25 April 2011


Time is a funny animal.  

It's so impossible to understand just what it is and how it works.  Sure, humankind has been trying to get it to fit inside of our many types of boxes since, 

well, since...

the creation of man.

(I was going to say since the beginning of time... but you probably see the irony and the indefinable nature of that phrase.)

The passage of time and the marking of time in our lives is crazy too.  I think it's safe to say that we all understand what someone means when they talk about time speeding up or slowing down and how real the velocity of time feels in our everyday lives.  Even though the neat clocks and calendars that we've created seem to break it down fairly simply, time just resists obeying the confines of those boxes.  Time is much more flexible and elastic and fluid and... evasive.

In my own life, it seems like just when I feel that I am living in the present, and that I am totally appreciating my life for all that it is right now...  

just when I feel like I am really herereally now...  

something happens that knocks me off track and makes me wonder:  

Have I really been  

Have I really been  


Last week I had one of those moments where I was thrown off track.  I went to take a loaf of homemade bread to one of our neighbors.  Audrey wanted to go with me, so while the two of us were dropping the loaf off, my friend asked if Audrey would like to stay for a while and play.  (She has a daughter that is just a few months older than Audrey, they are in the same Sunday School class.)  Audrey seemed like she wanted to, and I made sure to try and communicate to her that she was staying and I was not, that I would leave her there and come back later to get her.  

Verbally, she said okay.  

But non-verbally she seemed apprehensive - she was tugging on my hand, trying to pull me into the room to play.    

I had to explain what was going to happen a few times, just to make sure she understood, and then I took my hand out of hers, her little friend, Allison, grabbed her other hand and began to lead her upstairs.

Then I walked home by myself.  That's when it hit me.  My little girl - who is clearly strong-willed and independent, is turning into a big girl.  


Not only was that the very first time she's ever been left alone with someone not related to us (besides church classes), that was the first time she's been invited over to a friend's house to play!
As I walked back home, I was thrown off track and into a world where I couldn't help but imagine all of the other play times, all of the other slumber parties, all of the parties, and dances, and Proms... that are all just looming somewhere beyond the edge of tomorrow.

I went to pick her up about an hour later.  She was reluctant to leave - she was having so much fun with Allison!

Later, we went to a nearby park so that Luke and Audrey could run around and play.  And I re-committed to stay in the present moment, as best as I can, so I can really enjoy moments like this:


I want to make sure that I do all that I can to be in the moment with my kids and experience the joy and wonder that is the essence of childhood discovery.  I don't want to get to some future day where I am filled with regrets about wishing I would've played more, or talked more, or laughed more with my kids.

Because it's memories like these:

seeing my family run toward each other, laughing and smiling, and playing, that make my life so blessed and happy.  

The love that we share.  That is what matters most.  I love how Elder Uchdorf recently put it:

"In family relationships
is really spelled 

20 April 2011

Once I Planted a Tree...

Once I planted a tree.

We planted it just days before I gave birth to Luke.  We planted it to commemorate the tragically too-short lives of my lovely nieces, Elliana and Emmaline.  I am so glad we planted this tree because it's so beautiful and it is such a poignant reminder of how fragile and how lovely life can be.

I took these pictures last night, in the early evening.  The Weeping Cherry Tree is full of buds and blossoms now and they are so lovely.

Spring blossoms, like those perfect, fragile, and beautiful girls, are simply gone too soon.

But that same perfect beauty is why I appreciate them so much, and so look forward to seeing them again.

Four Reasons Why I Gave Up

Remember back when I gave you too many details about the history of my hair?  

Here's the link to that post, in case you forgot and need a refresher.

It was just a little over a year ago when I set the goal to grow out my hair - to the point that I would be able to reach around my back and grab the ends of it with my fingertips.  I was determined.  I was holding firm in my resolve.

Then my resolve crumbled.  There were four things that happened that made me change my mind.

First of all, it's my hair.  It grows very slowly.  I've heard it said that, on average, a person grows about a half of an inch per month.  I am way, way, way below the average.  I tried to go in to get the ends trimmed about every 9 weeks to keep my hair healthy, and I don't know if the lady that cuts my hair took off too much each time or if my hair just doesn't grow very fast (or likely a combination of the two), but it always seemed like every trim was actually setting me back as far as getting any length!

