Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Monday, June 29, 2009

Kirtland Rocks. Driving Doesn't.

Final Stats 3 nights away 1 hotel room and a basement 1 crowded truck 6 1/2 hour drive 9 hours to drive it 6 stops 4 cups of vomit plus... 200 people fed 7 meals in 3 days 1080+ miles driven We finally got home from our Youth Conference trip to Kirtland last night just before 10pm. We left at 12:30 for the 6 1/2 hour drive. All three kids have fevers and Ben filled a big gulp sized cup 4 times with vomit. The last hour and a half we just let Jacob scream his guts out because we had stopped six times already. Poor kids. They are all still sick today and Jacob must have it the worst. He won't stop crying. While I was sitting in the truck miserable listening to Jacob scream at the top of his lungs and Maddie break down in tears because she was at her wits end (he was screaming directly into her ears) Brian had a different take on things. His comment was that we were missing some prime teaching opportunities. WHAT?!?! "What was he thinking?" was all I could think. Once explained, I had to begrudgingly agree. Ben has always been our rock star snuggling baby. He would crawl up on top of my shoulder and perch in my arms for a nice long nap or to just be near me. When we had Maddie she was only two days old when I figured out that she wasn't going to calm down that way. She wanted, no demanded, to face outward. She would never settle down unless you faced her away from your body. When she was nine months, she got a rotten fever that lasted about five days. She was absolutely miserable. Sometime during that sickness, she must have felt bad enough that she relented and wanted to be cuddled and cradled in our arms. She's been a decent snuggler ever since, though no one will ever hold a candle to Ben. Jacob hasn't exactly been a rock star snuggler either. Not as bad as Maddie, but lets just say closer to the Maddie side of the spectrum that the Ben side. Brian was simply stating that if Jacob was so sick, maybe he would learn to want to snuggle too. In any case, Kirtland was great. Dispite the rotten drive home, we had three other fantastic days together touring and serving.

No Pictures of Number Three

So I’m realizing now, we barely took any pictures on our Kirtland trip. I also figured out why I don’t have pictures of my kids anymore like I used too. I’m simply out of hands. Even with Brian around, we’re running short on hands to be taking pictures. Until Jacob can walk at a minimum, I think we’ll continue to be short on pictures. I can’t carry a camera as well as juggle three kids. I wish I had more to offer of our trip. It really was lovely. Maybe others will publish their pics on their blogs or facebook for me to steal.

Patrick Hotel

A few months before June, I was thinking through what we might do with the kids when I was doing stake stuff and they were bored to tears. I had the thought that our old buddy Patrick might live nearby, but couldn’t quite remember the city. Turns out it wasn’t Cleveland, it was two hours away in Columbus. So we couldn’t arrange a playdate for Brian and the kids with his old high school friend and college roommate, but if you know Patrick, it is just an honor and a privilege to be graced by his presence. We couldn’t possibly pass up the chance to stop in and say hello. (Since he has gone to some effort to remain aloof online, I will not post pics, or names of his family). Lucky for us, Patrick had already become my Facebook friend and I made a reservation to take up some prime real estate in the basement for Youth Conference weekend. Brian says it was the perfect way to visit Patrick. After all, our romance began as a result of a trip we took back in 1998 where we (along with about 30 other college kids) slept on the floor of Patrick’s basement. It was almost like walking back in time. Except that we didn’t have three kids then, Patrick didn’t have three kids, the basement was in Ohio instead of Cedar City, Utah and a couple other minor details. Still, Brian is right. There may be no better place in the world to sleep than Patrick’s basement. Unfortunately our kids were just 100% wiped out. Maddie had developed a nightmare diaper rash (yeah, I know, if she were potty trained that wouldn’t be an issue). She could barely walk and was in lots of pain so she didn’t really want to play much. Ben really enjoyed playing with the Carroll kids and was really disappointed that our trip was so short. They have really cool train tracks, a tire swing in the backyard and the kids were both really fun. We got them bathed and in bed later than we should have, but they slept well. When they woke, we were treated to a wonderful breakfast and then the kids played until it was time to go to church. Once settled in the pew, Maddie and Ben laid down on the bench. Maddie fell asleep. Ben said he had a terrible headache and remained pretty still. I spent most the time in the hall or mother’s room with Jacob and before we knew it, it was time to head home. Too short a visit to be sure, but I have lots of searching to do on Facebook now. I hear tell that lots of old friends are there just waiting to be found. After the service was over, we loaded up our sleepy, tired kids into the truck and said our goodbyes. Ben was sobbing about his headache. I encouraged him to take a drink of water thinking he could be dehydrated still from all our time outside in the heat this weekend. Thinking that as sleepy and whiny as the kids were, they must not feel spectacular, we made the decision to stop and pick up some Motrin. I stayed in the car while Brian went in. Soon Ben started crying and in a voice that quickly became more and more urgent said, “Mom, I think I’m having tummy yuckies coming out!” I was on the phone with Brian calling from inside the store right then. As I tossed down the phone, I yelled, “Hold on!” I whipped open the glove compartment where I keep an oversized plastic cup reserved for occasions such as this and got it under his mouth just in time. He filled the cup, tears coming out his eyes and vomit from his nose and mouth. Poor guy. I hollered at the phone “Buy whatever you have, Ben’s throwing up” and turned it off. I soothed Ben and helped him clean his chin. After a few minutes he appeared a bit better and said in a very relieved voice, “At least my forehead doesn’t hurt at all anymore.” Bad call by my about the water. He is naturally prone to be car sick. Add that on top of a splitting headache and something had to give. On the up side, hopefully all three kids will be so wiped out that they will sleep the whole 6 ½ hour drive. I know I’m crossing my fingers. Right now they are all three sleeping peacefully.

