Monday, September 24, 2012

The Sugar Cookie and The Little Boy

One morning, while big sister was at school, mama gave her little boy a sugar cookie.

It was a soft, crumbly sugar cookie with light pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles.  It was beautiful.  The little boy sat on the big kitchen chair with his bare feet sticking straight out and nibbled his soft cookie.  He was happy, and mama relished his sweet smiles in the morning sun.

The sprinkles began to fall onto the table as the little boy nibbled his cookie, and mama began to empty the dishwasher and perform other household chores.  And the little boy enjoyed his cookie; and then...he found a new way to enjoy his cookie.  As any little boy knows, and as every mama clearly does *not* know, the delicious frosting from a soft sugar cookie is more thoroughly enjoyed when rubbed between the toes.

And so, mama returned to the kitchen after a short minute, and found her little boy scraping the light pink frosting from his soft sugar cookie and rubbing it between his wiggly little toes.  For what reason, his mama will never know, but she smiled and scooped up her little boy with the pink frosted toes and nuzzled and kissed his sticky neck all the way to the sink.  He was a cute, cuddly little boy with a light pink frosting on his face and in between his toes and rainbow sprinkles in his chubby hands.  And he was beautiful.


Block Party!!

So Kristoffer and I hosted our FIRST ever block party this past Saturday night!  I've been wanting to do one for a while, and Kris was simultaneously looking for a ward missionary/community fellowship opportunity, so we both landed on this block party. 

 It actually turned out way better than I had thought.  We did some flyers and passed them out about two weeks beforehand, asking people to RSVP if they were coming.  I got one RSVP a week before, and then two more the day before the party.  I was getting a little ticked at the lack of community cohesion at that point, and was planning a stoic revolt, complete with passing out flyers with a bright red CANCELLED on the front "due to lack of community response and interest.".  I talked myself out of this obviously and we went ahead with the party.

We had planned to have our 4 ward missionaries there ahead of time, just to make it seem less awkward, and it worked out really wonderfully.  Just note, this wasn't a come-and-be-converted kind of thing, we just wanted to bring community and church together in a fun, relaxing way.

Everyone was asked to bring their own meat to grill and a dish to share.  This lessened the cost for us considerably, and we just provided the drinks, the grill, some chairs and a little bonfire.

I wish I was able to get more pictures, but I was having way too much fun!


 Marin washing her hands at the spigot after some sticky roasted marshmallows.

All in all, I think about 7 families showed up from the two streets we invited.  Truthfully, a little lame, and I'm still underwhelmed at the lack of response we received, but I am totally grateful we had the people come who DID come.  It was so nice to meet people and chat and have a relaxed evening with a little buzz and excitement in our own backyard.  We'll have to do another one next year, and get a better turnout!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

When I Want To Remember...

Perhaps it was the fact that I was his third child, and he felt like maybe he had a little more of an opportunity as a father to influence me than his first two children.  From the time I can remember, my father listened to three things: country music, NPR radio, and Garrison Keillor on Sunday.

And as a young girl, not only was I blown away at the actual volume at which he played them, particularly in the car, but also at how boring NPR radio was to me at the time.  And so, I happily enjoyed the alternative, country music.  

When I was old enough to have my own radio, I would roll the dial to only station I knew at the time; 98.1, WHWK...the Hawk!  They played for me the likes of Alabama, Garth Brooks, Reba McIntyre, Tanya Tucker, Linda Davis, Alan Jackson.  All of the early 1990 classic performers.  Sunday mornings were a little bit of a drag for me, because they had a special 'oldies' program where they played classic country songs from the 50's and 60's.  I may not have tuned in to that program often, but I heard bits and pieces of songs that influenced the music I was growing to love.

My older siblings were beyond the point of appreciating country music.  My big brother consistently made fun of my choice of 'twangy' garbage music.  As a nine year old at the time, I didn't have a wide variety of comebacks that would have made him reconsider his bashing; so I stuck with the usual retorts of "YOU'RE music is dumb!"  and "I'm telling!".  

Despite all of this, and all the years of running into people who don't appreciate country music, I still love country music.  I have come to appreciate many different kinds of music and I love that there is so much variety to choose from.

But....when there is something I want to remember, I always listen to country music. 

When there is a memory I want to embrace and touch and feel, I always listen to country music.  It always takes me to exactly where I need to be, and gives me a familiar comfort of things I have loved that are no longer; moments that have passed; people I used to know.

So last night, as I pondered the quickly fading life of an Uncle over 2,000 miles away, I played my country music, and remembered him.  While he's always been very distant, and truthfully, I can count on both hands the number if times I have seen him in my life, a small part of my heart ached to feel and remember those small and brief memories I have of him.  He may not have touched the lives of many people, but in the final moments of life, every dying person deserves to have someone remember them, and love them, and maybe shed a few tears for them.  Every person, no matter how far they have taken themselves, should know that their life was worthwhile, and that someone can maybe feel some of their deeply covered grief.  

