Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rock on!

I am rapidly approaching the phase in my pregnancy where I ban all pictures. After a particularly bad picture (it must have been the clothes I was wearing. It must have) at the Jazz game we went to in January, it was almost time to curse the camera and stop looking in mirrors. But upon closer inspection I really believe that I'm not quite there yet. So here's some pictures.

Mike and I went with a bunch of friends to the Collective Soul concert in Salt Lake. That's Ed in the background. I love Collective Soul's music. We had a great time making fun of the opening bands (NAAAAAAAAAA-TURE!, sang one guy who was a little drunk and not on key) and staying up much later than we (I) usually do. I was telling my little sister that CS didn't even finish playing until MIDNIGHT. She laughed at me. She is still young and hip and midnight is nothing to her.

Here we are at Hardware Ranch. The highlight of this trip was Mike and Dave swearing they spotted Lyle of "Over there in that pigpen, I found a couple of Shoshoni arrowheads," Napoleon Dynamite fame. The elk were cool too.

This is the picture that made me almost swear off pictures for the next what? 5 months. But Mike looks good, and we're at the Jazz game that Dave and Summer bought us tickets to for Christmas. Two large public events in one month. I think this is a record for us. (Thanks Dave and Summer! It was a blast.)

Here are the swimsuit modelettes helping their Uncle Scott in the Mr. Fremont pageant. They were so excited to wear their swimsuits they kept them on all day and spent the rest of the day re-enacting their stage debut by standing on the piano bench.

And that's what we've been doing this smoggy and inversion-filled January.

In other news, yesterday my midwife committed the most egregious sin--she moved my due date back. If I were a midwife/doctor, I would overestimate all of my patients' due dates by two weeks. That way they can bless me when they go early every time or when I say, "Well due to the measurements of our extremely accurate ultrasounds and my expertise in belly reading, I'm changing your due date to two weeks earlier."

I will say this when my patients are in their third trimester, their veins are popping out trying to pump blood to their hearts, they can barely walk, none of their clothes fit and they are thinking, "For the love of everything holy! Please get this baby into the world." I believe I will be a very popular person.

What am I saying? It's still too early to even be thinking about due dates. Especially if I'm pretending I'm not pregnant. My due date is rainstorms, flowers, spring and the beginning of summer far away.

Now I'm officially depressed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blog Background Creation

Ever since I figured out that, "I have the HTML power!" (picture me raising my spoon in the air like He-Man), I've been making my own blog backgrounds. Since I only do this about once a year, I forget how to do it every time. Mike is a Photoshop genius though, and so is my sister Alisha. Thanks to them I usually only crash my blog for short, curse-filled amounts of time. So I've changed my background, (Google readers, come have a look!), and here's the tutorial for how you, too, can make your own blog background. And here my friends, are some links for free digital paper and elements (free!!!).

I used a Shabby Princess kit this time to create mine. They have so much cute stuff. Check out their stuff that's for sale too. I haven't yet bought one, but someday I'm going to. They are so cute and reasonable.

In the past I've used Summertime Designs to create my backgrounds. All of her stuff is free and she has some great kits.

And this blog Kevin and Amanda has some really cute freebies. They're not as easy to find, but scrolling around a little finds some really cute stuff. Especially their free fonts!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Working From Home

I work as a freelance writer for the local newspaper. Mostly I work during nap time, which has recently morphed from sleep time to play-quietly-or-I-will-take-away-all-of-your-toys-and-become-a-fire-breathing-mom time. Kenzie, four-almost-five, has played quietly for awhile now, but this is new ground with Hannah, two.

I'm beginning to think if I want to keep working/writing/stay sane I need to hire a sitter at least one day a week. Let me illustrate why:

Last week I was on the phone with an NBC producer, while the girls "napped." I was working on a story for ye Ol' Standard Examiner about the T.V. coverage of the Dew Tour at Snowbasin. He was telling me about his world travels and how he's produced shows about the NBA, the NFL, etc.

As I'm responding and trying desperately to type everything he's saying, I hear the door open and then Hannah yells, "I have to POO. I have to POO!" (By the way, this is not my potty language of choice. Thanks Mike.)