Seven Hours Later

We left Columbus at 12:30. It is five minutes to 8:00 pm. We just passed a sign that says we have 128 miles left to Washington, DC. I think we may never get there. Jacob has been screaming at the top of his lungs for almost an hour. We have stopped four times. Three of those stops included vomiting by Ben. My patience is thin. I am so glad I have Brian here to keep me focused and calm. As unpleasant as Jacob thinks this trip is, it could be worse. Or, if we didn’t have car sick boy, we could actually be home now. The drive is only 6 ½ hours afterall. Typically we take 7 ½ to do a 6 ½ hour drive. This trip may never end. We have discussed installing a cone of silence in the truck like in the old Get Smart movie. Where can I rent that by the way? Is Netflix that good? Maybe I should sign up. The other option might be a minivan or the like. If I do ever end up doing that, I’m requesting the license plate to be “YUCK” to adequately describe my feelings.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kirtland Youth Conference 2009

We are now departing our Kirtland Youth Conference 2009 Adventure. Brian is driving. All three kids are exhausted and crashed out in the back seat. It was a fantastic success. The youth group had an amazing time. The friendships were deepened. The history was rich. The spirit of the Lord was strong. I suppose Brian and I are exhausted too. We were the support crew. When we originally started registration, a contract was made on the charter buses for the kids based on years past totals of about 120 youth. We collected registrations. Then more came in, and more and more. We had a total of 161 kids registered as we approached the date and almost all of them checked in on the day of departure. Our budget didn’t allow for excess hotel rooms to that degree and we couldn’t cut in the chaperone department, so we had to brutally slash our support crew. We got ourselves down to 4 support people for the entire group of over 190 people. Brian and I decided (wisely) to take the truck instead of the tiny little Honda Accord. It proved to be a very good choice. We were able to transport coolers, tables, grills, massive amounts of Costco groceries and ice anywhere, anytime without being held up waiting for the three buses and the kids to finish their activities. We were free to go ahead and set up meals, pick up catered food and stay late to let the grills cool before they were loaded up. My original expectation was that I was going to go see the sights in Kirtland just like the kids were. Then I realized I had better shift my expectations into reality so that I wasn’t sorely disappointed when I didn’t get to attend a single tour. And that is how I left for the trip. Truly thinking I wouldn’t get to do anything but attend the evening sacrament meeting in the Kirtland Temple because all the meals would be over for the day and it was late enough that my kids would be back at the hotel with Brian. To my pleasant surprise, I was able to do all the tours except a few houses at historic downtown Kirtland because Maddie was tantruming and disturbing the other people in our tour group and the Morley Farm. Not bad for a support crew member. What I still cannot believe is that we fed 200 people for three days out of a cooler and three tour buses. CRAZY!! I couldn’t even imagine how we would have done that before this trip. I have also thought a million times over the last six months, “I don’t WANT to know how to do this!” The people that develop the skills to plan for group meals in that manner will inevitably ALWAYS get stuck planning, ordering, shopping and ultimately serving in the kitchen and cleaning up after every meal and miss ALL the fun stuff. I’d rather just appreciate the people who know how to do that wonderful work. I’m happy to help them execute the pre-made plans, just not create them. All three of our kids were near angels. Maddie only really had one real rough patch when we were well beyond her nap anyway and she was tired and hot and demanding some grapes. Jacob was the hit of the trip. The last day I put him in a cute little red shirt that says “Babe Magnet” because it was so true. All the cute 14-18 year old girls swooned over his cute little toothless grin and ready smile. Ben made a great new friend, Kara, that he wants to come babysit. When we were at the Whitmore store, Brian and I were tag teaming squirmy Jacob and whiney Maddie Mae. Ben was sort of left to fend for himself and Kara stepped in and took him under her wing. What a great girl. The rest of the trip he was constantly asking if Kara was coming to this place or that place or where she was right now. All the kids also enjoyed playing with Marina who is one of our favorite babysitters we have used. She loves our kids and they adore her. Today we toured the Johnson Farm and used the chapel within walking distance for our festivities to serve breakfast, lunch and pack a sack lunch dinner. I can attest to the fact that we have some very loving, dedicated adult leaders in our ward. My friend, Tashia, was a work horse. She never rested once for three days. We missed our cohorts Heidi and Carol though. It’s rotten to break up our team like that, but Heidi had some lame excuse like she was having a baby any day now and wasn’t really feeling it. Carol had to multitask and be YW President and group “Mom” so she was too swamped to hang out and laugh with us while we sliced bagels, muffins, watermelons, lettuce, tomatoes and whatever else we chopped in our three day marathon. The kids have traveled very well so far. Ben wanted to help out wherever he could, including setting up and taking down chairs and tables. Maddie loved trying out the toys in the nursery classrooms in each of the chapels. Probably the highlight for both of them was the swimming pool at our hotel, which they got to use twice on Friday—once in the afternoon while I was making a food run, and once in the evening before bed. Overall, it was a fantastic trip. While it isn’t always true, I do believe if we both show and tell our kids what is expected of them, they will surprise us with their ability to meet or exceed our expectations. What a blessing we received this weekend that our children were so great. I think God was on our side, saw the sacrifices we were willing to make and helped us and them by picking up some of the slack or sending others to be our angles so we could serve and create and incredible experience for everyone involved. Many thanks are in order to those who organized, planned and executed an amazing, spiritual, testimony building youth conference where we could feel the spirit of Christ and grow closer to him and renew our efforts to become more like him. I am very grateful for the chance I had to learn through service this weekend and to spend time with my cute little family while teaching them a lesson in service and sacrifice too. I think our parents can be proud of the people we turned out to be, at least in that respect. They deserve credit for teaching by example. Just glad we learned something from it.

