Monday, June 29, 2009

6 month well check

I took Kylie into the doctor today for her 6 month well-baby check up and immunizations.  She's 25.75 inches long (around the 40-45th percentile) and weighs 18 pounds and 4 ounces (around the 80th percentile), which means at 6 months old she still has not doubled her birth weight!  She's much shorter and a little lighter than Keilana and Dylan were at this age, but she did well.  She got four shots today and she grimaced and whimpered a little bit, but didn't cry at all until the last shot was given, then stopped as soon as the nurse let her leg go.  She fell asleep on the ride home :)

She's a happy, curious little girl.  She started REALLY crawling this week (rather than scooting or inch worming).  Its still a new skill, and so she belly flops out and scoots occasionally, but for the most part she's a crawler.  She chews like a puppy (and, like a puppy, her favorite chew toys always seem to be shoes).  She has her two bottom teeth, which surprised me when they popped up last month (Keilana and Dylan didn't have teeth until almost 9 months).  She is trying to pull herself to a stand on everything in sight, so falls are becoming quite commonplace.  She has started trying to get up the stairs, but fortunately all she can do so far is pull herself up to a stand on the second one (heaven help us when she figures out how to get those legs up onto the step.  She has hit the age where her favorite activity is pulling all the DVDs off the DVD stand.  So, in short, she's lots of fun and a big nuisance!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Clayton (naked after getting out of the tub, while bouncing around Keilana's room):  "Look at my weiner dance!"

Dylan:  "Its my Kylie.  That's Clayton's Kylie."  (explaining to me the difference between Kylie and Claire)

Clayton (barely understandable through lots of tears):  "Keilana hit me!"
Me (to Keilana): "Did you hit Clayton?"
Keilana (rather matter-of-factly): "No.  I punched him."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

25 YO

So I turned 25 today. Quarter century. Its strange: somehow, in spite of the car payment, mortgage and three kids, this whole "grown up" thing just kind of snuck up on me. Its bizarre how I still sometimes forget I'm older than recent college grads and returned missionaries. Someday I'm gonna wake up and look in the mirror, realize I'm 37, have a high school senior at home and be completely mystified as to how it happened.

So, 25 things I've done in 25 years. I did a list similar to this for my birthday a few years back, so if you read that one, some of this will be a repeat.

*Been married in the temple, and done work in the Cardston, Laie, Billings, Spokane, Salt Lake and Fresno temples (and attended sealings in the Bountiful and Reno temples).

*Brought three amazing kids that I don't deserve into the world (and am doing my best to raise them).

*Attended two plays at the Kennedy Center (The King and I, Company)

*Been hiking and/or backpacking in the Rockies, the Sierras, the backcountry of Oahu, and various southern Utah desert locations.

*Been bodyboarding at Pipeline Beach and watched national surf competitions at Sunset Beach, Oahu.

*Been to the top of the Empire State building

*Stood at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial at night, staring across to the Washington Monument and pondered the accomplishments of those who have come before me, and the importance of Divine assistance.

*Gone skydiving over the north shore of Oahu at sunset (I know I mention this a lot, but oh! such beauty)

*Donated a total of 4 feet of hair to cancer patients.

*Dressed my grandmother's body for her funeral, helped prepare her eulogy, and sang at the service.

*Gone horseback riding in the foothills of the Missions.

*Attended a formal reception at the Library of Congress

*Stood in Liberty Jail and on the temple grounds of Far West and Independence and felt a confirming witness of great truths.

*Helped move and brand cattle

*Walked under the Golden Gate Bridge.

*Seen the rubble of the World Trade Center

*Spent 21 months of my life (so far) breastfeeding.

*Hiked just over 3,000 feet of elevation gain in just over 3 miles 8 weeks after giving birth to my first child. And did most of it barefoot.

*Completed half a college degree and occasionally wondered when I'll get to the other half.

*Helped put my husband through graduate school while caring for an infant/toddler and being pregnant with my second baby.

*Flown by myself with two children under the age of 4 twice.

*Camped in the San Juan Islands

*Made my own ribbon dress, 8th grade graduation dress, fleece jacket, and two prom dresses (all with varying degrees of help from my mom)

*Been rafting down a few of Montana's beautiful rivers.

*Learned to hula, use poi balls, and shake those mad Tahitian hips.

OK, so I confess, I stopped to count and realized I had WAY more than 25 and had to delete some (such lists can get tedious for the reader, you know), but these are some of my favorite highlights of the last 25 years, anyway. Happy birthday to me:)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thoughts from a dishcloth, pt. 1

Recently a dishcloth I have got me thinking. It doesn't look like much--just a plain cotton dishcloth, white with red and green stripes through it--but it is a reminder to me of masterpieces. Actually, it would be more accurate to say it redefines my notion of masterpieces.

