forgiveness, and curse words. She's always good for a laugh.
Anyway, that should keep you busy until I have time to post something of substance.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Think Pink

A good friend of mine, Jana, is a breast cancer survivor. She posted today on the Think Pink for Life blog, sponsored by For Every Body.
Even though I have heard Jana's story, I cannot stop weeping as I read her post. I sit here, with the laptop on the kitchen counter as I feed Bronwen some oatmeal lefthanded (Jared is cringing right now because it's his laptop and he's surely concerned about wayward oatmeal), and cry for Jana's loss, for her strength, for her victory over breast cancer while she watched her daughter succumb to brain cancer. I weep with joy that her life today is happy, in spite of the pain of the past.  I hurt for her all over again and remember how important it is to raise awareness and money to find a cure for breast cancer.
If you get a chance, please read Jana's post and the posts of others who have been affected by breast cancer. They are continuing to accept these stories to post through October 20th, so pass the info along to the people in your life that might have a story to share.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bedtime Books

Inspired by Ian's favorite book this week, Goodnight Lulu by Paulette Bogan, I have decided to feature my favorite children's books that deal with kids at bedtime who don't want to comply. 
Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems
Froggy Goes to Bed by Jonathan London
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen
Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps by Cynthia Rylant

I'm sure that there are others that we are forgetting, but there are a few on the theme to get your started. Feel free to comment with your favorite books about kids who are clever at staying up/popping up out of bed.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Team Spirit

This fall, we entered a world new to us as parents: team sports. Henry was old enough this year to sign up for the local soccer league, and had been anxiously awaiting the day. Practices began mid-August and by the first Saturday in September we were all at a soccer game.
An under six soccer team is a sight to behold. You always have one kid who's picking his nose or fiddling with his shorts when the ball is headed right for him. In all honesty, I expected Henry to be the kid who lays down and sucks his thumb in the middle of the game. He, who has resisted sleep since the day he was born, is perpetually fatigued and has a tendency to whine. I was surprised to find on that first week that Henry was active in the entire game and only started showing signs of fatigue in the last few minutes. He got in there and kicked the ball, chased it down, and did his best to take it away from the other team as well. Who knew?
What I have figured out now, three games into the season, is that at least on our team (Go, Eagles!) the kids seem to take turns on whose week it is to be the space cadet. Henry did not have his finest game last week, when he had been up at the circus until 11pm the night before with his Grammy and Papa. (Grandparents think that our kids have early bed times because we--the parents--are mean and grumpy. They forget that if our kids don't have an early bedtime, they become mean and grumpy!) At one point, Henry even tried to take a little nap on one of the goal posts! And the kids who seemed like a lost cause in that first game were in the thick of things this week, fighting for their kick at the ball, very much a part of the game.
It made me think about how as a team, everyone has bad days and good days. Instead of relying on the star of the team to carry everyone else, in a good team everyone feels like the star at least some of the time, and each member feels the responsibility to help the team succeed. If we all do our best, then hopefully someone else will have a good day on our off day and we'll still pull off a win.
I'm going to bring this up tomorrow night during Family Home Evening because we have been talking to our kids about family unity a lot recently. We've memorized together a scripture on the subject and try to bring up every day how our actions and words can unify us or tear us apart. And I think that the team spirit analogy may bring this home to them.
It's a good thing to remember in a marriage as well. Sometimes we resent that our spouse is having a bad day (at being a spouse), when we just need to cut them some slack and recognize that it's a good day for us to carry the team to victory. Marriage is the perfect setting for the team mentality rather than the "me" mentality.
Anyway, think about how a team mentality might help a relationship in your life. Then go out there and bring home the win! And if you're in the neighborhood next Saturday, the Eagles' game is at 10:00 am!