What to Do On the Road

I love having a laptop and a power inverter. I don’t have internet access on the road, but I have been able to catch up on blog posts from mid-March. It feels amazing to have been able to catch up so much! Seriously, I have single spaced typed out eighteen pages of blog posts and which pictures I need to retrieve to post with them. I’m so excited to upload everything!! I made it all the way to the end of May just before we went to California. Still some big posts (California wedding, Grandma’s funeral, Jacob rolling, sitting, crawling, standing up a few seconds, preschool graduation, family campout, primary talent show, installing baby gates, buying and selling houses out of state, regression on crying it out, Ben progressing in swim team and more). For now, I’m going to revel in the progress I’ve made catching up the blog and hope that my kids have moved onto a new and better stage where I have a few minutes to myself each day rather than running to attend to the needs of one of the three of them at every waking moment. I can’t believe we’re almost to July already. Time used to be so methodical, so measurable and trackable. Then I had Ben and in an instant I had three kids. My first year with Ben seemed to drag, but time has been passing steadily faster and faster with each year. Jacob will be seven months in a week and it seems like he just joined our little family. I don’t want to miss, neglect or forget any of it. Ben is especially fun now since we can do so much together. He is a huge help. I love to work with him, teach him piano/reading/math, play with him. Sometimes my heart yearns to not be bound down by a million other things so I could give him all the love I have for him. On Wednesday last week, Maddie asked me at least five different times through the day to read her a story she loves. Each time was a bad time for me and I put her off. Finally, I had time and snuck into her room with the book at 9pm after she was in bed. I fully expected her to be awake. She is our night owl and usually is up about an hour after climbing in bed. It broke my heart that she was gone. I could feel my heart ache to know I had put her off, let her down and disappointed her five times. She never once complained. It happens to every mother. The stars just cannot be aligned every moment of the day. When they are, I need to be better at seizing the moment and reveling in it because; the days are short lived that she will want to snuggle in my arms and read a magical fairytale story.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Temple Meeting

I had such a fantastic experience at the Kirtland temple. When I went in the day with my family for the tour, we got to see all the rooms, including the elusive third floor. We tried to join one of the youth tour groups, but they couldn’t fit us in. Then there were only a few of us that couldn’t make the first group, so we got our own tour. Since there were so few people, we got to go to the third floor and see those rooms. It was amazing to see how they built it back in the 1800s. Such a tall, brick building. So big it bankrupted the church at the time. Such sacrifice by the early Christian saints to toil and work for so many years to build a temple to God. It was humbling to see it. Later that night I was able to return. Brian kept the kids, took all three swimming and then put them to bed while I was gone. Having time to sit and reflect on the intricate woodwork done by hand, the detail in the podium area, simple beauty of design, grandness of size and the unique windows was amazing. I felt connected to their building and their souls. I appreciated their toil, sweat and tears. Amazed at the sacrifice of the women to crush their irreplaceable fine dishes and nice things to mix into the mortar so that the temple would sparkle in the sunlight and be beautiful to look at and to honor God. I imagine it would have been an interesting time to live, during all the revivals of the 1800s. So much religious excitement, contention and yet many good people found Christ in those times. What a blessing to them and their posterity to have the knowledge of Christ in their daily lives. While sitting that evening in the lower room of the temple, staring at the product of their love of God, I felt the spirit of God so intensely. When the stake president, Pres Erickson, spoke, I listened. He shared so many great feelings and impressions and messages for the youth and for the adults present. He emphasized how important our daily decisions were in obtaining exaltation because the small things really do matter. He shared with us God’s deep love for us as daughters of God and about the huge responsibility placed upon the shoulders of the young men in the group. I realized that I was not listening with my mind and taking in the message to process it. I could feel a tangible, physical warmth and stirring in my chest instead. I was listening with my soul that night. The feelings I had were so real and so difficult to describe. Kirtland is a special place where you can feel the history and God’s love. I hope to go back when the kids are older and can listen, learn and appreciate the sacrifice of the early saints.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

On the Road

Ben really, really liked California when we visited. He talks about it all the time and how he wants to live there, visit there, etc. He loved the ocean. While driving through a particularly flat portion of Pennsylvania today (a totally land locked state) Ben said: “I think I see the mountains or the ocean over there.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Big Oversight

And when I say 'big' I mean huge, gigantic, enormous, shameful oversight on my part. Thanks Laura for setting me straight. Tex-Mex food is the best in Texas. About 85% of the restaurants were tex-mex and that was fine with us, because, really, it is the best kind of food in the world. The first year we were here, I couldn't count the number of conversations Brian and I had about how there was NOWHERE to eat here in Virginia. We tried all sorts of places but just couldn't fall in love. Truth be told, still haven't found anywhere we are in love with after four years. We loved Tortugas, Pappasitos, Casa Ole, Gringos, Lupe Tortilla, Taco Cabana and Orlando's (or whatever name it was going by that week since it changed owners about every three weeks but it was always Tex-Mex).
I've beginning to think through all the Tex-Mex we've been missing in the last four years here in Virginia, I also realized I miss Sonic, Ryan's and Whataburger. So many good eats in Houston.
Brian's comment to my Texas post was that he missed the loquat tree in our backyard. The fruit was yummy and grew without me lifting a finger. They just magically grew. Ben loved them so much that he'd reach out and grab them when I walked by. I got a few fun pictures of him eating them that make me smile. He just couldn't wait for me to even pick them and they were at just the right height for him to snag.

While I Was Gone

Approaching the airport to pick me up after Grandmas funeral Ben said, “We must be getting close to the erport because it’s starting to get airplaney.” As if airplaney was a sort of weather. I gave Maddie a hug in her carseat when I got to the car. She was asleep and sort of stirred. After we started to go, she told me, “I can’t give you a snuggle mom, because we’re BAD piewat (pirate).” While I was gone Maddie told the neighbor that I wasn’t coming home because “Mommy doesn’t like us.” At least each time she said it, she had a sneaky smile. When Brian would tease and probe, she would giggle and play along like it was a really funny joke. Several times in the next few days she told me I would have to “walk the plank” in her scariest voice. Brian finished a bunch of the baseboards in the basement. He’s getting so close to completing the living room. Since our basement flooding started last May (that is May of 2008) we have cleaned up four floods (sucked water out, dried carpets and pad, moved all our belongings to the living room and back down). Knowing the floods would get worse, not better, we bit the bullet and paid through the nose to install a sump pump along the three exterior walls and moved everything upstairs for two weeks. When the new concrete finally dried, we put lots of things back and cleaned up the concrete dust that covered every surface of all three stories of our house. Then ripped out the wood paneling wall they had damaged beyond repair. From here on out, it was pretty much a one man show. Brian installed insulation in the walls, added a few more electrical outlets, sheetrocked, mudded and taped, sanded, mudded again, sanded, primed and painted. Then painted baseboards and upper trim, cut and install, putty the nail holes, sand, touch up paint again. Brian is amazing. We’ve learned that all home projects take infinitely larger amounts of time since we have three kids. I have high hopes that eventually that will not be the case. We’re training them to be helpers in our work projects, but today, they remain more distraction than help. Of course they always want to participate and Brian does a particularly good job of finding ways to include them, even if it means the paint job will take two hours instead of one. Most of the time though, Brian works after the kids are all in bed which makes for a short work session or a very late night. Like I said, he’s amazing.

I Love Texas Too

After my posting the other day on how cool Utah and Virginia are, my good friend Laura asked what I miss about Texas. I think she was feeling neglected. =) We loved Texas, I just missed the snow. So, here it goes. Things I love about my time in Texas:
  • having a garage
  • my mailbox was on my front door so I could get my mail in my underwear, plus I heard the lid slam shut so I knew the instant it arrived (I'm obsessed with getting the mail. I love, Love, LOVE it! Even if it's just a bunch of bills.)
  • lane dividers were raised. Don't know why this struck me as so extremely cool, but I really loved it. They didn't get snow, so the snowplows wouldn't ruin them. When you change lanes it makes a weird noise. Weird, I know.
  • flip flops year round
  • shopping for groceries at H.E.B. When my credit card statement came each month it said I shopped at H.E.Butts. Made me smile every single time I saw it. I shopped at Mr. Butts store. See, I'm smirking again.
  • watching the sunrise over the ocean
  • seeing the dolphins jump all around when we rode the Bolivar ferry
  • getting steak at Gus's in Texas City. I've never been cool enough to ask for something that wasn't on the menu. It felt so exclusive to be "in the know."
  • seeing flare stacks, cokers and towers. Recognizing parts and knowing which ones I had climbed inside as I drove past on the freeway.
  • climbing the dericks on the coker tower about 250 ft up a tiny little ladder and looking out at Galveston Bay
  • playing at the beach at Galveston. Okay, so it's not crystal clear water, but it was SO accessable. We would throw the BBQ grill in the truck and run down to the beach and play, swim and laugh with all our friends while the kids entertained themselves for hours. Endless, innocent, free fun any day of the week if you wanted it.
  • parking spaces were big enough for our truck. Not so in Virginia. They go for compact cars and minivans here. I'm still holding out on the minivan. Not going there yet. I'm a loyal truck gal.
  • accents. I'm a sucker for a Southern accent and a bit of a sponge. I soak up accents and begin to use them whereever we live without ever noticing or meaning too.
  • the Birth Certificate. Ben is our Texas baby and has the birth certificate to prove it. Everything is bigger in Texas including that. It is the size of a college diploma and has the proud Texas flag waving in the wind across it in full color. I got such a kick out of it, it is still framed on his wall in his room. For comparison sake, Maddie and Jacob were born in Virginia. Their birth certificates came like your bank pin # does. Rip off the perferated edges to open the "envelope" if you can even call it that. Then it has tearable perferations right through the middle of the thing. Lame-O.
  • walking to church. Our house was one tiny neighborhood block away from our church building.
  • being immersed in spanish speaking culture. Here we eventually dropped the Spanish with Ben because no one else but us spoke it, so he refused to speak it.
  • blue bonnets in the spring. Seriously cute pictures to be had all along the freeways for miles and miles. Even a beginner could produce a stellar photo shoot with their kids and a cheap camera it was just that gorgeous.
  • an attic to store my junk (Christmas, tools, kids clothes, etc.)
  • slower pace of life
  • country music has always been my first choice. I fit in better in Texas.
  • Rodeo Houston. Fun. Fun. Fun.
  • living across the back fence of NASA in our apartment and then a stones throw away when we bought our house. I drove past space ships in the Rocket Garden every single day on the way to work.
  • Kemah boardwalk and the fountain in the ground. Good fun for little people and a great way to cool off an adult in the hot and humid summers too.
  • cheaper houses/mortgage. Of course, I would never have appreciated it if we hadn't moved to the DC area and seen smaller, older places selling for more than triple the cost. It's all relative to your perspective.
  • kids called us Mr. Brian and Miss Angie. LOVED that!!!
  • my lamaze class playgroup friends
  • church friends
  • all our spanish speaking friends
  • work friends from BP and ExxonMobil
  • Buck Booth saying "Hello" in his own...ummm...well...very special way
  • finally, the number one thing we (Brian and I) both agree that we miss the very most about Texas is the PEOPLE. We've never been anywhere in all 13 of our moves that the people as a general rule were more kind, friendly, helpful and down to earth. I love the southern charm and hospitality. The people are so warm.

So there you have it Laura. I guess we should move back. Some of our best friends just got orders this week they are transfering back to Houston. Maybe this will help Candy and Buck be more excited about the move. Gosh, now I want to move back.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bragging Rights - I Saw the Arveseth Babies First!!

All my friends from Fairfax can now be jealous. I mean, really, really jealous. Last night I got to go visit Catherine Arveseth and see her sweet new baby boys in the NICU. I had the honor of being their first Virginia visitor. Those boys are melt-your-heart cute. I got to hold little Gordon who is just about 4 pounds. He has the cutest miniature face and features and his entire brow wrinkles from the left side of his face to the right in three deep creases. He was wide awake the entire visit and never made a peep. After spending a day on the airplane wrestling 6 month old, chunky Jacob, it was hard to believe the twins could possibly be that teensy. Spencer was taking a snooze so no holding, just gawking at him. He is delicious too. It was so fun to catch up with Catherine and give updates on what all of you guys in Virginia are doing. It was a sad, sad parting again, but an unexpected blessing that we got to see each other at all. I miss my dear friend Cath so much and it was good for my heart to see her face and feel her sweet presence again. Ahhh. It was a really, really great night. I am a happy woman.