The second thing that happened was pregnancy.  I've heard it said that all of the hormone fluctuation that your body goes through with pregnancy can change your hair.  I've always doubted that and put it off as one of those old wives' tales.  Old, pregnant wives' tales.  But it's true.  I can attest to it's truthfulness.  My hair  has always been straight.  Like so straight that it was even resistant to curl - if I used a curling iron it wouldn't hold the curl for very long before the curl just turned into tweaks.  After my pregnancy with Audrey, my hair was still straight - maybe even more curl-resistant, if that's possible.  Before I had Luke I cut my hair super short and then a few months later, decided to grow it out:  that's the last picture in the aforementioned post.  As my hair got longer, I noticed (and the lady that cuts my hair noticed too) all of this natural curl in my hair.  It's crazy!  I've never had any curl to my hair, not even slight waves... nothing.  It's always been straight, straight, straight. 

Oh, and it's not so super curly that it's cute though.  It's just curly enough to be a huge headache when it comes to trying to style my hair.  Even using a flat iron doesn't really do the job to straighten some of the little curly buggers.  So now it just looks like I've got a bunch of different, random cowlicks all over the back of my head.  Not cute.

The third thing that happened was me.  I'm lazy.  I don't like spending a lot of time trying to fix and style my hair.  I want to be able to do it quickly and not have to mess around a ton - with all of the curliness it was taking so much time to just try and make it look decent.

And the fourth, and probably most significant, reason that I gave up on growing my hair long is my hair.  It is just naturally fine.  Fine hair and long hair don't really mix.  Having flat, limp hair with no volume is not cute.  And there's only so much that layering and texturizing will do.

So, without further ado, here's the most recent picture of how long my hair got before I gave up:

It was taken just a couple of weeks ago, on my birthday.  I didn't even make it to my shoulders, but with my hair that might've taken until the end of the year!  And that's a long time to have flat, random cowlick-y hair!  And, really, why should I just tolerate my hair - shouldn't I really like how it looks?!  This was the epiphany that I had a few days ago.  I should like my hair - I shouldn't be frustrated with it all the time.  And, honestly, I like my hair best when it's short.  Plus, I think that there are some people that just don't have the type of hair that looks good long.  I am, unfortunately, one of those people.

But I feel okay about it because I think it goes both ways:  not everyone looks good in short hair either.

I think I am one that can pull it off.

I think.

At least, I hope I can!  

Because I cut all my hair off this morning!  And this is what it looks like:

So... what do you think?

13 April 2011

Swings, Slides, and Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Last week was my birthday. I turned 31. It was a lovely day and I wanted to share a little bit about what we did.

We woke up to a beautiful day - not only was the sky very blue, but it was also supposed to be pretty warm weather too, so after breakfast with the fam, we all piled into the car to go to a park and let the kids play. There is a park that is near our house but it typically is pretty busy - in fact the last time we went, there were so many kids going down (and then climbing up) the slide that Audrey wasn't able to enjoy the slide much at all... because all of these same kids were a little older and a little bigger and have not yet learned how to take turns... and their mothers have not yet learned how to pay attention to their bratty kids that kept pushing my little Audrey out of the way so that they could go down the slide first... and these same kids also have not yet learned how to listen to the one angry mother of the child they kept pushing (who was paying attention), who kept yelling at them to be nice and take turns....

Have I said too much?

It was awful.

Can you tell it still bothers me?

I'm working on it.

And alas, we decided to try a different park, that was a little farther away. We pulled up to the playground, and it only held a handful of young children with mothers who seemed to be there to watch their children and not just chat up other moms while their kids bully smaller children. We were feeling hopeful. I put Audrey in a swing and Adam put Luke in another.

They were having such a good time...

asking to be pushed some more, looking at each other and smiling... and laughing... and asking to be pushed some more, etc.

It was great and I was beginning to think that I couldn't ask for a better birthday.

We'd only been enjoying the swings for 2 or 3 minutes, when something terrible happened...

I heard an unmistakeable noise, a noise which clearly got Audrey's attention....

It was the rumble of a big school bus. And not just one. Four big yellow school buses pulled into the parking lot near the playground of the park. And almost as soon as the bus came to a stop, the doors were opened and hundreds of screaming, excited children came pouring out of those opened doors, careening around the fronts of the buses at break-neck speed toward the playground... and us.

Audrey and Luke literally started to tremble with trepidation.

So many kids.... So much bigger than us.... Why are they screaming so loud?

(I imagine to them it was like that scene out of Braveheart, when all of the kilted, blue makeup wearing Scottsmen are running full speed towards the English, with furry in their eyes, murder in their hearts, and massive weapons in their hands.)

So, we did what any sane parents of young children would - and went to a different park.

The next park was calm, with only a couple of clusters of young children playing. Ironically, it was the park that is nearer to our home - thankfully not as busy as usual.

The kids were able to play on the swings and the slides.

(Luke getting ready to go down, Adam ready to let go.)

Audrey and Luke had so much fun "racing" down the slides, seeing who would get to the bottom first. And then they added the fun of climbing up the slides, too. (And, just for the record, there were no other children who were waiting to play on the slides - because if there were, we would've taken turns and let them have fun on the slides too!)

I think Luke might actually like the slides as much as the swings!

Here's a short video of some of their time at the park:

It was a fabulous afternoon!

But my birthday only got better with a few gifts and blowing out candles - with Audrey's help, of course. And one of the best parts of the day was the cake.

The Cake.

Can we take a minute and talk about the cake?

First of all, for the record, Adam offered to make my birthday cake. I politely declined. Because a few years ago I let him make my birthday cake and...

well, let's just say that it didn't quite turn out...

let's just say that somehow he managed to burn the cake on one side and leave the other side runny and raw...

we're still not really sure how it happened, but it did. I ended up having to throw together a cake mix really fast, so that we'd have something to serve the guests we were having over that night. This also made it so that I am ok with making my own cake. Afterall, I do like to bake, so I don't consider it a chore to do it on my birthday. And this year was no exception. I even knew exactly what I wanted to make. I found the recipe about a year ago on a food blog that I frequently visit. And I had just been waiting for the right occasion to try it. I figured my birthday was a fitting special occasion.

It is called a Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. And it's as delicious as it sounds. It goes something like this: the bottom layer is a flour-less dark chocolate cake - moist and substantial, not gooey like a brownie. The middle layer is a milk chocolate mousse - light, airy, rich, and smooth. The top layer is a white chocolate mousse - again, light, airy and smooth; but it also balances out the dark, richness of the bottom two layers. And we're not even done! To top it all off (literally) is chocolate curls - because they add a nice, fancy touch... and they are delicious... and you can, so why not?!




I neglected to take any pictures of it - we were simply too busy eating it to be bothered with picture-taking!

But, here is the link to the recipe/blog that I found it on. You should make it. But only if you love chocolate that tastes more like heaven-on-a-plate than just regular chocolate.

11 April 2011

Two Fashion Genres

My little girl is not a slave to fashion.

She doesn't follow any of the latest trends, she just wears what she wants, when she wants. And lately, her wants have begun to follow two very specific genre lines.

She either wants to wear:

Genre number one: "pajammies" or

Genre number two: her very nicest Sunday dresses.

(You know the kind, the ones you get slightly nervous about getting dirty. These are the cute, frilly, princess-y dresses that, when you purchased them, they were intended strictly for church. The kind of dress that you have her put on right before you have to leave for church and then immediately take off right when you get home from church. These are not cotton, casual, everyday dresses that I am talking about.)

It's a bit of a struggle - her very first choice is pajammies; and not just any pair. The pajammies that is her absolute favorite was actually a top of a pajama set that I bought for myself. It's a really soft cotton that Audrey loved so much, and she would ask to wear it so often, that I ended up altering it for her (sewing little pleats into the back of the neckline) so that she could wear it as a night gown. She calls it her "Soft".

(While I have many pictures of Audrey wearing the "Soft", this was the only full-length shot I could find... yeah, it's from last Christmas!)

It's cute that she loves it so much (except when it gets dirty and I have to confiscate it just long enough to wash and dry it - those days are sometimes a struggle!). And it's only when her "Soft" is out of commission - on account of being dirty - that she will agree to wear anything else. But her first choice is always other pajammies before actual clothes.

It gets tough because I make her wear actual clothes out in public. When I have an errand to run, and she doesn't want to wear anything except her "Soft"... we always seem to have to take a trip to Tantrum City before we leave the house. And Tantrum City is just about as much fun as it sounds!

The only thing that soothes her from the trauma of having to take the "Soft" off is if I suggest she pick her own outfit. So I let her. And it's never jeans. It's never sweats. It's never shorts or a skirt, even. It's always a dress. And most of the time, it's her nicest dresses.

It would seem there is no middle ground. She either wants pajammies or "Sunday Best".

There is one other acceptable (to her) option, that while I don't let her wear it to church, she still considers it to fit in the same "nice dress" category...

Her Cinderella dress-up dress.

With my little girl, what else could it be?

And I've tried to convince her of the comfort, the practicality, the beautiful wonder of jeans... all to no avail. The girl just prefers being all dressed up - if I make her get dressed at all! (And let's be honest, there are days when she will happily stay in her "Soft" all day long.)

This was a day when I made her get dressed. She wanted to stay in her "Soft" but ended up choosing this red number... but she still couldn't quite let go and carried her "Soft" around with her as I got Luke dressed. (Which, by the way, in case you were curious - Luke has no strong feelings whatsoever about what he wears... so far!)