My aunt made this dishcloth. Not cut a piece of cotton and hemmed it, mind you. Among many other diverse, amazing talents, my aunt was a master spinner. I remember one of the beautiful spinning wheels she had when I was just a little older than Keilana. My aunt Laura took some cotton, dyed it various colors, spun it into thread, wove it all together and--voila!--dishcloth. It isn't an example of her finest work, of course, but it got me thinking about how much work goes into even the little things in my life that I sometimes take for granted.

I have a sister who is the gifting queen. She is my oldest sibling, and was always very generous to me. We're almost 8 years apart and when I was about Kylie's age, my mom wrote in my journal "Christa spoils you". That never really stopped being true. When I was thousands of miles from home in Hawaii, it was Christa who sent me more care packages more than everyone else combined. She never misses a single birthday--packages reliably arrive for each of my kids on their special days and on Christmas. I'm pretty sure she's sent me a birthday present every year of my life. Often they are things she has made herself (and, unlike me, she's quite creative and skilled that way, so they're great presents to get). They usually aren't anything expensive or fancy, but with a family consisting of 30 people it adds up and getting those packages in the mail on time is no easy task (particularly since she runs an in-home daycare and trips to the post office are rather adventurous).

A few weeks after I was released from YW (and a month after I'd had a new baby, and a week or two after Christmas), I was starting to kind of get a handle on things but going through a bit of a funk, when a letter arrived in the mail from Bishop Meik. He expressed gratitude for the service I'd given in my calling and some of the things he loves and appreciates about me. Just a letter, right? No big deal? Well it is when you consider that he is Bishop of a rapidly growing and very, very busy ward. That he had 5 young children and a very, very pregnant wife at home. That he's the assistant city manager at a rapidly changing and very, very busy little town. That he's madly working on a dissertation in order to finish his doctorate. But he took the time to not only notice what I was doing in my calling, but to express his gratitude for it.

My sweet Douglas pays more attention than I often realize. One day (a particularly tiring one) I had done one of those "top 5" lists on Facebook and this particular one was "Top 5 things that would make me smile today". I had listed a nap, a professional massage, flowers, take-out and a love letter. He arrived home about 45 minutes later than usual with four bouquets of flowers, dinner from Panda Express and a love letter (he really had no control over the nap situation).

I feel a little like a dishcloth sometimes, quite plain and common and unremarkable. But as I looked at this little swath of cotton I remembered that a great deal of time, care, attention and work has gone into crafting this little life of mine, and not just by me--countless others have been there along the way, helping to spin some thread or throwing in a little color. It seems like everyone wants to be the grand tapestry or the $1000 silk scarf, but most of us are more like everyday dishcloths. I've decided I'm OK with it if the masterpiece of my life, that I have put so much time and effort and energy into, is a mere dishcloth. I used to think that it was better to be useful than to be beautiful, but I've come to understand that, in many ways, to be useful is to be beautiful.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who Am I?

I've written several times about how I have not been my best self the last year, especially in the last six months.  I keep meaning to make changes, set goals that are never realized--brushed aside after a few days or weeks, when I'm feeling better, like the half-finished bottle of antibiotics left in the bathroom because you don't "feel" sick anymore.  But, just like that case of strep throat that comes back more painful and more resistant, sometimes events occur in our life that compel us to be more humble and more committed to the things that really matter.

Last week, my trust was broken in a rather big way by someone I had considered a friend.  I was the angriest I remember feeling in a long, long time.  When I first received the news, I was shaking with bitter rage, and started naming all the things I had done for them, all the ways in which I didn't deserve this.  For the first time since probably high school, I actively wanted to go tell someone off, with much swearing and vicious attacks.  That lasted about 24 hours before I was able to calm myself down to a point of simmering anger.

But then I took a moment to examine myself:  who is this girl?  Is there anything less attractive than a shrill, angry woman bent on convincing someone else how wrong they are?  I didn't like what I was seeing, and if I was going to change it I had to admit to myself that it didn't start with the dropping of that bad news.  That was the last straw, sure (and a rather unexpected one for me), but what was the first straw?  Why hadn't I stopped it there?

For more than a year, I have been increasingly critical, impatient, selfish, crude (I've noticed myself swearing more and more casually), and easily irritated and angered.  There have been many reasons (none of them good ones, of course), but under these circumstances "reasons" have just been excuses masquerading under a less unpleasant appellation.  

We have been exhorted to "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them who hate you and pray for those which despitefully use you and persecute you."  If every man, woman and child who claims to be a disciple of He who spoke these words would heed them, this world would be a wholly different place.  In 24 hours, I had gone from seeing someone as a friend to seeing them as an enemy.  That was rather unChristlike all by itself, but the way I wanted to behave toward my new enemy was much, much more unChristlike.  I remembered myself and remembered what I should feel: compassion.  I thought about all the things I have in my life that this friend has not been blessed with.  I thought about all the circumstances and vicissitudes in life that had led this individual to think perhaps this course of action was warranted or necessary.

The situation is far from resolved and my frustration is not completely gone--I still feel that the action taken against my family was unfair and unjust, but I'm not angry any more.  Sad, disappointed, and a little stressed, but not angry.  I had not stopped to consider the affect my angry actions could have on one individual, let alone the repercussions they could cause to others connected.  Part of the problem is that there are family cycles and patterns that need to be broken--children involved who need to be modeled a better way of choosing, of behaving.  Doug went to talk to a friend about it, who asked the right question:  If this means setting a better example for the "collateral damage" folks involved, if it means helping to stop a destructive cycle and possibly help salvage a child's future, are you willing to take those stripes, rather than fight them?  Well, if we claim to be Christians, how can we possibly say "no"?

That should've been the first thing that occurred to me, not the last.  I don't expect perfection of myself, I don't expect to never be angry when someone crosses me (or more importantly, my family).  But I have always been someone who was slow to anger and quick to cool, rather than the other way around.  It has been said that trials do no determine our character, they reveal it.  That has been a reassuring thing to me in the past.  Last week, I didn't like what I saw revealed about myself, and consequently I am more determined to fix it.  Am I going to be the girl who spends a whole day plotting vicious things to say before I managed to get my temper in check?  Or am I going to be that girl that every "loser" (as their peers unfairly deemed them) or "lost puppy" (as my grandmother called them) would seek out because they knew they could expect kindness and a listening ear from me?  I'm afraid that too much of me too often has leaned toward the former lately and I have every intention of finding the sweet and soft-spoken girl I once knew and loved as myself.

These are not the kinds of things I usually share (and, as I'm sure you've noticed, the details are scarce and will remain so), but I share them for very specific reason.  First, to apologize.  If you have been on the receiving end of my blunt criticism (whether present or not), I am very sorry.  If you have had to listen to negative rants or complaining from me, I express my regret.  If I have been unduly impatient with you or irritated by things that are really quite insignificant, you have permission to flog me.  Second, I expect each and every one of you to hold me accountable.  If you hear me criticizing someone, even if perhaps you agree with me, please remind me to check myself.  If I am being negative, point it out (and ignore my childish resentment of the fact that you're right).  I know who I want to be, but I may need a little help getting there.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


So, the end of last week there was this mini-mental breakdown thing.  Not really interested in talking about it (but will clarify that it was not in any way directed at my kids or husband).  Needed a change of scenery, so. . .quick beach trip.  Stayed at Avila Lighthouse Suites. . .fabulous resort.  50 yards from playground. . .faces the beach. . .most comfortable and spacious suites. . .heated pool right in front of said beach.  Fabulous 36 hours.  Different person than I was Friday.

Kylie was mesmerized by the sand--absolutely loved it. Grabbing and dumping and studying.  Couldn't get enough.  Would not look at the camera to save my life.
What would a trip to the coast be without a stop at Cayucos?  It was such an awesome weekend, I gained like 4 or 5 pounds.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

6 Months Old

Tomorrow. How time flies!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It Hit Me

OK, I know I'm on blog overload here, but I just had to briefly mention my bittersweet longing for Montana.

Today was the last day of school.

Its been a while since I've had a last-day-of-school day.  But its always one of my most homesick days when it hits.

When I was in college, it would start right as I was walking out of the classroom/testing center after finishing my last final.  I would remove my shoes, of course (very difficult when you live in flip flops) and walk through the grass with the warm Hawaii sunshine at my back.  

The last day of school feeling. Such freedom, such jubilance.  No more papers, test, classes, homework.  No more strict routines--I think that was the best part.  I don't mind working hard (I submit my very respectable GPAs in HS and college and a trail of very satisfied employers as evidence of this fact), but I hate doing so on some one else's schedule. 

I feel that glee of freedom start pulsing through me and suddenly, if I close my eyes I can transport myself back to Arrow street.  Walking down the street from the high school to my parents' house barefoot, the parking lot at the school nearly empty.  Headed home for some flames in the fire pit and some tromping through the creek looking for decent willows to use as hot dog/marshmallow sticks.  Drinking full-sugar soda and eating delightfully unnatural snacks like Cheet-ohs.  Sitting around with Sam and Stephen, bonding through mockery of each other, ourselves, others we loved who weren't present.  Looking forward to a summer full of fireworks, movie trips to Missoula, swimming at the dam and tromping barefoot through the creek (man, that sounds like such a stupid, painful idea in retrospect--how I loved it!), powwows and parades.

Its been 3 years since my last last-day-of-school day.  Those three years have been surprisingly insane--good, bad, busy!  I think a backyard campfire with old friends sounds like the best idea I've had in a long time.  How 'bout it, Sam?  Stephen's 3,000 miles away doing who-knows-what, so I doubt he's much interested (though it breaks my heart to say).  How 'bout a trip to California, where we can go out to the coast and have a bonfire on the beach and watch our kids play in the waves?  Our husbands have had heard the stories of you and I and fire plenty of times.  I think its high time they saw it.  Wanna celebrate the last day of school with me again?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Good news!!

No more sub-standard pictures!  Today our missing camera bag (disappeared a month ago while Doug was out doing photos for McDermont) was returned!!!  It had our battery charger and extra battery, our small telephoto lens, a few filters, memory card, lens cleaner, all inside.  It all came home to us, so I can charge the battery on my Nikon and start using it again.  I apologize for all the low quality and/or camera phone pics!

Preschool Promotion

**Note to retarded self:  at important moments in your child's life, don't forget the camera at home and have to rely on your iPhone.  Seriously.

So they had a little performance and promotion ceremony at preschool today (tomorrow's the last day of school).  Apparently having a group of parents that she doesn't know in the room is all it takes for Keilana's shyness to rear its ugly head.  While everyone else's children danced and sang and were delightfully goofy, my child did this:
She just stood there, completely still and silent and sullen-faced the whole time.  At the beginning of the year, Keilana was half a head taller than the whole class.  They've caught up! She also has one of the "whiter" classes in Lindsay, so she didn't stand out too terribly bad. :)
This is Keilana's best friend, Lezley.  They've had a great year together.  
Dylan was only in it for the ice cream.  He knew that we were having ice cream at Keilana's school, so when he got there and had to sit through all these songs first he said, "I wanna go home!  Hmmph!"  (yes, he actually said, "Hmmph!")
With Teacher Lili.  For the presentation of their diplomas, Teacher Lili told everyone what the kids said they wanted to be when they grew up.  Mostly your typical 4 year old stuff: firefighters, painters (daddies who are contractors), construction workers, a few boys who wanted to be Spiderman or the Incredible Hulk.  Keilana said, "I want to be a mommy who takes care of her babies."  The girl loves babies. :)

On to Kindergarten in just over two months now!!

Keilana's 5th birthday

Keilana was very excited to turn 5.  She's been planning her party since about last September, so it was a relief for it to finally happened.  She got new sidewalk chalk, lots of bubbles and a bubble gun, a new bracelet, two new tutus and two sets of wings and Cooties from Doug and I, the book "The Pigeon Wants a Puppy" (I love this series--look it up if you have little ones) and a Cinderella dress from Yaya, and a beautiful Ariel wedding doll from Grandma Katy.  Oh, and Clayton brought her hair pretties and a new purse on her actual birthday.  Snacks, cake, balloons, etc.  Good time was had by all.
She is serious about present opening.  We had to take a break before she opened the last one so that she could run upstairs and put on her new Cinderella dress.

She felt that wings were a nice addition to the outfit.  Note the necklace--its a little silver slipper that came with the Cinderella dress--nice touch, no?
The boys were anxious to help blow out the candles.  As soon as she got them all out, Dylan said, "I want more fire!"  I really can't blame anyone else for the pyro gene.  That's all me.
This little girl gets cuter by the day, I'm pretty sure.  Don't let the cracker fool you.  Alexa and Kylie got their fill of cake just like everybody else.
SO many bubbles.  Bubbles are one of our favorite things about summer.
So I officially have a 5 year old.  Its a weird feeling, having a kid about to start school and two more at home. . . . . . .

I'm not getting enough sleep

So, while Kylie was down for her afternoon nap, I navigated Dylan to to work on his reading skills (or be read to by the computer, whatever) and laid down on the floor by the bed to play Cooties with Keilana.  We played 5 or 6 rounds, and then she wanted to show me the "coolest Cootie ever", but I wasn't allowed to peak until she was done.  So I obliged her and put my head down in my arms so she could work on said Cootie.  Some time later, I awoke as Doug walked into our bedroom and said, "Are you asleep?"  to my suspiciously prone self on the floor of our bedroom.  So there I am, Keilana no where to be found (apparently she gave up on me and went downstairs and put in a movie), surrounded by Cootie pieces with Dylan sitting at the desk half-naked playing computer games.  What a grade-A, gold star mom I must've appeared to my noble breadwinner. . . . .

Daily Dose

More to come.  Stay tuned. . .

Friday, June 5, 2009

Here Comes Trouble

So this morning I'm hanging out in the classroom with Keilana before school (I usually read her a few books and let Dylan play for a while), and I plopped Kylie down on her bottom in front of me.  She turned toward the book display, grabbed it and did this:

And then this:

I'm a little nervous here.  She doesn't even hit 6 months old until next Friday.  Can it be that my mellow, low-key baby who never seems all that busy is going to be and early handful???  Say it isn't so!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

She's 5. . .

This little lady turned five today.  Exactly three weeks before my 20th birthday, after 38 hours of stubborn labor (she actually moved up and lodged herself in my ribs midway through the second day--this girl does nothing on anyone else's schedule), the fantasmic Dr. Shimizu handed me this (as her father put it) "funny looking", massively cheeky, already very strong and busy little plump raisin.  She started screaming almost immediately and did so for quite some time.  She was trying to roll over and scoot in the warmer before she was even hosed off (and did in fact move herself up by pushing her tiny little feet off the bottom wall of the warmer).  Its funny how even in the delivery room, all my children's personalities have already been clearly foreshadowed.

Keilana is exuberant.  Vibrant.  Energetic. Cheeky!  She unfairly gets more of the complaining than the other kids.  But anyone who has spent much time with us knows she's the darling of my heart.  She is dramatic and passionate, happy and creative, beautiful and friendly.  Her shyness, which I worried so much about, is starting to fade away.  She is sometimes still nervous, but she loves people so much that she pushes through that so that they see the same fun little girl we enjoy everyday.  Last week we spent the evening over at a friend's house and one of the father's entertained the kids for all of us.  The next day he told me, "She's so creative and so much fun."  She went to a friend's birthday party this week and when the mom dropped her off she said, "She's so darling! I've only ever seen her in Primary, where she's so quiet, it was so fun to see her like this."

Keilana is overflowing with a zest for life.  She is anxious to please people and has a smile that absolutely lights up a room and a laugh that no one can resist.  I'm grateful for my wonderful little girl, and for all the emails, messages, phone calls and visits from her fantastic family that made her day so special.  Love to all.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bottomless pit

I'm starting to wonder just how much breastmilk I've been producing to keep this little girl satiated.  She took her morning nap today, and then when she woke up, I fed her.  In the space of about 45 minutes, she nursed, ate two Ritz, one half of a graham cracker, an entire baby food container of peas, and drank about 2-3 ounces of water.  Piggy, piggy!!  She was pretty happy with her high chair (which I finally remembered was sitting in our extra storage room and brought downstairs.  She is the third child to occupy this chair and, as you can see, the toy, chair pad and straps were all casualties of the first two users.
Even though eating the crackers is challenging enough, she gets really irritated that I won't let her feed herself pureed vegetables.  Moms can be so mean sometimes.
Happy girl!  We need to get her a baby sippy cup.  This one is hard to hold onto.  Yesterday, Dylan had left one of his cups on the livingroom floor, and she happened to discover Gatorade while scooting herself around.  Boy, was that a treat!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Keilana had a pretty good morning.  Her preschool class spent the entire three hours of school at McDermont, playing arcade games, going crazy in the bounce houses, and yes, even playing lazer tag.  Dylan and I got the stroller out to head to Washington to pick her up and as we were crossing Sweetbriar, Dylan squealed, "Catepillar!"  We met Keilana's class along the way (she's the one kinda by herself smack dab in the middle):
We talked about where caterpillar's live, so Keilana freed Aquamarine (for thus she named the creature) while I was checking the mail.  
Sometimes she's too rough with bugs, so I've been teaching her the proper way to pick them up.  She thought it was pretty cool that the caterpillar would crawl up on her hand all by itself.  Usually she's playing with potato bugs, so this was a nice change. :)
She let Aquamarine crawl around on her for quite some time.  It was perhaps the biggest caterpillar I've ever seen.  She told me that he needed a nap, so we left him in the grass and went inside to get a drink.
According to Doug's intensive 10 minutes of research on Google, we're pretty sure this is what Aquamarine will look like after that whole cocoon phase: