Me and My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I think some of the best lessons in life come from our children. I was reminded of this yet again tonight by my five year old daughter Luca.

I had a bad weekend. I had a cold. I wasn’t so sick that I felt I could lay in bed all day with no guilt, but my head hurt and my body ached and I didn’t feel like doing anything. The kids were fighting a lot more than normal and when I would try to rest they would run in the room to tell about how naughty someone else was being so I never really got the sleeping kind of rest I was hoping for.

On Saturday evening I got the devastating news that my uncle had very unexpectedly passed away. He was only 65 years old and had just had a physical and had been told he was perfectly healthy. It turned out he had a heart defect that is undetectable with normal testing and he had a massive heart attack. The family was stunned and it still feels very surreal. I don’t feel like going into any detail, since happened so recently and I still feel like if I don’t talk about maybe it is a big awful mistake.

I have talked to my Mom off and on and I know how much pain she and everyone else is in. This is the first death we have had in the family that wasn’t somewhat expected. It has made living so far away very hard as I wanted to be there so badly for my Mom and others. I briefly looked online to see what a flight would cost and how open they were and got discouraged as I realized it probably wasn’t very realistic to go down for the funeral. Aside from the cost I didn’t know what I would do with my three little kids while Brett worked, and as a mother I worry about all the little things like “would Anna be okay in underwear all day if I am not there? (she is newly potty trained)” and “how would Luca get to and from school without me?” I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I would not be there. I didn’t sleep well at all the next two nights and my mood slowly became grouchier and more depressed. On Sunday I got by since Brett was here to referee the kids and let me rest and recover from my cold, but I woke up today with a black cloud over my head and not an ounce of “let’s play!” in me. I was snappy with the kids and got on them for things that were just the result of being 2, 4, and 5 and not of being the devils spawn. I wanted to be by myself so I encouraged them to play in their rooms or the family room or watch a movie while I let myself sink deeper into my deep dark hole. I felt guilty as I put Luca on the bus at 12:45pm and I was still in my sweat pants that I had slept in and Lincoln still had his pajamas on under his jacket and I realized that I had hardly had any “real” time with Luca before she left. I went home and fought Anna to go down for a nap, which she refused, so I confined her to the couch with the Disney Channel and a bag of fruit snacks. Three hours later when it was time to pick Luca up I was STILL in my sweat pants and Lincoln still had his pajama top under his jacket that had never been taken off when we got home. We were running late so I grabbed a blanket and threw it in the wagon and took the kids barefoot to catch the bus. (The bus driver saw us running down the road and kindly waited a minute to let Luca off)

Luca was a bundle of happy energy when she got off the bus. I couldn’t help but smile as she excitedly told me about a birthday invitation in her backpack and how she was only one of two kids in the class that got invited to this particular party. We started walking home when I stopped and thought about the dark neglected house and said, “Do you want to go for a walk before we go home?” All the kids yelled “YAHH!” so we turned around and started down the sidewalk. I truly looked like something the cat dragged in. I had a black fleece hat over my hair that I had barely brushed, no makeup, black sweat pants (that I had slept in the night before), an oversized University of Utah sweatshirt, short white athletic socks, and bright red slip on suede leather mules (which of these things is different than the other?), but I decided we needed to go for a walk. We ended up walking about two miles or so…and of course all three kids ended up in the wagon so I was huffing and puffing by the time we got home. The kids were chatty and excited the entire time and although my black cloud was slowly lifting, I was still quiet and mostly just listened to their chatter. When we got home and walked in the house Luca said, “Mmmmmm, it smells like Grandma’s house in here!” (I had pulled my head out enough to put beef stew in the crock-pot after lunch). It made me smile as I realized that beef stew does remind me of Mom and Dad’s house and it was a comforting smell to come home to.

The night continued to get a bit better. I sat and played through some Hymns on the piano and that always comforts me and lightens my spirit. I made sure to hold each of the kids on my lap and talk and bond with them at different times during the evening. We read together like usual before bed and the kids made me laugh with their funny comments about “King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub”.

When the kids were down (or SUPPOSED to be down…the night didn’t end perfectly with kids going right down like angels) Brett and I somehow started talking about the possibility of me flying down on standby. I had already looked up flights and knew they were quite full so I didn’t have much hope. After Brett spent some time looking around he confirmed what I already suspected that it would be very risky for me to go down without a solid ticket. I had already told myself I wasn’t going so I wasn’t any more upset about it than I had been. I told him it was probably better I didn’t go because I would miss the kids and they would think I had abandoned them and “WHO WOULD MAKE SURE THAT WE HAD A TEN DAY SUPPLY OF CHOCOLATE MILK IN THE FRIDGE IF I WAS GONE?!?!”….you know, the important stuff. After putting the girls back to bed for the 80th time I came back downstairs and Brett told me that he could get me a ticket with his Amex points. Apparently they have seats already reserved that don’t show up on the regular flights and there was a direct flight and it would only cost $10 (and 19,000 Amex points!). All the sudden I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go! I WANTED to go, but I would be leaving my house and my husband and my kids and my dog and my slipper socks (what? There’s not a ban on slipper socks on airplanes? Phew) for an entire FOUR DAYS. I realized how ridiculous I was being and told Brett to go ahead and book the flight. Of course, he already had (what a man!) and I was scheduled to leave my family for the weekend. I felt an immediate sense of relief and a huge weight off my shoulders and the remaining part of the little black cloud that was still slightly drizzling on my head left.

I went upstairs to get a t-shirt to work out in (I didn’t have to get anything else…I was still in my sweat pants and my athletic socks and my hair was still in the same raggy ponytail) and ran into Luca who was coming out of the bathroom. She had tears in her eyes and she quietly said, “Are you going away on an airplane”. Apparently she can hear really well through the vent in her room (note to self…buy an extra pillow to cover vent in room) and had heard us talking about the flight plans. I took her back to bed and lay by her and Anna and explained what had happened and why I needed to go back and that I wouldn’t be very long. Of course Lincoln had been soundly asleep since I laid him on his pillow three hours prior to this. Brett slipped in while we were talking and said the magic words, “Chucky Cheese” and that made them smile. I told Luca how fun it would be to see them at the airport next Tuesday morning when they picked me up in their pajamas at 12:30 in the morning. Anna yelled, “And you will give us lots of kisses and lots of hugs?!?!”

So I got way off the subject of what I had initially planned on writing about, but the thing I was thinking about tonight was how dark my mood was the first part of the day and how really I felt like the world’s worst mother and still at the end of the night Luca just wanted to wrap her arms around me and hug me and cry a little and tell me how much she would miss me. She will be fine, but it is nice to know that I am loved and I will be missed. Also, Brett is gone 11–12 hours a day with his commute and work and today he came home to an ugly, smelly, gloomy wife, but he still hugged me and gave me a kiss all the same and didn’t comment about the outfit I was in that I also had been wearing as I slept in bed when he left early this morning. Then he spends over an hour and a half finding a way for me to go back to be with my family, even though it means a missed day of work for him and being a single Dad for the weekend so that I can go.

I also thought about the story that a teacher told me about in grade school about how our moods affect other people. The story went something like, “A dad came home after a bad day at work and snapped at his wife, who yelled at her son, who pinched his sister, who kicked the dog”. I had always thought of it in terms of not taking our bad moods out on other people. When Luca got off the bus with an excited smile on her face, even after a rough morning with a grouchy mom, I remembered that we can also share our good moods with others and she did that for me and started the change of what I thought was a day that I just wanted end. When she hugged me and kissed me tonight she showed me that we can forgive others for their bad moods instead of handing it right back to them with an extra serving like I find myself doing at times.

