Monday, April 29, 2013

I Just Can't Get Enough

It's here people! The time has arrived that I'm just beginning to really like Ollie! We're done with the dreaded teen-months and on to the beloved 20s. I LOVED this time with Rhett when he was this age, and am happy to report that I'm getting those old feelings back with Ollie. I seriously cannot get enough of this little person. He tries every new word we tell him and they come out just adorably. He drags Pig everywhere he goes. He loves wearing socks on his hands. He tries to copy Rhett in nearly everything, while still being original Ollie. I want to take pictures of everything he does...and I do.

C'mon. Look at him. He's perfect.

And hilarious. That's his name he's saying, just in case you couldn't tell. Don't you just love grandparents for giving this kind of toy to kids? I do!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Product Testers Apply Within

A friend of mine owns a bike shop. She knows that I sew and has offered to sell some of my stuff. (With the caveats that the products be good enough and applicable to cyclists. Duh.) Seemingly unrelated (BUT NOT!) is the fact that I'm running a Ragnar Trail race this June. Since we'll need some sort of reflective gear for the night runs, someone (me? bike shop friend? running friend? I wish I remembered!) suggested a Miss America sash made from reflective fabric. I thought this sounded perfect; I'll take those two birds (Ragnar and bike shop gear) and kill them with one sash.

I tracked down some of the coolest reflective fabric you'll ever find and constructed, and tested, my first prototype last week. It was way too big and kept falling off my shoulders while running. Tuesday night: adjust; Wednesday morning: re-test. Better, but still not perfect.

So now I'm doubting myself. Will it ever work? Do you think this is cool? If you ran in the dark, would you wear this? How much would you pay for it? Any ideas for other cool reflective items? What would you name a Ragnar team of girls all wearing this? If I didn't use velcro, what could I use as a closure?

P.S. How awesome do I look sporting it? Why does my left arm look the exact same as my right, given I wear what-looks-like-a-20-pound watch while running? Aren't the azaleas going to be beautiful in a couple of days? Do you think the cicadas will kill me this summer? Do you think I'll ever get used to one space at the end of a sentence?

P.P.S. Yes, that is a super-short ponytail I'm wearing. Aren't short ponies the cutest?!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Building Character

This past Sunday, one of my dear friends taught our Relief Society lesson. As usual for me, I can't remember what the lesson was supposed to be about. (This is especially bad when you know that I'm the R.S. bulletin publisher, and I typed the lesson's title. But you don't know that, so I'm safe.) Thankfully, I believe the most important thing about any church lesson/talk is what you take away from it.

Somewhere in her lesson she talked about one's character and the building of it. In our house, I'm frequently telling Rhett that he can do hard things. I tell him it's good for him. And when I started thinking about it for me, I realized I do hard things all the time. I mean, I'm a mom. How much harder can it get? I ran a half-marathon and that was pretty hard for me. I'm trying to cut out most sweets (of the un-natural sort) and that is ridiculously hard for me. I do hard things all the time. So apparently for me, hard things just aren't enough seeing as though my character is about average.

Instead, what I need to be doing to better my character are doing the things that I know I should do, but I don't want to do. The weeding in the front yard? Ugh. I know I should, but I don't want to. Going to the Stake Relief Society conference? Ugh. I know I should, but I don't want to. Scrubbing the grout on my hands and knees with vinegar and baking soda? Ugh. I know I should, but I don't want to. It's these types of things that I think would build my character. I avoid them not because they're hard, but simply because I'd rather be doing other things. But maybe I could raise my C+ character to a B if I pushed myself just a little bit.

And because I should always include pictures of these boys, I do so now. Do you know that Ollie will awake in the middle of the night screaming if he lost Pig? And this is Rhett's first major league baseball game. So fun!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Story Behind Our Dunk in the Chesapeake

Remember when I wrote about our camping trip to Janes Island? And I said that we went accidental swimming? I think I'm ready to tell the story. We started the outing just fine. Getting in the boats was easy. Rhett and I got in ours, and Chuck pushed us off the rubber kayak dock. Chuck and Ollie got in their boat, and Chuck easily pulled himself in with the ropes attacked to the dock. Easy.

But after our paddling, we weren't so sure about how to get out, especially since Ollie was sleeping. Chuck had a harder time than expected trying to pull the boat back up the dock, so he thought he'd step out of the boat.

Problem: The dock was a floating dock.
Problem: Chuck weighs more than a golf ball.
Problem: The dock started to sink. With Chuck on it.

What did Chuck do? He put Ollie on the (now slightly underwater) dock and then before we knew it, Ollie was getting wet (and waking up). So then Chuck grabbed my boat (which was close by), but then Rhett and I were pulled in. Of course Rhett was freaking out. Yes, we were wet. Yes, we were cold. But we weren't that wet, nor were we that cold.

Out of nowhere, a man (who looked middle-eastern) in a suit (like business suit, not swimming suit) arrives. He helps calm the boys while we make sure the boats don't sink. Once Chuck and I fish everything out of the water and can attend to the boys, we profusely thank the man and he promptly disappears. We get the boys back in our car, quickly return to the cabin, strip off all wet clothes (which was all clothes), and start drying off. We end up with no lingering illnesses, only one great memory. (Even now Rhett will sometimes say, "I still can't believe that happened to us!")

But that man. When I think of this story, I can't help but wonder what in the world this man, whose descent I note only because there just weren't that many people from the middle east where we were. Especially at a state park. In cold March. Wearing a suit. I mean, really. Could we have survived this incident without him? Yes. But did he help us tremendously? Yes. I'm convinced he was one of the three Nephites. (Not really, but kind of. Just a little bit.)

So that's it. Our only casualty, as previously noted, was the camera. And really, since no one was hurt, and we didn't lose a kayak, it is truly is a fun, happy family memory.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Modern Storytelling

Because I'm still just all weird-y weird from this week, instead of coming up with a post all by myself, I'm going to copy something. It came from an article about storytelling and how we should do it more, like at the dinner table. (Don't you wish I had the link to the article? Sorry.) These are things Chuck and I should tell our boys, but they're also things I should be asking my parents. I actually can answer about 15 of these about my own parents. Yep, feeling pret-ty good right about now.

1. Do you know how your parents met?
2. Do you know where your mother grew up?
3. Do you know where your father grew up?
4. Do you know where some of your grandparents grew up?
5. Do you know where some of your grandparents met?
6. Do you know where your parents were married?
7. Do you know what went on when you were being born?
8. Do you know the source of your name?
9. Do you know some things about what happened when your brothers or sisters were being born?
10. Do you know which person in your family you look most like?
11. Do you know which person in the family you act most like?
12. Do you know some of the illnesses and injuries that your parents experienced when they were younger?
13. Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences?
14. Do you know some things that happened to your mom or dad when they were in school?
15. Do you know the national background of your family (such as English, German, Russian, etc)?
16. Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young?
17. Do you know some awards that your parents received when they were young?
18. Do you know the names of the schools that your mom went to?
19. Do you know the names of the schools that your dad went to?
20. Do you know about a relative whose face "froze" in a grumpy position because he or she did not smile enough?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Yesterday was horrible. But when something happens that was as horrible as what happened in Boston on Monday, it makes it really hard for me to feel sorry for myself. Besides, I get to spend today with my boys. My life could be worse.

P.S. Want to know maybe the only good thing about yesterday? We changed the outlets in the basement from black to white. Not just the outlet covers, but the actual plugs too. (Just in case you needed confirmation that I was truly a boring adult who had a crap day.)

P.P.S. Strike that. I did get to talk to my sister yesterday. That was a very good thing because I just so happen to like my sister.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Game Changers

Having Rhett was probably my biggest life-changing moment so far. Sure, being born, graduating from college, getting married, moving across the country (multiple times) were big moments, but none changed my life like having kids. And now that we have the two boys, I've noticed that there are big "game changers" within parenting. Here they are:

1. The boys walk. All of a sudden, my previously-immobile boys are mobile. I had to totally change the way I watched them. No more laying on their backs while I checked the bank statement online (or while I checked Pinterest, don't judge me).
2. The boys talk. Communication! The boys can tell me what they want/need. (Angels singing the Hallelujah chorus.) Sure, sometimes I don't want to hear what they have to say, and sometimes they won't stop talking, but I'd rather this than the incoherent baby babble.
3. The boys potty train. No more diapers. Need I say more?

The next have yet to be experienced by me, but I can only imagine the changes they'll bring about.
4. The boys read. No more spelling of "secret" things between Chuck and me! The boys can read to themselves. One boy can read to the other boy!
5. The boys start school. Obviously this is huge. I'm sure that in about five months I'll be able to speak more on this, but I have to imagine it's huge, right?
6. The boys drive. They can go places without me. Even worse, they can get in accidents without me. They can ruin big, expensive machinery without me.

After this, they're pretty much "adults" even though they'll always be my boys. Experienced parents, am I missing something? Were there other big game changers for you?

And a picture of a cute little guy just for fun...Can you believe we had a 90-degree day and I didn't complain too much? I'm positive it was because the humidity was low and I knew the heat wasn't going to last, but I still gave myself a pat on the back.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Liebster Award

My cousin Emily nominated me for a Liebster Award. Thanks cousin! What is a Liebster Award, you ask? Nothing more than a big compliment. Which I will not turn down. How does it work? I have to list 11 things about me, I have to answer 11 questions asked by my cousin Emily, and then I'm supposed to ask 11 questions of those that I nominate for the award. I will do parts 1 and 2, but not 3. However, should you want to do it, please do! I love learning more about people I know.

