Tuesday, November 25, 2014

See You in the Movies

I have come to a conclusion about myself: I am in big trouble if I ever have daughters. And not just because I still don't know how to french-braid hair.

It's because of these.

I love these books and their respective miniseries adaptations. And when I say "love", I ain't just whistling Dixie. It is a very strong devotion. Just ask anybody who's ever watched them with me. Ask my dad, who remembers too well the way my friends and I would audibly swoon over Colin Firth the many MANY times we watched Pride and Prejudice as teenagers. Or ask my husband, who knows very well the smile that is plastered on my face after watching North and South.

Seriously, get through this scene without smiling. I dare you.

So I very much plan on introducing these books and movies to my daughters, should I have any. And I think it will be very painful for me if they don't love them, too. That's the first thing that could get me in trouble with daughters. Them not loving the books. See how I'm hopeful that I introduce them book-first, but that doesn't always happen. Not only did I see Pride and Prejudice before reading the book, I religiously watched Anne of Green Gables before I even knew how to read (boy, did my brothers love that). But while these hypothetical daughters are reading, I'm going to be so antsy, hoping that they love these books, and can I mask my disappointment if they don't?

My first "ship".

The second thing that could get me in trouble is wondering if they'll be able to endure watching the movies with me. Because there are times when I realize I have not changed how I watch them.

I was 13 when my mother first rented Pride and Prejudice. (I still can't believe I reached eighth grade without even hearing of it; I read it almost immediately after seeing the miniseries, though.) When she invited me to watch it with her, I had no idea of the love affair that was about to begin. This was in the days of VHS, and she had only rented the first half of the movie! So when it ended and we were left on a cliffhanger that I had no idea of how it was resolved, it was bad. And the only thing I remember about the extent of my mother's enthusiasm was that she wanted to get to the video store (remember those?) to rent the second half that same evening (fortunately, it was still available when we got there), and she knew the story and how it would turn out. So it's obvious she's into these movies and likes them. But she definitely isn't a crazy enthusiast like me.

If I have a daughter I introduce Pride and Prejudice to, will I be able to keep calm and act like a normal person? I am very good about watching beloved movies with first-time viewers -- spending the summer of '07 introducing North and South to allllll my friends trained me --, so I don't think I'd give anything away, but I react. Boy, howdy, do I react. Still! After seeing them countless times! Shouldn't I be the mature one? Here I am, 30 years old, very much an adult, and there are still things I swoon over. Audibly. And happily. And sometimes loudly. Shouldn't my behavior have changed since I was 15? Or is it all right that I still act silly?

Last year I watched North and South with my mom and sister. My mom was the one who introduced the book to me when I was 19, but I was the one who told her about the movie four years later . . . or maybe she'd heard of it, but she didn't watch it until I raved about it. So Mom had watched it before. My sister had never seen it. And they watched so calmly, so quietly. (I did, too, but again . . . my sis was a first-time viewer, and I'm very nice in those situations. I think.) I had no idea if my sister even liked it because she gave very little reaction! I think she did, but  I was going crazy inside because I had no outward confirmation! (Contrast that with my friends, whose reactions ranged from "best movie ever" to the memorable "I hate you, Megan" -- in the sense that I introduced her to a movie that ruined her for other movies.) I'm pretty sure my sister's never been as dramatic as I am, so it's only natural she doesn't watch movies the way I do. I'm not saying her way is wrong. What I am saying is: what if her way's right? And I'm just too insane? Have all my friends who were just as crazy and loud as I was now grown-up and able to watch them without uttering a word? I don't quite want to give up my enthusiasm, because I know it at least entertains my husband (seriously, he laughs at me and then tries to blame it on the water he's drinking), plus I have fun being a little loony. But what if I'm wrong and I just need to grow up and calm down?

Because any future daughters of mine should probably think of me as the grown-up in the relationship, and watching these movies with me could seriously undermine that idea.

But I guess that's what assigning chores are for.


"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder." -Alfred Hitchcock

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Step in Time

One month down, more to go.

Well, my first 30-day challenge has ended, and it was quite, quite, QUITE successful. (hooray!) In a month, I lost 14 pounds! Whoa, baby! Five inches off my waist, and three off my hips. Again, I say, Whoa, baby!

Of course, this week decided to beat me down and bloat me up a couple of pounds just to remind me that everybody has off-weeks with their body. But aside from a couple of Halloween treats that I allowed myself (and to only have a couple is miraculous for me!), I've still kept to my goals and eaten well and knocked out exercise each day. So even if my measurements aren't going in the direction I want them to come Monday morning, I know I've done my best. And hope that next week goes better.

People are starting to notice, too. Glen told me a couple weeks ago that he can tell my waist is smaller when he hugs me (awww...), my pal Tiffany tells me basically every week that I'm looking great (i already miss you, girl), and another friend in the ward told me the other day that my face is looking thinner. (of course, she thought that was because i'm pregnant and have been throwing up. wrong on both counts, colleen.)

So, can I keep this up? Yes, I can! I've got to, if I want to be able to fit into my goal-shirt without embarrassing myself (which isn't just pre-baby, it's pre-marriage; so that's quite a ways to go!). Tried it on fifteen minutes ago and I could actually look at myself without cringing, but I've still got some more inches to lose before I'll willingly wear it in public.

But, as Angela Lansbury sings, "After all, it's a step in the right direction."


"Baby steps to the elevator . . ." -Bill Murray, What About Bob?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Go the Distance

And the lack of cheating pays off! Today I am officially ten pounds lighter than I was three weeks ago. Yay! I'm not just losing pounds, either; I'm also losing inches. Seriously, why was I being so lazy before? Oh, yeah. Because it's incredibly easy to do.

I've still got some tough terrain ahead, and my 30-day-challenge is still a week away from being over, but I'm pretty excited about this. Even as I stared at the chocolate chip cookie in Glen's hand last night, very tempted to just swipe it out of his grasp, I knew that I'd regret it the instant I succumbed to temptation. Not because it would make me feel physically terrible later, but because I've already gone this long and done this well, and I don't want to beat myself up.

So here's to another week of willpower! I think the fact that I'm seeing results is helping to motivate me to look beyond the month of October and keep up my momentum until I'm back where I want to be. (and then to stay where i want to be.)

Of course, the next couple of months will be a challenge, considering the holidays, but I think if I keep on doing what I'm supposed to be doing every day, I won't feel guilty for splurging on special days. And denying myself the goodies now are sure helping me to look forward to and increase my appreciation for those special occasions.

Because I really want a cookie. :)

More Isaac pictures for your enjoyment. I love my silly boy.

Megan and Tyler came to visit for the day, and we went out to Bluebell. Isaac reaallllllly liked the cow train.

Got some hand-me-down costumes from my sis and couldn't resist squeezing Isaac into this one, considering how cute it looked and the fact that in two weeks I won't be able to fit him in it.

My next challenge begins on Saturday, only this is an intellectual challenge. I'm finally biting the bullet and participating in Nanowrimo. My thanks go out to my supportive hubby for reminding me of and encouraging me to do it. Life's sure fun when you actually make and keep goals!


"I believe that every human has a finite amount of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine by running around doing exercises." -Neil Armstrong

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can't Hardly Wait

And now I am at the end of Day 11 of my 30-day challenge. And how am I doing? I'm impatient.

I'm impatient because it's been a week and a half and I want to be 10 pounds lighter already! I did drop about 4 pounds the first week (wow!), but I have a feeling that won't be the case this week. Which makes me a tad irritated. My brain is thinking, "Come on! You've been so good and haven't cheated on food and have worked out every day! Your body should already look wildly different!" And then I remind myself that I've got plenty of years of bad habits to correct, and it's not as easy now that I've hit 30 and have had a baby.

To that reasonable side of myself, I say, "Grrrrrrr."

But, yes, miraculously enough, I have not cheated. At all. The closest I came to cheating was when we went to Provo on Monday and went out to lunch. Somehow I avoided the bread at the table, and I didn't touch the croutons in my salad! Don't get me wrong; this diet does not deride bread/grain/wheat/what-have-you -- but it sure doesn't allow me to eat as much of it as I used to. (insert sad face here.)

I even have deliberately made myself sweat twice in one day the past two days! That is totally unheard of. But when your husband leaves you alone every Tuesday night for his night classes, you need to come up with something to do. So I've played Just Dance the last two nights for fun. And believe me, Just Dance is a lot more fun for me than my work-outs so far. I'm counting on them eventually getting fun, but for now I'm just glad that I've moved past feeling sick when they're over.

It's been interesting being part of this challenge group on facebook. These are complete strangers to me, so it's weird to see them "like" a post I leave about how I'm doing (or the "sweat" pictures we're supposed to post after each work-out this week, blech). But I'm picked up by their success stories and am always glad to know I'm not alone. And to know that if/when I cheat/slip up, I won't be alone in that. I have been surprised by how many people are reporting their slip-ups. I'd prefer NOT to be put in that position, even though they'd all be perfectly nice about it. Yay, accountability! It keeps me from succumbing to temptation.

Because there's temptation. Every morning when my alarm goes off at 5, there's the temptation to stay put. There's the temptation to stop a work-out early when I feel like it's too much (and to be honest, it never is; i'm just a wimp). There's the temptation of the cookies I made the other day for my boys (and my boys only!). There's the temptation of the tortilla chips I want to snarf down with some mango salsa we bought at Costco. I am successful so far, but there's temptation. Darn it!

But I'm going to make it. I am going to make it. Eating less food is definitely a TON easier than it was last week, I'm learning about what works for me in what I want to eat, I'm getting a little more used to the various routines/exercises, I'm training myself to STOP looking at the clock when I work out, and I'm still really good at drinking my water. I will succeed. I will succeed.

To round out the post, here are some more pics of Isaac.

It almost looks like he knows what he's doing at the computer 

 I'm still amazed that he can fall asleep like this

Dad's shoes. He put them on himself. Correct foot and all!


"I'm not waiting until my hair turns white to become patient and wise. Nope, I'm dyeing my hair tonight." -Jarod Kintz

Friday, October 10, 2014

Let Them Be Little

Just wanted to document some of Silly's antics. And give you folks a break from having to read about me. :)

I don't always keep a close eye on this kid, especially while working, and this could have potentially been verrrrrry bad (him getting a hold of his dad's glasses), but fortunately he wanted to put them on instead of pull them apart. Phew!

Of course we've gotten spaghetti shots of him long before now, but when there's a big pile hanging down from his mouth, it's still entertaining.

Another instance of me not paying close attention (which is usually when he's able to do these camera-worthy things, anyway). He got into the hamper and pulled out Daddy's shirt. It's even on right-side-up!

Hubby was trying to document him hugging me while watching conference, but of course the camera came out and Silly wanted to get down. Guess he didn't want to stay still while listening to Pres. Uchtdorf. Tsk. tsk. So much to teach him.

Very stylish walking around with his diaper bag. Yet another instance when I wasn't paying attention.

So even though I'm annoyed he shared his cold with me, he still finds ways to make us laugh.


"You can learn many things about children. How much patience you have, for instance." -Franklin P. Jones

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gonna Make You Sweat

If anybody's curious about my progress at the close of the fourth day of this challenge, here's an update for you: boy, am I hungry!

Even at the points of my life when I have eaten mostly healthy food, my portion size has still been on the large side of things. I guess you could say I'm a true American in that respect. So keeping my portion sizes down the last four days has been tough. When talking to my parents on Monday evening (the end of the first day), Dad asked me how I was doing, and my immediate response was, "Miserable." I said it partly as a joke, but of course there is a modicum of truth in every joke. I was eating enough to sustain me, but not as much as my stomach was used to; therefore, it was making me cranky. Fortunately, Dad took a positive spin on my response and replied, "Oh, so that means you've been successful today."

So, yes. No cheating so far. But we're only a tenth of the way through, so who knows what may happen next week, which is usually about the time I get lazy again. Good thoughts, though. Maybe I'll NEVER cheat! Wouldn't that be great? I'll hope that the hardest day, eating-wise, is the first day. So far that's true; let's keep it that way.

Mercifully, there is an easy part of this for me, and that is drinking lots and lots of water. Ever since my pregnancy, I've been really good at doing just that, so I'm glad that there's something in all this that I already did right. Yay!

As for exercise, today was the first day I had a more intense work-out. I'm following a suggested schedule in one of the many brochures I received, and the first couple of days were shorter and lighter work-outs to learn the moves and technique. So I'm guessing that tomorrow will be when I start to feel REALLY sore. There has been some soreness from the last couple of days, but now that I've upped the ante, my body is definitely going to make itself heard. Goody.

Which makes it wonderful timing for Silly to give me a cold. Thanks, kid.


"I really don't think I need buns of steel. I'd be happier with buns of cinnamon." -Ellen DeGeneres

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I Will Survive

When I was in school, I took an Environmental Biology class. What did I do the first day of the semester when I walked into that basement classroom in the MARB? I walked straight to the front row and sat down.