Boston Legal-ized

Brett and I bought the first season of Boston Legal on dvd and loved it. We are waiting anxiously for the second season to come in the mail because the last episode of season one really leaves ya hanging. Anyways, we are so dorky and get excited when we first turn it on and the theme music starts to play. We both start singing “Bow. bow. bow bow bow bow bow bow” along with it. If you haven’t seen the show you have to listen to the link or that makes no sense. So the tune sticks in my head and I sing it to the kids all the time and they are starting to sing it to. I will sing, “Lu. Luc. Lucey luc luc la luc” (to Luca of course) and she will sing back, “What. Mom. Mommy Mom Mom MaMom?” Then I will say, “Go. Get. Rea-dy for schooly-school” and she will answer, “But. What. Am I goi-going to wear. “ You get the picture. (you must be thinking, “this. chicks. ve-ery weird weird-y weird”)


Favorite Baby Gifts

The ladies at church threw me a baby shower when I was pregnant with each of my three kids. They were so generous and kind and thoughtful to give me one and especially kind and generous to give me one for #2 and #3. I was looking through my box of stuff that I would like to scrapbook someday, but I don’t scrapbook so it will stay in a box until Brett throws it away, and I came across some of the cards from the baby showers. It got me thinking about some of the cool and useful gifts I received and some of the things I have found out about since then that I would love to give or receive at a baby shower. Here is my list of fav’s:

Raffi: Let’s Play — This is full of fun and catchy songs for kids to sing, dance, and play to. My kids know every song on the disc and never tire of it. It is the cd I feel like playing when the sun finally comes out in Seattle. It just sounds sunny to me. I especially like the added verse to “If you’re Happy and You Know it” that says, “If you’re beautiful and you know it shout hurray!” We like to shout an exuberant “Hooray!!” when we sing it. I also like that my kids could all have a Beatles song memorized by the time they were two years old. (Yellow Submarine)

Martha Stewart Baby: Sleepytime — One of my kids favorite cd’s to fall asleep to (this is the other one). The melodies are soft, simple, and soothing. I just looked through the list of songs to pick out a couple of my favorites and I can’t even do that because they are all so good. But if I HAD to pick a favorite I guess it would be “Baby Mine” by Alison Kraus, because I love anything by Alison Kraus and Dumbo still makes me cry and miss my Momma. Brett’s really likes “Love is Strange” by Everything But The Girl. (by the way, their other favorite bedtime cd is Kenny Loggins: Return to Pooh Corner. Also a great one)

Martha Stewart Kids: Playtime — Another great Martha Stewart music compilation! listening to this cd just makes me smile…and even more importantly, it makes my kids smile! When I hear it it makes me want to be the mom that makes cookies with her kids and lets them pour everything in the bowl and mix it all by themselves (all the while with a smile on her face) and who lets the kids play with play dough whenever they want. The only song I don’t love on this cd is “Mocking Bird” by Carly Simon and James Taylor. Love them, the song just gets a bit monotonous. But I do LOVE “The Fox” by Nickel Creek (we are huge Nickel Creek fans) and “Jump Up” by Dan Zanes and Friends.

Piggies by Audrey Wood and Don Wood — I got this book at Lincoln’s baby shower and it is still a favorite with my kids. It is a book that can be read to babies, toddlers, or kids. The kids like to find each of the pigs on each page and then they search for the balloon and the beach ball.

Anything made by my friend Shae, but especially something with minkee fabric — Her blankets are just the best! She has a great eye for colors, patterns, and fabric matching and she bundles it all up cute with a ribbon and tag. They are well worth the price and you can’t find a softer or better made blanket for what she charges. I haven’t personally seen the shopping cart covers, but I definitely want one if I have another baby.

Kiehl’s baby products — They are a bit pricey, but if you want a special and unique gift this is a great one. I was at a shower for a friend and someone gave her a basket with an assortment of Kiehl’s baby products, ($$kaching!!) and I fell in love with them. They are very gentle for baby’s soft skin and great for little ones with sensitivity to other products.

Anything from Janie and Jack — Again, kinda spendy, but we have always found darling clothing on the sale rack. I like to send it to family in Utah for gifts because they don’t have any stores there yet. The boy’s t-shirts are my very favorite to get for Lincoln and we really like the rugby’s and button ups for him as well.

Kidco Baby Food Mill — I got this at my work shower when I was pregnant with Luca and didn’t realize what a neat little tool it was until a few months later. We could grind up pretty much whatever we were eating for dinner and I wouldn’t have to mix up a separate meal or feed her out of a jar. We ground pasta dishes, steamed veggies, fruit, and oatmeal…just to name a few. I think I even ground up a piece of pizza once and she loved it!

Gift Certificates or anything I have registered for — duh!

And my all time favorite gift to give or receive is anything homemade. The quilts, afghans, bibs, blankets, headbands, and the darling ladybug dress with a pinafore that my boss Mindy made me for Luca are all treasured gifts that have been given to our babies and they are ones that I will always remember.


Four month old Luca in ladybug dress

A Little Too Much Information

Okay, maybe I am just a prude, but I had the weirdest experience today with my twelve year old neighbor girl. I pull up into my driveway and start unloading my kids and she comes skipping up my driveway with her nine year old sister in tow.

She says, “Guess what I started yesterday?!”

“Uhhhh, I don’t know what?”

“It starts with a P!”

“Hmmm, piano lessons?”

“I will give you a hint. Blood everywhere”

Then her sister blurts out from behind her, “she started her period!”

After my face turned bright red and I mumbled a congratulations I hurried my kids into the garage and yelled over my shoulder, “gotta go!”

First of all…gross!! I don’t want to hear that! (and you probably don’t either…sorry) Second of all, she says it like I am her twelve year old best friend. I haven’t even seen this girl in months! And third, did you have to say the word “blood”. Ewwwww. I didn’t tell my best friend OR my mom when I was a teenager and it makes me blush to even say that much.

Is this just how it is now? When my girls are adolescents are they going to want to announce it on a marquee?

A Little Drugged Up

I don’t know what it is about Nyquil and me. Everyone else I know can take it and function fine the next day. I took it last night at 10:30 and I stumbled…no, I floated to my bed about 12:30. I slept like a rock until Brett left about 7am and then I was too groggy to get out of bed, but too restless to sleep. I was a little numb through the morning, but I did okay until about the time Luca went to school. I went home and put Anna to bed, told Lincoln he had no limit on his Nintendo playing for the afternoon and set my alarm clock for an hour later, thinking that was all the nap I needed to revive myself. Wrong. After hitting the snooze button multiple times I said, “screw it”, and turned it off completely. (kinda just hoping in the back of my head that I would wake up in time to pick Luca up from the bus) I slept heavily for the next two and a half hours (with a 30 second break to turn Lincoln’s pants right side out so he could put them back on) and woke up with ten minutes to get the kids in the car and drive down to pick up Luca at the bus stop. It has been 25 hours since I took it and I still have a bit of a buzz. I guess that is why I only take it once or twice a year…until the next time I forget what it does to me.

On the same note…the kids all have colds so at 7:30 I gave them all some cold medicine. They were sleeping like rocks by 8:30. This is probably the norm in most households with young children, but these are children of two extreme night owls, and grandchildren of the worst night owl I know. Brett and I were teasing tonight that at the hint of a sneeze, cough, or a tickle in the throat we will be offering the kids some yummy grape stuff in a little plastic cup.

“Want some pepper on your dinner?”


“Whoops, Mom spilled a little, but let’s get you some medicine before that cold gets any worse.”

Finding the Motivation

So I hopped on the treadmill tonight after an eleven day sabbatical of exercise. The next longest break I have had since August was four days. Even though I somehow still managed to lose a couple of pounds (and fit into a size of pants I haven’t been able to wear for over seven years!) I was sure starting to feel flabby! Maybe the feeling of flab was psychological, I don’t know, but I am glad I dragged my tired butt off the couch after my tivo marathon of all of last week’s episodes of Day’s of Our Lives (skipping through to the story lines I like, so not as bad as it sounds). Hopefully I am recovering from two weeks straight of feeling too tired to workout because if felt really good to start back up again.

I think I better go shopping and try new clothes on more often. It is my new motivator. I told Brett that when I reach my goal I am going to go on a hunt for jeans that I love and not even look at the price tags. I have always been a bargain jeans buyer and it might be fun to get a stylin’ new pair from a store not at the outlet mall. Brett better start saving his pennies because I am only ten pounds (and one size!) away and my first stop is Nordstrom!

This is what he got me when I hit my halfway point to my goal. He knows how to encourage me!

A Snow Day

We woke up this morning to a winter wonderland…rather, the kids woke up and then woke us up to a winter wonderland. I grew up in the the desert of southern Utah so I am not very experienced with snowy activities like snowballs and snowmen and snow angels and such, but I did my best since Brett was stuck on the computer working from home.


I bundled up the kids in long sleeved shirts, hats, scarves, gloves, double layered socks, and garden boots (again, I grew up in the desert). Lincoln has never had a real winter coat, because…well…I don’t know why, so I layered him with an third layer under his jacket and out we went. The first thing they did of course was try to be the first one to build and throw a snowball. Luca and Lincoln struggled a bit and begged me…me!…to show them how to build a snowball. As I was pretending to know what I was doing Lincoln got a face full of snow. Anna (the two year old) had figured it out. Lincoln started to cry until I reminded him that he owed her one and he grabbed a handful of snow and tossed it nicely back at her. It separated and fell apart before it got anywhere near her, but he was satisfied.


Our next conquest was a snowman. This is usually Brett’s job so I searched my memory for the two times I have watched Brett build a snowman for the kids and started rolling a snowball. There wasn’t a whole lot of snow and it was very fluffy and dry and didn’t hold together very well so I told the kids, “Let Mommy do this part! It is really hard to get it to stay together and we don’t have very much snow and if we all try to do it there won’t be enough for our snowman. Yep, just stand back and let Mom take care of this. It is really hard to push it around and it would make you really tired….”. As I finished up the base of the snowman I hear a little pipsqueak voice behind me, “Here’s one mom!” Anna again had figured it out and rolled out a piece to the snowman even bigger and better than mine all on her own. (blush)


We never did finish the snowman (which would have only been about two feet high anyways) because the neighbor boy across the street came out and my kids dashed across the street to pelt him with snowballs. I had to remind Lincoln that we don’t stand one foot in front of someone and throw the snowball at their face. Luckily, neighbor boy Aaron is a very kind and forgiving boy. Anna refused to leave her cotton gloves on and I don’t blame her since they were twice the size of her hands, so she kept sticking her fingers in her mouth to warm them up. I kept asking if she wanted to go in the house to warm up and she would just say, “I not cold Mom”. Uh okay, Your hands are the color of a magenta crayola crayon, but you’re not cold.


Then the kids decided to make snow angels. They must have learned this on tv, because they have never seen me lay down in the snow and flail my arms and legs around allowing snow to make its way up my pant legs and shirt sleeves. I have to admit they did look like angels as they giggled and smiled at me as they lay in the snow. By this time my feet were in a lot of pain. My heavy duty wool Timberland socks weren’t giving me enough insulation. They probably weren’t meant to be worn in rain boots though. (the 1998 version of these. Not warm…but cute!) I tried in vain to round up the kids to go in the house, but they weren’t done so I shivered for another fifteen minutes as they ran around chasing and throwing and yelling and laughing. I finally mumbled “hot chocolate” and they raced and tumbled back into the house.

Tonight we got several more inches of snow so I expect another morning spent in the snow tomorrow. Brrrrr!

Lincolns Pirate Party


We had a pirate birthday party for Lincoln, who turned four last week, and invited 9 kids over. With my three kids added to the mix we had a total of twelve kids between the ages four and five for over an hour and a half! Eight of the kids, including Lincoln, are in my primary class at church so they knew each other very well and were quite comfortable with me…for good and bad!

The night before the party I put together this for Lincoln and it was a huge hit for all the kids. It was a little frustrating to put together and took me about forty minutes or so, but was well worth it. The Playmobil toys are well made and pretty easy to figure out the assembly. I was going to make this cake, but after reading the reviews that said it was very difficult to get it to hold together, and considering I am not an expert in the cake decorating field, I made one up instead. It was simple and quick and Lincoln was perfectly happy with it so I was too.

We played Hullabaloo Amazing Animal Adventure and the kids loved it. Our group was a little too big and after a couple bumped heads we split up into two groups and they took turns playing rounds. All the kids who have ever played this game at my house have loved it and several of the families have later told me they bought it. It is a fun, creative, active game that is good for getting kids to use up some of their energy. Even the most reserved child can’t help breaking out into a funky chicken dance when they win a round. This was the first time we had played with the animal version of the game. We also have this one and it is great as well. We also played Chicken Limbo, but they were maybe just a bit too young and it kept falling apart on them.

Of course, opening presents was the highlight for Lincoln and he got some pretty cool stuff. One friend gave him a skateboard and he is really excited to give it a try if our rain every stops…Mom’s still a little nervous about it, but he has never seen a skateboard so I can always tell him you sit on it and roll it with your feet and he won’t know the difference for now.

The gift bags were my favorite part of getting the party ready and I had a lot of fun putting them together. The kids colored a pirate and their name on the front of their bag and I found little wooden treasure chests for $1 at Michael’s Arts & Craft’s and filled them with gold wrapped Rolo’s candy and candy necklaces that I found in Christmas clearance at Wal-Mart for 75% off. I also got little light up swords that were only .88 at Wal-Mart and threw in a few toy gold coins. To top it off I threw in a mini container of Play Dough, even though it has nothing to do with pirates. Can’t go wrong with Play Dough! It made for a cute little party favor for under $3 per bag.

The kids seemed to have fun and I am really happy with the way it went, but there are a few things I will remember for next time!

*Keep the cake simple (which I ended up doing after stressing for days)

*12 kids is too many for a party for a four year old! 4–5 would have been perfect.

*A simple lunch is a good time killer and it is fun for the kids. We had hotdogs, pirates booty, popcorn to snack on, and Capri Suns. Not exactly healthy, but EASY.

*Don’t over plan games and store bought games are perfectly acceptable.

*Have toys or simple games out for kids to play with between transition times of eating/gaming/opening presents.

*Evite’s do not make me feel guilty

*Turning my head and missing who sent the set of Chicken Little books/cd’s DOES make me feel guilty! Must have been part of another gift because I wrote down something from everyone!


Little Fingers at the Piano

Luca starts piano lessons on Thursday and we are both really excited about it. I am so thrilled that she has a desire to learn to play and an excitement about it. I hope it stays with her always! I have taught her a few simple songs the past couple of years and she has picked out the tune to some of her favorite songs and I think she will pick up on it fast. I asked a piano teacher in Ivins, Utah about two years ago at what age she preferred to start students and she said when they are in second grade. I asked a piano teacher here about three months ago what age she prefers to start them and she said the same thing. With Luca’s continued interest in it I asked the teacher if she would make an exception and start Luca earlier. She said if Luca has that strong of an interest it will be fine and she has a couple of other young students.

My sister first taught me to play by helping me memorize the upper or lower part of a song and she would play the other part with me. Then she took me through the first Thompson lesson book and from there I just read through the rest of the books. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I would guess I was in the first grade. My mom is an excellent player and she was always there to answer my questions and clap out beats for me to help me along. She tried putting me in lessons once and I lost all interest in playing the piano at all until she took me out again. When I didn’t have any pressure to practice and play what I was told to play I could sit and plunk away for hours.

I will try to remember that with Luca as she has her musical start. She has the same stubborn streak that I have!