Sunday, August 31, 2014

A milestone worth noting

Waiting for our food at chubby at thanksgiving point.  I haven't fixed dinner since Tuesday! #summer #awesome  #hotisnicebuttoohot

2014 has sort of been a year where I've been working on a little bit of self-improvement.

I finished 18 months worth of classes in April and renewed my teaching license for another few years.

I've quit relying so much on pills for aches and pains and zits and turned to different things like essential oils, homeopathic remedies, and more natural stuff like oils and honey and cinnamon to cure what ails me.

I've tried to not yell at my kids as much and take a deep breath before I rush into a situation and freak out at them.

I've tried to start reading again, watch a lot of interesting documentaries, and pay more attention to real news instead of celebrity news.

Mostly though, it's been a food and weight loss journey for me this year.  I've written about it so much the last few months that I'm sure no on is interested in reading about it anymore, so I'll keep it brief.

This week I hit a landmark goal.  Last November, when I finally got serious and motivated to make some changes, I set a goal to lose 30 pounds.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that it would take me 10 long months full of success, but also a lot of tears and frustration and angry to get to that goal, but this week I did it.  There was no fan fare.  No ticker tape parade.  I didn't do a single thing to celebrate except smile a little on the scale on Thursday morning when I saw the number I've been aiming for forever.  I finally made it.  Phew!

Lest you worry that I'm done, there are a few more weight loss and healthy living goals to come.  I'm going to continue on the path I'm on for the remainder of 2014.  I'd like to lose at least another 10 pounds if I've got it in me, and I'd like to re-establish my gym routine which, in the last few weeks has all but disappeared in lieu of the snooze button and the elliptical machine at home.

But, I did it.  I've wanted to quit at least once during every single week of the last 10 months but I didn't.  I'm not sure where the will power or the motivation has come from this time around, but I'm sure happy that it decided to stick around.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It's been a long time since we had a wedding

Over the weekend, my cousin Eddie married the beautiful Nina.  Eddie, is about as white as you can get, but he served his LDS mission in Samoa, and pretty much thinks he is a Samoan.  Nina, well, she is Samoan, but has lived in Utah since she was a little girl.

They were sealed on Saturday morning in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple.  The ceremony was nice, and I was happy to be in the temple.  The temple is such a peaceful, beautiful and calm place.  It was so nice to be there with other family members, on my side of the family in support of Eddie and Nina's family who were there to support her.  There was a such a calm and sweet spirit there.  My grandpa was very emotional, I'd like to think that it was because my grandma was close by, watching the proceedings, sharing her love and her spirit with us.

The rest of the wedding was done with traditional Samoan flare.  I'd never been to a Polynesian wedding, though I knew a lot about how they worked and the wedding didn't disappoint.  It was a big party!  The food was interesting - I didn't actually eat anything but grapes and a few hours de vours - sorry and no offense - but my stomach these days doesn't do well with fried or greasy and there was a little too much of that on the buffet line.  Then, there was a great program with singing and dancing and a wedding haka.  Oh, I love a good haka!

The reception started at 3:00 in the afternoon and the sit down dinner and program were over by 6:00, giving us our entire evening to do whatever we wanted to do, which was pretty nice.  It was a very fun evening and a new cultural experience. 

At the temple, after the sealing, my grandpa gave Nina a hug and said, "Welcome to the family."  He then turned to Eddie and said, something like, "Well, I guess you are welcome to stay."  It was pretty funny.  It's great to welcome a little bit of diversity to the family.







The first week of our SECOND summer vacation

No need to lament year round school.  It feels like lately, I do it anywhere, anytime, to anyone who will listen.

Elliott went back to school, starting second grade on July 28.  Wyatt started kindergarten the following week.  Two weeks after that, they were both "off-track", and home, for the next three weeks and two day.


So now, my boys are home, stir crazy with itchy trigger fingers while the whole world is back in school.  I really tried to plan ahead and be prepared for our break, planning as many activities as I could think of.  It's really quite hard to have no school at the end of August/beginning of September.  There are no camps or clinics to participate in and pretty much no lessons to sign up for.  The summer is "over" and the boys and I are on our own.

Just when everyone goes back to school we go off track again for three weeks.  I hope I've got enough stuff planned to keep everyone busy and tired.  At least nothing will be crowded., right?