Part 1: 11 Things about Me
1. Two of my favorite books are The Good Earth and Pillars of the Earth. (Never noticed until now that they both contain the word "Earth.")
2. Being 25 was awesome.
3. Although I dislike most romantic comedies, I love "Sleepless in Seattle."
4. You know how most women think they're fatter than they really are? I think I'm skinnier than I really am. (Note: I didn't say I think I'm skinny, just skinnier.) This makes pictures of me especially jarring.
5. I do not believe in soul mates.
6. One of my running friends said she'd vote for any politician who said they'd abolish Daylight Saving Time. I'd do the same.
7. I cannot bring myself to only do one space after a period. It makes me feel old and totally un-hip to admit this, but such is. (Somewhere my mom is clapping.)
8. I do not own a zester. I think I should own a zester.
9. I love eating icing on crackers. Ritz crackers, graham crackers, Wheat Thins, any crackers. Salty + sweet = yummy.
10. I never listen to music when running, only podcasts. I wonder if running to music would make me faster.
11. I'm looking for sewing projects. Any suggestions?

Part 2: 11 Questions Answered
1. Favorite go-to recipe: Open-face peanut butter and honey sandwich. It's my lunch of choice most days.
2. Change one aspect of my life: My own life is pretty dang good. So if I can request the Manager of All Genies to grant my wish it would be: lift my house and drop it softly in a part of the country that stays relatively mild all year (except for when it snows one day and melts the next), doesn't get humid, and all of my family and friends live next door. Do you see why I needed to talk to a genie supervisor about this wish?
3. Childhood regrets: I wish I tried running anything sporty in high school, not just the French Club.
4. Dog or cat person: Definitely dogs. I think am developing an allergy to cats in my old age.
5. One favorite memory: Ollie's birth. Hands down.
6. Fave book character and why: Scarlett O'Hara. I don't think I could be any less like her, but still.
7. Least fave day: Uh, all of the days in July and August? I like most days in general, but humid summer days are the worst. Especially this summer when they will be humid summer days with cicadas all around.
8. Which parent am I most like and why: I have to go with my dad. His anal-retentiveness attention to detail plagues me to this day. But he did teach me the ways of the open-face peanut butter and honey (see above) and instill in me my dislike of cats. My mom likes shopping way too much for me to say her.
9. Article of clothing owned longest: Maybe something from college? Stuff I bought when I worked at Kirkham's? I don't think I have anything from high school. (I did start high school about 20 years ago, you know.)
10. Disneyland fave ride: I dislike all things Disney, therefore I refuse to answer this question. :)
11. Fave kids book: Can I give some favorite kid authors instead? Leslie Patricelli, Jack Prelutsky, Arnold Lobel, Mo Willems, and that's all I can remember.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cherry Blossoms

One of the very best parts of living in D.C. is the cherry blossoms. I'm happy to report that in a very unlike-me moment, on Monday I decided to take the boys downtown...all by myself...on the metro...during Ollie's nap see those bloomin' cherry blossoms. It was kinda thrilling to cast all Erin-ness aside. (I didn't cast aside the part of me that likes to have fun with my kids, just the part of me that likes to schedule it all in advance and not at the same time as nap time.) So while Rhett was at preschool I gathered all the supplies: sunglasses, sunscreen, sack lunch, water, cash for a treat, camera, and hats. When we picked up Rhett, Ollie and I delivered the good news. Ollie had no idea what was going on, but he's 20 months old. I don't expect too much.

The day was lovely. We're experiencing some summer temps (today is likely to be in the upper-80s--wayyyyyyyy too warm for my tastes), so we definitely got warm. But the trees provided enough shade. Rhett did great walking the whole way and no one fell in any water! Success! The only downer of the whole day was our Oreo ice cream bar purchase (see the postscript).

P.S. Okay people, seriously, how much should this ice cream bar cost? And how much do you think it actually cost? My answers: I thought it should cost $1.50, but would probably cost $2.50. WRONG! It cost FOUR DOLLARS. And because it was being kept cold in a cooler with dry ice, the thing was rock solid. What a waste of $4. Rhett didn't even comment on the fact that he had to use his molars to bite into it.

P.P.S. While it's been burning us up here, the weather delivered four feet of snow to my brother this week. I don't know what's worse.

Monday, April 8, 2013


This week was lovely. We got back to our semi-regular routines, got the new camera, and maybe spring has decided to come after all. I'm pretty happy.

We took out the camera Saturday morning when we went to see the planes take off at Gravelly Point. It's much cooler to be there when they're landing, but the wind wasn't going our way. That's okay. Ollie still enjoyed it and Rhett still thought it was too loud. We stopped by Roosevelt Island on the way back. The boys even got in the sandbox while Chuck and I cooked dinner. If not for Rhett complaining and disobeying nearly the entire day weekend, it would have been perfect. Saturday night I was already bummed at how the weekend was already nearly over. Curse you, Sunday-night-blues-creep!

And just in case you missed the picture of Ollie in his ties on Facebook, here's another. Seriously. This kid. What a hoot. Do you know that if we leave him to sleep with socks still on his feet, he'll invariably awake with one sock on his right hand/arm? Yep.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Everybody Works...

Remember a year ago (I'm sure you do), when I posted about our family motto? I'm happy to report it's still in full force, but now with the addendum of "...and then everybody plays!" When we explained this original motto to Rhett it seemed a bit depressing to a five-year-old without the addendum. But when we say, "Everybody works AND THEN everybody plays," there's more incentive to work. I think.

Right now we seem to have a good chore system going for Rhett (but I'm sure that will change in a couple of months). He has his morning and evening "chores" (which include things like brushing teeth, making bed, getting dressed, unloading dishes, putting away laundry) and when he completes them, he gets stickers on his chart. The chart starts new every Monday and ends Sunday night. Then at FHE we count the stickers. If he earns more than 100 (112 possible each week) he gets to choose a family outing or to have a late-night movie. If he earns more than 75, he gets to pick a dinner or FHE dessert for the following week, to go to a playground of his choice, or to have a playdate with a friend of his choice (something I am quite lazy about scheduling). And if he earns more than 50, he can pick 30 minutes on the computer, a McDonald's ice cream cone, or three new-to-us books. Yes, we have to remind him to do them and yes, he does whine a bit. But it's working. He's working.

Chuck and I are working too. Now that the evenings are lighter and (kinda) warmer, we actually feel motivated to do things around the house. So we brought back "No TV Mondays." This most-recent Monday night was spent bleaching our mildewed shower. It looks soooo much better. We have myriad things on our list: replace the black outlets downstairs with white ones, yard stuff, research retirement planning and our 10th anniversary trip, clean the area around Ollie's high chair (this could be a two-weeker). If feels good to accomplish things again!

P.S. New camera arrived last night. Hopefully I'll have pictures next week. Hopefully I won't dunk this camera in the salty bay.

P.P.S. Is "myriad" the new "plethora?"

P.P.P.S. Thanks so much for all the comments on Wednesday's "Things Rhett Said" post. I know that most of the time these things are funny only to parents. I put them on the blog mostly for my family and me; I would never remember them otherwise. However, it is nice to see that others think he's funny too.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Things Rhett Says

As we're walking in Sam's Club, we pass the Snuggle brand detergent, something I have never bought...
Rhett: That costs less than the leading brand!

Me: Just you wait. Someday you'll want to sleep in late and I will wake you up at 5:30 to get back at you.
Rhett: You'll be dead by then.

Rhett insists that he will marry his dear friend Madeleine. Normally I fight my desire to be realistic, but the other day I just couldn't. I promise that neither Madeleine's mom nor I encourage this "relationship." While adorble, we do recognize that they're just five.
Rhett: What comes after second grade?
Me: Third, fourth,..., twelfth grade. Then a mission, college, marriage, and children.
Rhett: Really?! I am most excited for marriage and kids. I am definitely going to marry Madeleine.
Me: Some day you'll be older and will have met many other girls and women. And Madeleine will have met many other boys and men. And maybe, just maybe, she'll love one of them more than she loves you.
Rhett: [Moment of silence.] That is impossible.

While in the car, Rhett was playing with one of his new toys awarded at the dentist's office.
Rhett: Ollie do you want to play with this toy?
Ollie: Eh eh. [Translation: YES! It's a sound not unlike the revving of a car. I can't quite figure out how to spell it.]
Rhett: Well, if you had come out of mom's belly first then you would be older and you could play with the toy.

Overheard from the boys' room at 6:45 a.m.
Rhett: We let dad sleep in long enough. Let's go wake him up.

In a recent prayer...
Rhett: Please bless Ollie that he won't be destructo.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Let's Put March to Bed, Shall We?

After the putting on of a goodbye party for my in-laws, helping them move, running the half-marathon, celebrating a birthday multiple times, and going on a short vacation (both to and in the Chesapeake Bay), I'm done with busy March and ready for a less-busy April. And to illustrate how lazy I plan on being, I'm not even going to post any pictures. (This may or may not be because we have no pictures to share because we may or may not have ruined our camera after we may or may not gone swimming unintentionally in the Bay).