Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last Christmas post - I promise.

Since I'm spelling out every mundane detail of our relatively uneventful Christmas, I may as well continue with the rest...
I hope everyone has at least heard of the "5 Love Languages." I totally believe in that theory. The book(s) are wonderful. Brian's love language is gifts - he likes them. Lots of them. So I have to give him lots of gifts. But mine is more "acts of service." I do not want a lot of things. I want him to clean the house and give me backrubs and fold the laundry. So at the beginning of our marriage, we had trouble because he wanted to give me gifts, and I wanted to do service for him, but that's not what either of us interpreted as showing love. So we've learned. He just gave me one tangible gift this year - a gift cert to a spa here in town called "Better Than Chocolate." He rented to the owner, and she gave him a $300 gift card for a fraction of the price. That honestly makes me love the gift even more! It's a full spa day - mani/pedi, scalp massage, hair design (obviously, I could use it - but if they suggest more than a trim they'll get glared at), hot stone massage, facial.... can't wait!
I gave Brian a bunch of little things, and one big gift: 3 full suits from Jos A. Banks (I found a killer deal online). Pictured above is him opening the bag of "Island Teriyaki Jerky," a pizza cutter, a book by John Grisham called Playing For Pizza (he read it in a few days - a rarity for B!), and some movies - the Gordon B. Hinckley story, a BOM/restoration one, and a few blockbusters from the 90's that I picked up at a yard sale.
Bottom right photo: Brian with his gourmet breakfast - apple pancakes and Winder Farms bacon, on the "you are special" plate that Brianna broke yesterday. It was a wedding present. Now it is in the garbage, and added to the list of glass items Brianna has broken. Dang tile floor.
Top right photo: Brianna doing a nice, genuine smile (a rarity to catch on camera these days) with HER gourmet breakfast: Cheerios in almond milk. My gourmet breakfast: leftover chicken stirfry from the night before. Blame it on the pregnancy cravings.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Christmas THANKS

This one is for Brianna's Nonny and Papa, who sent us two large boxes full of Christmas joy. Though my mother claims she really "scaled back" this year, I feel just as spoiled as usual! We had a lot of fun opening everything (one day before she told us we could... sorry Mom, no self-control here). I'm pretty sure my mother single-handedly supported Deseret Book's sales profits this year. We were thrilled to get 2 sets of Children's Bible stories, a music CD of favorite children's songs about Christ, "The Old Testament For Latter-Day Families," "Favorite Songs For LDS Children," "Favorite Songs For LDS Families," (both of the previous two mentioned are spiral-bound books filled with beautiful artwork and inspiring stories behind selected songs, with the sheet music included and relevant scriptures displayed) a large FHE bag (a handmade gift from my mother I was quite impressed with), and little bag for Brianna that says "I love to read the scriptures." Then the secular gifts - mostly centered around cupcakes. My mother has dove into the trendy world of gourmet cupcakes. So of course I'm expected to as well. We received Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook (amazing photos in that one - that lady, as weird as she is, sure is creative), another book called 101 Gourmet Cupcakes in Ten Minutes, a cupcake cooking sheet with tote-lid, a set of those fancy tips for decorating with frostings, and a container full of paper cupcake holders with festive designs for every holiday. And because my mom just can't give enough... a nice icecream scoop, a darling hat/glove set for Brianna, The Music Maker (very nostalgic for me - loved that thing as a kid), and... Secret Spice. It's the most amazing spice you'll ever taste. It's made by a family friend and sold by word-of-mouth only. Ingredients are kept lock-and-key. I'd rather starve than go without it.
Anyways... I hate doing posts like this, for risk of turning my blog into a brag. But I want my parents to feel uber-appreciated, as they should - because they made our Christmas so much more special and fun.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My two favorite ski buddies

We had a great time skiing at Brianhead Resort! Our gift to my Dad was his ski pass. My mom's gift to us was taking care of Brianna all day. Brianna's gift to us was demonstrating her potty skills successfully during their entire visit. Mother Nature's gift to us was fresh powdery snow and decent weather. My gift to our fetus was staying upright and avoiding falls (though I really wasn't too worried - I'm just 7.5 weeks along). Though the heart-attacks Brian gave me when he went down the dangerous runs probably didn't help my gestational well-being.
Next week: hitting the slopes at Mt. Spokane with these two ski bums!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A sleighful of thanks to Barbara and Ashley!

