30 May 2013


1. Avoid these movies like the bubonic plague:

  • Hemingway and Gelhorn (awkward and flat)
  • Pitch Perfect (obnoxious and flat)
  • Broken City (horrible and flat)
  • The Hatfields and the McCoys (depressing and flat)
2. I'm still on a Mindy Project kick.  Jeff never saw this invasion of Mindy Kaling coming.  I can't help it, I love it.  Jeff surprised me with her book and it made me chuckle out loud, I related to some of the things she had to say, and despite a few bad words it was a great, quick little thing.

3. See below for more details, but after nixing Thomas the Train from our house, Jude's riding the Bob the Builder wave.  When the theme song comes on he gives me his "OH MY GOSH!" face, and then shakes his booty.  It is perfect for him.  Construction cars and heavy machinery galore.  Plus, it showcases a couple (Bob and Wendy) that work well together, and they get into specifics of Bob's contract jobs.  "I was up all night laying linoleum in City Hall!" or "We still have to install the pergola and fence!" Jude thinks all those projects are awesome.  We turn it on as we do diapers/get dressed/breakfast in the morning, and if there's time before bed where we're waiting for Jeff to get home.

4. Thomas the Train -- what the heck??  As a teen, when I babysat children who watched that show, (then narrated by Ringo Starr) it just seemed creepy.  Then when Jude wanted to watch it, and I started paying attention to the dialogue, it was all sorts of horrible. Forget the fact that it uses really cheesy phrases endlessly. It is, in every episode, all about a bunch of insecure, scene-stealing, jealous, passive-aggressive, gutless anthropomorphic trains.  And I hear myself say these things and know I must be crazy, to be so wound up over a kids' show, but who is writing this stuff???  And for kids?? The characters are constantly being rude and condescending to each other, and then ruining things by trying to sneakily get ahead of the other trains, and when they are caught and chastised, they say "Oh dear, I am not a very useful engine."  THE END.  And next episode, start it all over again, because no one in this show can do anything else besides be lame-o.  It's been banned at our house, because it's so obnoxious, and I can't think of a single thing I want Jude to take away from this show about idiot locomotives.

5. Downton Abbey.  Sigh.  I am just now able to write about this.  First season = gold.  Second season = gold.  I waited impatiently for Season 3, which turned out to be the season that saw a parting of the ways.  For Lady Sybill, Matthew, reportedly Lady Violet, and (sniff sniff) me.  I don't think I can bear to watch Season 4.  

But actually, this deserves its own entire blog post, for there is much to say.  And right now I'm sleepy.

6. I'm also on an on-again, off-again Gilmore Girls stretch.  How many times have I seen each season now?  I don't know, but it's a lot.

7. The Office.  It's been horrible for the last 2-3 seasons.  They had to start trying much too hard, stretching things much too far, and I only hung on this season because it was the last.  But I will say that when Steve Carrell made his cameo in the finale, I was suddenly tearing up!  I know, I know, I surprised even myself.  Oh wait, I cry at the drop of a hat ever since having a baby back in 2011.  I think I cried because I love the idea I have in my head of who Steve Carrell is.  One of my favorite movies is Dan in Real Life, a movie in which he is a totally hilarious sweetheart.  And in Mindy Kaling's book she goes on and on about how kind and warm he is, and how patiently and graciously he works.  I think I've started to think of him as a version of an uncle.  My family and I used to religiously watch Seasons 1 and 2 the summer before my mission, and that's made it sentimental.  Anyway, there you have it, it got to me all over again.  The show wrapped up nice and tidy, and even though I winced through a few seasons, the finale resonated with my tear ducts.  

The End

22 May 2013

Graham's Blessing

On March 31 (Easter Sunday), Jeff blessed Graham.

We were so tickled to have all 4 grandparents, Gigi Hayes, Aunt Erica/Uncle Robert + brood, Aunt Michelle/Uncle Mark + L, and Aunt Sarah/Uncle Harry join us.  Obviously we had a great weekend.

This child of mine is cozy with his Grandma.

After the blessing we ate the big old Easter dinner with ham and lots of potatoes.  And here's a nice random pic of my mom, Amber, and Jude and Violet.

Erica and Sarah were interrupted by moi for this picture -- 2 classy beauties right here.

My friend Courtney met most of the family but was asking who the people on the couch were.  I sufficiently blew her mind when I said, "Ok so Harry is married to my sister Sarah, and then next to him is Robert, my sister-in-law Erica's husband, and guess what.  Harry...and Robert...are brothers."  "Brothers-in-law?"  "No, like, they are brothers.  They have the same mom and dad."  "Whaaaa?"

On Saturday we went to a San Clemente beach.  The weather forecast had been shutting this idea down all week with the promise of rain, which would've been sad for our visitors, but the sun championed through!  And hey!  I was there!

I love my effervescent Jude.  Not much is "not a big deal" to him.

Talking shop or something like that.

Cousin E is a devoted and attentive friend to all cousins, but the smaller ones especially.  

Be still my heart!

Grandpa and Jude checking out the playground

Cousin J clearly negotiating with Erica.  He is such a crack-up.  Before the beach, we swooped into the drive-thru at a favorite little spot, A's Big Ace.  Apparently in J's car, everyone was trying to decide what to eat and he goes, "Aw let's just order burgers and be done with it!"


Gigi worked her magic with Graham.  

A brother's love is a brother's love.

Hey!  Let's go bless a baby!

Jeff gave Graham a wonderful blessing.

Papa and Graham. Side note: My dad has always been called "Grandpa" by Elizabeth's kids, but now Jude calls him "Papa".  This sort of simplifies things.  Mimi and Papa are my parents, and Grandma and Grandpa are Jeff's parents.

I majorly scored on this blessing outfit.  I had a store credit for $20 at baby gap and this was on sale for like $20.14.  He looked so cute in it I almost had an ulcer.
The day after, when everyone but Grandma, Grandpa and Gigi had departed, we took them to the San Juan Capistrano Missions.  I somehow made it through the Irvine Unified School District without ever field tripping there, so this was my first time, but Graham was uncharacteristically fussy and I missed most of it.  Now I'll just wait till Jude is matriculated and has his school field trip there, and I'll go help out :).
Graham and Grandma making eyes at each other
Graham brings unending joy to our family.  It was wonderful to be together to bless this beautiful boy, celebrate Easter Sunday, and see each other.  Hip Hip Hooray (x3).

Not pictured: The Easter Egg hunt on Saturday.  It happened, the kids got a lot of eggs, and I ate way too much candy while stuffing said eggs.  Nice.

15 May 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Another good one.  It included sleeping in, Jeff made me a fruit plate for breakfast, he and "the kids" gave me a cute skirt, and my parents, Sarah, and Harry came over for dinner.  At church we were given mini Dreyer's ice creams (I chose cookie dough).

This was my 3rd Mother's Day, and each year Jude has done something out of the ordinary to celebrate.  When he was still in his fussy infant phase, he gave me the gift of a Relief Society lesson by snoozing like the dead on my lap.  The next year when he was a tireless 1-year-old, he slept in till 9:30.  And this year, he sat on my lap for 90% of Sacrament Meeting and, in the middle of it, for no apparent reason other than he loves me, he gave me a tight, prolonged hug around my neck and a big kiss on the cheek. He always pulls through on my special day :).

We all know I love being a mom, but lately I've been feeling especially grateful to have my own Mother and Mother-in-Law.

My Mom knows how to crochet, knit, embroider, sew everything from a slip cover to a wedding dress, reupholsters furniture, paints the interior and exterior of her house, can nourish a dying flower back to life, remembers all the poetry from her English Lit classes in college (and thus was able to help me over the phone with mine), cooks healthy, and even somehow makes eating chocolate appear healthy (since she does it a lot and has never gained weight in the 30 years I've been on this beautiful Earth).  She is tactful and gracious, and I've decided she's figured out how to be a "positive realist".  She was a little hard on me in my teen years about things like curfew and boyfriends, but now that I'm a mom, I understand she couldn't NOT worry, and a vigilant parent is better than an AWOL parent.  But most importantly, she's a toasty blanket of love and the sound of encouragement and calm.  Bad day, good day, she always improves a day.  When she can, she takes a half-day off to down to hang out with me and my boys, and those days are so delicious.  We talk, we laugh, we eat a treat, and she'll always claim to have a "little bit of a headache" coming on and therefore needs sips of my Diet Coke.  Lately, Sarah joins us too.  "Mimi" is the Jude whisperer, and he's kind of obsessed with her.  She gave him a toy car, which he calls "my Mimi car!" and must take it with him everywhere.  He panics if I try to put him down for a nap without it.  Anyway, she's a blessing we all appreciate.

My Mother-in-Law gave me a hug the first time I met her when Jeff and I were dating.  She was one of the only people who encouraged me to sleep train Jude, which was a very important thing for me to do (another blog post for another day).  She goes out of her way to help me with the boys, and they love her because she's awesome but also because I know they feel so much love from her.  She also sews, arranges flowers, crochets, and has embroidered blankets for Jude and Graham, and makes Christmas jammies every year.  She's classy, honest, smart, and nurturing.  Charissa has a great sense of humor and whenever we get together we all stay up late laughing and talktalktalking.  I often crave sitting in their family room with some Steven's Hot Chocolate or a Diet Pepsi, watching TV and talking.  One of the biggest reasons why I'll love her forever is without her, and alllllll that she put into raising Jeff, I wouldn't be a wife and mother.   I hope I can also raise Jude and Graham to be clever hunks that will make a girl want to sign up for a lifetime AND eternity together like I do with my Jeff.  I can't wait for my in-laws to quit working already so they can come visit us more.

In short, I hit the jackpot on Moms, and don't think I deserve them.  As it is, however, they're stuck with me.

Happy Mother's Day to all, and to all a goodnight!

07 May 2013


Here are some exciting updates on Jude:
  • 3 weeks in speech therapy, and he is finally unleashing his inner parrot.  We are so proud of him!  We go twice a week, 30 minute sessions.  He looooves his speech therapist.  Today I got there early because I needed to nurse Graham in the car before we went in.  The entire time Jude was yelling, "Go go!!!" and pointing at the door handle.  When we were in the lobby waiting, and she (Miss Chris) came out with the kid she works with before, he ran over, held her hand while she gave the report to the parent, and then as she took him back he cheerfully waved to me and said, "Bye!"  I'm glad he has fun in there, and glad it seems to be working.  He adds a bunch of new words pretty much every day, and putting words together for sentences is in sight.  (He will already say "My ______" and "Bye bye ______" or "Hi _____" sometimes, which is awesome.)  This is the answer to our prayers.  It's hard enough being 2 years old without adding communication barriers to the pile!
  • He figured out his scooter, and loves to be outside with it or his Spider-Man truck or "Lo-lo" (Back-hoe loader).  Toys get old fast, but something he can ride around on outside will be a favorite for months and months.
  • He has outgrown another pair of pants and on average I have to buy him a bigger size shoe every 2 months.
  • He is finally at peace (or something like it) with the ear plugs he must wear for water time because of his tubes.  I'd been worried our pool/splash pad time would suffer this summer if he never stopped trying to take them out.
  • He's eating a wider variety of victuals, and is not so addicted to milk anymore.  
  • He suddenly really wants to be snuggled up in blankets when he's outside of the crib, which is cute (and maybe an act of Graham jealousy).
And, much to the chagrin of some, we buzzed his unruly mop of hair.

We did this because:
  • His curls will come back (we buzzed him last July, too).
  • There was this spot in the back that didn't really curl -- it looked weird and I kept having to fight the urge to take a hot roller to it.
  • When he's throwing a red-faced, flailing-limbed, ear-splitting tantrum, you look at that wild frenzy on top of his head and feel that it just adds to the chaos.  His tidier appearance really does help the vibe of the emotional roller coaster that is a day in the life of a 2-year-old Jude!
He's also, of course, just acting older.  You just have to hang out with him to see it.  It's like Graham is this little toy that smiles and gurgles at us, and Jude is a companion.  Since he's still not exactly conversational it shows up in other ways.  I know that he knows exactly what I'm talking about.  I am starting to see SOME reasoning seeping in (like "You can have your gummy vitamin AFTER you finish your breakfast").  The other day I gave him an "energy bite" to eat (maybe I'll post the recipe if I have the energy that those bites are supposed to pass along), but I told him he had to eat it right away if he was going to be out of his booster with it.  A few minutes went by wherein he held it, and then he put it next to me on the couch.  Exactly what I didn't want to have happen.  But I was nursing and didn't want to get up to put it on the counter.  So I ate it.  About 12 seconds later he came back looking for it, saw it was gone, goes, "Hmmmmm...." and looks behind him and under the couch.  Then he stands up, sees me still chewing and exclaims, "Heeey!" It was cute and funny, and he didn't hold it against me.  He had, after all, been given the terms of the energy bite bequeathal.

I get really frustrated with the blood curdling screaming he does just to get a rise out of me.  His face will be almost stoic, he's not throwing a tantrum, he just opens up his mouth and projects like an classically trained opera singer who switched careers to horror film star.  And if it were just my ears being most offended that would be one thing, but it scares the crap out of Graham and makes him cry.  And the best way to get him to stop while I'm driving or nursing is to ignore it, but then that means we all have to endure 7 or 8 screams before he gives up.  My ears are nigh unto exploding at times.  

He also, when both boys are in the stroller and Jude wants to be free, reaches over to Graham's side and grab at his face.  OOoooooh this is a problem.  He doesn't do it to hurt Graham, he does it because he knows I won't ignore it.  I block it as best I can but Graham's had a couple of scratches, or at the very least been woken up, and I don't know what I should do about this.  I can't let it go on, it has to stop NOW.  I might handcuff him :).  In a month or two when Graham can sit in the stroller without the car seat, Jude won't be able to reach him anymore.  Any idiz?

Anyway, I am trying to approach each day full of positive thinking and energy to teach him, and fill his day with the things he loves most: friends, the outdoors, and me chasing and tickling him.  As much as he can squelch my patience, the older he gets the more ways he learns to show love in return, which means my day is spotted with greater flourishes of heaven.  HEA-VEN.  Tonight he gave me about 13 kisses in rapid-fire succession.  

Which brings me to bedtime.  Last night he gave me a long kiss on one cheek, then took his little hand, said, "That," and turned my cheek so he could give me a kiss on my other cheek.  I swear, night time rituals are magical.  All the day's mischief and acts of defiance are forgiven as I read my sweet jammies boy his Night Night books, some scriptures, we pray (he now says "Amen!"), and I sing to him while he snuggles up on my shoulder.  Then I put him, his sippy, the toy cars he has chosen to sleep with, and a couple blankets in his crib, have Lovey Monkey give him a kiss on the cheek too, we say "Night night" to each other, I run my finger from his forehead to the tip of his nose as I have since he was a newborn, turn on the noise maker, and that is the end of another day with my Jude.

Love it.