And as I played my music, I remembered those few moments, those moments of precious rhetoric I had with a distant Uncle. And I was grateful.  And I'm sure he would choose country music over NPR radio, too.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Odds and Ends Pictures

Our same wonderful photographer and friend, Jessica along with her hubby Troy, watched our kids the other week so Kris and I could go on a date.  She took some practice pics of our kids.  And I just couldn't leave them out.

 I wish Owen had a happy face on.  Look at Mr. Somber-pants!

 That's a little better!

Love my sweet kids!

Family Photo-shoot, September 2012

MY.  OH.  MY.
*Warning, these pictures may elicit cute and cuddly verbiage, and a strong desire to be adopted into our family.  These feelings are normal.  And we are not looking to adopt.*

Ok, in all seriousness, these pictures turned out GREAT with a capital G!  They are so, so, SO cute!  And I have to give credit to my friend and photographer, Jessica Johnson.  She lives in our ward, and we love hanging out with her and her hubby.  She did a fantastic job of catching the smiles on those kids before we even knew what happened.  It was a beautiful morning, and the park that we were in was a great place, even though they had football teams, track teams, soccer teams, AND a 5K walk going on at this same park that SAME day.  Neither Kris nor I had EVER seen Sugarhouse Park as packed to the gills as it was this past Saturday morning.

We had the usual morning RUSH to get ready.  I slept terribly the night before, so I iced my eyeballs and lathered on the concealer, thank goodness for modern marvels, eh?  The kids actually did really well.  After about 30 minutes, they were totally done.  Marin was ready to collect on her promise of a treat, and Owen was ready for a bottle of milk and a nap.  We made it!  And somehow I survived the pre-photo-shoot wardrobe trauma drama.  

So, without further ado, our little family.

Check out this Sister-Brother duo!
 Kristoffer and I with our crazy kidlets.
 I wanted Marin to have her own little piece of jewelry, so I magically found this necklace at Kohls for 85% off.  I got it for like, 8 or 10 dollars, and it has Swarovski crystals, so cute!
 Her pretty "sprinkle" shoes.
 Here we all are!
 Up close family shot.
 Look at this pretty girl, she is just adorable.

 Check out this handsome stud-muffin!  Wowza!
 Just Kristoffer and I.

 A precursor to the next picture...
 YUCK!  Check out that Marin face!

 Daddy and his little girl.
 I love the one above, she is such a cute girl.
 This is such a great candid.  We were swinging Owen in between pictures to keep him smiling.
 Daddy with the kids.
 No one likes dad around here, can you tell?
Mama and Owen.

 Happy boy.
 Marin and Mama, I LOVE this one.

 Daddy and his boy.  I love the candid look of sheer GLEE on Owen's face.
 My two handsome boys.
The end of the day!

We are SO grateful to Jess for doing this photo shoot for us.  We haven't really had such an official photo shoot, and this is such a blessing, to be able to document our family like this.  It was a lot of work to prepare for this as a mom, and a lot of work to pull it off during the shoot, but totally worth it.  Thanks, Jess!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Farmer's Market

Saturday, oh how I love thee.  Nothing is better than having a Saturday with my cute little family.  We try to do fun stuff on Saturday since our weeks can be pretty busy.  

This Saturday, we went to Gardner Village and the farmer's market they have there.  I am a terrible photographer, I don't take nearly as many pictures as I should, due in part I think to the fact that I LOVE farmer's markets and can't keep my eyes off of the local goodies for sale.

Marin, of course, found the toys and the stuffed animals.  She is such a little girl and *loves* her stuffed animals; they are so real to her!  And I totally remember being little and thinking the same thing, in fact, I really miss that part of my imagination :(

 The whole crew!
 We found a semi-shady place to sit while we waited for our brick oven BBQ chicken pizza.
 Mmmm, our brick oven BBQ chicken pizza.  My only complaint is that I had to share!  We had some fresh limeade to go with it, yumm!
 And then we went to some indoor carnival/kids place.  It was actually super cute.  They had rides for kids, a magic show, and mini-golf.  Kris took Marin for a round of mini-golf while Owen took a snooze on my shoulder.  I can't say I was sad to have a sweet little buddy sleeping in my arms, all too soon he'll be too big.  He was one hot tamale, though.  That boy is just like his daddy, a *furnace*!  His feet are always hot and sweaty.
 Marin did great, although, she's still 4 and obviously doesn't get the concept of min-golf just yet.  That's ok, she and daddy had great fun.  Owen joined them for the last couple of holes to try his hand.

And THIS Saturday, we have family pictures coming up, YAY!!  I'm excited and happy and pulling my hair out all at the same time.  We've had kind of informal family pictures before, but I feel like this is our actual FIRST scheduled family photo shoot with a friend from our ward.  I've been stressing about outfits.  Oh, how I have stressed about the outfits.  I'll spare you the dirty details, but let's just say I was on the verge of tears twice today on two separate visits to the the 5th store.  I think I have my outfit figured out, I'll have Kris give me a final look over tonight.  And I think Marin's and Owen's outfits are relatively put together.  My poor husband...well, I have no idea what he'll wear.  It's hard to string together 4 outfits on a tight budget.  BUT, hopefully we'll have success, no?  After all, the pictures are for us, not the clothes.