Utah Perks

I arrived home last night and have been noticing things I love about here that we just don't have in Virginia. 65 mph speed limits!! No more 55. It's just sooooo slow.
Family. My family is here and it's nice to be with them. Familiar roads. Roads I've driven my entire life. Stores that are the old faithfuls. Billboards. The Utah freeways are littered with gaudy billboards shouting messages at you. Virginia has zero billboards. It makes the drives more relaxing if that makes sense. No trees. It is a desert afterall. You can see for miles and miles and miles here. In Virginia, you can see about as far as the next curve in the road for all the trees. And finally, a memory surfaced as I drove to the hospital to visit the new Arveseth twins last night just after sunset. I was headed from West Valley to Murray and realized how absolutely amazing and beautiful the mountains are. I love the familiar snow capped peaks and valleys I grew up with. In Virginia I live in a dungeon. At least that's what I call it. A beautiful dungeon with lush, tall, green foliage and trees, but I'm at the bottom of a big hill with huge trees that make the TV signal weak and cell phone reception sometimes disappear in my home. Growing up on the "West Side" of the Salt Lake Valley in Kearns I had this image, whether it was true or false, I always thought of the East Side as the rich part of town where you lived if you had tons of money, nice houses and fancy cars. The reverse stereo type also existed regarding West Siders. We were the poor people. For six years during junior high and high school I was bussed across the valley every day. I got to watch the sun rise over the beautiful Wasatch mountains, then drive to school and watch it rise again. It was sort of novel and cool to watch the sunrise twice each day. I also enjoyed just looking at the mountains on our daily drive. They are gorgeous. My favorite time is in the spring when the mountainside is green with snow capped peaks. On my drive yesterday I reflected how silly it was for me to always wish I was an East Sider. I would have missed the amazing expansive view of the mountains. I love the view from my childhood home. It was perfect. So, once again, like we did on occasion in junior high school, I'm holding up three fingers in the shape of a "W" and saying "WEST SIDE PRIDE" baby!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blogging Defined

I saw this quote on a friend's blog today (and by friend I mean one of the "kids" in our Houston church youth program that grew up and got married to one of my other favorite "kids", Bryce, from church...she isn't a kid anymore but a super amazing adult). Anyway, Ali said it and I think her thought just about sums up my feelings PERFECTLY... "...blogging is like laundry.... if you don't keep up on it all the time, one day you turn around and all of your underwear is dirty, but you still don't have time to do anything about it." I have soooooo much blogging to catch up on still!

Costco Boredom

While figuring out how to feed 200 people for three days out of a tour bus, I called Costco at our destination to see if they would be willing to pull our order so all we have to do is pick up and pay. They were totally willing to do that as long as I could provide the SKU # of every item I want. Ugh. But, okay. I can spend two hours at our Costco doing that, or 8 hours during the trip with people waiting on me and in a flustered panic we won't make it back to the park on time to feed everyone. I chose the lesser of two evils - get all the SKU #s. Knowing I have to fly out tomorrow for my grandma's funeral, I literally only had a few short hours before I couldn't do the job anymore. So, I told the kids to go puddle jump in the front yard for 30 minutes to get the wiggles and whines out. Then I packed up the crew for a nice, long Costco run. Before we even left, I explained to the kids, we weren't buying anything, I just had to write down lots and lots of numbers. I figured Ben could help with the numbers, brought a blanket for Maddie Mae and made a bed for her in the main basket and had bunches of toys to entertain Jacob in his chair. Nothing went according to plan, but with the big bribe of a smoothie after we finished, they stayed basically well behaved. Seriously, I had some blessings from above, because there is no way that ever could have happened right in the middle of nap time without some divine intervention. And I'm grateful for it. My favorite moment of the day? Ben stands up in the main part of the cart, then kneels (dramatically). Points to the bakery cookies for which I am obtaining SKUs for each individual flavor and says to Maddie with all the flair you would expect in a Shakespear play, "That's the cookie I've ALWAYS wanted!" Then he threw kisses at it and told Maddie to look at it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Jaw Is Getting Tired

Favorite quote of the day from Brian feeding Jacob:
"Jacob, you need to eat. My jaw is getting tired."
Brian and I both have this weird habit while spoon feeding our babies. When we want them to open their mouths, we instinctively open our mouths for them. Every single bite. Seriously, my jaw would be sore after a meal with Ben.
We both did lots better with Maddie, but still did it a little bit. I thought we had gotten over it for the most part with Jacob, but when Jacob gets distracted or isn't eating like we'd like him too, our mouths begin to open again. It's sort of an involuntary, subliminal help I guess.
Jacob also makes a huge effort to suck his fingers while we feed him. His favorite two fingers seem to be tall man and ring man together, upside down and backwards. Just exactly like Glori used to do. It makes me smile to think of her again when he does it. Jacob will get some random fingers in his mouth and suck then move them around and switch them. It's almost like he is searching for how to get his perfect combination of fingers in.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alergic Reaction

Tonight we had "Mexican Chicken and Rice" for dinner. When Ben smelled the food in the kitchen he became excited because it smells like enchiladas, which is one of his favorite foods. He asked if he could wrap the rice up in a tortilla so it would be just like an enchilada. Then, when he took a bite of his "enchilada" he immediately told us it did not taste like an enchilada and he did not like the flavor. He unwrapped the rice and ate the bits of tortilla that had not been contaminated. We told him he needed to make sure he ate the rice also. After a little bit he finally took a nibble, after which he told us, "I think I'm feeling alergic to the food." We asked how he knew he was alergic, to which he replied that his stomach was hurting. He took another bite and started gagging extra strong to make sure we understood the problem. We insisted that he eat all of his food because that was dinner for the evening. In his mind, Ben must have faced a huge dilema: eat something to which he has a terrible alergic reaction or go to bed very hungry. Ben finally took a few more bites to get down the rest of the tortilla and a little bit of rice. I am sure he will be happy when breakfast rolls around.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Crying It Out

I'm serious. No more waking up with Jacob. He weighed in at 18 lb 1.6 oz at his six month check on Tuesday. Maddie was 18 lbs at her 15 month appointment. That boy isn't underfed and doesn't need to eat during the night. Monday night we let him cry it out for over an hour and a half miserable hours. Tuesday night he had just had shots and had a fever so I was nice. Tonight he's fine. But I'm not. The screaming just won't stop. This is child #3. My heart isn't breaking for him like it did for Ben. I'm not in the other room crying for him. I just want to go in and rock him to make it stop so I can sleep. Final score: one hour 16 minutes of crying. No. Make that one hour 16 minutes of screaming his guts out. I did nurse him first thing out of exhausting and thinking (naively) that would speed up the cry it out process. No feeding tomorrow night. Now, it's 3:59 am. He's finally quiet. I can go back to sleep. Good night world. Let's all pray it is my last week of getting up in the night with him ever.

If You Can't Say Something Nice, Don't Say Anything At All

Since I'm really, really struggling with everything going on around the house right now... Since Maddie potty training is wiping me out... Since Jacob got his shots yesterday and has a fever and is cranky... Since Ben's swim lessons mess up the evening routine on a daily basis... Since our camping trip this weekend keeps getting shorter and shorter (surprise committments have popped up now Fri until 7pm and then Sat starting at 7:15 am and it might rain anyway)... Since at least two of my three children have been crying at the same time since 8 am... I have nothing nice to say. Therefore, instead of complaining and saying whoa is me, I will back post. Because sometimes you need to get away from the present to realize that your life really is good. And, "this too shall pass" even if it doesn't feel like it. Besides, I have a million posts that have been missed in the last 8 weeks. See the links below: Two Year Old Happiness Ben's Preschool Graduation Ben and Jacob Share Clothes Scared of Heights

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ben and Jacob Share Clothes

Lest someone dare to doubt me, here's proof. On our trip to California, I packed Ben and Jacob's clothes in the same suitcase. Big mistake. Ben doesn't pay much attention to what he's wearing. He just grabs a shirt and a pair of pants and he's off to play with the cousins.
The first time I noticed we had a problem, he was wearing a pair of shorts that were a little bit snug, but nothing drastic. Then through the course of the day, I realized they were Jacob's pants. Not 4T shorts, but 6 month long pants. HOLY COW!! Who thought he'd fit in them at all?
Incident #2 came when I went to the store with the ladies to buy groceries. While we were gone, Uncle Shon took his five kids and my older two to the beach. (Brian isn't a slacker, he stayed home with napping Jacob). When we got home, we put the food away, changed and headed down to meet the kids at the ocean. What did we find? Ben in Jacob's swimsuit. The outer body looked alright on him, but the thing is actually a swim diaper. Nothing to do then but let him wear it. So five year old Ben wore 6 month old Jacob's swim diaper at the beach. You'd think he would have noticed a super tight rubbery thing around him, but no. He was focused on the beach. He did end up with some major rub marks on is waist from it though. He said it really, really hurt that night. I wish I had pictures of it, but alas, no camera that day.
Today, I was folding laundry that had been in bins at the foot of the bed for five days. The kids had just finished breakfast and since Jacob got up early, he was already down for a nap. I capitalized on the situation and to save time, told Ben to choose some clothes from the clean laundry buckets, get dressed and put his pajamas in his room. He quickly found a shirt, but couldn't find pants. I pointed to a pair of tan pants over yonder and he changed. Just about lunch time, I noticed it. I asked again if his pants were tight. Of course, he said they were. Another pair of Jacob's long pants turned shorts for my five year old. Sigh. When I pointed out the problem and suggested he change so he could be more comfortable he wasn't interested. Figured it would take too long. He'd just change at bed time. Whatever. I just can't believe he can get into Jacob's pants!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Scared of Heights

We've lived in this house three years, this is our fourth summer here and I've never been on the roof. Of course, two of those summer's I've been pregnant, but still Brian has half a dozen or more times, but not me. It freaks me out to tell the truth. It's all about having to climb the ladder. If the ladder was bolted in place, no problem. I climbed the derrick of the coker tower a bunch of times, pregnant with Ben up about 300 verticle feet on nothing more than a caged ladder to a 4'x4' grating platform. I held on tight, but I did it without much trouble. So I can't go up 20 feet on a rickety old extention ladder. Chicken. I think it's the fact that for Brian to climb the ladder, I have to hold it still, freaks me out. It just isn't safe enough for me. Bolt that baby down and I'll clean the gutters next year.
That being said, what do you do if you're scared of heights, but you know you have a roof/gutter problem? You wait. And wait. You notice the water eating away at the dirt on the side of your house. And wait some more. Then you hope it will magically, just go away. Then you wait again, trying to get up the courage to borrow the neighbor's ladder and check it out. Finally, you suck it up and tell your husband you think we have a roof or gutter problem. Then your hero, your knight in shining armor gets up on the roof and models for you a bit when you tell him to pose for the camera, then he cleans the gutters so you can rest comfortably next time there is a gi-normous rain storm.
P.S. - I could totally get on the short roof in the picture, no problem. It's the top of the house that has me totally wigged out. Guess that totally rules out a fancy-smancy house for us. 'Cause roof sitting was important to me growing up. How else you gonna watch fireworks on the 4th of July and Pioneer Day (If you don't know what that is, you just gotta be a Utahn, sorry. I was horrified when we moved to Texas and I asked my co-workers what state holiday they all got off work so I could plan my vacation schedule. They looked at me like I was an idiot.) Anyway, I enjoyed roof sitting with my family for fireworks with ice cream or candy bars or some fun treat.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Nice mommy is gone. Mean mommy is here. Nice mommy will return after swim season ends, potty training is successful and Jacob starts to eat faster from a spoon. Please adjust your expectations accordingly. Thank you. The Management

Friday, June 5, 2009

Can't Buy Me Luuuu-uuuuve...

I'm thinking of the Beatles song right now. That's who sung it right? Anyway, Ben and Maddie are playing in the living room and I just heard him ask her, "Wanna buy a snuggle from me for $1,000?" So I guess we're selling love here now. Unfortunately for him, she didn't have any money so the offer wasn't accepted.


I haven't eaten breakfast since Sunday. I'm starving. The littles haven't allowed it. I'm done. Jacob is sitting in his highchair two feet from me screaming at the top of his lungs. I guess that's the way it's gonna be right now because I need it to be that way. Just five minutes to eat a stinkin' bowl of cereal. Is that too much to ask? Jacob has moved to eating three meals a day and that takes hours of time every day. Maddie is potty training so the timer goes off every 15 minutes and I spend 10 minutes in the bathroom with her. Ben has swim practice at 4:45 every single day, right when I need to be making dinner. No one will leave me alone and my last blog post was about a month ago. I'm loosing my mind. My bowl of cereal is gone. Time to rescue the little man from misery.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ben's Preschool Graduation

Here is our happy preschool graduate, diploma in hand. I don't know why his scowl seems to be permanently attached to his face whenever he knows we care about a picture or talking to another human being outside our immediate family, but that's just him and we love him anyway. And the whole clan (visiting guest student Maddie Mae included). These are the mothers that taught in our Joy School co-op preschool. It was such a fantastic group. Everyone was prepared, easy to work with, good with kids and super fun. Ben loved all his teachers.

Verity & Wade Cushing, Danita & Lindsey Grundvig, Tashia & Hugh MacArthur, Angie, Ben & Maddie Zufelt and Amy & Ella Jolley (missing Ella's mother Amy home on bedrest, so Grandma stood in)

Bird Choir

Driving home tonight, we crossed over the VRE (train) bridge. At the top, there were a ton of birds sitting on the guardrail. Ben noticed and said, "Whoa! That's a lot of birds. Maybe they are having a choir!" What? Yes, he thought they were going to practice in their choir together. Brian commented that after they practiced, they could sing together. Ben seemed a bit insulted by that idea and corrected him. "No, Dad. They will tweet together."

Monday, June 1, 2009

Two Year Old Happiness

I've learned that Maddie does much better if I inform her of an upcoming task by saying, "After you finish ABC, it will be time for XYZ." Usually, she is pretty accomodating. Often, if task ABC is sort of long, I get distracted. She will come remind me of what we were supposed to do next, even if it is take a nap.
Maddie had been pleasantly playing dress ups with all sorts of things from the basement. About every 3 minutes she would arrive upstairs with yet another costume, asking for help to zip a zipper or tie a strap or untangle a necklace or something else. Nap time was approaching, so I gave her proper notice. "When you're done playing in the turtle costume, it will be nap time."
She smiled at me and said "Okay." Then she turned and headed straight up the stairs to her room. I found her soon, fast asleep on her bed happy as a clam (or shall I say turtle). That just can't be comfortable. Some of the time, she was on her back, like a turtle that got high centered and stuck upside down. The turtle shell is about 18 inches thick, right under her back. Oh well. Two year olds can be pretty easy to please, as long as it is on their terms.

Trapped in the Kitchen

Do you ever feel that you are trapped in the kitchen? We spend so much time in the kitchen, cooking, cleaning the dishes, coloring pictures and doing other projects with our kids, that sometimes it seems like we spend all day there. Sometimes we just need a break. Today Ben and Maddie decided that we weren't spending enough time in the kitchen. While I was preparing dinner and Angie was feeding Jacob, Ben and Maddie gathered anything soft (blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, etc) they could find in the house and piled them to strategically block both exits from the kitchen. They didn't want to let us out.
When I asked Ben what they were up to, he simply stated, "We are trapping you." When I probed a bit more he told me that the living room was a construction place and that a "Lofty" (construction crane) was working in the living room to build our house. Maddie stated that we bumped our heads--she must have meant that she was trying to protect us from bumping our heads in the construction area. Anyway, we are now physically trapped in the kitchen and do not know when we will be able to leave. If you don't see us in the next few days, maybe you can stop by to convince our captors to let us out.