Monday, June 28, 2010


Coming home was frustrating since my car is at the dealership being fixed for the second time since I left for Florida.

My water is undrinkable. Both high in nitrates which is toxic for infants and just plain unhealthy for adults and filled with cryptosporidium which is a fiercely bad bacteria. Seriously having to boil all water that comes into your home is unthinkably archaic.

And I am sick from not sleeping more than five hours once while away and running around like a crazy person partying my nights away.

But my neighbors brought me a gift upon my return having missed me immensely while gone.

My husband told me how much he appreciates everything I do and told me if I ever need a break or personal time again let him know because he understands now.

And Kody came running into my bedroom at 5:30 this morning, said I missed you, and promptly cuddled up and feel asleep with me.

But best of all...Bella told me this morning while you were away everything fell to pieces and even though I had fun it wasn't as fun because you weren't there.

But on a more bittersweet note, we are in the middle of repainting the office so my computer is temporarily not in use. So a full update including pictures will be forthcoming later.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Difference A Year Makes

First Day of Kindergarten - Wyatt

Last Day of Kindergarten - Wyatt
First Day of Second Grade - Isabella
Last Day of Second Grade - Isabella

In a year:
Wyatt got approximately 10 haircuts keeping his hair virtually the same length. He learned to read, overcame his shyness, and turned into a little man (of the Travis variety-practically perfect in every way).
Bella lost six teeth and grew five new ones. She cut her hair short, and grew it out again. She got her ears pierced, was baptized and confirmed, and became a math pro especially with money and multiplication.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend Update

Friday Day: Berry Festival Fun and decorating gingerbread men. Friday Night: A little shindig at our house Friday night.
Kids engaged in tug of war, arm wrestling, and Red Rover, as well as Red Light/Green Light.
Saturday Morning: Gettysburg Battlefield and historic sites with my second parents.
Saturday Afternoon: More Gettysburg - I was timed running up this. 122 steps in 42 seconds.
Sunday Afternoon: Opening Father's Day Presents.

Not Captured in Pictures:
Late Friday Night - Girls Night Movie - Kite Runner
Late Late Friday Night - up off and on all night Kody has croup
Saturday Evening - forget to take dinner to a friend (Suck!)
Saturday Evening - run Sat. errands, prep for Father's Day, walk with neighbor
Saturday Late Night - date night with Travis; watch a dumb movie
Sunday Early Morning - up at 1am Kody has really bad croup, up rest of night (hubby gets to sleep for Father's Day)
Sunday Morning - Father's Day breakfast - french toast
Sunday Mid morning - Church

Sunday Afternoon - Go to a friends for dinner, games, and fun
Sunday Night - Catch fireflies and play as a family on the tramp
Sunday Late Night - Collapse into bed exhausted from the weekend.

Man my life is good!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Love...

going down memory lane,
{6 high school friends and midnight Denny's runs}
{Travis and college roommate Denny's runs and snake bite}
{midnight marathon gabfests}
{prepping for my first date with my now hubby}
{Taco Time collectible figurines}

being with my family,
{Costco lunchtime samples snack runs}
{Intercourse Berry Festival}
{summer vacation}
{backyard camping}
{weekend getaways}

talking to my sister on the phone,
{about the Bachelorette}
{about crazy people and things}
{about our dream trip to Italy/Greece}
{about nothing at all}
my personal time,
{to go out with my HS girls for a monthly date}
{book club(s)}
{reading in bed}
{evening walks with my neighbor}
{and my upcoming FL trip}
comparing pictures from years ago of the kids to now,
buying cheap cereal (35 boxes for $45 at Amelia's),
brothers who play happily naked in the tub,
and my husband who is the world's best dad.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Culture of Red

Since September 1, 2007 I have heard more about red hair than I ever cared to know. This was the day, my very own redhead came into the world. It shocked me to hear while the baby was crowning the Doctor ask, "Where's the red hair come from?" At the time I didn't know. It was only later that I found out that my paternal grandma had been a redhead long before I knew her in the days of fabulous wigs - oh to be wealthy and eccentric.

Each day after that first fateful day, I could not leave my house and not hear someone comment on the status of my son's hair. Truly the boy will be three in less than 3 short months and I don't think I have every gone out in public and not had someone say something. Often times I am confronted with the question "where does the red hair come from?" Depending on my mood and tiredness level my response varies from "The milkman" to the explanation that my husband grows red facial hair as well as my grandma being a redhead with several siblings with auburn tones in their hair. Obviously it is on both sides of the family, gentically speaking or this child's hair would not be, so I am often confused by the actual question or more accurately the person asking it.

Most presumptiously once while not in the mood to discuss my son's hair color I replied "I don't know" to the question. This woman looked at me and I started to feel guilty for being short and rude and ammended my response to include the long version of actual events including but not limited to my own surprise. In turn she responded something to the effect, oh so he wasn't switched in the hospital at birth. I had not previously thought of that but was still amused at her readiness to share her skepticism of his genetic origins.

Since all of this madness I have heard many facts and myths about the redhead population. They are almost a cultural group of their own with their own genetic strengths and weaknesses. So here are some of my favorites:
  • Red hair is a genetic mutation, it emerged 50,000 years ago in Africa, the gene discovered only in 1995.
  • Scotland has the highest redhead population (13%), next Ireland (10%), and USA (2%) and one of the least recorded France with (.002%).
  • Redheads are harder to sedate requiring 20% more anesthesia.
  • It is the most commonly picked home hair dye color with 30% of home dyers picking it.
  • The fat of red-headed men was a key ingredient in deadly poisons 400 years ago.
  • Less than 4% of the world's population is naturally red headed.
  • Bees are thought to sting redheads more.
  • They are usually fair skinned, burn in the son, have freckles, and an increased risk of skin cancer.
  • Redheads tend to bleed more [different clotting factor] and have more allergies.

After all of those facts, largely discouraging, I found these:

  • Redheads have fewer hairs on their head than blonds or brunettes, but their hair is almost always thicker.
  • They don't turn grey, but turn a sandy color and then white.
  • They loose their hair color later in life than most people.
  • It is said that some real redheads have turquoise eyes.
  • Redheads have more sex and more sexual partners.

Most widely known is the held belief that redheads are thought to have short tempers, but no one has ever seen a controlled study that tested the correlation. I never believed the stereotype before I had my very own redhead, but I must say that now I am a definitive believer. After talking with some teachers I found my opinion to be shared by most people who deal with children regularly. It may be the topic of my thesis when I go back to grad school. In the end I have learned that redheads really are a fascinating bunch if for no other reason than the shear attention they garner wherever they go. And to my very own special redhead, I love you buddy. I never pictured you before you were born, but you are constantly in my thoughts now and I can't live without you and all that crazy red hair.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


When I was young at one point I thought I wanted to be a ballerina. After asking my dad if I could take ballet lessons he said, "Mary, I think you have to be graceful to be a ballerina." Not long after that I turned to gymnastics and it remains my "true love". I cry while watching it at the Olympics still to this day.

When Bella started to express interest in extra curricular activities I gently steered her toward gymnastics. She didn't really take a liking to it. And asked me one day if she could take ballet instead, as well as Karate. Although saddened to see her interests were different than mine, I knew I didn't want to make the same mistake of forcing on my children those things which I wished I could have pursued more{cough, cough - piano lessons}.So after putting Bella in ballet she has blossomed in confidence, beauty, poise, and grace. I love watching her dance. Her recital was Saturday, as well as mine, and she has never looked more radiant. And although I was denied the oppurtunity of being a prima ballerina, I live through her and think she does it much better than I could have anyway.
See if you can pick her out!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Let Me Always Be This Happy

I can feel the numbered days passing too quickly for my liking. Time is robbing me of my moments as it whizzes by regardless of how much I wish it would stay perfectly still.

And so sometimes I just have to toss out my to do list and invite my children into my bed for stories and naptimes. And instead of sleeping when they do, I have to watch them and reflect on the days that have brought me here, and savor the moment by rubbing their backs, tummies, and hands while they sleep relishing the warmth and softness and the innoncence of youth. And when I think life can't get any better I have to sneak out of bed to grab my camera and capture what I know my imperfect mind will never be able to hold onto - this moment.

Monday, June 14, 2010


It doesn't happen often, but the other day I walked out of the bank to see this on my car.
I don't know how long it has been there; I can't imagine too long.
I'm pretty sure some of the boys at the pool did this.
Although I can honestly say I double checked with Travis and a few close friends just to be sure.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Last Day of School

Instead of dealing with my sadness at another year come and gone and my kids growing far to fast for my liking I'm going to catch up on all the things we've missed.

The Pool Opens - we spend all of our free time here.
Nana sends us an unexpected gift - a karaoke machine. I'm sort of excited to try this out.
{Thanks Nana!}
Our Poconos Weekend, 6/5-7/10, warrants some writing. We loved this trip, chilling as a family, hiking through the mountains, exploring, overdosing on Smores, and seeing the local culture. Yes that is a real scarecrow in the garden. And yes it is the world's smallest - one man - chapel at one of the local cemeteries. I can't wait to go back!
13 lbs. of picked strawberries later, I have jam, pie, frozen, and fresh berries at my house - YUM!
Class parties and Field Day - While cheering on the little Kindergartners of Wyatt's class for field day, another mom mentioned to Bella's teacher -the class next to ours-, she [referring to me] really knows a lot of the students. Bella teacher says, "Well yeah, she volunteers in here a lot." And that sums it up. I love my kids and I am not content to send them to school and miss out on a huge part of their life, so into the school I must go, often toting two other kids along. The other students dote on Issac and Kody smothering them with attention. And those two little charmers eat up all the feminine attention.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Best Job On Earth

6:40 - Alarm goes off; wake up; wake 2 children
6:43 - Keep waking second child.
6:45 - Do Bella's hair in two pigtail braids
6:51 - Come down for breakfast; make breakfast; eat breakfast; email Bella's teacher
7:13 - Walk outside to bus stop; catch bus; come in finish emails
7:32 - Look up recipe for strawberry pie; finish freezing strawberries; prep the rest for pie
8:06 - Kody morning hugs, kisses, and snuggles
8:15 - Get Kody dressed; feed him breakfast; let Issac sleep in
8:32 - Make a grocery list; Roots list; and brief outline of day
8:49 - Issac wakes up; get him dressed; feed him breakfast
8:59 - Clean up dishes; start the dishwasher
9:08 - Sword fight the boys with balloon swords
9:15 - Clean 4 bedrooms; vacuum 4 bedrooms; rearrange furniture in 1 bedroom
9:47 - Solve sibling tiffs; vacuum stairs;
9:58 - Get boys in shoes; vacuum half of the den; load boys in the car; play one song on piano
10:04 - Go to Weis to pick up pie stuff; go to bank for check ledgers; go to post office to drop off speeding ticket bill
10:36 - Run home to drop off groceries; head to the school; inventory PTO closet paper goods; make 2 phone calls to get more paper plates; plan PTO breakfast for tomorrow; go to Bella's classroom
11:08 - Read to Bella's class excerpts from The Alchemist, weep over explaining to the kids their "personal legend"; realized Mrs. McMechen is weeping to.
11:22 - Bella explains to her class that I cry at church too, it's a good cry.
11:25 - Say farewell to my class, hug my favorite teacher to date, Mrs. M, and leave with boys.
11:28 - Head to Roots; phone call with Travis about cost of fixing the swamp cooler in our Utah house and other upcoming expenses, divide and conquer plan for tonight, and recap of conversation that Travis had with his old boss today about knowing anyone who would want to come work with him again *Hint Hint*; we'll pass
11:42 - Buy fruits and veggies; get lunch with boys
12:22 - Kody has to pee; find Roots bathroom; use it
12:42 - Get ice cream; eat it; head for car and home
12:56 - Drive home
1:03 - Get home; unload chocolate, sticky boys; take pictures; clean them up
1:17 - Read them one book; put them in bed; start a load of wash; put clean clothes in my bedroom to fold
1:36 - Head downstairs to make pie, finish vacuuming, sweep, mop, etc...
1:38 - Feel first signs of exhaustion; listen to answering machine
1:44 - Decide to blog instead of work
1:56 - Get back to chores; send emails, check email; call library;
2:04 - Vacuum rest of den; make to do list for tomorrow; bake pie crust
2:20 - Pick kids up from bus stop; finish planning breakfast tomorrow with neighbor
2:27 - Unload lunchbox; go through school papers; hang up coat;
2:35 - After school snack of bananas, pie filling on graham crackers, and apple cinnamon muffins
2:42 - Start kids on their chores - unload dishwasher, vacuum living room, reload dishwasher; help as needed
2:50 - Finish pie; send two more emails
2:57 - Make cupcakes for end of year party with Bella and Wyatt; refrigerate pie; thaw meat for dinner
3:24 - Put cupcakes in oven; clean up dishes
3:29 - Pay bills, balance checkbook, enter receipts in budget
4:17 - Travis call: to say he is coming home early
4:18 - Stop budgeting; hightail dinner
4:40 - Eat dinner; get Bella ready for ballet; me change for belly dancing
5:00 - Start to clean up dinner; shovel a piece of dessert in my mouth
5:10 - Leave for dance rehearsal
5:30 - Alternate getting Bella ready for her numbers, me for mine, and read in down time; wait; chat with dance moms
9:32 - Get home; mini crisis with PTO; write emails, make calls, try unsuccessfully to resolve; hope for better response tomorrow at 7am or deal with it
9:41 - Pick up a griddle from the neighbor
9:45 - Put Bella to bed
9:53 - Change into comfy clothes; annihilate the tick I find
9:54 - Update blog for the night

Still left on today's to do list: make frosting, ice cupcakes, prep pancakes for 70, clean up house clutter, return vacuum upstairs, get ready for bed, help Travis carry in sleeping kids when he gets home, if I'm lucky read for a few minutes, and go to bed.

It may be hectic, banal, boring at times, crazy at others, but it's filled with magical moments scattered throughout the day, happy smiles made just for me, and unexpected hugs and kisses and it's what I choose and I love it - most of the time anyway.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What Every Mother Should Teach Her Son(s)

Sure I'm a feminist. I'm not denying this. Do I abide the idea that men and women should be treated exactly the same or do the same things, heaven's no. That's just craziness in my book and against God's plan. I'm more along the lines of I don't want you or anyone else telling me what I can and can't do. I'm smart enough to figure it out on my own. So just give me a chance. With that being said there are certain things that I wanted my daughters to know how to do. Some although inherently considered man skills I could teach her, the others I had to call for reinforcements. Yeah that would be Travis. I planted the seed of things I think that Bella should know and every girl for that matter. The list is as follows: Every girl should...

  • be able to provide her own income sufficient to live on if needed.
  • know how to shoot a gun, catch a fish, bait a hook, and pull out that hook.
  • know how to change a tire, change the oil, and know what her functioning car sounds like, so she can hear when it starts sounding funny.
  • be able to negotiate with a man especially, a car salesperson, financial consultant, and her mechanic.
  • be able to live within her means and live on a budget. Although this applies to every person and lest you be confused the two things mentioned are different. One keeps you from going into debt, the other makes you rich. But I'll save the rest of that for another day.
  • be able to lift her own luggage.
  • be able to start a fire and set up a tent.
  • know the basic rules of all sports.
Along those same lines I have realized that I am responsible for teaching my sons these inverse goals that are stereotypically female so that he is self sufficient and useful within a family setting in more than a one dimensional way. And I've gone round and round wondering what would be most useful for my son to know to be helpful to his wife someday. So far I've come up with these:
Every boy should be able to...
  • do laundry including the proper care of female items including but not limited to line dried items, delicates, and stain removal.
  • cook at least ten meals or translate a recipe to the finished product.
  • set a proper dinner table including several sets of flatware for salads, soup, and dessert.
  • clean properly vacuum, mop, dust, bathrooms, you know get out the toothbrush and clean the water deposits off the chrome kind of cleaning
  • type without looking and at a reasonable pace
  • go grocery shopping and bring home foods that can create a meal
  • make and keep own appointments including doctor, dentist, and eye care

And that's all the further I've gotten. But I'm sure I'm missing crucial items. So friends, family, countrymen weigh in and help me raise my boys to be helpful men, tell me what I am missing. Thanks!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How Can A Day Be Bad?

When it starts with you reading this email:

Subject: Hey Good Lookin

I'm thinking Date Night on the 10th of next week and the 16th of the week following. The third full week is when you're out of town and the last day of the month would be ideal for a date night as well. The 30th.

I just want to snatch you up before the Barons Girls do.

You are so Fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! !! !

Just can't get enough of you.

how the heck did I get so lucky to marry this man?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Love...

finding $.66 in the laundry
waking up pain free
getting loads of work done before 9am
the summer reading program.

a beautiful arrangement of flowers
girls' night
my neighbors' fierce cooking skills
making hotel reservations for summer vacation
feeling good both emotionally and physically.

boys who sleep naked
picnics at the park
the now open swimming pool
that Bella is my best friend
being a fieldtrip chaperone to see Charolotte's Web.

friends who accept my apology
setting a nice table for my family
my constantly amazing husband
and new/better storage solutions for the home.