They sure spoiled us! We loved everything. Brian was thrilled to get more socks (he somehow managed to get large holes in every single one of his old pairs) and a basketball and a staple gun. We are super excited to use our Fajita-maker set and play Apples to Apples and Cooties. I love my new jammies and Christmas potholders snowman decoration and clock. Brianna was the most spoiled with 2 large dolls, a tea set, Fridge Phonics, a little purse, jeans, an awesome jacket and scarf, and an adorable blue poofy tutu.
Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day

We decided to stay home as a little family this year on Christmas day. Brian had to work the 24th and 26th, so it didn't make sense to spend 6 hours in the car to go to SF. We had a very nice, low-key day together. We slept in, opened gifts, had a nice breakfast, watched the movie Scrooge (old-school B/W version), had dinner at our friends the Gardner's home and invited an elderly single friend, took naps (well - B & b napped - I went on a lovely long run up the canyon), and went to see Brian's SIL Jami when she came to nearby Enoch. She brought a carload of gifts to us from Barbara and Ashley (Brian's sister, whose turn it was to give to us - his siblings are on a rotation. We gave to Melissa's family). We took advantage of our time at the Gardner's to get some extra Swagbucks. If you haven't heard of that site, you're missing out! You gets points for using their site as a search engine. Points are traded in for gift cards. I'm almost halfway to a free Southwest flight! My friend Michelle introduced me to it, and has already earned several gift cards. The Swag-people had a promo on Christmas day - send in a photo of yourself opening a gift, wearing something saying Swagbucks, with other people in the background, and you get 3 extra points. So we had fun staging that.
More Christmas photos to come.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last weekend's Christmas activities

I made this photo collage fleece blanket for Grandpa McKell. It has pictures of his son Kent's family (Brian's family) with several shots of him and his grandkids and great-grandkids. We hung it up on the wall at the family party last weekend in Spanish Fork so he could see it when he came in. And - honestly - so I could show it off to everyone.

The photo doesn't do it justice because the bottom third of the blanket is cut off.

We spent the entire day in Utah County, and I was reminded of the reasons I don't miss it: POLLUTION and TRAFFIC. The holiday shopping frenzy was insane - it took me nearly an hour to get from the mall in Orem to Spanish Fork (usually 25 min drive). It didn't help that my vision was impaired by the nasty gray sky (I believe it's called inversion). The radio people were asking everyone to stay home and avoid driving or being outside. I'm pretty sure my hour-long run outside was equivalent to smoking a pack. Buuuuut... I did enjoy hitting a few favorite stores that we do not have in Cedar. And seeing most of Brian's relatives. So it was an enjoyable trip (besides the 6 hours of driving part... thank goodness for those rumble strips on the side of the road to save me from my drowsy driving)!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The most exciting part of my day...

I've heard stories of children putting things up their nose. I didn't think the stories were false - I just figured there was more to it.... like the parents weren't paying any attention at all to her children, or the kid was the slooooow type, or had other bizarre fetishes like licking doorknobs.
I was proved wrong this morning when, right in front of me, Brianna took the pomegranate seeds she was munching on and shoved one up her right nostril. I just stared at her in disgusted disbelief as she began desperately crying out, "nose hurt!" and "booger!" She tried to phish it out herself but of course just shoved it farther in. I had to pinch the very top of her nose and slide my fingers down while squeezing firmly to dislodge the seed. She really loved that. But it could have been worse - I had images of me rushing her to the hospital, or having to call Brian home to hold her head down while I stuck tweezers up there. But hopefully now she's learned her lesson.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Going through the unblogged photo files....

A few weeks ago the temps were in the single digits and teens, so outdoor stroller rides weren't a possiblity. It was actually Brianna's brilliant suggestion to "stolleh iide inzide!" She's crying in this photo and yelling, "NO DADDY! Mommy push!"

Here she is, looking up to make sure it's ME pushing her, and holding on to an apple (which she almost always requests during stroller rides).

