Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Join us for breakfast, won't you?

Honey Bunches of Oats is hands-down our family favorite breakfast cereal.

Lydia calls it Honey Boats.

What happened last week besides being sick?

It rained.

A lot.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009


Please excuse our bloggy absense this past week. Three out of five kids so far have been battling fevers, chills, headaches, coughs, wheezing, curly tails and snout noses.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stories I like to tell: Part II

Brad commented last week that I failed to mention the time he and Joel and Jenica came to visit and he spent a night puking at our first apartment. That got me thinking about another of my favorite stories: a tragedy, set on a desert highway. For those lacking intestinal fortitude, you can stop reading now.
Scott and I had reached the end of our Utah years. We'd graduated from the Y and were ready to head back to the homeland with our two little kids, Emma (nearly 3) and Ben (14 months). We packed up everything we owned into an AFB truck, save a couple of suitcases for the long drive to Tennessee. Being without beds, we were planning to spend our last night as residents of the Beehive state with Joel and Jenica before waking up early to hit the road. We would drive down to St. George first, to meet up with my grandpa (my mom's dad) to get from him some china (that had been my mom's mom's) that we would courier to my mom back in TN. Then we would make our way to Albuquerque where my wise and generous dad was flying out to meet us. We had two old Hondas and two young children and he was not keen on us each driving without a break while trying to entertain the youngin's for the 2243 mile journey. We didn't think it was entirely keen either so we gratefully accepted his help. So that was the plan. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to Joel and Jenica's.
We were hoping for a pleasant and heartfelt evening to share one last glass of slush and game of Settlers while reminiscing our good times in Utah Valley together before we left. But it was not to be. Perhaps young Ben thought it would be best to skip the difficult and sentimental goodbye, or maybe the thought of leaving was so upsetting to him that it made him physically ill. Whatever the cause, our plans were up heaved along with his dinner shortly before bedtime. No matter how close you are, it's always an awkward situation when your child throws up all over someone else's house. We considered our options (don't want to spread our germs, there's only one bathroom here and how gross for everyone else who needs to use it if Ben's puking in it all night, I'm just panicking now, um, uh...) and decided to go ahead and drive to St. George right then. J&J worded it best, we left town "on a wave of snow and vomit".
They supplied us with a handful of trash bags and a roll of paper towels. We made a hasty stop at a Wal-Mart to buy a few more. All the way down to St. George poor little Ben kept on tossing his cookies. We found a hotel when we got there and by this time he was through the worst of it. It was a long night, though, as he recovered with whimpering and thirst until morning.
The sunrise brought us new hope. Ben was fine now and his gross clothes and the towel that had served as a bib in the car were secured in a trash bag in the trunk. We met up with my grandpa and got the boxes of china and were on our way once more. Scott drove the Honda with the kids and I drove the one with the china. We took in the scenery and enjoyed our travels until Emma picked up right where Ben left off. From Flagstaff to Albuquerque we pulled over to the side of the interstate at regular intervals to do what we could to clean up the mess and changed her clothes over and over. We went through the whole week's worth of her clothes that we had packed in four hours. Every trash bag was filled, the car was smelly, the steering wheel was sticky, and our nerves were desperate.
It was dark and Emma's stomach was settling when we spotted the lights of Albuquerque on the horizon. Never has a cityscape looked so beautiful. Here we had been setting our sights and pinning our hopes ever since Emma first announced her tummy hurt. Here we would find rescue; a loving father who planned to come and help us with the long drive but would in the end provide so much more. The relief was palpable when we met him at a restaurant for a late dinner. While we munched on the last of our french fries, he took care of everything. He went and bought Emma a couple of new outfits, he took wet paper towels to wash off what interior surfaces of the car were still sticky. He filled the tanks of our Hondas with gas and our hearts with hope that we would actually make it to our destination without falling apart.
And we did. Thanks, Dad.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Many layers

I was doing laundry. I could hear Afton romping around the kitchen and assumed all was well. I kept hearing a crinkly noise which I took for one of her baby toys--a lady bug with wings that make a crinkly noise. I was extra assured by the distinct sound of her playing with a baby toy close by in the kitchen.
When I finished up, I realized that I was mistaken about the noise. I realized that Afton is complicated, like an...


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Lydia (and David, and Grandpa, and Connor, and Tanner, and Sydney) - Later with the Barbers

Hello Kitty cake.Best eaten by so many children outside. Much dressing up was going on that evening. For Sydney.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Lydia - Day Of

She's three now, you know.
Stacking blocks from Troy and Dan arrived just in time. They are exactly as tall as she is.She got to use the red plate for her own choice of birthday dinner (chicken nuggets and french fries--I love it when they pick something really, really easy to make).
Blowing out the candles (yummy lemon cake provided by our good friend, Keith, who came over to share in the festivities).I attempted to make her a stuffed Hello Kitty (many lessons learned, as usual. I plan to retry in the future and hope to end up with a round head instead of square).Emma stayed in from recess that day at school to craft this little Lydia-doll from her milk bottle.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Stories I like to tell: Part I

Have I ever told you about our first apartment? It was the cheapest married student housing Ricks College had to offer. Sounds perfect, right?
When we moved in there were boogers on the wall. I'm not kidding. Right behind the couch, a striking collection of boogers wiped there by the previous tenants. We could hear every single noise from every apartment adjacent to ours (ev-er-y noise, I'll speak no more of that). Early on the hot water handle broke off of our shower. (Promptly reported to the manager, by the way...to no avail!) Not a problem, there was a little nub we could still turn with a pair of pliers. This worked great until the little nub broke off as well. More determined attempts to get the water to turn off resulted in the entire pipe bursting free of the tiled wall before a mighty spray of water. The water came out with such force that it filled the tub faster than it could drain. Scott stood directly in the deluge holding a towel against the renegade pipe with his knee to stem the flow while I ran and pounded on the manager's door to wake him up (it was about 6:30am). After about an hour the plumbers arrived and turned off the water. For the entire building. Because that was the only way to do it, you see. Sorry guys, I hope no one else needed to shower or use the bathroom this morning. Our complex was in "downtown" Rexburg and located over various shops and businesses. Our specific apartment was directly over the second hottest dance club in town. It was only open two nights a week, which was the good thing. The bad thing was that on those two nights we had to speak up to hear each other over the techno beats below us. Our floor vibrated. When the party place closed, the dancers most often planted themselves directly below our window to spend the rest of their night laughing and talking in nice loud voices.
This was the place where I attempted my first "real" recipes. (Like an entire pan of tater tot casserole, you know, for just the two of us.) This was the place where we learned together that you're not supposed to drain chicken fat into a mug and leave it out for a couple of days (the whole building remembers that smell). This was the place where the day we moved in we had a fight over a table until we realized we'd simply misunderstood each other. Here we enjoyed a nightly ritual of watching X-Files reruns together before bed. This was the place we invited our new married friends (can you believe we're married? can you believe we have married friends?) over to carve pumpkins. We celebrated the first of our birthdays together (it was Scott's. I gave him socks and a Matchbox 20 CD. I learned for the first time that he peeks at his gifts early! for shame). Here we got used to sharing a bathroom (with or without a working hot water handle). This was our first official address that we shared as Mr. and Mrs. This is the place where Scott learned that I'm cheap as can be and didn't see the point of turning on the floor-board heater when we were in bed (that's what covers are for!). I learned that having warm feet is invaluable to Scott and cannot be achieved with covers alone in Idaho winters with ice forming on our windows overnight. This was where Joel and Jenica saved our marriage by giving Scott an electric blanket for his birthday. This is the place where we learned through trial and error to rely on each other and carve out our new positions side by side. Where we willingly put off some aspects of who we used to be and got to work on being one instead. Our first apartment was pretty much perfect.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cruzey Cousins

Here are 11/15ths of them. (Far left is Kacie's somewhat freaky life-size baby doll.)
2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10
The little girls on the swings.
They know exactly how cute they are.
The balloon launch.
A mere seven months after Emma got these balloons that make a horrible whiny noise and fly all over the place when you let them go for Christmas from Josh, she brought them to share the joy with the cousins.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Warning: this post contains some dirty words

Scroll down for me. Just real quick, stop reading and scroll down to the heart-meltingly sweet photo of Afton all tricked out in sepia tones that makes you think, "I could never have any even remotely negative feelings towards this sweet baby whatsoever."
Have you done it? Me too, it's helping.
Helping me forget what I found when I went in to get Afton from her crib this morning. I didn't take a picture. I didn't laugh. I did get poop on my hands. Lots of poop. It was unavoidable because 80% of her little body was covered in it. Too much volume and not enough room in an already-soggy-overnight diaper. The sheets (which I just barely changed last night thank you very much) and her pajamas luckily were salvageable and went straight to the washing machine. I threw her onesie away. I used over 2000 wipes just to get her cleaned up enough for the bathtub.
Clean her up, clean up the crib, wash hands, clean up the floor and changing pad where phase one of crisis management took place, wash hands, how long will it take for that smell to dissipate?, Lydia do not come over here!, clean up the puddle of pee she made in the bathroom while waiting for the tub to fill, wash hands. Review situation and look for humor.
It could certainly have been worse. One friend of mine had to literally disassemble the crib and take it outside to hose off--two days in a row. Nevertheless, I hereby grant myself permission to eat all of the ice cream in the house. You are all invited to join me, bring some toppings.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More getting friendly with local critters

What is it with animals lately? The frog, the raccoon, the books...now this:

This poor crazy little hummingbird came into our garage while the door was up and couldn't figure out how to fly down far enough to get back out. After watching it hummmm all around the ceiling for a few minutes I told the kids to come back in and finish dinner. After eating they ran back out to see if it was still there. At first we thought the answer was no, until I nearly stepped on it right in the middle of the garage floor. It sat there looking around at us and not flying away even when the kids got really close (see it in the bottom photo?). Injured? Sick? Trying to ignore us so we'd leave it alone? I don't know. But definitely alive.

After watching it for a few minutes again I told the kids to come back in and help with clearing the table and doing dishes. After cleaning they ran back out again. It was gone. Poof. Not a trace, not a feather to be seen. Flew back to its loving family? Eaten by a passing neighborhood pet? I don't know. But definitely Josh had many plans on how we could keep that bird, inspired by Dot's brief stay with our family. "Maybe just for a few days..."

Monday, September 7, 2009

More Afton

If you're a fan of this blog, you've seen this photo of Afton already.

But I wanted to post it here too because it's so darling.
I like this one too, she's always eating my necklace.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Emma = So sweet it hurts

The back to school open house meetings were last week. I got to go and meet all of our school-aged kids' teachers and see their classrooms and sit at their desks and get various bits of paperwork, etc, etc. Emma's class was the last visit of the evening.
I don't know why I was surprised. When I look back, I realize that knowing Emma like I do I should have expected nothing less than to find a sweet note and drawing and handmade-notebook-paper-bouquet for us.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Do you like Hondas?

Cruzes do. Like a lot. Like more than any other repeat customer of Lee's Specialtee Honda Repair Shop. Like so much that the various Cruzes around here have owned and serviced more Honda's there than any other customer on record. Like so many Hondas all from one family that they asked us to appear in their calendar this year. For December. (We took these last December.What's up with Christmas in September? I don't know, but I just got a copy of these and didn't want to wait three more months to show off.) I don't know what type of photographs are featured for the other months, and I don't even care. December rules. As do Cruzes. As do Hondas.