It was all okay, though. I even managed to get a quick smile out of her before we went on our errands that day...

and we didn't even have to make a stop at Tantrum City.

And that's a good thing!

10 April 2011

Fun and Games

One thing that I really love about Audrey getting a little older is her repertoire of games has really expanded. She understands a lot more and loves to play lot of different games.

Some of her favorites are "Candy Land" and "Chutes and Ladders".

She loves playing with her Barbie/Princess dolls - dressing and undressing them, brushing their hair and making Adam and I choose our own dolls to play and interact with her doll. She love building puzzles too - which I really love because it's something that I enjoy as well. One of her most recent favorites is the old classic Hide and Seek.

But when Audrey says it, it sounds like "Hide the sink." It's pretty funny. We play "hide the sink" with each other, but we also play "hide the sink" with the dolls! It is so much fun to hear her count to ten and then end with the warning "riddy o not, heoh I come!"

08 April 2011

So Happy Together!

A few weeks ago we braved the not-too-cold, but definitely not-warm, overcast day and went to a nearby park. The kids had a ton of fun and didn't seem to notice or mind the kinda chilly weather. They ran around, playing on the different slides and swinging on the swings, and running all around.

At one point Audrey was on the only-available little kid swing.

Luke wanted a turn.

But Audrey had really only begun and we didn't think it was fair to end her turn prematurely, lest the kiddos accuse us of playing favorites!

Always the diplomat, Adam saw a compromise that he thought would be effective and make both kids happy.

He stopped the swing just long enough to deposit Luke into the same swing, behind Audrey. I was skeptical that it would work, that both kids would be comfortable enough to enjoy the ride with the semi-cramped conditions...

But they LOVED it! Both of our kiddos are on the low end of the spectrum size-wise, and there was just enough room - this probably won't work next year, but for now they both fit and they both had so much fun swinging together, as one - literally.

They love swinging, but they also love watching their Dad run around and laughing and keeping that swing at full momentum, and optimum velocity! And I had fun capturing the joy that my wonderful husband experiences when he's playing with his kids... and I love seeing how his enthusiasm is so infectious for them!

There is nothing better than watching your kids enjoy each other! More often than not, Audrey and Luke just have fun, they are so happy together - I hope their love can survive all of the usual sibling rivalry junk of child and teenage years so that they will always be best friends.

And in the meantime I will just relish in the sound of them cracking each other up and having laughing fits.

07 April 2011

On the Rebound

March Madness may be behind us...

(wow, is anyone else a little shocked that it's April already?!)

but basketball is still the number one game in our house.

(Luke with a bad case of The March Madness!)

A couple of months ago I found a little basketball hoop in a clearance section for super cheap. It was right after Luke started walking and I thought it would be a great way to get both of the kids involved in an active, physical game that we could also play inside. We were all infected with "cabin fever" - sick of being stuck inside but it was still to cold to venture out for long, so I thought this would be the perfect remedy.

They weren't really that interested.

But Adam and I made up for it with small games of PIG every once in a while. Well, seeing us play piqued the interest of Audrey and Luke and they started wanting to get in on the action. Audrey is just tall enough to dunk. It's awesome. Luke, however, is still a little young and lacks the skill and coordination needed to shoot, but he still loves to play. When he wants to shoot (read: put the ball in the hoop), he'll take the ball and walk to the basket and then hold the ball over his head. Then Adam or I will lift him up and he'll throw/drop the ball in the hoop. And he laughs and laughs and has a great time.

As I said, his age has limited some of his technical ability to do certain things - like shoot, dunk, and dribble the ball. But he certainly tries to improvise. His version of dribbling the ball is to simply drop it right in front of him and let it bounce a few times on it's own and then pick it up again, and drop it again. (And he watches it intently the whole time.)

It's pretty cute.

I think his favorite thing to do, though, is get the rebounds. He loves going after the ball after we have shot it. He'll retrieve the ball and bring it back to us and we'll shoot it again. Over and over and over again.

And then he laughs as he goes and gets the ball again.

It may sound funny, but it's really more like playing fetch than anything else!

(Mom, did you just make an analogy that makes me sound like a dog?!)

He loves going and getting the ball even if it hasn't been shot through a basketball hoop - sometimes I'll just roll the ball on the ground to him and he'll pick it up and bring it back to me, only to have me roll it away again!

Like every great athlete, he's versatile and excels at many different skills. Here, it looks like he's taking a break between fetching, I mean, rebounding the ball, to do a short ballet-inspired impressionistic dance.

(Other kids are jealous of my nice extension - look at those pointed toes!)

Those fancier moments don't last long before my boisterous boy is back to cause some serious mayhem on the basketball "court"...

So, watch out!!