24 August 2014


Hey y'all, I've moved this whole shebang over to wordpress!  Continue reading at merzyhayes.com!

13 August 2014

Hayes Family Reunion 2014

We just got back from our Hayes Family Reunion in Duck Crick (Creek), UT.  We keep talking about what a great time we had.  Lest I forget some of the details, a load of pictures with captions:

We're on our way.  So dang early in the morning.
This is how Graham road trips: Feet up on the driver seat like it's his own personal ottoman, and he pointed/squealed at every truck we passed.

I reached back to tickle him, and another typical Graham move: he just grabbed my thumb to give it a good gnawing. 

Michelle put together a bomb treasure hunt for the kids.  The pot o' gold at the end was a big tub of candy and animal masks for everyone.  Jude was sleep deprived and either whimpering, crying, or giving the stink eye oh about 70% of the trip, so I was not surprised when he looked at the mask with disdain (even on a good day he doesn't like things stuck tight to his face or head).  Here's good old dad trying to convince him how fun it is to be a puppy. I love Jeff.

Last spring, we had an Eaton Family Reunion in this same cabin, and Jude and Ian had a merry old time chucking cans of Coke Zero off the deck.  This year it was Graham's turn to hurl things off; there's Jude's boot at the bottom, and I spy with my little eye my flip-flopped foot and Graham's incriminated Batman (TM) boot.

Uncle Justin is the best teddy bear around.  Graham was obsessed with his tickle fests, and I had the best time driving with him and Angie to a hike.  Justin is happy, friendly, loves to tease and joke around, and it had been a long time since I'd had a good conversation with him. We love the Lewis fam!

Bryce Canyon Glory!  Jude: "Daddy.  Don't go down there."  "Ok, Jude."

This gave me anxiety.

There was a big tub of toys.  Jude was incensed that there were no trains in there.  How dare they.  HA!  But he improvised, fell in love with a toy doctor kit, and then there was this gross motor skills toy meant for an infant that pretty much all the kids played with and adored. ???

See?  Here's Graham having his millionth go at it.  And he's holding his extreeeeemely healthy smoothie made by Aunt Erica; he had 3 servings.  This was nice because I think at that point everyone else had thrown healthy eating out the door.

Graham found flashlight.  Score.

Graham totally posing for Aunt Michelle -- hilarious!

I would use this for my Christmas Card.  Thanks for this gem, Michelle!

When Jude wasn't with Lizzie Bear, he was asking (whining) for Lizzie Bear.

I am obsessed with this little imp.

And all too quickly it was time to go home. In parting, I shall inform you of the blow out diaper that rendered Graham's onesie unwearable.  Nothing gives me more delight as a mother than wandering around Whiskey Pete's gas station food mart waiting for Jeff to finish his potty break, holding your tot that's only wearing a diaper, and trying to keep your 3-year-old close at hand.  Until next time, Hayes fam!    

21 July 2014

Graham's cracker

My favorite thing that happened today:
I was throwing a ball back and forth with Graham, which puts him out of his mind with glee.  He squeals, thrusts out his arms, and stomp-runs to chase it.  After one toss of mine he chased it, and  passed over a graham cracker he'd abandoned on the floor earlier.  A few steps from there, he squealed again, ran back to the cracker, the same jubilant edge, and shoved it into his mouth. 
And then he lumbered over and collapsed in my arms.
He's one of my unending obsessions.  

14 July 2014


I've felt that things have become so busy, even outside of my life chasing my little raccoons, and I'm trying to stay on top of it all.  More on that later.  Things I'm realizing I might not properly record any time soon:
  • On Valentine's Day this year Jeff and I got to go to an Imagine Dragons concert.  I first became converted after their Letterman performance.  I give their concert 2 big, fat thumbs up.  As we got close to The Forum I started to remember that oh wait, I'm old and exhausted and have no energy for such partying.  And then once we parked I was laughing to myself and/or out loud at the early-20s girls dressed in minimal clothing and 6-inch heels, adjusting their clothing nervously and gabbing endlessly.  For the life of me I don't know how they could handle more than an hour in that mode of living. But enough of that.  I rallied and dug deep into the burrows of my heart and mind for the energy to enjoy the entire evening.  Back to the concert: I feel like guys in the music industry can get away with murder.  As a man, you don't have to have a powerful or even nice-sounding voice to be main-stream successful  Many male performers I've seen live spend a lot of time avoiding the entire concept of stage presence on a stool.  Dan Reynolds (and the rest of the band) have natural talent that made them sound great live, and interesting to watch!  But I also know it's not just the abilities they were born with, it's been a huge, massive pile of hard work over a long time.  I was very impressed, and feel like they're just a few steps behind the monumental vibe of a Coldplay concert.  Speaking of Coldplay....
  • I'm still depressed over the Gwyneth Paltrow/Chris Martin divorce.  Apparently now, according to court documents, he's moved back into their Brentwood house and they could possibly be reconciling, but until I read a "reliable" statement from one or both of their reps I shan't get my hopes up.  And so I haven't been able to get myself to listen to a beat of Coldplay's new album. 
  • I'm currently being sucked into the Mia Wasikowska/Michael Fassbender version of Jane Eyre once again.  It's probably got to do with its brooding and mysterious vibe, which is so the polar opposite of my life. 
  • I still need to write about the rest of our trip to Copenhagen and Denmark, but I think about it every day.  It was magic.  Euro magic. 
And that's all for now!

08 July 2014

The Bruiser

Graham is my bruiser.  He climbs the park structures and down the slides like a boss.  Jude takes toys from him and body slams him all day long, and he doesn't bat a lengthy eyelash, but if I haven't read his mind on food or beverage, or put him down too soon, he scrunches up his face and smooshes out his soggy lips.  He loves to climb up on the couch and lean way back, getting really comfy.  And he beholds his kingdom (the family room) with a look of satisfaction. 

He woke up crying from teething last week and I went up to take him some Tylenol.  I picked him up and as I put the dropper to his mouth he growled, "Not that!"  I had to laugh -- he growls 90% of his little sentences. 

He loves hanging with the bros.  If there's a grown man around, that's who he wants to play with.  On the 4th of July, we went to the beach with a bunch of friends, and Graham spotted the Air Force Pilot in the bunch immediately (Seth Schurtz) and climbed up on his lap.  It's like he knew that of all the people there, this guy would be most likely to hook him up with a ride on a fighter jet.  They shared a can of Pringles, and Graham would take huge stacks of them and shove them in Seth's mouth. 

He tries to run and it's the cutest thing you've ever seen.  If I leave the baby gate open for 2 seconds he knows it and books it as fast as his fat legs can go, pumping his arms, eyes wild with the thrill of MAYBE making it into the office where he can throw pens around.

Long live Bruiser!

26 June 2014

More Jude quotes

  • Jude calls Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh "Christmas-topher Robin".
  • Buttons are "bundts" and I love it when he says "I pushed those bundts."
  • I was trying on some shoes and there were some Converse on a nearby table.  Jude said, "Don't wear those shoes, Mom. Those are for kids. 
  • "Sometimes you just get bonks."
  • "Mom, I'm eating this comb."  "Does it taste good?"  "No...it just tastes like chicken."
  • As of a couple of days ago he calls me "Honey".  I chuckle every single time.
  • I was in the middle of the bedtime routine in Jude's room, Graham was getting cranky so I put him next to Jude, and Jude goes, "Get off!" and then put his hands over his eyes and whispered "Get off get off get off get off!" like he was using every ounce of self-control.  :)
  • "No, no, no buddy," to Graham when Graham was banging on the fireplace.
  • He's dying for a Lego VW Bus set, and I told him maybe for Christmas.  He goes, "I am Christmas."
  • This week while singing him Primary songs at bedtime, "I just need to hold your hand."

18 June 2014

This and That

  • We learned the hard way that IKEA is really only good for picture frames, book shelves, ie things that don't get moved much.  So we got new dining chairs to replace the crap IKEA chairs, and the next day Graham started climbing on them every chance he got.  Jude watched him stand on the kitchen table in awe and I could see inspiration flooding his brain.  Anyway, the chairs sit behind the gate, in the front hall 99% of the time.  Nice.
  • Jude is really into the "I have to _____."  I have to eat a lollipop.  I have to go to the park.  I have to play with the screw driver.  I have to hit Graham.
  • Speaking of beating up Graham, I was holding him yesterday and Jude goes, "Mom, put Graham down.  I have to shoot him." 
  • As soon as they get out of the bath, Graham likes to do his Frankenstein walk down the hall, chasing Jude and growling full-force and Jude thinks it's hilarious.  Cute.
  • Graham must have everything just like Jude.  He wants the same kind of cup, he wants to hold the same kind of food even if he has no intention of eating it, he wants the same toys, etc. etc. etc. 
  • Jude is all about the letters and pretending to read.  Maybe one of the cutest sights mine eyes behold is when he pretends to read a book to me or his stuffed animals.  It's also a hoot to find out what he's really hanging onto from when I read to him.
  • When we have family prayer in the morning, all we need to do is say the word and no matter where Graham is, he will buzz right over to the family room and prostrates himself on the rug.  He thinks this is how we pray because Jude usually starts with an obedient kneel but quickly rolls onto the floor.
  • Jude and 3 other boys from church have had the CUTEST playgroup of all time for the past 6 months.  Even though having 4 little boys ages 2 and 3 plus Graham was a little crazy for the one day a month I'd host, it was also so endearing and sweet.  The boys are totally snuggle monsters and hilarious.  Anyway, we're taking a break for the summer because 2 of the boys have older siblings that will be out of school.  I think Graham is going to be a little depressed about this; he lights up when it's just the two of us and he gets all the attention to himself.  Just wait, my little lamb, preschool is just a few months away!  (And playgroup will resume 1 day a week.)
  • I've been editing a recipe book and am still working for a non-profit doing some marketing and writing.  So that's why this blog has been neglected; I put the kiddie bops to bed and start working a little and before I know it it's way past my old lady bedtime.  But good news: since The Mindy Project went on summer hiatus I had nothing to "watch" (listen to) whilst I worked but Hulu+ just got Real Housewives of Beverly Hills -- score!  This'll keep me busy for a few months.

26 May 2014


This jolly barnacle is built like a 1930s boxer, and walks like Frankenstein's monster.  The things that make him most happy are still being held, tickled, giving zerberts, and EATING. 