I pretended that I lived in a hearing bubble, where the person on the other end can't hear anything but me, and I wrapped up that conversation lickety split. I may have missed some good quotes. Hannah had taken care of the situation by the time I got to her. I'm not sure why she has to yell urgently that she must use the bathroom every time she does it.

Sometimes when my children need me while I'm interviewing someone, I feel comfortable explaining the situation and asking for a pause. Everyone has been very understanding. Sometimes I pretend that nothing is happening and try to keep typing while they tug at my arm and I snap in the air and mouth, "GET BACK TO YOUR ROOM." Other times I pause the phone conversation without acknowledging why and take care of the situation. Sometimes I grab a piece of paper and lock myself in my room and frantically scribble notes while they howl, muted by the closed door.

None of these are ideal situations. But you know, if wishes were fishes we'd all umm... how does that go? Something about never going hungry, right?

My freelance gig, working from home, is generally a spanking good deal. No commute, flexible hours, take-it-or-leave-it options.

Lately though I've felt like my writing is suffering from lack of focus. That Dew Tour T.V. story, it wasn't my proudest piece of writing. After that awesome conversation with the NBC producer, I was trying to write it on a Saturday as life flowed around me at our centrally-located computer station. That day my editor had to call me and ask if I meant to switch tenses in the middle of a sentence (why yes, yes I did. Because it makes perfect sense to wrote a sentence in past and present).

Perhaps I need to not try to mesh work and life. Because the meshing is mashing into a big mess. On one hand I'm guilty of not being a good mother because I'm ignoring my children and on the other I'm guilty of not being a good writer because I'm thinking about how guilty I feel for ignoring my children.

With a baby coming soon, I'm going to have to mark some working boundaries, or lose myself entirely in motherhood. I just have to decide what the right course is for me and my family.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Developmental Milestones

"Maw-om, everyone has one but me." This is Kenzie, age four, declaring dejectedly that EVERYONE in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD but her has a CTR ring. This is a new childhood complaint for her. We can add this to, "You never let me do anything I want to," as her favorite things to say to me.

I'm so pleased because now I can implement the ever wise parental response, "Well, if everyone had a one-legged dog that peed on his/her bed would you want one?" I've been waiting to use that line ever since Kenzie was born. And the one about jumping off a cliff.

My other favorite thing that Kenzie does now (and I'm turning off the sarcasm now) is tell jokes. Her favorite is from Word World. She says, "How does a duck learn to fly?" And we are required to say, "How?" And she starts laughing and says in her adorable voice, "They just wing it."

My personal joke favorite is this next one, which I may or may not have taught her and her compatriots during an unscheduled Preschool moment. She says, "Do you want to go under there?" And if we answer anything besides, "Under where?" we are severley chastised. But if we give the correct answer we are rewarded with extreme giggles. "You just said 'underwear,'" she laughs. This has provided hours of fun.

One of my sisters said that if my kids ever read my blog they will think I hate them. To debunk this myth I think I will gush over Kenzie's achievements and sweetness. (If you're not her grandma you can stop reading right now. I'm about to get gushy and long-winded.)

Kenzie is Sweet and Tenderhearted:

The other day we were at Sherrie and Josh's watching "Earth" (a cool documentary). Kenzie and the other kids were watching too. The documentary follows a polar bear at one point as he tries to find food while the ice around him melts. Kenzie was really concerned about the polar bear. The movie implies (no graphic killings) that the polar bear dies after he tries to eat a walrus but can't quite win the battle to drag one off.

The kids asked, "What happens to the polar bear? What happens?" I'm pretty practical about this stuff so without thinking I said, "He can't find food so he dies." This didn't seem to phase anyone but Kenzie. She buried her head in the blankets and cried and cried. Sweet little thing.

Last year at church she learned a song about not walking away from people if they "don't walk as most people do," etc. She loves this song. After singing it the other night she said to me, "Mom, I'll never walk away from you." Even if this implies that she thinks I am "different," it was very sweet.

Kenzie has Uber-intelligence upon which I place Superhigh expectations and try to vicariously live my life:

A few months ago Kenzie read a book to me. We promised her a camelback (it was pink!) if she would learn how to read. She had to sound out all the letters and put the words together, which she did. (It was in Septemberish, when she was 4.5 years old) I should have wrote down what book it was. Dang! I'll have to go and see if I can find it at the library again. She's known all the letters and their sounds for a long time, but it was her Aunt Laurie that spent an evening teaching her how to sound out words. Her first word ever was JET. Good job La-La. With aunts and "Word World" I'm not sure I even have a job around here. She doesn't read all the time or anything like that, just when we make her she can do it.

***The book was June's Tune, a "Read With Me" book where I read one page and Kenzie read the next. Mike remembered.

Kenzie loves to create things. I left out a hole punch and some papers from a project and Kenzie decided to make something. She cut the papers, punched holes in them and then asked for pipe cleaner. She made earrings for all of us and her dolls to wear and saved one for Mike, just in case he wanted one. The other day she found some paper and decided to make a book. She asked for some glue and put all the pages together so she could, "Draw pictures and write words on them."

She got a bear from her favorite church grandma and now she loves to draw bears. Here is a sampling of her latest bears:

Kenzie, I can't believe you are growing up. You are such a kind, smart girl with a growing sense of humor. We love you.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I do hereby Resolve to Sled more

Now that I'm done sewing my quiet books I can stop swearing and spend more time writing my book. You know, the book that is going to make me rich and famous?

It starts out with a girl named Sherry, Sherry Plotter. She lives in the rainiest city in the U.S. in a cupboard under the stairs. Her friend, a vampire, gave her a ring. But it turns out this ring can rule the world. So she goes off to a school for magicky people called PigBlemishes. There she learns about the werewolves plot to kill the vampires and only the ring can stop them. Or her love. Maybe it's her love that stops them from destroying each other. I'm still working out that detail. It's tentatively titled, "Sherry Plotter and the Cup of Hot Stuff."

Or maybe I'll just spend more time sleeping.

Anyway, we had a great Christmas vacation. Mike took the last two weeks off and we enjoyed sleeping in (he goes to work so early the bats are still out), playing with the girls and hanging some drywall to stop the stupid cat from crawling around the basement ceiling/kitchen floor. She's adorably curled up in my lap right now but really I'm getting tired of her incessant meowing because she's stuck in the ceiling.

While Mike was off we went sledding three times. Hannah loved it the first time we went. Kenzie loved it every single time. Even the time she hit a tree (a small tree).

The first time we went to a park in Clearfield. The only problem with this park was that all the sled hills seem to end at the same large lamp post. I'm not sure how they engineered that, you'll have to ask Mike. We avoided the lamp post by ditching our sleds at the last minute or having Mike divert their paths. And Hannah loved riding the mild hill in her red sled and then being pulled back up again.

The next time we went to a hill by the Roy train station on 4000 s. That is a perfect spot, perfect that is if you start at the right spot.

Kenzie was getting pretty brave by this point and one time she started at a questionable spot, turned backwards and hit a tree. Luckily it was a small tree and she wasn't going very fast. I love sledding but I hate getting hurt and I hate it even worse when my children are hurt (I mean really hurt, not just the fake kind of hurt that they've mastered to get a princess band-aid).

Hannah hated sledding this time. It was still snowing a little bit and the hills were full of powder that blew up into our faces. She despised getting snow in her face and was miserable. I tried to teach her some snow-in-the-face-avoidance tactics but she still wasn't too keen on sledding.

The third time we went back to the Roy Frontrunner station on New Year's Day. It really is a great sledding spot. My mom, Dustin, Alisha and Sophie came with us and we had a great time. Alisha took some really great shots (she's a superb photographer with great rates), but she hasn't sent me any so I can't post them (hint, hint). Mike and I even went with each other a couple times. It made me feel young and giddy again.

The hill is fast enough to be fun for big kids and little kids. Sophie (14 months) wasn't impressed, but she didn't cry either, so I felt like it was a success. Kenzie was having a great time riding alone and climbing up the hill pretty well too. Hannah was sort of miserable again until she discovered sliding down on her bum, which I think my mom introduced her to. Then we all had fun. Kenzie wanted in on the bum sliding action too, so she deserted the sleds and she and Hannah spent the remaining time sliding on their bums with me and my mom. I don't know if we'll be able to get either of them on a sled again. And Mike thinks this is the year to try our little daredevils on skis. Good luck.