Friday, September 7, 2012

It's Time

If you've been reading my blog, you know my thoughts on running.  I'm not a huge fan of it, I'm not that great at it, but I do it anyway.  My dedication to running ebbs and flows with the months.  Some months I could care less and opt for the elliptical, and other months I push it hard.  And from time to time, I've toyed with signing myself up for a race...not to win, but to finish.  And I've never done it...UNTIL now.

Now hang on, before you think that I've signed up for some crazy marathon, or even a half marathon, I haven't.  That would be emotional suicide!  I'm slightly terrified of failure, and I like a gradual introduction to things.  SO, I've signed up for my first 5K.  That's right, 3.1 miles of yours truly re-living her running memoirs of times past, wohooo!

I am nervous and excited all at the same time.  Nervous because I've given myself a deadline to run 3.1 miles nonstop, and running is hard for me!  But I'm also excited.  Excited because I'm ready to be done fearing something that's hard for me.  I feel like this is almost a little milestone for so much more than running.  I'm ready to stop being afraid of things that require a lot of effort.  

I'm learning that just because something is hard, that doesn't mean it's bad; it just means that it's hard work.  And in my 28 years of life, I've learned that a lot of things that are worth achieving, require hard work.  It's still hard to dissociate hard work from being 'bad', but I'm starting to get there.  I think my first real eye-opener was my birth experience with Owen, and now I'm ready to begin tackling a new area, running.  It's more than running, it's what it symbolizes.  I'm not expecting any part of it to be easy, and I'm not even expecting it to be easy when I'm done with my 5K.  I'm just expecting more of myself, because I know I can do hard things, I KNOW I can.  

I'm ready to be done holding back because I'm afraid of some hard work.  I'm ready to work and sweat and feel pain and accomplish my goal and set a great example for my kids.  It may be a small goal, but it will lead me to bigger and better things, and I'm ready for the challenge.  I'm also considering some other goal-worth challenges soon, I'll let you know when I've decided.

SO, my 5K is in American Fork on Thanksgiving Day, a Turkey Trot!!  I've been running on the treadmill at the gym, and have kept telling myself that it takes more than 3 days to train for this.  I'll do about 2.25 miles with scattered walking, slow jogging and fast jogging interspersed, and it's a workout for me!  I always turn red when I run, my face looks like I'm about to have a heart attack, I've even had two people at the gym ask me if I was OK.  "Yes, people, I'm fine.  Not everyone can look gorgeous when they run.".  So, I'll keep you all posted on my progress!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dental Doom and Gloom

Have I totally scared you away with this title?  I know, I'm sorry.  Any words that are less than happy and are next to the word "Dentist", usually elicit a terrifying response.  So I'll share the whole story:

Marin went to the dentist.  
She really was an excellent little patient.  And the staff was super happy and nice.  She did great!
Her teeth got a less than stellar report card.
SEVEN cavities!!!!!!!!!!!! (did I use enough exclamation marks?  NO I need more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
I didn't even know 4 year olds *had* seven teeth (ok, that's a lie, but you can sense my frustration, no?)

I sat in the dim corner in my designated 'parent' chair and felt myself shrinking as the dentist kept calling off cavities like hot-cake diner orders...."cavity on C4, order up!".  I felt about 2 inches tall by the time the dentist looked up at me and saw my shocked and embarrassed face.  I stumbled over my words when he started the interrogation: "Does she drink a lot of sugary drinks?  Does she brush her teeth?  Do you inject sugar in her mouth after she falls asleep at night?"  Ok, so maybe he didn't ask *that* question, but I may have been a little light-headed at the moment as large dollar bill signs kept knocking me in the head.

I responded:
Umm, uhhh, yes, we brush her teeth and uhhh, we only give her diluted juice once or twice a day uhhhh, how can this even happen?!

The dentist was super nice, but I saw a brief smug look of 'did-you-know' cross his face when he informed me that apple juice is the worst kind of juice you can give your kids.  Sorry about that Dr. DDS, they don't exactly advertise that on the Mott's label; and, should I be switching to grape juice then?  I'll be sure to call you to scrub my couch and carpet for future spills.

So I choked out my embarrassment and then the dentist switched gears, for which I was grateful.  He told me that some kids just have a certain bacteria in their mouth and no matter how much they brush, cavities.  And some kids never brush their teeth, no cavities.  Of course.  My poor sweet girl.  She has terrible vision, and now her teeth.  I hope this is as bad as it gets, for her sake!

So, we have a few more visits back to the dentist.  I'm hoping we can just use laughing gas to accomplish the task at hand, but we shall see.

Here's the cute girl getting all ready for a cleaning.
 She really did a great job, she was super obedient.
 Lounging around.
Thank goodness for flex-spend accounts.