Besides a hefty load of "DADADADADA" he walks around saying, "I DID IT!" all the time.  Sometimes it's obvious what he just did; he got ahold of the ___ he wanted, pushed himself up, gave Jude a zerbert, but sometimes he just says it and we assume he must be talking about blinking his eyes or breathing in and out.  This nearly omnipresent phrase is cute, and mixed in at times with "I NEED THAT!" or "I GOT IT!

He takes a 2-3 hour nap, and has yet to give me the witching hours in the afternoon that are so prevalent in little runts.

He calls me "Nonny" most of the time, sometimes "Momma." 

He's in that phase where he is such a klutz and a complete and total danger to himself.  He gets a new bruise or scrape before the last one has a chance to heal.  You can see the shiner he got from the bathtub -- I promise I was holding onto him!  I just pray he keeps his teeth. 

He loves to arrange and with just a teensy amount of guidance, he will clean up toys in their proper place, and loves to throw away trash.  Or anything into the trash.  I have fished several non-garbage items out of the trash can, and a bottle of Aquaphor I saw him walking around with is still MIA.  I suspect I shall never see it again.

I spend so much time kissing his poofy cheeks; he's still the dreamiest Graham of them all.

20 May 2014

Just a shower

This morning I sent the following text message to Jeff:

"Remind me to rant tonight about how we need a new showering routine for me."

It was followed by several fire breathing emoticons.

Unless I leap out of bed at 6:00 in the morning when Jude wakes up and comes to snuggle, and before Grahamykins is awake, it rarely ends up happening until after everyone's eaten brek, and Jeff is out the door on his way to his office.  Jude would probably be content to stay downstairs and watch tv while I cleansed, but I don't trust a) him alone with Graham, because he tends to lay down quite an axe for minor infractions like toy stealing, and b) Graham likes to climb onto the couch and lean over the arm to try to play with the back yard light switch, which resulted in a goose egg a few weeks ago. 

So they all have to come upstairs with me.  I shut the bedroom door, shut the closet door, shut the door to the toilet room so G won't try to splash (which he adores for some reason -- Jude never did so this is new to me), and I have child locks on the cabinets with cleaning supplies.  I set up Jude with the iPad and Graham with some toys.

This is what happened this morning while I took a 5 minute shower (and essentially what happens every single time they come with me):

I hop in the shower.
I can hear Graham yelling for joy and banging on the sliding closet doors (which he has knocked off its rollers plenty of times).
Jude yells, "No yelling, Graham!!!"  (eye roll)
Graham comes into the bathroom, turns on the bath water.
Jude follows 30 seconds behind, starts to squish a squealing Graham away from the faucet because he knows I don't want to waste water.  I say, "It's ok, Jude, I'd rather have the water on than you hurting him!"
After a few more nudges, Jude stops squishing (I get the sneaking suspicion it has nothing to do with my scolding, he is just bored of it and knows he'll have ample opportunities later for additional squishing/body slamming). 
I realize I left my face wash at the sink and dart out of the shower to grab it.  Water is spilt on the floor.
Graham starts wiping the water all around.
Jude pretends he's a dog and starts crawl-hopping all around, growl/biting at and chasing G who thinks it's a lovely game.
As they travel back toward the bedroom they come across a snag in the carpet and start to pull on it.
"STOP!!!!"  They only stop when they hear me turn the water off.
As soon as I step out of the shower they think it's about time I pick them up, so before I can even reach for my moisturizer I have 4 little hands tugging on my towel, my tangled hair is dripping all over them and the floor, I'm freezing, AND I keep thinking, "JUDE IS TOO OLD TO BE IN HERE!!!"  HMPHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I go to pick out clothes they continue to find ways to destroy our room.  The internet wiring in the closet looks fun.  My tub of maternity clothes has a broken lid that is fun to open.  They found a cufflink on the floor.  Oh -- look at that!  The sock drawer!!

And all the while I'm fuming and thinking, "I'M JUST TRYING TO LIVE MY LIFE!"

Now I have to go rant to Jeff about this.


13 May 2014

Out of the mouth of Jude

  • "I'm dancing a little bit.  Just a little bit."  (He was walking in a circle at medium speed.)
  • "I make this for you, mommy.  It makes you happy."  (It was a blanket molded into a "cupcake.")
  • "I just kissed your nose.  YOUR BIG NOSE!"
  • While Graham was crying on the way home from the pool: "I know, Graham, I know [dripping patronization in his voice].  We just can't go to the pool anymore today.  Maybe -- maybe next time."
  • While I cleaned the bathroom today, "Oh, I LOVE it!" copying my voice inflection from when I praise one of his artistic creations.
He sings a song about how Jesus Christ loves the very hungry caterpillar.
He calls the guitar a "pitard," tomatoes "pomatoes" and a cocoon (hungry caterpillar obsession again) a "pacoon". 
Love of my life.

11 May 2014

Mother's Day 2014

High 5 for Mother's Day!  I've felt pretty worn out for the last couple of weeks, so today felt awesome. 

I slept in (as much as one can when you have church that begins at 9am), came downstairs to a place setting of vanilla pudding in a tea cup, a frosty can of Diet Coke next to a goblet with ice, a card that Jude colored for me, and a half pound of bridge mix next to that.  Charming!

It's either hilarious or terrible that in this phase of raising young children, on Mother's Day all I want is to be excused from doing a lot of my mothering duties.  I'm sure in another season of life I will not feel this way, but this year, I absolutely was stoked to wave goodbye to my 3 boys while they wheeled off to the park, I loved not doing the dishes after dinner, and all the motherly accolades that they threw at us at church were music to mine ears.

I'm lucky to have the people in my life that made this day special and relaxing for me, and I'm lucky to have mothers in my life that inspire me and make me want to be a better mother. Cheers!

06 May 2014

Copenhagen Part I

Sunday evening, Jeff and I took off in a big, shiny airplane for Copenhagen.  I had been looking forward to the flight; last time I flew to Europe it was a blast.  Plus, I usually highly value the time I get to sit still and undisturbed.  However, I didn't sleep on the plane for some reason (maybe the smelly Euro guy next to me), but the benefit here was seeing the Fiords out the window.  They looked like big, white mushy blobs from the plane.  I was totally 3 sheets to the wind by the time we landed, but by that point we were all hopped up on second windedness and adrenaline for actually being there. 

After dropping off our bags at the hotel, we picked up a snack (Fanta for Jeff, Coke Lite for me, and some chocolate), and went off to the Strogat.  It was St. Patrick's Day, so we caught the end of a bagpiping parade, which was appropriate because back at home it was my Dad's bday.  We learned quickly that everyone speaks English, so I didn't even have to try out my Danish (which is nice, because I don't have any Danish to try), but because of Jeff's amazing light blonde hair everyone initially assumed we were locals.  I love Jeff's hair.
The city was very clean, very tall, old buildings lining the streets, and oh, the cobble stone. 

Of course I was very observant of the mothers and children and kept imagining what it would be like to live there in my current phase of life (not that we have any plans to go abroad).  I already knew that you basically get a bomb "Motherhood Package" from the government, and maternity leave that makes America's seem like a long weekend.  Maybe that is why there were babies EVERYWHERE.  Especially compared to Amsterdam.  If I had a nickel for every bassinet on 4 wheels I saw, I would have a lot of nickels.  2013 actually posted the lowest birthrate in decades, and they launched a campaign to get people having babies, which is all really surprising to me.  Again, babies EVERYWHERE.  And they were all so well behaved.  I only once saw a mother leaning over to shush her fussing child.  I would also like to add that the babies stayed in the bassinet much longer than they do here in the Estados Unidos -- I'd see babies that had to be about 1 year old relaxing obligingly in the stroller. We saw several day care groups where there were about 2 children to every adult.  They were out and about at museums, parks, all bundled up in beanies and puffer outfits, and all very blonde.  To me, in all the little boys I saw my nephew Max, and in every little girl I saw my quasi-niece Juniper.

Lots of Nikes, lots of boots, lots of black clothing. 

So many bikes.  Some of the bikes had huge cargo buckets on the front or back for their kids to sit in.  Really, the improvisational elements to these bikes were impressive.  I can see how they were turning bikes and strollers into their minivans.

Everything is so dang expensive. 
Tuesday morning we got an early start, and shoved a loaf of cinnamon bread down our gullets.  We were so hungry!  Hunger was basically omnipresent during this trip because we walked so much.  Anyway, we went immediately over to The Church of Our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) to see the Christus and the statues of the 12 Apostles.  Why is everything in Europe so beautiful and detailed beyond belief?  I tried so hard to let everything soak in nice and deep, because I know that even though pictures are nice, they can't ever even compare to the feeling of being there and seeing it live. I loved seeing the original Christus -- we Mormons are very familiar with the statue, but the one in Copenhagen was even fancier and more beautiful.  From there we walked over to the Mermaid statue, and I'll now segue over to some visual aids:

We were off the Metro and walking to our hotel! 

The guy on the left with the accordion was playing Time to Say Goodbye on the Strogat this fine evening.

I looked down just in time to notice this Imagine Dragons poster!  Crazy that the same Dan Reynolds who, as a 17 year old,  ordered me to choose between getting a wedgie or my nose picked, has a fan base and presence in Denmark.
Cinnamon bread or Kanestang that was inhaled 

I just always liked Peter best.

Absolutely incredible.  The nice priest came and said hello to us after the service.  It can't be an easy job he's got!

A little chilled by the water!

Just a random forgotten door -- you're killing me with the details!

The Little Mermaid -- not quite as happy as the Disney version with its excessive sunshine blowing!  Read about Hans Christian Anderson's original version -- it's completely depressing.

When I saw this in one of the museums I gasped -- this bust looks JUST like my nephew Rower, but with hair!

My pizza-esque dinner on our first night...

And my lover boy's dinner on the first night there.

"Yoo halooo!"

Coke Lite is maybe a major draw in leaving my mother country.

They do sell these licorice candies in los estados, but you know they don't taste as good!

And proof that me and my faithful husband were at the Christus statue!

At Fredricksborg Castle

Crazy beautiful flag blowing in the crisp Denmark air.  (More Fredricksborg Castle)

Seeing this park that my boys would die over made me miss them just a little bit.  But the sand was wet, so that might have bothered the very tactile Jude.

Creeping on a Day Care group -- look at those little buddies!

26 April 2014

More about Jude

He is cracking me up. Today I brought the boys with me to church to help set up for a fundraiser, and as we left Jude stopped for a drink from the drinking fountain.  I heard him nonchalantly say to himself, "Oh, up my nose -- I'm ok." 

He burritos himself in a big blanket and pretends to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  He tells me he's eating an apple, and is going to have some ice cream after.

When I tuck him into bed, we talk about what we're going to do the next day.  He gets this wide-eyed look of thrill.  And then he'll tell me a few times he's going to go to sleep, then he'll wake up and snuggle me, and then we'll go DOWNSTAIRS ("downstairs" is always very loud and celebratory).

He draws hearts and circles with sidewalk chalk and colors them in, staying pretty much in the lines.  Other things he draws are maybe not so discernible, but he drew a bunch of "temples" the other day; the next morning he told me, "I need to go check on my temples." 

So many other charming things, but it just feels so tragic that so much of the sweetness is in his delivery. I hope I remember all the little nooks and crannies of his 3-year-old self.

19 April 2014

Why Jude is Extra Awesome Lately

  • He is just so darn agreeable when it's something he agrees with ;).  Whether it's mapping out our day, getting a snack, discussing what happens in the hungry caterpillar book, or what he'd like to bring to the park, his sing-song voice is pretty great. 
  • Snugglier than ever.  He sat on my lap with his arms wrapped around my neck for a good 20 minutes today during lunch, and peppered my cheeks with kisses and "zerbies".  He all of a sudden noticed I was wearing red lipstick (his fave color).  He started to examine the situation very closely, "I see wed....I see TWO BIG WED ONES!" I was laughing so hard.
  • He's ALL ABOUT EASTER.  I think the love he feels for the books Runaway Bunny, Goodnight Moon, candy, and the Christmas-nocturnal-gift-depositing-crossover all are making this very thrilling for him.  "Easter's coming to OUR HOUSE!" has been announced many times this week.
  • The pretending/creating/artistic eye are still omnipresent around here.  He crumpled and folded a scrap of paper the other day and said, "Look, mom!  It's Jesus Christ!"  I was eating a salad today and he pointed to the lettuce and said, "Look!  A fwog (frog)!" 
  • I left the backyard door open a couple of weeks ago while he played outside (he flips if it's shut) and a little gecko ventured into the house.  I didn't even see it until Jude pointed to the floor and asked, "What's THAT?"  I didn't succeed in ushering it out, and it stayed under the fridge until the next day.  Jeff scooted it out the door very nicely and Jude was completely stoked watching it climb up the wall outside the front door.  We named it Bob the Lizard, and of course it has been a topic of much conversation ever since.  We have spotted a gecko or two since (heck, it COULD be the same one, but who knows?) outside the house and Jude acts like he's seeing an old pal.
  • Cute mispronunciations:
    • Aunt Lidabit for Aunt Elizabeth
    • Pitard for Guitar
    • Rainbow for Rhino
    • Vibut for his friend Violet
  • He has been announcing "My birthday's coming!"  The other night as I tucked him into bed he started telling me how his birthday party was going to be and even told me it could be "Our birthday.  You and me."  Nice.  Thanks, Jude!"
  • I was making crepes and every time I added an ingredient to the batter he would growl, "Niiiicccce!" 
  • "That's awesome."  "This is awesome."  "I'm awesome."  3 sentences that are awesome.
  • Much to my delight, he's completely excited about doing everything he can possibly do on his own, on his own.  He wants to put on his own shoes, buckle the chest buckle in his car seat, do the entire toilet routine from start to finish, "cut" his food, and so much more.  I know it's a double-edged sword since he's not the fastest at some of these things, but how sweet is that 3-year-old autonomy??  So earnest and enthusiastic.
  • Ever since he stopped napping in October I've been so worried he is under-slept.  Last Saturday he fell asleep in the car, transferred to his bed, and napped for about 2.5 hours.  And then was up till midnight.  I think he's ok without the naps.
  • Jude is already plotting with Graham against me.  "Gam.  Come on, let's go in da bafroom!"  (Meaning the master bafroom, which is not baby proofed and I hate it when they're in there for more than 2 seconds.)  I heard him and said, "Jude, you're busted!" and he got the sneakiest grin on his face.  Cute.  I'm in trouble.
I can't get enough of this sweet little boy.  I hope I remember every little mannerism.

06 April 2014

Why Graham is Extra Awesome

  • He's almost walking!  He will push himself to standing all the time, but it's almost always just so he can dive bomb/trust-fall onto a person or a pillow.  He's shuffled a few steps, but is much more excited to stick the trusty crawl.
  • He says, "Yeah!" especially if the question is, "Do you want some milk?" or "Do you want to swing?" or "Do you want to go down the slide?"
  • He also says, "Mmmmmmm-DAA!" all day long just because it's so much fun.
  • When I hold him on my hip, he holds onto my thumb that's holding his leg.  It's these little things that just about kill me.
  • He started giving Jude zerberts whenever he's got some skin exposed.  It's hilarious.  He'll pat it a couple of times and then go at it with the "zerbies," as Jude calls them.  Hysterical. 
  • I still can't take his tantrums seriously -- in fact, they almost always make me laugh. The things that make him despair or furious are things like not getting to splash around in the toilet, eat my phone, or chalk, so I just don't feel bad for him. 
  • He will chug more milk than a 15 year old football player.  Our pediatrician reminded me a couple months ago that it's best to keep it to 16 ounces and under each day and I had to stifle a giggle.  I lose count of the ounces.  He just drinks and eats A LOT.
High 5, G.

28 March 2014


When we were newlyweds, we planned to go to Europe for our 1st anniversary.  By the time we celebrated 1 year, I was 36 weeks pregnant.  So that got shelved.  And ever since then the timing was never right, until [cue heavenly choir] nowwwww!

Medium-length story short, we found really great deals on airfare to Copenhagen for this month.  Michelle and Mark agreed to come watch the kids.  We bought the tickets and tried to convince ourselves we were really going!

We got back last Saturday. It was obviously so much fun.  We had about 3.5 days in Copenhagen and 2.5 in Amsterdam. 

Before I go upload a billion pictures, I would like to pay tribute to one of my favorite parts of this whole trip that had little-to-nothing to do with the museums, castles and general exoticness that one travels to Europe to focus on:

We got there Monday late afternoon, partied a bit, and then went back to our hotel where we crashed.  Alas, I woke up at 3am and did not get back to sleep.  Stupid jetlag.  Once I gave up on sleeping, I pulled out the jug of Coke Lite we'd bought at a 7-11 the night before, I put in my ear buds, and turned on Taken on the iPad (that movie seemed most appropriate.  Also did you know the streaming content on Netflix varies from country to country, and there is way more stuff in Europe?).  Jeff woke up and said, "This is like heaven for you, huh."  Yes, yes it was.

More later!

04 March 2014

More about the little boys we have

The other day Jude said out of nowhere, "My brother is very special."
He snuck into the office today and when I summoned him back he strutted into the room with his shoulders back and said with a sigh, "I was just working a little bit."  I love this age of confident willingness to chip in and help!
He has been taking the lead on park trips.  Several times this week we'd all be in the family room/kitchen area hanging out, minding our business, and then he would suddenly say (loudly), "HEY!  You guys ready to go to the park??" 
Graham was trying to get at a toy Jude was holding and he goes, "No, Gammy!  Time out!"  Pfffft! 
He has started to roar like lions, bears, dinosaurs, tigers, etc. just because he feels like it. 
He adorably mispronounces:
  • foonie for smoothie
  • oatman for oatmeal
  • vroom for motorcycle -- he refuses to even try to say the word! :)
  • lolo for loader truck
  • payground for playground
  • paygoop for playgroup
  • curr for color
  • free for three
  • cruck for truck
  • That's all I can think of for now............................
Jude does not want me out of his sight lately unless he has something more exciting on the horizon, like his weekly playgroup.  He didn't even want me to go upstairs to tell Jeff that dinner was ready yesterday.  I'll enjoy it; he's been so grown up lately, I know all his squishy smallness will be gone in a flash.

Graham has taken to balls like I've never seen before in a buck so young.  Of course I'm hopelessly biased, but he is so coordinated with throwing and stopping balls, I'm pretty sure he's uncommonly gifted. If you put a ball in front of him he'll lift it way up over his head, and chuck it.  Then he shrieks with glee and chases it, and it starts all over again.  If the ball is rolling by a few feet away, he'll lean over at just the right moment to stop it with his pudgy hand. Sometimes we will sit several feet away from it and pass or roll it back and forth.  Graham loves this so much he now throws lots of things.  Like he'll take a sip of milk, then chuck the cup. :)

He's also my little shadow, loves to yell "DAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!", and pulled out a chunk of my hair the other day.  He loves to put his hand on my mouth because he knows I'll kiss it. 

I love these phases they're in.

23 February 2014

"The Big D"

For Christmas, Jude and I got Disneyland passes.  This gift was a subject of some debate.  On one hand, I don't want our kids to think Disneyland is no big deal, or be spoiled to go there so often.  On the other hand, having it so close is a perk of living in Southern California, passes used often make entrance pretty darn cheap, and it's an activity that we ALL enjoy.  You know those gem activities when you're in the trenches of raising young, dependent children, those activities that both parent and child are happy to participate in?  Jeff wouldn't be able to go much because the passes we got are blacked-out most Saturdays, so he didn't want one, but I convinced him that he'd never forgive himself if he wasn't there for Jude and Graham's first visit to Disneyland. He got a one-day pass.

One Saturday in January, the boys were still a teensy bit wobbly in the tummy, but we had nothing pressing on the schedule, Jeff didn't see a weekday coming up he could escape the office, we realized black-out days don't apply to the first time an annual pass is used, and so we filled the bottom of the stroller with Pedialyte, Gatorade, cheerios, granola bars, and zipped up the 5 to "The Big D" (as my parents used to call it). 

It was a little crazy to be the parents in this situation.  I kept watching the kids thinking, "So this time we're the parents bringing our kids here??"  Very surreal, and it felt like a very big step in parenthood.  But so much fun. Jude vacillated between overjoyed and overwhelmed, and Grahamsky was just happy to be along.  Here is some photo proof of the day:


Screenshot of Jeff's Instagram of the obligatory flower Mickey Mouse family photo -- it looks like I was digging my nails into Jeff's shoulder/arm, but I promise I wasn't.

Sssshhhocking!  Disneyland wore out my baby.

Before he got worn out, though, he blew out his diaper.  (I did bring a spare outfit, but he looked so cute and pleased in his nakedness, plus he'd pinched Jude's cup of Gatorade, and I obviously had to take a picture.)

While we waited 45 minutes in line to see "Mickey" (see total biff below), the boys played in line like hooligans.
About 3/4 of the way through the long line to see Mickey at his little house in Toon Town, we realized there were only little girls surrounding us in line, and the closer we got to the house it was very pink; we'd gotten in the wrong line and we were going to see Minnie. Woops!  Luckily, the boys didn't give a woopdeedoo.  In fact, this was a stop we made pretty early in the day when Jude was a little weirded out by the characters.  He would freeze up a bit and cling to us but I could see it in his eyes, he was suspicious, pitied them, and admired them all at once.

Main Street really is still exciting to me!

Meeting McQueen "Muhkeen!" blew Jude's mind.  We also saw Mater, and Red the Fire truck.  He still talks about this.  It's like when my mom had been reading the Cinderella book to me and Elizabeth for months on end, and on our first trip to Disneyland, within a few minutes of entering the park, Cinderella approached us on Main Street, knelt down, and gave Elizabeth a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  My mom said it brought tears to her eyes, and she wanted to ask, "How did you know?!"  McQueen didn't kiss Jude on the cheek, but if you tickle his headlights he giggles, and the whole thing just made our day!

Jeff and I were both so impressed with Radiator Springs.  On some rides Jude would not let himself be excited until it was over.  He'd sit with a deer-in-headlights face until it was over, and then as soon as his feet hit solid ground he would jump up and down and yell about how it was the best thing he'd ever done in his life :).  A major error on the part of MOI: after 6 hours at the park, the boys were fading and we figured we had enough time for one more ride before the boys would be deranged by exhaustion.  I thought it would be awesome to go on a ride that's been around since the 80s -- aka a ride I'd gone on as a child.  The shortest wait was for Pinocchio, so that's what we picked.  As soon as the safety bar was lowered and the lights dimmed I realized this was a baaaad move. And with each subsequent millisecond the ride got scarier and scarier, and it took Jude all of 2 seconds to start wailing, and then he wailed louder and louder.  Do kids even enjoy that ride anymore??  It's all loud carnival music, creepy images popping out at you, you get eaten by a whale, and there was nothing to do but sit and live through it and hope the car we were on would pick up some speed.  Jeff and I had a pretty good laugh about it, but we booked it outta there and of course they fell asleep before their car seats were even buckled.  He seems to have tucked that nightmare somewhere deep into the dark corners of childhood terror memories, and has not mentioned it since. :)

And since we've gone about once a week.  I'm such a lucky mom to get to go with my kids and my friends -- they love it every time!  Jude dances while watching street performers do Newsies numbers, loves the Jungle Cruise, Monsters Inc. ride, and I think next time I'll try Pirates of the Caribbean. 

19 February 2014


More stuff:

That little hand: Jude can be quite the Mr. Bossy Boots.  Sometimes this results in me saying, "Jude, I'm the mom."  Sometimes we'll be driving and he tells me which direction to go, and he does the cutest thing guiding me with his hand.  Fingers together, his thumb extended, he holds his arm out and ushers me (or tries to).  "This way, Mommy, go this way."  Sometimes we aren't going the way he wants me to and wails from his car seat, unfortunately.

Sometimes Jude says, "Hello, my mommy!"

He's way into "I did it a' by mysef!" but is very kind in crediting everyone he loves with creating anything he likes around the house.  Like, Grandma made his blocks. :)  I ask him a lot "Jude, are you happy?" so now he will just volunteer it, "Mama, I'm happy."  On Sunday he said, "Mom, snuggle me."  "Ok."  Sometimes I really want to call him my baby boy, but don't you dare make that mistake.  He will sob (like a baby) and say, "Noooo I a BIG BOYYYYYY!" 

Whenever I'm on the floor, usually kneeling or squatting and changing Graham's diaper, Jude comes up behind me and tackles me, knocks me down or throwing his arms around my neck and choking me. They beat me up every single day.  They drop heavy toys or objects on my bare feet, pull my hair, Graham is obsessed with chewing on anything and his razor teeth hurt every time, he bonks his gigantic head into my cheek bone and/or gives me a fat lip, really, I get pummeled on the regular.

Graham has been such a mom's boy lately and I'm loving it.  He hides his face in my shoulder, gives me coy smiles, and only wants me to put him down when he thinks I'm staying close by.  But on the other hand, while we're out and about, he wants to be free of a buckle or human hip of any kind and wants to crawl wherever he fancies.  Speed crawling just like Jude did, putting holes in his pants, probably a month or two away from walking. 

Graham is still my crazy bottomless pit, eating at all times of the day as if I only allow him a lettuce leaf for meals.  He says, "MMMMMMMMM" whenever he sees food or I put him in his high chair.  He also says "uh-oh" which makes me worry that out of all the words he hears in our house, that's the one he hears most consistently :).  He loves to pick up a ball, throw it a few feet, laughing hysterically, and then he chases it, and repeats.  He buzzes his lips and squishes his chin down to glorify the chub under his there.  I want to eat him.

My favorite thing from today: Jeff came home from work and I ran upstairs to take a shower.  As I came downstairs I could hear laugh-squealing.  All 3 of my boys were wrestling and jumping on the giant teddy bear, Graham was wild with delight to be in on the frenzy and kept pouncing on the bear and biting it, it was all pretty great.

13 February 2014

Jude, my 3 year old

This little hunk is going to be 3 tomorrow, and I don't really know what to do about that.

It just is crazy how much he's changed in the last year!  Not just with speech, but he's taller, toilet trained, his imagination is exploding, he's in a "big boy bed," not napping (humph!), eating almost anything, and just is so darn grown up.  I see how suddenly this growth means I must relinquish some amount of control.  I don't even want to think about the control withdrawals that await me in years to come!  (sob!)

He turns his giant bear into anything from a "boat in the ocean!" to a "wocketship" to a tent.  He sat in the laundry basket and it was a boat, and he took his nerf gun and made it a screw driver to fix a leak at the bottom of the vessel.  He will point to a crack in the sidewalk and tell me it looks like the letter Y.  He counts to 10, usually when he's letting me know how many M&Ms he wants as a reward for relieving himself in the potty.

Which brings me to: potty trained is AWESOME.  I was not looking forward to it because I was sure we'd be stopping every 20 minutes of life to go to the bathroom.  I also worried about it dragging on and on forever, and that he'd have accidents all the time.  I mean, he's so strong-willed!  Everyone kept telling me to wait until he was ready.  I wondered, "What if when he's 'ready' it happens to be when he's 5 years old?!"  Well once again all my concern was for naught, because the readiness dawned at 2.9ish years of age, and he has done an amazing job.  Only a handful of accidents, and I wouldn't even have minded keeping him in a pull-up at night, but he doesn't need one!  I'm so proud of him!  And buying diapers for 1 child is so very nice.  He's very proud of himself for #2 and will tell me all about just how he pulled off the job.  I also love having him potty trained because his little bum is so adorable without a thick wall of diaper covering it! 

Which brings me to: he's very into modesty lately.  What happened to the little boy who would do anything to run around in a loin cloth??  He freaks out if he doesn't have all his clothing on. 

Lately the things Jude says most frequently are:

  • I wanna hold you. (The snuggle inclination is still at a steady incline.)
  • I come with you?  (Which always makes me chuckle -- he ALWAYS comes with me.)
  • Gammy, come pay wis me!
  • I wanna bite it.  (This is referring to food.  He doesn't bite anyone, but he pinched Graham today.)
  • I need Daniel Tiger.
  • I need [insert food, blocks, candy in the grocery store check-out line, etc. etc. etc.].
  • Mommy came back!
  • It's DEEEEElicious!
  • I love Grandma/Grandpa/Mimi/Papa/trucks/Gammy/Daddy -- I hope when I'm not around he's reporting to other people that he loves his dear old MOM!
  • This is my Gammy.  (He loves to introduce his little brother.)

He said to me the other morning, arms outstretched, as he came over to my side of the bed upon waking up, "Welcome!"  Welcome, indeed!  He runs me ragged, makes me laugh, and I couldn't ever explain to him how much we love having him.  Happy bday, Juju!

06 February 2014

Graham is ONE!

How amazingly cruel it is that we can't rewind.  Our Grahammy's first year has gone by in the blink of an eye.  Each day I knew that I was in the middle of something singularly wonderful with this cherub on my hip.

Obviously, being the first child has its bonuses and drawbacks.  Jude got me (us) all to himself for 2 years.  But, I was a novice, and that dragged a lot of minuses with it.  Graham had to share me from the minute I got home from the hospital, but I knew what I was doing (mostly).  I also didn't really care much about what developmental milestones were on the horizon, I was able to appreciate each minute just for what it was and where he was in his babyness.  I had made it through 2 years of parenting Jude, I knew I could make it through with Graham, so I was ready to relish.

On top of this, Graham is, in my humble opinion, just perfect.  And he makes us all happier and better.  There is no grump he could not charm out of a funk; he is the ultimate elixir of joy.  These last several weeks I can see some of the pre-toddler angst as he wants to keep up with Jude but lacks some of the mobility, but it is his inclination to enjoy life.  I wonder daily how I got so lucky to be mother to these two boys, and I'm trying really hard not to screw them up.

The LDS church promises joy in this life and in the life to come if we are faithful.  I've tried to always live in a way that would make Heavenly Father happy.  With my husband and our children, I feel God has given me this joy beyond measure, despite my many, many flaws and the mistakes I make.  It's like Elder Holland once said, "There is theology in the family."  Now I'm going off on a tangent, but as I look back on this last year with Graham, and the last 3 years with Jude, and last 4 years with Jeff, the love is so sacred, I know in my heart it could not touch this life only.  This is stuff that is absolutely heavenly, and meant to go on forever.

Graham, thanks for being my baby.  We can't do anything but love you!