So, I made a calendar and hatched some plans and last Monday, we were swimming lessons. Thank heavens for swimming lessons. The pool we swim at decided to do a mini, two week, 40 minute, six session set of classes and I was able to sign the big boys up and it's been great. Small classes - only two kids in Elliott's and 4 in Wyatt's and they've been doing amazing.  And, luckily, Elliott at least has soccer practice and a weekly goalie clinic to keep him going during the day with something to look forward to in the evening.


I know that there are a lot of kids who will sit and watch TV or play video games or even read books all day.  My children are not, good or bad, programmed that way, and it's exhausting.  For me anyway.  They need to be going and doing at all times; they need to know the plan for the day as soon as they wake up; they need activities and a schedule and adventures a plenty.  Phew!  It makes me tired just thinking about it, but honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.  The house is a complete mess and last Friday I had a complete panic attack and ran away for a few hours the second Ross got home from work, but, overall, we're really doing well this off track period (fingers crossed and knock on wood).

The one thing I didn't take into account last week was the rain.  I failed to realize that Utah was going to turn into Seattle or Portland and pretty much deal with rain, daily, for nearly the last two weeks.  It's made our off-track outside plans be swapped for inside plans, which I wasn't prepared for.  But, in spite of the rain, we were brave, found some jackets, and did one of our activities as scheduled last week.  We went to the mountains for a hike.  I was ready to chicken out, but Wyatt convinced me that the weather would cooperate, because he is after all an eternal optimist (which I love him for) and we headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the Brighton Ski Resort for a walk around Silver Lake.

My oh my!  It was beautiful!  It had just stopped raining shortly before our arrival so the mountains were went and calm, and smelled like Christmas.  I never realized it before, but wet pine trees seem to just ooze their piny sent, and the smell of fresh clean piny air was just heavenly.  It was a pretty nice walk around the lake, the boys were so good and I had a chance to enjoy my kids and clear my head a little.  Quinn made it about half of the walk - which was at least half a mile all on his own, before he just stopped, looked at me and said, "No walk, Mama.  Up, please."  So, I carried him the rest of the way, but it wasn't too bad and he fell asleep on the way home, which easily made up for the carrying.

Our hours in the mountains easily made up for the stress of off-track.  If only we could have spent the whole week up in the mountains.

TODAY'S off track adventure. ... silver lake.   52 degrees and smelled like Christmas.   I need a candle scented like "wet pine"

A break in the rain and a boost to my grumpy brain




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sunday dinner in the Mountains


At least once a summer, for our Sunday dinner, we trek to the mountains, my parentals, sister and I (including our families of course) and we take our meal in the great outdoors.  We pretty much always head up Millcreek Canyon and it is pretty much always crazy crowded.  Coordinating our positions driving up and down the canyon looking for a picnic spot is generally pretty complicated, but on Sunday, everything went off without a hitch.  We found a spot, were all within a few minutes of each other, and set up for our evening in the woods.  With of course, five million other people who had the same idea.

First thing was first of course, my mom sprayed her raid on the table to kill all the bugs and then set out our table cloths.  One must have table cloths and be fancy in the mountains.  We had burgers and hotdogs and brats, pasta salad, fruit, corn on the cob, chips and lots of treats.  The food was great, as was the company.  The children were all perfectly behaved and Quinn, perhaps for the first time in his life, got dirty.  Good and solid dirty.  He was black from head to toe, Ross and I left him alone except for a few wet wipe hand washings, and he turned the bathtub black when we got home.

While the men folk sat around the fire pit watching the bbq coals flame out, the rest of us sat at the table doing an art project, leaf rubbings, and talking about our favorite uncle on a mission.

It was just a really great night.

We need to do it more often.  There is just something about being in the mountains, "unplugged" that is really really good.

Look!  We went to the mountains tonight and ate dinner with @japetersen1 and @hqbing1 .  It was lovely and dirty.

And of course we had tablecloths and art projects (leaf rubbing) in the mountains because #imadork and my mom is fancy.

And while we did art projects and talked about the #lithuaniaexpress  they talked about #boring football

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Some days...

Brownies with cookie dough for frosting.  Blowing my own mind!

Some days I am not sure I can tolerate one more fly in my house. I wish my boys would close doors.

Some days, I just wish it would rain. Some days, all I want to do is eat brownie batter and cookie dough all day long.

Some days, I wish I could hang out with my mom and my sister, uninterrupted, and without kids, and get a really good cherry diet coke.

Some days, I want to go to Washington DC.

Some days, it would be nice to wiggle my nose and have my house be magically cleaned. But then again, the mess means that we are living our lives, and that's a good thing, too.

Some days, I wish I could trap Wyatt's laugh in a bottle, Elliott's helpfulness in a jar, and the way Quinn says gorilla and giraffe in a chap stick tube and open them up when I need a smile.

Some days, I wish I was skinny.  Other days, I'm perfectly happy the way I am.

Some days, I'd like to flash back to when I had a "boyfriend" and not a "husband" and he took me on adventures.

Some days, I'm really happy.  Well, most days I am, except the days I'm not.

Some days, I want to wander around IKEA and Target by myself.

Some days, I want to eat Cheetos, but I don't.  Other days, I do.

Some days, I get a phone call from my mom in the morning to tell me hello and to pay me a compliment and to tell the boys that she loves them before we head out the door for school!  Those days (like today) are really good days.   I love my mom.

Some days, I miss my brother a lot.

Some days, I make a lot of lists, and never ever check anything off of them.  Other days, everything gets checked off.

Some days, I run out of cherry NyQuil and my husband buys original flavor, which tastes like black licorice, which I do not like.  He however, returns it for me, to get cherry instead.  I appreciate this and should probably tell him thank you.

Some days, even with the kids at home, end up being quiet most of the day.  Those are very interesting days.

Some days, I get more done in an hour than I do in a week.  Other days, I get less done in 14 hours than I do in two.

Some days, I drink so much water, that I cannot leave my house.  Some days, I only drink diet coke.

Some days, like yesterday, I don't wear any make-up, or comb my hair, and blow bright orange stuff out of my nose.  But then, there are days like today, where I get my act together a little bit more, and at least put on some mascara.  Because, mascara is important when all you have to do is empty a dishwasher, vacuum, put clean sheets on beds and rock a baby to sleep.

Some days, I eat grapefruit.  And I really, really like it.  Other days, maybe for four days in a row, I sleep through my alarm to go to the gym (it's because of the NyQuil) and take a walk around the lake instead.

Most days, I need to remember that I'm a pretty lucky kid, with a pretty lucky life.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Isn't it always funny how sometimes, out of nowhere, things hit you on an emotional level that you were not only completely unprepared for, but you have absolutely no idea why you even care?  And then, when you sit down for a minute to think about it, you realize that you do care a little, because well, parts of your life sort of molded around that one movie, or that one line, and then crap!  You're crying a little and watching clips on youtube and writing a blog post.

On our way out the door tonight to go to Ross' company's summer party at the zoo he mentioned to me in passing, reading twitter while walking out the door, that Robin Williams died, of an apparent suicide.  I didn't think much of it at the moment because we were hurrying to get going, but as the night progressed, and I did a little social media surfing myself, and a little internet searching when we got home, I got to thinking.  Robin Williams and many of the characters he portrayed, played a huge role in my childhood.  Just as big of a role as Jake Ryan ever did.

I adore the movie Hook.  Robin Williams is the best old man Peter Pan that there ever could be.  Last winter I bought the movie off the five dollar bin at target and made by boys watch it. They are used to cartoons, and don't have a lot of experience with "real people" movies, but once we got to Never Land and the lost boys there was no going back.  The magic of this movie, the pixie dust of its enchantment caught hold of them and they were, well, "hooked".  The message that if you are lost, you can always be found , that you can always go home, and that you never need to give up your childhood or your joy is priceless.  When the Lost Boys help Peter Banning finds his lost Pan, even as the old lady that I am, I get goose bumps.  And honestly, I say bangarang! a couple of times a week.

I had a Good Will Hunting Phase when I was in college. I watched that movie, with all it's "F" bombs at least once a week.  At first, it was definitely because of Matt Damon, but man alive, that scene where Robin Williams is ad libbing about his wife dying of cancer and that she would fart in her sleep? As irreverent as that was, it was one of the funniest and more honest movie scenes I've ever watched.  I felt like I was at a family party, not watching a movie, and isn't that what good acting is all about?

I've seen The World According to Garp, and Awakenings and The Fisher King all as late night or Saturday movies.  I've seen The Birdcage a couple of times, Good Morning Vietnam, Popeye, and the one where he is the Russian.  I've watched the final scene of one of his more recent dark comedies about a son who dies in a tragic accident/suicide (The Good Son I think?) at home and it's a pretty moving thing to watch.  As I started to think about it, I've seen so much.  There is so much out there.  From Mork and Mindy, to watching him on Johnny Carson with my mom, to the movies, I grew up with

But, what still gets me every time, no matter how cliche it might be, is Dead Poet's Society.  THAT is my teacher movie.  That movie was what inspired me to be a teacher.  I still remember seeing it in the theater. I remember, ironically, not being to certain about what suicide was and talking to my mom about it.  I also remember watching it when I was a little older, and guiding me to be the kind of teacher that would leave kids wanting to learn more, to be more.  To live deliberately and take all they could from their lives.

Besides the fact that I read Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau to my students, I wanted to teach my kids to be brave, to take a step outside of themselves if they needed to, and to not only be inspired but to inspire others.  Dead Poet's Society was my Hoosiers, and Professor Keeting was my inspirational teacher.  As a teacher, I tried to sound my barbaric YAWP on top of the world for all my students to hear.

I guess when it comes right down to it, it's just really sad to me, heartbreaking really, that some people have so much Barbaric YAWP left to give the world, famous or not, and they extinguish their own flame far too early.  Hopefully, when we all come to die, we discovered that we did live, and that, if we can swing it,  we always want to live a little bit more.

Maybe one day, I'd just really like to be able to give some one a set of those inspiring goosebumps.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My New Favorite Song


This song makes me thing of waves and beaches and my brother playing his ukulele on the beach watching waves and that scene in those movies where the waves crash over that couple just as they decide they are in love with each other which totally never happens in real life, but I sort of wish it would have happened to me.

And my mom and my grandma, because they always sing/sang the words wrong to every song ever sung.


Vance Joy

I was scared of dentists and the dark
I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations
Oh, all my friends are turning green
You're the magician's assistant in their dream

Oh, and they come unstuck

Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you're singing that song
And I got a lump in my throat
'Cause you're gonna sing the words wrong

There's this movie that I think you'll like
This guy decides to quit his job and heads to New York City
This cowboy's running from himself
And she's been living on the highest shelf

Oh, and they come unstuck

Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you're singing that song
And I got a lump in my throat
'Cause you're gonna sing the words wrong

I just wanna, I just wanna know
If you're gonna, if you're gonna stay
I just gotta, I just gotta know
I can't have it, I can't have it any other way
I swear she's destined for the screen
Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen, oh

Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you're singing that song
And I got a lump in my throat
'Cause you're gonna sing the words wrong

Oh lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you're singing that song
And I got a lump in my throat
'Cause you're gonna sing the words wrong

Oh lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you're singing that song
And I got a lump in my throat
'Cause you're gonna sing the words wrong
And I got a lump in my throat
'Cause you're gonna sing the words wrong

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A few of the ways I'm like my dad


*We get colds in the summer time.  And coughs that never seem to go away, too.

*We both love American History - him more the Civil War and Lincoln, me more World War II and Civil Rights.

*We both are punctual.

*We both like to plan ahead.  Really far ahead.  Like weeks ahead, which drives everyone we know a little crazy.

*We both like to know who will be at an event so we can decide whether or not we are going before hand.

*We both love basketball.

*We are both stubborn and if we don't want to do something, we won't, and it's pretty hard to guilt either of us into something.  We are both pretty good at saying no.

*My dad is one of those people who will drop everything to help you out - there have been countless times he has saved me and Ross, helped out with the kids when we've been in a jam, and gone above and beyond.  I'm not there yet, but I'm trying to be like my dad.  One day, I hope to be there.

*We like to eat.  But we are also picky eaters and some of the things we refuse to eat are just because we don't really want to.

*We both drink diet coke.

*We are hard workers.

*We both have degrees in history (his a major and mine a minor) and we both at one time had thoughts about law school.

*We believe that children should be good and quiet and not scream.

*My dad is a crier (sorry dad, it's true) and so am I.  Pretty much anything sentimental or too emotional can turn me into a blubbering fool.  He will probably get mad at me for posting this, but he told my sister that it's my fault he is a crier.  When my dad was 12 his dad was killed in a car accident.  He told Haley that he cried and cried and eventually, there just weren't any tears left and that he never cried again.  Except, the day that I was born, he turned into a crier again and hasn't been able to stop.  I'd like to add that the day Willie was born, he really turned on the water works, but that's a different story. 

*We are both tall.

*We are both highly competitive.  We are okay to stand on the sidelines, but once we are involved, watch out because it's game on.  And, this doesn't just have to be about sports, pretty much anything will do.

*We both like Billy Joel.

*We are both practical and are realists.  My mom and sister tend to always see the glass as half full, my dad and I tend to see it as half empty.  We don't want to go out of our way to do something unless we know that the route and the detour will be worth it in the end.  No Gilligan three hour tours for us.  We will stay on the path, thank you!

*We are rule followers.

When I was younger, if someone were to have made me choose which parent of mine I was more like, or related more closely too, hands down I would have chosen my mom.  Because, you know, we are girls and stuff.  And though I am so much like my mother (I could of course make a very similar list), the older I get, the more I realize I am pretty much my dad's clone in so many ways.  And I'm also pretty sure, that's a really good thing.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Healthy Living, Round Two

Almost four weeks ago, I started my second 12 week healthy living challenge.  This time around, Haley and I are in charge, we got our husbands involved, and have a group of 21 family and friends participating with us.  We made some changes to the "rules", including an every other week, all or nothing (for points) weekly food challenge (like no dairy, no eating out, no gluten, etc.), and so far, it's been going well.

The two weeks in between the first challenge and this challenge were awful.  I felt miserable.  I was sick, ate crap, and felt like I had bricks in my stomach.  I hardly exercised and didn't go to the gym at all.  It was really bad.

But, with the first month nearly completed, my life feels back on track.  Exercising five days a week, getting enough sleep and water and eating all my fruits and vegetables suits me.  As does sugar only one day a week.  I probably could give that up, but I'm just not ready to give up everything.

Last week, we knew that our weekly dinner with my grandpa would be on Saturday night - we'd swim and my mom told us that we'd just have pizza.  In fact, we'd have Litza's Pizza, which happens to be not only pretty much my favorite pepperoni and sausage pizza round, but pizza I haven't had for at least 4 months or so.  I was so excited.  I knew, probably on Tuesday, that I'd be eating pizza on Saturday so I worked hard for it all week long.  I was going to indulge.  So, I hit the gym hard, ate salads for lunch all week, and was well below my calorie allotment all week long.

On Saturday, in the early afternoon, I talked to my mom.  Pizza was canceled.  My grandpa, who isn't a huge pizza guy anyway, had already had pizza that week, and it was Litza's.  So, our dinner plans had changed.  I got off the phone, and though it's embarrassing to admit it, I actually shed a tear or two.  I don't know if I'd ever wanted to eat something so desperately in my entire life.

Alas - it wasn't meant to be.

Alas again, neither my sister nor I could get that stupid pizza out of our heads.  On Monday night, Haley and her family indulged in the delicious treat and on Wednesday night I conveniently forgot what I was going to forget for dinner and.....Voila!

Litza's Pizza was for dinner.

I ate too much and it was delicious.  And I was sick the rest of the night.

Aaahhhhh.  I feel so much better, and fuller now. @hqbing1 #wortheverycalorie

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Come on, come on and do the locomotion with me


Do you know that song?  The one by Grand Funk Railroad?

Do it nice and easy, now, and don't lose control
A little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul
Well, come on, come on, and do the loco-motion with me

I started singing that song in my head yesterday on my way to pick Elliott up from school.  I know most of the words.  At my parents house, we've got the song on one of those little records, a single, that's called a 45, right?  It's one of the songs we'd listen to time and time again when we were little.  This, a little Tommy James, a little John Denver and James Taylor, a little Jethro Tull, and Elton John's Crocodile Rock thrown in to round things out.  Yes, my parents music was the music of my childhood just as my music is the soundtrack to the hood of my children as well.

But, that's not my point.  Maybe the name of the band is just as important to me right now as the song.

Grand Funk.

Ever feel like you are in a Grand Funk?  One of those funkadelic funks that stink of funkitude that you just can't shake the funkity stank off of?

You think maybe a new watch or pair of jeans might help.  Or maybe indulging in a heaping helping of pizza.  Or some amazingly amiable alliteration on your out of touch, no one really reads these things any more blog?

Anyway, can I tell you non-readers of my non-blog, that I cannot tell you the last time I did anything with my husband where there wasn't at least one child tagging along.  Or that I had a conversation with him that was too legit to quit (meaning not about said children, but something else that was interesting) where I wasn't interrupted by a little person, or a sporting event, or my sister wife, or falling asleep.  There are lots of conversations I forget because I have fallen asleep.  Or, the last time I ate a meal where someone didn't burp, fart, shoot something out their nose, cry, gag, try to cut meat and send it flying across the table or floor, run away, spill something, or yell and scream.

I think I'm due.  I think we are due.

Maybe this is what 11.5 years of marriage just looks like.  It's that passing in the garage or in the hallway as we run children and errands and church callings around our lives and home and neighborhood.  It's being busy, feeding hungry boys, and taking care of our responsibilities.  It's trying to spend time with the people that we love.  It's great and exhausting at the same time. 

I'm always a teeny bit envious of the people I see and know who constantly ditch their kids and go on vacations alone and take and post dozens of selfies on social media of themselves on beaches and hotel balconies.  But maybe I'm just envious of the pictures because there are no other people in the world I'd like to spend time with than my husband and my children.  Or maybe, I just want to go on vacation and have someone else make my bed and fix me food for a change.

Yeah, that might be it.

A selfie for five on a beach, please.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The Mission :: The First Six Months

#missionarymonday #lithuaniaexpress  #aboyandhisuke

August 26, 2014 will mark the sixth month that the Big Iggy, aka the #lithuaniaexpress, aka Uncle Willie, aka, my brother, aka Elder Petersen has been a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He has been in Lithuania since the very end of April/beginning of May and about two weeks ago, went to his second city and is now with his second companion.

When he left, I really thought that I would write more about his mission and experiences on this blog.  But the mission rules are pretty tight about sharing information about Lithuanians on any form of social media and they just got tighter.  Elder Petersen isn't allowed to, as of a couple of weeks ago, share any pictures, even with his family, of any of the members or people he is working with.  He can only send us pictures of him, the scenery, and I think his companions and the other missionaries.  That, combined with the fact that my sister and I have a private blog (invited readers only) where we share his weekly letters and some of the pictures that he sends us has left this space void of his presence.

But, our lives are anything but void of his presence.

#lithuaniaexpress #selfie on a train....3 weeks ago because he hasn't sent us any new pictures. .

We seem to have developed, the boys and I, our daily, "uncle willie rituals", and they are helping us get through the days that we miss him.

When he first left, and was at the MTC in Provo, we sent him pictures and drawings and letters and photos and packages weekly.  He was there for almost 9 weeks and even though we didn't get to see him, we were really in close contact with him, because he send us pictures and letters a couple times a week, too.  Once he hit Lithuania however,  we were reduced to one day a week of contact - Monday mornings and that has to get us through the week.

Luckily, my brother is an amazing writer and he knows that with three mothers at home (well, one real one anyway) that we want details so he humors us by answering our silly questions about his sleep, his zits, his shoes, the dryness of his socks, how his pants are holding up, and whether or not he really is getting enough to eat.  He also fills our spiritual cup so to speak with wonderful messages of faith and devotion to the literal "mission" he has been called to.  He is doing a great job and we are all so proud of him.

At home?  We talk about Willie every single day.  We check the weather in Lithuania and acknowledge the time difference (about 8 hours) multiple times a day.  Willie goes to bed when we pick Elliott up from school and sometimes in the car we say, "good night, Willie" on our way home.  Okay, I do it in my head nearly every day because my boys think I'm a dork, but still, it's done.  Every prayer that is said in our home, that uncle of ours is the first blessing asked for. (The second, if you want to know, is for Great Grandpa, that he can be happy in his house.)  "Bless Willie in Lithuania that he will be a good missionary," say the boys every night before they go to bed.  We put a daily sticker on our countdown chart (he's been gone around 160 days so far), have his pictures all over our house, and wonder if he gets the chance to play basketball or football.  And at least, oh, 7 times a week, someone is on my lap or next to me, looking at all the pictures and videos Willie has uploaded to all of our shared Drop box folders so we can see what he is doing.

When you gotta go, you gotta go.  #lithuaniaexpress

On Sunday nights we write our letters.  Elliott sends an e-mail every couple of weeks, with Wyatt as a contributing editor.  I take dictation for the boys and do all the typing.  There is always talk of school and sports, questions about the mission, and talk about poop.  The boys and their uncle always talk about poop and farts and all the things that keep boys, boys.  Apparently it is what binds them together.

Two weeks ago, Willie asked in a letter that we sit down and write down all of our favorite things about him BEFORE he was a missionary so that when he comes home, he can read them and remember how to be normal again.  I read that part of the letter to the boys and immediately they wanted to sit down and make lists.  So, we did.  The three of us made elaborate lists of all our favorite "Willie things" and folded them up and sealed them in an envelope to be opened by him upon his return in the early winter of 2016.  Man that sounds so far away.

Anyway, we miss him.  And we love him.  He is still our fun uncle.  This summer has been particularly challenging because summer has always meant Uncle Willie.  It's been hard not to have the Big Iggy on our couch, in our pantry, mooching lunch, swimming with us, going on adventures and taking the boys for Slurpees.  Not to mention all the tai chi and yoga and other crazy things that he would always be teaching the boys.  Oh, and the Squatch hunting.  They miss the squatch hunting, too.

The #lithuaniaexpress and his no bake cookie disaster.

As he was flying to Europe, he called me from Chicago.  I had been having a particularly rough morning, and had been hoping for a phone call from the goof ball all morning.  Right when we pulled into the drive way coming home from preschool, I got a call from an unknown number and knew it was him.  Of course I answered and the boy on the other end was so alive.  So happy.  So full of the spirit of God and life and all that was good in the world.  It made my day to talk to him for those 20 minutes and over the last few months, I've reflected back on that conversation several times and how much of a blessing my big little brother is in my life, and the lives of my boys.

So, here's to nearly six months down.  Only 18 more to go.

(Side note: If you are a reader of this blog, and you'd like to read Willie's letters, make a comment or send me an e-mail and I can send you an invitation)

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

First day of kindergarten!

Finally!  This boy started kindergarten today without a second of hesitation.  While we were waiting for hin to disappear into the school he turned to me and looked up.  Are you ready I asked.  He smiled a giant smile, gave me a thumbs up and said, "I've

Today was the day, boy #2, the day that you started Kindergarten!  Oh, how we have been literally waiting months and months for this day to finally arrive.  You have been getting antsy, and a little nervous, and in the last week or so, taking that nervous energy out on anyone and everyone who you could, but the day finally arrived.

You were up at the crack of dawn this morning.  You cooperated.  You ate breakfast.  You got dressed.  You made your bed and brushed your teeth.  We mo'd the hawk as high as we could get it and both you and Elliott were ready for school 15 minutes before it was time to head out the door with backpacks on, sitting on the couch side by side, waiting patiently for me to give the "Okay, open the garage.  Let's get in the car."

We drove to school and parked.  Your teacher wanted parents for the first couple of days to wait with the kids.  Elliott split from us as quickly as he could, but you and Quinn and I mosied on over to the kindergarten lines to size things up.  It was all pretty exciting and a little overwhelming.  You weren't sure whether or not you should stand by me, or stand by the wall, or go and play, or try to make a new friend.

Your teacher came out with name tags and you ran up to find yours.  Mrs. Woolf is going to be awesome!  You came back to me for a minute and looked up with a giant grin.  I asked, "Are you excited?" The smile got bigger and right before you bolted to stand in line with your classmates, with all the confidence in the world, you gave me a thumbs up, and said, "Mom, I've got this!"

Yes my boy.  You do.

#onemore #kindergarten

Monday, August 04, 2014

Quinner :: 23 months


One word kid: Molars!

Finally just this weekend your bottom two molars have poked through, but I think we are still waiting on the top.  They have been fighting their way for a little over a month now, and have cause quite a few sleepless nights, a few raised temperatures, and last night you threw up all over the rug in my bedroom.  So, like I said, hopefully these dumb teeth with just do their thing and we can move on.

Otherwise, you are king of the castle, as usual.

After school drives me nuts!

You love to jump on the trampoline, jabber about animals, and fight with your brothers.  They have taught you well and you can hit and tackle and wrestle right along with them.  "Stop it boys!"  "Knock it off, boys"  "Dumb, boys!"  "Elliott and Wyatt, no!"  Yup, you've picked up some pretty key phrases from your mom, too.

When you loose an animal, you come to me and say, "Mom, where biraffe go?" and I say, "I don't know, where is your giraffe?" and you say, "At the zoo." When you can't find your dad, you say, "Mom, dad at work?"  and I say yes.  Or, when you cannot find Elliott you ask if he is at school.  If I ask you, "Quinn, where is Wyatt?"  you reply, "No Wyatt!"  Yeah, you two are pretty big frenemies lately.

Your animal obsession has picked up speed and you always have a couple in your hand, your encyclopedia of animals nearby, and are ready to tell us all about gorillas and rhinos and elephants the second we will stop to listen.  You could live at the zoo if we'd let you.


Just last week, you figured out that Uncle Willie is on a mission and you can say mission.  It's pretty cute and I love when you say it.  We got a video from a sister in Willie's mission that just got home of Willie doing a musical number and the first Saturday we watched it, we watched it at least a dozen times because after it finished you turned to me and said, "More Willie Mama.  More Willie".  I was more than happy to oblige.

In fact, you still love that uncle of your so much, we have to look at pictures in the drop box folders of him every day, as well as in photo albums and on the bulletin boards on the walls.  He's been gone almost 6 months, and he is still fresh on your mind which makes this mama (and I'm sure your far away Elder Uncle) very happy.  You've even heard us talk about Willie's first companion so much that when you see him in pictures, you say Elder Marshall.


You can ride a scooter.  Love to swim and just love to spend time with all your family.  And, besides being just the cutest and most handsome little blond guy around (Jackity-Jack being a close second of course) I just love you lots.

Less than a month and you are two my boy.  Oh my goodness.  What will I do with a two year old?

Friday, August 01, 2014

Weighing in...

Only the important things at 11:20 in the am.  Not pictured: boys snacking, beyonce singing, me standing with sleepy eyes and messy hair, and all of my pent up frustrations at the world.  Grapefruit really does help though.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my diabetes dr.  As always, I get nervous before these appointments.  I go every three months, and it seems the week or two before these appointments, my body goes haywire with crazy blood sugar lows and highs and I end up being totally out of whack and feeling pretty crappy.  Ross and I have taken to calling them my quarterly tune-ups.  It's time to tweak the numbers and change the sliding scales.

The thing that always wigs me out about the doctor though, is the scale.  That blasted scale.  As I've mentioned countless times before, it's my nemesis.  I'm trying to not worry about it so much, or be so tied to the number it reports, but I just cannot help it.

Also, as I've mentioned previously, my weight has been "weighing" heavily on my mind (ha, a pun!) for months and months as I've been struggling to shed some pounds and get healthier.  I'm on week three of my second 12 week health challenge and am really focusing on getting healthier and eating healthier.  Even though I want the hamburger, I'm choosing the salad.  Blah, blah, blah.

Anyway - two things.
One, I got my trainer folder from the gym on Tuesday and decided to update my measurements.  The last time they were checked was April 10, three months ago, so I decided they needed some updating.  Not a whole lot had changed, except in my hips and thighs, which have each seen a four inch decrease in the last three months.  I thought that was pretty great.  No wonder stuff is fitting better!

Two, on my scale at home, I've lost 15 pounds since April.  It's been hard work and I've had to fight for every single pound, but I've been doing it.  My brother-in-law can drop 20 pounds in a week, but I have to fight for 15 in months.  But, the 15 is important because this 15, added to the 10 I lost last year equals 25.  That brings me within 5 pounds of the goal of 30 I set for myself last November.  Initially, I didn't think losing 30 pounds would take me 7 months or more, I thought I could do it fast. Then, the fact that 7 months later I'm still fighting my way through to hit my goal, it's exhausting and makes me pretty proud of myself at the same time.  By November of this year, going a full 12 months, hopefully I can knock out those last 5 pounds, and maybe another 10?  I'm sure that's asking too much, but if I've made it this far, I might as well keep going, right?

Anyway with the inches and the pounds under my belt, I was prepared for the doctors scale least prepared enough to not let the high number (why is it always so much higher than at home?) upset and frustrate and deter me.  Like it always does.  But, I realized something yesterday.  The number at the doctor's office was a little bit higher than at home, but regardless, her scale showed a 15 pound weight loss too, her scale's scale is just a little bit different (another pun).

That was a pretty good feeling.

I don't often walk away from a doctor's appointment feeling good about myself.  I also don't generally have a health practitioner tell me that I'm doing a good job and that she is proud of me. 

It was a nice change of pace.


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