Gi rls Will Be Gi rls

As we were walking up the soccer field for Henry's game yesterday, I caught this moment between two of the players on his team, Marissa and Eliza.
Just by looking at them, you can see that they are anticipating the game, but also having fun being together. And don't you love a little
gi rl who brings her pink purse to the game? Accessories are just so important when bringing together an outfit! Incidentally, Marissa is an intense player, pink cleats or no.
Anyone who says that little boys and g i rls are no different hasn't spent much time around them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I love autumn. It is by far my favorite season. When I lived in Utah, spring was a close second (our spring in Northern California is mostly just warmer rain, as opposed to the colder rain of winter. Blah.) I love the crisp feeling in the air, the fall colors, the clothes layering that adds extra dimensions to an outfit, and I love fall food. Give me a cool fall day and I'll bake up a storm. Not so great when you are trying to win the battle with baby weight.
So today dawned cool and overcast with a briskness to the wind. By noon I had changed out my original dinner menu for a pot of my favorite vegetarian chili and a pan of cornbread. I have been pretty busy all day--not home long enough to defrost the butter for cookies--so I have avoided any truly dangerous baking, but then again, this is only day 1 of fall.
Anyway, I thought I'd share this recipe with you in case it feels like autumn in your neck of the woods. It tastes delicious and is completely guilt-free. The original recipe came from Cooking Light in December 2003, but I've tweaked it a little and added a few ingredients to make it mine. Here's the modified version.
Best Vegetarian Chili
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped yellow pepper
  • 1/2 c. chopped green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. cocoa powder
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 2 cans Mexican style stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn (or 1 can corn, drained)
Heat the oil in a large heavy pan over medium high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Saute 5 minutes, until tender. Add spices (sugar through black pepper) and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add tomatoes and all the beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add corn and continue to simmer for 10 minutes more.
Serve with 2 T. chopped avocado, a dollop of light sour cream, and/or a sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese. Yum.
(The above picture was taken almost three years ago, two days before Ian was born, at Apple Hill, our favorite fall destination. I'll do an Apple Hill post as soon as we can get there.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's Raining, It's Pouring

So, Jared & I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary at the beginning of the month (as you already know if you read my blog.) We were determined to do something to celebrate it that involved leaving our kiddos with someone else, but as it approached we could think of lots of other things that we needed to spend our money on more than a getaway to somewhere fabulous. We have always been full tithe payers, but have lately been really asking the Lord to "open the windows of heaven and pour [us] out a blessing." (Malachi 3:10)
So, regarding this wedding anniversary, it seems that tithing blessings kicked in to make it nicer that the money we had to spend on it. First, I received a gift card in the mail (as a thank you for helping with Laura's wedding) to the Cheesecake Factory, a chain restaurant we enjoy, which we used on the night of our actual, mid-week, anniversary. We were out $18 for a babysitter, but not bad for an evening out sans children.
Then, we remembered that we had already paid several months ago for a night at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero in San Francisco. We'd stayed there once before and I loved the location and the bedding--those people know their linens! So we decided to go for one night and stay there, then spend all day Saturday in SF before going home. Not an entire weekend getaway, but still a nice break from the routine. Plus, we spent three days of our honeymoon in SF so it seemed appropriate. Total cost (now) on the room for us: 13 cents for some random tax.
Then, Jared's patient who owns a limo service and trades with us from time to time asked Jared if he'd like to use the limo again. So, at no cost to us (except the trade) we got a ride into town and to dinner on Friday night, then picked up again on Saturday evening to go home. That meant no gas, no tolls, and no ridiculous SF parking (our hotel alone charged over $30 per night for parking.) Even the tip was part of the trade. Cha-ching. (Special bonus: no bickering over directions as we navigate a lesser-known city--priceless.)
We hit up Jared's parents to watch the boys while we were gone and paid them later in chocolate. Not a bad deal (for us, that is.) The boys can't wait for us to leave again, since Grammy and Papa took them to the circus and they had a marvelous time.
We went to dinner Friday night at a favorite Italian place, Lupa Trattoria in Noe Valley. We love their food and they always treat you like old friends, even if it's your first visit. The owner and chef actually greeted us at the door! (The photo to the left is of our appetizer--bosc pears wrapped in marscapone, then in prosciutto. Very good.)While we were eating some other patrons nearby kept ogling Bronwen (yes, we did take the baby--it was asking too much to leave her with the grandparents when she's still positively awful on a bottle.) They came up at one point and told us how much they missed their children's baby days--all teenagers now, of course. Later (after they'd had a bit too much wine,) one of them came back over and asked to touch her hair and showed us pictures of his children, etc. etc. Much to our surprise, when it was time to pay, the server announced that our bill had been taken care of by the other table! Chalk another one up for tithing!
The next day we wandered through the Ferry Building Marketplace, which is a foodie's paradise. On Saturday mornings there is a local farmer's market there, and inside the Ferry Building there are all sorts of specialty shops for artisan cheeses, wines, chocolates, breads, oils, pastries, and flowers. We sampled a few different things there and then made our way down the Embarcadero towards Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf (yes, totally touristy, but it was all within walking distance and it's fun to do once in a while.)
Among other things on the Pier we stopped to talk to the market researchers there and Jared qualified to do a one hour fast food taste test for a $100 pay out. At first, we thought we would both get to do it, but having the little tyke along was a problem, so I found a quiet spot to feed her while Jared did the taste test. I felt bad for him having to fill up on fast food when we were eating our way through town, but he was willing to take one for the team. (In the end they didn't need him, but paid him anyway, so he only spent 20 minutes and didn't have to sample any gross fish sandwiches, McRibs, or new-fangled fast food salads.)
All in all, we had a lovely time. We did a lot of walking, ate some of our favorite San Francisco food, enjoyed the out of doors and a Saturday that wasn't full of laundry, grocery shopping, and vacuuming. We ate in nice restaurants, picked up a few things shopping (including a "genuine" Coach wallet for $10, a gorgeous hand-silk-screened shirt sold on the street, lots of overpriced chocolate, and some used books from Helper's Bazaar, (where I got to meet the locally famous fashionista and philanthropist Joy Bianchi. She said, "You're a book person? I like book people. Come next door and let me show you some really special things." Next door, I got to see the upscale version of her shop, with vintage couture dresses, hats, and jewelry. When I googled it later, I found that was even cooler than I knew at the time.) And we did all of this for very little cash out of pocket.
Let's hear it for tithing!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Update on Baby Scotty

Some of you knew that my nephew, Scotty, was spending extra time in the NICU. Thank you for your prayers on his behalf. Just wanted to let you know that Tyler has posted an update on his blog. Check it out.
More from me later on our trip to San Francisco.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Richer than I you can never be. . .

I had a mother who read to me."--Strickland Gillilan

I have always loved great children's literature. I come by it honestly. From my babyhood, my mother read wonderful books to me. She says that by the time I was walking, I would follow her around with a book, begging her to read. She'd wash a few dishes, then read me a book. Finish the dishes, another book. Put in some laundry, read me a book. I was a bookworm as a one year old, and I think that it is not just because she read to me, but also because she cared enough to find high quality, well written and illustrated books. All children's books are not created equally--there are plenty out there that are complete junk.
I remember when I was in eighth or ninth grade my parents started talking about moving the family to somewhere more affordable (they fixed on St. George, Utah) so that my dad could quit his job as a salesman and open a children's bookstore. It was my dad's middle age crisis dream--he was afraid that his job should be making the world a better place, and he wasn't sure that selling guitars and drums to rock stars really qualified for that. (I think that raising six children was his contribution to improving the world.) This children's bookstore dream came before the big box Barnes and Noble or Borders and long before forced many small, independent bookstores to close down. When I saw You've Got Mail, The Shop Around the Corner reminded me of the children's bookstore that they dreamed of.
I have done my best to instill the love of reading in my children by using the same method that my mother did--by filling our home with beautiful, well-written books, and by making them accessible to my kids. They have bookshelves in their bedrooms that are overflowing with books. We read a lot together (although I will admit that I used to spend more time reading to them five years ago when I only had two kids. The upside is that now Kimball will read aloud to them as well--and he does great voices!) We are all passionate about books around here, and there's nothing that I love to see more than finding one or more of my kids reading quietly, wrapped up in the story unfolding. Even the boys who can't read yet will sit and "read" for ages, because they have so many of their books memorized by now that it's almost as enjoyable as being read to. (Last week, they took all their pillows and blankets and big stack of books into the refrigerator box that is still here and made a "book cave." Aren't they cute?)
So, because I love children's lit and because I want to share that with you, I have a new section on the sidebar of my blog, entitled, "Fall in Love with Children's Lit." Go check it out. I've made a link for each book so that you can easily get them on Amazon if you are so inclined. Or go to the local library. I will be adding books regularly and will also try to post sometimes featuring specific authors, illustrators, or series that we enjoy. One of the great things about quality children's literature is that you as a parent (or aunt, uncle, babysitter) can enjoy it as well.
Feel free to comment here about your favorites that aren't on my list yet. I just made this list in a few minutes tonight and it is by no means comprehensive--it is a work in progress.
Now, if I can just find where I put my book, I'll curl up for a few minutes before bedtime. Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Child is Born

When I was six years old, my mother had her fifth baby (I was the eldest)--a boy named Tyler. He was MY baby as far as I was concerned. I helped feed him, change him, hold him, and mothered him as only a big sister can. He was the cutest thing I'd ever seen.
Well, that little baby has grown up and today, he became a daddy. He and his wife, Erika, welcomed their first son into the world in the wee small hours of the morning. I had taken my cell phone to bed with me, hoping I'd get a text message when the little one had arrived. All day Monday I prayed for Erika, that the baby would be well, that she would be well, that we would have good news soon. So I was relieved to finally get the text message at 4:00 am that he had arrived safe and sound.
I don't mean to be stealing Tyler's thunder by posting about this. I know that he has uploaded pictures to his blog but hasn't had time to post yet. I will leave him to fill you in on all of the details, just give him a day or so more to soak in his new baby and to bring Erika and Scottie home from the hospital. I am just so filled with gratitude that baby Scottie is here and has joined our family. A new baby is such a miracle, and especially through those harrowing hours of labor you imagine all the things that could go dreadfully wrong and pray that none of them will.
Now Tyler and Erika have so many wonderful things to look forward to. I'm not talking about the sleepless nights and the two-year-old tantrums and the teenage rebellions. I'm talking about the tightening in your chest when you think of anything being less than perfect in this child's life. I'm talking about the lightness in your heart when you hear your baby laugh, or when you see his eyes light up at the sight of your face. I'm talking about the sweetness of seeing your child gently kiss a new baby brother or sister, sensing that even as toddlers, they feel the miracle of a new baby. I'm talking about watching your child accomplish something that was hard for them and seeing the pride on their faces as they look to you to celebrate with them.
Welcome to parenthood, Erika and Tyler. Enjoy the journey. It may be the hardest thing you ever attempt, but it will also be more rewarding than any job, any educational achievement, any thing you can create. It will make you hurt like nothing has hurt before and love like you've never loved before. It is a blessing from God to be a parent, and it is His plan for us. And welcome to the world, baby Scottie!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Recipes You Simply Must Try

The September issue of Cooking Light highlights their staff-voted best recipes of the past 20 years in 20 different categories. I have been trying several of them out and have found each recipe to be a keeper that I will add to my repetoire. I thought I'd pass on to you my favorites so far.
Best Ice Cream/Frozen Dessert: Fresh Orange Sorbet. We made this yesterday. I did substitute about 1/2 c. fresh pineapple juice for some of the orange juice because we were cutting a pineapple and I didn't want to see it go to waste. This is delicious and fresh tasting. I'm sure that it would be good with orange juice from the store (as opposed to fresh squeezed) but the freshness makes it amazing.
Best Quick Bread: Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze. I discovered this four years ago in the September 2003 issue and have made it many times. It is delicious and not nearly as loaded with fat as a traditional banana bread--but you'll never miss it. I substitute apple juice for the rum, or use 1 tsp. rum flavoring.
Best Chicken Dish: Roasted Chicken with Onions, Potatoes, and Gravy. I made this last night for Sunday dinner. The chicken took a bit longer (but it was also bigger) than the recipe called for. I also sprayed the potatoes with olive oil spray half way through cooking because they looked a little dry. The gravy is yummy and if you make as written, has virtually no fat. I also used parsley instead of oregano because the fresh oregano was ridiculously expensive this week at the store. I used sweet yellow onions and they tasted like candy after roasting for an hour and a half. Did I mention how good this was?
I mentioned in an earlier post that I made a Coconut Peach Cobbler when Chris and Morgan came to visit a week ago. It was from this issue as well in their Best Pie or Cobbler category. This was quite good with some extra toasted coconut in the filling and a pinch of ginger with the spices. Making your own pecan ice cream (starting with a store bought vanilla) was worth it, too.
I tried their Best Potato Dish for a BBQ on Labor Day: Garlic Fries. They were heavenly with our Tony Roma's CopyCat Ribs (someday I'll post that recipe.) My fries didn't cook quite long enough to get crispy because we were starving and everything else was ready, but they were still awesome--we just used a fork.
I highly recommend you try out some of these recipes on your family and friends. I love that they taste great and you don't have to feel guilty because they're from Cooking Light (of course, if you eat the entire batch, you're in trouble.) In the meantime, I'll try out a few more recipes and review them in a future post. (By the way, I'm not one of those bloggers that gets paid to review products and recipes. I wish. This is purely because I love food.)
Bon Appetit!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Whose Genes Are These, Anyway?

Who's the bigger fool? The fool who puts his head in the toilet, or the fool's mom, who believed that he had learned his lesson and would not repeat the stunt? It's really hard to say, but I am left wondering if our son is not as bright as we gave him credit for being. Does this mean that he is destined to become a dumb jock? Or does it foreshadow years of being bullied by kids like this, who will stick his head in the toilet and flush? Or does he just take after his Uncle Stuart, pictured below, sometime before his second birthday?
Please be sure to observe my oh-so-stylish 1985 pants, socks, and shoes there in the hallway. We should have known then that Stuart would grow up to be a surfer, since he so enjoyed the feel of the tide at his feet. (For those of you unfamiliar with this popular story in my family's lore, he used to climb into the toilet and flush his feet.)
So, perhaps I should not despair. Maybe he will grow up to be good looking and fluent in four languages like his uncle. Perhaps it is a sign that for the sake of science, he will be willing to sacrifice his own comfort in future experiments? I'm not sure what hypothesis he is seeking to prove right now, but I am holding out hope that there is one. However, until he moves on to a new experiment, I'm afraid to let him go to the bathroom alone. Unfortunately, he is only one of many around here who seem to need my attention almost constantly, so chances are good that his hair will experience a few more toilet rinses before this phase phases out!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Love and Marriage

In honor of today being our ten year anniversary, (love you, honey) and after reading this great post, which I found on david mcmahon's inspirational blog, I am moved to share some of the things that I have learned about love and marriage and family relationships in the last ten years. (Yes, I'm high-tech. I took a digital photo of a couple of wedding pictures rather than take them to Jared's office to scan them. Lazy is what it is.)
I cringe to remember what a cold new daughter-in-law I was. Jared's parents welcomed me warmly from the beginning, but like many young brides, I spent a while resisting the idea that differences in our families didn't have to be categorized as "right and wrong", "normal and weird." Don't get me wrong--we are not talking about huge, polarizing differences. In many, many ways, the culture in our families of origin were the same. But there are always differences, and I noticed them.
I have come to realize that I was feeling territorial and control-freakish about my husband and our time together and about establishing my own place in his family. I think that women have a tendency towards being territorial and that is why you hear far more cracks about mothers-in-law than you do about fathers-in-law. Again, there were no overt turf wars here, but I think it was very important to me in my immaturity to establish my "claim" over Jared, and then to attempt to claim the title of most accomplished, intelligent, capable, loving, and humorous daughter(-in-law or otherwise). Since my sisters-in-law and Jared's parents had no idea that there was a contest involved, you would think that would have been an easy task; but since I have very accomplished, intelligent, capable, loving, and humorous sisters-in-law, it was lots of hard work to try to measure up. One day I finally realized how ridiculous I was being. Jared's family had always treated me as one of their own, had never asked me to be better than the rest. Besides, I believe that one of the greatest gifts you can give your husband and your children is to love his family and overlook their flaws. I had to learn to relax and just be myself and enjoy the family. I do it for my own family--why not his, too?
Once I really let go of all of my fears, ego, and control (ok, so I guess I haven't let go of all of that, but most of it, perhaps,) I was able to truly love and enjoy each member of Jared's family. I have established rich, wonderful relationships with them and the line between his family and mine has become quite blurry. I feel so blessed to have them in my life.
One of the things that I have learned in marriage and in other family relationships is that you need to stop worrying about being right or who is at fault when there is a problem. If the relationship is important to you, focus on that and just do what you can to make it better. A few years ago, I read The Peacegiver, a book I highly recommend to all. It is written in a story format that is a bit cheesy but the message is powerful and important. We need to offer mercy and grace to our spouse and other loved ones, even when they are in the wrong, and to remember our own need for forgiveness from others and the Savior. Another book that has enhanced my understanding of the marriage relationship as the vehicle to true joy is Covenant Hearts by Bruce Hafen. He first outlines why marriage is so important to us as individuals, to families, to children specifically, and for society at large. He then gives wonderful counsel about striving to be the best spouse you can and of the value of sticking to your spouse when the going gets rough. President Hinckley has also given his secret to happy marriage: "The basis of a good marriage is mutual respect—respect for one another, a concern for the comfort and well-being of one another. That is the key. If a husband would think less of himself and more of his wife, we’d have happier homes." Other great articles about strengthening the marriage relationship can be found here.
All in all, I am so grateful for the man I married. Neither of us is perfect, but we are working together to get there. He works hard at being a good husband to me and it shows. I love him so much and am proud of the man that he is. I'm so glad that I have him by my side through the ups and downs of life, to enjoy the blessings and to overcome and understand the blessings that are disguised as trials. I am grateful for the example that we have of our own parents' relationships and for their support in our marriage. And I am so blessed to have four beautiful children, who bring joy into my life. Families are a treasure. Let's treat them that way!

Monday, September 3, 2007

When Henry Met "The Other Henry"

Once upon a time, when I was a little girl growing up in Whittier, my mom had a close friend named Kaylyn. Kaylyn was married to a childhood friend of my mother's and lived nearby. They were members of the Church and had kids roughly the same ages in both families. Kaylyn had a son my age (who was one of my first crushes) and a daughter named Morgan who was a couple of years younger, my brother Martin's age. We played together and spent lots of time together until one day Kaylyn and their family moved to Utah. Although we kept in touch after that, we gradually got to the point where we were just exchanging Christmas cards each year.
Flash forward a few years. I'm in Yekaterinburg, Russia now, serving a mission for the LDS Church , and am talking with another missionary we'll call Elder Jared (my future husband) and his companion. Somehow, we realize that this missionary, (whom we'll call Elder Chris) has a girlfriend at home that is in fact the very same Morgan of my youth. We always say that it's a small world among Mormons, and it proves to be true time after time.
Anyhow, a couple of years later Elder Jared & I got married and a year after that Chris and Morgan tied the knot as well. Over the years since we married we have rarely lived in the same state but have kept in touch and enjoyed occasional visits when we could. Morgan is one who inspired me to have a blog of my own, as hers has always been a favorite of mine.
Imagine my surprise when I got a call from Morgan on Friday afternoon, saying that they would be in town this weekend. Chris' grandfather had passed away and they were headed our direction for the funeral. She wondered if we might be able to get together after the family time had come to an end, before they headed back to LA. We were thrilled.
What was most interesting to my boys is that Chris and Morgan have a son named Henry who just turned two. All day Sunday they kept asking when "The Other Henry" was coming over. When TOH did arrive with parents in tow, they were even more thrilled to learn that he likes Thomas the Tank Engine, so obviously they got along swimmingly. We enjoyed a great visit with Chris and Morgan and I tried out this recipe from this month's Cooking Light for dessert. It was a keeper. (I used one T. bourbon vanilla and 2 T. pure maple syrup instead of the bourbon it called for in the ice cream. I also added a pinch of ginger to the cobbler filling.) All through dinner TOH kept wandering back to the train table in the family room, and Ian kept asking, "Mom, where's The Other Henry? I miss him." It was adorable. And great to see a third generation of this family playing together.
All too quickly it was time for them to go; we took a quick photo of the two Henrys together and said our goodbyes. Thanks for visiting, guys. We love you! Come back anytime.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

You Did What????

The brain of a two year old is a beautiful, frightening thing. Two year olds learn through exploration and experimentation. Sometimes they have to learn lessons the hard way (or the gross way, as the case may be.) Take this little vignette from our home Friday evening.
I'll set the stage. Jared is gone for the evening again (I'm a State Fair widow through Labor Day while he mans a booth there in his non-office hours.) I am trying to keep my kids in bed. Somehow, only moments after I kiss them good night and turn out the lights, they have a desperate need to get up and go to the bathroom one more time. Feeling exhausted and ready for them to all be asleep, I nevertheless succumb to Ian's plea from his bedroom, "Moooooom, I think I need to go potty!"
I get him up and see him sit down. He "tinkles", but informs me that there is more to come. I leave the bathroom, feeling that giving him my attention is a reward for being out of bed--that and I am just ready to be by myself for a few minutes. He's probably in there for a good ten minutes being so quiet that I forget that he's not in bed. When I do remember, I jump up and run in. He is sitting on the toilet with his head completely soaked--dripping, in fact.

Me: Ian, why is your hair wet?
Ian: Huh?
Me: Son, why is your hair wet?
Ian: Because it's wet. (This is the way he answers EVERY "why" question, and yet I continue to ask them as if I'm expecting a real answer.)
Ian: In the potty.
Ian: uh-huh.

I immediately strip him down, swat him once on the bottom, and place him in the tub while running his second bath in an hour's time. He is shocked by how quickly I am moving and by how traumatized I clearly am.

Me: (disgusted, and wondering if I will ever be able to kiss his hair again) Ian, the potty water is dirty. That' s just for going potty and throwing up, but we never touch the water. Okay?
Ian: (mollified) Okay, Mommy. Can I take a bath now?

Sometimes, you just have to learn the hard way, I guess.