Wednesday, March 31, 2010

mother of year. i mean it.

today i got my mom on and made cupcakes. let me just restate that so you can appreciate it fully: I FREAKING MADE CUPCAKES.

now let me help you understand that statement: i am a maker of food, yes. but a maker of cute food? no. cake pops? not my thing. so when i sit down and say, "let's make cupcakes and then let's dye some coconut green and make nests on the top of cupcakes and take cadbury mini eggs and put them in the nests." you know i'm bored. and that maybe i have extra time on my hands? and some weird spurt of creativity that's not getting channeled into anything?

this all thrilled ava to the point of nearly sending her into cardiac arrest. the whole time she was like, WE'RE MAKING NESTS IN THE CUPCAKES? WE'RE PUTTING CANDY ON THE CUPCAKES? CAN I LICK THE BOWL? and i was all, of course you can. and then she nearly killed me with her gratitude. and then i felt like i was the best mom in the world.

what a rush. no wonder there are all of those mothers making cute little sugar cookies every holiday. these holiday treats? they make your children worship you. and here i've been, all this time, trying to get ava to just put on her freaking shoes so we can make it to the doctor's office on time. all i had to do was be like, hey! what if we made a log cabin out of licorice and pretzel sticks to celebrate abraham lincoln's birthday?

instant mother of the year award.

so after an afternoon of a small daughter who put on a little apron with gusto and stirred and tasted and licked and exclaimed with great enthusiasm i was feeling like perhaps i'd solved a few of the planer's problems. and ryan got home and i greeted him at the door with a giant cupcake topped with a mountain of coconut and some cadbury eggs and i was like, GUESS WHAT? I MADE CUPCAKES! AND THEY LOOK LIKE NESTS! WITH EGGS IN THEM!

and ryan smiled and said, "great." except it was like, great, you did something normal. so i pushed that cupcake under his nose and emphasized.


and his face barely flickered with interest.

sadly, at this point, my interest also faded and i registered that my huge project, yielding cupcakes covered in food coloring and chocolate had turned my kitchen in to a disaster area. over the next hour of clean up and small children coming off of a sugar high, i remembered why i never got around to making that house out of licorice and pretzel sticks: my children's willingness to worship isn't really worth the effort it takes to get it. maybe next year.

pictures to follow. if i can muster the strength.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

what came for me

it has arrived. long awaited, definitely and now that it's here i feel like it's been set in the middle of the hall and i trip over it every time i walk through: much like i trip over sam and buddha wrestling every morning.

sometimes when i think about being a mom i remember scenes from movies that are meant to be comedic; when there are wrestling, running, sticky, messy children and animals EVERYWHERE and the poor mother or overwhelmed visitor is trying to get by and they are stepping over people and things and being bumped against the wall to avoid catastrophe. . . that's how i feel in this little house of ours. every morning i feel as though there are hundreds of children and animals and they are running non-stop with their arms over their heads and screaming and i must somehow make my way around them without getting hurt. sometimes, if i am performing this task especially well, i will be forced to hold something like a basket of laundry or a crying child or a small cat that's about to have his fur trimmed by an eager child with scissors. sometimes, if i am doing that too well, i must walk the course while holding something and having something else hold on to my leg.

more than feeling any sense of outrage or frustration with this situation, i wonder, how do they do that? how do those four little creatures (girl, boy, dog and cat) multiply like that?

so the thing that arrived: it came yesterday and i have been staring at it all day. it was there at eliza's birthday party when i held stephanie's baby boy and he pulled his pacifier out of his mouth and with strict determination rolled it around and around near his tongue, trying to figure out how to get it back in. and i stared at it again when i watched brittany's sweet, sweet little baby with his big dark eyes and his adorable little curl on top of his head and i wished, wished, wished to take more pictures of him.

that's right: i'm baby hungry.

so ryan and i snuck away this afternoon to eat gelato right before dinner (thanks aaron!) and we were supposed to discuss a plan put forth by my chiropractor to cure the back my children have destroyed but instead i answered ryan's question of, "how will we pay for this?" with, "i want a baby."

and ryan raised his eyebrows, paused, and responded the way he responds when i say, "I want a kitten." he said, "you have a baby. his name is seth." (except when i ask for a kitten he says, "you have a kitten. his name is buddha")

and while ryan is correct, because every afternoon seth wakes up from his nap in a complete daze and i hold him on my lap and he rests his cheek against my chest until he feels more alert and then i ask him, "do you want a snack?" and he looks up at me, completely solemn, pulls his pacifier from his mouth and nods the most solemn nod you ever saw. also, he wears footsy pajamas. he sleeps with a blankee. i let him take a bit of a bottle to bed with him at night. he doesn't really talk much (that could be ava. she sort of uses up all the words in the room. no one really gets to talk with her around).

but at the same time, he wants to go outside and play with the other children. he wants to play soccer in the backyard. he wants to play fetch with sam. the other night he wasn't going to sleep in his bedroom. instead he was calling, "Mom? Mom?"

and finally i shouted, "WHAT?"

and he paused, then said, "more?"

and i sighed a deep sigh of frustration because FOR THE LOVE OF PETE CHILD CAN'T YOU JUST GO TO SLEEP ALREADY??? and i shouted, "you want more bottle?"

and again he paused and then he shouted, "yes."

and then i sighed another deep sigh, thrust myself from my cozy spot on the couch and went to his bedroom. where ava was sleeping and seth was standing and smiling and holding his bottle out for me.

i must be crazy. how can i live in the chaos which is my life, how can i attempt a grocery shopping trip which is so much like herding cats that some days i just won't go because i just can't muster the energy, how can i stand to add even more laundry to the abundant piles around me, how can i manage one more nap schedule, entertain one more person, hold one more hand?

and yet i have room for one more. somehow. somewhere. and i'm excited. i anticipate those little hands holding mine after eating a good meal and burping a good burp and seeing those first brand new toothless smiles that are random and so, so beautiful.

obviously, it'll be awhile. i mean, i'm not going to go out and get pregnant tomorrow, but at least i know i'm ready. and that i want it. and also, that i'm crazy. and perhaps, that i have a death wish. but really, is that any sort of surprise?

Monday, March 29, 2010


yeah, yeah, yeah, you've heard it before: i love summer. i love the beach. i love photography. but i also really love that rayn was willing to take pictures of me so there is proof that i exist, that ava and seth wanted to go in the water and got completely soaked and that we got to eat trader joe's tuna sandwiches and oatmeal raisin cookies.

what a good saturday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

proud to be mine

so the other night at dinner, we had the missionaries over and we were talking about what time of the day we were born. "i remember what time seth was born exactly," i was saying, "11:58 PM. Just two minutes away from being born the next day," i looked over at that little naked man in his highchair, noodles on his chin, broth in is hair (making it stick up in a sort of haphazard way), and i just couldn't help myself, i started to gush, "and now he's here, my little baby seth," and then seth beamed and looked around at everyone who was looking at him and smiling like he was just so proud. like, yes. i. am! her little baby seth! 

man, this whole parenting thing can be so worth it sometimes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

sheesh, these two. am i right?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

the cousins go to the zoo

mad that he's not driving

watching the koi

baby davis stomping in the mud

ava and davis on the train

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


davis crying and seth trying to hand her the teddy bear

as i look through my viewfinder, i see seth slowly lean back without changing his expression. next thing i know, he's flat on his back. perhaps a sign that he'd had enough?
davis' sign: she turned around
seth is actually digging something out of the wood AND EATING IT

set and ava have one cousin: her name is davis. and this weekend davis came out to visit with her parents, shannon and justin. since all three grandchildren were constantly hanging out together, kristine requested a picture. and we sure tried to give it to her.

at one point shannon and kristine were dancing wildly in the weeds, swinging their arms, laughing hysterically and singing, "a wise man build his house upon a rock. . ." and while ryan laughed and seth looked puzzled (you'll notice his expression doesn't change. i don't think he smiled once), i shouted, "RODGE! RODGE!" because the reflector was being held askew and there was shadow on seth's face.

remind me to never do that again.

Monday, March 22, 2010

it doesn't look like she asked for it, but she did

so did he, but you can tell.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

so i'm sitting on my mom's bed one morning and she said, "i check your blog everyday for pictures of my grandchildren."

and i said, "are there enough?" and she replied, (most emphatically),


just guessing here, i'll bet chris and kristine and my dad would agree. so, chris and kristine, mom and dad, in honor of you and your rabid affection for my offspring (and therefore, your offspring), i give you a WEEK FULL OF PICTUUUUUUURRRRRREEEESSSS (yelled like oprah)!!!!

(starting tomorrow)

Friday, March 19, 2010

weekly boychild

aside from the hysterical laughter after watching ava NOT dance, i turned around to see my father doing what both of seth's grandfather's do when they first hold him. something about this kid makes grown men attack with love. and look, he doesn't even mind.

weekly mouse

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

smells like teen spirit

i'm all, kevin, let me take a picture of you.

and suddenly, he's freaking out! he's all, why? what are you going to do with it? what should i do? i don't know what to do! what do you want a picture of me for? should i smile? do you want me to stand still? this is hard! 

and i'm all, sheesh! you haven't even done anything yet! and then i practically had to wait five minutes for him to pull himself together enough for me to grab this quick shot, which shows the colorful hand uh, markings? art projects? grafitti of the hands? he comes home with them every day. and every time i see him i'm all, what happened to your hands?

and he's all, it's the lyric to a song. 

oh yeah. i forgot how deep teenagers are. how real. how emotional. and i'm so glad i never have to do that again. 

having said all that, i really love that kid. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


the honey. in the playouse. in the backyard.

also found: a can of green chilies in the back of the tricycle
all of my measuring spoons at the bottom of the doll crib
my shoes in the bathroom
seth's shoes in the shower
my phone charger under ava's pillow

all this time i thought, 'something must be wrong with me! i can't remember where all my stuff is!' but now i realize it's not me, it's them.

it's almost a relief to know i'm not crazy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

a married moment

do you ever have those moments with your spouse when you're trying to express your thoughts on a serious topic and they just won't have it and make jokes at every turn?

dude. ryan does that ALL THE TIME.

and this morning i told him, "i've had it with you."

and he said, "really? you've reached the end of your rope?" except he didn't sound concerned, he sounded interested. like this topic is way more fun than that other one she was talking about!

"yes," I said, "i have."

"well, lady, let me give you a piece of advice," he said, "when you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."

and then i chased him with a wooden spoon.

Friday, March 12, 2010

SSS (swim suit season)

so. swimming suit season.

it's almost here.

and, what's worse, i signed us all up for swimming classes starting the middle of march. we're going to try ava's class AGAIN to see if she can learn something this time. and by "see if she can learn something this time" i really mean. . .um, see if she can learn something this time but in the best possible way (cheesy smiley face so you don't get offended). because last year she refused to get past the first step in the pool and then a couple times her teacher got her out in the water but she freaked out and climbed him and clung to his head as if she were a cartoon character. at the end of the class ryan the swimming teacher came up to me with his clipboard and said, "well, in this class we try to teach the children different things so they can move on to the next class," i peeked at the list. it said things like, "kicks on the kick board, puts head under water, blows bubbles" and do i really need to tell you about how one time ryan the swimming teacher approached ava with the idea that she could stick only half of her face under water and blow some really fun bubbles and she kicked him in the face as she got away from him as fast as she possibly could? ryan the swimming teacher mentioned a few of the other items on the list and then he took a deep breath and started apologetically, "i'm sorry, but i don't think that ava's really ready for the next class yet."

this made me laugh. yeah, i didn't think so either, but thanks for attempting to spare my feelings, ryan the swimming teacher.

so, another swimming lesson season has come and i've signed ava up for another round of lessons. these lessons are only thirty minutes long and for awhile i was concerned with what i was going to do with seth during these lessons until i put two and two together and thought, "hey! i'll sign him up for mommy and me swimming class!"

well, that would be great if I DIDN'T HAVE TO GET IN THE POOL. too late. the class has been filled, seth has a swimming suit and on monday i went to target to try to find one that would flatter (hah!) my matronly figure. well, that was a HORRIBLE idea. because guess what? seth doesn't like to sit in a dressing room while his mother tries on swim suits. so i'm mid-change and seth THROWS open the door and RUNS for his life. and ava chases him screaming. and i'm standing there in my underwear with a swimming suit half on.

well that's just GREAT. so i change, grab my children, head back out to the swim suit section and grab every swim suit in every size i think i might want and i buy them all. then i get home and try them all on after the children have gone to sleep. i'll return the unwanted ones later.

much better. except for the fact that after this is all over, i'm going to still have to don the swim suit and get in the pool in a couple weeks.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

be still

i forget to be quiet sometimes.

i love my quiet time, but i don't think i've been spending much of it quiet these days. as soon as seth goes down for a nap and as soon as ava is off to play with a friend, or is watching a movie (her "quiet time") i sit down with my long list of items and start moving quickly to check them off.

fold the laundry.
write that email.
start the rolls for dinner tonight.
edit those pictures.

and while i'm working hard, i listen to music, or a podcast, or watch a tv show.

nothing about my "quiet" time is quiet (it's more like "quite a time", haha!).

today, seth woke up from his nap early and ava was still playing with a friend so, in the quiet of our afternoon, we built a train set together, taking up all the room in the middle of the used-to-be clean toyroom/office. and instead, of using the train tracks, seth ran his train up and down my arm, sucking madly on his pacifier.

and i tried to keep my mind quiet about all of the things i could get done in this thursday afternoon stillness, so i closed my eyes and let seth's little train run down my back and i felt the touch his sticky hand on my hair.

this is who i am. 

i am a mom with sticky hair. i recognize the sound of a small boy sucking his pacifier like i recognize the sound of my own heart. this quiet afternoon is mine and i am sharing it with my baby. the same baby i shared my body with, the same baby that reminds me, whether i like it or not, this is the best thing i can be doing with my time.

i know this in my heart, that motherhood is more than "my job" or even "my calling", it is a thing so real and so vital that it is indistinguishable from any other part of me. my eyelash, my heart, my toenail.

thank goodness for those moments when ryan and i were newlywed and we tried to decide about when to start our families, that we didn't wait.

thank goodness for the little mouse and the baby boy who greet me daily and make demands of me all day long.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

a man child in a tie

took about six billion of these just to finally--FINALLY get one of these:
he's practicing for his general authority picture

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


even sam loves bubbles

Monday, March 8, 2010

young and free

ava has been dancing her whole life. she's got these hips that don't lie and a groove thang that can put all other little white girl booty shakes to shame. really. so, when the parks and rec catalog floated in and i saw dance classes for toddlers, we signed up. and got ballet shoes. and wore them with socks. and tiptoed everywhere.

this class was the kind of class which doesn't let the mothers watch. i think seth was relieved to learn that. and i was fine with it, too, i swear. except that this was me leaving ava alone with a woman i didn't really know and when i walked away i had this loud, awful nagging feeling, as if i was leaving something important behind (well, i was. i was leaving my child). and that feeling didn't go away. i walked seth across the grass to a nearby playground where we climbed things that were taller than we were and threw sand into the air. and i spent half the time, turning around, looking for the other child and feeling a slight panic rise in my throat when i realized i couldn't see her anywhere. and then i'd remember: dance class. and then i'd feel irritated that i was so uneasy for no reason.

to the childless out there: THIS is what having children does to you. it makes you SO EMOTIONAL you emote for no good reason at all. IT CAN BE WORSE THAN PREGNANCY (which is worse, by the way, than PMS).

i mentioned that ava loves her class, right? well, she does. and every week i go pick her up and her teacher stamps her hand, smiles at me and assures me that ava's doing well. which is necessary information since i just left my kid alone with her for 40 minutes and damnit, she better have had a good time!

i'm told that there's to be a recital. something that i remember really well until the week of the recital. even the day of ryan asks me, "where do i go to watch ava's dance class?"

did i mention that parenthood means you no longer remember anything? because that happens, too.

so i kick myself for not remembering to inform my mother in law, remind my own mother who has a dentist appointment and hurry us all up so we can get over there on time. i do not want to be the mother who is late and misses the whole thing.

we get in there, get our seats, spot my dad, who, at the last minute, has had the chance to slip in, ava's got her little tutu on and her hair in a ponytail and it begins.

the teacher sort of stands to the side and helps the girls know what to do by doing it and those girls start mimicking with a sort of clumsy and joyful enthusiasm. they're hopping haphazardly, they're throwing their arms in the air, they're watching their parent's faces and cameras beam at them with pride.

except ava. who, for some unknown reason, is angry. and stands there the entire time like this:

THE ENTIRE TIME. about halfway through another mother, who is sitting right next to me, leans over to comment, "she seems rather pissed off."

and i can only say, through my tears from laughing so hard the entire classroom is shaking, "she does, doesn't she?"
naturally, she was fine afterwards

Saturday, March 6, 2010

the crying girl

now that i have sam's brown eyes staring at me as soon as my alarm goes off, i've been getting a lot more exercise.

which leads me to a bit of a tangent (hooray for you!): my whole adult life i've been making to-do lists at the start of the day. this helps me bring some structure to my day.

day 1:
exercise for 30 minutes
read my scriptures
personal prayer

day 2:
exercise for 30 minutes!
read scriptures!

day 3:

day 4:

have i mentioned that i've been honing my skills as a procrastinator? well, i have. and, if you read those lists, you'll see that i am quite good.

so now when my alarm goes off, sam hops out of his bed, which is right next to me and sniffs the covers and wags his tail so that it whacks the nightstand and i open my eyes and he grins and GUESS WHAT??? i get out of bed.

do you hear that? i am exercising regularly! it's amazing! i mean, i've had spurts where i do it, and it's not like all i do is sit on the couch, because when you have kids that's just not something they stand for, but i, miriam, am exercising WITHOUT my children and without a gym membership bill to guilt me into it.

i know, i'm amazing.

i guess all this time i've just needed a dog. now if i could just find something that makes sure i get my scripture studying and personal praying in too, i think i'll have mastered life. and then what will i do? i don't know. maybe raise carrier pigeons for the greater good.

i digress. anyway, while i walk, i listen to a podcast called this american life, which is a radio program on npr that talks about various things. like, fear of sleep. or contracts. or being TORTURED in iran by the police. so, as i walk along, i listen to some things amusing, but most things sobering and it occurred to me the other day, as i walked next to a guy out for a bike ride who'd stopped to let us pass that i must look like a crazy person. because i was listening to a girl talk about her parent's divorce contract and what it meant to her and i was crying. and then, just yesterday, i walked by a guy getting ready to mow his lawn and i was laughing because this one guy has the funniest sleep disorder stories i've ever heard. and then, this morning, as i was listening to that guy talk about being tortured in iran, i walked past this woman and she gave me a really sympathetic smile.

this is not going to do much for our reputation in this neighborhood. but it is so, so fascinating.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

what i've been up to. . .

an 80's prom.
a wedding.
girl scout cookies.
ava's dance recital.
fast track photography group.
list making.
a brand new dog.
and two little children.

it's been busy around here!

Monday, March 1, 2010


so friday night rolls around and i get a phone call from kevin.

"are you ready?" he asks me.

"for what?" (confession, this question made me panic. was i supposed to pick him up somewhere? did we have plans? was my poor kevin sitting outside of some building all by himself waiting for me to remember him???)

"for a dog. he doesn't have rabies or anything."

while a fabulous selling point, it was not THE selling point i was looking for. good thing there was more to than the lack of rabies to make him appealing. he's about a year old and we think he's a labrador pug mix. and so far, he's been wonderful.