Here's a little collage of an event that hurts to talk about... Brian did a 5K without me. I had to just watch it. Heartbreaking, I know. I had a vicious cold the week before that left me gasping for air after just climbing stairs. A race was out of the question. Brian was kind enough not to let my registration go to waste. Brianna and I cheered him on as loud as we could, in between coughs and nose-blowing. The bottom right photo is him taking off straight to work - he literally crossed the finish line, grabbed a granola bar from the refreshment table, and jumped in the car. I struggled to be happy for him instead of maddeningly jealous.

Brianna usually prefers to sit (kneel) on a regular chair rather than use her booster seat. I let her - it's not a battle worth fighting, in my opinion. But occasionally she also insists on bringing her blanket to the table, and buckling it in.
Safety first, ya know.

That cute little ball of fur is Dakota - our good neighbor/friend's new puppy. I'm glad they got one, because now we have the benefits of a dog (occasional playdates) but not the responsibility or cost!
When asked what the puppy says, Brianna sticks her tongue out and pants.I don't think I ever created and posted one of these cheesy trendy meters. Now I have.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A New Smith!

Brianna's cousin Julia was born yesterday to Brian and Becky in Arizona.
Congrats to the parents, and yay for babies!

(I'm not sure why she's getting spoonfed here. She's nursing well from a very dedicated breastfeeding mama. I think her daddy was sneaking her some icecream).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

News from the Brianna-front

The excitement from the preg-discovery is dwindling. I've told everyone. Had the first doc appt. No sickness or expanding tummy yet to give me daily reminders. Next appt isn't until the end of Feb. (!) No need to start making any lists of names or sewing blankets (as if I could) or pulling out the old bassinet. Soooooooo..... on with life as usual.

Happenings in Brianna-world:

-She apparently thinks she's part of a different religion that likes to do a lot of shouting during worship services. Whenever she hears a speaker say "amen," she repeats back (as loud and long as she can):

-Yesterday at the grocery store (I know - shouldn't I have learned my lesson never to bring her there again? But we were in Provo and I couldn't miss the chance to hit Buy Low Market) and Brianna quickly found her way to the candy shelf at the checkout stand. Before I could stop her, she took a big bite out of an item. So we had to pay for it. Did she at least choose something I would secretly enjoy? NO - with all the Mentos and Skittles and chocolatey goodies nearby... she had bit into Rolaids. Both us of left disappointed.

-She's reverting to baby behavior after having been Miss Independent for so long. She's extremely cuddly, begs to sleep in our bed, likes to be held cradle-style, wants to be rocked before naptime, insists on me feeding her, and says "baby" when she points to pictures of herself. I wonder if she understood our conversation about a new baby on the way??

-On our quick road trip this weekend, I began the 3 hr drive by explaining to Brianna that we would be in the car for a loooooonnng time, and that she should close her eyes and fall asleep. I used to do that every time before we'd make our bi-weekly Vernal-Provo commute. Works like a charm - within minutes, she's out.

-She still insists on calling someone after she's used the potty. We've stopped doing treats - she didn't care for it that much - but she wants me to call her Nonny or Papa or Daddy or Meredith to let them know what she did. I'd like to thank them all for their tolerance of the daily potty talk.

-Brianna amazes me with her speech development. I can ask her what she wants to do or what she did and she can tell me. Her sentences are getting longer and she uses correct pronouns most of the time. I strongly believe in not using baby-talk, poor grammar, or 3rd person with her. I have to remind Brian of this quite often, because that's what he automatically reverts to when with her. Why is that? Is it environment or instinct to speak to a child in diminutive language?

-Friday night she stayed up hours past bedtime. It was after 10pm when we finally got in the car to head to Spanish Fork. From 8pm (normal bedtime) to the time she crashed in the carseat, she was like a squirrel on crack. Literally - she never. stopped. talking. and. running. Random songs, random words, random requests, running circles, running into walls... I felt horrible. I really was so upset with myself for not planning ahead of time better so we'd have the car packed and all the presents prepared for the weekend. Then when we arrived after 1am, she wouldn't sleep in the pack n' play. We brought her into our bed so her crying wouldn't wake the whole house. She became a squirrel on sleep deprivation - waking every 20 minutes to change positions, kick me, move the pillow, say "Daddy's bed! Mommy's bed!" or try to pick my nose. Rough night, to say the least. As soon as the sun was kindof up (6:30 am) Brian took her upstairs so I could attempt napping til 10am.

