Friday, September 24, 2010

Buckin' Up

So, I composed the previous blogpost last night, but decided it was too pathetic to post. Plus, I was worried that it might spawn a few cheer-up phone calls--the last thing my mopey self wanted to handle.

Fortunately, I've cowboyed up, bucked up, and pulled myself up by my bootstraps. While I still miss my hubby, good things are happening in our neck of the woods. Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Power tools. Without Jason around to tackle my honey-do list, I've had to take over myself. After seven plus years of marriage, I finally learned to use the drill. There's something very empowering about using a 6mm bit to put holes in the wall. Vroom!

2) Free childcare at the St. George Rec Center. For $1.50 per class, I can both workout and enjoy an entire hour sans enfants. My kids really like it there and beg to go all the time, so I'm getting whipped into shape. Over the past few weeks, I've experienced my first classes in yoga, pilates, cardio circuit--even zumba!

3) Dixie Sun's International Dance Festival. Last night Brooklyn's school hosted a Fiesta de Bailes. Held outside on a gorgeous evening, the event was fabulous, with dances from Israel, Mexico, Hawaii, Korea, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

Here are the kindergartners, representing the U.S. by dancing the "Hokey Pokey."

4) And last but not least, tonight was Brooklyn's first campfire as a Daisy Scout. S'mores roasted under an idyllic mountain backdrop--talk about a winning combination!

Brooklyn was so serene as she proudly posted the colors.

Girls like to play with fire too!

So Daddy dearest, while we miss you still, you'll be glad to know that we're still having plenty of fun without you. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


So, I'm flying solo this week. Eight long days before my darling hubby reappears on the scene. If everything runs smoothly, he should make it about 11:45 pm on Sunday, just in time to celebrate the last fifteen minutes of my birthday. Since he's arriving with some favorite friends, I suspect my special day will involve very little pampering and an awful lot of desperate house cleaning.

I know it could be worse. I know I should feel happy for Jason and the well-deserved recognition he is receiving in New York. I know I should be grateful that he's around most of the time and always supportive when he's here. But I don't want to cowboy up. I simply want to indulge in some self-pity.

Happy birthday? Bleh.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Year in the Life of Eli

When Eli was born, he was mad--really mad. No interest in feeding--he just wanted to let the entire world know that he did not appreciate what had just happened. I remember holding him during his first moments of life and worrying, "What if he never stops?"

While his first months of life glittered with dust from heaven, he still stuck his tongue out at the world.

Or maybe the world simply gave him indigestion...

At any rate, he was still fairly colicky come Halloween.

Of course, he calmed down when we threatened to eat him.

Fortunately, around Thanksgiving time, he began to pull out the charm.

Of course, those cheesy grins disappeared briefly when Santa appeared on the scene, but who can blame him? :)

Since then, it's been all smiles.

(Final photo courtesy of Jenika.)

Having Eli in our family has been delightful. He is seriously the most happy baby imaginable. (Except when he's not. The intensity of his smiles is matched by the fury of his wrath at bedtime. We occasionally call him our little Polar Bear since the term bipolar seemed a bit inconsiderate.)

Fortunately for us, he's almost always happy. Laid back and chill, he takes in the world at his own pace. Never in a rush, he's not racing to break any milestones. After slithering for months, he only recently traded in his army crawl for a more traditional style. I suspect it will be a while before he succumbs to peer pressure and walks, but I could be mistaken. Eli loves to surprise us by showing us what he is capable of doing, but simply chooses not to. For the moment, our little pipsqueak is quite content in his role as the baby of the family, preferring to be cuddled and coddled rather than assert his independence.

And so, we secretly spoil our featherweight by catering to his pleas to be held, mostly because the experience is so rewarding. A natural-born snuggler, Eli loves to nestle into your shoulder, wrap his arms around your neck, and pat you on the back. If life ever tosses you a really rotten day, you're always welcome to come and get a hug from Eli. No matter what your worry, I promise you'll feel better.

Eli's Belated Birthday Bash

Baby Eli turned one yesterday! We postponed his birthday celebration until today, ostensibly because we were too busy rollicking at Dixie's Roundup Rodeo last night. In truth, however, I simply wasn't ready to admit that my baby is growing up, whether I like it or not.

In honor of his special day, we enjoyed a quiet family celebration at home. Okay, scratch the "quiet" part--the concept eludes my children. Still, we enjoyed the simplicity. A couple of presents, a few balloons, and lots of yummy cake, and we had the perfect way to celebrate our little man's coming of age.

"Today is my birthday, shout hooray!"

"Is this all for me?"

"Hey, Mom, what's up with the comb-over? Isn't it about time for a haircut?"

"Ooo, pretty fire!"

"Pina colada cake, my favorite."

"Everybody who's one year-old, raise your hand!"

"All done. Now watch my Houdini escape."

(And yes, our tiny guy, barely scratching the first percentile in weight, happily polished off his adult-sized piece of cake. It's hard to imagine feeding him as a teenager...)

Happy Birthday, Eli!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Time for Tots

Talia started preschool today!

Three minutes down the road from Brooklyn's school, they are hosting a "Time for Tots" preschool at a local park. Drop-off times are five minutes apart, so the scheduling is perfect. The program seems well-organized and fun, and Talia had a fabulous first day. I'm still amazed that the weather is consistently nice enough to meet outside at a park (although there is an alternate location, just in case...).

The best part about "Time for Tots" is that twice a week I'll have a little more Time for Mom. Eli and I enjoyed the morning by driving five minutes farther up the road to hike around Snow Canyon State Park.

While we still miss Illinois, life in St. George is also good--
--very good.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Quote of the Week

Domestic goddess that I am, I was heating up the iron on Sunday morning when Brooklyn posed the following question.

Brooklyn: Mom, do you actually know how to use that thing?

Meanwhile Jason, who was listening in from the bathroom, suppressed chuckles and chortles.

What can I say? I have better things to do with my life than slave over an ironing board. Or a curling iron. Half the time I don't even bother with a blow dryer. On the positive side, I do strive to regularly acquaint myself with my toothbrush... :)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I Have, Therefore I Want

It’s curious how having something can create more longing than satisfaction. I’ve always been amazed by how the wealthy often wish they had more. Over these past few weeks, however, I’ve come to realize how easy it is to get sucked into this cycle of materialism.

Ever since France, I’ve secretly longed for a house. Tired of apartment living, I wanted four walls of our own where the kids could run free and I could play piano at midnight. I dreamed of a small patch of grass where we could plant our own garden, free from community regulations dictating where to put the tomatoes.

I wanted a house. Just a house.

And now I have one. (Or at least the bank does. Technically speaking, I just have a lot of debt.)

Yet in the acting of having, I suddenly find myself wanting—wanting things I never even desired before. Now that I have a patio, I want patio furniture. Now that we have a backyard, I wish we had a swingset. Or better yet, a trampoline! A bike trailer seems so much more important now that we have fun trails to explore. Now that he has his own room, Eli could use a dresser. It would be fun to have a couch downstairs. I never wanted a flat-screen TV before, but darn it, we’ve got a wall that would suit one just perfectly!

There’s simply no end to the wants that having can create. I feel so grateful for our new home and the space that it’s providing for our family to live, love, and grow. I think it’s time to simply step back and appreciate all that’s here rather than wistfully longing for more.

(Of course, it’s easy to be satisfied since we upgraded to a queen-sized bed today. Naturally, the new bed needed a new mattress…and a new dresser…plus a nightstand to complete the set. I’d like to post pictures, but I have to get new bedding first. Ah, it’s hopeless!)

Kindergarten Confidence

In going through pictures this evening, I came across these pictures that I took of Brooklyn before her first day of kindergarten.

The T-shirt was especially chosen in honor of "Red" day.

Ah, to be full of such exuberance and confidence!

This super-hero girl certainly felt ready to conquer the world!

Two weeks later, and school is still going really well. While the first thematic unit of colors might have been a bit simplistic in English, learning them in Spanish added the perfect amount of challenge. I have been amazed at how quickly Brooklyn seems to be catching on to the language. While it may not be directly relevant, I think her exposure to French has really helped, particularly in terms of metalinguistic awareness. She clearly understands what a language is and how it is used. She's not frustrated by differing word orders or the lack of word-for-word correspondence. She views language as a medium for communication, not a vehicle for direct translation.

To add to the joy of it, she currently speaks with a very French accent, producing her "r's" in the very back of her throat instead of with the tip of her tongue. I crack up every time she talks about the color "gris." I'll have to try and get a video recording soon because this adorable quirk is quickly disappearing. In the meantime, we're having a great time trading in "Brown Bear" for "Oso Pardo" as our favorite bedtime story.

And, now that the color unit is over, we have officially transitioned to school uniforms.

Never one for conformity as a child, I must say that as a parent, I absolutely love the convenience.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Home Improvement

Now that the weather is finally getting a bit cooler here in St. George (today's high was "only" 102 degrees), we're eager to start spending more time outside. As new homeowners, one of our first projects has been to put in glass doors that will open up directly onto our back patio.

Here's a picture of before:

And here's an "in-process" picture of my handsome man beginning the demolition.

Of course, there are always surprises when you own an older home, such as this unsightly decay.

Even more worrisome, however, was the discovery of these copper pipes. Yes, these pipes are running exactly where the door is supposed to go.

Nothing to do but laugh. Especially since the special-order door hanging out in the garage is nonrefundable.

Fortunately, Jason is a fantastically handy architect-turned-plumber. This unexpected twist was the perfect excuse to invest in a blow torch and perfect the art of soldering. In the end, Jason ran the copper piping up, over, and around the door frame.

Anxiously awaiting the crucial moment of truth... Will the welding hold? Yes! (Thanks to skilled hands and answered prayers.)

Eli celebrates with his Daddy.

A future carpenter in the making.

Coming soon, after pictures. :)