Now you may think I did so because I either a) love science or b) am a phenomenal student who craves sitting in the front row. To both assertions, I say, "HA!!" I'll tell you the real purpose of my sitting in the front row. I took this class the semester I came back to BYU after a little sabbatical from school. For multiple reasons, I had made some foolish decisions the year before that affected my dedication to school and I wasn't in the best place personally. After eight months of living at home and screwing my head back on, I was HIGHLY motivated to get back in the groove and put myself on the right track again. (and not just because i didn't want to go back to my parents' home; love you, mom and dad, but living at home after the age of 19 was not my favorite. i'm sure it wasn't yours, either.) It was not only this enthusiasm that prompted me to sit in the front row and soak up all the knowledge my professor had to share; I sat there because it made me accountable. Even if this professor didn't ever learn my name, maybe he would remember my face. Of course, it's likely he didn't even do THAT, but to my brain, it helped me to think that he would and therefore it would be noticed if I didn't show up to class. Hence, accountability.

Which brings me to why I am writing today. Beginning tomorrow, I am beginning a weight loss/healthy eating/exercise challenge. The challenge itself is 30 days, and I won't really get into specifics of what exactly I'll be doing, but I may post about how I'm feeling and other related things at various points throughout the month. So, for anybody who pays attention to this blog, please send good vibrations my way, because I'm pretty nervous.

I'm nervous because I have a tendency to fall off the wagon after a mere week of doing things better. I'm nervous because I don't want to have a bad attitude for a month, and I'm really afraid that my desire for potato chips might make me do just that. I'm nervous that I won't do very well, and that I'll spend 30 days beating myself up for the times I may inevitably slip.

But I know I need to do it. When I'm not nervous, I'm mainly glad that my facebook friend invited me to the challenge, because I have let myself get into bad habits for too long. I have been lazy too much. And I need to fix it. I know I'll feel better about myself if I stick to this and let it change my lifestyle. Because, really, I need an overhaul, no matter how much I love cookies.

So here it is. My 30-year-old equivalent of sitting in the front row in Environmental Biology. (let's just hope that it surprises me like that class did and i really enjoy it.) I'm putting this out into the universe to make myself accountable to anyone and everyone. Not only for support (although heaven knows i need that), but so that I know others are watching me. Not that I think anybody will scrutinize or criticize (nor do i want that), but it's important to me that others know what I'm doing. And others who actually know me. I'm part of a challenge group, and I'm grateful for the support and advice I'll be getting there, but I also want people I know to be aware. Because it forces me to do and be better for longer than three days.

Wish me luck!


"Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away." -Paul Terry

Monday, September 22, 2014

I Want to Hold Your Hand

I was saying to the Hubs the other day that I often think I am far too selfish to be a mother. I still want all my time to myself, I don't want to have to worry about what and when to feed somebody else, and I really like being able to read without little hands taking my book away.

But in the end, that's what Silly's early bedtime is for. Because I'm his mommy, and I'd better darn well live up to that. Sure, I have my moments when I feel my efforts to do so are completely inadequate, but then something happens that reaffirms that I'm not doing as badly as I frequently think I am. And it's usually something small, but it reminds me that I made the right decision to be a mom and it's worthwhile, enough so that I may one day overcome my self-centered tendencies.

This morning it was the simple act of him reaching out his hand to me to help him walk down the stairs. Taking his little hand in mine, knowing that he puts his trust in me to help him and keep him from falling as he takes on each step, I felt overwhelmed with peace and love for this chaotic child. Even though I make mistakes, he is forgiving (and forgetful) and still trusts me to take care of him and keep him safe. I almost started crying right there as we walked down the stairs and he jabbered on and on to me about who-knows-what.

And it's not as though this is a first-time occurrence! He's automatically reached out for me many times, and heaven knows I'm used to his incomprehensible jabber. This time just touched me and was a much-needed reminder that I'm this boy's mother, he needs me, and I love him. I may not always like him, but I do love him. So if he reaches his hand out to me, I'll take it.

Unless it's covered in peanut butter. Then I'll wipe it off first.


"Curse false-hand-holding boys!" -Lauren Myracle

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ode to Boy

Seeing as how I'm just now getting back in the groove of the blog (however temporarily it may be) and I have said barely a word about the kiddo, here's an update on him.

Nineteen months and still large and in charge! And doesn't he know it. This kid likes life . . . unless it's not going his way. (in particular, he doesn't like that we've instituted a lap time-out for when he's naughty.) His favorite toys are balls; he rarely goes out in the yard without either the tennis ball or the football. And boy, does he love to throw. Catching, on the other hand . . .

He has begun saying a couple words (thank heaven), so we're working on that still. He understands what we say, but I think he's just content to communicate on his own terms. He doesn't think he needs to talk, so he doesn't do it. Correction: he talks plenty, just not in a language we recognize on Earth.

He also loves cars and trucks. He much prefers the front yard to the back yard for this very reason. He just loves to watch the trucks drive by and wave at them. (he doesn't wave at individual people, but he will wave at the vehicles.) Our neighbors have all started to catch on to his presence when they drive by, and most everybody waves back at him.

Who couldn't love those baby blues?

You'd think that this would naturally mean he's always friendly. But he picks and chooses his friendliness, like any silly kid would. He likes to charm teenage girls at church and in our neighborhood. But being introduced into nursery at church last month was not an easy task for him. Whichever parent tried to drop him off was coerced into staying because otherwise he threw a tantrum. Glen enjoyed snack time, though, so there are perks to hanging out in nursery for two hours. Fortunately, after hearing horror stories from parents who had to stay with their kids in nursery for a year, it seems that Isaac's necessity for us lasted only a month. Two weeks so far without us! Let's keep it up, kiddo!

 Cool guys.

 Ready for church

Lots of people have been commenting lately on how he no longer looks like a baby and is becoming a little boy. To me, he just looks like himself most of the time, and then in a brief moment my "objective glasses" come on, I see a glimpse of how much older he actually is, and I am caught completely off-guard. What happened to that chunky baby who came with us to Roosevelt last year? Not that I'd give the toddler back, because he's lots of fun when he's not hitting us (hence the institution of lap time-out). But it's pretty amazing how much he's changed.


"Boys are beyond the range of anybody's sure understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years." -James Thurber

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sweet Emotion

Last month Glen and I were indulging in one of our rare, slightly-philosophical discussions. This in and of itself is noteworthy because usually we stick to shallow topics, such as the merits of a tv show starring Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and Sean Bean. (you had me at richard armitage.) But that's not the point here.

Hello, dear.

It was inspired by a woman in our ward who we don't know terribly well, but who is without a doubt one of the sweetest people we've ever met. And not in a sugary, sickeningly-syrupy way. The kind of sweet that is soft-spoken, selfless, and ultimately sincere. The kind that you want to emulate. The kind that your default description of this woman is "sweet".

She is also not the tallest of women. She is willowy and petite. I've definitely seen shorter people, but she's small.

Contrast that with me. No, I'm not the tallest of women, but I'm up there in the height department. And I've also got meat on my bones (and not just because i've had a baby and can be too lazy about exercise, although that does help). And I'm pretty sure that "sweet" is not a default adjective used by others to describe me.

I'm the girl who had to be bribed by her (soft-spoken) 4th-grade teacher to be quieter in class with Ghirardelli chocolates. I'm the girl who was so obnoxiously enthusiastic about welcoming younger students into choir that I actually scared them before they got to know me and realized I was capable of behaving like a normal-ish human being (sorry again, cheech!). I'm the girl who was sometimes nicknamed "Megaphone", for crying out loud! I've always been loud and a bit brash, and I've generally been an attention-seeker. (yay, drama! both on-stage and off.)

And I was wondering out loud and this was our discussion . . . is my height and body shape a factor in my personality? Is her height a factor in hers?

The final decision I've come to is that maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. I talked about this to my pal Melissa, who came up with a couple of tall people she knows who she definitely would first describe as sweet. She also reminded me of the concept of the "gentle giant", and I immediately thought of my old pal Mike, who fit that description to a T. He was a big, football-playing, motorcycle-loving guy with one of the most tender hearts I knew, the kind of heart that was soft enough that he cried while singing "How Great Thou Art". (one of my first memories of him.)

So thus we see, there are tall, big people who are sweet, and tall, big people who are not. If I really thought about the shorter people I know, I'm sure I could find similar variability. And maybe our sizes do influence our personalities, but they definitely aren't the deciding factor.

I'm not saying that one personality is better than the other. As Melissa reminded me, if we were all alike, this world would be pretty boring. And I'm not even saying I'm incapable of sweetness. I can be thoughtful, I can be a good listener, and I can even do things for others that can be described as sweet. The point is not to use another person's personality to degrade my own, but acknowledge their strengths and be inspired to improve myself. You never know -- maybe someone's seen the differences between themselves and me and wanted to follow my example in something. That's crazy to think, because of course I know all my flaws and am quick to say that nobody should strive to be at all like me. But maybe, juuuuuust maybe, it's possible.

So as I see these sweet people in my life, I'm going to try a little better to be more like them. To reach out without a thought toward myself. To lend a listening ear. To help someone willingly. To be sincerely interested in their lives. I may still be big and loud, but I can do that much. And I don't need to be bribed with Ghirardelli chocolate to do it, either.

Although chocolate is always welcome.



"If you don't know how to pronounce a word, say it loud!" -William Strunk, Jr.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

But You Gotta Have Friends

I am grateful for tender mercies. They happen every day, probably, but I am often too blind to notice them. And then the Lord, in His kindness, occasionally whacks me over the head with one.

Let's back up to 2002. It's fall of my freshman year at BYU, and I'm adjusting to life in a dinky dorm room with Kim, learning that college classes are, in fact, harder than high school classes, enduring meals at the Cannon Center, and experiencing extremely dry skin (courtesy of Utah). I'm also making friends. One such friend is Carol. There's a nice, tight-knit group of friends forming around me, of which she is an integral part. She is, no joke, possibly the kindest person on the planet. I'm so glad she's willing to be friends with a crazy loudmouth like me.

 An impromptu hat night on our floor
(i'm on the far left, carol's in the middle of the top row crouching)

As time goes on and college continues, Carol remains one of my closest friends; in practically all instances, she is my confidant. She is there for me when I have hard times; she is there for me during good times, too. We go to Stan's, a diner a couple blocks away from our apartment complex, for delicious milkshakes, fries, and good chatting. She keeps me cheerful. We sing snippets of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat together. At a time when I feel rejected by some, she never abandons me.

Of course, life gets busy and we don't see each other as often as years pass. Other friends and the occasional romantic interest come and go. Every once in a while, though, we meet at Stan's. Somehow that tradition stays afloat while we're both in Provo.

We even documented ourselves at Stan's here

I guess the point of this backstory is to illustrate that Carol was once of my best friends while I was in school. (believe me, i could have elaborated in more detail, but for your sakes, i refrained.) In her quiet, thoughtful way, she was a rock for me as I handled my life in my usual dramatic fashion. As life goes on, these friends come in and out of our lives, and there will be times we are in touch with them and times when we are not. Some, we may never see again. It's a little sad, but that's the way life goes. You can only hope that if those friends ever reflect on their past, they remember you in a positive light.

I don't think I live in the past, but every once in a while, I think of old friends and wonder how they're doing and have a desire to find them again. A couple weeks ago, I was thinking about Carol. And I was pretty sad that I let us fall out of touch once we graduated. I decided I would try and contact her. You'd think in this world of social media that such a task would be easy. But some people (gasp!) are not facebook! Well, I didn't let that daunt me, and I was pretty sure I found a possible avenue to contact her again, but I wasn't sure how reliable it was.

And then I went to Provo for the weekend.

Sunday came around. Glen and I decided we'd head over to our old ward for church. Knowing the nature of our ward and it being a year since we moved, we knew that the ward would look very different and there wouldn't be that many people we knew. However, there would still be hold-outs that we were looking forward to seeing. We walked into the familiar chapel, sat in a pew, and began looking around for anybody we might recognize. (of course, me being me, we were there earlier than many people.)

And there, a couple pews in front of us, sat my old friend Carol! Of all the double-takes I predicted that morning, I couldn't have predicted the one I would perform when I saw her! I immediately ditched Glen and high-tailed it over to her, where she was, naturally, just as surprised to see me coming up the pew. It ended up that she was visiting her sister, who is currently residing in my old ward. We talked for a couple of minutes, promised to exchange contact info, and then I went and surprised my other friends who I was actually expecting to see.

Sure, this could all be a huge coincidence. But I prefer to think of it as one of Heavenly Father's mercies. He knew I'd been thinking about Carol a few days before and had been looking for a way to find her. Glen and I could have easily decided to go to church a block away from where we were staying, but at the last minute, our old ward popped into our heads. Of course, there were perks to that idea (since i loved the people in that ward) and I was excited at the thought of it, but maybe the idea popped in there because God was saying, "I know who's going to be there!"

So I'm grateful for those times that He lets me know that He really is in charge and listening to us, even our unuttered prayers. I'm grateful for the chance I've had to reconnect with Carol and see where she is in her life. I'm grateful for friends, old and new.


"I have lost friends, some by death . . . others through sheer inability to cross the street." -Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Eat It

Let me tell you about something that has changed my life completely in the last month and a half. Something that has turned a specific time of day from a time of loathing and dread to a time of control and peace (well, as peaceful as you get with your toddler running between your legs).

What is this amazing thing that has made my life so much better?

Meal planning.

Oh, my gosh, why didn't I ever do this before?!??!?!!?? I can't believe how much happier I have been during dinner prep time ever since I finally sat myself down and planned dinner through the following week. I did once attempt to meal plan when I was still single, and I even wrote about it and asked for meal ideas and recipes on this very blog. However, the first week I tried, I was interrupted by an unexpected visitor that threw most of that week out the window, meal-wise, and I never tried again.

Oh, how foolish I was.

For quite some time, I had spent the hour or so preceding dinner-prep completely unprepared. I never had any idea what to make, and so I actually would let myself feel incredibly lazy and think, "I don't want to make dinner!" All because I didn't have a plan. Many days in the week Glen would come home from work to the instant query, "What do you want for dinner?" I was sick of asking, and he was sick of hearing it.

But now! Oh, but now. Now I know what's on the menu, and I have the groceries necessary for it. Now I know when to begin cooking, and I know the effort required. Amazingly, meal planning for ten minutes before grocery shopping has made me less lazy throughout the rest of the week! Because I have a plan set out, and I keep it! Now the only stress I have about making dinner is keeping Isaac out of my hair, rather than constantly wondering how I will possibly motivate myself to look through the cupboards and see what's available.

I haven't necessarily branched out or experimented with a lot of new recipes, but our variety is still good, and I have been especially proud of some efforts, like the first homemade lasagna I ever attempted. (and when i say "attempted", i mean "aced".) I don't know if we're eating healthier, but we're sure eating happier. I still stick mostly to simple stuff, but because I have laid out my dinner life, I am more willing to occasionally make something that is more time/labor-intensive (such as the lasagna . . . man, that made me feel awesome).

 No lasagna soup tonight!

Ah, meal planning. You make me so happy. I will try to never abandon you again.


"There is a coherent plan in the universe, though I don't know what it's a plan for." -Fred Hoyle

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Give Me Hugs, Give Me Smiles

How many times a day does a mother become frustrated by her child/children? Hmm. Well, I’ve only got the one kid so far, and I’ve never been so frustrated in my life!

The frustration and even anger that surfaces in daily life with Isaac is one of the things that I wasn’t at all prepared for as I was expecting him. I wasn’t naive; I knew that I would feel those things. But I didn’t know how abundantly I would feel them. I would go so far as to say that I feel frustrated more than many other mothers do, mainly because I have never been what you might call a calm person and I’ve always let myself boil over too easily, even if the seething has not been outwardly expressed. Who knows? Maybe all mothers are convinced they’re the ones who get mad the most.

And then there are the times that he just makes me laugh, even amidst the frustration. Take yesterday, for example. I was attempting to participate in a Relief Society presidency meeting and not doing very well at it because Isaac spent most of the two and a half hours we were there being in a grouchy mood. I’m the secretary, so I feel it very important to take notes and be organized. That’s hard to do when your sixteen-month-old boy is clamoring for all your attention with that crying, whiny scream that is exactly calculated to annoy you the most it possibly can. The other ladies, being mothers themselves and having experienced this (in addition to the fact that isaac is not theirs), were constantly assuring me that he wasn’t bothering them and that it was all right and they understood. I know they were telling me the truth, and that’s awesome. Doesn’t stop me from feeling mortified and annoyed by my crazy kid. It’s always worse when it’s your own child.

Then came the moment that we were dispersing and I was cleaning up all his toys that had scattered around the house, and suddenly I heard, “Megan, he ate dirt!” And the next thing I knew, Colleen was carrying him over to the kitchen sink and he was just screaming as she was trying to rinse his mouth out. I didn’t laugh out loud, so the other ladies may have thought I was upset, but really . . . I thought it was hilarious. The picture before me was so amusing, I still laugh as I type this right now. Didn’t change the fact that he had been a little bottom-top for the previous few hours, but it was sure funny to watch Colleen try and get that junk out of his mouth.

So I admit it, I get mad at my kid. More than I wish I did. And sometimes I still wish I didn’t have him on my hands, because how much easier would my life be if I didn’t have to run around after him and teach him how to eat with a spoon (but not dirt) and plead with him to say even one word and encourage him to stop hitting us and thinking it’s a game and not freak out when I take my phone away from him and make him play by himself while I’m making dinner . . . Yeah, my life would be a lot easier.

But I wouldn’t give him back. Many women are out there in the world today who desperately want children and can’t have them, for one reason or another. Other women have their children for the barest of moments before those precious souls are called right back out of this world they have just entered. I can’t imagine the heartbreak and ache those women feel, and I hope beyond hope I will never have to endure that kind of pain. So even though I get mad, even though he can annoy and frustrate me to no end, I wouldn’t give Isaac back. I’m too grateful to have him here and healthy in the first place. It is only as I see more and more of the world that I realize what a rare and precious gift that is.

How grateful I am for him. I’m grateful for his smile and laughter. I’m grateful for the milestones he reaches. I’m grateful that he can finally walk and I am not forced to constantly carry his impressive bulk all the time. I’m grateful for his wide eyes and curiosity. I’m grateful for the way he is able to charm complete strangers.

I just hope I can remember that gratitude the next time he’s grating on my last nerve.

 And then you see this and wonder how it's at all possible to get mad at him.


"Once the bear's hug has got you, it's apt to be for keeps." -Harold MacMillan

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bad Boys, Bad Boys

What is it about fictional "bad boys" that is hard to resist? (i'm not going to get into bad boys in reality . . . finding them irresistible still makes no sense to me.) I feel like these days many people, while not necessarily supporting the bad boys' goals, are still liking villains over heroes.

The argument could be made that heroes are just too boring in comparison to the villains. This was even a problem for poor Anne Shirley when she wrote her story Averil's Atonement during the events of Anne of the Island. After lovingly crafting the tale, she was bewildered by the reactions of Diana Barry and Mr. Harrison when they questioned her decision to kill off the bad guy.

"Anyhow," resumed the merciless Mr. Harrison, "I don't see why Maurice Lennox didn't get her. He was twice the man the other is. He did bad things, but he did them. Perceval hadn't time for anything but mooning." . . .
"Maurice Lennox was the villain," said Anne indignantly. "I don't see why every one likes him better than Perceval."
"Perceval is too good. He's aggravating. Next time you write about a hero put a little spice of human nature in him."
"Averil couldn't have married Maurice. He was bad."
"She'd have reformed him. You can reform a man; you can't reform a jellyfish, of course."

I myself am not immune to this habit of liking villains. I am far more entertained by the evil Angelus than the moody, brooding, redemption-seeking Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Heck, staying in the Buffy universe, my favorite character is Spike, who makes no bones about being an evil vampire, but is droll and humorous to boot. Even high-minded Anne Shirley in her own life is kind of a sucker for bad boys, no matter her principled horror that the villain she created is the character her audience likes the best. When lamenting that Diana's fiance is "hopelessly good", Marilla asks her if she'd want to marry a wicked man. "Oh, no. I wouldn't want to marry anybody who was wicked, but I think I'd like it if he could be wicked and wouldn't."

This is probably why we've moved to such dark heroes in entertainment these days, in an effort to make them more appealing and flawed. In some ways, okay, sure, they're being made human and they could use the multi-layering. But if you look at Christopher Reeve as Superman, he was not dark and he represented that All-American hero that we find so boring these days, and you know what? He's still plenty fun to watch. I would say he has that "little spice of human nature", as Mr. Harrison puts it, which means that you can have a completely good hero who doesn't have to be dark to be interesting. And if we can have an entertaining, non-dark hero, why would we still root for the villain?

 Yes, he's Superman and technically an alien. But he's got some good human qualities. And a killer grin.

Ladies? Be honest. It's because we do things like cast Tom Hiddleston as Loki. I personally still find Chris Hemsworth's Thor more attractive, but Tom Hiddleston is not someone you'd kick out of the bed for eating crackers. Similar examples: Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan . . .

Not bad. Not bad. But still the bad guy.

No wonder there are so many fanfictions out there that have the villain triumphing or getting the girl. Who doesn't want to see those good-looking men come out on top? We're totally willing to overlook any heinous things they've done simply because they are hunky. We like to get these guys reformed because we love the personality and the looks they've given to the villains they portray. Granted, there are instances where a villain's physical appeal is actually relevant to the plot (such as the woeful W's of Austendom, Wickham and Willoughby), but very often the outcome of the story being told doesn't hinge on whether or not the villain is cute.

Thank goodness Anne wises up and realizes that in reality her brooding, could-be-wicked-but-wouldn't, melancholy ideal is actually a total bore. She ends up with Gilbert, who is arguably also "hopelessly" good, but has a personality (and is pretty darn cute, but you rarely see an ugly hero, anyway).

What a cutiepie

Maybe we could all take a lesson from this, that we need to still regard villains as villains, no matter their outward appearance, and that heroes really can be pretty interesting, despite not being tortured souls.

But really, if you want your audience to actually root for Robin Hood to end up with Maid Marian (a legendary couple you would never think to break up), you shouldn't have his rival played by my man Richard.



"In Hollywood they usually cast me as villains or priests." -Max von Sydow

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Working Girl

I'm ready.

Do you hear me, world? I'M READY!!!!

Some day soon I will be going down to part-time work for my company, and I couldn't be more thrilled about it. I thought it would actually happen before the month of February was over, but it just didn't work out that way. I'll be honest; it upset me last week when I realized that I would still be working full-time into March.

I am amazed by the women who work full-time as mothers AND as something else in addition. That's two full-time jobs to me. I can't work two full-time jobs, especially when Isaac is only interested in sharing my keyboard with me if he's in the office at the same time as I am. Fortunately, we are currently in a position that I don't really need to work full time, and I am incredibly grateful. Many women HAVE to work full time in addition to being moms and don't want to be in that position. Heck, even working full time I've been lucky to be able to work at home! That in itself has been a blessing for our family.

But I'm ready for this darn goal-making-for-the-year process to be over so I can officially go down to part-time and not feel like I'm doing half my best at either editing or being a mom.

Of course, once the part-time thing really does happen, I'm probably going to take the plunge and start teaching piano. I've already got requests. But you never know . . . maybe I'll be a terrible teacher. Or a fantastic one. It could go either way.

But for now . . . really. I'm ready.


"Work is the curse of the drinking classes." -Oscar Wilde

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Nerdy Kind of Love

I would like to talk about a love story.

There was once a young woman who lived with much sorrow in her life, enough so that her chief desire was glory in death. Her life had been pretty hard; her parents died when she was a small girl and the uncle who had taken her in died before her very eyes in battle (yeah, she was totally disguised as a man so she could fight). But in her efforts to protect him, she was freaking awesome and took out the captain of the enemy with the help of a small friend. She nearly died herself (she got better). But even once she was healed in body she was still unhappy.

There was once a young man who had no doubt that his father's favorite child was his brother. But he grew up still being a wise and noble guy, and men followed him gladly. He faced GREAT temptation and totally won against it like it was nothing. In battle, he was badly wounded, and his father almost tried burning him alive. Yikes! Fortunately, he was saved, again with the help of a small friend. The same hand that healed the woman healed him. Although surrounded by the imminent threat of destruction, he was at peace with himself.

This is when they met.

And that's where Peter Jackson freaking left it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, this post is about fictional people. I admit it: I get riled up about how fictional characters are treated. Okay, I am a fan of the LOTR movies. You don't deliberately buy the extended editions if you're not. (except arwen's freaking breathy voice. seriously. galadriel's an elf and she doesn't talk like that. annoying much?) But no matter how much you enjoy the movie, and no matter how much you may understand the necessity of changing things around and excising/combining people, places, and events in movie adaptations, if you're a fan of any book that's been made into a movie, there are parts you wish had been done better or done at all.

I love Eowyn, and Glen will tell you my deep admiration for Faramir (although you'd have to refer to the book to truly understand how awesome he is, but what peter jackson did to him in Two Towers is another rant entirely). But their story is completely cut out of the theatrical release, and in the extended version . . . Really? We're supposed to buy the Faramir/Eowyn story in THREE LINES??? It's more like, "Hey, we're alone here while everyone else is fighting. Hi, Faramir, would you like to be my rebound since Aragorn rejected me and I went to battle hoping for death?" Uh-uh. That's not what actually happened. And that's what you gave us. The people who have seen the movies without reading the books have no idea how cool their love story in the Houses of Healing is! I mean, sure, it's quick and it doesn't take up that many pages (although even a paragraph is more than he dedicated to arwen in the ENTIRE book!), but it's still cool!

I mean, here you've got Faramir, who has been on the brink of death, who will totally fight for his country but is man enough to say that he doesn't actually like war (which is a bigger deal than it sounds since all these people have ever done is fight; thanks, sauron), who let Frodo freaking go on to Mordor without being tempted by the Ring, who is more than ready to accept his post and prepare Minas Tirith for the return of the true king (something his father sure didn't want to do), and who Eowyn sees is a competent, good leader and totally cool dude. And he just hands his heart to her! From the get-go. AND he isn't afraid to tell her, either.

Plus he's wicked observant. I mean, he has one little chat with Merry and totally knows what's been up with Eowyn and the heartache she's gone through, what with stupid evil Wormtongue and her uncle Theoden becoming a living corpse, and then being rejected by Aragorn, etc. He knows what a dark place she's in, even if she doesn't tell him so. Paging Dr. Faramir! Dr. Faramir to the Houses of Healing, please! And he knows exactly why she admired Aragorm. But he also knows that she's into him, even if she tries to change the subject if he broaches it. AND HE CALLS HER ON IT! (are you getting that i love faramir?)

He lays out exactly why he loves her and tells her, no B.S., no flowery language, just straight-up declaration, and then outright asks her, "Do you love me?" I mean, who in the world today does that? Really? Who has the guts to just come out and say exactly what's going on? Boom. Faramir. Awesome. No stupid dating games for him.

And then Eowyn understands herself! And she's brought out of darkness! No more desire for death! Wahoo! Who did that? FARAMIR. Maybe some people get upset that she's going to give up her warrior ways, but come on . . . what was her ultimate goal in going to fight? I said it above: death and glory. That's what matters to her; you've got to know those aren't the purest intentions of fighting for your country. Even after she was first healed, she said she wanted to still fight and die because THEN she would have peace. What a terrible outlook on her life! When she says she's going to put war and fighting behind her and become a healer and glory in things that grow, it's this awesome turn-around! She has a purpose beyond seeking death! And, oh yeah, this awesome guy who loves her. Who's not afraid to kiss her in public, which is exactly what happens when she oh-so-slyly says she no longer desires to be a queen. I LOVE THIS PART!

Who doesn't want to see that? Apparently, Peter Jackson. Apparently Faramir and Eowyn's love story isn't all that special to him, even if they did awesome things. Apparently he'd rather have multiple scenes of Arwen walking around Rivendell, whining that her dad doesn't like her fiance. Oh, no, your hands are cold, Arwen? That's not dying, girl. That's winter; put on a coat.

You want to put a love story into the movie, Peter? Try putting the one in that Tolkien actually deigned to include IN the book itself rather than relegating it to the appendices (which is where you'll find aragorn and arwen).

I know the movie's ten years old; I know I've probably talked about this to several people. But every time I re-read Lord of the Rings, when I reach this part, I get slightly (if slightly means greatly) annoyed with Peter Jackson. So I implore you, read the book. Read about this awesome love story about two wicked-cool people.

I guess this was actually about two love stories: Faramir and Eowyn, AND my intensely nerdy love for them. I wouldn't get so provoked about their movie counterparts if I didn't love them. Because you want the people you love to get respect. Even if they're not real.


"It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." -Mark Twain

Friday, February 7, 2014

Every Day I Write the Book

When I was pregnant, I was recommended all kinds of books and websites and other sources to help me along the way to motherhood and beyond. I'll be honest. I skimmed maybe half of one of the books. (i did refer to babycenter.com plenty thanks to their weekly emails . . . and occasionally still do.) Considering how much I love to read, it's kind of strange I didn't take the excuse to read all of those baby books, but oh well.

Despite my lack of book knowledge about parenting, I think I'm doing all right so far, tumble down the stairs notwithstanding. I still get upset with myself for my short temper (i've never been known for being excessively calm), and I do occasionally wonder if I'm doing things right for Isaac, but overall, I feel good about my motherly skills. He's alive, after all, isn't he?

Our little ninja

I'm not saying anything against the people who do read a bunch of parenting books; it just hasn't been the path I've taken. (again, surprising.) But in the end, no matter what you've turned to for advice or tips or knowledge, you take your own way raising these little people. And hope you don't screw them up too badly. Or that you've put enough into savings for their inevitable therapy.

And then there are the times I think that I have absolutely nothing to do with how he's turning out. I didn't know how long I'd take or what efforts I'd go through to get him on a sleeping schedule, but it fell into place on its own. I attempted a couple of times to give him a sippy cup a few months ago, and while he wasn't too keen on it then, when he started consistently using it last month, I didn't do anything beyond leaving it within reaching distance.

He is sure living up to his name (Isaac meaning "he will laugh"). He will be by himself in his crib sometimes (usually during my attempt to get him to sleep in the afternoon. suddenly afternoon napping isn't cool, mom) and just start giggling. He always laughs when I walk in the room, he laughs while we eat, he laughs at my "oink" noises, he laughs when I tickle him . . . all right, so that last one isn't much of a head-scratcher.

He almost looks like he could be reading, right?

So, whether he is turning out his way is because of me or him or a combination of the two, he's definitely fun to have around.

Latest Isaac news:
  • He's getting into stacking things. Especially his wooden rings.
  • As of this week, we're basically exclusively on a sippy cup.
  • He stood by himself for at least five seconds. New record!
  • After being naturally apprehensive about the top of the stairs since last month's "incident", he's turning himself around again to go down backwards.
  • He'll let us walk him around and quite often appears to enjoy it!
  • New bedtime routine as a result of the move to sippy-cup-only: no more bedtime bottle. After less than a week, he might be getting the hang of it.
  • The move from formula to milk is over. No more mixing of the two (he didn't love straight milk at the first offering last month). Wish I could allow myself to drink whole milk. Does he know how good he's got it? 


"I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught." -Winston Churchill

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Children's Story by Me

I've never really considered myself a creative person.

Lest you misunderstand me and think I'm out to disparage myself and my talents, let me clarify: I've never really considered myself a creative person in the sense of actually creating something. I don't write my own music, I don't do anything in the way of visual arts, I'm not terribly experimental in the kitchen, etc. For the most part, this is all right with me. I like my talents that I have developed. (although i have been ignoring those a lot lately, but that's another story entirely.)

However, there was a time in my life where I was actively creating . . . and that's when I was younger and convinced I was going to be an author. I started writing stories in 4th grade and even read these stories to my class. (middle-school Megan NEVER would have done such a thing. how brave i was at the age of 10.) I kept this up for a few years before my ambitions turned to other outlets, but this love of writing has always stuck with me, even if it's died down a lot since I churned out my first masterpiece, The King and Queen are Missing! (yes, complete with exclamation point.)

As stated in my parenthetical above, nowadays I would never dream of being so bold as to share anything I've written with others, but I was going through some old school assignments of mine and came across a children's story I wrote my senior year of high school in creative writing class. It's silly, sure, but I'm still reasonably pleased with the results and thought I'd share. It's been manymanymany years since I wrote it, anyway, and any embarrassment about sharing it is quite minimal.

(One line in particular is very autobiographical and my parents . . . and maybe my siblings? . . . will be able to spot what it is, but you can guess what it might be.)

Without further ado, I present . . . What You Can Find Under the Bed.

The other day I came across a Shrink-o-matic machine.
It had blue and orange polka dots, and the buttons were bright green.
On two of the small knobs, I found instructions there.
One said, "Shrink to the size of a pea," another, "Grow to the size of a bear."

Now, seeing as how I am the curious kind,
I decided to try it out and see if I would mind
Being teeny or being huge, or if I preferred
Being somewhere in between, the size of a chirpy bluebird.
So I pressed the button that said, "Shrink to the size of a pea,"
And waited for an hour, till it was a quarter after three.

Nothing happened still, so I retired to my room
And lay down on my bed, mumbling and grumbling . . . then BOOM!!!
I was no longer the size that I before had been.
I was half an inch tall, instead of my normal 4'10"!

Inching off my pillow, I peeked down to the floor,
Noticing if I fell, then I would be no more.
The distance that I saw was such an astonishing height,
I sat down with a plop and considered my plight.
After much deliberation, I decided to pick up my feet
And slid to the floor riding along my purple bed sheet.

Underneath the bed, something caught my eye.

I walked into the darkness to try and figure out why
The shimmering golden ring looked so darn familiar.
Oh! Now I know why! It slipped off my mom's finger
When she tucked me into bed and kissed me good night
Two days ago, to be exact, 8:30, Tuesday night.

I walked a little further, and what did I see?
A G.I. Joe that belonged to my brother and my little sister's Barbie.

Upon exploring a very deep dark corner,
I found Susie's book of rhymes that included "Little Jack Horner".
There was also a bag of chips that I had consumed
And stuffed under the mattress last week while my dad vacuumed.
An empty plate, a striped sock, and a baby doll's head
Were other little assortments I found under my bed.

But then, I glanced toward the light in my room,
And saw, "Oh, horror of horrors!" a sure sign of doom.
What I had found so far was only just a part
Of the mess under my bed that broke my mother's heart.
Books, toys, crayons, and ribbons were all in my view
And some other items I won't mention that made me cry, "Pee-yew!"
In fact, under my entire bed there wasn't any place
That I could find to try and fill any empty space.

I cursed and cursed that Shrink-o-matic machine,
with its blue and orange polka dots and buttons of bright green,
For it had made me see the destruction under my bed
That made me go absolutely out of my head.
I shot through my room and down the stairs,
And after three hours, I reached the chair
In the living room where I'd left that machine
With the infernal polka dots and buttons of bright green!

I stomped on the button that read, "Grow to the size of a bear,"
And after an hour, I sat in the chair;
Only now I was back to my normal size.
So I cleaned up my room, which turned out to be wise,
Because Mom came home at exactly seven,
And extended my curfew till eight before eleven.
She did this just because I cleaned my room --
Picked up clothes, dusted, and even vacuumed!

And why, you may ask, do I tell you this scene?

Because, if you ever come across a Shrink-o-matic machine
That has two knobs with instructions there
That say, "Shrink to the size of a pea" and "Grow to the size of a bear,"
With the blue and orange polka dots and buttons of bright green,
If you want my advice . . .



Saturday, January 25, 2014

One Year Older and Wiser, Too

My baby is one! That is so crazy. Although if you had asked Glen last night, he would have told you that Isaac was only a week old. (this was in a conversation about our taxes in which i wanted to make certain he was claiming isaac as a dependent and he responded, "no, isaac was born january 15, 2014." really? i don't recall giving birth last week! i had a good chortle at his expense.)

Yep, following in his mother's footsteps and having mac and cheese for birthday dinner.

 The extent of my creativity.

Anyway, Isaac's birthday was a pretty quiet affair; just us. Yes, yes, how terrible of me not to throw a huge blow-out party for a one-year-old! Isaac, like at Christmas, didn't know what was going on, anyway, so I'm not too torn up about it. His presents for his birthday weren't nearly as fun as at Christmas, since a month ago he got a bunch of toys, whereas last week he got clothes. Clothes are never as fun to get, are they?

 He kept his make-shift party hat on for about a second.

On a related note, sometimes it's difficult for both Glen and I to be musical, because we both automatically jump to harmony when we sing together and nobody's left on the melody. Oops! (sound familiar, kelly? mom?) Jensen tradition dictates that we sing "Happy Birthday" to someone in a notoriously bad fashion, but Glen and I figured maybe our kids should grow up at least knowing what the tune sounds like before we mangle it for each other.

Okay, so Isaac didn't know why we were singing at him, but that doesn't mean he didn't enjoy the cake. Because he sure did. By the end of eating, he was a sticky green-fingered monster. But what a cute one!

I love the shot of both of them stuffing their faces.

Please, Mom, I want some more.

A couple days before Isaac's birthday, he had his first major catastrophe -- he fell down the stairs! GAH! We'd taught him how to turn himself around at the top of the stairs in order to go down backwards, which he was getting the hang of quite well, but he didn't get himself completely turned around this time before gravity took effect and I wasn't there in time to catch him. Not. Cool. Mom. So dooooooooown he went, and he was justly upset at me, but I was mainly relieved that he didn't sustain any serious injuries. Lucky. Mom. He's willing to go near the stairs (and still very happily and rapidly climbs them), but he's unsurprisingly reluctant to turn himself around without a little encouragement and reassurance that I'm right there. At least he's back to a point where he will go down once I've helped him turn. But yeesh! I'm very lucky I didn't break my child.

"Building" with Daddy

He'd still rather play with anything but his own toys, as evidenced by the fact that it's increasingly hard for me to work with him constantly wanting to get in on my computer keyboard action. He does enjoy his various blocks and wooden rings because of the good clacking noise they make. He's gotten the hang of his sippy cup the last couple of weeks, which is neat because I really didn't know when he'd willingly use it. And just the last couple of days, he's taken to crawling around on his hands and feet (yep, feet. not knees), which is pretty hilarious to watch. He'll occasionally stop and look between his legs to look behind, which is naturally adorable. But he never crawls anywhere without the intention of pulling himself up to his feet if he can. He is a good little cruiser.

This is his favorite spot to cruise to when I'm trying to work.

How can you resist that smile?

He's also into licking his papa's nose and demolition.


"All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much." -George Harrison