-Her hair isn't growing fast enough. Or at all, maybe. The bangs are still an awkward length...and the back is an awkward, uneven length.... perhaps I should share my prenatals with her?

-I reallyreallyreally adore my little Brianna. More now than ever. I never imagined I could love a little person this much. Especially one who daily makes me want to punch the wall or hide in the closet. I just want to squeeze her and kiss her all the time. And I do.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More fun with Picasa

Yesterday I got recruited to create a Christmas card for my MIL:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First Ultrasound

I think our little fetus resembles Brian, don't you?

Sunday, December 13, 2009


-Due in August
-I'd prefer a boy (oh whoops - I mean - "I'll be happy either way")
-I'm feeling fine. I was never sick with my first pregnancy, so I'm hoping this will be the same.
-Took the test early Saturday morning. I saw no point in delaying a public announcement.
-We told Brianna that there is a baby in my tummy and she looked very confused. Now she points at her own belly and says, "baby!"
-I asked Brianna whether she thinks the baby will be a boy or a girl. She said, "Boy. Girl. Yeah."
-I really hope she's right and we have twins. Seriously.

You didn't ask, but just FYI:
-We're superduper happy about this. This pregnancy was no accident - we've been fasting, praying, and taking drugs. I love drugs.
-I'm currently laying on my stomach because my days of enjoying this position are soon to be over.
-I'm feeling guilty because I'm being very superficial and ungrateful and I keep dwelling on how upset I am about the inevitability of my body getting obese. Even 20 pounds looks horrible on me - my face becomes completely round, except for the double (or triple) chin hanging off the bottom. My arms get flying-squirrel style, and my thighs need their own zip code. Oh, and the muffin tops get Costco-sized. Aren't tall girls supposed to carry the baby weight better? Not me! As my dad said at the end of my last pregnancy to Meredith, "don't say anything to Chel about how she looks - she's as big as a boat and she's probably sensitive about it" (of course, Meredith immediately told me what Dad had said. That's how my family rolls).
-I'm a little bummed that my half marathon in St. George next month will be my last race for a looooong time. I'll be too big to race all the Spring/Summer events, and I likely won't be running well until next Winter. So I'm already thinking about the 2011 Spring circuit of triathlons and road races. But wondering how in the world I can train when I have 2 (or more) kids. See, told ya I'm being trivial.
-I'm kindof wishing I hadn't given all my baby stuff away to others. Whoops.
-One of Brian's comments after the announcement, "crap, I better not lose my job now." Ummm, yeah - cuz when we had just one kid, it was okay to lose it?!?
-My Dad's comment, "does this mean our ski trip in a few weeks is canceled?" (the answer: NO! This fetus totally wants to go skiing ).
- 3 of my siblings responded, "well, congrats - I'm not too surprised." Hmph. I'm going to have to stop being so predictable.
-I really am so freaking happy that I could cry. I'm looking forward to feeling those little kicks. I'm looking forward to seeing Brianna as a big sister. I'm looking forward to those late night breastfeeding/cuddling sessions. I love being a mom and I can't wait to have another baby.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Seasonal Greetings

Our family Christmas card has always had "Happy Holidays" written on it, instead of "Merry Christmas," because I have a few people I send them to who do not celebrate Christmas.
Then I realized that is like being a BYU fan but not wearing blue in Salt Lake because you might encounter Ute fans.
So THIS is our Christmas postcard this year:
I made it as a collage with Picasa. I really love that software program. And not just because it's free. Though that does increase it's value to me exponentially. Then I uploaded it to as a postcard and they shipped 100 to me (that's the fewest they'll do in an order). I bought a bunch of 28 cent stamps. So I'm loaded and ready. Now I just need YOUR address! If you think I don't have it - leave it in the comments. I'm enabling comment moderation so I won't publish your address for the world to see. Cuz you never know what kind of creepy weirdo is stalking my blog...

On a similar note, here is the Christmas card for my parents (via - much better than vistaprint). This is the problem with people finding out how much discretionary time I have - I get asked to take on projects. Pro bono. I'm embarrassed to admit how many hours I spent trying to gather photos and put this thing together. Just tell me it's great - I can't bear to hear anything else.
Love these people. Miss these people. Christmas will be a bittersweet day without them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More fun to give

Although this is going to sound a little self-righteous and disgustingly virtuous (I hate public declarations of personal virtue) ... I really do enjoy giving more than receiving. I work really hard to find gifts for people that are personal and perfect for them. And inexpensive. Because that makes ME feel good. And it's all about ME. I wish I could blog about the gifts I'm working on and the ones I've finished... I'm SOOOO excited about some of them! But for obvious reasons, the only one I can safely write about is what we're giving to Brianna. As of a couple days ago I wasn't planning on getting her anything. I think it's a little silly to go all-out buying frivolous gifts for a child who doesn't know Christmas day from Flag Day, and who really enjoys playing with rocks and flushing the toilet over and over. Buuuut... I saw this deal and couldn't pass it up:

Here's the website description: Hooked on Phonics Learn Colors on the Go is perfect for both at home and on the go learning. The set includes a colorful write-on/wipe-off workbook filled with fun brain-building activities and an entertaining DVD with music videos and cartoons to help pre-k children learn about colors and patterns while traveling, or in the home. It reinforces color recognition, pattern recognition, matching and handwriting skills, and will have your pre-k children laughing, dancing, and learning about colors and patterns everywhere they go. The DVD and book will keep kids occupied while traveling and helping to prepare for kindergarten, and to become early readers! Perfect for at-home and on-the-go learning, Hooked on Math® Learn Numbers on the Go! is a colorful write-on/wipe-off book filled with brain-building activities and a fun and entertaining DVD featuring music videos, cartoons, and more. This book will have your child dancing, laughing, and learning about numbers everywhere you go. Reinforces:
  • Number recognition
  • Pattern recognition
  • Matching
  • Handwriting

  • Almost everything on the Hooked On Phonics website is 50% off with code HOP50. ANNNDD... free shipping! They usually only do free shipping for orders over $130. A month ago, the grand total for these two items would have been about $23, plus about $7 shipping. My grand total: $5.40! Hope she likes these.

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009


    I was asked a few questions in the comments on my last post. Instead of responding to them on the comment page, I thought I'd make a new post (since I've been running out of blogging inspiration lately).
    Q: Have you put up your Christmas clutter yet?
    First of all, I love that you called it Christmas clutter. I feel like that's what it is sometimes. I know - I'm so bah-humbug. Not really though - I actually have like 4 boxes full of decorations. The problem is that they're completely inaccessible right now... they're in the hidden crawl space below our home in Provo that we're renting out. I wouldn't feel comfortable asking our renter to take everything out of the under-stairs storage closet so we could lift up the carpet, unlock the wooden door, and hop 6 ft down into the dark, cold storage area. I don't even want our renters to know that area exists. We didn't even know about it til we had been there over a year. Before we left for Vernal, I forgot to get our stuff out of there. We have all kinds of junk down there... I mean, important stuff. Like Brian's ginormous basketball card collection he won't let me sell. yeah, we don't have 98% of our decorations - just a few little things I grabbed at the swap meet a few weeks ago. The picture of Brianna sticking her tongue out (cuz she refused to smile) shows the few doo-dads we have. And we have a wreath on our door. I say that's festive enough.

    I took this extra picture of Brian at our door with the wreath and realized I should explain all that stuff in his hands. It's a balloon, sign, card, treats, and gift card for his employee's birthday. As we were going to bed the night before, he's like, "oh - it's Carly's birthday tomorrow. Can you take care of it?" Thanks for all the notice. Hmph. But I actually really like recognizing other's bdays, so it was fun to go get some goods for her. She puts up with Brian's cheesiness and unending extreme enthusiasm very well.

    And this picture of her with the wild smile... she's throwing the nativity scene decoration. After I told her to be careful while holding it.
    Which brings me to the next topic:
    Q: How's that TIMEOUT business going?
    So here's the story: several months ago, I decided I needed to start some sort of disciplinary efforts. Most of my friends were into the time-out method. So that's what we did. She deliberately did something wrong/dangerous, so I told her she had to SIT in the corner for 30 seconds. Of course she wouldn't stay there. So I put my hands on her shoulders firmly enough that she couldn't get up. There was much weeping and wailing and gnashing. Definitely unpleasant. Mission accomplished - she learned the consequences of her wrong/dangerous actions. Until she decided to test her limits again (and again and again). Eventually she understood that if she just stayed sitting for the whole 30 seconds, I wouldn't hold her down. She doesn't like restraint, so now she just runs to the corner when I announce TIMEOUT. Sometimes she even counts along with me and smiles. That's annoying. This isn't supposed to be fun. Soooo... obviously I have no idea what I'm doing and I just have to follow my instinct and pray she doesn't turn out to be a self-centered adult with an inherent sense of entitlement. That's one of those things that drives me nuts - people who feel entitled. Like when they get a speeding ticket and blame the "mean cop." Or get furious at long lines. I totally think it stems from a childhood with a poor discipline system where basic virtues weren't taught. Ever seen the movie Seven starring Will Smith? I want my child(ren) to have the character qualities of the blind guy. Because I don't always. And I want better for my kid(s).
    Next topic:
    Q: Why do you like the Seriously, SO Blessed blog?
    Ok, so no one actually said that verbatim... but I feel obligated to defend my adoration of TAMN and her satirical posts highlighting the banes of the Zion society in blogworld. Am I the only one that wants to gag at the "my-life-is-so-fairy-tale-perfect" blogs done by LDS woman portraying their lives as blissfully excellent? But instead of gagging... through this blog, we can just laugh at it! It's not done out of spite - the true author is a 25-yr old married mom in grad school, simply making a spoof. I can't be the only one who laughs and cringes at the same time while reading other's blogs... the public declarations of love for their "best-in-the-world" spouse, the "my baby is rolling over and doing sign language and walking at 2 weeks old!", the obnoxious widgets, the teenybopper music on autoplay, the flagrant misspellings, 500 exclamation points, obsession with posh winter boots...
    It's also a self-help tool for myself... I see my sins more clearly. Like taking myself too seriously. Or like when she did a spoof on women who whine and cry about their "infertility problem"... because they had to "try" for a whole 2 months. Or how brides wearing flipflops and sparkles think they're uber-unique/creative/original. And all forms of shallowness and materialism and superficiality.

    I love how she reminds me that we don't have to pretend we have perfect children and are madly in love every second of every day and are size 2 and maintain immaculate homes with trendy hand-made decor.
    With all that said... I admit I may have a kooky sense of humor. The kind that likes Simpsons and Seinfeld. I blame it on my siblings. Brian doesn't like or "get" the SSB blog either. Then again... he's a Zionite.

    Sunday, December 6, 2009

    I had a friend call and ask if I was ok.
    Because I haven't blogged in nearly a week.
    I'm that bad, huh?
    Well - yes, my friend(s) - if anyone else was concerned as well - I just haven't had anything noteworthy occur this week. I try not to blog about the mundane. Though everyone's definition of mundane varies.
    I guess I could take more pictures of Brianna sitting on the potty. We've been doing that a lot. She's only diapered now while sleeping or while out on an excursion that doesn't offer easy restroom access. We've only had a couple accidents this week - both when she was mad at me for putting her in timeout.
    Speaking of timeout...I could take pictures of her doing that too. She goes at least once a day to the corner for 30 seconds. Usually for belligerent mess-making.
    I could take more pictures of us reading books together. We do that a lot too. Though I'm worried she's borderline A.D.D. because she often has a 5 second limit per page. Or less. Someone please tell me this is normal.
    I could take pictures of Brianna pushing her away Daddy and screaming, "NO! Go 'way! Mommy give!" at him. Suddenly he's not her favorite anymore {understatement}. I wish she realized how hard he works for us. It's been 11-12 hr days at the office, often minus lunchbreak. I hope this is just a phase. I'd honestly be happier if she preferred HIM and pushed ME away!
    We've been pretty indoor-confined this week. Single-digit temps and no snow to play in are really not conducive to outdoor fun.
    We cook. We clean. We laundry. We Lego. We gym. We shop. We bathe. We repeat.
    OH, and we Bambi. Every day. She's obsessed with watching Bambi. Bolding and italicizing the word obsessed isn't emphasizing it enough. We both have the entire 96 minute 1940 film memorized word for word - including the horribly cheesy 40's-choir songs. She insists on sitting on my lap the whole time. So I've kept the laptop close. I read the SeriouslySoBlessed blog religiously. A recent post mocked people taking pictures of themselves holding cupcakes with their feet turned inward. That made me laugh. Almost as much as the post making fun of women calling themselves single-moms because their husbands work/school long hours. I talk to my sisters everyday and they tell me what being a single mom is really all about. I also use my Bambi/internet time to work on Christmas gifts. I'm doing everything online this year - minus a few yardsale finds (how whitetrashy is it that I love yardsales?). Lots of photo-gifts. FYI - is horrible. has the best prices. Shutterfly and Snapfish are pretty much the same. Walmart Photo is lesser quality. Photoworks is not user friendly. There're facts according to Chelsea.

    See? Told ya I had nothing noteworthy to blog about. I'll work on it.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    New Brianna videos

    Last night Brianna suddenly decided to stop being camera-shy and actually do a little performing. She's been doing most of these "tricks" for months, but just not for the camera. I uploaded several videos to youtube. In case for some crazy reason you're NOT subscribed to our "channel" (what's wrong with you?!) here are links to the 60-second-or-less clips and a little description of what you're in for:

    Brianna attempts to sing I Am a Child of God, but gets distracted after the first few lines. She CAN sing the whole song, but decided to pause to remind me to remind her, "keep going, Brianna." :

    Brianna's religious education:

    I was running out of ideas, and Brianna kept asking me to "make mohr Branna oovie" so this one was just me thinking of random things to ask her to do. She does a few animal sounds, sings the first part of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (she CAN sing the whole thing, but often gets distracted - like here, where she pauses to say CHEESE), she blows a kiss, counts to ten, says I DID IT... all while reading her favorite book - "Daddy and Brianna" (it's a photobook I made with just pictures of Brian and Brianna together):

    Her favorite game is to put her blanket over her head, so her dad and I start asking, "where's Brianna? I can't find her annnyyyywhere....where's BRIANNA?!" She laughs and pops her head out. This time she decided not to laugh...she's mad at me for putting a turtleneck shirt on her:

    You might think I'm a mean/bad mom after watching this, cuz I laugh when Brianna slips and falls down. It was just funny because you can hear her muttering, "careful Brianna, careful Brianna, careful..." then BOOM. She stopped trying to surf on pans on the tile floor after that.

    Finally! She said the entire alphabet for the camera. I used to sing it to her over and over while we walked to and from the Rec Center everyday in Vernal. I have no explanation for the "NO DADDY!" yelling at the end. She gets mad at her parents randomly and irrationally:

    Sunday, November 29, 2009

    The best part of the photoshoot...

    The Brianna-only pictures were my favorite. She tends to be much more photogenic than her parents. Though of course she was never smiling WHILE we were holding her... only when she was put in an interesting place, like a backhoe.
    Or while in the car as we were leaving:
    Or when she spotted a dog passing by
    Or when the photographer had the brilliant idea of giving her a leaf to play with:

    But most of the time she just ran away from us.

    The view from my run

    Last Friday Brian spent his "day off" at his office helping "run the show."
    I'm not bitter, I promise - I'm used to it. Like when he called yesterday at 5:24pm to let me know he wouldn't make it home for lunch. You'd think it'd be like, "duh - judging from how late it it, I kinda figured that." But not really - sometimes he does actually take a lunch break at 4 or 5pm. Amazing how he can go 9 hours without eating and still be a car rental superstar. since Friday was supposed to be his day off, I convinced him that he could keep Brianna at the office so I could go on a run (the gym was closed, and I had slept in).
    I dropped her off, knowing she'd spend most of her time "rearranging" the shelfs of tourism pamphlets, and headed out to a nearby golf course. I had never been there before, because I'm usually in too much of a hurry to get my run completed and can't take the time to drive or bike to a more interesting place. Back in the pre-Brianna days, I would bike up to 10 miles away to find a better trail to run {sigh}. Not complaining, just reminiscing.
    The golf course was nice - perfect turf, felt great to my knees and feet - but there were too many golfers out. So I headed up to the hills above it. And got lost. Very lost. I ended up backing myself into a corner, of sorts. I couldn't go back the way I came - it would take another 30 minutes. I couldn't go back a little and find a new trail, because to get back to the ERAC office I'd have to cross several fence lines with cattle inside. So my only option was to climb UP the big mountain I backed myself into. I don't know if can call my scampering up "running" - it was just a fast hike. While I should have felt a little apprehensive and remorseful (I told Brian I'd be back in 40 minutes - turned out to be a lot more) I secretly got a little masochistic kick out of it. Here's a very inadequate picture of one scene from the top:

    I'm glad I was paranoid enough to bring my phone with me while running. A few years ago I made fun of people who did that.
    I guess it's hard to explain why I think this experience is noteworthy. Blogworthy. It was just one of those moments where I felt... alive. Like I wasn't just a mom spending hours singing potty-related songs with my toddler and cleaning up spilled cereal and pushing a stroller and lamenting my 8 surplus pounds and feeding my hardworking husband and dusting blinds... like how I felt in Hawaii when I would spend hours running through guava tree-covered mountains and long empty beaches and ungroomed river trails... like a strong, free woman. Perhaps only a druggie could understand how the dopamine and serotonin hit could feel so awesome. It lasted me through the weekend. I need another hit soon.

    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Thankful for Zion and free food

    We spent Thanksgiving afternoon hiking in Zion National Park. I can't believe we live so close to such an amazing place. There were many other hikers there today from all over the world - lots of Asians, Europeans... this is a big trip for them, and it's right in our backyard. Add that to the list of things I probably take for granted...
    Brianna enjoyed most of the adventure. She wanted to be OUT of her toddler pack more than we could allow her (for time's sake - the sun goes down too early, so we were rushing, and she only goes fast when SHE feels like it). She did a lot of song-singing, and got upset if we didn't join her. She wanted to count everything, and furiously tried to wiggle out at each waterfall or stream, saying "Ah wanna tuhz (touch) eht!".
    Our camera hates me (or maybe it's the SD card - I'm getting a new one at a BF sale tomorrow) so these are some cell pics:

    Oh deer. Brian took a picture on his phone of me taking a picture on my phone. I told Brianna the mule deer was Bambi. She totally believed me. Sucker.

    Sorry - just turn your head to the right.

    The extra 30 pounds on my back all afternoon felt really great. Really.

    Our favorite part was the Emerald Pools, so I'm stealing some photos of it from the www:As society dictates on this day of shameless gluttony, we also ate a lot. It's an interesting story... we had planned to just find somewhere near the park to get something. But on my bike ride in the morning I saw a Shakespearean-themed place called Bard's with a THANKSGIVING sign on it. So we called, and it sounded like they were doing a traditional holiday feast at a reasonable price. We showed up hungry at 11am and spotted an elderly man from our ward going in at the same time by himself. We invited Brother Massey to our table and spent the meal enjoying his company and his funny stories about his 11 yr old twin daughters from his ex-wife (Brother Massey is at least 70 yrs old...yeah, with biological 6th grade daughters... you do the math). We had only met him twice before - once at church, and once when he broke his foot a couple months ago and we brought dinner to him. I'm never met a more gracious person - you'd think I had saved his house from burning down or something like that. He seemed to really enjoy being with Brianna - he kept commenting on what a good eater she is (until she noticed the pie and started yelling for it - before that it had been, "mooh bocki (broccoli) peez! Mooh cahatz (carrots)!") At the end, I whispered to Brian that we should take care of his tab too, but before he could tell the waitress, she brought the whole bill to Brother Massey - he had already asked her for it! He wouldn't take no for an answer. Such a generous man - it wasn't a cheap tab! I later asked Brian what his favorite part of the meal was - expecting him to say the potatoes - and his answer was, "the fact that it was free!"
    So overall, it was a wonderful holiday-day for us. The only thing that would've made it better is being a part of the noisy fun going on in the background at my parent's house in WA when I called today {sigh}. But we're headed there for a little trip in January (thankyou cheap airfare!)

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    An attempt at family photos

    My goal was to at least get ONE good one of all three of us that I can use as a Christmas card.
    Apparently Brianna didn't understand that goal. She's never SMILING at the camera when we are, and vice versa.
    I guess I'll just have to make a collage and crop a decent shot of each of us into a family photo.

    I should've worn DARK jeans like Brian did.

    I also wanted to get at least one good one of all of us to use as an 8x10 gift for my mom. I know - way too ambitious.

    "Brianna, please smile at the freakin' camera!"
    This is how Brianna felt by the end: