Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas to remember

I don't start singing carols the day after Halloween. I hesitate to set up the tree until mid-December. I do NOT shop on the day after Thanksgiving. I love Christmas, but I'm happy to let it creep in just a couple of weeks before the actual day. Christmas really "starts" for me at the Jensen family party, and this year was no exception. This was the first time that many family members were able to meet the boys since we missed the party last year (gasp!). It was fun, but poorly timed right in the middle of nap time. So, the boys were awake for the entire ride, wanted nothing to eat since they were busy running around and throwing wooden blocks, and were uber-grouchy by the time that Santa arrived. However, Peanut did a good job which was astounding because he really hates strangers lately. Santa did eventually talk him out of his bottle. Sam was less than thrilled but handled it well at the beginning. Then, his emotions, fear and lack of sleep got the best of him.

Then, a few days later, I received a phone call that really pissed me off. I'm probably not going to write about it here, but it (and all of the ensuing phone calls and extra work caused) did NOT bring me holiday cheer. In fact, it was generally missing from our house until Christmas Eve. Bub and I tried really hard to not spoil the events for the boys, but it was hard. It's still hard and will continue to be this way for a while, I'm afraid.

Grandma and Grandpa came out to have their yearly sleep over. We had a nice dinner and as much fun as we could muster. The boys went to bed early (thank goodness) so that Santa stopped at our house in decent time. I'm not sure why he bothers stopping, though, since the four grandparents bring the boys more loot than will ever be necessary for just two little people! After Santa left, the wind started to howl and didn't stop for more than 24 hours.

Everyone was up early on Christmas morning, but we had to wait for Papa and Nana to arrive so we started making breakfast. This turned out to be a mistake because the boys weren't in an eating mood, and Papa has no patience for silly stuff like food on Christmas morning. (I had forgotten this from my childhood, but the more I think about it, the more I remember being awakened at 4am or 5am because he just couldn't wait any longer!) So, we all shoveled food into our traps as quickly as possible so that the chaos could begin. Presents, tissue, paper, bags, and TOYS everywhere!

The wind continued to howl and a huge storm was predicted, so Grandma and Grandpa packed up and left by 11:30am (although I'm sure that Grandma would stay forever if Grandpa would let her!). Papa and Nana were out the door by 11am because they still had to feed all of the horses at three different houses. We got the boys down for a nap and tried to watch TV while the power flickerd on and off and on and off and on and OFF!!!

All power gone around 1pm. We waited for the boys to wake up, and after several calls to the power company, we decided to head to Papa's house. We were planning to meet little bro and big bro for dinner anyway, so we just arrived early. (This only meant additional time to eat....) The boys played with cousin Billy, and we hung out with little bro and his ex-wife (just get remarried, already!). The wind continued to punish us every time we walked outside. We kept in touch with our neighbor to find out if the power was ever coming on, but after five hours, we decided to go home and get our sleep-over gear and our dogs. We figured that even if the power came back on, there would be no guarantee that it would stay on, and the boys just can't sleep in such a cold house!

So, all of the sleeping arrangements were changed at Papa's house. (This would later prove disasterous as little bro walked into our room - usually his - buck naked. Don't even ASK me why he wasn't wearing PJs!!!! I have no clue.) We drank beer, played the Wii, talked, laughed, ate, and laughed some more. Little bro has finally accepted the marathon challenge, and I'm really looking forward to it. The boys didn't sleep well at all because all four of us were crammed into a small double bed, it was super dark, it was a strange place, and Wii playing went into the wee hours.

Sometime in the middle of the night, the wind finally died down, and we were hammered with snow - 8" or so. We were very happy to return home late the next morning, and the boys went down for a nap in their own beds almost immediately. This was when we realized that although the furnace was turning on, it wasn't blowing any hot air. $180 later, we had a new ignition dohickey, and it now works like a charm.

Whew! What a holiday. This will probably be one of the images I see in my mind for the rest of my life when I need to conjure up a happy moment:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Way to go, bro!

Can I just say right here and right now that I'm so proud of my little brother?!?!?
He has been smoke- and chew-free for two weeks!!!!!!!!
He started his quitting adventure with the help of one of those new non-smoking medications - you know, the ones that come with a warning about the thoughts of suicide?!?!?
Well, when the urge to commit homocide just about did someone/anyone in, he decided to stop taking that and just tough it out on his own - which he is doing - admirably. He even made it through the family Christmas party with only one smarty-pants remark (which is good for anyone - especially someone who just gave up two huge vices)!

Way to go, Jake. I'm incredibly impressed!

Is the marathon challenge finally on?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I did it, Hon!

Grandma refers to Grandpa as Hon or Honey all of the time. So, it's no surprise - but a real crack up - that Meatball walks around the house calling out to "Hon" constantly.

Both of them are always excited about zipping up their own PJs, and after the first couple of successful tries, I would exclaim "You did it!" Now, no matter what Peanut does, if it goes the way he wants he shouts "I did it!"

Bub is teaching Meatball to say "seriously, dude" which is a riot.

And, since we are so concerned about Peanut gaining weight, we put him on the scale 3-4x/week. He knows to stomp on it to activate it, waits until the number stops flashing, and then steps on and waits until the reading stabilizes. Then, he points to the numbers and says them "2-3, 2-3" just like we do when we are so excited that he hasn't dropped back to 22. (It was a sincere struggle to get him to add that entire pound!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Why Santa may not come to our house this year

I woke up early on Saturday because the boys were awake (shocking), and I needed to wash a sink full of dishes. Then, I had big plans of going for a run when Bub awoke, come home, shower, make muffins, and go to the local Santa parade with some friends at noon. However, when I logged on to double check the start time, I found out it was two hours earlier than I thought! Oh crap! So, I started the muffins (one batch chocolate chip and one batch almond), gave the boys some cereal and juice, and made enough noise that Bub had no choice but to get up. Then, the second she was out of bed, I jumped into my jeans, sneakers, and levi jacket, and went to take the truck to the parade route to save a spot.

Oh yes - big hurry - less than an hour to find a spot, walk home, shower, dress, and finish with the boys. But, wait! What the.....?!?!? There are no people/chairs/saved spots at the start of the parade. Shit! Where does the parade start? So, I just started driving through town until I saw some people setting up their chairs and parked there. So, I've now parked at least 3/4 mile farther than I had planned which means that I have that much farther to rush back home. Note to self: besides KNOWING the start time of the parade AND the route, remember to wear a bra when leaving the house. Always.

This bra-less-ness wasn't going to be a big deal when I was just walking the original three blocks home. But, now that I have much farther to go and less time than I planned, I needed to hoof it. I'm a runner (a slow, heavy one, but still a runner), so no biggie IF I were wearing a supportive under garment. I ran as much as possible while just holding myself in place - a much harder task than it seems.

ANYWAY - back to Santa.... So, we rushed around the house and got the boys ready to go. I left the house with wet hair and was lucky to have a jacket and shoes on. We met Papa, Nana, and our friends, ate muffins, and drank coffee and hot chocolate. Finally, the parade started - in the reverse direction from all of the other city parades. It was small (it IS December, after all), but it was fun. Well, fun for everyone but Kali whose hand was stepped on by an over-eager candy grabber who didn't even apologize! The floats were cute (compared to the dismal 4th of July parade), the marching band was non-existent. The boys picked up some candy with the help of Nana and Papa. Bub became Kali's best friend, and I spent the entire time going back and forth to the car.

Jingle bells announce Santa's approach. The jolly fellow arrives atop a stage coach pulled by six very nice looking black horses. Luckily, the parade encountered a challenge with forward motion at the exact time that Santa was to pass us, so he was temporarily detained right in front of us! As Santa is known to do, he spent the extra few minutes waving to the excited kids (ours weren't excited because they don't really get Santa, yet) and saying Santa-esque things like "Ho-ho-ho!" And, at the very moment that he "ho-ho-ho'd" our group specifically, Peanut projectile vomited all over the street. Santa seemed less than amused.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I know I'm supposed to.....

Instead of the obligatory "I'm thankful for..." post that I know I'm supposed to write, I'm just going to post a couple of new pictures of the boys in the store today.


In case you're wondering, yes - I am thankful for oodles of stuff, but these pictures are more fun than a long list of things - especially when these little people (and the big person pushing the cart) top the list. It's all about love, baby. THAT I am supremely thankful for.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's autumn, and that means....

First off, autumn means a hot breakfast - unless you're 18 months old and it takes a million years to eat anything. Regardless, I made the boys some new pancakes this morning because A) we were out of pancake mix, and B) the recipe said that they are full of protein - which Peanut desperately needs. So, cottage cheese pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon. I know - they sound icky, but they are pretty good! The texture is weird, but they are low in carbs and high in protein. Meatball ate them well (because he loves almost everything), but Peanut was skeptical as he is with all food. Nothing some blueberry syrup won't cure!

Secondly, autumn + blueberry syrup = hot bath. Tub time is always fun. They spend a lot of time pointing to the fish on the shower walls and yelling "Weeeeesh!" (That means "fish" if you're a toddler...)

After a trip to the store, a nice long nap and some food, we went outside to play. And by "play" I mean that I wander around the back yard looking for doggie doodie to clean up while the boys kick balls, play in the dirt, and chase the cat.

Finally, autumn means raking the leaves. Well, this year it does. It has NEVER meant that in the ten years that we've lived here. We have never cleaned up the leaves because, honestly, we live in a perfect position for weekly wind that comes out of the canyon and blows all of our leaves into neighboring lawns. It's nice. However, since Meatball likes to try and eat every apple left on the ground, I figured that it was high time that I do some clean up. The last thing I need is him sucking up a worm or something....

So, I started raking the leaves and Meatball promptly sat in the middle of them. This means that he also sat right on some squishy and gunky apples, but he was having fun. Mr. Helper (aka Peanut) saw me raking and proceeded to go down the big hill and onto the porch to get the broom. He loves to sweep the porch, so that's what I thought he would be doing. The next time I look up, here comes the skinny little squirt dragging the broom behind him. He dragged it all the way to the top of the yard so that he could help me "sweep up" leaves. However, by the time he got it up there, he was pooped, so he just sat in the leaves with his broom and his brother.

Did I get all of the leaves and apples into the compost pile? Nope - but that gives me a chance to take more adorable pictures next weekend!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wanda comes out

Comedian Wanda Sykes comes out during a rally in response to the passage of Prop 8 in CA. She and her wife were recently married, and now their union faces an uncertain future. Here is part of her speech:

"If we had equal rights, we shouldn’t have to be standing out here demanding something that we automatically should have as citizens of this country. But I got pissed off. They pissed me off. I said ‘You know what? Now I gotta’ get in your face.’

And that’s what we all have to do now. They pissed off the wrong group of people. They have galvanized a community. I mean, we are so together now, and we all want the same thing, and we’re not gonna’ settle for less. Instead of having gay marriage in California – NO – we’re gonna’ get it across the country!

How can you stop people from lovin’ each other? How can you get upset about love?

I love you all. Now, let’s go get our damn equal rights!"


Her remarks came at the same time as hundreds across the nation as part of a coordinated effort to hold rallies in all states at the same time. It was quite a success. So, at the same time that she was speaking, the boys and I were with 2000 other people in SLC listening to some pretty powerful local speakers, too. It was a fun, but chilly, day. We missed Bub, though. She just started a new job, and had to work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Now a fan of Keith (Olberman, not Richards - although who isn't a fan of Richards?)

I have no idea how to embed a video, and I really don't want to take the time to figure it out.

HOWEVER, this YouTube clip of Keith Olberman's statement on Prop 8 is fantastic. It will soon be on every gay blog (and many, many straight blogs) very soon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChanTFSmqao


Oh, and it made me cry. At work. I hate it when that happens.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Second-Class in the Midst of Amazing History

The morning after the historic election of Barack Obama was marked by tears in our house. Even though the race was close on Tuesday night, I was sure that I would wake to find that California’s Prop 8 had been defeated and that same-sex marriage would still be legal. I was shocked to find that I was wrong. Not only that, but Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas passed anti-gay laws and amendments. After some tears and much of the day spent in mopey sadness, I was finally happy to come to terms with it. I guess it’s always good to know where you stand, and my status as a second-class citizen is firmly in place. Yes – sarcasm and bitterness fully intended.

Since that time, there have been many protests against the LDS church since its members contributed more than half of the funds used to strip civil liberties from the G&L population in California. Many, many people in Utah (including the LDS church leadership) are upset over the protest locations – outside of temples – but after a lot of thought and reflection, I’m not.

Here’s a scenario: the KKK bankrolls legislation intended to re-introduce slavery. Appalling thought. Horrible possibility. Would we protest the local business that sells confederate flags or would we show up at the front door of the KKK and make our voices heard?

Another scenario: Microsoft funds legislation that prohibits mixed race couples from adopting. Are you kidding me? Get your big business out of my family, right? So, would we stand outside of Circuit City with our signs and placards simply because they sell computers? Nope. We would be on Bill Gates’ doorstep demanding equality for all parents and children.

So, I guess my message is this: If you don’t want political action close to your places of worship, don’t get involved in politics. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. Oh, and don’t position your corporate offices next door to a sacred place of worship. Temple square is just too convenient. Don’t encourage your members to be involved in politics without expecting our members to be as engaged. Look. I promised NOT to get married in your sacred buildings if you promise to keep your religion out of my MARRIAGE (and it will be someday).

So, as a group, we’re finally pissed, but this begs the question: Where was the outrage in Utah in 2000, 2007, and Amendment 3?

I think that we, unfortunately, just expect defeat here in the land of Zion. We expect that things will change but that we will NOT be on the cutting edge of that change. Instead, we'll be the bleeding, burger-like, stumpy appendage dragged along behind because it couldn't be successfully amputated (no matter how hard its church leaders tried). And, we just seem resigned to that.

Outrage in California isn't a shock because people really believed that it could happen. Their proposition even received funding for its battle. Money for any GLBT battle in Utah is very hard to come by. We’re all too busy thumbing our noses at our oppressors by swilling our wine over beautifully appointed tables filled with exceptionally tasty food. We’re all too happy to spend our money in the beer garden at Pride Day instead of bundling up the babies and packing baby food and diapers for a rally on Capitol Hill. Funding? Involvement? We haven’t had the voice. We haven’t had the guts. It’s like standing up to the bully on the playground or that bitchy cheerleader in the locker room.

So, why then do we suddenly have actual outrage spilling over into our state? Maybe because California seemed to be a surrogate for all of our hope, and when that hope was aborted at the hands/funds of the very group that oppresses us daily, we finally started to open our eyes. We finally started to realize that we don’t need to be silently oppressed. (Don’t get me wrong. We live in Utah. We are gay/lesbian/bi/transgendered. We will be actively oppressed. We may not be quiet about it anymore.)

Marriage. It’s just a word, right? It used to be a sacred religious right, but that’s just not the case anymore. People marry acquaintances for green cards. Gay and lesbian friends marry so that they can obtain health insurance. Property rights, child custody, tax breaks… None of these things are sacred. It’s just a word.

Like “parent.” That’s just a word, too. Imagine a world where a parent must be biologically related to the child in question. This means that all adoptive parents wouldn’t really be parents at all. How ridiculous! Imagine a world where a parent must be the same color as their child. This means that kids of racially mixed parents would have legal access only to the parent who most closely resembles them. How stupid!

It’s just a word. For some, it’s a sacred word, and I expect that they treat the institution in a sacred manner – loving, respectful, non-abusive relationships that never end in divorce. Oh, wait! Doesn’t happen all of the time, does it? For some, it’s a word that represents a legal contract, and I expect that they approach their lives in a business-like manner with no emotion involved. Hmmm…… doesn’t make sense.

For me, it represents both the sacred and the contractual. My love for Bub and our boys IS sacred. She is my life, my liberty, and the thing I continue to pursue to find happiness. And, I want to “do right” by her and our family by having a legal, binding contract that obligates me to them and them to me, that ensures fairness to them (especially Bub), and that gives our boys the same rights and privileges as all children of straight parents.

In the end, all I know is that SEPARATE IS NOT EQUAL. As long as I don’t have access to the word itself, I am not equal.

And, let’s face it. Marriage is not just a word. It’s a CIVIL right. Until the word applies to me and my love for Bub, I remain a second-class citizen. And, I’m tired of it.

Straight people: It’s about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…. MY happiness – not yours. You already have your happiness. MY happiness is a CONSTITUTIONAL right to be afforded to ME in the same way that it is afforded to you. And it will be.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Time and perspective

Time #1: The fall time change is stupid. The spring time change is stupid. Both of these things are downright MEAN things to do to families with little kids. Schedules all out of whack. Tired and grumpy, whiny and disorganized... and the boys are all messed up, too! But, we managed to have a great time today. We played, and played, and tickled, and marched, and danced, and learned to do flips off of mommy's legs, and played with tupperware, and pulled books off of the shelves about 17 times, and banged on the piano, and helped with laundry, and fed the dogs, and dumped dog food everywhere, and took the dogs for a walk, and pulled the cat's tail, and read stories, and finally went to sleep. Can't go wrong spending the day with the men you love!

Time #2: It took me longer to drive the six blocks to the county building and find a parking spot (right in front) for early voting than it did for me to actually vote. Contrast that to North Carolina where two of my BFFs - IsabelleV and AlysenQ - waited in line for 6 1/2 HOURS to cast an early vote! Luckily, they were in line with M.E., their handsome husband. Can't go wrong spending the afternoon with the man you love!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bonding over dinner and drinks

Peanut and Gus have become good buddies. As Gus lays on his side, 'Nut will sit between the front and back legs and recline onto Gus' belly.

Meatball loves to play with Lizzy and throws her rope toy for her to chase. Of course, the six inch throwing distance does nothing to wear her out.

But, where they have all really bonded is over dinner and drinks. The boys are constantly throwing food onto the floor for the dogs to clean up, so we've had to ask the dogs to leave the kitchen during dinner time. That doesn't stop Meatball from hollering "LizzyGus" every three minutes.

Frequently during the day, Peanut can be found drinking (or preparing to drink) out of the dog's water dish - but only with Gus. Not to be out done, and because he is a healthy eater, Meatball can be found either grabbing handfuls of Lizzy's (and only Lizzy's) food from her bowl or just carrying it from room to room for future snacking purposes.

I wish I could have my best friends over for dinner and drinks as often!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

She's quite a piece of work

From a Yahoo news article:
"NEW YORK — Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin says she supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a break with John McCain, who has said he believes states should be left to define what marriage is.

In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, the Alaska governor said she had voted in 1998 for a state amendment banning same-sex marriage and hoped to see a federal ban on such unions. She said she believed traditional marriage is the foundation for strong families."

So, exactly what did she teach her daughter?

Before South Salt Lake (BN) blasts me, I understand that teenagers make mistakes. I've made my share as both a teen and an adult. But, really - what is she teaching her family? She doesn't believe in sex ed = pregnant teen daughter, and traditional marriage is the foundation for strong families = unwed pregnant teen daughter. I know, I know. They plan to get married. Well, that's good. But, the young man has QUIT high school to work full-time = Unwed pregnant teen daughter marrying a high-school drop out.

In the "real" world, these two kids wouldn't stand a chance. Even though Palin is somewhat of a celebrity now, they still may would struggle for years and years.

And, in the end, how is my union with Bub going to impact her marriage or her daughter's lack thereof? IT'S NOT. IT WON'T. How is her daughter's circumstance impacting me? Other than giving me something to write and talk about, it's not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chilly day...


Enjoying the fall weather. Mommy put mittens on our hands for the first time!

Meet our new friend, Dylan.


Welcome to the world, cutie-pants little girl!
Congratulations to T & D on the addition to their family.

Monday, October 20, 2008

An Unexpected Turnout

Well, it looked unexpected to me as I stepped off the curb for my should-be-daily run!

In the 18 years that I've worked across the street from the Salt Lake County building, I've never seen a line of cars that stretch around two corners and down State Street to the 2100 South intersection - until today. No coincidence that today was the last day to register to vote....

So, what's the rush? What's the big deal? We live in Utah and know how the election is going to go, right? If you're an unregistered Republican, you can just count on your neighbor to vote for you. So, if you're anything other than a Republican, what's the point in registering? Right?!?!?

Unless...... UNLESS! UNLESS!!!!!

What if non-Republicans actually feel like they have a shot at being heard for a change (if not in the national election, but in the local races)? What if enough people really wanted to save the aviary and zoo, would it happen? What if more than enough people were sick-to-friggin-death of Buttars' hate mongering? What if fair-minded people were elected to city councils? What if even the staunchest of the Utah Republicans was just so sick of our current national fiascos that a ballot was cast for change? Wow.

Not totally unrelated: in my 4.5 mile run, I lost count of the number of Obama lawn signs/bumper stickers. I can clearly remember the number of McCain signs/bumper stickers that I saw: ZERO. Coincidence?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Drink the punch.....

The following information is courtesy of the wonderful site, Pieces of Gray:

The Sacramento Bee has an article today about the “sacrifices” that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have made so that they can take away the right to marry from same-sex couples.

Rick and Pam Patterson gave $50,000. He drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic to his job at Intel. She is a stay-at home mom who makes most of the family meals and bakes her own bread. The couple, who have five sons between the ages of 3 and 12, live in a comfortable but modest three-bedroom home in Folsom.

David and Susan Nielson gave $35,000. The couple will forgo a vacation for the next two years and make other sacrifices to pay for their donation, he said.

Yes, they are faithful members of their church. And while the couples deny that they were pressured to contribute, both couples did so after the June 29 letter came out from the First Presidency and the church leadership requesting that Mormons “do what you can”.

However, this sacrifice seems not to have extended to the leaders actually contributing from their own personal funds. A search of the contribution database listing all contributors of $100 or more yields:

• President and Prophet Thomas Monson - $0.00
• 1st Counselor Henry Eyring - $0.00
• 2nd Counselor Dieter Uchtdorf - $0.00
• Apostle Boyd Packer - $0.00
• Apostle L. Tom Perry - $0.00
• Apostle Russell Nelson - $0.00
• Apostle Dallin Oaks - $0.00
• Apostle M. Russell Ballard - $0.00
• Apostle Joseph Wirthlin - $0.00
• Apostle Richard Scott - $0.00
• Apostle Robert D. Hales - $0.00
• Apostle Jeffery Holland - $0.00
• Apostle David Bednar - $0.00
• Apostle Quentin Cook - $0.00
• Apostle C. Todd Christofferson - $0.00

Perhaps “our best efforts” means something different to the leaders than it does to the followers. & perhaps you should ask your fellow “followers” if it matters to them that their “leaders” aren’t acting in the way they’re asking of there followers. Blech.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Play with me!!!!

Of course, the boys would NOT nap at the same time this weekend. So, today when Meatball was napping, the rest of us were hanging out in the TV room. The gate wasn't closed, so Peanut wandered out. Since I was sure that the bedroom doors were closed, I didn't rush. However, the doors were not closed. So, by the time I caught up with the little stinker, he had his hands on the slats of Meatball's crib and was rattling the entire thing back and forth and just laughing!!! Meatball, of course, woke up in a grumpy frame of mind.

First snow of the season


ON OCTOBER 11! Can you believe it? The boys and I watched it come down all day long while Bub was at work. I also managed to bottle some more applesauce, and I roasted a bunch of Anaheim peppers. Bub bottled a bunch of spaghetti sauce. Our pantry is looking pretty good. All of the tomatoes and peppers came from Malcolm, our next door neighbor.

Friday, October 10, 2008

There's a chill in the air

Fall fashions brought to you by the Peanut and the Meatball:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dinnertime Disasters

Oy vey! Dinnertime is so hard at our house.

The boys couldn't be more different. Meatball will eat just about anything placed in front of him. Peanut is practically force fed each night, and it seems like he consumes about as much as his nick-name sake - sans shell!

A few nights ago, I was puttering around the kitchen while Meatball was eating his corn and Peanut was trying to climb out of his chair. I walked past Meatball's chair, tapped on the tray and said "Eat your chicken" to which he replied with "Boc, boc, boc" (the chicken noise). Hysterical.

Last night, it a complete role reversal, Meatball pushed EVERY SINGLE BIT of lasagne off of his tray and onto the floor. I was not happy and said "Now everything is on the floor! What are we going to do about that?" He immediately shouted "GUUUUUSSSSSSSSS!!!!!" The dog came a-runnin' and cleaned it all up.

Peanut, on the other hand, does very few funny things at dinner. He doesn't have time because I'm usually right there shoving food into his mouth every time he opens it - which isn't often!

We do have some tricks that work for about three minutes each:
"Give mommy a bite" usually results in him opening his mouth at the same time mommy does and provides a great opportunity to input food
"Do you want some water" means that mommy gives him a trickle of water in a big boy cup and then shoves food in while he is lifting his glass - he swallows both at the same time
"Where is your mouth, teeth, bellybutton, etc." usually gets some laughs which - you got it - means that mommy gets food in somehow (AND, he knows a LOT of body parts)

Either way, it's a circus.

Shi... Shi... Shi...

Well, it finally happened. Meatball has cursed.

It happened while Bub was driving with them and swearing at the other drivers on the road. Meatball (or more recently, we should call him the Parrot) repeated the word that she was saying a LOT: Shit! He said it over and over and over. And, yes - I realize that it could have been much worse. Anyone who has driven with Bub knows that this is the tamest word that she uses when speaking to other drivers!

She was mortified when she finally told me because I've been trying to get us both to stop cursing since the moment we found out we were pregnant.

He proceeded to use the word frequently for a couple of days. While horrified each time he said it, we often had to turn away to hide a smile or giggle because it's just a little bit funny, too.

So, to repair the damage before any of the grandparents noticed, we launched into a concerted campaign of similar words like Sit, Shut, Shoe, Sock and Shirt. This has been good because now both boys know the difference between Open and Shut and will shut a drawer/cupboard/door when asked. (This has come in handy since they open EVERY SINGLE DRAWER and CUPBOARD that doesn't have a safety lock and pull EVERY SINGLE THING out of it.) They will also retrieve their shoes and socks correctly.

This distraction technique worked for a while, and the offending word wasn't muttered for quite some time. However, this week, there was a resurgence AT GRANDMA's! [Gasp!] Now, mommies have been very careful NOT to repeat the original S-word, but apparently GRANDMA needs her mouth washed out with soap!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Everyone's Favorite Farmer

Mama: Old MacDonald had a farm.
Peanut: E-I-E-I-E-I-E-I-E-I
Mama: And on that farm he had a..... (waiting for someone to insert something).. duck
Peanut: Duck! Duck! Duck! Duck!
Mama: With a quack, quack here
Peanut: Duck! Duck! Duck! Duck!
Mama: And a quack, quack there. Here a quack (and on it goes....)
Peanut: Duck! Duck!

Mama: Old MacDonald had a farm.
Meatball: Ih-yah-yo (say it fast and it really is E-I-E-I-O)
Mama: And on that farm he had a..... (waiting for someone to insert something).. cow
Meatball: boooooo, booooo, booooo, booooo
Mama: With a
Meatball: boooooo, booooo, ih-yah-yo, ih-yah-yo, (louder and louder) ih-yah-yo, ih-yah-yo! IH-YAH-YO! IH-YAH-YO!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Humble Pie

As a kid and teenager, I watched my mom accept help from many sources on several occasions, and I never faulted her for it. After all, she had five kids, we lived in an area where jobs are hard to come by and the largest employer is seasonal, she was occasionally/often a single parent because sometimes my dad's job took him hundreds of miles away and because - sometimes - he just went away.

I always just KNEW, though, that I never wanted to be in that position. We never talked about it, but I believe that it was hard - and probably humiliating - for her to accept the help because she was a strong woman, a strong-willed woman, an independent woman, a smart woman, and she believed in a woman's ability to do ANYTHING (which, she did on a regular basis). And, I was positive that I would never find myself there; I was too proud to find myself there.

Until recently.

About a month ago, we did accept some help. And, I was right. It was hard. It was humiliating. It was humbling. Bub did all of the leg work, and it was probably harder for her than me, but it was humbling nonetheless.

At the end of the day, I thought a lot about what mom did to raise us. There were probably 10,000 things that she did to keep us fed, clothed, warm, and happy that none of us even knew about. As always happens when I think about her, my heart ached for the chance to just talk to her again - this time about the internal conflict that I experienced while accepting the help, how she managed to do such a good job with each of us, how she seemed able to get everything done and still have enough room in her heart and house to take in wayward kids, run a toy drive, be the PTA president, sew halloween costumes (sometimes for the wayward kids), be a host parent for transcontinental exchange students (3 times!), fix dinner, ride her horse, do the chores, read stories, help with homework, be an EMT, teach kids to ride/bake/draw/craft, etc. etc. etc.

At the end of the day, as I surveyed the results of the help (in tears, of course), I decided that Humble Pie is best served with a nice, tall, cool glass of Gratitude to those who helped, and she who came before me.

I think that if she were here and I actually had a chance to talk to her about it, she would just tell me to get over it and do something useful. I don't think that she ever actually drank from her tall, cool glass of Gratitude. I think that she just took more glasses out of the cupboard and divvied that Gratitude up between the glasses and gave it out to those around her.

Ahhhh..... I think I see the lesson that I'm supposed to learn.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ten year mark

My mom has been dead for ten years now. As I think happens for everyone, I’m usually - at the least – melancholy. I’m sometimes incredibly cantankerous or even pretty damn foul. I find myself often eating or drinking my feelings away on the anniversary of her death. I know – it’s not the healthiest way to deal with loss, but it’s what I do.

So, this year, I had grand plans to form a team to raise money and complete the 24-hour track walk for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. Unfortunately, my team never came together partly because we’re all just so busy and partly due to poor leadership from me.

Instead of raising money and doing something healthy and fun and filled with family to commemorate her life, I did….. nothing. It’s hard for me to even put that statement in writing knowing that family members sometimes check in to see what I’m prattling on about, but – it’s true – I did nothing. I didn’t even realize that they day had come and gone. It was two days after the anniversary of her death before I even realized that I had missed it.

So, what’s that all about?

Yeah. I’m a busy person. My day begins at 5 with at least one little boy. It includes at least eight hours of hard work. (Yes, my latest assignment really does have me working quite a bit. Thinking is hard!) There is 1-2hours of commute time, bath, dinner, play time, and bedtime. THEN the housework begins! Dishes, laundry, sweeping/mopping, yard clean up, attention for the dogs – all of that takes place after 9pm. Oh, and sometimes, I try to cram in a 3-mile run or do some work from home! AND, I’m not alone in doing this! It takes two of us to keep up. (I’m grateful on a daily basis that I'm not a single parent. How do they do it?)

I’m sure that others are as busy as me. Hence the failure of our relay team to successfully get started. So, it’s understandable that a day can slip by without notice, right?

But, when did it become acceptable for me (or anyone) to be too busy to remember a loved one? It’s not just the anniversary of my mom’s death, either. I am guilty of forgetting things more often than I care to admit. And, not just things, but important dates and events which translates to people and their feelings.

So, I admittedly have some work to do. It’s not enough to just think of someone without some action to accompany it. To honor my mom’s memory, I have again signed up to run the Salt Lake marathon in April while raising money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the same time. I hope that the people I love will help me in this pursuit. In return, I promise to call, write, e-mail and blog like a mad-woman. I’ll try my hardest to remember all of your important days knowing that you always manage to remember mine.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

He Ain't Heavy.....

He ain't heavy; he's my brother......
And if I position myself behind him and push on his bum, I can help him climb onto this chair. After that, the next logical step is the dining room table where he will probably manage to come to a standing position before mommy catches us.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I've added C Jane

OK - I'm really into this blog.

Short version: Blogger chronicles her struggles to become pregnant. She and husband finally give birth to adorable baby (with daddy's forehead). A few months later, sister and brother-in-law are in horrific plane crash and are hospitalized with critical burns. (I start following blog here.) Blogger and hubby assume responsibility for sister's four kids while sister/brother-in-law endure many, many surgeries just to try and stay alive. Nothing like zero to five kids in no time flat!

How did I hear about C Jane? Well, her husband and I work for the same company. I've met him all of... once... and it's doubtful that he remembers me, but it's really like family there. If someone's going through something, everyone is concerned about it. Anyhooo.......

The only way that C Jane and I could be more different is if one of us were a person of color. I mean, she's a "Y" fan! Conservative, religious, straight. And, really - the Cougars?!?! However, I really like her writing, and I do wish the very best for her sister/brother-in-law.

And, I find the faith that she has absolutely fascinating.

I have faith in the body's ability to be amazing. I have faith in doctors/specialists and in the education that has brought them to the patient. I have faith in a person's capacity for determination and goal achievement.

But, the faith that she has (and her family, too, for that matter) is all wrapped up in and dependent upon the teachings of their church and their god. I know that this is actually quite common, but I just don't remember ever seeing it in action. My family/friends just don't do this.

It's hard for me to describe what I'm talking about, but a good example would be her brother-in-law who was recently un-sedated enough to communicate a bit. He told his visitor (another family member) that he can feel the prayers that are being offered. Now, if that's really the case and people can feel prayers, how cool is that? How great would that be? But, really. Can that happen? What if it doesn't work that way? What if it doesn't work at all? How can one really know?

But, what I find fascinating is that it doesn't matter whether or not it really works. What matters is that the person believes that it works. That person has faith that it will make a difference for them. Which, incidentally, helps in the release of happy hormones that boost immunity defenses and contribute to the body's ability to recover from amazing traumas. So, it's all the same in the end.

Anyway, I'm wishing the best for her family, and I'll continue to follow her blog.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I've added a new blog to watch - Very Important

Women Against Sarah Palin - check it out on the left of my page.

She's just "rash, incompetent, and [an] all together devastating choice for Vice President. Ms. Palin's political views are in every way a slap in the fact to the accomplishments that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers so fiercely fought for, and that we've so demonstrably benefited from." -Quin Latimer and Lyra Kilston

You ARE registered to vote, correct?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Like Nails on a Blackboard

Two words: Sarah Palin.

PS - since the whole world uses white boards now, what phrase will our boys use to describe nails on a blackboard?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Flexibility

So much is happening and there is so much to post about, but there just isn't enough time! I can say this: I love my employer and the flexibility that they are allowing me right now. My schedule has been adjusted to something resembling (4)9s and (1)4, but it's never exact. I have a laptop from which I'm allowed to (and sometimes expected to) work from home. On my short day, I work while the boys nap and almost every night, I work after they go to sleep and the house is cleaned up. Yes, this means that I usually log on after 9:30pm for just an hour or so, but it's helping me stay on top of my project.

I guess after almost 18 years at the same company, you wouldn't expect me to say anything other than "I love this place," but it's true. It's a great company that helps other businesses make a difference in the lives of their employees. We practice what we preach, we do nice things for our community, and we treat our employees well (I'm proof).

So, I have lots to blog, but the boys are asleep, and I can get in some good testing, so - I'm off to work, and proud to do so.
www.octanner.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Basket by the Door

We have a basket by the front door that is to be used for keys and cell phones. It was my brilliant idea (of course), so I’m always a bit fanatical that it’s being utilized correctly. What this means is that when Bub forgets to put a set of keys in The Basket by the Door, I must search for them - which I will do for a grand total of about 15 seconds because – after all – if they were in The Basket by the Door, I wouldn’t have to search at all. So, after an excruciating 15 seconds of searching, I resort to questioning (aka badgering) her as to the whereabouts of the lost keys. This usually happens at 5am or another unreasonable hour when I’m trying to rush out the door to work. The conversation goes a bit like this (with me speed talking and Bub groggily talking the whole time):

ME: Where are the keys? I need the keys. Where have you put the keys? Are you awake because I need the keys.

BUB: Huh?

ME: KEYS! I need the KEYS! You know if they were in The Basket by the Door I wouldn’t need to wake you up and bother you. I could just go to work. You really need to use The Basket by the Door. That’s what it’s there for. So, where are they? Are they in your bag? [Under breath] because they certainly aren’t in The Basket by the Door.

BUB: [Rummaging] I can still hear you. I’m asleep, not deaf.

ME: I’ve got to go. Where are the keys? [Sarcastically] Oh, thank you. I love you. Please use The Basket by the Door from now on. Bye.

So, when Bub called me this morning and asked me if I had the keys, I of course replied “No – look in The Basket by the Door” to which she came unglued because, of course, she had already looked there! So, as I looked unconcernedly through my own bag, I thought little of the problem because she surely has lost the keys, how could she be so irresponsible, and [GASP!!!!!] Holy cats! The keys are NOT in The Basket by the Door, they are in my friggin bag! And, I’ve carpooled! AND, it’s not like we live 10 minutes away! We live almost an hour from work! AND, she needs to be to go to the store and be to work in less than two hours!

Uh-oh. I’m in trouble, and so is Bub! Without these keys, she not only has no way of getting to work on time, but also no way of driving anywhere with the boys. Needless to say, she is HOT. No, wait. She is LIVID. No, wait. Her HEAD IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE. (Although, I must give her credit. She didn’t curse very much while on the phone with me. She’s making progress. I cannot vouch for the moments immediately following our conversation, though.)

I made a hasty phone call to Good Friend who just works down the street who agrees to let me borrow her car. So, I jump on the bus to Friend’s work and pick up her car. Then, I speed home as quickly as I dare. As soon as I turn onto our street, the gas light of Friend’s car comes on. Oh, great – something else to deal with. (No fault of Good Friend since she hadn’t planned to make a trip 45 miles away this morning!) This, in turn, threatens to finalize the previously mentioned cranial explosion but only AFTER she wrings my neck.

So, we fly to the gas station– me flustered and driving the boys and her in Friend’s car surely cursing the day I was born. My next brilliant idea is that I can go to the store for her after dropping the boys at grandma’s house. This way, she can get to work on time, and the supplies will arrive shortly thereafter. Apparently, I expected her to read my mind because when she didn’t immediately agree to what I was saying, I shouted at her in the gas station parking lot. (In my flimsy defense, she stomped off in anger, and I was already humiliated that I had breached The Basket by the Door etiquette. AND, she knows that I hate being wrong or making mistakes…. I know, not a good excuse to lose my temper.)

So, after gassing up, we both speed into the city and go our separate ways for a few minutes. I drop the boys at grandmas; she heads to work (and makes it in the nick of time). Then, we still need to swap cars, return Good Friend’s car to her, and I need to get back to work ASAP (via bus – ha ha) because I still had tons of documentation left to do before a big 2:30 meeting.

Lessons learned from this fiasco:
#1 - We’ve had this vehicle for over a year with just one set of keys. We mean to get them every time we go to the store, but we seem to forget every time. We will be getting them this weekend FOR SURE.
#2 - I will never nag Bubba again about The Basket by the Door.

Little Angel

Quite frequently when we walk the dogs, we go to the cemetery ½ block from our house because Gus’ joints are just not what they used to be. A short walk is about all that he can handle, but he still has fun getting out and (barely) getting around.

One of our two little loops in the cemetery passes by the gravesite of little H.G.K., and each time I pass it, I feel a little bit of guilt and sadness.

H.G.K was conceived at almost exactly the same time as our guys. His parents had tried and tried to conceive, and they were elated. However, H.G.K. came early – a month earlier than our boys, so at about 30 weeks which is pretty darn early. So, he was going to face some preemie challenges. But, the alarmed doctors whisked him away very quickly, and then returned to tell his parents that things weren’t going great. Little H.G.K. had holoprosensephaly which just brings a litany of problems PLUS his organs were all mixed up! He wasn’t expected to live past a couple of months.

But little H.G.K. fought for eight months bringing love and joy to his parents and family before his little heart had had enough. They gave up everything that they had to keep him as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I was never lucky enough to meet H.G.K. in person because, as you can expect, visits were closely monitored so that nobody could inadvertently make him sick. However, even in pictures, I could see the beauty in this little boy. He had the most tender eyes I’ve ever seen. Even though he never babbled and couldn’t really laugh much, he expressed everything through those beautiful brown eyes.

So, here I walk, past his little gravestone with our healthy and happy and crazy boys. We had hoped for one and got two. We tried six times - many, many times fewer than H.G.K.’s parents. I know that they do not regret their time with their angel and that they are happy for us, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling guilty that we have so much when they have lost so much.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shock collars?

Today, a lady on the bus was telling me stories of raising her twins. She scared the bee-jeebies out of me!

18 month old kids climbing chain link fences; two year olds maneuvering the garage door to sneak out of the house; three year olds letting the family dog out of the house and then going to look for it; four year olds “cooking” beans which resulted in a fire on the stove.

The good news is that she is nice and seems sane, so there is hope for us yet! However, I’m wondering if I should invest in some shock collars as the boys are getting extremely mobile and smarter by the minute. Do they make shock collars for kids or do I just need to go to the pet store and alter them to fit?

On second thought, maybe I should get a shock collar for HER! She’s freaking me out.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Difference #29 - fingernails

Is it odd that I'm noticing these little things?

Peanut's fingernails are long and slender and don't grow very quickly. When they do, they are kind of thin and really sharp.

Meatball's fingernails are short and kind of square and grow like crazy. They are thick and sturdy.

Either way, I could just kiss them over and over.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mowing the lawn SUCKS

So, I mowed the back yard with the push mower AGAIN today.

Let me start by saying that if I were a religious person, mowing the lawn would be against my religion. Few people know that one of my life goals was to NEVER mow a lawn - ever. (Sometimes I don't like to set the bar too high...) Of course, Bubba ruined that six years ago when she forgot how to ride a bike and broke her leg in five places. Dammit! I had to mow the front lawn for the rest of that year. She continued to mow the back because she could prop her cast/boot up on the front of the RIDING lawn mower.

I'm NOT a lazy person. I've accepted the fact that I must mow once in a while. I'm learning to cope with it. I've considered mowing medication, but my insurance doesn't cover it. ;) It's just that the big back yard has a short, steep hill, and it's not easy. It takes more than an hour.

Almost a year ago, the belt broke on our riding mower. We asked our fix-it guy if he could help, and a belt was purchased within days. However, it's been sitting since then.

May: "What do you want for your birthday?" The mower fixed.
August: "What does Bub want for her birthday?" The mower fixed.
Sill not fixed.
I don't think that we ask too much, but maybe we do. However, I can't help to think that if I were someone else (like The Golden Child), the mower would have been done long ago.

So, I pushed and pulled the mower all over in the heat and dripped sweat all over my glasses and bitched under my breath the entire time. There were even some tears because I just feel like I'm invisible. We've asked several times in addition to the birthday requests. I'm not going to beg.

I am going to just go get the belt and do it myself. I have the manual; I can read. I fixed the bathroom sink just fine, so I'm not completely incapable. Just pissed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Cuteness Quotient

And, no - this is not about our absolutely adorable boys. It's actually about me. Maybe if I put this in writing, I'll be able to better see the problem. (Deep breath)

About ten years ago, I applied for a promotion that I didn't get. Looking back now, I understand that I wasn't ready for it. The company made the right decision. I was promoted a year-ish later after I made some changes and purposely placed myself in situations for more exposure, experience, and challenges. So, it all worked out well.

HOWEVER, at the time that I was denied the original promotion, a well meaning (?) co-worker asked me if it was because I didn't score high enough on the CQ. I had no idea what she was talking about. Introducing.......... The Cuteness Quotient! [SLAP] After all, the woman that received the promotion really was very cute and spunky and outgoing. Me: not so much. I'm pretty reserved, a bit introverted, average looking, and perpetually chunky. I was devastated for quite a while.

Fast forward to today as I sucked in my stomach - again - to do up my slacks. I'm not enormous, but on the BMI chart I hover on the border of overweight/obese. (Yuck.) What really irks me is that I've completed five marathons! I'm definitely not one of those people who can just wake up one morning and run 26.2 miles; I trained! Hundreds of miles in preparation over the course of five years! Most people would look better - not the same.... Most people would take that finally chugging train and ride it into skinny, good-looking town, wouldn't they?

It's ten years after the original Cuteness Quotient remark, and I basically look the same - except 38 instead of 28. I would suspect that the Dr. Phils of the world would say that there is something emotional to this - something psychological - something fear based. They would probably be right. So, what is it that keeps me here? What am I allowing myself to get away with? What part of myself am I denying? What am I afraid of?

I plan to find some answers - finally.
(P.S. My first response to myself after re-reading this: "Ug. Soul searching is just so exhausting." HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOO?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!??!!?!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NICU reunion

We went to our first NICU reunion over the weekend. It was nice. The food was fine. The nurses were almost non-existent! That's the whole reason that we went! We wanted to see the nurses who helped our boys during their first month of life. We wanted to thank them for taking such good care of US, too! We only saw two of them, and we had to call the NICU and specifically ask that one come down. That was disappointing. But, we did get to see our FAVORITE nurse (Auntie Rose), so we were happy.

We also got to see a couple of the other parents/kids who were in the NICU at the same time. There were a lot of people since our NICU was one of the top two in the entire state, so trying to find anyone that we had made a connection with was difficult. So many kids go in and out of that place every year, and as your child progresses (or sometimes regresses), they are moved from place to place - sort of like "graduating" from intensive care to constant care to frequent care to monitored care. So, it was hard to form too many friendships with other parents. However, we did see Baby G and his parents who managed to make friends with almost everyone since he was in the NICU for 101 days.

Can you imagine?!?! 101 days spent at the hospital. 101 days of pumping milk without ever have the baby latch. 101 days with more than 2/3 being incredibly stressful and full of uncertainty that your child would ever go home. Well, they are an amazing couple, and Baby G is doing great. He's 18 months now, but since he was so premature, he is gestationally only 13 months old. He'll always be a small kid; at birth, a dollar bill covered his entire torso!. He'll hit developmental milestones (walking, talking, crawling, etc.) later than other kids for the first two years of life. After that, he'll be hard to stop.

So, today I'm grateful that we only had a few super-scary moments. (Necrotizing Enterocolitis is NOT a cake walk. It affects 20% of premature babies and kills half of those!) I'm grateful that our stay only lasted 34 days. I'm grateful that we had such awesome care. I'm grateful that Baby G is thriving. I'm grateful to be a mom.

Friday, August 8, 2008

First Family Camping Trip

Long post - you've been warned.

We took our first camping trip as a family last weekend. We camped with the G&L parents group. So much to say about this...

Two little tiny people whose combined weight is only 45 pounds should NOT require SO! MUCH! STUFF! They had more clothes than we did (which, if you know Bub, is remarkable). There was an entire bag devoted to only diapers and wipes. Then, we had the big plastic tote full of toys, an entire cooler housing milk, the playpen, two extra sleeping bags, and the stroller. OH WAIT! With the foam mattresses for the old ladies, there was no room for the off-road stroller! Yikes! So, we crammed in the mall stroller which, not surprisingly, sucked on the dirt and rocks. So much stuff was crammed into the back of the truck that the dogs had to ride in the front. Liz sat between the car seats, and Gus sparwled on the front seat between the grown-ups.

Comfort is becoming an issue. Bub and I are getting too old to sleep on the ground. (OK, mostly Bub, but I wouldn't complain if we had an air mattress or a camper.) Not only were we crammed into cab of the truck with the dogs, but the AC pooped out. (Well, it probably has something to do with the "repair" of the front bumper so that the truck would pass inspection. It was bent out of shape by Bub's "interaction" with a pole at a gas pump. It was bent back into shape by my dad who, after trying everything he could imagine by hand, decided to ram it into a tree a couple of times. Well, it passed inspection....) The missing AC wouldn't really have been an issue if it hadn't been 105* on the drive down and if we hadn't been stuck in rush hour Happy Valley traffic. Side note: At the end of the weekend, we found out that Uncle Rawhide's camper is all spruced up. We could have taken it.

We were very happy to finally get there and get set up. Goddess bless the other parents who played with the boys while we unloaded everything. Here we are finally relaxing.

Nightmares. We sort of warned everybody about Peanut's nightmares, but even I wasn't prepared for him to wake screaming SIX TIMES in one night. Everyone was so sweet the next morning. We offered to move our tent further away from the group, but - again - goddess bless them all, they wouldn't have it.

Fishing - although it was good for one person of the group (21" brown at Cleveland), it stunk for us. I still don't have a license, and probably won't for a couple of years, but Bub was really disappointed with her (lack of) results. It was relaxing and beautiful, but we really like to CATCH fish. She did catch an albino trout for the first time. It was creepy! Then, she dropped it in my lap, and I screamed like a little girl.

The dirt was plentiful, and when you are learning to walk, you tend to fall a LOT.

Peanut is still having issues with wanting to eat much of anything at all. Yogurt remains a constant (thankfully), so he ate a decent amount of it. Of course, since we couldn't possibly take the high chairs, I basically spent meal times chasing him around trying to stick a spoon in his face. You can't really see the dirt here, but if you look closely enough, you can see yogurt on his eyelash.

We didn't spend a lot of time with the parent's group, though. Partly because we fished. Many of the parents just relaxed, and there were a lot of ATV rides and rafting/floating. Frankly, Bub doesn't understand this. Camping = fishing, and she couldn't get it through her head that everyone DOESN'T fish.

The other reason that we didn't spend a lot of time with the group is that we really don't know anyone that well. For Bub, this has never been an issue. She can strike up a joyful conversation with a weeping willow tree if necessary. Not me. It takes me a while to warm up to people. So, to everyone who was SOOOO very nice, thank you. We'll continue to come to the Friday park nights and the monthly get-togethers and eventually, I'll make intelligent/witty conversation with you. OK - truth be told, it may just be regular old conversation.... Thanks for letting us crash (and scream through) your party.

On a final note, the boys and I watched the finish of the 10k@10k race. I was going to run this race before I sprained my toe the weekend before. (It still hurts too much to run.) We were lucky enough to meet up with my aunt, uncle and cousin for some great conversation as the runners crossed the finish line. The winner finished in less than 36 minutes. That's less than 6 minutes/mile which isn't record breaking (but it is fast) plus, realize that more than the first two miles are completely uphill (5%-ish grade) AND that the elevation ranges from 9100' to 9700'. (Gasp!) Oh, and Mr. Freakishly Fast Runner finished five minutes ahead of the next person. Wow!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Farm Animals

A few days ago, the boys and I were reading a book about farm animals. Of course, I was making the noises and asking "What does the ____ say?" I was overjoyed when we ALL started making animal noises!

I will say that the cow noise comes off as Booooo more often than Moooooo. Sometimes, it's just Mmmmmmmmmmmm. But at least it's consistent when we point to the cows.

The cat noise isn't exactly a Meow, either. It's more of a high pitched squeal, but in defense of the boys, our cat (named Puppy) doesn't ever meow. He just walks around squealing like a leaky balloon. So, the boys are great impressionists.

The dog noise is a whole body affair, which cracks me up every time. They sort of pop their torsos up very similar to the "Sunbeam" song except with a barking noise.

There wasn't much imitating of the rooster noise. I would make the noise (Er-er-er-er-er... guess you had to be there) and Sam would try to do it too. He would croak out "Aaah-aah" and then cough and sputter. Ben decided that it was too much effort.

The weirdest reaction was to the pig noise. I was not just saying oink (because what pig really does that?). I was making the snorting noises and everything. After a couple of snorts, Sam would start to giggle and laugh and laugh and then grab his right foot and stick it in my face.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hypocrite

I check out certain blogs on a daily basis and - on my bitchiest of days - find it an affront that the author hasn't bothered to post something witty or thought provoking or mundane in order to please blog stalkers like me. Damn them! Do they dislike me? Is it a conspiracy to disappoint me? Don't they realize how I depend on these updates to keep me sane and in touch with something that resembles reality?

Then, I realized that I only update on a weekly-or-so basis. Hypocrite. Of course, it's unlikely that someone is sitting around desperately wishing that I will post anything at all, but still............

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

First Fishing Trip with the boys

We took a day trip to fish with Papa, Nana, cousin Billy, and Uncle Jake. We went up Fairview Canyon to Gooseberry and Huntington Reservoirs.

So, along with every other part of our lives that now takes 2x longer to do, packing for a day fishing trip took forever:

We were too tired and busy the night before to get everything ready, so at 5am I was cleaning toys out of the outside play pen. As I was walking up the cement garage steps with toy laden arms, the toe of MY flipflop caught the step and I fell UP the steps. I blame this directly on Bubba (not my inability to walk because I'm as graceful as a ballerina) because if her big 'ol sasquatch feet hadn't stretched out my flipflops, this never would have happened. I was certain that I had broken my toe, but it's likely just sprained. So, there go my plans of not running the 10K@10K race this weekend. (Again, not because I haven't properly trained or something. It's good to have someone else to blame for this latest batch of running inactivity.) I also skinned both sides of my elbow (how???) and bruised my upper arm. I guess I'm happy that I still have teeth! And, I managed to only drop two toys.

The baby stuff (play pen, diaper bag, food bag, toys, books) take up more room than even Bubba's six clothing changes that go everywhere with us.

We made SIX stops before getting to the first fishing hole (WalMart for food, Maverick for gas, Home Depot for an umbrella that they didn't have, Smiths for beer [since it was too early for WalMart to sell it] and an umbrella, Subway for more food, and Conoco for a potty break and a hot dog [barf]).

Upon arriving at the reservoir, I made at least five trips to the car to get everything for the boys plus another trip to get my book. Add sunscreen, bug spray and umbrella stabilization in the wind, and I read about three paragraphs.

Bub caught five fish in the first hour. Papa and Uncle Jake weren't very happy since they had been fishing the same hole for 24 hours.

After a snack, we moved to the next reservoir which meant endless trips to the car to pack and then unpack everything again. At this place, the boys actually got to wade in the water (which means sit down in it), so I made more trips to the car for dry clothes and jackets. No fish at this location, so we moved back to the original spot which means - you can see where this is going - more trips back and forth to/from the car.

The boys were surprisingly good sports for such a hectic day. I would post pictures, but we didn't take the camera. We took the camera BAG and FIVE lenses, but no camera. (And yes, I made three trips to the car to search for it.)

So, even with what felt like a broken toe, I'm sure that I got my exercise in for the day, and regardless of their challenges with [not] sharing toys and bottles and lap time, it was a GREAT day. I can't wait to fry up a couple of those trout that Bub (my special sasquatch) landed!

Difference #73: Walking

Not necessarily how long or who first, but the "style" with which the boys ambulate is what is interesting to me.

Peanut walks like a wet noodle - all loose and floppy with limbs flailing about. Despite the seemingly inefficient gait, he CRUISES! He is like a little rocket and propels that noodle body across the room like the house is on fire.

Meatball walks like a soldier - very determined and on course with great specificity to foot placement. He even clenches his fists like he is the drum player in a Civil War infantry marching into battle.

The differences never cease to amaze me. The fact that I have twins still amazes me!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A little too "blog stalker?"

So, last week, I was doing my monthly Meals On Wheels delivery when I drove past a house having a rummage/yard sale. (I love them. I rarely buy anything because - let's face it - I don't need anything, sometimes the items aren't in good condition, and I never carry any money with me. But, all of this is not my point.)

Anyway, out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of a child in the yard and think "Hey! I've seen that little girl before!" I swear that it was the child of one of the lesbian mom bloggers that I anonymously read (although, IF by some odd chance she reads this and IF it was actually her house, it's not so anonymous anymore, it is?).

What a fun chance to sit and chat, right? Well, not really considering that
1) I've only met this woman one time and managed to speak to her long enough for an introduction and to briefly talk about running - combined total about 30 seconds,
2) I was on the clock (yes - my company pays for us to deliver these meals - another reason I LOVE where I work) and really needed to get back to my extremely important existence - after all, my system that maps processes just won't launch itself,
3) I wasn't entirely sure that it was actually the right kid, and
4) After actually driving around the block with intentions of shooting the breeze with her, I thought that it might be too BLOG STALKER for me to stop and strike up a conversation that might start with "I recognized your child from your blog..." CREEPY.
5) Oh, by the way, I SUCK at small talk. What the hell would I actually talk about? The weather? "Wow, f-in' hot today, isn't it?"

So, by the time I went through these five arguments in my head, I had circled the block and was quickly approaching the rummage sale again. Then, it hit me! I was driving the company's vehicle! ACK! For only the second time in my entire life, I was at the helm of A MINI-VAN. Even if I could get past issues 1-5, how in the world could I NOT look like a complete idiot pulling up in an empty Windstar? My stalking days were over before they even started. Oh well. With my luck, it wouldn't have been the person I thought, and I would have had to act like I was really browsing for something to purchase. My acting skills are about as good as my "small talk" skills.

For the record, the ONLY other time I've driven a mini-van was also for Meal delivery. Hopefully, it will never happen again. (Yet another reason that Bub and I decided that two kids was enough...)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Saturday without my guys

So, Bub and I went on our first fishing trip since the boys popped into our lives. We went out on our friend's boat like we do a couple of times each summer. This friend - Bruty's Dad - is so very generous with his time and conversation and laughter! All he expects in return is a sandwich (usually dry and boring) and a Mountain Dew.

We had a great time. Strawberry Res. was gorgeous and the temperatures were perfect. I don't have my license yet, so I just read a magazine while Bruty's Dad weighed the usefulness of the "long, flashy, thing" (he's such a gay fisherman) and Bub fished in her sports bra (Helloooooooo?!?! White woman?!?! Use sunscreen!!!) We ate, we had a couple of beers, we laughed, and Bub caught two nice trout.

Unfortunately, the boys are too little to go out on the boat. I'm not even sure that they make life jackets that small! So, it was a much needed day out for the moms, and although I had a great time, I missed the boys the entire time.

Being a working mom really sucks (for me). I only get to see them for a couple of hours at night before it's bedtime, so I really look forward to my boy-filled weekends. I'm grateful to Papa/Nana and Grandma/Grandpa for all that they do for us and our adorable tykes. I just wish that it were me, instead.....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What happened to the floats?

Our local July 4th parade tanked. And, not even "tanked" in the usual way since there weren't any tanks this year! I mean tanked in the completely sucky way. Apparently, if you take a few pieces of crepe paper and tape them to your company truck, you've created a piece of parade art.

We could have seen a better parade by parking on the side of I-15.

So, of the THREE (yes, three) actual floats, the one that really has me perplexed was submitted by a group that is working to prevent teen pregnancy. Good cause, nice idea, lame float: the no-teen-pregnancy group submitted a float with a couple that looked like a live wedding cake topper. Cute little bride and groom on top of a white round "cake" with a heart frame behind them - just like a cake topper. (Oddly, the bride and groom each looked about 15 years old.)

ANYWAY, the point of my rant: The theme of the entire parade was "Celebrating America's Independence." The group really tried to keep with the theme of the parade, but they completely missed it IMO.

Their individual float theme: Abstinence = Independence.

WTF?!?!? Are you kidding me? That makes NO sense - AT ALL. People: If you're going to take the time to make a float, don't make it a dumb one. But, at least they made one! They could have just taped some crepe paper to the girl's head as a veil and called it quits.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Feminism and Jelly

The cherries on our tree are getting ripe, and it’s time for the yearly canning and bottling festival to begin at our house. (Well, can it be called a “festival” when it’s just one person? It probably looks more like a comedy of errors to the untrained eye.) Every year, I do my best to utilize everything possible from our yard, so I bottle jams, jellies, fruits, salsas, relishes, and pickles. Generally, anything that I can do boiler method is fair game. I don’t have a seal on my pressure cooker, so meats and veggies are currently frozen. I also dehydrate anything possible from herbs to fruit to sun-dried tomatoes.

So, as I was starting to pick the cherries last night, I was reminded of a conversation with my not-legal-father-in-law last year. He finds it odd that I consider myself a feminist while at the same time participating in a pastime that is traditionally very linked to the role of housewife. (Strangely, Bub’s obsession with cleaning doesn’t strike him as conflicting at all. Then again, she doesn’t say much about feminism or politics in general. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that she, too, is a feminist?) So, is feminism incongruent with apricot jam?

According to Wikipedia, “feminism is a discourse that involves various movements, theories and philosophies that are concerned with the issue of gender difference, which advocate equality for women, and campaign for women’s rights and interests.”

I guess I need to articulate why I do this – something I’ve never really done before. Why is home canning important to me?
#1: I’m cheap. I’m notoriously “frugal.” I’m consumed with saving money – or at least trying to. (This has always been a challenge for us because we are rarely on the same page when it comes to money matters.) In addition to being tight, I cannot stand to waste anything. So, when we moved into a home with mature fruit bushes and trees, I knew that I would need to do something with all of the food.
#2: I’m green-ish. I love the green movement. I love all of the things that it teaches. I’m trying to incorporate green changes/choices into my life. I firmly believe that food should be purchased in season, that we are simply funding terrorists with our dependence on so much foreign oil, that food shouldn’t be transported great distances before being sold (except bananas – call me a hypocrite), that compost is a good thing, and that – although it’s hot and uncomfortable – I don’t always need the AC to be blasting.
#3: The real reason (even though it’s easier to claim/explain the first two.) is that it is part of my past. It’s my herstory and the herstory of the women who came before me – women who always seemed to remain optimistic in spite of tough emotional, financial, marital and social pressures – women who were resourceful and creative, who could take a scrap of material and an ear of corn and make an entire meal appear upon a beautifully set table – women who raised the animals, worked the land and sweated alongside the men, but unlike the guys, were expected to clean up afterwards – and, not surprising when you considering where I live and my family ancestry, women who walked across the prairies with the handcarts, forced from their homes because of bigotry and persecution. Women to whom I can draw parallels in many ways.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t channel the spirits of pioneer women while I’m sterilizing the bottles; I don’t speak to my dead ancestors when I’m stirring the apricots and sugar; I don’t see apparitions while hot peeling the tomatoes.

Every year, however, I make it a point to remember helping my mom with the peaches, pears and cherries. For a very long time, my job was to pour sugar into the top of the fruit packed jar. I was “the best” according to my mom; nobody could do this job as well as I could. I was eventually given the task of constantly stirring the jams and later graduated to hot peeling the peaches and tomatoes. Sometimes, an aunt, grandma or neighbor would join us in the sweltering heat of the kitchen. Even though our brows would be beaded (sometimes dripping) with sweat, we would be surrounded by mounds of raw food, or we would be busy late into the night, the laughter and chatter never stopped.

As I grew older and became busier with school activities and horse-related competitions, I had less time to help with the canning. But, then again, with fewer people in the house, the need was not as great (or so I tell myself). Still, we always managed to put up a few bottles of something or another. After I moved out, I didn’t have the time, resources or equipment, and I was busy living a new life as an out lesbian with new friends, new hang outs, new games, new music.

For my 27th birthday, mom gave me a water bath canner. I was ecstatic. At the time, I thought it was because we had moved into a house with existing fruit trees. Now, I’m convinced that she knew she was dying, that the cancer had already spread, and that she wouldn’t be a candidate for a liver transplant, anyway. That same year, she stayed with us over the 4th of July weekend. I picked cherries and we pitted them well into the night – laughter and endless talk ensued; the only differences were the wheelchair and the location (the back porch enjoying a cool breeze). The next day, we put up five or six bottles of cherries – each bottle enough to fill a pie tin lined with homemade dough. Three weeks later, she died.

So, do feminism and dill pickles have a place on the same plate? I actually expected that I would answer my own question by the end of this post. I haven’t. Is it traditional women’s work or claiming and holding on to a herstory that is rightfully, and happily, mine? Either way, I’ll continue to honor the memory of the women who came before me. Women who almost certainly didn’t define themselves as feminists but who could do anything that they set their minds to, men’s work or not. Women who likely only received a smidgen of the recognition that they deserved then, I recognize them now...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

But, I gotta' disagree

I just read a very beautiful and eloquent post over on Lesbian Dad (see The Hitchin' Post - Nice play on words, by the way.) Seriously, well written. Her ability to describe the lesbian world with all of it's mind games, work arounds, obstacles and solutions is brilliant. After reading it, I feel a little more confident that love will, indeed, rise above the useless noise and hatred created, proliferated and encouraged by the religious right. She describes what works well for her and the love of her life. They have been in a committed relationship for a very long time, and that commitment ceremony held enormous significance for them, partly because they were declaring their love for each other, partly because they were publicly making that commitment, and partly because they were creating ceremony where one really doesn't exist. And, for them, I say "Hat's off, ladies!" HOWEVER, I will respectfully state here and now that I want that little piece of paper! I can't wait to wave it in the face of every conservative legislator in the state of Utah! I will clutch it tightly to my chest as we walk hand in hand through the Main Street Plaza (the heavens will surely crash around us). I can't wait to take it into the HR department and reason with them (yet again) for healthcare benefits for Bub. I don't think that it minimizes the ceremony that we had eleven years ago; I think that the official seal of the state of California strengthens our ceremony held so long ago. Borrowing from Utah Senator Scott McCoy, #1, Equal is right; and #2, [Americans] are good and fair people who understand #1. I just believe that the times are finally catching up with us. And, since I also believe that gay marriage will be legal everywhere someday, if it takes a little piece of paper from every damn state in the union to prove that I am an equal, then we'll get married 50 times! (OK, I admit that simply by being forced to travel to 50 states sadly proves that inequality still exists, but that's not my point.....) None of the hypothetical 50 marriages will diminish or change the beauty of our commitment ceremony - planned in four short days, held in front of our two best friends, and celebrated at a Mexican restaurant - but that's another story for another time. In the end, congrats to LD and her soon-to-be-legally-hitched life partner.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

PRIDE – AN EVOLUTION

***Pride, Pre-Family, 2006: ran a marathon the day before, swigged beer, acted unconcerned with UVA/UVB exposure, participated in parade, partied at the bar after the festival
***Pride, New-Family, 2007: resisted leaving the NICU at all, forgot the festival hours and showed up at closing time with just enough time to eat something, three days post delivery and FULL of hormones and therefore tears, shows new baby photos to everyone that would look, felt hurt and highly insulted when old “friends” weren’t overjoyed for us, returned to hospital immediately after our super-rushed meal
***Pride, Young-Family, 2008: cringed at the dildo ring toss located close to the kids air trampoline, consumed NO beer, attended BBQ after the festival with four other kids in attendance, was asked for sunscreen by other festival goers because “moms always have sunscreen,” directed glares and muttered comments at the smokers in the crowd, obsessed with trying to find a balloon for each kid, avoided the super-loud speakers at the dance stage, left by early afternoon

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who would have thought?

Someone actually reads this! I saw my link on her "other blogs I enjoy" area. Huh! Makes me feel somewhat cool. (Geez - I hope I've been writing something at least mildly clever!)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Never want to let go

I’m not a person who believes in CIO (cry it out) parenting. I can’t ignore their cries whether it’s naptime, bedtime, grumpiness, hair pulling, or just whining and that’s because I know that these little people have no really good way to communicate with us yet. If it works for others, then that's great - for THEM. So, in the past, when I have told people that I don’t just lay the boys down to go to sleep on their own, but that I hold/cradle/cuddle them until they doze off, people just cringe. Then comes the well meaning advice that this will be a mistake as they grow up because they will require this for a couple of years. Yeah – maybe so - maybe not. But, it's my "mistake" to make. So, this has left me feeling like an idiot parent at times, and second guessing my decision more than a few times. However, I’ve still stuck with it. I still believe that it’s not necessarily right just because it’s what a majority of people do. (If that were the case, I would be straight!) So, we rock them to sleep almost every night. After a conversation with a friend, I have decided to never feel guilty for this decision anymore. Why? Because this time will never happen again. Someday in the NOT distant future, our little guys won’t be so little anymore. They won’t need us to sing to them (in fact, someday it will be downright embarrassing). They won’t want the constant movement that the rocking chair, swaying hips, or shuffling feet brings. They will climb into big boy beds all by themselves after story time is over. Two well meaning and snuggly mommies will be replaced by stuffed gorillas or tigers, plastic dinosaurs or horses, and action heroes. Since we (I) have reluctantly agreed that we shouldn’t have more kids, we are truly never going to have this time again. Oh sure, someday there may be grandkids, but even that will be different. There will be a completely different bond and reason for the hugs and kisses. It’s even starting now. Meatball is frequently very restless and can’t get comfy unless he’s in his crib. Then, he falls right to sleep. So, I will hold on to this time in our lives for as long as the little men will allow. Every giggle, every new discovery, every scream, every bottle, every sippy cup, every fake cry will never happen in the same way again. I never want to let this time and these boys go even though I know that someday I must. There is a lump in my throat just thinking about it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"I'm still here....."

So, after the boys' birthday was over and they were tucked into bed, I tried to find some thank you cards. I found a few, but what made this search really interesting is what else I found. All of our cards and envelopes and paper are kept in one drawer of the filing cabinet. I'm in it all of the time. So, when I saw a newspaper clipping, I was surprised. I've never seen any part of a newspaper in this drawer before. So, of course, I picked it up to see what it was. Imagine my surprise when it was my mom's obituary! I'm serious. I've never seen it in this drawer before. I cried, of course, because it was as if she were trying to tell me that she had been to the party, too - or that she was sorry that she missed it and that she was sorry that me and our boys had been robbed of her far too early. The trouble with me is that as much as I want to, and as many signals as I might receive, I just have a hard time believing them. I'm too much of a data and facts person. Trust me - I really, really, really want to believe in signs and angels and guardians and care from the beyond, but it's really, really, really hard for me to do so. However, this may have been the one "coincidence" that was just too weird to avoid because I don't even know how/why her obituary would have gotten into that drawer to begin with. All of the scrapbook-type stuff is kept downstairs...... I might start believing, and if/when I do, thanks mom.

Happy First Birthday!


The celebrating began the night before the big day when Bub started the play-by-play recount of the boys birth to them. She started at about 6:30pm by telling them that my water broke in the restaurant and continued to update them through the evening. First thing the next morning, she resumed the play-by-play until it culminated in singing Happy Birthday to Meatball at 9:29 and then to Peanut at 9:41. We spent the rest of the morning getting the yard and house ready for the party. All in all, it was a great birthday! We learned some valuable lessons:
1) Do not tell Grandma the theme until the very last minute. Otherwise, she goes overboard (Elmo chair, plush toys, socks, swimming trunks, etc.).
2) Do not invite a LOT of people unless you have room for a LOT of new toys.
3) Thanks to co-workers, we learned ahead of time to buy them their own cakes because it's enough that they must share the date.
4) Even well rested babies can get sensory overload!
[BTW - when did Elmo monopolize the Sesame Street market? Where are the Big Bird, Oscar, Grover, Bert/Ernie, Cookie Monster toys, hats, clothes? I wonder if the other characters resent Elmo's fame? I feel compelled to go shopping - again - yuck - just to find something that isn't red!]

Monday, June 2, 2008

Brotherly love

As I was preparing for the boys' first birthday, my mind was wandering to so many events and special moments that have taken place over the last 12 months. One such memory was a comment from our doctor after both boys had been delivered. When my water broke, it was from Meatball's sack. We just assumed that he was anxious to meet us. After he was delivered, the doc broke Peanut's sack before I started to push again. Finally, both boys having been rushed off to the NICU, the doc was cleaning up the "aftermath" when she commented on the deteriorating state of the placenta that housed and fed Peanut. (Note: Peanut's umbilical cord had only two vessels - one artery and one vein - when most have two arteries. This accounted for his very small size.) So, the doc said "It looks like Baby A was just taking care of his brother because Baby B's placenta wouldn't have lasted much longer." Three weeks later, after having interventions that consisted of a whiff of oxygen and some tube feedings, Peanut left the hospital first. At this time, one of the NICU nurses stated that "He [Peanut] is going home first so that he can get it all ready for the other one to arrive shortly." Aw... Brotherly Love...