Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Christmas Day was so much better than its predecessor. It wasn't nasty and raining, I didn't spend all day in the kitchen, I got a nice run in, the boys played (mostly happily), we had family over for an easy dinner of tacos with rice and beans. It was just easy. Only regret was that I failed to get a picture of the whole family. Oh well.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve morning...

was spent (at least by me) in the kitchen. For the kids it was spent annoying me in the kitchen. But at least it all looked pretty, right?

Doing the gingerbread houses was the best part of the day. Well, that and eating dinner with friends. Well, that and putting the kids to bed.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Note to Self for Next Year

The Christmas gifts that we spent lots of time and energy thinking about, saving for, shopping for, and in some cases, making for our kids:
Play tent
Indoor play sand

The Christmas gifts that we should have scrounged around late on Christmas Eve for our kids:
Bubble wrap
Cupcake liners
Glue sticks

And then we should have put those gifts in the grand finale of all kids' Christmas gifts: A CARDBOARD BOX.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Botanical Gardens Trains

Last Saturday we braved the protest crowds (if only because we didn't know we'd run into them) to visit the trains at the U.S. Botanical Gardens. We got there only 15 minutes after they opened and already a line had formed. Sigh. But thankfully it moved quickly. Un-thankfully, we also moved quickly...right through the exhibit. But thankfully, fantastic milkshakes were next on the agenda.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I Did It

A couple weeks ago Chuck convinced me to buy a smartphone. (So yes, unlike this very sexist article, Chuck is the one encouraging us to live outside our means. Take that!) It's an Amazon phone, it was on sale, and it gives us free Amazon Prime for a year. AND I'm choosing a plan that is only about twice as much as my super cheap pay-as-you-go plan I was using with my dumbphone. So the cost really isn't terrible. We got the new SIM card on Saturday, and I haven't seen my family since. Gee, I love these things.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Why We Don't Eat Vegetables

Why, yes, that IS a live worm in that green squash.

Oh, and if you are the kind person who left a bunch of apples on our doorstep, thanks! I mean, it's not a bag of steaks (look for Carol Watts' article), but if we're not going to eat vegetables, fruit will do. Insert smiley emoticon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The End of an Era

That's it. We no longer will be buying diapers, something we've done for over six years. Whoa.

How did it happen? Chuck and I have been talking to Ollie about it for months. He knew it was coming and on the day before Thanksgiving, we started. Why Thanksgiving? We knew we'd be home the entire weekend and thought it would be a nice early Christmas present to ourselves. I mean, why ruin Christmas?!

I begin with a parenting fail number 1: In order to get Ollie to recognize when he needed to go to the bathroom, we filled him with Gatorade. This led to about a zillion accidents. Whoops. It got better once we dehydrated him. (Not really.) But the first day went okay.

Parenting fail number 2: We put diapers on him for nighttime, because, duh. When he woke up and we tried to get underwear on him, it did not go well. Poor buddy had a massive tantrum. Finally underwear won, and we decided never to put diapers on him again for fear we'd never get them off. Thursday (Thanksgiving) was really hard. Chuck and I were both preoccupied with the holiday duties and didn't want much to do with potty training. And come Friday morning I was ready to quit and wait until Christmas.

Parenting success number 1: Chuck convinces me to keep at it and we do. And Friday was so much better! We learned that Ollie was not the kind of kid who takes well to bathroom trips every time a timer goes off. So once we accepted that and let him take the lead, he did. He did really well and we were feeling much better about the whole thing. And since then, every day has gotten better. He usually waits until the last minute, but tells us when he has to go and then runs off to take care of it himself. There was the time when I had to run two errands. I had him go to the bathroom right before we left (and he went), but at the first store he had to go again (a lot), and then again at our second stop. Oh the joy.

So overall, things are going well. Except with poo. Why is it kids don't want to do this on a toilet? Last Wednesday was particularly bad and I was so frustrated. Unlike his brother, Ollie has no problem doing it in his underwear. But while in Cleveland, Ollie had a great experience, and it's been better since then. Phew.

So, in the end, of course it's totally worth it. Plus, I still kinda like little boy bums in underwear. Sorry; it had to be said.

Monday, December 8, 2014

We Didn't Shoot Our Eyes Out!

Weekend trip wrap-up:

Cleveland. Meh. The drive up (with a newly-potty trained boy) could have been so much worse. But the drive home, with only one stop and sleeping boys, couldn't have been much better! It's possible the boys' favorite thing about Cleveland was the hotel. I wasn't impressed with their downtown Christmas lights (there weren't any) and the advertised two HUGE nutcrackers turned out to be inside a casino...a place where my nutcracker-loving boy can't go. There will be tears. We toured the house and museum on Friday, before the crowds, and that was fun.

The run. So great. It was raining pretty hard during breakfast, and I was pretty depressed. But you better believe I prayed away that rain just in time for our start. The race was well-run and filled with so many characters! The most-often seen costume was definitely a bunny suit, followed by the leg lamp. We weren't the only Black Barts, but there weren't too many of us either. The best costume was the man dressed up as Flick, carrying a pole and pretending his tongue was stuck to it. Seeing all these people really made the six miles (my slowest racing six miles, mind you) go by quickly. We took a five-minute stop at the Christmas Story House to take pictures, and that didn't help our time either. (I won't tell you how MAD Rhett was when we made him wear a black trash bag filled with boy and blanket in the stroller.)

Kirtland. After Cleveland was a bust, we looked around for other things to do and saw that Kirtland was close. Who knew?! (And pretty sad that it takes a silly 10K to get us to church sites, but so it is.) So after the race and after we cleaned up, we drove over and visited the temple and the church history sites. The end.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I'm Such a Fun Mom!

Wednesday's advent activity was "Boys' Choice," which turned into playing some Christmas games. While Rhett was at school, I whipped up a couple of fun games: snowman bowling with toilet paper rolls and "Roll a Snowman".

Let's pretend I didn't ignore Ollie for a little bit while I made these, or that later that night, I yelled at the boys that I was done being their mom for the day...okay? Okay!

P.S. I know you're all dying for a post on Ollie's potty training, but I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed with that and our trip today. To keep myself sane, some things must wait. But don't worry, I'm not crazy-holidays overwhelmed. Just enough overwhelmed to not want to write about four poopy underwears in one day.

P.P.S. Race tomorrow! Two Black Barts will be representing...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


This year, we started our Thanksgiving celebrations on Thanksgiving Eve. Taking a page from my friend Kathy's book, we ate a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving dinner: pretzels, toast, jelly beans, and popcorn. You know, all the four food groups. Thursday, we did a Thanksgiving dinner with friends and it was, as expected, really fun.

The company, of course.
The food, of course.
We made our first turkey, so maybe we're full-fledged adults now?
I remembered to use my china! I got it from my grandma, and I never remembered to use it before now.
The projects! I made napkins, napkin "rings," a table runner, two centerpieces, and Mayflower ships for the kids' table.
All three women walking around with cameras taking pictures of the food.
All seven "big kids" (sans one baby) happily playing with parents happily ignoring.
Having it all cleaned up by 8:30 and being asleep by 9:30.

None! Oh, maybe being in such a rush right at before we ate that Chuck forgot to change his shirt before eating. But if that's the worst, then it was pretty darn good.

Monday, December 1, 2014

First, the Important Stuff

Sure, we just finished Thanksgiving. Sure, I have some fun pictures. BUT way more pressing is this:

Chuck and I are running "A Christmas Story" movie-house run on Saturday. (Cousin Melissa, if you're reading, feel free to stop and move on to something far more interesting to you.) But because we've been so busy with Thanksgiving plans, I put forth no time or effort in preparing for this race. Sure, we've both been running, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about our costumes. What should we wear? Any good ideas for quick, easy, and cheap things we could do to make ourselves more festive? Or maybe something for the boys, (seeing as though we'll be pushing them in a stroller)? You know, our two little versions of Ralphie and Randy? Help!

P.S. These boys are ridiculous. I hate when this is the best shot you get, you know? I might actually miss 12:30 church just a little; it'll mean less time to whip up new ties before church.